A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- January 31
- Moving bits from one server to another had me stuck in the
office until almost 9pm. On the plus side, it all actually
- January 30
- After much abuse, I learned not only how to set up a Lotus user
(and tweak same), but also how to get the Blackberry working with
bidirectional mail. I'm not terribly happy with the networking
- January 29
- Gradually beating Samba into
the shape I want, with occasional bug reports and subsequent code
commits from Team Samba.
Mom's machine still causing trouble. Something up with the monitor
or the video card or some combination of the two. Bah.
One of those links
- January 28
- Happy Birthday, sis!
Not content with working on her own machine, mom is now fixing
computer problems for her friends.
- January 27
- When your mom phones you up and asks for help with the
computer, you tell her how to get out of Microsoft Word or
whatever. When my mom phones up and asks for help with
the computer, I tell her how to reconfigure the CD-R to be a
Secondary Master instead of a Primary Slave, and also which bit is
the video card. Alas, it appears that either the video card or the
monitor cable is causing trouble.
- January 26
- Added 'rmdir' to the commands that nftp.pl
supports. I think I'll send the cleaned-up version back to Russell
once I'm done poking at it.
You're definitely in trouble when you look at a text parsing
problem and think, "this would be easier in Emacs Lisp".
The problem in question was to automate cleaning of the Mailman
admin interface for the BBDB mailing list. I'm
tired of dealing with the stupid thing by hand. Of course, I'm not
the only person who thinks Mailman is an
irritating piece of crap.
Ugh. The Armada mouse button pad is cunningly built in such a way
as to prevent you from disassembling it without breaking
it. Brilliant. And the only place I've found that lists prices for
replacements is quoting about $50 for this piece of metal and
More idiotic hackery:
*FvwmEvent: focus_change "Current Exec perl -e 'printf( \"[%s][%s][%s][%s]\\\n\", scalar(localtime(time)), @ARGV)' '$n' '$c'>> $HOME/tmp/focus"
That delightful snippet gives me a log of focus changes. I think I
can plausibly tie this to worktimer.pl or
A little log snippet:
21:39 waider says, "ok. so who is the bigger moron here: the guy who
posts to the list from a virus-infected machine, or the dozen
mail admins who have their super-sensitive alert systems set
up to post "YOU HAVE A VIRUS" notices to the *list*, or the
list admins for not, you know, blocking this sort of crap?"
21:40 waider says, "I could always set up an auto-responder to reply
to "you have a virus" with "you have a moron""
Of course, that sort of automated
mail has consequences.
- January 25
- Fixed up some of the diary stuff to use the helper function I
wrote last month to compute forward and backward month refs and
other stuff. Yay me!
I was going to set up a bridge on Blimp from the wireless card to
the ethernet card so that my WLAN would be on the same logical
network as my wired network. Turns out that you can't do this due
to some restriction of the wireless cards relating to MAC
address. Bah. Also, I completely wiped out all my wireless config
on Blimp, which had been, uh, entertaining to set up. So now I've
got to try and piece it back together from notes in this
Oh hurray. After spending over a month in repairs, Klortho has two
non-working mouse buttons. Middle and right, so I get to pretend
I'm a Mac user until I either open it up to check the wiring
(mouse ain't that complicated) or scream at Compaq down the
phone. Morons. No, really, MORONS.
I set up ange-ftp
over ssh as done by Russell Standish. The code isn't pretty,
and I spent a half-hour cleaning it up so it'd run under 'perl -w', but given a week or two
I'll probably find it useful. I'm not overly happy that it uses
yet another config file - it should be possible to do something
with the .netrc that Emacs
already supports, since Emacs
can do hostname completion out of there. I'm also not overly happy
that it makes a new connection for each operation; it'd be nice if
it used an asynchronous sftp process or something to do the work
with a single connection.
- January 24
- Happy Birthday Diarmuid!
Entertaining "moment" with Windows: moving someone on a
box to a new domain. Give them a default password on the new
domain. Change the domain. Reboot (why?). "Your password has
expired, please set a new one". Enter the default password,
the new password for the machine, the new password for the
machine. Dialogue box: Can't do that, your password for windows
networking is incorrect. What's really wrong is that the
password for the desktop, as stored in the PWL file, is
incorrect. Meanwhile, it's gone and done something to the network
password that requires you to go back and reset it on the PDC
In the end, I used VNC to
allow the users to set their own password directly on the PDC for
the new domain. Yeesh.
