Friday, December 29, 2006

Singapore internet disaster day 4

Well it looks like most web traffic is redirected now and I can finally access singaporean sites whereas I was unable to do so even yesterday. It looks like traffic was redirected through US and Europe instead of running through Taiwan to get to Australia.

Jeez that took a while. Oh, wait. singtel website is still broke. I guess I have to try again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Internet disaster in Singapore

Internet access in Singapore took a blow yesterday and I'm annoyed because I am having troubles connecting to Singaporean sites.

Here are the associated news, however I can't view the channel news asia news as that is hosted in Singapore

Internet access in Singapore severely affected by Taiwan earthquake - Channel News Asia
Earthquake disrupts Internet access in Asia -

I would think this is really bad for business considering how important the internet pipe are to businesses and gamers :).

It is probably about time that some people started looking at better redundency for internet connectivity.

Suggestions for internet disaster recovery and redundancy if anyone is paying attention.

  1. Mirrored offshore hosting for news, financial and other critical sites.
  2. Satellite based internet for inbound connections. (used a lot in outback australia)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006


If a picture paints a thousand words, this might probably describe what I have been up to.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

today's playlist

london suede - can't get enough
underworld - dirty epic
new order - True Faith
orbital - Halcyon
BRMC - love burns
death in vegas - dirt

Monday, November 13, 2006

which muppet are you?

The continuation of the star wars personality test, here's the link to the muppet personality test.

Well this is my results and I can say I'm somewhat not suprised.

You Are Gonzo the Great

"Is something burning in here? Oh, it's just me."

You're a total nutball who will do anything for attention.

The first to take a dare, you'll pull almost any stunt.

You're one weird looking creature, but your chickens don't mind!

Monday, November 06, 2006

ftp scripts without passwords

As old as ftp is, i'm sure its still a very common method of file transfer in most interfaces.

Here's how to write a simple ftp script on unix or windows without having to worry about those passwords.

Using EOF

Probably the most common is to use the EOF (end of file) method. Its important to know that there cannot be any spaces in front of the last 'EOF' line.

ftp -nv hostname << EOF
cd directory
mput filename.*

Using .netrc

The other method of saving passwords for multiple scripts is to use a .netrc file which can be created in the user's home directory

$ cd $HOME
$ vi .netrc

add the following line into the file

machine login password

$ chmod 500 .netrc

You should be able to ftp without prompts. to test, just type

$ ftp

you should be logged in. the downside is that this forces you to log in as that specific user. However lets face it, if you're still using ftp to move stuff around, this shouldn't bother you one bit.

Personally, I would recommend that sftp or scp be used instead. pub key management is so much more convienient.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

north lakes, actually playing

Here is a screen capture of the video footage. DVD release probably in a couple of years or so.

One of the few instances where drummer dave is actually visible.

Friday, October 20, 2006

why you so kayu?

Sometimes we use words so often, we forget what it actually means. I recently used the word Kayu, but when asked to translate it, I wasn't quite able to give a literal translation.

And appalingly, bablefish did not contain the malay-english translation. Anyway after a bit of searching, I realised that Ka yu mean wood in berhasa indonesia.

However in Singaporean context, it basically means silly. I suppose when someone said you have a wooden head, it generally means that you are pretty dumb. I suppose the next evolution of the word has changed its meaning yet again when in football, an own goal is scored. we say , "goalie ka yu" also suggests that was some bribing involved in that goal as well apart from being rather silly.

So there you have it. the effectiveness of common language and how the years have made a simple line so descriptive.

A singlish guide can be found here. Its not as detailed, but does cover some of the more basic words.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Power failure - day 3

I've just purchased a new antec smartpower 350w power supply for my pentium 3 for $70. A bit of an overkill you might say.

Well my machine is up and running again, so i guess it paid off. It's meant to be a quiet power supply that uses only one fan during low utilisation and 2 only if it really needs it. However since boot, I noticed that the 2nd fan just kept on spinning. That makes me wonder exactly how much power i'm using to power this machine.

Maybe it has something to do with the asterisk tdm pci card, 2 network cards, 2 hard disks, 1 cd writer, floppy, usb wifi dongle and soundblaster live platium with live drive. hmm.

i'll be thankful once this monster gets migrated to the garage where it should be. Meanwhile, I will have to bear with its hrmmm, hrmmmm sounds. The loudest part being the internal hard-disk enclosure.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

yikes, a power failure ?

Not quite sure why my power supply died over the weekend, woke up on the saturday and realised there was no internet connectivity, only to walk to my linux router and discover that the green power light was blinking and there was no loud drone like it normally used to give.

I had to repatch my workstation directly to the adsl modem in the garage. Gee I love my centralised patch area. No hassles of carrying computers around.

Well, i guess thats the end of the power supply. stay tuned to find out what happens next.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ideal resolutions

Since I picked up the dell latitude d820 laptop with nvidia quadro nvs 120m. I made sure that the laptop display was as maxed out as it could be.

After using various different resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 on a 15.4 inch LCD display. I decided that the only useable resolution that doesn't make you totally blind is the 1680 x 1050.

Although I did manage to use 1920 x 1200 for the longest time until my wife complained she was going blind surfing, i suddenly realised that going slightly lower still allowed great productivity space without having to sit 6 - 10 inches sometimes.

As i mosly make assumptions on whats on the screen, it didn't affect me that much, however maybe its time to revisit some emails :P.

As for a desktop, just max out your monitor. With 1680 x 1050 now, I guess i wouldn't be able to vnc my desktop without scroll bars ;)

Monday, October 02, 2006

copying an oracle database in 4 steps

I'd see if i can do this in 4 steps

Step 1) on the target database, SQL> alter database backup control to trace;

Step 2) copy the trace file and modify to specify the new database name and the first line of the sql file and all lines after the create controlfile statement

Step 3) Copy cold back datafiles minus temp file and control file.

