Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yoda van

Sierra wireless Aircard860 at&t 3g

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Iphone Speed Results

Heck, while I am at it, here's the info for the Iphone 3g:

Download: 680 kbps
Upload: 355 kbps
Ping: 455 ms

Download: 54 kbps
Upload: 51 kbps
Ping: 3123 ms

Home Wifi:
Download: 6306 kbps
Upload: 7405 kbps
Ping: 100 ms

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fios Installed

I think the numbers speak for themselves.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yourls FIXED

.htaccess file did not scp to server; once that was scp'd any new url's work - so delete any url's made before the .htaccess file was there.  Or better yet, make sure .htaccess file is there before you start.

Iphone, new Van PC, URL shortener, and FIOS ordered.

Well, after all the escapades with my Treo 650, it has finally bitten the dust. Please bow your head in a moment of silence. Of course, I had just purchased a new sim card and 3 new aluminum
cases for it! But alas, too many random reboots, so time to get a new phone. 
My carrier, At&t doesn't currently carry anything that I really wanted. First choice, an android option; no go. Second choice, Palm Pre; again no go. I had to go with the Iphone. Refurbished, $49.00, not bad at all. I have purchased the apps I need, mocha VNC, and iSSH program, really not that bad. Sync via Exchange to ONE of my Google Apps Domains; mail, calendar, and contacts. Everything else I need I can access via the web connection. So far, pretty nice device.
And I jammed the Iphone into the Treo aluminum case; fits real well, just have to pop the phone a little out of the case to use camera.
My mobile setup has been a little shakey, the Toshiba A75 Laptop that I use seems to draw a lot of current. It has been hacked with a devil tail, an external ac adapter plug, because of the bad connection on the motherboard, but it kicks my 400 watt inverter off. This has become troublesome because I need the laptop to work always in the van - so I have switched the mobile laptop to my Dell 6000. During the switch, I noticed that the cigarette lighter adapter plug to the inverter had melted a little.  No problem; I have a spare 200 watt inverter - that works fine with the Dell. More on this whole situation as things develop - need to get new power wire for the 400 watt and find out why the Toshiba is drawing so much current.
During my daily review of Lifehacker, I saw this cool article:
Got it all setup on my Dreamhost account - gave it a whirl - seems to work.  Only problem; the shortened url doesn't resolve. DOH! More work to do.

I have been very happy with my internet provider, Cavalier.  A static ip, not too expensive, and not Comcast. My speeds are not the greatest, and with all the internet access in the house, it's starting to show.  Verizon FIOS ordered, will be installed Thursday.

That's all for now - more to come.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Treo Sync Revisited

Ok, I am one of the last people who gripe about Linux. Seriously, I get infuriated when people come to Linux and give no effort to learn a NEW OS. Yes people, this is a different OS. It is NOT free Windows. If the masses, or at least 7 to 9% of them, would give Linux the same amount of learning time as they give to Apple, I am sure we would have an awesome market share. End of that rant.

Now to my gripe. My gripe is not really Linux, although I initially blamed Linux. Heck, that is the easiest thing to do; right? I have been syncing my Treo 650 with Linux successfully, on and off, for about a year now. I use a usb cable, and sync to both Jpilot and Evolution (via gpilotd).

Friday night, as I prepared to sync my phone, I went through my routine; open a terminal window and issue: tail -f /var/log/messages, so I can see my device get recognized and watch it get assigned. Open Jpilot and get ready to hit the Hotsync button after I initiate the Hotsync on the phone. When you initiate the Hotsync on the phone is when the device gets assigned. Hit Hotsync on the phone....nada. Nothing happens. Do this repeatedly, rinse, repeat. Nothing. WTF. Why can't things just work. Especially the stuff I have already had to hack together, that we then fixed, and no longer have to duct tape together.

When I started playing this sync game I had to write custom udev rules to make Treo get recognized, then the developers fixed that. Yay!

