Thursday, 29 November 2007

psyko pictures...

Movement faked only by the brain, Akiyoshi Kitaoka is really super good in playing tricks with your mind. Go, go check it out. View his website or enlarge the sample by clicking on it. Can you see it happen?

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Davilex upgrades gives me a quick vista review for free...

I got a request from my aunt to have Davilex Club installed on her new laptop which had vista installed. She was still using a Windows 98 SE with Davilex software based from 2000. Lets rant about the installation and configuration of Davilex.

  • Their main shipped released versions: Davilex 8 (DaviClub 2000) -> Davilex Business 9.0 (2003) -> Davilex Business 9.2.0 (2007), which is nowhere to be found

  • The switched from informing by paper to e-mail based communication, but forgot to check whether an account had an email address at all, meaning no communication was received in ages

  • When making a support call they do not even check whether some details exists, but just bluntly assume the email is configured

  • Version 9.0 had a migration wizzard to import version 8, they removed this in 9.2.0 ,meaning in order to update you have to do at least tho steps

  • Their support portal is buggy -under IE7-, crashing and making exceptions all over the place

  • If you do not have an active account you are unable to view the basic FAQ questions, which for example gave me a big frustration of finding out that 9.0 was not working under vista, but does install :-(. Not support component was an old version of SQL Server namely 2003

After all this shit I finally managed to install and get it configured. Having to work for 2 days with Vista was actually big fun to me and I learned a lot about this new and shiny OS. I am not a great fan of the interface however, the graphics are not that clear to me and the nagging about whether something is allowed or what will be solution is somehow a bit irritating, the '+' in front of the folder has been made a bit smaller to be used efficiently, so you are now stuck in moving you move all over the screen to navigate to an folder. The graphical style by default is also disturbing, cause blur-ing what its on the background of sizes of an active window is just one of those examples which distracts you.

When going a bit deeper into the configuration I see they have not changed much about it -like the System Manager window-, which kinds of surprises me. But I guess the took the approach newer change a winning horse ;-). Seeing all this graphical power I am a bit worried about power consumption while working on full power.

The overall conclusion will be a bit pessimistic, but thats mainly cause my style of work is more unix related and I feel much better in using VIM/latex to write my minutes/reports to have all the bloat of Office -both Microsoft and OpenOffice- to 'help' me write it. I did not see much new stuff either which is really handy, but I guess I have to dig a bit deeper. Meanwhile I will pretty happy with my good old MacBook Pro ;-)

Monday, 26 November 2007

A traceroute problem...

As part of my hobby Wireless Leiden I am developing Node factory, which is basicly a bunch of shell script files bundled together to provide a stripped down version of FreeBSD. This could be used as wireless router or proxy machine. But when working I tend be a bit to enthusiastic in stripped files which result in pretty weird error messages,like

root@CNodeZwet:~# traceroute zwet
traceroute: unknown protocol (null)

The solution however is very simple, take a look at the lines
505: cp = "icmp";
506: pe = getprotobyname(cp);

getprotobyname call requires /etc/protocols to be present which I forgot ;-)

Friday, 23 November 2007

To like it or not...

A ITer judging on fashion, that is not a very usual combination, but what the heck, we live in a free country ;-) With the ultra low hip jeans and cycling in Holland are both very popular we all see underwear showing up. This behavior in general looks pretty good in combination with a thong ;-) but with the Bjorn Born type underwear...

Girls please if you do want to show your underwear please make sure it looks pretty ;-)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

bloody wireless (after mac os x upgrade to 10.4.11)...

Just upgraded my macbook pro to 10.4.11 and it just keeps disconnecting from the wireless access points at home. I know both of the access points has got Senao prism 11b cards -cause they are part of our city homebrew network Wireless Leiden-, but I really do not have a clue on the cause yet.

Lets see whether we have some time later this week it fix this nasty problem

UPDATE: Give the machine a reboot -cause if froze again, I would prefer a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) instead of just not doing anything anymore- and it seems to work perfect again.

Mister Apple, I know you want to have Microsoft Windows XP/Vista users switched over, but implemented the bad behavior is not gonna work I guess ;-)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Bicycle + failing hardware = auch!...

Cycling home after a long day of hard work -with a speed of 25km/h- and suddenly. Bang! The saddle pin bolt broke off and a hit the ground pretty hard :-(

Unlucky this is not the first time this week I got contract with the earth pretty rough. Slippery leafs and a broken pedal where the other problems.

