Thursday, October 25, 2007

installing skype on 64 bit fedora core 6

The skype download from assumes that Fedora is 32bit.

For a 64 bit install and if you do not want to download the standalone version and move files to the various directories (which I think is too complex and difficult to maintain), you can download the required 32 bit rpm from the following site.


Simply in similar order (nas is a pre-requisite for qt4-x11)

rpm -ivh nas-1.9-1.fc6.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh libsigc++20-2.0.17-2.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh qt4-4.3.2-1.fc6.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh qt4-x11-4.3.2-1.fc6.i386.rpm

After you have done this, rpm -ivh the Skype RPM downloaded from the skype site. I used -nodeps initially, but with the required RPMs, you should not have to do this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MSI P35 Platinum and Adaptec 19160 SCSI cards

I've just upgraded my PC. Upgrades tend to be a bit tricky as mostly its trying to merge old with new.

One of my prized old parts is my old Adaptec PCI SCSI adapter which runs my SCSI drive. Instead of using the SCSI drive as a dedicated music disk like previously, I thought about using as my boot disk for Windows XP. I also had 2 x 320 GB SATA drives which I wanted to use as raid 0 data disk.

The problem with this drive setup was when XP was installed and booted, it never detected the 2 x SATA drives in raid mode. I also noticed in BIOS mode, the raid adapter configuration screen (Ctrl-"I") never appeared.

After moments of rebooting, I caught a glimpse of a line that said, "not enough space...". Hitting the Ctrl-A key during booting of the SCSI card, I disabled the SCSI bios and selected to not boot Bios and still scan SCSI bus to detect hard drives.

And it worked, but only boots from the Intel SATA raid drives.

Now I am forced to use Vista because Vista already has raid drivers in-built and XP needs a floppy on install and I was too lazy to carnage another box for that reason. No floppy drive works for me.

Here are the components of the new machine:

MSI P35 Platinum with Intel Core 2 E6550
Gigabyte 2600XT 256 DDR4
2 x 1 GB 800 mhz DDR2
1 x Adaptec SCSI 19160 U160 card
2 x 320GB Western Digital SATA drives
Antec Sonata II case

Vista Performance 5.2 with the Intel Core 2 E6550 being the slowest at 5.2. Howszat!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cure Singapore 01/08/07

I'm wondering if anyone noticed Bob changing the words in Never Enough to "Singapore baby" instead of "Japanese baby".

I think the last time I watched the cure was in 1994 in Melbourne. This gig was I think longer if my foggy memory works and they played tons, making it real value for money at $60 bucks an hour for the $180 buck free standing tickets.

And jeez, I've never seen so many camera phones in action. Sometimes they were really irritating. Lest to say I took a picture too :P. But at least I didn't stick it someone's face to frame and zoom for 5 minutes. Here's how a quick 2 second lift and snap looks like.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jet concert - Fort Canning

This is the second time I'm watching Jet, first somewhere in the Valley in Brisbane. Still as entertaining and not so full on. Quite a chilled out gig. If you watch them, drink lots of beer.

Taken ‎"Tuesday, ‎19 ‎June, ‎2007, ‏‎1:25:30 PM"? Hmm, that didn't make any sense, maybe the phone's timezone is off again. Silly windows mobile.

Well, I had the phone serviced and flashed the ROM with Windows Mobile 6 sometime after this shot was taken.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2nd youtube post

Recorded in Brisbane using my Korg N5 and computer sequencer. This features pictures taken of the National History Museum.

Naturally when I say recorded, I mean its written then as well. I just record whatever improvisation comes to mind at that time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

google desktop and pidgin to the rescue

My windows machine is now Vista.

Why? After the failed installation of Office 2007, installed as an upgrade from Office 2003, I was unable to create any more charts in Excel. Apparently there is no fix for this and no matter how many un-installations and installations of Office you do after that, or muck with the registry files, its not going to come back to life.

The solution, backup your data, reformat and install Vista. The vista performance index of my Dell Latitude D620 N series is 3. Although it is quite capable of running all the Aero stuff. that gave me a bit of a headache, so I set it to max performance and put all the classic features.

So far, the major downsides to Vista apart was with the live search (which of course doesn't find anything) and also live messenger. Coincidentally, both tools have the word Live in it, so maybe its the same bunch of people with another different installation of windows.

Anyways, not going to go through the whole hassle of another re-install, I decided to use 2 things that I know works. Google desktop to replace Live search and Pidgen (formally Gaim) for Messenger. At least Google desktop gives some responses rather than just hang on indexing and Pidgen does more than just MSN.