Step 4) Make sure that the last 2 lines of the trace file is run


and also make sure that the temp tablespace is created which also happens to be the last line in the trace file

Here is a proper how-to link if my steps didn't make sense:

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gig at North Lakes

the venue: the white tent next to the lake was the stage.

while waiting

We played though the sunset next to the lake which was quite nice. The sunset took approximately 30 mins and so did the gig.

SOA the new legacy

SOA is probably the most hyped topic at this point in time. Its probably right up there with utility computing and virtualisation. I suppose this means identity management has taken a bit of a step down until the next terrorist attack.

The move to service orientated archtecture seems a popular adoption of most critical system business still running on their stable legacy systems. The reason for this mostly being that its in a modular in stucture and easier to manage. Financial institutions with their most arcane technologies would find this highly desirable as it is then possible to stage out the development stages and control cost and scope with the proper management.

Its funny how the currect hype topics seem to link so closely with one another and seem to compliment each other rather than contradict each other as much. My belief is that the reason why its so out there is to hide the limitations of the inherant problems with SOA. Scalability and performance. N recently mentioned performance issues of java and how incredibily memory hungry it was. My prompt reply was, its still dependant on the designer and its hardware scalable.

Its true that java isn't the most efficient language on the block, however the limitations can be minimised by throwing more hardware at it with the gamble that the development costs will still be cheaper than sleek C code.

So there's it. Another corporate conspiry similar to selling sugar separately from lemonade.

Friday, September 29, 2006

i have lost the ability to read

I think one of the by products of the internet generation is the lost of ability to read.

Lets face it. there is so much junk out there that after a while you get ignore the bulk of it, or start reading 3 words and make up the rest of the article or email.

I have to admit out of the 50 - 80 emails I get a day from my 3-5 mailboxes, I probably only read like 5 and that is like . This means that I only read less than 10% of my emails. I mostly just read the title and quickly decide if it is spam or not.

The same with web surfing, and new program interfaces. if it isn't immediately intuitive its probably not worth using.

So who do you think needs to be improved, the creator or the user?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

tabbing in IE 7 - continued

Well, I ought to correct my previous post. IE 7 does allow you to keyboard shortcut between tabs now since I finally upgraded my browser due to a corrupt application data directory which refuses to fix itself.

Apparently its ctrl tab to move forward following the windows standard. and to go back? Its some finger dexterity which is ctrl-shit-tab.

I suppose it does make some sense to use the right hand to hold the shift if you do need to go back, but I can't say that is second nature to me yet.

How do you beat ctrl page up and page down? thats just so cognitive.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

windows sshd with cygwin

Apart from using remote desktop or vnc, its good to have a secondary backup method of communicating with your windows machine.

When you install cygwin, make sure you select openssh. this installs both the ssh client as well as the server.

To setup the server there needs to be a couple of really simple steps.

Right click My Computer, Properties, Advanced, Environment Variables.

Click the "New" button to add a new entry to system variables: variable name is "CYGWIN" variable value is "ntsec tty" without the quotes

also add ";c:\cygwin\bin" to the end of the existing PATH variable. To test this start cmd from the command line and type "bash -l"

To setup sshd as a service, just type "ssh-host-config"
"privilege separation be used", answer yes
"install sshd as a service", answer yes
When the script asks you for "CYGWIN=", your answer should be ntsec tty

Basically its like yes to everything and after that type "cygrunsrv --start sshd" or "net start sshd" to start it off.

you can test it by typing ssh localhost on your machine. Make sure you have your windows firewall to allow inbound ssh traffic.

d: drive is /cygdrive/d , e: drive is /cygdrive/e , etc.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

how to setup vtun tunnel via ssh

install vtun

Download the vtun installation rpms (for centos)


# rpm -ivh lzo-1.08-4.2.el4.rf.i386.rpm
# rpm -ivh vtun-2.6-0.2.el4.rf.i386.rpm

/etc/vtund.conf on client

options {
port 5002; # Connect to this port.
timeout 60; # General timeout

# Path to various programs
ppp /usr/sbin/pppd;
ifconfig /sbin/ifconfig;
route /sbin/route;
firewall /sbin/ipchains;
ip /sbin/ip;

work_to_home {
passwd password; # Password
type ether; # Ethernet tunnel
device tap1; # Device tap1
up {
# Connection is Up

# Assign IP address and netmask.
ifconfig "%% netmask";
# Add route to net
route "add -net netmask gw";

down {
# Connection is Down

# Shutdown tap device
ifconfig "%% down";

/etc/vtund.conf on server

options {
port 5002; # Listen on this port.

# Syslog facility
syslog daemon;

# Path to various programs
ppp /usr/sbin/pppd;
ifconfig /sbin/ifconfig;
route /sbin/route;
firewall /sbin/ipchains;
ip /sbin/ip;

# Default session options
default {
compress no; # Compression is off by default
speed 0; # By default maximum speed, NO shaping

work_to_home {
passwd password; # Password
type ether; # Ethernet tunnel
device tap1; # Device tap1
proto tcp; # UDP protocol
compress lzo:1; # LZO compression level 1
encrypt yes; # Encryption
stat yes; # Log connection statistic
keepalive yes; # Keep connection alive

up {
# Connection is Up

# Assign IP address
ifconfig "%% netmask";

# Add route to net
route "add -net netmask gw";
route "add -net netmask gw";

# Enable masquerading for net
# firewall "-A forward -s -d -j MASQ";

down {
# Connection is Down

# Shutdown tap device.
ifconfig "%% down";

# Disable masquerading for net
# firewall "-D forward -s -d -j MASQ";

creating connection script for client

Some of this only needs to be done once. The last ssh command creates the sshd tunnel for vtund

