Older blog entries for richdawe (starting at number 104)

Idea: SMTP shell

During my $DAY_JOB I find myself typing in the same stuff into SMTP sessions. Recently I got to thinking that an SMTP shell would be useful -- command-line history, ability to repeat commands, sequences of commands, search through the history, etc. Replaying DATA would not only do the DATA command, but also the data that you typed in.

So I put it on my to-do list. But you can achieve most of what I wanted using netcat and perl (Linux example):

cat<<EOT > session.smtp
MAIL FROM:<fred@company.com>
RCPT TO:<melissa@company.com>
Subject: boo!

perl -pe 's/\n/\r\n/' session.smtp | nc mail.company.com smtp

It would still be useful to have an SMTP shell for recording sessions, so you choose to play back bits later. E.g.: replay this, but negotiate export-strength TLS as well. I may still write it (but don't hold your breath).


"Successful Enter (Axel Konrad remix)" by Headquarter


I've not spent much time on Free Software recently, for various reasons.

I found a useful piece of software for writing out podcasts, MP3s, etc. -- mp3cd -- point it at some MP3s and off you go. Although you might want to edit the cdrdao TOC file before actually burning the CD, to add CD-Text descriptions of the tracks.

Getting closer to porting File::ExtAttr to Solaris & *BSD. I have them all running in VMware-server beta on my x86_64 box. It's pretty impressive that they all work on that combination -- i386 OSes running on x86_64 Fedora Core 4. Big up VMware!


"Insides" by Orbital

madwifi and wpa_supplicant

Went to debug why my wi-fi didn't work on boot. My init scripts were starting wpa_supplicant *after* network, which explains why that didn't work. Went to fix my rpms...and found they were fine. I had the wreakage from a previous install left over. Reinstalled et voila! Now I have wi-fi from boot time.

Everything on my laptop now Just Works (er, except power saving). Time to achieve this: 1.25 years.

File::ExtAttr and non-Linux systems

I have VMware server beta going on my x86_64 box, so now I can start porting File::ExtAttr to *BSD. Also, time to have some fun with Solaris 10 / Express and DTrace. I'm itching to give DTrace a whirl.


I've been reading "Creating Passionate Users" and finding it inspiring. I've found myself feeling pretty jaded over the past year for a variety of reasons and it's rekindled my passion for creating computer software. The article "Re-igniting passion" hits it on the head for me. Sometimes it's hard to get away from the daily grind and do something that makes you feel like you did the first time you some out-there piece of code. Rule!


"X & Y" by Coldplay

5 Feb 2006 (updated 5 Feb 2006 at 21:46 UTC) »


Sometime ago I bought an iPod Shuffle. Since I have no Windows or Mac OS X boxen at home, I was relieved to find that I could initialise and manage it using gtkpod. However, I found gtkpod really hard to use.

gtkpod's iPod handling is available in a library called libgpod. So using that and FUSE I built an ipod file system, ipodfs, to allow you to upload MP3s, etc. using Unix file utilities. E.g.:

ipodfs /some/mount/point
cp newalbum*.mp3 /some/mount/point

Current suckiness:

  • It assumes that your iPod is mounted automatically on /media/ipod.
  • I've only tested it with the iPod Shuffle.
  • It doesn't preserve any of the ID3 tags (or equivalent in other formats).
  • The file type guessing is based solely on file extension.

madwifi and wpa_supplicant

madwifi and wpa_supplicant are approaching the point where they "just work" for me on my x86_64 box. I can now use wifi for several hours without crashes or WPA dropping out. WPA-PSK negotiation seems to work reliably. This is a big change from a few months ago.

Admittedly, I still have to go through this after boot:

ifdown ath0
modprobe -r ath_pci
modprobe ath_pci
/etc/init.d/wpa_supplicant restart
ifup ath0

You may wish to try my Fedora Core 4 i386 or x86_64 rpms if you're having trouble.


"Organ Donor" by DJ Shadown

L33t Pubs

L33t pub names resulting from a conversation that occurred, appropriately enough, down the pub at lunch:

  • Teh W00t and H4xx0r
  • Teh J0lly H4xx0r
  • The Unlucky Camper (OK, so that's a gamer one)


File::ExtAttr 0.04 is out. Changes:

0.04 2006-01-20
- (richdawe) Add Mac OS X support; thanks to Jonathan Rockway.
- (richdawe) Add a check to Makefile.PL for libattr's headers on Linux.
- (richdawe) Requirement on Perl 5.8.5 is spurious; remove it.

Hopefully this will get a little more exposure from the CPAN testers than the last release. That probably didn't get built by many people because of the Perl 5.8.5 dependency.


Talkin' Jazz Volume 3


I released a pre-alpha of File::ExtAttr, a module for accessing files' extended attributes (arbitrary metadata in the form of key-value pairs). The API isn't stable and it only supports Linux. One Day it will support Mac OS X and the *BSD.


"Global Underground 025 Toronto" mix by Deep Dish

Logo for copy protection on audio CDs

I thought it was about time there was a logo to inform customers of the protection on audio CDs.


Last weekend I went to the London Perl Workshop at the City University in London. I really enjoyed the conference. The talks were well-delivered, interesting and reasonably varied. I particularly liked the way people just got on with it - JFDI! Inspirational. Last year's was a bit cramped, but the venue seemed to be just the right size this year.

Last night I gave a couple of lightning talks at Birmingham.pm:

I've not done lightning talks before. They were fun to write and fun to give. Hopefully the audience enjoyed them too!

At some point in the hopefully-not-to-distant future we'll release File::ExtAttr. This will be a Perl module to provide access to extended file attributes (used for e.g.: ACLs). It's nice to be collaborating on open source over the internet again.


Listening to some music off Magnatune. This is an online music shop with a business model I like. You can listen to full-quality previews before buying. Once you buy the music, you can do what you want with it. There's no DRM. Yay!

Sony rootkit / uninstaller

"More on Sony's DRM Rootkit" by Bruce Schneier
"Sony's Web-Based Uninstaller Opens a Big Security Hole; Sony to Recall Discs" by Alex Halderman and Ed Felten

Inflammatory comment: So it seems like the only secure way of getting music these days is to use P2P, since it's unencumbered.

I'm not advocating or condoning piracy. But way to go Sony on convincing people that DRM is in people's interests (as in: DRM guarantees revenue, ensuring Sony can support new artists, ensuring people get new music, etc.).


"Vehicles & Animals" by Athlete

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