- January 23
- Talk about a fully-loaded system... Kernel 2.4.20, with ACL patches to ext3 and Large
File, 32-bit UID, and Unicode patches to smbfs, with Samba HEAD including ACL support,
with LDAP, and with
winbindd running until such time as I get the LDAP group mapping
stuff automated. All I need now is to fix smbcacls to print out
the ACL information in a format that getfacls can use, and/or
implement acl support in smbfs.
- January 22
- Yay! Klortho is back! And it only took me two attempts to
reassemble the drive mounts so I could put the hard drive back
- January 21
- Fixed a bug (ish) in Samba's
PDC-cloning code, so now it almost does everything for me. Still
need to get automatic group mappings working.
The SpamAssassin-Milter patch was accepted, yay! I really should
update my nethead page,
since I've also gotten a fix in SaVi (a piece of software Lloyd hacks
on) among other things.
- January 20
- Verified my code for SpamAssassin-Milter, reposted it to the
list, and rebuilt my local copy. I'm deploying it today, now
that I'm happy with the bugfix.
Also, Micromail update.
More abuse of Samba 3. Slowly
beginning to understand how various parts interact; unfortunately,
there's some redundancy in the code which clouds the
- January 19
- Happy Birthday, Hannah!
Normally I have complete disregard for djb due to his loonware
("let's reinvent all the standard internet tools from
scratch, because the existing ones are buggy") but I really,
REALLY like his list of patent
Helped mom out with the installation of a new CD
Writer. Strangely, it exhibited exactly the same behaviour as the
one it replaces: it's detected okay, but double-clicking on the
drive in Windows results
in an "Abort, Retry, Fail" dialog
- January 18
- Got some code from someone who's implemented an XAUTH server. I
should hopefully be able to abuse it into client-side code. First
things first, though: get it to compile against current kernel, etc.
Rebuilt Fozzie, my old 486 box. Well, by rebuilt I mean put enough
of my spare parts into it to boot it up with Red Hat 6.2. I'm sure I have a
reason for this other than storing spare parts somewhere besides
in the pile of bits on
- January 17
- Further digging reveals a defunct list discussing IPsec config
at The VPN Consortium. It
appears that the defunct draft I was looking at really is defunct,
and Cisco - who are
responsible for the new draft - are piling XAUTH onto the existing
- January 16
- Decided I'd investigate the whole XAUTH thing in IPSec and see
if I couldn't figure it out.
It's not made easy by the fact that it's covered by expired
drafts, and there's an amount of required knowledge before you can
even read the drafts. Anyway, here's what I've got: the Cisco box sends four Vendor IDs,
one of which is XAUTH and the rest of which presumably Cisco could explain to me. From
my reading of the spec, FreeS/WAN would be perfectly
justified in returning an INVALID_PAYLOAD flag at this point, thus
perhaps shortcircuiting the whole exchange. It doesn't, however;
it just notes the fact that it's skipping all the Vendor ID
stuff. The Cisco is then
supposed to send FreeS/WAN
a config request packet, as far as I can tell; however, from
reading the logs on the Cisco,
it's waiting for a config request packet. Perhaps if I
bodge FreeS/WAN to send a
Vendor ID indicating that it might be willing to do XAUTH, the Cisco will oblige me with a
Adding to the fun is that the config request mechanism is
also a draft, and as far as I can see uses an Exchange
Type that collides with another draft, since noone could agree on
any of this.
- January 15
- Hmm. I have a RIM Blackberry to play with. For values of play
meaning work. First impressions: it's got no IR port. I mean,
REALLY. Who's producing handheld devices these days with no IR
Decided to build a Knoppix
disc to try out. Like I said, when you buy a CDR, suddenly
everything needs to be burnt to CD.
Learned items for the day:
Networking continues to horrify me and impress me by
- rpm -e --allmatches
Latest on Klortho, per phonecall from Compaq, is that they've order
parts which are due to be delivered on Friday. Bleh. One more week
of waiting, I guess.
After a bit of poking and prodding, I got FreeS/WAN talking to a Cisco box. Seems the Cisco can be
pretty insistent about the obsolete xauth protocol.
- January 14
- In which I have the working day from hell, followed by an
exceedingly pleasant evening in the bar with Jon
- January 13
- Mostly sleeping off last night's insanity. There's still some
oddity on the network. Windows gets
so attached to IP addresses it's not funny. And this from
a system that historically prefers broadcasting over directed
I submitted a story to Slashdot
last night regarding the browser that supposedly speeds your
browsing by up to 6x. It got bounced in fairly short order. I see
there is now an
entry describing this high-speed browser along with a note to
the effect that several people submitted it but information is
scarce. Fair enough. I also note in roughly the same period an
unsubstantiated story regarding SCO
claiming royalties from Linux vendors for unspecified Unix
IP. I'm wondering how many people submitted that
story before the guys at Slashdot deigned to run it.