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/eth0/proxy_arp
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/conf/eth0/forwarding

iptables -A POSTROUTING -j MASQUERADE -t nat

vtund -n -f /etc/vtund.conf work_to_home localhost &

ssh -L 5002:localhost:5002 user@server

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

help with unix scripts

To define date and time

DATE=`date '+%y%m%d'`
TIME=`date '+%k%M'`

using awk

LIST=`awk '{print $1}' file`
for OBJECT in ${LIST}

the default awk uses a space, using other separators, use a -F

calling sqlplus

sqlplus -s /nolog </dev/null
connect / as sysdba
set echo off embedded on feedback off heading off linesize 120 pagesize 0 recsep off verify off termout off

calling ftp

ftp -nv < user userid password
get file

mail alerts

mailx -r "" -s "Subject" < file_contents

using varibles from command line

# Example script to copy files to different hosts
# Assumes same user is on all other servers

if [ $# -lt 1 ]; then
echo "\nUsage: script file [newfile]\n"
exit 1

echo $file | grep -q '^/'
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then

if [ $# -gt 1 ]; then
thishost=`uname -n`
user=`id -un`
hostlist="host1 host2"

if [ ! -f $file ]; then
echo "\nCannot copy $file (doesn't exist?)\n"
exit 1

# Copy the file to all the (other) hosts

echo Copying $file to $newfile
for host in $hostlist; do
if [ $host != $thishost ]; then
echo "Copying to $host:"
scp $file ${user}@$host:$newfile

Friday, August 11, 2006

more wiki tips

Since I've recently realised that my blog may have been a bit technically skewed, here is something techie the non techie folks can appreciate.

This wiki does cover a lot of things people have to do in their day to day lives.

For the music lovers, take a look at the music section

Just when you think there aren't any good websites anymore when the whole internet is filled with spam, this basically proves otherwise. Its entertaining. I think it's another wiki hit. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

why tabbing in firefox is better

I probably wrote something about browsers previously, but everytime I surf the web, I get so incredibly frustrated with bad browsers due to non compliant web sites.

In my opinion, and possibly for some others, the new IE7 doesn't even come close to the latest Firefox 1.5. Mozilla has adopted concepts like tabulated browsing and evening went the extra step to allow you to drag tabs in order and also use shortcut keys.

Since I've moved to Safari and promptly lost my mac, I can't see myself going back to IE other than the fact that some webpages are still built only for IE compatibility.

For all you IE lovers, if youre still running IE 6 and considering using IE7 just so you can use tabs, its not your only option. Yahoo toolbar does come with the additional tabs function just to add more clutter to your browser menus.

This will be good for now, until MS adds IE7 to the next bundled patches for automatic updates. Til then, the choice is yours again.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

singapore radio

Another improvement i noticed on this front is the increase in radio stations. Here's a pretty good "lembek" channel to listen to. Lush 99.5 -

Sticking to my favourite classical stations, Symphony 92.4 - isn't bad at all.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

spoilt by choice

With some time away, I started to think that Australia was catching up in the IT space. However on returning, I realised that Singapore is still far ahead and cannot be overtaken on IT consumerism.

There's way too much choice and selection of products and at a pretty competitive prices.

The would be several reasons why Australia would not be able to catch up. Consumer behavior and poorer distribution channels.

Consumer behavour can be altered with increased immigrants wanting the technology they are familiar with, but the increased price of moving stuff around the country and labour will still lead to higher prices.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

installing firefox on centos 4.3

Well, i'm sure there are a hundred different ways of doing this. I believe you can even download the rpm from somewhere, but I decided to download it directly from mozilla.

Visit and it will have the download link. The program comes in a form of a tar.gz file.

This means after you download it, you need to run the following command in terminal.

$ tar xzvf firefox-
$ su
# mv firefox /opt/
# cd /usr/bin/
# mv firefox firefox-1.0.7
# ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox firefox
# cp /opt/firefox/firefox /opt/firefox/firefox-

I'm quite sure this isn't the best way of doing it, but it works. It shouldn't get stuffed up with any patching as well and should be easy enough to recover.

If anyone knows a better way, please feel free to correct me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

coldplay concert 23rd Jun 2006

A pretty good concert, looks like most people replaced lighters with light from mobile phones. Only managed to see one guy with a lighter during the whole event. Lots of camera flashes as wel.

I need to upgrade my phone's camera. VGA just doesn't cut it anymore. Anyway here's it again with the lights on.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

psc 2510 install on centos 4.3

If you have the full installation of centos, there is actually very little to do to establish printing and scanning for the HP PSC-2510 printer.

Setup printing

Plug in the printer and turn it on. A dialog box should pop up and you just need to select (HP | PSC 2500 series) as the connected printer

If you launch the (applications > system settings > printing) application you should see the printer.

Setup scanning:

start a terminal window and su as root
$ su -
# ptal-init setup -v

follow the prompts, this works for network as well, but in my case my connection is just usb.

Probe for USB-connected devices ([y]/n)? y

Probing "/dev/usb/lp0"...
Found "psc 2500 series"

# exit
$ xsane

This runs xsane which is the scanning application

Monday, June 19, 2006

centos 4.3 install - yes again

After my failure to install a new kernel, I realised that the LVM default install wasn't any good. So I decided to try again.

This time, i did a manual disk setup and created one /dev/hda1 for the / install with about 7.8 GB, enough for the install and other source files if required.

/dev/hda2 for swap twice memory for 1538 MB. And the last /dev/hda3 for /home

to speed up the mp3 process just run this

# rpm -ivh

It downloads and installs in no time.

my oracle dba past

I was trying to look up an old friend with google with no luck and just decided to do a search on my name as well. I discovered this new link. Apparently someone actually found my script useful and posted it at this forum. Cool.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

iptables cheats

Can't remember iptables commands and what youre doing? Its easier to modify the default saved configuration instead of trying to write your own ipchains especially if you do not do this on a daily basis.

step 1: find your iptables config file.

Use "locate iptables | more". This should give a listing of anything related to iptables. Normally this should be in the /etc/sysconfig/ directory

step 2: change your rules using vim

centos: /etc/sysconfig/iptables
openwrt: /etc/firewall.user

and run:

centos # /etc/init.d/iptables restart
openwrt(i think) # /etc/init.d/S45firewall restart

The good news is that in most cases now, the default firewall does give an example of a tcp port and udp port. and openwrt gives a commented version on forwarding ports. e.g.