Who did call cycling harmless and healthy?

FreeBSD ports update hidden gem

Ones a while you gets really fed up of something and you struggle trough the source to get some fix, well this is just one of them. Update all packages mark critical by portaudit without getting those blue config screens in which you choose the default options anyway, cause the port maintainer knows his job well!

#fetch latest portsversion
$sudo portsnap fetch
$sudo portsnap update
#update portaudit
$sudo portaudit -F
#update the critical ones :-)
$sudo portupgrade -mBATCH=yes `portaudit -aq`

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Subversion as backup system...

I just started playing with svnsync and it really works pretty well and I am thinking on replacing some of my backups currently done with rsync by using subversion. A few big pro's

  • Always have every status of your data back
  • Efficient algorithm in transferring data, read this on the NetBSD list
  • Very easy to create multiple backups and now the exact status of each of them

  • Got meta data on actions, so might able to analyze trends and problems

Monday, 19 November 2007

Planet blog, but what about backups...

Blogging is hip, blogging makes your live cool, and Planet blog software makes grouping of blogging a fun job :-). There is only slight little problem, what if Mr/Ms Google decided to suddenly deletes my blog due some reason?

For this cause I wrote a few lines of shell code to auto import new blog entries, fetched by Planet into subversion. I live living on the save side of the planet :-)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Google is your friend?...

I just caught myself in thinking the Google way, which is something like this: I want to report a bug to my provider, lets use my gmail account instead of my providers ones, cause it always works. How many people hits my blog or website? Ah I will embed analytics instead of awstats cause it is done in a sec. Lets use Google calendar to share my appointments with my wife. Nah no need to setup WordPress I will use blogger.

Google is no longer a search engine anymore, but also a very effective in basically every type of web based application. Take for example this blog ;-)

And yes I have to admit Googles' web-based applications are very superior in just all ways, people which do use analytics, gmail or something else, knows where I am talking about. The UI is great, features needed are present and able to extend anything is possible using the API's.

Googles presence in the open source world in the terms of code-sharing supporting -using Summer Of Code- or collaboration -Firefox,StarOffice- is pretty high.

Having this 2 facts makes criticism against Google very low, which kind of worries me. Cause a company which that many power should be used with care. Just take a look at and judge for yourself

Ubuntu distribution upgrade...

UPDATE: For some reason Google finds this 3 years old post still useful, but the way Ubuntu does distrubution updates changed the last years a bit (as rightfully mentioned in the comments). Please follow this instead:

I promised you all, we gonna do some Ubuntu distribution upgrades (using the terminal) -Edgy Edge (6.10) -> Feisty Fawn (7.04) -> gutsy gibbon (7.10)-. For all dutch speaking lads, this forum post by anika did help me a lot to keep on going...

This actions could potentially kill your system or worse, so be careful. It is your system and you cannot blame me if something goes very wrong

The rules of the game:

  • Make a backup of all your data and config files, it will save your ass in case of problems :-)
  • If I tell you
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    , please run the command again if you no not see the message
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
  • Try to answer yes to all questions about replacing maintainers specific config files, if you did modify them, you most likely did not choose the right location
  • Do move forward one distribution of the time
  • When working from a remote computer, make sure the connection is stable and the computer cannot run out of power. Best way hack around both problems is to use the handy program screen.

Actual upgrade

A up2date system will be a first pre-requisition, so lets do it :-)
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
if you did upgrade some dist stuff after your last reboot, please reboot -sudo reboot-

Ones you are back in we gonna prepare your
to fetch the new packages. As we only can do one major distro jump at the time, edgy to feisty will be the first one. Replace all references ``edgy'' to ``feisty'' using your favorite editor or shell skills ;-)

Lets do the update, fetch the new index files and start updating. Follow the steps pointed out above for guidelines in the upgrade process. Just try to keep your system as close to the original distro as possible and edit configuration files on the places you will asked to edit them.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
as you did upgrade dist stuff, please reboot -sudo reboot-

Ones the system is back up it is running feisty instead of edgy, check whether all services are still running as expected and you are done or continue to upgrade to gutsy.

Next upgrades

You can follow just same steps as the upgrade from edgy to feisty to replace feisty with gutsy. Just make sure to use the different name in the


Unable to fetch file, server said 'Failed to open file.  '
Failed to fetch  Unable to fetch file, server said 'Failed to open file.  '
E: Unable to fetch some archives, maybe run apt-get update or try with --fix-missing?