Not that I feel bitter or anything.
There's gotta be a Google-related word for
searching for something and getting back one of your own pages
bitching about the problem in the top ten search results.
- January 12
- Get in car. Drive 14 miles to office. Press F1. Drive 14 miles
Welcome to the world of the future.
- January 11
- Tooling around with the spare parts bin, I managed to get an
Adaptec SCSI card working on Blimp, but the spare SCSI drive I
have appears to be either tanked or misconfigured, and I don't
have much SCSI-fu to do anything other than randomly frob settings
until it works. The tentative idea is to build a new drive for
Broom (the Mac) since I don't have a CD drive to boot Broom from
and the drive that's in it is an almost-full 250MB one.
I was going to set up Mozilla to send
mailto: links to VM, but it appears that
in rewriting the browser from scratch they've dispensed with the
easy way of doing that in favour of waiting for an interminable
standards process to finish. And the site the standard refers to
is, well, not responding. Oh, but if you're in Windows or Mac land
you can set
your default mailer to do the work. Hurrah.
Trying to rebuild pilot-link ith
my patches - and even
without them - and it's failing, for some
Aha. Perl with threads turns
int (*Perl_Tdirty_ptr(((PerlInterpreter *)pthread_getspecific((*Perl_Gthr_key_ptr(((void *)0)))))));
I guess I need to change all occurrences of "dirty" to
something more specific to the job at hand... I've put the new patches up in the usual
Humma. Putting the 60GB drive into Gonzo
seems to have cleared the crash problem. Grr. That means I have
yet another duff 30GB drive, I guess. I'll try it in
Blimp... and just after I'd typed that, Gonzo
crashed again. Okay. Motherboard.
- January 10
- Spare parts for the A3010 arrived this morning, whee! Go Simtec!
Decided to bite the bullet and rebuild Perl with threads. Bleah. Of
course, that broke all my Perl
toys because it changed @INC...
Right, well, after a bit of mucking around with CPAN and cpanflute2, I
now have not only restored my Perl setup, but also gotten it all
under RPM control. Hi-YAH!
Well, it took a few false starts and some brief scares (as in
"oh no, I've killed it"), but I now have a 4MB A3010 with
a 1GB hard drive. Woo! The POWER!
- January 9
- After seeing a particularly heinous piece of code in
SpamAssassin-Milter biting someone, I thought it might be a neat
hack to rewrite it in Perl. Sure enough, there's a Perl module to handle Milters,
so I ask CPAN to build it. No
dice, it wants a fully built sendmail source dir. Okay,
fetch fetch build build perl perl. Now it wants a Perl interpreter that's been built
with threading. Uh. At this point, I'm giving up on it. I'll just
fix the C++ code instead and try not to cry too much.
Spent a bit of time with the C++ code, posted an uncorrected
version to the spamassassin-milter list, swore, posted the
corrected version, abandoned it to the four winds. Yeesh. I hate
- January 8
- I was about to install a Palm application from
source when I discovered that I have absolutely no Palm development tools on
Qaz. Weird, that; I guess I never installed 'em when Qaz became my
primary machine. Anyway, I'm now downloading RPMs from half a dozen different
sources so I don't end up with a bunch of unowned crud in
Mailed Dublin City Corporation to harass, er, inquire about the
fact that the Merrion Gates traffic camera has been "coming
soon" for several months now. The cameras are pretty good,
providing coverage of major routes in the city centre and some
more suburban points; however, if I had access to the Merrion
Gates camera I could make an informed decision about the route to
the office in Santry. As it stands, I just drive on up the
congested knot that is the Rock Road.
is currently engaged in transferring the contents of the big disk,
as planned last night. And boy is it taking a long time. But hey,
I can consider it a backup or something.
Cool. Someone's finally done a proper job on a driver
for GT6801-based scanners. And hmm, I see mention of the
GT6801 in the kernel driver. Feckers seem to have fixed it while I
wasn't looking... wait, no, they haven't. The Russian patch
supports a single endpoint, whilst the kernel driver requires two
or three. Patch patch. I've had to add in the USB IDs to
scanner.h; the rest of the patch applies cleanly to the
default Red Hat kernel,
yay!. Sergey also appears to have some minimal support for
integrating this recalcitrant beast into the SANE project, which
is good. And there's the gt68xx
backend page. A bit of abuse, and presto, I'm
- January 7
- Installed the 60GB drive in Gonzo.