Then you had to have the right device, by watching the /var/log/messages so the apps, (Jpilot and pilotd) knew where to gather the info from. It could be /dev/ttyUSB1 or 3 or 5, depending on how incessantly fast I hit the hotsync button on phone. Device assigned in pairs, the latter is the one that communicates with apps; so assigned 0 and 1, 2 and 3, and so on.

Then the developers fixed that, so by setting the device in the apps as usb: it would communicate with the last assigned of the last pair. NICE. I guess many of us were clicking like lunatics, a practice I also deplore in others.

See, I have a little history with this nonsense. But, right about now, I just want it to work. Friday night it wouldn't work.

I look at my usb connector for the phone; many little pins, maybe a bad connection. Alcohol and cotton ball and clean the contacts on the bottom of the phone. No go. Clean more. Nope. Jiggle the connector. Hold connector to phone applying pressure up, down, left, right. More alcohol (same cotton ball, only had one). It connected. GREAT.

It dropped the connection.

That's it. I am done. No more physical (usb cable) hotsyncs. Time to get bluetooth working. Really working. Completely. Hotsync and all.

Previously, because someone else had questions about bluetooth, (which is usually how and why I get hacking stuff) I got bluetooth file sharing to work. Files from computer, and files to computer. Never tried to get hotsync working. Now it was imperative.

Coming next; Sync with bluetooth and bluetooth file sharing. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thinkpad A21m - Jaunty - Window Managers/DE's

This Saturday Project was the IBM Thinkpad A21m:

model name : Pentium III (Coppermine)
cpu MHz : 700.000

Mem: 121520

I think that this machine should be able to handle Ubuntu Jaunty, so I give that a whirl.

Unfortunately, Gnome Desktop environment put too much of a strain on it, so once again, it's time to find the best Window Manager/Desktop Environment for this particular machine.

The Players:
1) Gnome Desktop
2) Xubuntu Desktop (whole meta package)
3) lxde
4) Fluxbox
5) Openbox
6) E16 (Enlightenment)

The install was a full-blown Ubuntu Jaunty install. After the Gnome failure, I added Xubuntu-desktop, lxde, fluxbox, openbox, and e16. I then removed the ubuntu-desktop.
*Note* I chose to start with the full install to create a machine that was as end-user friendly as possible. I have in the past used the 'CLI only' install via the F6 install disk boot option. This CLI only option is fine for me, but again, for the typical end-user it may not be complete enough.
The Jaunty boot time is a very respectable ONE minute and 5 seconds.

Now to the Window Managers. A quick chart to show from login manager to complete window manager readiness:

Gnome (Ubuntu) 2 minutes 50 seconds
Xfce (Xubuntu) 2 minutes 20 seconds
Lxde 25 seconds
Fluxbox 24 seconds
Openbox 5 seconds
E16 5 seconds

The responsiveness of the above window managers seems to be directly proportional to their load times.

I do realize that xlde is an Openbox derivative, but that 20 extra seconds adds configuration that I feel may be relevant to the typical end-user; desktop icons, panel with launchers, etc.

I again, would probably use e16, although, openbox has me interested as well. But for the purpose of this machine's build,the typical end-user; the choice is lxde.

Application preferences so far:

File Manager: Thunar over Pcmanfm
Web Browser: Epiphany over Firefox

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Van Laptop Mounted Professionally

This Saturday project was installing Ram Mount Laptop vehicle mount in the van. It went great. Test driven. Nice.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

DSL to HD Install

Ok, so this time I am going to try Damn Small Linux to hard drive install with APT.

When done using this, it uses the Debian Woody repositories. Just have to be careful that updating and upgrading don't interfere with anything specifically compiled for the DSL os. The exact warning quote is very telling:
DSL is not derived purely from Debian, if you 'apt-get install' the wrong application you may break something, for instance, the X servers. You may have trouble if you try to upgrade your whole DSL distro to debian (apt-get upgrade)! Another caveat is that some of the dsl binaries use BusyBox multi call binary (instead of separate binaries for find, ls etc). It causes problems when used in some of the scripts inside certain debian packages, for example xpdf. Use apt to grab individual
packages, but only the expert should try major system upgrades.
I have now done this twice - once with 3.4.x and with 4.4.10 - both with apt enabled.