Ehm, dead mirror try to find a new one at or wait a few hours and try again

Package Configuration (blue screen)

Just follow the directions provided, most of the time, just press OK

Do you want to continue [Y/n]?

Review packages you would like to install and confirm

Configuration file `/etc/phpmyadmin/apache.conf'
==> File on system created by you or by a script.
==> File also in package provided by package maintainer.
What would you like to do about it ?  Your options are:
Y or I  : install the package maintainer's version
N or O  : keep your currently-installed version
D     : show the differences between the versions
Z     : background this process to examine the situation
The default action is to keep your current version.
*** apache.conf (Y/I/N/O/D/Z) [default=N] ? 

Make sure to installed the package maintainer's version (Y) after reviewing (D)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Ubuntu release cylces...

My external server runs at Hetzner but the have made the 'bad' choice to ship their root servers with Ubuntu 6.06 by default, instead of a decent operating system like FreeBSD ;-)

But anyway we cannot have it all -actually I can run BSD on the machine, but this either cost me some money to have them do it for me, or I will need to follow this hack- and it would not be bad to get some some inside details how you Linux guys made to keep a server running.

There is at least one thing that annoyance me a bit, cause running the 6.06 LTS (Long Term Support) packages seems to be 'frozen'. Take for example subversion 1.3.2 which now lives at 1.4.5. I know all of this is done to ensure stability and such, but running 'outdated' software is in most of the times not very workable if you are running in a cross-system environment with both FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X system.

So get ready for my next post, we gonna do some dist upgrades :-)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Mr symantec, it just looks like spam to me...

How cryptic could unsubscribing be, check this one from symantec

To unsubscribe from this broadcast email, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
To view this email as a web page, click here.

No details at the bottom of the page only a link to privacy stuff and finally I ended up at this page

Filled the form -just put on every field not required, else it will not process your form-

Privacy Options
Your privacy information will be processed.

The majority of preferences are processed within a few days. However, please allow up to 8-12 weeks to ensure all updates are complete.

We apologize we are unable to stop any mail already in the delivery process. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

Thank you for using online Customer Service.

8-12 weeks(!) and all the mess, that's way above the 'standards', but where to report to? I do not know...

Time to write a nice complain email :-)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

building a static subversion...

Installing a latest version of subversion can be a real pain in the ass is you are not allowed the alter the base system (read: no root access) and the system administrator rather drinks coffee than keeping his/her system up2date.

Luckily most of the times the compiler is installed and so are the header files, so no worry I will provide you a way to get the bleeding edge to work :-)

First some boring, but handy background. Subversion uses several libraries and programs to extend it functionality, which all good programs should do ;-). Some of them are not optional and needs to be compiled first, these are apr, zlib and neon. 'Luckily' all external needed program sources are pre selected and put into the subversion-deps archive :-)

In order to avoid the library mess, I will try to use as many static libraries as possible. This might make your program feel to load a bit slower, but you do know for sure you are using the right libraries.

FYI: The --without-gssapi disables advanced authentication (kerberos and such) and the --without-swig disables the python bindings, cause python was not installed on the machine :-(

$ curl -O
$ curl -O
$ tar -xvzf subversion-1.4.5.tar.gz
$ tar -xvzf subversion-deps-1.4.5.tar.gz
$ cd subversion-1.4.5
$ ./configure --with-ssl --without-gssapi --without-swig --enable-all-static
$ make

Working :-)

[hvdzwet@silver 0:23 /scratch/hvdzwet/subversion-1.4.5] > ldd ./subversion/svn/svn
not a dynamic executable
[hvdzwet@silver 0:23 /scratch/hvdzwet/subversion-1.4.5] > ./subversion/svn/svn --version
svn, version 1.4.5 (r25188)
compiled Nov 14 2007, 00:06:52
# Big beast :-)
[hvdzwet@silver 0:30 /scratch/hvdzwet/subversion-1.4.5] > ls -lh ./subversion/svn/svn
-rwx------ 1 hvdzwet student 5.8M Nov 14 00:11 ./subversion/svn/svn

It is proven, she is smart...