Although I expected massive compatibility issues, so far its been good, I'm using the 32 bit version. Oh, and yay, I can actually create an Excel chart now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

First youtube post - shimmering

This is actually the name of a default patch on my pod xt live effects pedal. I was testing it out and recorded this while I was at it.

The photos were taken from a nature walk further down from the gold coast at Burleigh heads. For a nature walk, there was sure a lot of rescue craft about, lifeguards, boat and even a helicopter. Must be rather safe if the sharks don't get you first.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

firefox 2 and java on fedora core 6

To install Firefox 2 and JRE 6 on FC6, I downloaded both the self extracting files for both Firefox and JRE. The correct version of JRE to use is the i586 version as it contains the plugins directory needed for Firefox.

Installing Firefox2

Download the self extracting file and extract the files into some program location, I used /usr/local/firefox.

# mv /usr/bin/firefox /usr/binfirefox_1.5

Try launching via terminal. To fix the libstdc++ error refer to this link, basically the steps are

# yum provides
# yum -y install compat-libstdc++-33

After that is done, click on the browser shortcut and it will prompt you to look for the new firefox executable, select the new firefox file, i.e. /usr/local/firefox/firefox.

To install the JRE;

Go to the JAVA directory
# cd /usr/java/

Copy the file you downloaded from Sun to the JAVA root dir for extraction.
# cp /home/username/Desktop/jre-6u1-linux-i586.bin ./
# sh jre-6u1-linux-i586.bin

Create the softlink for Firefox
# cd /usr/local/firefox/plugins
# ln -s /usr/java/jre1.6.0_01/plugin/i386/ns7/

Friday, May 25, 2007

using openvpn via an ssh tunnel via http proxy

This is how to use openvpn via an ssh tunnel via http proxy on windows to create a network route between 2 LANs or for you to access your office computer directly from home.

I'm using Windows at the office and Linux at home. You will need Openvpn 2 and putty for this. This is theoratical and should not work, however for some reason you decide to try this and have it work, Let me know. However if you publish your openvpn service on port 22, this should have no issues. Just skip the following ssh step.

To start ssh tunnel with putty. make sure that the http proxy is configured with a keepalive and in the SSH section create a new rule that uses L1194 localhost:1194

The server command you can run on your linux box at home:

openvpn --port 1194 --proto tcp-server --dev tun --comp-lzo --ifconfig

The client command you run on the workstation in the office is:

openvpn --remote localhost 1194 --http-proxy 8080 proxy.txt --http-proxy-timeout 5 --dev tun --proto tcp-client --ifconfig --comp-lzo

This creates an additional IP address. Test with a ping. Although TCP is not recommended, its still the easiest to setup.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

OS upgrade

Although its been a month or so since I received my AMD 64 3200+ and DFI LANparty UT nF3 Ultra-D from a friend, I'm still only setting it up and breaking it in.

One of the first few questions I tried to figure out was what operating system are I going to load in it or rather what was the best OS around to use on it. So, I decided to try a few after buying a few more parts for it.

I bought a ASUS AGP Nvidia 7600 GS Silent (no fan) and a couple of 320GB SATA drives with the Gigabyte 550W power suppy and centurion 5 case with 1GB PC DDR 400 memory.

The first OS I decided to try was Vista, after all it was the latest and greatest right? Well, it installed no problems, and I even liked the new Windows movie maker that can with it. Yes, some "WOW". My PC scored a 4 on the Vista performance scale. Not too bad, with the CPU having the lowest score of 4. And more WOW, the sound didn't work. Yes, there were no drivers for it and when I went to the Vista site to look for audio support, it turns out that Vista had very bad support for soundcards, in fact it virtually didn't support much at all, like anything slightly fancy is totally out and you can basically forget about surround sound.

Ok, so I decided to go back to old faithful, this time I was brave and decided to try the nvidia on board RAID 1. I dug out a old floppy drive from my retired PII and loaded the drivers. Yay! Sound at last. Hmm, the odd thing was the computer seemed rather unstable. crashing, etc, but of course I ignored it and played Dawn of War, Dark Crusade with high detail and 1024 x 768 graphics. It seems that with slower CPUs and higher end graphics card, the detailing can be set high with lower resolution, my guess is that the CPU has to process more objects and the graphics card only puts in the detail. Alas, a whole bunch of dodgy stuff happened again, and the most irritating thing about XP is that it refuses to tell you the real problem. It blue screened on boot continuously and I had to get down and dirty to fix it.

