1 Apr 2002 chexum   » (Master)

last month
Nothing particular, I got distracted by interesting things. I wrote a replacement to nc, it had too many things done I did not wish. The result is yet another tcp proxy/tcp forwarder/etc, for a change, supporting connections through SOCKS5. openssh has a nice feature that allows it to use another program as a proxy connector, this is really a nice way to ssh out of a multi-level VPN-ed/firewalled network.

Spammers are still at it, I had to find a solution to refuse mail delivery to non-existent local users. The quirk is that I don't want to give up on qmail, which doesn't support this at all. A few days later, I'm using mailfront (with qmail still), which is an SMTP frontend to qmail. I prepared a few home-brewed patch (sent to the author), which does just that what I wanted. In turn, the author, Bruce Guenter, has an auto-reply bot to direct me to the mailing list with support questions... A nice idea with respect to the community knowledge, but I just sent a patch... Whatever, it's working well now, the rate of invalid recipients (forged by a Texan spammer) fell to a few tens per day. (Knock wood.) Some people still report abuse at our domain...

In this weekend, I planned to restore a not mission critical, but important Oracle server. After import failure, Oracle no longer starts. No help anywhere (and no DBA either, I just assumed that role...), but a lengthy internal error dump, which might have lead to the error, but nothing else since then. It just says mounted and opened, and in fact didn't. I went and went and recreated the database, then on Friday evening the server hiccuped (2.2.19 with ext3). Physical visit Saturday, kick some hardware, fsck in doubt to continue, bless some more, home again, recreating the database, importing the stuff again. A few hours later, another ext3 consistency failure. Great. No way I'm going to work more this weekend. On another server, I tried to update to 2.2.21, it didn't even come back up... That's all for work on Easter... :)

For a more pleasant surprise, I was always an avid fan of SVGATextMode, but it got stale, and the supply of VGA cards with supported chipsets dried up in the past years. Craving some fun, I almost accidentally tried the framebuffer support in the kernel, and while the first few experiences weren't of *anything* useful, it clicked together. Now I can use rivafb in 800x600@100Hz, with 37x88 consoles. Finally. I also updated my favourite console font (t.fnt, I can't live without it) to psfu, and 9x16 format (looked just wrong in 8x16), and now I finally have the same great console I had a few years ago, but with 100Hz, and working even better. To tell the truth, I was only playing with the fb stuff to see how the console would look like in 1024x768, in case I really get a TFT with a fixed resolution. Well, 1024x768 is still too large, but this fbcon stuff is great now...

It could spare me from a few months staring at 25x80 consoles, if people advertised fbcon as a real good replacement for SVGATextMode. I can't stand X and its fonts longer than about a half hour.

Another surprise is a Logitech Internet Keyboard. I just wanted to play with USB keyboards, and it looked great. Maybe toyish, but comfortably so. Well, it even feels great, better than the soft keys on the Amiga 1200, with a few (yet unused) extra toy keys, and a wheel, which works as a mouse wheel in X... If used with the PS/2 connector, this wheel is working as a cursor up/down wheel, another nice point. It's just that the Linux USB keyboard subsystem seems to translate the extra keycodes to something really different than in the PS/2 mode; even turns some of the buttons into *mouse* buttons... I always find rough edges in stuff. :)

I'm still toying with buying a: 15/17" TFT (probably not 17", it costs too much), some D-Link wireless cards (like scandal :) These DWL-650/500 things are everywhere apparently. I hope it's really available in our country, not just on price lists (has happened a few times). And finally an Ipaq/Jornada to run Linux, and have a wireless LCD terminal too. Not great plans for a life, I agree.. :)

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