DSL 3.8. on:

DSL 4.4.10 on:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Custom Ubu System

Ubuntu Jaunty cli only ~ 377 megs

add xorg about 200 megs more - 575M

add xfce4 - not xubuntu desktop - 155mb will be used - 702M now

let's see....perfect. Now for some applications.

Web Browser: Dillo

Documents: Mousepad

Images: Gpicviewer

Nmap - have to have.

That's my basic install - using on a Dell Latitude LM 166MHz Ram:

Jordyn Gets Early Start

First things first. Another very nice release party for PA Ubuntu LoCo.
(Philly/Southeast region)

Food - An Install - Questions about switching people from other operating systems - all good stuff!

Always a good time, if you have the opportunity I recommend attendance. The empathy of other Linux users will recharge your need to geek.

The only jaunty preparation I did was to install the Ubuntu Net Remix to a usb thumbdrive so people could check it out. It was a big hit, would've been bigger if I would have remembered my ac adapter, but the 2 hours of playing with it and laughing at the big icons on a regular sized laptop were worth the effort. (by the way, it seemed to be the right size for my middle-aged eyes)

The following Sunday I updated my home laptop to jaunty with the assistance of my granddaughter Jordyn. Went super smooth, only some workspace switcher issues.

The release party had reminded me of how well Compiz works as an advocacy tool - you don't have to like it - you don't have to use it - but believe me: it grabs people attention! So, I Compiz'd up my gnome session. I rarely use gnome anymore, preferring to use xfce, the Xubuntu desktop, but since the majority of users are using gnome, I like to have it a session change away.

Compiz and the compiz-config are super easy to turn a capable device into a cube spinning terror. Also, btw, no fglrx driver for jaunty, would the open radeon driver work? YES! 3d effects were NO PROBLEM with the open driver.

jimf@dell6000:~$ glxgears
3834 frames in 5.0 seconds = 763.588 FPS

I'll take it!

Still one Gnome problem: Nautilus would crash - opening nautilus from terminal pointed me to the preferences segment of gconf. I looked at the info in the gconf-editor and kept missing that one of the boolean options was set to 'false' - DOH - 'false' was interpreted as a string, and indeed, NOT A BOOLEAN VALUE. Reset the key, and all was well, a fully functioning, cube spinning, advocacy heroin, Gnome session.

Very nice.

Now, what desktop for Jordyn?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dell Latitude LM

Ok so after thinking I had some bad hard drives, and that the power supply on my imaging box was fried, I am back on to refurbishing the laptops that I save from the recycling pile.

The hard drives were ok, I did FRY another 2.5 to 3.5 ide adapter. My local computer parts store didn't have any. MicroCenter to the rescue!
MC only had one left, the plan was to buy two so I always have a spare.
Ebay and the Hong Kong parts to the rescue, 2 for half the price of 1 !!

Back in business. Two Dell Latitude LM's,


Pentium/166 MMX, 256Kb of pipeline-burst cache, 40Mb of RAM, 1.6Gb hard disk, ten-speed CD-ROM, 12.1in SVGA TFT colour screen, 1.1Mb NeoMagic graphics, removable floppy drive, ESS AudioDrive ES1688 audio, integrated stereo speakers, 115Kbits/sec infrared serial port, one Type III or two Type II PC Card slots, lithium ion battery)

it's real nice when I get common machines, makes setting them up easier after figuring out the first one.

No boot - have to add pnpbios=off to boot line.

My default Puppy Image installed, but the video resolution on these old boxes was too low to run in an acceptable manner. Try DSL - couldn't get any video to work, let alone be acceptable. Ok, no problem, I'll make these cli only machines for people who want to learn command line.

Install Ubuntu CLI only Hardy - about 350 megs installed - NICE.

The tty font sucks - ugly - hard to read - dpkg-reconfigure console-setup to change tty fonts to something acceptable - terminus - clean.