WAN=$(nvram get wan_ifname)
### Port forwarding
iptables -t nat -A prerouting_rule -i $WAN -p tcp --dport 22 -j DNAT --to
iptables -A forwarding_rule -i $WAN -p tcp --dport 22 -d -j ACCEPT

Note that in this case, the port forwarded does not require the port to be open on the WAN interface. As it means that it will accept on the WAN

Alternatively, here's some iptables commands and basics to get you going. This is basically all I know and I managed to survive somewhat.

probably the 2 commonly used tables is nat and filter. By default it is set to filter so when listing existing firewall rules, you only need to do this:

# iptables -L --line

It is important to note that iptables works in a sequencial way, that means it looks at rule 1 before it looks at rule 2. I've recently started using --line which is really vital if you want an easy way to view what you want to insert to where. e.g. iptables -I INPUT 2 -j ACCEPT --dports 22 -p tcp

To view the nat (network address translation) table

# iptables -L -t nat --line

One of the more important entrys for this table is probably the masquerading for network sharing.

# iptables -A POSTROUTING -j MASQUERADE -t nat

I guess it does look intimidating, but it really isn't when it dawns upon you as in how the logic works.

if you have finished using iptables -I to create your rules, use "# iptables-save > /etc/sysconfig/iptables" to make sure your changes are saved.

More examples:

iptables -I RH-Firewall-1-INPUT 8 -p tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT

iptables -D RH-Firewall-1-INPUT 9

yum updates using a proxy

I did this for centos, but I'm sure its usable on anything that uses yum.

create a new file for dag repo in /etc/yum.repos.d called dag.repo

Find your local ISP mirror. I think both pacificnet and optus does mirrors. Here is what the file should look like.

name=Dag RPM Repository for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

After creating this file, you can run the following commands to complete the update.

# export http_proxy=http://proxy:port[dag]
# yum update

Friday, June 09, 2006

fwbuilder and checkpoint firewall

Is it me or are the two interfaces rather similar? When I first installed fwbuilder on windows xp, i thought this looks rather familiar. I know I've seen this before.

Suddenly it dawned on me that that was how checkpoint firewall looked on the solaris firewall box. Ooo.

Anyway, its something worth checking out especially if you have a linksys router, although it is still an overkill.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

enterprise ready cent os - the install

This weekend, I decided to blow away fedora core 3 and install something supposed to be more stable and enterprise ready. Part of the reason was also to do with another disk reshuffle and I've been finding an excuse to swap my creative live drive with my cdrom. the SDPIF cable was blocking the tray from opening properly. So why not just do a new distro upgrade as well.

Being familiar with redhat, I didn't think it would be that much of a challenge. Well, needless to say there were a couple of hickups. The first one being I had the install DVD and my machine didn't have the DVD rom. So off I went to download the 4 cd's.

After the installation, it refused to boot failing at the boot loader. I decided to stick to defaults and use the suggested LVM with root and swap. I modified the LVM to include a bigger mount for /home. As I was going to change my distro if things go sour.

After the machine booted sucessfully with the recommended disk partitions, I stuck in my backup harddrive and it didn't seem to boot properly. Anyway, by that time I was too tired and decided to reboot for the heck of it and go to sleep.

The next morning to my suprise, I saw the login screen of centos waiting for me. In glee, I decided to log in only to realise that it was unnaturally slow and it popped an error saying that it can't find itself in its host that will cause gnome to act weird.

I couldn't even start a terminal, but somehow the machine came back to life when i used system-config-network to disable the eth0.

Great, now I got a terminal. I decided to modify the hosts file and resolve.conf. I even decided to specify the IRQ for each network card so as I dont confuse it. The config all looked fine, but my network was still broken and I couldn't even ping my gateway. Hmm, broken network card?

So I rummaged though my spare parts and found another 3com network card. I pulled the machine apart again. After the card was changed, the machine didn't even boot to bios. Argh. Ok, I swapped the previous card back. Made in Ireland vs made in Singapore.

Whoo Hoo, it booted and network works for some strange reason. Maybe all it needed was a reboot.

Anyway, what do you do first after you install centos?

Download and install xmms-mp3 from

Yes, the compiled binaries for RHEL 4 works for Centos 4.3 as well. Yay, joy. my machine now plays my mp3s.

Another one down and tons more to go.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

disks and file systems

Seems like hard disks have been quite a popular topic for me recently and there are a few things I've actually learnt in the process. Things like chosing filesystem formats, disk recovery and raiding. It all started with my recent disk upgrades which forced me to start doing stuff again.

Here's what I learnt.

Fact 1: Hardware SATA raid on your motherboard is actually software raid on the bios.

Fact 2: Disk performance can be determined by quite a few factors, the easy things to do without getting into tweaking your kernel is to ensure that you have the right cables. Check that SMART is enabled (through the BIOS) and your DMA is on.

Here are some useful commands

# smartctl -a /dev/hda
# hdparm -d /dev/hda

Fact 3: Choose the right filesystem and stick to it. Easiest to use this as a default install as well. I think most Redhat install types use EXT3. Although other filesystems might be better for different purposes, running different filesystems will add additional load to different modules rather than just use one for all filesystems. (unless you have a high powered computer, then it might not be an issue or use XFS for video editing or large file manipulation). I'm just going to stick to EXT3. I tried using reiserfs and it really impacted the SMB file share on that mount.

Fact 4: the ntfs module doesn't seem to be included in most default distribution installs. You have to download it from

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Boozy milkfish

Decided to do something funky with my linksys router. Installed milkfish. Not sure how it works yet, but was tramatic after I flashed the rom and lost my internet connection. After a while, I realised it was the modem and not the router :P

Anyway, its "fixed" now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

boo hoo - i sold my ibook

I have to admit, i'm relatively disorientated at this point. I didn't realise how important my ibook was. I suppose the thought that I have 2 more machines at home and that can effectively last me through the rest of the year at least.

