This feed contains pages in the "tech" category.

creating a bigger home

Increasing the size of your home directory on the fly.

For a long time now I have used LVM to manage most of my disk space on my machines. It's simple once you have understood what it is talking about and it is quite flexible.

I have been running out of space in my home directory on my desktop at home. I have a load of random disks in the box and they are all under LVM. I have been putting off sorting this out for a while now as all the times before that I have wanted to resize drives it's a boot disk job. Not any more.

# lvextend -L +10Gb /dev/maindatavg/homelv # resize2fs /dev/maindatavg/homelv

That's it. I now have another 10Gb of disks space in my home directory. All online, all in about 30 seconds!

Note: I already had some spare space in the maindata_vg to play with so this was simple but if I had added a new drive I could have just added it to the group and done the same.

Posted Wed Feb 7 23:56:59 2007 Tags: linux lvm tech
what is needed for web tv

What is needed to make web and TV merge.

As we see more and more entertainment sites on the internet showing videos, podcasts, photos, movies, news clips and the like; what we are missing is the link that makes all these usable from your sofa.

Democracy player (leaving aside the cheesy name) is an interesting concept and combined with something like elisa, a full screen media center, you are getting there. Allowing people to sit back on the sofa and browse content that has been brought to them may at last change how we watch TV.

The player and application is only part of it. The ability to discover new content is a major factor. What would be nice is that if when browsing the web I find a site with some interesting TV type content I could added it to my TV player for watching later. If while watching a news download on my TV player they mention another site I would want to be able to visit that site or story. We need an option to pop up that says something like "Move to this story or download this for later" together with more options like "Subscribe to all stories from this site" or "Find me stuff like this". I think the technologies are all out there it just requires somebody to put it all together.

It needs to be done soon or else the big commercial interests will move in and lock it all down "to stop those troublesome pirates" oh and limit what and when you can view for maximum profit for the network. In the end most people will wait until SKY or Fox are ready to sell them a box that they think gives them greater choice but just allows them to be better targeted for advertising.

Posted Mon Feb 5 17:15:58 2007 Tags: tech ?tv ?web
wrt tftp upgrade problems

Installing firmware onto a wrt54g using tftp

I have been having some problems trying to reflash my old linksys router using tftp. I wanted to try out dd-wrt but could not get the firmare to load.

First off I was getting an error 4 "transfer canceled" which turned out to be that the image was too big so I tried a smaller one but then I kept getting the error 3 "code pattern incorrect" turns out that the bin image that I had downloaded was gzipped but with no .gz extension so after unzipping it I was off. Loaded in the small openwrt version which then let me load the dd-wrt that I wanted throught the web interface.

Posted Tue Jan 30 17:59:44 2007 Tags: linux tech
Its all in the name

It's all in the name.

If you have been on the Internet at all over the last few days then you have probably read all about the new iPhone from Apple. They hype is stifling. The device is nothing really new. Yes it has a swanky large touch screen but other than that it is not a lot different in essence from the devices available from Nokia or ?SonyEricsson so why is it getting all the fuss?

Apple has a reputation for cool stuff not a necessarily technically better but just cool enough to make you want it. They used to be exclusive and cool as they would be priced just above the average and so people desired them. When they released the iPod they hit a sweet spot. Now you could own a trendy Apple product for only a couple of hundred pounds. People rushed out and brought. They ignored the faults with the device concentrated on how cool the scroll wheel was and traded their freedom to do what they wanted with their music for a piece of Apple cools.

The hype continues to this day, Apple are still the brand to be seen with and they go out of their way to keep that mystique. Steve Jobs is working the customers with skill! Looks at the SE P990i and tell me what the iPhone will do that this does not (other than not have 3G), movies, music, camera, organiser, Wi-Fi, and phone it's all there. Look at the Nokia N93i again doing all that apple is promising tomorrow but doing it now. But they are not cool and so people who did not give them a second look will already be saving for the iPhone.

