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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Year of No Light

Go to Bandcamp and get you some of this... awesome Doom metal!!

http://yearofnolight.bandcamp.com/album/ausserwelt

album cover image showing dark island surrounded by a dark ocean and dim sun in the background
Ausserwelt - by Year of No Light
Or you can get a great preview including some inspiring artwork at:


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nothing much, but thanks!!

It's been a while since I've rambled on about stuff on this blog, but life and work (and a bunch of play) have taken most of my time. I've recently changed jobs, though I sit at the same desk and do much the same work. I still get to take care of tons of Linux servers and enjoy working with proprietary products on those systems. Such is life in the modern world of technology....

Linux has come a long way since 2000 when I started really using it. There have been ups and downs over the years, but in my experience I've seen very few downs. Both family & friends / coworkers  have appreciated the help and advice I've provided. I've built and maintained Desktop, laptop and server systems for home, clients, and friends and in my daily job and have come to rely on the stability and security the distros I support.

My kids have grown up knowing Linux is better and want it on their systems, though they still want that other OS for games. They know better and know that the world is a better place because of the tireless, oft unapreciated work of developers.

I've a few words for those individuals:

I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all the developers and supporters of Linux distributions from Tiny Core to the Red Hats, but more importantly the Linux kernel developement team, without whom we would not have Linux much less Android.

Sincerely,

Jeff Hatfield






Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The ISP files

Disclaimer:
I am not attacking the ISP here, only recording what lunacy there is in the ISP / tech world in general.

This is a true story that takes place from 9:30-10:30pm Jan 5, 2009.

No Tech "geeks" have been harmed in the writing of this story and the names have been intentionally left out to protect the ignorant or innocent – you decide.

I don't have this kind of issue as I run Linux. See, its pretty simple to keep stuff running when you don't have the worry of viruses and other malware eating your systems and bandwidth.

Jeff Hatfield
______________

It all started on a dark, Sunday night with issues of no to spotty Internet connectivity. And it happens to the best of us. After a long, drawn out battle between my Sidux laptop and the update/upgrade repos from which I was pulling massive quantities of data, I noticed my wife's Ubuntu system was not upgrading. Oh, forgot that I started it upgrading to Ubuntu 8.10, also loads of downloads (1200 or so).

The connection just was not there. No matter how many times I rebooted the router. Ok, so the sync light was still lit on the modem - and blinking furiously. I didn't think it would ever be the modem with that light so busy.

I unplugged the modem, waited 10 seconds, hooked it back up and ... yep. Slow blinking sync light. Damn it all. So I rebooted the modem, then the router... still no sync light.

Go to bed around 1:30 after screwing around with the damn thing...

... notice the lack of sleep here. I got up at 6am an started to check it out... Ok, hooked LAN cable direct to my firewalled Ubuntu laptop. Yeah, I'm not stupid and I know Linux is great for security, otherwise I'd be in the dark ages of the Intarweb tubes, all hosed up by Windows.

The connection works ok from the modem to my Laptop without issue. Run as root of course - ifconfig eth0 down, dhclient eth0 ... get an IP address that is a ISP IP. Good, so I restart the router, hook it back up and low and behold it gets a proper IP, DNS and Gateway settings from the ISP.

So I trudge off to work to enjoy my Linux geek job with servers... I love it! I'm doing some, errum work on a Windows desktop. Before you berate me for this, know that like many good Linux admins, I'm forced to use Windows for email and web surfing - when I get a call from home... "the Internet is down again" what can we do?? I know the family did nothing to the connection.

I think this time its the ISP completely, but I race over to OfficeDepot just minutes before they close, buy a nice Linksys CM100 modem and race home to hook it up. Before I hook it up, I see the old one, is still without cable sync. Crap.

I sit down at my Ubuntu laptop, hook direct to the modem and call the ISP.

Now if you thought above was entertaining, this will have you knowing full well ISPs suck at tech support!

I tried to get to the Intarweb with Firefox via the wired eth0 and get directed to an internal ISP.net page. Whoa! What an improvement over 5yrs ago when I signed on and had the nice, yet clueless lady hook me up over the phone - another story I'll save for later. The page informs me that I need Internet Explorer to continue with the "Self Install". Ok, so I try the link and of course it fails and keeps prompting me for IE. Life is not that simple people! Make things work without ActiveX, please?

So on to the phone call. After a short bit on hold, I get a guy who seems to understand I have a new modem, yet he mentions “I see you've called recently due to a problem connecting.” “Yes,” I say. “I now have a new modem to get setup on your network.”

