Author's posts

acer aspire one – a netbook experience

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had recently acquired an Acer Aspire One (AAO) netbook. I chose the AAO in preference to any other of the netbooks on the market for two reasons – firstly it looks a lot cooler than most of the competition (particularly in blue – see below), but secondly, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/04/12/acer-aspire-one-a-netbook-experience/

bad science and worse

I’m a big fan of Ben Goldacre’s “bad science” column in the Guardian. He is particularly scathing about quackery and spurious medical science. His views of “Dr” Gillian McKeith in particular are well worth reading. Whilst I was reading one of his columns recently, I was reminded of another “Dr” who seems to get away …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/03/29/bad-science-and-worse/

the strong blue light

The 1TB Toshiba disk I bought a couple of weeks ago to upgrade storage on the slug has one big drawback in my view. Whilst the disk itself is fine, Toshiba have made the mistake of sticking a very intense blue LED on the front panel, presumably because they think it looks “cool”. Well it …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/03/29/the-strong-blue-light/

so what is a netbook?

Having just invested in an Acer Aspire One (which I’ll write about later), I also enjoyed this FAQ from el Reg. Nice chart.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/03/16/so-what-is-a-netbook/

a thirteen amp plug just won’t cut it

I normally read the register for its IT tech related reporting – and I enjoy it just because it is a wonderfully scurrilous rag. However, an article about the Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg’s “Quant”, which el Reg chose to call “Mary”, piqued my interest somewhat. I can’t quite make the arithmetic work out. To quote …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/03/16/a-thirteen-amp-plug-just-wont-cut-it/

upgrading the slug – a lesson in addresses

My ever growing DVD collection has been taking its toll on my disk storage. Despite the fact that ripping a DVD to PSP format typically shrinks it to between 300 and 500 MB, that still means that I have over 300 GB of videos on my PC. Add to that the OGG vorbis audio collection …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/03/01/upgrading-the-slug-a-lesson-in-addresses/

party like it’s 1234567890

Unix geeks the world over today celebrate the passing of unix time = 1234567890 at 23:31:30 GMT on friday the 13th of February 2009. Personally I’ll be asleep.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2009/02/13/party-like-its-1234567890/

are we lost yet

I bought my wife a car SatNav system for christmas. She complained about the voice. I can’t understand why. (My thanks again to xkcd.)

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/12/28/are-we-lost-yet/

small doesn’t have to mean slow

Much as I love my slugs (and low power consumption coupled with almost completely silent running means I love them a lot) I do sometimes need just a little more “grunt” than they offer. I have been running a PHP based webserver together with postfix on an old (actually very old) Compaq Armada 4160T (that’s …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/12/27/small-doesnt-have-to-mean-slow/

egroupware mail with dovecot and postfix

I have recently built an egroupware system to be used as a social networking site. The application suite itself is relatively easy to install and configure, but the webmail system it offers (a fork of squirrelmail called felamimail) is rather poorly documented. It took me some time to figure out how to authenticate mail users …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/12/27/dovecot-and-postfix-on-debian/

and yet more DNS lunacy

A company called Unified Root is offering to register new top level domains in advance of the proposed ICANN changes. The company describes itself in the following terms: “UnifiedRoot (Unified Root) is an independent, privately owned company, based in Amsterdam, which makes corporate and public top-level domains (TLDs) available worldwide. Through our own efforts and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/12/24/and-yet-more-dns-lunacy/

more DNS silliness

I came across an interesting post on Avert labs site recently. That post pointed to an earlier SANS posting, which in turn, referenced a Symantec discussion of a new Trojan called Trojan.Flush.M. This trojan is an interesting variant of a class of trojans which hijack local DNS settings to force the compromised machine to use …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/12/24/more-dns-silliness/

gun, foot, shoot

As a chartered member of the British Computer Society (BCS) I recently received through the post my voting forms for the 2008 AGM. The process gives me the option of voting electronically using a website run by Electoral Reform Services. My security codes (two separate numeric IDs, one of six characters, the other of four) …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/09/25/gun-foot-shoot/

webanalytics – just say no

I have just built myself a new intel core 2 duo based machine to replace one of my older machines which was beginning to struggle under the load of video transcoding I was placing upon it. The new machine is based on an E8400 and is nice and shiny and fast. Because it is a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/09/12/webanalytics-just-say-no/

french slugs?

In an earlier post I speculated that the CherryPal PC might be a possible option for users considering replacements for the slug. But that device has still yet to hit the streets and is beginning to look suspiciously like vapourware. However, linuxdevices, the site devoted to linux on embedded devices, wrote about the interesting looking …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/09/12/french-slugs/

chrome *can* get rusty

Amidst all the hype and hullabaloo about Google’s chrome, el reg tells it like it is. Yes, “it’s a f***ing web browser”. You just have to love the reg.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/09/08/chrome-can-get-rusty/

where did my bandwidth go

Have you ever wondered what was eating your network? Would you like to be able to check exactly which application was responsible for that sudden spike in outbound traffic? NetHogs might help. This neat little utility calls itself a “small ‘net top’ tool”, and that is exactly what it is. NetHogs groups bandwidth usage by …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/08/20/where-did-my-bandwidth-go/

trusting DNS

Dan Kaminsky has (quite rightly) been hitting the press a lot in the weeks since 8 July when he announced the work done to fix a flaw he had discovered in DNS. The vulnerability itself was new, but its impact (cache poisoning) was not. Indeed, we’ve known about the dangers of poisoned DNS caches for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/08/10/trusting-dns/

replacement for the slug

I noted in an earlier post that Linksys were ceasing production of the NSLU2. There are now a variety of NAS systems coming onto the market which might make good replacements – but most of them look expensive when compared to the slug. However I’ve just seen a review of a box which looks as …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/07/26/replacement-for-the-slug/

implementing mailman and postfix with lighttpd on debian

I recently needed to set up a mailing list for a group of friends (my bike club). I had become tired of mail bounces and failures because we were all relying on an out of date list of addresses originally cobbled together by one member. That list of addresses was routinely used in “reply all” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/07/22/implementing-mailman-and-postfix-with-lighttpd-on-debian/


An apt-get dist-upgrade (to bring the kernel up to date and install some new patches) on the slugs killed the webcam. Of course I should have remembered that the gspca module was built against the old kernel and might fail. One quick “m-a auto-install gspca” later and all is working again. Of course the kernel …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/07/16/ooops/

slugs are history

Jim Buzbee, of batbox fame and one of the original NSLU2 hackers, apparently gave a presentation about the history of slug hacking at the Boulder Linux Users Group. A PDF copy of his presentation can be found on his batbox.org site. Jim also notes that Linkys are ending production of the NSLU2 after four years …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/07/09/slugs-are-history/

mine’s longer than yours

You could regard this as another pointless entry to go alongside the webcam. But hey – so what. I had cause to check the uptime on my slugs a little while ago now that they are largely stable and providing the services I want. After doing so I thought it would be good to be …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/07/02/mines-longer-than-yours/

backtrack 3 released

Any half decent sysadmin will routinely test the security of his or her own systems. A good, and sensible, sysadmin will follow up those tests with an independent security audit by a professional company – preferably one which is a member of a recognised industry body (such as CREST). Finding the holes in your security …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2008/06/20/backtrack-3-released/