A very brief test established that it was quite happy to
crash. So, I guess that's definitely a motherboard problem,
then. Although I suppose I should really test it without the 30GB
installed... to be sure to be sure, as it were.
Found a plausible-looking Socket 7 motherboard on the net and
asked Donal to bring it
home with him in February. I'll struggle on with a crippled server
'til then, I guess.
Figured out the Proliant bluescreen problem, and decided to
abandon it instead of fixing the problem. I was, after all,
testing stuff. Also figured out that it's okay to bring up a Samba PDC to bump off a Windows NT PDC; the
latter will quietly turn itself into a workstation (not a BDC!)
and only whine a little about services being unable to start and
all that. There's the slightly iffy issue of SIDs, but I'm
was lying on its side, I took the opportunity to move the OS
directories to the small disk, which is something I should have
done ages ago. I can hoik everything off the big disk across the
net to the 60GB (which is back in Blimp) and then throw the big
disk into the "testing" bin or something. I'm still not
100% convinced that this is a motherboard problem. Or 100% a
motherboard problem, even.
- January 6
- A simple task, today; install NT4 Server on a somewhat aged
Proliant. I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason it kept
- January 5
- Urgh. It's just gone midnight, and I'm still working on office
stuff. I have in mind to kill the person who set up this machine
originally, such that all logical drives are striped
across a single array meaning I had to trash everything in order
to dink with just ONE of the logical drives.
The last is basically a shortcut for setting up a ssh tunnel and
then running VNC across it. How I didn't spot this before I have
- Restoring from tape with ArcServe
- NTFS across multiple partitions (volumes, basically)
- vncviewer -via ssh-gateway desthost:display
Discovered that my Japanese input wasn't working Emacs; turns out the
standard-display-european crap that was required back in, um,
19.whatever to get useful results from multilingual mails now
actively breaks things.
More to the point, I can't seem to cut from Mozilla and paste into anything
else. Even xclipboard is rendering the text as a bunch of
questionmarks. That gritch aside, Jim Breen's
WWWJDIC is an absolute gift for gaijin like me.
- January 4
- Blech. Off to the office to do foul things with hard drives.
- January 3
- Since this bit me, and HARD: if you are setting up a secondary
MX that is intended to work when the primary is offline, make sure
the mailertable entry has square brackets around the esmtp
host. This is the answer to "mail loops back to myself"
that they don't explicitly point out.
You wouldn't believe how long I spent poking at a sendmail config before I
- January 2
- Continuing with the diary hackage. All day entries get a named
anchor so I can reference 'em exactly. In the RSS feed. Also if I
need to cross-reference (as I've done once or twice
I've also written a new function to calculate the forward and
backword months and years from an arbitrary date. That should help
with some of the hairier parts of the current code.
Phoned Compaq's repair centre
to check on Klortho. They're going ahead with the repair and I
should have it in three to five working days. For which I am
reading Friday Next Week, Earliest.
Updated my spamass-milter
patch to the current CVS release. There are some good ideas
floating around that could perhaps do with being combined; someone
has, in fact, offered a combining patch but they've messed about
with the command-line switches, which is rarely a good
Hacked on a bug-or-not in BBDB that's been bothering
me for a while. Not 100% happy with the fix, but it'll do for
now. Hey, development code, people.
Checked out Amphetadesk after
reading someone raving about RSS. First impressions:
RSS feed is a bit crap, and should really be extended out to the
Friends page to make it really useful. It's not like they're
getting banner revenue from direct visits to the
site. It's a nice no-nonsense tool, though. The only thing it's
missing is to automate the CPAN
chunk of the installer - although I already had all the modules it
needed anyway. Gnee.
Tempting fate, I am. Running two different versions of Java on the laptop at the same
- January 1
- Poking at various parts of my desktop (what
with it being the new year, a good time for config changes) and I
discovered why pam_ssh wasn't
launching a ssh-agent for me - I hadn't configured it for session
use. So I configured it, and now it's starting a root-owned agent
which is of no use to me. Bizarre-o.
Whee! Got a reply from the author almost immediately: Linux'
seteuid semantics don't work for pam_ssh, but
there's a fix in CVS. Woohoo!
Poked at RSS some,
with the ultimate intention that this diary should have an RSS feed. Heck, I could
probably put an RSS
feed up for the whole site as part of the magic update
script. Also killed the font tags on the new diary entries. My
stylesheet should be good enough to catch this stuff
already, but I do need to backfill the older entries..
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2003 already? Time flies when you're drunk.