He can help he says and is polite, yet not too sure of himself. I say, “you need the model & serial number and most likely the MAC address. These are always entered into the DHCP server for the ISP. I know this much as I have worked in IT for ages.” I say, “you might even be able to see that it is hooked up”, but no. Sounds like he's searching for some answer for a minute, maybe he is typing in what I've told him, then says "Yes, I need that information including the MAC address.” I proceed to give this information to him using NATO standard call-outs to make sure it was interpreted correctly. He repeats the information back to me and I'm happy he got it right the first time.

"Ok", he says. "Ok" again and he resets the modem to "provision" it to work on their network as he puts it. I see its lights flash off/on knowing it has just power cycled to get an IP. Good I think. Now it might be close to working and finally I can get on with life. You guessed right. Nope. I tried to renew the IP address by usual means and get the same internal IP from ISP.net. WTF? "Hey, this is nuts" I say to him.

He tries yet again and again and again to reset it.

He's getting down to "Let us schedule a tech to come to your house." Oh, no not that failed mode of help. I don't want that so I try one more last resort thing - No, don't shoot me. I'm trusting some of you have a windows box lying around for games, especially if you have kids who know there are superb games like spore, indiana jones lego adventures, etc..

So over to the windows desktop to hook up the modem direct. Now I'm not stupid even if I run windows. The guy asks me if I have a firewall running on the box. I play a little dumb and say, "well, just the windows firewall", which is true enough. I also have Avast Antivirus and don't let it expire.

Yes, you know the rule and stick to it, but I'm out on a limb with a sharp stick poking me... and I'm wondering just a little if their bad DHCP server will do better with what it "knows". I humor the guy and disable the firewall. ... Boom, windows gets an IP address, and no, it is not the correct one I was hoping for.

I immediately enable the firewall and the guy asks if I have Antivirus on it too. Of course I do, I say. He asks, "so what kind of antivirus to you have?" I say Avast. Well, he says that is a firewall too and it would block you getting an IP address.

Ok, at this point I know the guy is grasping at straws, camels or twiddling his fingers wondering wtf to do.

I really don't want someone touching my network unless they are qualified, so I resort to the old modem. I say let me try the old modem first, ok? He's like ok, but his answer is a little doubtful that it would work at all. I try and it works the first time and makes Windows happy.

Within 10 seconds I have a new IP address on the windows box and have the file to proove it. He's like, "man, that should not have happened. What was that IP addreess again??" I tell him IP, DNS and GW and he's taken aback and says, "no way that should work. I have not provisioned that modem to be on the network." I'm thinking, Errum, dude you never took it off from what it sounds like, which means my new one will never get an IP address since their DHCP only allows for one IP address associated per account unless otherwise noted...

He says hold on, the asks “you said the IP address is working with the old modem?” Yes I say and it is this... and gave him that information. He says no, this is not right. He asks to put me on hold and goes away for 3-4 minutes to find someone to talk to or maybe just get a drink of water?

When he comes back, “We need to get someone to check on this and insists I have a “technician” come out.” Oh great I think... the fun begins again tomorrow!

_____

Now that I'm writing this all down for your pleasure or pain, let me find another cable and hook it up to the new modem too!! Who knows, maybe I'll have two lines and double the bandwidth??

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

OLF 2007

What drive! I've been farther in a car, but never by myself. I think it was like 1200 miles total and was over 10.5hrs each way!

I met some very cool people. John "maddog" Hall, Dave Yates, Chess Griffin, Jeremy of LinuxQuestions, the tllts.org guys - Linc, Dan, Allan & Pat, Bill Husk from monsterb.org and Terry Filipas... And a big shoutout to monsterb for providing a couch for Sat. night!! I ate dinner with Jeff from California and Gary from ? at Barley's Ale and Smokehouse on Friday night then had some of the OLF cake.

I met D.C Parris of blue-gnu.biz who posted links to my pictures of the penguins on my car and laptop which reside on my personal foto blog, Richard Weait of Ontario Linux Festival, sat down at the after-party with Matt Morrisey of Oasis Systems in Ohio, and chatted with a many more folks from whom I did not get a business card. Met the guys from Ohio Ubuntu Loco group as well as The Source guy who does the cool podcast / videocast....

The first thing I did on Saturday (after breakfast with some of the attendees) was go to each booth/table to get my swag. I'm glad I did!! Most booths were all out in about 30 minutes! Yes, there were that many people there. They expected 1600 as per registration, but I think from my experience there were around 1100 actually in attendance.... just my wag.

The Ubuntu table was cool to see... it was right beside the first ballroom. Pictured below:

The MythTV talk by a Novell guy was a total blowout ... people had to sit on the floor!! I guess folks really want to get MythTV running at home.. =D. See the picture below... I stitched 2 images together with hugin to really show the huge crowd! That laptop and bag on the floor are mine. Not until I stood up did I realize how full the room really was!