I looked in the bios and reset everything to factory default and started to configure it again. I tried different installation media and alas, the RAID floppy died. Well, I could install without the raid, but I decided to do something different.

The final selection of OS, Centos 5 vs Fedora core 6. I managed to download both the distributions from using cygwin ncftp. I installed Centos first succesfully after a couple more bouts with the BIOS and hard drives. I disabled the RAIDto avoid confusion and unplugged my third drive on the SATA 3. This I gathered from the error messages on /dev/sdc. See why can't windows let you know stuff like that.

Centos 5 is flash, and I mean cool. Its changed some core concepts from Centos 4, but basically its all quite capable for a newbie to get a hold of and start using immediately. I'll have to consider it definately one of the greater advances in Desktop/Server operating systems. I used the Logical Volume Manager and was suprised how easy it was to add space and extend an existing logical volume over additional drives. The security might be a bit hard to get a handle with Selinux. If you were an end-user, it would be a no brainer. It really does protect. Once you want to start creating your own servers, e.g. SAMBA, you might encounter some issues with it. I just set it up as Permissive to get some idea on what it was trying to do initially.

Alas, for bleeding edge, I will have to go with Fedora core 6. I'm downloading the x64 DVD iso as I write this blog and I have a feeling that this will most likely stay on this machine if nothing really bad happens again. If "touch wood" something does, I guess you can't go wrong with Centos 5. It really does ROCK!

Friday, April 20, 2007

skating for charity

I've signed up for this year's Charity Bike and Blade. So far the most interesting comment I've heard so far is how can anyone skate and bike at the same time? Shouldn't it ought to be called the "Bike or Blade"?

Unfortunately, I can say I have actually ridden a bicycle with my skates on in my earlier days so that might actually justify the name although I'm doubt the bikers are planning on doing the same.

Still, 400Km on skates. We do not do the full skate distance unfortunately, its relay skating :(. Seriously what else can a retired and frustrated skateboarder and aggressive skater do but just skate casually for longer distances? Watch the X Games?

5 months left for training. Enough time to reprogram my brain for speed/distance skating? Stay tuned and find out.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

the network is the game

I've just discovered Sun's gaming strategy which is probably a bit slow, but I think it was an easy thing to miss which is my excuse. The games (non Sun Java) that get noticed have large product launches and snazzy graphics, fast computer requirements and heaps of advertisements and some freebies (which the high price of the game probably pays for).

However, according to Sun, "the network is the game". Sounds familiar? Because they also say "the network is the computer". I bet if they had to do something else like refrigeration, they would most likely say "the network is the fridge".

To Sun, games are java based and have generally bad graphics. Its almost back to the stone age to start at the beginning, but it does make sense as these games can be addictive and I do know a couple of people who play these Java games. Not everyone can rely on a keen sense of instincts and reaction times which are what all these fast paced action games are. And these games are sometimes better thought out for logic.

Still, most people still tend to fall prey to marketing and fancy boxes. (e.g. I just bought the Kane edition metal box for C & C Tiberian wars). Fancy graphics is what I like, Hollywood special effects and watching massive battles which I can control. Still Supreme Commander is another computer upgrade and I might actually give that a miss. :(

So a reliance on fast computers isn't the way to go either as its basically a selfish act for people who can afford expensive consoles and workstations. *drat*

I think Sun's key strength is portability and usability on all platforms. Yes the company that tries too hard to play well with others. Where as their competitors just tell you to suffer and pay the price of their bad design by trying to get faster computers that are never fast enough. (bad code)

In this demanding world, although going back to basics is necessary, it seems that the money generators is the gaming population that needs the fancy graphics and gore. For the record, I think THQ's Dawn of War does a pretty good job at keeping the graphics descent and playability on mid range machines possible.

Check out these websites for the java stuff.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Songs I've listened to in 2006

Some songs I've listened to and liked this last year, can't remember all, but here is a few.

The Hives - Hate to say I told you so
Muse - new born
Rush - Summertime blues (Feedback cover)
unkle - Nursery rhyme breather
Franz Ferdinand - Take me out
Black Rebel Motocycle Club - Love burns
Depeche mode - Pain that I'm used to

Favorite album: DM - Playing the angel

Other bands to listen to:
Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

why 5900 is so popular

5900 according to the world's port standards belong to VNC.

