East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Lend a helping hand

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 3:53 pm

Even if it’s indirectly (Red Cross), I’m sure any and all help will be appreciated right now.

Their website seems a bit overwhelmed at the moment, so give it a few minutes if you can’t get through rightaway.

Updated to add these links:

Congratulations, Opera!

Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 1:52 pm

Happy 10th anniversary to you Opera, and thank you for the free registration codes! (Free registration codes are available until midnight CET (GMT +1) on Wednesday 31st of August.)

For several years (about 4 to 5, I think) I was a happy Opera user but when I couldn’t use it for work (I needed the jar:* support in Firefox/Netscape/Mozilla) I eventually switched as juggling multiple browsers around is a pain in the long run.

However, running Opera last night and again this morning, I’m reminded of several of its strong points:

  • Low memory footprint (particularly useful on the 96MB/300MHz Pentium laptop).
  • Built-in support for:
    • Mouse-gestures
    • Customizing tab-order
    • Session saving
  • Better support for resizing, it resizes images as well, not just fonts like Firefox.
  • The fact that I can place the tab-bar on the left (or right), not just the top or bottom of the window.

When are you going to add XUL/jar support, Opera? 😉

Update: I can’t believe I never noticed the typo in the title (congralations instead of congratulations). Now fixed.


Filed under: Family — Erwin @ 2:56 am

For some reason I thought this particular Raid spray wasn’t going to smell too bad. I’d prefer truth in advertising and have them just say that it stinks so you’ll leave the room for a while, because I’m certainly not enjoying this natural clove scent. Ugh.


MySQL Administrator

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 1:26 pm

So far it seems like a useful tool, this administrator GUI (MySQL.com), but time will tell if I’ll continue to use it.

Initially I installed the Linux version on a few remote sites, but using X11 forwarding gets a bit annoying (read: it’s slow and eats bandwidth) after a while. So instead, I’m now using the OS X version and am merely forwarding the connections to the relevant port 3306, like this:

ssh -f -L 3309:localhost:3306 root@some.remote.host 'while true; do sleep 86400; done'

With different ports instead of 3309 for the differente remote hosts. The downside is that the GUI thinks that the server resides locally and claims that it’s down/stopped when at the same time you can go to the Health tab and check connection/memory usage.

You would think that at MySQL they’ve never considered that a DBA might be working remotely and need ways to get through the company firewall. 🙂



Filed under: OS X — Erwin @ 3:50 am

I was wondering if I could run an SNMP serveragent on my OS X desktop machine, for additional statistics fun. I figured that the worst case scenario would be that I’d have to download the source and run it, but was hoping for better.

Turns out that the snmpd software package was already there, waiting to be used. Imagine that! All I had to do was adjust /etc/hostconfig to include a line like this:


And then create a configuration file in /usr/share/snmp/snmpd.conf:

rocommunity mypubliccommunity

syslocation "The Office"

That’s pretty much the bare minimum. Disclaimer: I haven’t actually rebooted yet to verify that the change in /etc/hostconfig does what it’s supposed to, but it looks promising.

So far I’m tracking the CPU load and the disk usage and I’m looking to see if I can get the AirPort usage data as well, somewhere.

Update: Yup, the change to /etc/hostconfig did the trick. Still no idea how to convince snmpd to show me traffic statistics for en0 (wired network) and en1 (wireless network).



Filed under: Software — Erwin @ 4:35 am

Run this by me again?

eth2      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:04:5A:80:BD:3A  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          RX packets:1842504 errors:39 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:39
          TX packets:0 errors:3651809 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:7167231
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:337022665 (321.4 MiB)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 b)
          Interrupt:12 Base address:0xb000

I really don’t think this is accurate, considering eth2 is the network interface where the WAP is hooked up. It works fine, obviously, since I’d never noticed anything wrong until I wanted to make some network usage stats (MRTG) for it.

Time to either upgrade the driver (kernel modules) or put a different network card in, then. *mutter*

Linkage (14)

Filed under: Linkage,News,Technology — Erwin @ 2:48 am

The BBC is planning to put its (first two) channels on the net:

He announced plans for the MyBBCPlayer – which will allow viewers to legally download seven days of programmes – at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

A simulcast of BBC One or BBC Two, letting UK viewers see programmes on the web at the same time as they go out on TV, is also planned as part of MyBBCPlayer .

Here’s hoping that others will follow that excellent example, and maybe that the BBC will open it up to more than the UK at some point as well.

The Pianoman is back home… in Germany:

Yesterday Mr Grassl – now better known as Piano Man – was back home with his parents, Josef and Christina, after a remarkable four-and-a-half month odyssey which took him from Germany to a beach in Kent, and then hospital.

His parents must’ve lived under an interesting rock:

During all this, Mr Grassl’s parents had no idea where he was. After the last phone call in March they phoned his landlord in France to ask if he knew what had happened to Andreas. They also contacted the French police but they were unable to help.

According to Mr Linhart, the Grassls did not see the photo of their son circulated worldwide by the baffled doctors.

But then the article goes on to contradict itself:

… “But even when they did see the photo they didn’t recognise their son. He usually wears glasses. And he has blond hair. The photo was taken in such a way as to make his hair seem white.”

Oh well. Welcome back home, Mr Grassl, you certainly had your 15 minutes of fame, even if you were blissfully unaware of it apparently.


Awake yet? (12)

Filed under: Humo(u)r,News,Software — Erwin @ 3:01 pm

Thank you, New York City:

Waiter: How would you like your hamburger? Medium?
Chick: They come in different sizes?

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world…

Looks like Bolton is living up to his reputation (Guardian Unlimited):

Mr Bolton, a long-standing UN critic who was given a temporary appointment by George Bush three weeks ago after the United States Senate failed to agree on his nomination, has proposed 750 amendments to the draft and called for immediate talks on them.

Mr Bolton has said the US would be ready to scrap the deal altogether if no consensus was achieved, leaving only a short statement for the summit to agree on, or to break the agreement into sections to give member states a choice of which parts to support.

Whether that is entirely to be blamed on him is not clear, but it’s certainly suspicious that this roadblock appeared shortly after his appointment.

Google is expanding further, now into Instant Messaging and VoIP:

They say talk is cheap. Google thinks it should be free. Google Talk enables you to call or send instant messages to your friends for free–anytime, anywhere in the world.

The sad part is that the only (beta) client they have is for WinXP/Win2K, the good part of it is that you can connect to their setup (for non-VoIP only) with clients that speak the Jabber protocol, such as Gaim, Adium X, iChat, … Time to create an additional Gmail account, I think.

The irony?

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 4:37 am

Terry Heaton writes that the employees that are in dispute with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have created a website with which they keep the public aware of their side of things. One of the things they do on that website is basically provide replacement programming via podcasts.

The irony (to me) is that the reason I realized there was anything going on in the first place is because a podcast to which I’m subscribed (Quirks and Quarks) disappeared from one day to another as a result of this dispute (as far as I can figure).

Additional amusement can be found in the fact that just as I find out about this replacement website and visit it, I barely manage to get one page and then further pages just tell me that The blog system is currently down for maintenance to improve the service.. Ahem.

Maybe it’s trying to tell me something? G’dnight!


Unintelligent Design

Filed under: News — Erwin @ 11:23 pm

Yet another reason not to like Bill Gates (NY Times, on the 2nd page):

A closer look shows a multidimensional organization, financed by missionary and mainstream groups – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provides $1 million a year, including $50,000 of Mr. Chapman’s $141,000 annual salary – and asserting itself on questions on issues as varied as local transportation and foreign affairs.

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