The best swag? Very difficult to say but the Firefox mouse pad is cute and fits the tiny bluetooth mouse I use. I carried my backpack to put these goodies in as well as contain the laptop in suspend mode. The one bottle of Bawls, which I've yet to try is cool to have... The best swag though, really is the meeting of Linux and Open Source like-minded folks. Thats the best thing to take away from a great event like this!!

Later in the day I got to demo Virtualbox's new seamless feature to 2 guys who had thick accents from where I'm not sure. I had the laptop out at the Ubuntu Loco Ohio booth and was talking about Virtualbox being an option to VMware. These 2 were very impressed and happy to see they could remove windows and just run it from a VM. I also told them about the VMware converter and that Virtualbox supports vmx image files too. The fact this program is in the Ubuntu Repos makes it a favorite of mine. I had several people watching over my shoulder during the demo. And the only thing I had to give away were my own MGALUG cards =D.

I got to see some cool features of Gnome 2.20 and Conduit as well as a uber-cool Liquid Scale plugin for Gimp. I'm still not sure how to use it, but the effect was amazing.... link?

I tried to show off some new features in Inkscape 0.45.1 devel Sept 6, 2007, but Ubuntu updates had rolled my autopackage install to Sept 20 version. Grrr, autopackage is really a great way to get those packages you want but are unable to get the dependencies just right.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gutsy xorg.conf - kubuntu

# xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
#
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
#
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
#
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"
EndSection

#Section "InputDevice"
# Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
# Driver "synaptics"
# Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
# Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
# Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
# Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
# Option "SHMConfig" "true"
#EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "LeftEdge" "120"
Option "RightEdge" "830"
Option "TopEdge" "120"
Option "BottomEdge" "650"
Option "FingerLow" "14"
Option "FingerHigh" "15"
Option "MaxTapTime" "180"
Option "MaxTapMove" "110"
Option "ClickTime" "0"
Option "EmulateMidButtonTime" "75"
Option "VertScrollDelta" "10"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
Option "MinSpeed" "0.45"
Option "MaxSpeed" "0.75"
Option "AccelFactor" "0.020"
Option "EdgeMotionMinSpeed" "200"
Option "EdgeMotionMaxSpeed" "200"
Option "UpDownScrolling" "1"
Option "CircularScrolling" "0"
Option "CircScrollDelta" "0.1"
Option "CircScrollTrigger" "2"
Option "SHMConfig" "true"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
EndSection



Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "stylus"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "stylus"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"# Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "eraser"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "eraser"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"# Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Driver "wacom"
Identifier "cursor"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/wacom"
Option "Type" "cursor"
Option "ForceDevice" "ISDV4"# Tablet PC ONLY
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Intel Corporation 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device"
Boardname "i810"
Busid "PCI:0:2:0"
Driver "i810"
Screen 0
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Generic Monitor"
Modelname "Custom 1"
modeline "640x480@60" 25.2 640 656 752 800 480 490 492 525 -vsync -hsync
modeline "800x600@56" 36.0 800 824 896 1024 600 601 603 625 +hsync +vsync
modeline "800x600@60" 40.0 800 840 968 1056 600 601 605 628 +hsync +vsync
modeline "1024x768@60" 65.0 1024 1048 1184 1344 768 771 777 806 -vsync -hsync
modeline "1280x960@60" 102.1 1280 1360 1496 1712 960 961 964 994 -hsync +vsync
modeline "1280x1024@60" 108.0 1280 1328 1440 1688 1024 1025 1028 1066 +hsync +vsync
modeline "1400x1050@60" 122.61 1400 1488 1640 1880 1050 1051 1054 1087 -hsync +vsync
Gamma 1.0
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "Intel Corporation 82852/855GM Integrated Graphics Device"
Monitor "Generic Monitor"
Defaultdepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Virtual 1400 1050
Modes "1400x1050@60" "1280x1024@60" "1280x960@60" "1024x768@60" "800x600@60" "800x600@56" "640x480@60"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Default Layout"
screen 0 "Default Screen" 0 0
Inputdevice "Generic Keyboard"
Inputdevice "Configured Mouse"
Inputdevice "stylus" "SendCoreEvents"
Inputdevice "cursor" "SendCoreEvents"
Inputdevice "eraser" "SendCoreEvents"
Inputdevice "Synaptics Touchpad"

EndSection
Section "Module"
Load "glx"
Load "GLcore"
Load "v4l"
EndSection
Section "device" #
Identifier "device1"
Boardname "i810"
Busid "PCI:0:2:0"
Driver "i810"
Screen 1
EndSection
Section "screen" #
Identifier "screen1"
Device "device1"
Defaultdepth 24
Monitor "monitor1"
EndSection
Section "monitor" #
Identifier "monitor1"
Gamma 1.0
EndSection
Section "ServerFlags"
EndSection

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Case mods

Here are the case mods to my donations to local school. I simply painted with Fusion and then painted the graphics with acrylics. I will later spray with clear acrylic to improve durability.

left side














Here are my case mods to my main system.

