2010

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Update 2011-08-06: BackupPC has been removed from the repo. A newer release is available in maverick-backports.

Minor updates to the repo for Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat:

  • BackupPC 3.2.0 has been added. This is the same package from Debian Sid, and works on Lucid as well. I don’t recommend a non-LTS release for your backup solution, but if your hardware requires a newer kernel, you might need this. I’ve tested it myself.
  • Clementine 0.5.3 has been removed. You can now find a newer release in maverick-backports.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! We have a special card just for you:

http://www.tolaris.com/xmas/xmas2010.php

(In case you miss it the first time, try reloading or clicking the button.)

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Update 2010-12-06: Ray points out that you can do this with gconf-editor, which is a much better solution.

It’s a handy feature of Gnome that pressing “PrntScrn” or “Alt+PrntScrn” will take a screen capture of the desktop or current window, respectively. However, in typical Gnome fashion, you can’t do anything more advanced. You can’t capture a region, or a window area. You can’t delay the capture. You can’t save the captures with iterating, numbered filenames. However, the equivalent KDE tool can do all of those things, and you can make Gnome use it.

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Sniffing on a switch

I’m an IP network engineer. When something goes wrong, the first thing I do is sniff packets. Got a SIP phone that won’t register? Forget reading logs; sniff 5060/udp and read the SIP chatter directly. A customer complains that “Yahoo chat doesn’t work”? Sniff 5050/tcp and look for TCP hangups, login failures, or ICMP “port unreachable” messages.

Sniffing is easy when you have access to the intermediate router, but that isn’t always the case. What if you’re just another PC on the same switch? That’s impossible, right?

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OpenWRT 10.03.1-rc4 has just been released, so I’m once again upgrading my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH home router. Each release candidate in the 10.03.1 series has improved performance of the Atheros wireless chipset, but I still see occasional network interruptions when the laptop is idle overnight. How does wireless on rc4 stack up against rc3?

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Update 2011-08-06: BackupPC has been removed from the repo. A newer release is available in lucid-backports.

BackupPC 3.2.0 is now in the repository for both Ubuntu Lucid and Hardy. The Lucid version is taken directly from Debian sid. The Hardy version is backported from the same package, with edits to make the graphs’ fonts work (older rrdtool on hardy) and depend on samba-common instead of samba-common-bin (changed after hardy).

This version fixes the “Download Zip archive” issue in Ubuntu lucid. You no longer have to manually install an older Archive::Zip Perl module.

It’s also got a shiny new favicon, courtesy yours truly. That was a hard 10 minutes’ work with GIMP, right there. Astute readers of changelogs may believe that the developers didn’t use the favicon I submitted. But according to md5sum they did, and that is awesome.

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I use an ecryptfs-encrypted home directory. I also like the convenience of locate, which keeps a database of all the files on my laptop. Unfortunately, these two things are in conflict with one another. The locate database is stored in an unencrypted location, which means the names of my files can be easily retrieved. This is bad, even though the content of those files is still protected. However, it is possible to have both.

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Update 2012-03-06: gnupg.vim now has a new maintainer. Link updated.

I’m always looking for a better way to digitally store private data, like passport numbers, credit cards, and server root passwords. Unfortunately, good encryption is hard to find. I have yet to find a solution better than “GPG-encrypted text files edited with a secure editor”. For five years I’ve used KGpg‘s built-in text editor for this, but it has a number of limitations. Today, I discovered that I can do it natively within Vim.

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I use a number of open-source tools that rely on rrdtool to generate graphs. Cacti uses it for its core functionality. BackupPC uses it to graph storage pool usage over time. Unfortunately, the files it generates are architecture-dependent. This means that if you upgrade your BackupPC server from i386 to amd64, your pool graphs will mysteriously disappear. Shall we fix that?

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I’ve run OpenWRT on my Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH home router for a week now. So far there has been only one problem: wireless performance. The ath9k driver in OpenWRT Backfire 10.03 has a number of bugs, from poor latency jitter to occasionally dropping the connection. I’ve upgraded the router twice, first to 10.03.1-rc2 and then to 10.03.1-rc3. It appears that 10.03.1 final is only a few weeks away.

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