Older blog entries for dsifry (starting at number 31)

Phew. Just checking in, I've been deep underwater doing work for a client. In addition, I've been learning software RAID for Linux, the Linux LVM, and I've switched over to the new version of Mozilla (although 0.91 is the latest in debian-unstable, I'm awaiting 0.93 to make it into sid).

I'm actually still getting some work done. No time lately to work on Openflock or GCTP though... Grrr. I would really like it if the next company I start doesn't have to rely on proprietary software for group calendaring...

Whew! Busy day. After getting a bunch more work done for one of my clients, I sat down and finished the article about privacy I've been working on. It should really shake a few people up - there's some scary stuff happening right now, I can tell you from personal experience.

dyork, I'm really glad to see that the LPI has matured to the point where you feel comfortable letting go of the reins. Kudos on a job well done! csm, congratulations! You're brought tremendous integrity and a lot of hard work to the LPI, and it's great to see that the LPI is getting such a qualified new leader.

Now if I could only get some time off to go play golf...

20 Jul 2001 (updated 20 Jul 2001 at 06:21 UTC) »

Sweet! I got dvgrab working on my box, and I successfully grabbed an hour of digital video from my camcorder, scene by scene. I figure that at MPEG1 compression, I can get about 2 hours of video and audio onto a standard CDROM. That mean that I can take all nine hours of video that I have from Melody's birth onwards and put them all on about 4 CD-Rs. This will also be a lot easier to burn and distribute than copying the DV to videotape directly. Interestingly, ~1 hour of (almost raw) video and audio is 11.4 GB of data. Now I know how many hard disks I need to buy for my ultimate DV/NAS box.

Broadcast 2000

I also now have a reason for 100Mbps in the house - I have been unable to get Broadcast 2000 to run on my debian box. In the meantime I'm stuck with a windoze box running Ulead VideoStudio 4.0 SE Basic - basically the video editing software that came with the Firewire card I bought. I also found that I can't use xanim to display MPEGs made in this process. I can use realvideo files that it generates, however. When will we get a decent video viewer for Linux? Something that can view quicktime and newer MPEG streams?

PCMCIA Firewire Cards

By the way, don't ever get a PCMCIA Firewire card. I got one, and it is essentially useless for capturing video. Lots of dropped frames, lost audio, the works. Funny, a PCI card from the same vendor shows no such problems, even with a Pentium Pro 200 CPU. I guess that just shows ya that PCI is a MUCH faster bus than PCMCIA - even cardbus - even a 33MHz PCI bus.

Next Project

Must get more disks for new NAS box, and must get 100BT switch for the living room...


Whew! I've been getting a workout lately writing MRDs. It's funny - after I wrote the first one, writing the second was much easier - and now I'm going back over the first one to polish it up - there's so much I missed, and it is often so easy for me to slip up and write specs instead of requirements. You see, I already have the design layed out, sir... :-)


Happy birthday, hacker! How's things going? Haven't heard from you in a while.

Went to my uncle's 70th birthday party on Sunday. That guy's still got more energy than I hae at less than half his age. That and a huge heart to go with his energy. I sure wish that I'm that cool when I'm 70.


Unbelievable tht she's almost 18 months old. What an incredible cutie she is. Yeah, I'm a proud dad. So sue me. Here she is frolicking with her second cousin, and here she is with mom and dad in pigtails.

Off to bed.


Writing the MRD for OpenFlock. Yeah, that's a bit ass-backwards, but now that I've got the time to spend on it, I really want to make sure that I've done my planning right - which means a requirements definition and a real spec for the code. This is, as any software engineer will tell you, the hardest parts of the job but the time really pays off because

  • You know when you're done
  • You can quickly get others up-to-speed on the project
  • You can actually do QA on the code - to see if it meets the requirements and the specification
It does feel good, in the same way that getting to the gym feels good - first it hurts, but you know that later it's going to pay off.