Its just nasty that MS tries to take over that port from such a old, useful and beloved application.

In fact I'm not sure what memo went out, but both remote desktop services as well as virtual remote control actually both use the port as well. So thats even another conflict within the same platform. This means that remote access to your workstation and your virtual server services are not able to run in harmony until you change the detault ports.

So I am guessing that 5900 is actually the global remote access port and that all "remote" applications should use it with the only limitation is that you can't use 2 of any application at the same time without changing ports to non standard ports.

Yuck Yuck Yuck.

On the point of non standard ports, I asked a network administrator why do people change their ports to use non standard ports. The answer as I heard was for security reasons.

And then I asked. whats the point when any hacker can still run a port scan and find out what services you are running and it would be more of an administrative hindrance when managing firewalls.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Connecting to the windows 2003 console from XP

Microsoft documented (my comments in brackets):

To connect to the console, administrators can choose one of the following methods:

  • Use the Remote Desktop Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in

(Download from god knows where and super near impossible to find from the microsoft site)

  • Run the Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe) program with the /console switch.

(Easiest to use but its through cmd or via "Run"on the start menu. E.g. mstsc /v: /console)

  • Create Remote Desktop Web Connection pages that set the ConnectToServerConsole property.

(hmm? Clearly very well documented as that was about all that was mentioned, just use the previous example. Its almost like another hidden feature in XP like netmeeting.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

New year gadget list

With the chinese new year and all, here are my recent additions to my road warrior gadget list.

O2 Zinc Mobile

Feedback & Review :
This is similar to the Dopod 838 pro. Its got all the base functions and even a more logical and compatible headphone jack. Size and Dimensions are identical on looks. I compared them side by side and the Dopod might actually be a tad heavier.

I actually got this as a Starhub promotion to get a free can of abalone. As its a new phone, most people would base whether to get it on the reviews. So far from what I read about the reviews, most reviewers are only phone users and not PDA/computer users. One such review mentioned that the phone can be only be used with a stylus. "Duh", there is a slide out keyboard and keyboard shortcuts makes this PDA real quick and easy to navigate and use without a stylus unless for web browsing.

The sluggishness of the OS is comparable to most new Nokias and windows smartphones. The price to pay for functionality. I had one person make the file explorer speed comparision and told me it was faster than the Dopod too. I can substantiate that to be true without first hand experience.

Definately a great purchase and I'm not disappointed at all with the phone or the abalone.

Microsoft Zune (with compliments from Microsoft)

Feedback & Review :
Who can argue with a freebie from Microsoft and yet another surprising one at that. Ok, I haven't really used it other than install the software and watch the bundled video and music.

Its much lighter than my 80GB iPod video and only has 30 GB. However, it does come with radio that only has settings for North America, Japan or some other country and not Singapore or anywhere in Asia for that matter. Still the radio works and even shows the station name on the display after it auto tunes.

I have no idea how the wireless works, but it is meant to stream to an Xbox 360. Hmm, is it a sign to get one of those?

Its a descent MP3 player no doubt and hasn't crashed yet. If you can live with itunes to sync your iPod and Apple's strange file directory storage, this device shouldn't bother you that much. I might write more once I actually start using it more.

Dell Latitude D620 (Core 2 1.66 ghz, 100 GB 7200 rpm HDD and 2 GB 667 mhz ram, nVidia NVS 110M)

Feedback & Review :
As far as picking a mobile workhorse, you can't really go too far wrong with a Dell latitude, not like I had much of a choice from work distributed machines. A good thing about these latitudes are the catch that holds the screen to the rest of the machine.

I'm sure I'll think of something else eventually. The D620 actually makes more sense than the D820 just based on weight and battery life. the D820 was a pain to carry around especially if you wanted good battery life, the 9 cell battery was a killer.

With all enterprise distributions of windows, they somehow always forget to cater for dual core laptops which made me have to replace the ntoskrnl.exe and hal.dll files with the dual core versions during safe mode. Make sure you reboot twice in safe mode for effect. Also make sure you go to the bios and set your hard disk for performance / "noisy" mode.

I wouldn't buy it, and I didn't :)

Personally, a laptop of my choice is probably still a mac book pro or an alienware machine. I do realise those are heavy, but if its a personal machine, how often will you honestly need to lug it around?

Back in town again

IMG_1628, originally uploaded by melvenchok.

