Lars Wirzenius: System administration, 2004
- October 22: Image linking, again
- October 20: Zero gigabyte USB hard disk
- October 08: Preventing img linking, part 2
- October 07: Preventing img linking
- September 27: TCP window scaling workaround
- September 20: Plextor PX-712A DVD burner
- September 08: UTF-8 transition completish, except for netnews
- September 05: Laptop back from repairs, re-installed
- August 29: Laptop breaking down
- July 23: Victory over the printer
- July 22: Printer trouble
- July 21: Laptop optical drive broke
- July 17: Wireless network at home
- May 28: Sic transit discus mundi
- April 11: GNOME 2.6 and Galeon anti-aliased fonts
- February 26: Laptop screen acting up
Friday, October 22, 2004
After thinking about what Erich Schubert and Joey Hess had to say about preventing image linking, I decided to turn off my Referer prevention. It's too much work for me to get it right in all situations.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I bought a Transcend StoreJet zero gigabyte USB 2.0 hard disk today. Actually, it is just at wrapper for 2.5 inch laptop hard disks that talks USB to the host computer. I put in the hard disk of my old, broken laptop (Igor) and now I have a 20 gigabyte portable hard disk, which I named "Luggage". Not bad, for 31 euros.
Installing the thing went very well, I only had a minor problem: the hard disk had an adapter for its IDE connector that made it incompatible with the StoreJet's connector. Removing the adaptor made the two compatible and after that, it was all plug and play.
I have my laptop configured so that udev creates
/dev/luggage and the disk is user-mountable as
/media/luggage (using vfat, since I expect
to exchange files with Windows using friends). I find
udev so much fun I suspect I'm silly.
Friday, October 08, 2004
gives some further advice on
img linking. I
hadn't thought of the
img links I put into my
RSS feed. Will have to think about that; this would be
easier to solve if I knew all the places where my log is
aggregated. Can't say I much care about "privacy proxies"
that break Referers, however.
also comments and doesn't think it reasonable practise.
I understand his point, and I don't disagree much. The
reason I decided to block
img linking, if I
can, is that via my Referer log I found people using
portraits I've taken of friends and others on various web
sites. I don't really care about the copyright issue here, but
some of those uses were potentially offensive to me or
the people in the portraits. That is, the photos were being
img on web pages where the
surrounding context was not-nice. With an
a link, the context would not have been
I'd rather prevent my photos from being used on other sites than stop putting up photos at all. I might find a better way to do this than mucking about with Referers, however, since it is not really a very effective method.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
I got tired of people linking to my photos with the img element, so I configured Apache for liw.iki.fi, my personal domain, to not allow viewing of images if there is a Referer header that is not from my pages. Instructions from http://apache-server.com/tutorials/ATimage-theft.html.
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^http://liw\.iki\.fi/" local_ref=1
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^$" local_ref=1
Allow from env=local_ref
Monday, September 27, 2004
I had a bit of trouble reaching a web site and this turned out to be a known problem related to TCP window scaling and broken routers. Linux Weekly News reports a workaround:
echo 0 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/tcp_default_win_scale
This is just a workaround; the fix is to fix or replace the broken routers.
Monday, September 20, 2004
I bought a Plextor PX-712A DVD burner (single layer,
pretty much all formats) today and installed it on my
scratch computer. There were absolutely no problems in
installing it, either the hardware or the software. I've now
used Linux kernel 2.6.8 and
burning and everything worked the first time. I could not
ask for a simpler installation. Happy now.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I have now converted all my filenames (using convmv and data (using isutf8 and my editor) to UTF-8. I haven't had to configure any of my applications to use it specially, they either honor locale settings or were already configured to use UTF-8 when talking to the Internet.
The only real casualty seems to be slrn: it seems unable to live in a UTF-8 environment in any useful way, unless you stick to ASCII-only newsgroups. I experimented with a couple of other news readers, but they seemed to be unusable as well. Pan is weird and wants me to download messages, which is a strange concept for news. I don't want to be bothered about when the news reader fetches the article headers and when it fetches bodies and what not. That's all uninteresting detail to me; slrn deal with this fine. The Pan user interface is also cluttered and full of little buttons that do similar but different things, but are hard to distinguish.
Mozilla Thunderbird let me configure a news account and then proceeded to eat up all my CPU and memory. Unimpressive.
Given that Usenet is at best a distraction to me, I don't want to invest a lot of time in finding a news reader. In fact, I might be best off with abandoning Usenet altogether.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
I got my laptop back from repairs on Friday. All the hardware problems I had with it are fixed. Even the optical drive. And everything was under warranty! Whee! This is so perfect. Thank you Acer Finland.