Whowho, partytime! My girlfriend just heard from the Erasmus University that her final paper has been approved. From 13 December on I will need to call her 'Master of Science of Economics and Business I.N. Hiemstra' and I am proud of it!

Monday, 12 November 2007

iPod ears broken...

My iPod ears broke down after 1 years of 'moderate' usage ;-). Thinking that I was able to repair them myself, I discovered those damm Apple gods put a build in protection into the ears. Ones you opened them there is no way to get them to work again, sigh :-(

Steve, I am not gonna make you happy, I bought Creative ones ;-)

Dead switch...

Huh, 90% packetloss on a wired link? Turns out you could fry a chicken on my main switch :-). Took my multimeter and checked the actual output of the adapter. 12,5V(!) instead of 7.5V.
On advise of Ed I shorted the adapter using a big resistor, cause adapters could have a big voltage drop when they get some load.

Still 9.75V, so this adapter is marked dead ;-)

WM6 password bug on home cooked images...

Oops my QTEK 9090 did it again -or actually I did cause I let it run out of battery- it locked my device completely not allowing me to enter it anymore. Which is a known bug at my favorite mobile device hacking forum But I got the system running in 10 minutes again:

  • Hard-reset:

  • Re-install of GPRS connection

  • Re-install of custom root certificate

  • Setup active sync to sync with the Zimbra service

  • Minor tweaks in notifications

  • DONE

I disabled the password protection for the time being and started searching for a more decent phone or at least a better operating system ;-)

Sunday, 11 November 2007

optic hacking...

We (meaning the Wifisoft people) are hacking with optic links from Ronja, just check our project page

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Bye, bye my dear shell server

Welcome to the LIACS shell server.
Please do not put a heavy load on this machine.

After many years of service, this shell-server is going to
be retired. It has been running for over 6 years.
For an old PII, this has been a good investment.

Next vriday (nov 9) it will be switched off permanently.

Please use to connect to our new

Why replacing it always worked :-) I better of recompiling all my personal binaries again :-(

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Directory hopping in the terminal...

Tried of hopping a around in your favorite bash/sh shell and typing the full directory every time? At least I did ;-) Put the code attached below in your $HOME/.profile and start using quick jumps :-)

Make a mark of a current directory using `mark `. And go back by it using `back `. As the directory mapping is shared throughout all your open terminal hopping around will never be the same again!

Happy hopping!

DIR=`pwd -P`
if [ -z "$1" ]; then

markBackCommon $1
grep -v -e '^$MARK#' -e '^B#' $MARKFILE > $MARKFILE.tmp
(cat $MARKFILE.tmp; echo "$MARK#$DIR"; echo "B#$DIR") | sort -u > $MARKFILE

markBackCommon $1
TARGET=`awk -F# "/^$MARK#/ {print \\$2}" $MARKFILE`

if [ -n "$TARGET" ]; then

markBackCommon 0

alias m=mark
alias b=back
alias lm=listmark

Friday, 2 November 2007

Exchange 2007 (and less)...

Ever wanted to use entourage 2003 with exchange 2007, I strongly suggest you wait till office 2007 for the mac comes out begin 2008, cause you are most likely to get into a lot of weird issues.

Some background, Exchange 2007 is equipped with 'legacy' 2003 support, and most important with a so-called DAVEx.dll which handles the virtual /exchange calls.

Entourage 2003 uses the 'legacy' /exchange calls to connect to the exchange system and some other settings:
* URL: https://<exchange>/exchange/<username>/
* Domain:
* LDAP: FooBar (not secured so please do not use)

All of the sudden you might get errors like temporary unable to connect or complete request which cryptic error messages codes like 501, when you for example rebooted your exchange server. You better of trying to login using the administrative account and then the error seems to be gone again.

Still do not know what is going on over here, but someday I will post a few extra notes how to start debugging this issues. In the meantime just remember this keywords as a first start:

* Client Logfiles
* event manager
* IIS Logfiles
* Exchange Logfiles

Enjoy debugging exchange problems :-)

Reset admin password a 3com superstack 3 switch...

I got a switch 3CR17500-91, but no password :-(. Luckily the knowledge base of 3com was able to help me (3KB10785)

* Login at CLI -default serial 18600, 8N1- using username/password recover/recover
* Hard reset -eg poweroff-poweron-
* Wait till you see

Enter the new password for the Administrator:
and enter your new password
* Now able to login username ``admin'' and your newly typed password :-)
* You are back in business!