Using the default lens on my Canon 350D from Sofitel viewing the Chinese New Year celebration fireworks.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Source of freeware

If you are on a budget and want a new piece of software to tinkle with. Freeware is your thing. Its like shopping at the $2 shop, only its more a $0 shop.

Most freeware sites tend to be plagued with ads and all kinds of stuff. Here is a link to a magazine sites that highlight useful freeware archive.

Of course there is always which I used to use and also not forgetting your local ISP mirror. Its good to know whats there and quick to download.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Desktops have higher ROI than laptops

When choosing between a desktop and a laptop, based on my personal past experiences my desktops seem to last a lot longer than my laptops. The max life span of a laptop I ever got out was 2-3 years. Most of them died or died, fixed and died again. Texas instruments (my first ever P133), Acer, Compaq, Apple, IBM, Dell. No laptop fared too far different from each other although some better than others.

In terms of performance, after each year, most softwares (especially games) have more demanding system requirements. Not to mention the new release of windows which appears more sluggish than the last.

In contrast, the lifespan of desktops seem to last a whole lot longer, the max so far is 10 years and still counting for my Intel PII 333mhz which I plan on retiring this year. My workstations are a AMD XP 2000+ 1.7 ghz (3 years old) and an Intel PIII 667 (6 years old) and both are still going strong.

So far, I've mostly built my own machines rather than relying on production line models. Its so much easier to replace and upgrade according to your own requirements as all the parts are pretty much standard for the computer enthusiast. In the case of laptops, even if the parts are replaceable, its definately more difficult for the average person to do especially when most notebook manufacturers have all sorts of weird designs.

The only real reason why I still use laptops is for work. Basically if you put them into the same class as your mobile phone or PDA, you wouldn't be disappointed.

(laptops shouldn't be called laptops anymore when its not possible to put them on your lap these days without burning a hole in your leg. I think the official term now is notebook computer)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Decsions may come naturally to gamers. Dark or light side depending on what force powers you want. In reality, decisions are based on shades of gray and most people's unwillingness to change. The self inflicted predicament of humanity.

If anything marketing has taught us. Ideals, dreams and aspirations can be purchased with cold hard cash. And if you are determined enough, you can also buy the more expensive model.

Personally, how would you choose between a black hole society and vast area of nothingness. I would imagine both attibute to the same bland side of the coin without anything to offer on the other side.

As you can imagine, I'm listening to Morrissey now. Alas, today is a happy happy day.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Who buys AGP these days?

Oddly enough, I've thought about who would want to get high end AGP cards when motherboards these days are all PCI-E 16x. Well today I answered my own question.

I picked up the Gecube AGP 8x Radeon X1300 (from Radeon 8500) for my Socket A AMD 2000+ (1.7 ghz) as well as the Antec Sonata II "Quiet" case to solve some heat and Vista compatibility issues to future proof this machine. Vista didn't like the Radeon 8500 for all its fancy OS X and X11 copied GUI.

The case was quite impressive and came with a heffy great 450W power supply (upgrade from a 230W power supply) to power the AGP graphics card, but didn't seem to take the temperature of mainboard according the sis sandra who reported that temperature should be below 50 degrees. I'm guessing farenheit. I feel better that my drives are not next to the power supply now, but it still looks like a bigger CPU cooler is in order if I want to run this as a media PC in the future.

How much is too much?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

understanding object orientation concepts

When I was in uni, I had issues with object orientated languages. Mostly because of my prior procedural training in COBOL and C. Hence Java was a pain. The hardest part of OO was having to deliberately erase what you already know about procedural languages.

Thankfully, my occupation only required system administration skills. After downloading and installing the Eclipse IDE, I decided to give OO another shot. Thanks to time, I've totally forgotten how to code hence its almost like starting fresh.

Believe it or not, it all makes sense to me now, also being able to see the benefit not only from a programming persepective, but also from a business and process point of view. If anyone had issues with configuration management for application maintenance, extracting classes and objects can potentially define your configuration items (CI).

Of course the granularity can be determined on how far up or down the hierachy you want to go. So in esscence, the terminology and approaches aren't too far different.

I suppose another explaination of object orientation from a musican's point of view can be done with the association of Apple's garage band application. Sounds categories are like the classes and the actual sound objects are associated with each class, similar to directory structures, except that each object can inherit attributes from different classes.

e.g. a electronic beat is both has drum class attributes and electronic class attributes.

How easy is that?

Splitting the home network

Who wouldn't want to separate the traffic at home for security reasons. The more common ones include wireless guest and wireless users. ...