Who the fdisk?


Found another cool time saver tip. For me I find myself looking for partition mount points. So I usually do:

fdisk /dev/hda

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 4982.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
   (e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/hda: 40.9 GB, 40982151168 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4982 cylinders

Hauppauge MediaMVP - Billings LUG February 2007


MediaMVPMediaMVPLately, I have had some fun with a Hauppauge MediaMVP 1000. It is a networked device that is able to receive video and audio steams and display them on your TV. It includes a remote control and once configured is very easy to use. What makes this device extra neat, is that it runs Linux with a few options available giving extra features. Be sure to attend this month's BillingsLUG meeting, when I give a demo of the MVP1000.

When it powers on, it actually loads its OS over the network. The fine people behind the MVP Media Center project have a quite nice replacement mini Linux Distro to get more out of the MVP 1000.

MVP Media Center supports a number of extras compared to the stock Haupauge offering. There is support to integrate the MVP to your ReplayTV and/or MythTV systems. MVPMC also supports streaming from everyone's favorite media player VLC in addition to audio streaming from a SlimServer.

For February's meeting, I will do a show and tell of this neat little device and we will go through the steps of setting up MVPMC and a Linux PC as a media server.

Installing Perl Modules the CPAN Way

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I have done this many times following various instructions when installing perl modules but for the most part they all tell you to:

download > extract > cd into extracted dir
perl Makefile.PL
make install

I remember there was an easier way that went out and fulfilled all dependencies but I could never remember because I just followed the README file. Today I read a post where at least a couple folks gave the same instructions I recalled using:

perl -MCPAN -e shell
install modulename

Much easier!


SORBS Bites Me Back

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Last weekend I finally got around to putting my latest major hardware purchase into production.

First OpenVZ installation


This weekend I finally got around to checking out OpenVZ. With lots of prodding from Scott, not to mention lots of help from Scott, I got this thing installed rather quickly. I pretty much followed Scott's latest article Intro to OpenVZ: Part II. I started with installing CentOS 4.4 using the custom minimalist install and updated everything. BTW this machine is an old Dell 2Ghz with 512MB RAM and 40GB drive.

Fun with Remote Servers

1U Rack Mount1U Rack MountYou may or may not have noticed but this site was down some since late Sunday evening until right before I wrote this. I'm not exacly sure what happened but I have some sense of it so I thought I'd jot it down here. I also cover the hardware that runs this system as well as a little about the hosting company we are using. If you are interested, read the rest of the story.

mod_cband to the Rescue


status pagestatus pageThe problem: A webserver with a lot of files that are to be public... and the public is downloading too much, too fast, too often... in what seems to be a malicious fashion... especially since everyone seems to be using multi-threaded download accelerators.

Solution: mod_cband

Read more for a better explanation of the problem and the steps needed to install mod_cband.

Taking QEMU for a Spin

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QEMU in actionQEMU in actionHave you tried QEMU? I must admit that I hadn't really tried it until recently... although I have used VMware and Parallels. Supposedly Xen and the new KVM both draw from QEMU code. What is QEMU? Obligatory quote from the QEMU wikipedia entry:

QEMU is free software written by Fabrice Bellard that implements a fast processor emulator, allowing a user to simulate a complete computer system within another one. It is similar to projects such as Bochs, VMware Workstation and PearPC, but has several features these lack, including increased speed on x86, and support for multiple architectures in-progress. By using dynamic translation it achieves a reasonable speed while being easy to port on new host CPUs.

I'm not sure why that says that QEMU is faster than VMware, because it isn't... but QEMU can emulate several different CPU families other than just x86. Read on if you want to hear about my experience installing Windows XP SP2 from an .iso file.

A Different Office Suite?

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I've been keeping my eye on SoftMaker (I've been on their mailing list for a couple of years now) and their products TextMaker (a word processor) and PlanMaker (a spreadsheet). I'm not usually a fan of closed source, proprietary, pay software but the reviews I have read of Textmaker and PlanMaker have said that they are extremely fast, lean, and offer the highest degree of compatibility with Microsoft Office .doc and .xls files. While has really progressed over the last few years, it still has a ways to go when it comes to bloat, speed, and Microsoft Office document compatibility.

On December 22nd, SoftMaker came out with new Linux and FreeBSD releases with the two products merged together and called SoftMaker Office. The MSRP is $69.95, which is fairly reasonable. The academic pricing is amazing... as most institutions can get can get a site license for $13 for the Linux version and $13 for the Windows version. It also includes compatibility with OpenDocument files, can export to PDF, and can be run from a USB stick.

So, I'm curious... What do you think? Should I consider the "dark side"? I would like anyone who answers to have actually downloaded the 23MB trial version (Linux, FreeBSD, or Windows) and given it a try.

Now if SoftMaker Office only included a presentation program and a GUI database, there would be more to consider.

Vaio Wrestling

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I somehow got "voluntwisted" into fixing a coworkers Sony laptop. Well okay maybe it was my own doing. I love to recover data from presumed dead hard drives. His had been dead and powered up for so long, I presumed it was toast like so many laptop drives usually are. Much to my surprise it was mountable using an old Live Knoppix disk. So I simply plugged in my USB drive and with MC I did mass copies to it. Since it was a bad disk it did take about 8 hours to move about 2GB of data (music and pictures).

So next the coworker produced a replacement drive. One dilemma though... he didn't have his recovery CD's since he just moved here and having a tough time finding anything really. So I thought I'd try using my home Dell PC. OEM CD's tend to require you to use their own hardware to do the installs so my XP Home disk would have to be installed using my PC. Ordered a laptop to IDE converter from RadioShack online; as they don't carry them in the stores. All is well. Got that installed and next I plopped it back in the Sony. No go. CRAP! It's an AMD. I used an Intel PC not to mention possible disk parameter differences. Back to the drawing board.

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