But, its all the little things you do that you dont realise is specific to machines. Like I do all my wordprocessing and spreadsheet work on my mac. I think using my PC is great, but I just dont know where to put the files and I just ended up trashing one months worth of work by accident.

ARgh! I'd need to rethink my workflow and strategy all over again, before I start doing stupid things and time is running out as more work piles up.

Food for thought, do you make your computers revolve around your work or do you force your work to revolve around your computers?

Which one are you?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Test your broadband

Here are a couple of links you can use to test your connectivity speed.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

mommy, i want a blade

This statement can possibly be one of the more inevitable aspects of our lives, as computers become more and more embedded into our lives.

Kids of 3-6 yrs getting on internet explorer and visiting on their own. Its a pretty good website that is guranteed to entertain any toddler. Slightly frustrating for adults, but the kids seem to like it.

At ages 12 to 14, they will probably want there AMD CPU with a kick ass 3D accerator with wide screen high res screen to play proper games on. I'm sure their game console will be hooked up to the monitor as well. (plasma?)

Once they get to 16, instead of a car, they will go "mommy, I want a blade. I've got a school project and I want to see if my experiments will work." Make space in the garage and haul in the server rack with 10 TB in some storage array and a 2-4 node cluster?

Who knows maybe kids just want a frisbee and a yo-yo.

is wireless the wave of the future

As I sit in my room coiling 20+ cables that didn't quite make it into the new setup. I keep thinking of all the people who try to convince me that wireless is the way to go.

Its not that I totally do not believe everything should be wired, but I've seen so many issues with wireless technology.

Here's a brief breakdown of cables i have. Power cables, 1/4 in, TRS, XLR, midi, USB, firewire, DVI, component, VGA, RCA audio, CAT5, SPDIF, etc. Right, so lets make all this wireless. How much bandwidth can you put into the air and not get conflicts in frequencies. I believe the air is polluted enough. I can't even get a good large file transfer with 802.11g without my neighbour accidentally disconnecting me. Speed rules doesn't it and everyone wants broadband which you can't get at this point with wireless.

Contrary to what my wife thinks, I dont really like cable messes. Sure, I'd like to clean it all up. I actually like the idea of multi purpose hub based fiber cable that does all protocols including power.

Yup, how about fibre channel hook up every home and have personal junction/firewall boxes to each household. Each rooms has a couple of fibre sockets that provide energy through high powered lasers. Maybe by then 30% of the earth population will already be living in space due to taxation reasons, i.e. no tax or tax benefits in space.

Back to the point. wireless at present should be used for wifi surfing, mobile phones and television remote controls.

Troubleshooting isn't really easier too. Give me a cable anyday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

kernel compilation - part 1

i'm sure this is going to be a multi part series. one of the more basic things that been around for ages and most out of the box solution people dred. I think its something to be tackled headon for in the quest for computer adulthood to get past the delinquent years.

The first question I will ask as a out of box type of guy is, "Is this an art or science, skill or attitute?"

Going back a few years, kernels used to be so easy to compile, I remembered running make xconfig on redhat 4 or 5 and there really wasn't that much too choose. looking at all the configs now. its a real killer you wouldn't even want to type make config.

So that means it needs patience. patience = attitude.

Art or science? pull out that techno dictionary and start reading. Finished reading? Ok, no disregard half of what you read, mostly the parts you dont understand (this assumes you got the right attitude). Alternatively, pull apart the hardware you have. inventorise what you have on a piece of paper and make the right choices on what you really need on your machine. So as there is some procedure for this, it can be considered a science and sciences can be learnt. Hurray!

Before everyone falls asleep again, I shall end part one. in fact i wanted to write a blog titled "sex and kernel compilation" or just called "sex" to get people to read about kernels.

Moving into the next few parts, I will hopefully get to the parts why doing this is good for you hopefully in an identifiable benefits statements.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

projectmix i/o

Its arrived and i've been mucking around with it for a few days now. Its rigged up and i've retired my Tascam US-428 and Fostex 4-track.

Test 1: Plays mp3 - Sounds great. I'm not sure if its my imagination, but it does sound great via my reference monitors which sometimes had some noise from the connectors of the 4-track.

Test 2: HUI controls work with sequencer. This is the first time I'm using pro tools so I'm not sure how the jog wheel works at this point. Right now I'm getting frustrated with markers and not navigating correctly. It doesn't have the intuitiveness of cubase, which works great and its good having all that inputs on the firewire bus instead. No issues with how the jog wheel works there.

Test 3: Changing setup while computer is running. The moral of the story is do not when any audio application is running. My computer had a history of audio driver blue screen's before so I'm not sure if its just this machine, but good to know that i can turn on of off the audio interface to change modes and not reboot.

Important notes:

I bought protools 6.8 and realised that its not compatible, however you can download the full protools 7.1 software from the m-audio site and use the same key to start it up.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

australian fedora mirrors for yum

After a rather bizarre disappearance of the optusnet mirror, i decided to use the pacficnet mirror instead. These are the sites that i use for the repo files in /etc/yum.repos.d

I would suggest you make a copy of your current files before you change the links.




Monday, March 20, 2006

IBM water cooling racks

Real funny coz i sat through a ibm blade presentation today and at the end they were introducing the water cooled server racks. (oddly enough was an idea i had 5 years ago).

Anyway, i mentioned it looked quite cool and all it was missing was the blue neon lights. I didn't think anyone else found it hilarious because i didn't get any laughs.

Maybe its just a gamer thing. Boy do I feel misunderstood.

Blades are cool and everyone should own one chassis. The big blue is still boring but, in the case of boring machines that have totally compatible parts whether or not they are required (like the thinkpad and AS400 keyboards), they have done it again.

Blue neon lights will solve it all! Big blue even. how can they not go for it? Its a sure winner.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Nigel Kennedy wasn't bad

Well, to be honest i went for the concert not expecting too much so it was better than I expected.