My only hope is that it will stimulate people into noticing that they don't need a phone, a camera and an ipod nano and can just get a SE K800i or Nokia N73 and do it all in one.

Me I am going to get me a FIC Neo1973 Phone or possibly a Nokia N800 and just stick with my K750 for now.

(Other phones are available but the Nokia and SE ones I know of now!)

Posted Fri Jan 12 16:04:53 2007 Tags: phone tech
resume from lvm

After my move to md-crypt for my home directory I have also moved my swap partition over to LVM. This has caused a couple of problems with hibernate and recover from disk.

In the end I had to hand hack some files in the initrd to make it load the LVM before it tried to do a resume bit of a fudge. There are a load of bugs about it filed in the Ubuntu database so I did not really have anything to add.

Also to get the crypto stuff to work I had to remove the splash kernel option from the grub setup so that it would prompt me for a password!

As I have hacked things I am sure this will come back to bite me but it's working for now and that will do.

Posted Wed Jan 10 11:56:11 2007 Tags: linux lvm tech

Crypto Setup

I have been having some problems with the fact that FUSE and the encfs setup that I have do not allow mmaped IO so some programs where struggling to work. So it was time for a change.

I have now moved to use dm-crypt, luks and cryptsetup. I copied my home directory off to a server and then booted from the install disk, used gparted to shrink the old Windows partition down by a couple of Gb, then shrunk the main ubuntu partition down as well. Created a LVM group with the remaining space, slapped in some swap and then used the rest of the space to create an encrypted home partition. No details this time as there are may howtos out there on doing this.

I had a couple of problems. First off the Ubuntu package for cryptsetup does not prompt for a password but just hangs if you use usplash to make your bootup nice and pretty so I had to turn that off. Secondly I can't get the hibernate to work using the swap on LVM which I think is a problem with the initrd image that I have not starting up the LVM before it checks for a resume.

One bonus feature that I have found is that I can create a crypto partition on my USB drive and when I plug it in up pops a passphrase prompt and then it's all mounted automatically which is pretty nice. So now I have all my data nicely secured away.

I am also pretty sure that my desktop feels a little more responsive now but it's early days yet!

Posted Fri Jan 5 12:54:42 2007 Tags: encryption linux tech
Dropping some spam

Dropping some spam.

I have been slowly trying out new things for reducing spam. A while ago I added ?greylisting to my server so that if I did not know who you where you would have to go away and try again in 15 mins. This works pretty well but is not very user friendly so I have been extending things a little.

Helo filtering. When mail servers talk to each other the start with a nice polite hello or at least they should. I now check that this "helo" statement is correct in various ways and if not reject it. As a lot of spammers have simple bots that just try to send email without much care for protocol then this is a low cost option to cut down the cruft.

I have also turned on SPF checking so that if you have a SPF entry in your DNS I will only accept mails from your domain if they come from the servers you have listed. Lets hope that these cut things down a bit.

I may not keep greylists on forever as they do add a large delay for the first time that a user sends a mail. Perhaps I will look into accepting mails from anybody who has a correct SPF record.

Posted Mon Nov 20 12:44:16 2006 Tags: ?greylist ?mail ?spam ?spf tech
opensource sharing works

Opensource sharing works.

With the recent announcements of opensourcing of java and the agreements between Novel and Microsoft I was pleased to see the power of opensource in action to day on the ?Rhythmbox mailing list.There was a post on the list from an banshee developer that asked about extending a file that is used to identify a Digital audio player. I liked this on many levels. Two competing pieces of software agreeing to a nice common way to identify jukeboxes that would work across all platforms. Both parties agreeing to make it compatible to the standards used by ?HAL so that the changes could be fed back into that project when required. But best of all adding support for all players in a common way so that as a new player arrives on the market you can simply add it to you current player and it will all work just like your last one. Now all they need is for the music player manufactures to agree to add the file...

Posted Fri Nov 17 15:52:06 2006 Tags: ?DAP gnome ?opensource tech
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