Got almost all of my CDs ripped and onto my MP3 server. I spoke with someone tody who told me about some whiz-bang AC-driven computer-controlled FM transmitters which means that I can turn the MP3 server into a FM radio station, thus removing yet another set of cables from the stereo. It also means that all I need to get is a FM radio connected to the speakers in the backyard, and I've got my sound system all set - 802.11-powered iPAQ wherever I am talking to the MP3 server via the server control system, and the MP3 server broadcasting over the FM airwaves...

Busy day today, again. Good thing I've got my mp3's on the stereo! Last night I updated my mp3 server control system to do better error checking and to play entire directories (rather than just single tracks). I found a new fun use for it, too. We had some company over (my cool aunt and uncle) and without telling them, I started playing tracks from a sound-effects CD that I had ripped. Because I use esd for doing music mixing, I could seamlessly layer sounds on top of each other - and soon they were hearing 2 people having sex in a babbling brook. With a toilet flushing in the distance. I could add sound effects to the conversation as fast as I could scroll the iPAQ! We had a great laugh. I gotta get myself some more sound effects... Anyone know of a good spot on the net, or have any good CDs to recommend? I got my current set from a CD in the bargain bin called "Backgrounds for Telephone Calls and Sound effects for Answering Machines". Well worth the $5 spent in entertainment yesterday...

Fun with iPAQs and 802.11...

I got the single PCMCIA socket sleeve for my iPAQ (after waiting for 2 months for my dual PCMCIA socket sleeve, grrr), and got 802.11 wireless networking working. Pretty easy, actually - got the drivers off of wavelan.com, installed them, and set up the crypto. The only downside is that the iPAQ is pretty flaky about being turned off with the card still in the socket. Buggy driver, I expect. I suppose that'll go away when I finally install Linux on the thing.

In the meantime, I've been having fun with my home mp3 server. I whipped up a really quick and dirty PHP-based server control system. Now I can walk around the house and control my mp3 server (it's connected to the stereo) with the iPAQ web browser. For that matter, I can control the server with any old web browser. :-)

It's so nice to be able to do little hacks like this every once in a while. Now if I could just get my thinkpad IR port to talk with my stereo, I'd be in heaven!

Oy, busy busy busy. Knock on wood, there's lots of paying work out there, even in today's climate.

dyork, the Japanese LPI Banner you mentioned means (loosely): (Left hand side)The worldwide accepted standard (Right hand big text): Linux engineer certification test, LPIC.


Well, I'm finally getting the hang of LDAP (OpenLDAP) and Apache's auth_ldap. I can now create, modify and delete users over the web, and I can authenticate them against apache. I'm sure that I could get the LDAP PAM module working, but I don't need it for what I'm doing now.

Now I can create a list of users, send them randomly-generated passwords, and they can go to their directory and change their own passwords to whatever they like.

The only point that I dislike, right now, is that I can't seem to get PHP to correctly create a SSHA hash of a password by itself - I'm left to doing a nasty backtick hack to call ldappasswd. I can create DES + salt hashes, but I'd really prefer the extra security of SSHA. If anyone knows of a way to do this from within PHP, please let me know.

Getting in-depth with OpenLDAP and PostgreSQL. I've been meaning to really sit down and learn LDAP - it seems pretty simple at the conceptual level. The problem is that it took me over 4 hours just to get a basic database and schema up. Then it took another 3-4 hours to build a PHP script to let me manage the schema. What a pain in the ass! Still, now tht it's done, I don't have to go through that learning curve again. Somebody ought to write up an OpenLDAP/PHP HOWTO. Perhaps in my copious spare time...

I've also been converting an old mysql-based document management system into PostgreSQL. I'm doing this mostly because I need to use PostgreSQL in a project in order to feel like I really understand it. Neither PostgreSQL nor OpenLDAP has easy-to-use documentation, too bad. Thank God I already have a pretty firm grasp on SQL. Learning the psql command isn't too hard, not much different from the mysql command.

It'll be cool to have the document management system up and authenticating against the LDAP database. Perhaps I'll then package it up and release it to the world, just what the world needs, another intranet/document mgt system... Off to bed.

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