I re-installed Debian on the laptop, and wrote some installation notes about it.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
My laptop seems to be breaking down slowly. First, the catch on the lock stopped working. Then, the optical drive. Now the touchpad is becoming worse almost every day. I've set up a scratch computer and have moved my stuff there and on Monday I'm sending in my laptop for repairs. Hopefully this won't ruin me. I'm writing this entry on the scratch computer. I will hopefully be able to work with this, but it might be that I won't be doing very much computer stuff before I get my laptop back. We'll see. If nothing else, sitting at my desk is much less comfortable than sitting in an armchair with my laptop.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Scott James Remnant advised me on cleaning the print head and someone else that it may have to be done many times. After more than ten times, the printer would finally print. Happy now.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
I hate printers. My Epson Stylus Photo 890 decided that it did not like the fact that I hadn't used it for many months. It refuses to print all colors consistently and some of the nozzles in the print head seem to be blocked. I'll have to figure out a way to clean it. On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that my life would be massively better if I didn't have a printer at all and used on-line printing services or found a friend who would print things for me. Possibly that same friend could edit my pictures so that colors are corrected and the right amount of sharpening is applied and so on. In my dreams...
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
The optical drive (DVD-ROM and CD-RW) in my laptop broke down a couple of weeks ago, well after warranty had ended. I've been looking for a replacement drive, and they don't seem to be available, at least not in any of the online stores I know of. Today, I finally took the ultimate step and called the store that had sold me the laptop. The result: it is possible to buy a new optical drive, at prices that start at well over 200 euros, plus I'd also have to pay for getting it installed. The laptop does not have a "bay" that would make it easy to switch the drive. Instead, the entire laptop needs to be dismantled for the drives to be swapped. I don't want to pay that much. I'll have to live without an optical drive, therefore, and use a desktop or server machine for my CD and DVD needs. Bugger.
I could buy an external, USB drive, but that would be extra baggage to carry. I don't think it's worth it.
Saturday, July 17, 2004
I now have a wireless network at home. Whee.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend gave me a Lucent
Wavepoint-II access point for free, and this prompted me to
buy a wireless LAN PCMCIA card for my laptop. After some
investigation, it seemed that cards based on the Prism54
chipset were a good choice, and I bought a 3com
OfficeConnect Wireless 11g PC Card. It has a driver in
the Linux 2.6.5 kernel, which is free and everything, except
it requires an external file containing the firmware for the
card. The Linux driver loads the file to the card upon
insertion into the PCMCIA slot. The firmware file is
available from prism54.org
and needs to be copied to
/usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/isl3890. I also
needed to add
iface eth1 inet dhcp to my
/etc/network/interfaces file. After this, with
Debian unstable, hotplug and other things take care of
Well, almost. It turned out that the access point I got was formerly used in encrypted mode and there seemed to be no easy way to reset this behavior. Luckily, after a few days of intermittent tweaking and cursing, liiwi offered to swap his access point for mine. He's a professional sysadmin and knows how to get hardware to do his bidding, unlike me. The new access point worked like a charm the first time I plugged it into the correct Ethernet socket.
The wireless network is only 802.11b, or 11 Mbit/s, since the access point is old. It is, however, quite fast enough except for large file transfers within my home, and for those the 100 Mbit/s cable is also tardy. The PCMCIA card is 802.11g, or 54 Mbit/s, however, so if I decide to upgrade one day, I'll only need a new access point.
Having a wireless network is fun, although I must admit it isn't all that useful, as long as I stay in my chair. However, even sitting in this chair, as I am now, having one fewer cable to worry about it nice. Friends with laptops who visit me in the future will also have Internet access more easily in the future.
In fact, I'm going to keep the access point open for access for everyone in my neighborhood (properly firewalled, of course). Now that I have a wireless card, I find myself wishing for open access points in cafes and elsewhere so that I can surf or check e-mail. There are lots of hotspots in Helsinki, but they seem to be mostly commercial, costing 15 euros per day or so, whereas I'd only need a few minutes or perhaps an hour, and paying 15 euros for that is excessively costly.
Friday, May 28, 2004
Some time yesterday morning my firewall machine at home broke both of its hard disks, an old IBM 30 gigabyte Deskstar and a brand new 120 gigabyte Maxtor. That was not the start of a fun day. Luckily, I could afford a new hard disk and installing a firewall machine from scratch using the new Debian installer was simplicity itself.
If I had had a microphone, I could have recorded the sounds the hard disks made. They were disturbing to say the least, and it might be educational for other people to hear broken hard disks. I haven't heard them very often myself. I think IBM used to have a web page with sounds of broken hard disks, but I can't find it now.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
I was feeling adventurous, and decided to upgrade GNOME 2.6
experimental. The dependencies are
somewhat broken, so not all packages are installable, but
other than that the only problem is that gpdf seems
to not work at the moment for me. Not sure why, though.
I also got anti-aliased fonts to work with Galeon.
Rob Weir told me on IRC that
to be installed for that. Now Galeon looks as pretty as
Mozilla Firefox and I have lost all interest to switch.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
The screen on my laptop is developing a habit of occasionally having irregular vertical stripes. Then, after an hour or a few, they disappear. They aren't visible in white or black areas and most of my windows have white backgrounds. Thus, I can't be sure exactly how often this happens.
I guess I'll have to take the laptop in for repairs. Warranty hasn't expired yet, and hopefully covers this. It's likely to take a week at least, however, and I don't know what I'll do without a computer in the mean time.