It was good that he didn't only play 4 seasons doing a couple of his own compositions and a bach piece. He just zipped through 4 seasons without talking too much which I thought was refreshing from his standard verbal dieorrea. Not to mention the football kicking thing made it more a cheap act. He should find alternating acts.

On a whole, I thought the concert reminded me too much of the pet shop boys gig due to a oldish woman bouncer that flashed her torchlight at me when i was trying to get a picture of the hall with my lousy no flash phone. And Nigel wasn't even playing! In front of me people were using flash cameras and they wouldn't even getting hauled off.

So Nigel if you ever read this. I thought your playing was very expressive and playing more jazz other than strangers in the night would have been better, but I'll blame the QLD orchestra for that.

Skype TV

Here's a more bizarre way of watching network video with only one tv tuner card i've recently accidently found out.

1) Install the new skype program with video on all your source and target machine.

2) on the machine with the tv tuner card, make the video source

3) make a call between the machines and enable video on the one with the tv tuner

There wasn't that much lag for full on television. Picture quality wasn't that good, but watchable. The disadvantage was that audio can be heard on both ends while watching and channels can't be changed with skype. I'd recommend VNC for that purpose which you can initiate the call yourself as well.

Monday, March 13, 2006

palm tungsten c review

Well, after 3 years of using my palm tungsten C, i think i should be able to give a rather accurate on how this pda has faired and whethere it can be considered good ROI.

For starters, the reason why I got it in the first place was more emotional than logical. Not to mention, there wasn't a lot of time spent in the decision making process. And it all started when I accidentally stepped on my bag in my bedroom one night breaking the screen of my palm Vx and didn't realise it until the next day.

I wanted a replacement and quick to distract me from the pain, hence buying the most expensive and newest palm at that time. Here is the list of things I found really useful all this while. I gave each factor some stars, max score is 5 stars, i.e. *****.

Wifi - **
(really depends on where you work)

What i really wanted was wifi, working in school campus for the first year made it all worthwhile. The school also had pptp vpn and that was great too. I was able to do quite a lot during meeting while not using a laptop or anything bulky.

After I left that workplace, i found a lot less uses for the PDA, I could use it at home, but the inability to do a wireless sync didn't help. It doesn't support WPA as well which is the new security setting most people are using these days.

Qwerty keyboard - *****

I totally forget how to write in graphiti anymore, although my normal handwriting can be commonly mistaken for fowl scratchings.

Compute power - *****

I've absolutely no complains about how fast this PDA is. I think its also mostly to do with the palm OS as well. Performance might be related to how many apps you can run at the same time and i've never really had a good performance experience with windows mobile edition.

Document syncing - **

Documents-to-go comes in the factory preset, Yay! considering how many times I had to hard reset it. But, whats it doing to my Mac? Creating multiple versions once it detects any changes are made? Ok, so this isn't really a bad thing, but some housekeeping is definately involved. Also gets some error messages

SD-card - ***

One of the coolest things i've ever done was to take an SD card from someone's digital camera and copy the files directly to my PDA. I've only done it once, but I have to admit, it felt really good doing it. Right now, the SD card reader is broken :(.

Versa mail - **

I dont know where did the versa mail advertising come from, but i've never been able to sync it with my outlook mail and contacts dont sync either. I think 3rd party software is probably required. I just use it to download my gmail via POP. cool unless you already marked that email as read.

Service - ***

I've sent my PDA back twice and I'd need to send it back again because of the SD card reader fault. They aren't too bad. The first time I sent it back, they gave me another repaired one saying there's something funky with the first gen one that I have.


In comparison to other generic PDAs, the tungsten C is a great PDA, however I would say its overpriced and less featured than I imagined it. It's firmware isn't that upgradeable to the current standard to support bluetooth and proper wifi.

I think its still very usable and i'm hope it has a very long life span to come, regardless of the limitations. The simple things like the qwerty keyboard was a winner, but its not back lit which makes the PDA useless in no light conditions (since I turned off graphiti on screen).

Monday, March 06, 2006

easy peasy lemon squeezy

I cannot explain pompous people. I am sure the world is filled with people that are going to put you down as often as they can to prove they are better.

I would think most people would expect it by now, but somehow we still seem a little shocked when it happens. If there was any explanation of teenage life, it would be to prepare us from these scenarios.

Maybe it's God syndrome. Maybe because you have the rights to alter people's directory permissions or work in an area where monkeys may feel challenged, does it make you feel more superior than other monkeys?

I maintain my professional face as I laugh inside at the childish ignoramus of the deliberating ape.

"Obiwan has taught you well, but ..."

Sunday, March 05, 2006

s/pdif audio rocks

Ah, the simple things in life. I dont know why it didn't occur to me earlier, but I finally put a s/pdif cable which i had spare for a while and put it between my old creative live drive and cambridge speakers.

And it sounds great.

There was now a clear distinction in different audio channels when i listen to music and I dont think its my imagination.

So points to note. Since most MOBO comes with spdif outputs, it will definately be worthwhile to get speakers that have it as well. Secondly, good old stuff really do have long life spans.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"new" internet explorer?

I had a quick go at the new beta internet explorer a few days ago. initially i thought i was using firefox with some funky skin due to the tabulated feature which looked like it had more bells and whistles.

My conclusion, if you can't beat them, join them, which looks like the path Microsoft has decided to take. Safari and mozilla have been using tabulated browsing and its pretty much become a trend for most surfers. Not to mention, you dont get confused at which instance of IE is hogging the most resources when firefox has only one process instance.

I would think that internet explorer is still a very popular browser because of shoddy developers who do not code for compatibility and only preview in internet explorer. Maybe that has changed, but its the way I remember it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

terminology and the befuddlement of english

The occupational hazzard of anyone in information technology. I believe that this plague is so rampant that you are probably already infected and may not even know it. This plague is "terminolgy" aka "jargon".