Top and left view
Here's a sample of my case mod. This case had the blue light you see at the back where the alien heads are now rainbows.... got these cool fans from newegg for $5 each!
The penguin gear usb drive case was also from newegg... cool lights and hardware. Just click to get better view.













btw... gotta post some new dives.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My email on Dumpster diving (113005)

Subject: To the tech editor on Dumpster Diving (TechNews@MSNBC.com)

Mr. Levy,

In this side article under "Ask The Technologist" Mr. Levy correctly states the term "Dumpster Diving" derives from "phone phreaking" days 'where outlaw geeks went through telephone companies garbage to get information about their systems.' TheFreeDictionary.com's first definition ( http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dumpster+diving ) indeed indicates your statement to be fact. Although dumpster diving may indeed be a means to find discarded information to steal identities or credit card numbers, Wikipedia (first Google Search result) correctly states:

"Dumpster diving, or trashing, is the practice of rummaging through trash, whether commercial or residential, to find items of use that have been discarded. It takes advantage of the fact that as a whole, people and businesses are very wasteful. The term "Dumpster Diving" comes from the image of someone climbing into large rubbish bins, called "dumpsters", but the practice is actually more like fishing around than diving in. ..."
(link source)The second definition used on the Free Dictionary's Computing Dictionary << http://computing-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/dumpster+diving >> :
"The practice of raiding the dumpsters behind buildings where producers and/or consumers of high-tech equipment are located, with the expectation (usually justified) of finding discarded but still-valuable equipment to be nursed back to health in some hacker's den. Experienced dumpster-divers not infrequently accumulate basements full of moldering (but still potentially useful) cruft."
Please do not make such blanket statements when someone asks such a question. You not only misinform the public, you create a sense of distrust of the society of Dumpster Divers if you will, as evil or criminal. We are ethical, sharing and generally a genial bunch of people who enjoy saving money... differently.

I have been dumpster diving ever since before I was able to drive. I lived in rural Georgia and found lots of fun stuff in the local Dumpster. My Grandmother, God rest her soul called them "Dempsey dumpsters" way back as far as I can remember. We used to, heaven forbid, dump our garbage on the far side of our 700 acres of land. I remember being 7 years old and rummaging through this heap for treehouse building materials, iron and old bicycles for parts....

Please do not do the same to give Recycle, Reuse, Renew and ReSell Dumpster Divers a bad word. You can verify some of my statements by reading my personal Dumpster blog at http://nomasteryoda.blogspot.com/2004/10/dumpster-diving-log.html or doing some research on http://www.dumpster-world.com or even on alt.dumpster on Usenet. Topics discussed vary from the bizarre, latest finds, encounters with the police and legality of dumpster diving.

Many, if not most of us want to stop the waste. Sure we enjoy getting something for nothing as well as the added bonus of "purchasing" tax-free! Billions of tons of computers and assorted usable household appliances, toner cartridges, new blank CDs & DVDs, new DVD movies, new & used VHS tapes, newspapers, magazines, books, cell phones, building materials, even fresh frozen foods.... go into the dumpsters and then the landfills each year.

The list of useful items is endless and we (Ddivers) only see touch / see a tiny fraction due to the use of Wench-on Compactors. These evil devices allow stores to "secure" their "valuable" trash until it arrives at a landfill to be buried for THOUSANDS of years ( creative Ddivers know how to get to the landfill to sort through this goldmine).

The question we always ask is Why? Why is this stuff in the trash? If we knew the answer and society really cared, maybe we could make a change for the better. The practice of trash rummaging goes back to the dawn of man. It's human nature to seek free stuff.

Stores should give away returned items labeled "damaged merchandise" - bicycles, computers, sleeping bags, or other useful items to homeless and the needy just as many bakeries donate their day-old breads to local shelters and churches.

Amazing how one little Newsweek clipping from a co-worker can spawn such a firestorm.


Lets open dumpsters and make this world a better place.

nomasteryoda (aka Jeff Hatfield lives and Ddives in Middle Georgia, USA)
dumpsterdiver AT cox DOT net

[_]\An Open Dumpster is an Open Source! (Trademark signature)