Hmm, I know I can increase resolution and add a desktop; more to come.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dreamhost - What a Bargain ! Dropbox in the cloud.

Every morning when I arrive to the office I have a ritual; check all my email accounts, then check LifeHacker for any new info.

This LifeHacker post caught my eye - DreamHost offering 2 year domain hosting for $11.00.

I was late by one day, so the promo code only granted me the 2 year deal for $42.00. What the heck. I signed up.

I already have 2 Google Domains. One for work, and one for the family.
They suit what I need very well. Actually, they more than fulfill all my requirements; except the need to GEEK.

I have enough equipment and internet accounts that I could have set up my own server and done it all myself, but that takes time. This was easy - sign up - set up ssh access - good to go.

Now what to do with my DreamHost account. Don't really want to set up a web page. Ok, maybe this was a bad impulse buy. But, I do have unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth to NOT use.

DreamHost bosts 'Single Click' installations for a variety of web applications. I had some time Saturday night, and Sunday during the football games to give it a whirl.

First install: Wordpress - Easy - Just as advertised. See it here.

Next install: Gallery - Easy - Just as advertised. See it here.

Final Install: MediaWiki - Easy - Just as advertised. See it here.

My domain is, and the hardest, and still ongoing process so far, has been trying to get a favicon that I like. It is still a works in progress.

DreamHost ++ So far, so good.

Also, I would like to let you know about Dropbox. Another LifeHacker find; before the DreamHost find. Finally started using this as well this weekend. I like having things 'in the cloud' as I use computers at home, in the office, and on the road (literally). Using Dropbox for some photos for now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Day Treo 650 Sync and Bluetooth File Transfer

Pet peeve. Works; stops working. That's how it is with syncing my Treo 650 cellphone with jpilot.

Actually, had it working with my iBook G4 and Gutsy; maybe Hardy, can't remember because I gave up on Ubuntu PPC and the iBook. I do remember that it involved creating a new udev rules file so that the usb cable would be recognized when plugged in. Info here.

The Sunday after the Ubuntu US PA LoCo Intrepid Release Party I helped get someone else's Palm device syncing before I could get my own to sync. All the while acting like it would be a piece of cake and then being shocked as hell when it worked.

The following week I worked on my own sync. Googled. Read. There was a known bug, and a fix had been released. Use the proposed repos; a patch had been added. It works. I sync my Treo. Fix info here.

New Year's Day, January 1, 2009; it's time to sync again. No go. What the heck. It's 8:30 am, I have plenty of time.

It's now noon. No sync. I remember talk in irc of bluetooth. This laptop doesn't have bluetooth, but I do have a dongle. I think I'll give that a whirl.

Bluetooth is recognized. Kensington dongle. Pairing is straight forward. Now Google and learn.
hcitool - hidd - lsping - rfcomm - all good stuff.

Bluetooth File Sharing. It's a Gnome thing. Supposed to allow right click nautilus file send to devices. The nautilus part doesn't work. But, if you use the bluetooth applet and right click the applet you can send files that way. Very nice. Jpilot is great for calendar and phonebook, but for files it was lacking.

In Xubuntu and with Thunar, right click bluetooth send to WORKS.

Ok. Bluetooth is a success, now to the usb cable, the Treo, and the Jpilot sync.

Open a terminal and issue the command: tail -f /var/log/messages

Open another tab in the terminal now. In the new window type: sudo modprobe visor

Now plug in device. Initiate the sync; nothing will happen until the sync is initialized. Switch to the first tab and hopefully you will see your device getting recognized and a device assigned. Note the second device, that's the one you need.

Open Jpilot and set that second device in File - Preferences - Settings - Serial Port.

Start the sync on your DEVICE, then hit sync in Jpilot. You should hear the sync tones.

Now we want to make this permanent, so sudo /etc/modules and add
visor to the end of the file.

So what started as a bummer, ended up being a bonus. Learned a little about bluetooth and got bluetooth file sharing to and from my phone working.

Next phone project: Bluetooth Sync.