For example, it is evident when a manager says, "please explain this in a language that I will understand", of which it never really happens and the person walks away with another pre-consieved issue. You hardly hear an engineer ask the manager "tell me this in a language I'll understand." My assumption on this fact is that the engineer probably doesn't care what the manager is saying to begin with, either that there is nothing of value that really can be contributed.

Management or marketing speak is as deadly and contagious as technical speak. In this day and age where mutual understanding is of utmost importance, given racial or cultural differences, we should enforce the fact that people need to speak clearly rather than try to muddlefuddle each other.

The next time someone tells you to explain in simple english, tell them to paraphrase in vulcan.

is nigel kennedy any good?

I just received my tickets for nigel kennedy who's coming to brisbane to play four seasons yet again. Ah, the pangs of being a star only known for a specific work that I hope isn't his best.

If you are a rock star, at least you get people like who look like they are enjoying themselves throughout the song, not sitting there staring blankly.

i suppose the problem with classical musicians is that everyone keeps quiet so screw ups are more obvious. But then again, he can always say its his version of it isn't it?

got to listen to those mp3s again so i'd know how to whistle along.

You can't really tell how good performers are these days, because no matter how crap they are, since people pay a whole ton, you know they already want to have a good time, so a standing ovation is natural. Where's the trill in that?

All time worse band concerts: Bush at the monash auditorium melbourne (they really suck and have abosolutely no respect for the audience even in the small venue.)

Better off listening to the album band: Placebo at brisbane convention hall. I truely expected better.

Will find out if old nigel joins the list next month.

Friday, February 10, 2006

gmail chat with elmer fudd

During the process of upgrading my browser while getting really frustrated that my default search engine was, i realised that you can actually set your default language to elmer fudd. all you need to do is:

Pweferwences > Intewface Wanguage > Dispway Google tips and messages in: ewmew fudd

also using and leaving it logged in allows you to google chat via the webpage. how cool is that?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

putty doesn't work on the o2 xphone II

I downloaded the ssh client for windows mobile 2003 and it refused to work on my phone. messed up the GUI as well. I guess it was built for the windows PDAs instead.

Another quirk is that when I tried to use windows media player to transfer songs. if too many songs are attempted to be sync'd at the same time, it crashes the phone. No cntl-alt-del there. Had to remove battery.

And on the point of battery, it dies in less than a day with normal use, maybe i shouldn't leave it plugged into the USB port for so long.

Well another one bites the dust.

Still, it does sync my outlook calender and really portable, so I can't really complain, or did I already?

process and port references

these are really useful for knowing what your computer is doing

process references, use your task manager to get this information

port references, type netstat in a command window to view your used ports

Monday, January 30, 2006

windmill photo

Took this photo up in Cairns last year of the windmills.

Updated dream computer

My next muso machine

AMD Athlon™ 64 4400+ Processor Retail (939) Dual Core
Thermaltake Blue Orb II (P4 S775, AMD S754, S939, S940)
ASUS A8N-SLI- PREMIUM nForce 4 SLI Socket 939 Motherboard
2048 PQI PC3200 400MHz DDR Dual Channel Series (2X1024MB)
Western Digital 250G SATAII 7200 rpm HDD
Western Digital 250G SATAII 7200 rpm HDD
Albatron 128MDDR PC6600GT PCI Express Video
LG DVD16X+- Super Multi DVD Rewriter with Software(DUAL LAYER Black )4167BBK
Antec Top Quality Sonata II Quiet Black Case

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Everybody needs a DAW

The new year is out and basically DAWs are here to stay. I've been looking for an upgrade from my US-428 which has been serving me faithfully for the last few of years from the time I remembered getting it when it first came out. Frontier designs have done a great job in thinking up really niffy products. Most recently, the wireless tranzport.

So which new DAW will I be spending my hard earned money. Magazines like future music and computer music used to have issues for buying studios under a budget and home studio makeovers with limited cash. We probably wouldn't see that much of those articles anymore as home studios are more popular and the choices of products are ridulous. Any studio makeover is bound to be sponsored by the product's company.

So where do we start? I normally try to look at products that not going to be discontinued or I'm sure will have a long running support (for my intended use lifespan). Even if there may be a product that has kick ass specs, if no one uses it, I wouldn't. Companies that have stood the test of time like tascam, yamaha, m-audio, alesis and mackie would be the first places to look for a DAW.

For most of the products out now, I will put them into 2 categories.

* Mixers pretending to be audio interfaces: e.g. Yamaha, alesis and mackie
* Audio interfaces failing to be mixers: e.g. Tascam, m-audio

I actually like the mixer/daw products, because these things work even if you rip them from your computers. However in this instance, if I'm looking at a US-428 replacement and an upgrade as well to deal with the ordeals of modern home productions.

Requirement 1: Compatibility with all/most software sequencers. This comes in useful when you realise you need to do a project which came in a different format. Pro tools is really being "elite" on only working with its own hardware. M-audio has m-powered pro tools and tascam only allows control over pro tools, but not use the actual interface.

Requirement 2: Enough Ins/outs that also include phantom power. Great when you realise that phantom powers your DI box.

Requirement 3: Motorised faders. Got to have them for automation, its a great incentive to watch sliders move on their own. I wouldn't bother otherwise.


1) Tascam FW-1884 with the digi 002 rack, hmmm. yes, but how much is that going to cost?

2) M-audio projectmix I/O. Its new and I dont know much about it yet, but can you really have your cake and eat it too?

Friday, January 27, 2006

ode to bnc

The whole CNY cleanup time normally finds other odd items that appear and find their way to a bin. Here's a picture I took of my BNC connectors that I used to rely on for building my LANs. Before I could throw away these precious things, I decided to take a picture as momento.

Now presenting. The bnc-vari-spaceship, *pheeuuuuu* .. *zap* *zap*

MIDI over ethernet

Earlier this month, I was sitting in a secondary school music technology class and heard MIDI was described as the dinosaur of music technology. Which in actual fact it is, but who doesn't love still it? For people who has moved on to loops (which was what that class was supposed to be about), maybe its not used as much, but should not be disregarded.

