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Weekend Hacking

This weekend was a busy one.

* Created a gentoo chroot on my server that shares compiling duties with my desktop using distcc.
* Recovered /etc on my server after antecedently deleting it.  This involved recovering the iptables, nfs exports, and fstab after loading an old backup.
* Fixed a nasty cups-pdf issue on my desktop where the /var/tmp directory had the wrong permissions and the logs were of no help.
* Rebuilt the arcade using Debian Lenny and SDLMAME 128u3.
* Cleared up a bunch of spam comments on this blog and implemented re-captcha.
* Switched the web xen instance to using the pygrub bootloader instead of specifying a kernel and initrd on the host OS .
* Finally beat Civ 4 on the Noble difficulty level.

I really need to elaborate on these things as there is quite a bit of knowledge associated with these tasks that is scattered throughout the Internet.  Of course, that’s was wikux was for….

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You’re trying to connect to an OS X box and your vnc viewer just doesn’t seem to work. Then, after many a google serch, you discover that OS X’s remote access protocol is incompatible with most VNC servers.  Tuning to Apple for help yeilds a solution, for a small(large) fee.

Thankfully, there is a better way.  There is a free VNC server for OS X called Vine.  Download it and install the server.  Now you should be able to connect through a typical VNC client.

Remember, if you use tightVNC to connect, use the F8 key to bring up the menu that allows you to switch to fullscreen and disconnect the session.

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The storms that went through yesterday had an interesting effect on the available wifi networks in the area.   It wasn’t so much the storms that caused this, it was more the lack of power in the area when the lightning started striking.   Here is what the wireless situation looks like with and without power:

Before power goes out

Before power goes out

A UPS on internet equipment is something that I haven’t seen in too many places.  Apparently, not many people in my complex have heard of it either.

Power just went out

Power just went out

And finally, I win.  The Xantrax Xpower 400 actually kept the Internet up for over 8 hours after the power outage.

I stand alone

I stand alone

Of course, the server didn’t do as well, and I had to turn it down after 20 minutes.  It’s tough to have 99% uptime off of home DSL.

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Some content is taken from http://forums.ebay.co.uk/thread.jspa?threadID=1200182458.

I tried to link my ebay account to my paypal account and it would just simply not work. After going through the prompts many times, it would still say that there was no association. There is a fix in an odd location.

Go to account settings -> addresses
Click on all addresses
Then click on add paypal addresses

This gives yet another paypal login. After login, I was greeted with a message thanking me for creating a paypal account. Hmmm.

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Sometime, you just don’t know which dll files to register.  Enlighten yourself with dependancy walker .

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Ben Martin’s articles have always been a great resource. In his latest article, Linux.com :: Benchmarking hardware RAID vs. Linux kernel software RAID, he makes a very informative comparison between hardware and software RAID.  It is a must read for the server admins out there.  While you’re at it, also check out his other articles.  They are all great reads.

This is my 1st test of WordPress 2.6’s Blog this Button.  It works, but I loose my information when I move from Photo to Text mode.

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They’ve been out for over a year, but I just stumbled upon them this week.  Redhat release some very high quality and non-encumbered fonts.   Most distibutions will have them in a package named liberated-fonts.  They are substitues for some very popular fonts such asTimes New Roman, Thorndale, Nimbus Roman, and Bitstream Vera Serif.  Check em out at https://www.redhat.com/promo/fonts/.

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Check out http://www.favicon.cc/ for your various favicon needs.

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Check em out here.  Unfortunitely, it looks like Linux users have to wait until the 5.1 release of MySQL Workbench to get a good free ERD tool.

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As you probably do not know, I am the proud owner of a Tech Romancer cabinet.  The cabinet’s life as a one trick pony ended shortly after the purchase, and it is now a very capable mame box.

There is one large issue with having a computer inside of a large, wooden box.  Where’s the power button supposed to go?  The easy solution is to run cables off of the current power switch to some other button that is placed in a more convenient location.  This approach was considered, but I didn’t like it.  I thought that remote control was the way to go with this.

Looking back, this may have been a just for fun decision.  Although, running wires and modding the computer would have been more work.  The main driver was that the computer could not easily be removed once the button was in place.  Also, the location to put button wasn’t obvious.

It is a little known fact that there are some always on power coming from the computer’s power supply.  IMon takes advantage of this and created products such as the Imon Inside.  This gives the ability to receive remote signals even when the computer is in a powered down state.  Once the motherboard’s power button is rerouted to the Imon Inside, the computer can power itself on remotely.  How cool is that?

Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story.  The Imon device operates via infra red signals.  These don’t travel through 1/2″ of wood well.  My initial tests worked great when the computer was out in the open, but not when placed inside of the cabinet.

There is a solution to this problem too.  I honestly didn’t think I’d find a cooler product than the Imon, but I was happily mistaken thanks to the Next Generation Remote Control Extender. It turns out that they make an RF transmitter that poses as a AAA battery.  By replacing one of the batteries with an RF transmitter and putting the RF receiver in the cabinet by the infrared receiver, the signal was remote was now able to push commands through the cabinet.

Success was finally mine.

Materials

Imon Inside ~ $60  Purchased at Newegg
Next Generation Remote Control Extender ~ $33 Purchased at Amazon

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