After the class the teacher told me when we were having the conversation that he loved his VSTs and wouldn't know what to do without them.

Instead of looking at full bodied products like the muse receptor or the tc powercores, which only if you had like lots of spare cash can afford and of course stability meant a lot, other methods of distributed processing seems out of reach.

For those who dont know that MIDI over ethernet already exists, it does.
I think this is a great evolution for MIDI to really make effective use over a bus which everyone has and doesn't use very often.

I should actually start a "take pity on your USB" campaign given the way most people abuse their USB bus as I know I do.

So how is this different from a VST system link? The answer is simple, you dont need one. And what do you know, but it now comes free in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger even. Check it out

FX teleport is really a step up into the distributed sound production on windows only though. It does one step more and gives your processed sound back to your host computer. win already, but its not free and requires you to have more than 1 windows machine. Who wants more than one windows machine?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

how you know when your harddrive is going to die

I'm not entirely sure, but maybe from this message from dmesg.

hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hdc: dma_intr: error=0x01 { AddrMarkNotFound }, LBAsect=0, sector=0
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdc: dma_intr: status=0x51 { DriveReady SeekComplete Error }
hdc: dma_intr: error=0x01 { AddrMarkNotFound }, LBAsect=63, sector=63
hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: dma_timer_expiry: dma status == 0x21
hdc: DMA timeout error
hdc: dma timeout error: status=0xd0 { Busy }
ide: failed opcode was: unknown
hdc: DMA disabled

My colllegue was shocked when I mentioned I buy an average of 2-3 hard drives a year for personal consumption. So I told him that I have more than 3 machines at home with different age groups, it is natural that these drives die and need to be replaced.

The most awful thing about this is that you loose your data which I have several times in the past. I'm sure faithful readers of this blog will have already read the first few articles about data management and have 2 copies of the same data distributed in their homes to avoid such a tragedy.

The drive I mentioned above used to be an external firewire IDE enclosure. I used it on windows and mac. Last I attempted to use it for was a backup of all my Mac data in Mac native's filesystem. To shorten the story, it wiped out whatever was in it. So I decided to do what I normally do with all "faulty" disks. Stick it into a linux machine. They will tell you exactly whats wrong with it.

Now, why can't Windows or Mac OS (didn't check console though) tell you that, it just tells you all kinds of funny stuff and makes your disk un-usable. At least that message was more straight forward and less misleading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

death and rebirth

Rebirth is now in a museum and free for downloading. Pick it up now to know what you have missed all this while. Its still fun to play with.

Basically the download is just a torrent file, got get on torrenting if you dont already have a bittorrent client.

You will need to register and download it at the

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

back on track, 4 track

Contrary to the title, my 4 track needs to get its pots cleaned. Might have to send it in for servicing to get all the connections sorted and hissing removed whenever you try to put a tape in.

But, good to say I'm back on track with recording, started not to be lazy and plugged my cubase key into my new monitor's usb hub. Still strange things happening with my midi clock when recording. Latency seems to be too high. I still suspect it to be the USB bus being overloaded.

Cross referenced the VST performance on cubase with latency when recording audio. The system didn't seem to be suffering, but audio went a bit wonky. There was this site the guy at brisbane sound group recommended to tune windows xp, which actually seems mostly valid provided you dont go overboard.

Hopefully this isn't an excuse to get a new workstation. The new machines look rather desirable or maybe I should update my sequencer. Unfortunately my workstation is under the recommended specs. Yet another excuse?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

got bitten by an ant

Was out in the parklands today when I walked into some red ants. Not exactly like the bugs in king kong, but this was a 1 inch long forest type red ant which got caught between my slipper and my foot. I believe these are the red ants that build moulds that look like huts.

It stung my foot as it was trying to escape. sharp bite, intense itchness quickly followed by swelling and numbness after the spray on bite/sting medication from my brother-in-laws car. Didn't think anyone would keep that kind of stuff handy in the car, but saying that I actually had to use it, I'm going to get one of those for myself.

Friday, January 20, 2006

recommended aussie software

So we hear lots of strange things happen down under, and similarly in the software world where you wouldn't expect a lot down here due to the slight lag in receiving the latest technology. Suprisingly or not so suprisingly, there are pretty good stuff happening here. The reason for this I believe is the simplicity of designs which is innate in the explorer culture. Having to do with less to try to do more, which is an admirable trait.

These are the two latest software I would highly recommend.

Wavepad, its an audio editor which can be a wavelab replacement. I'm sure the name has nothing to do with that.

We have seen quite a lot of SQL clients for Oracle but I think this one will kick a lot of butts once its finished. Not a bias opinion since it was written by a friend, but it is designed with the simplicity of golden plus some features similar to toad and without the heavy resource use

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Update on gizmo vs skype

Looks like I'm not the only one sorting out the two providers. I've recently made both avaliable on my machines. Saying that skype just got video, it does still have its uses.

Installing OS X on Intel

The dual core intel macs are out. The macbook looks really good especially since there aren't any real comparable windows notebooks out there other than the Dell ones which are not easily assessible in australia.

For people who want to build Mac clones. Here's the link to start building your budget mac

It might be a real pain to go through all that, but I see apple loosing a bit of a foothold in their hardware profits which does bring back some memories of the mac compatibles.

Correct me if i'm wrong

- Apple pulls compatibles off the market
- Apple annouces the move to intel
- Hackers allow people to run Mac OS on PC compatibles again

hmm. wonder what will happen next

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

alternative place to buy tigers

For discount software in Australia, I've discovered Have not yet bought anything from them yet, but the prices do look reasonable. This is pretty good for items that do not have an edu discount, e.g. family pack.

Installing ubutun on old intel macbookpro

After gettting a new last of the intel macbook air, I decided to install ubuntu on my older mac. The setup was fairly simple after download...