Mon, 29 Mar 2004


Definitely a complete waste of time, but whilst mucking around on IRC at the end of last week, I was introduced to IdleRPG. A real waste of time. Anyway, I thought.. "That'd be fun to run". So I set up a copy running in #IdleRPG on Freenode.

Yeah, it's a waste of time, I know, I already said that.... But it's been interesting watching the member count of the channel grow over time. And I've done pretty much no promotion, other than a "Join #IdleRPG" in #debian-devel's topic for about 12 hours...

[09:04] [/Random] [permanent link]

Fri, 19 Mar 2004


Colin Mentioned the town name in the background of the photograph he took of a Riceboy's car... Isn't that the name of the town in Groundhog Day? ... A little googling, and it appears so...

My last blog entry contained a picture, as a bit of an experiment..

mjb@prometheus:/var/log/apache> grep "renegade.jpg.*" access.log access.log.1 | wc -l
mjb@prometheus:/var/log/apache> grep "renegade.jpg" access.log access.log.1 | wc -l

Now I know how much data I can expect my webserver to serve if I post a picture in my blog in the future... This matters, in a bandwidth starved backwater like .nz!

[04:49] [/Random] [permanent link]

Sat, 13 Mar 2004

Antennae, and Nostalgia.

Well, It's been an interesting week. I've decided to get back into trying to construct a Dual Band J-pole, to use as a Base antenna. Although, it's frustrating the hell out of me, as the SWR results I'm getting are not matching those of the designer's. I've come to the conclusion that I may be missing something fundamental, like what frequency I should be hoping for good SWR at.. So, I've mailed Edison with a few questions... For now, it's been put aside, again.

If I said "BNU" or "fossil driver", who'd remember what I was talking about? Well, if you have no idea, they're both, well, they are (the former is one of the latter), an integral part of running a DOS based BBS. I've had a real crazy streak this week, trying to track down an original distribution of Renegade, and trying to get it going under dosemu. Wow, what fun! I finally found a copy of Renegade recent enough that works under dosemu and freedos. It's so incredibly badly coded, If it's doing anything other than waiting at the WFC screen, CPU usage soars... but anyway, it's still cool!

When I finally got Renegade up and running, the memories just started flooding back. I mean, take a look:

Now what I want to do, is get it going with multiple nodes, accessible via telnet... Which I'm finding somewhat difficult. the only tool that's vaguely useful is modemu, but it's got the wrong orientation... it's better as a client, rather than a server. Anyone got any suggestions? Or, has anyone done this before? ;) - The guts of it, is how do I connect dosemu to a 'virtual modem' on the linux side, that can take connections via a TCP port? Using a pty master/slave pair is a step in the direction I need...

Of course, there is literally no reason for this, other than wishing that BBS's were still the rage. I remember thinking that the internet wasn't as fun...

[08:40] [/Random] [permanent link]

Wed, 10 Mar 2004

A response to SMTP proxying...

In response to Steve Kemp's post about SMTP proxying, I'd like to mention that we do a very similar thing here at work. Albeit, the difference being that the relays in question are not in the DMZ.

How we approached this problem, was to make the domains local to the 'mailhub', and have 'alias tables' for said domains. Given, the hubs here run RH, so we battle with sendmail (Yech, Ick, and all that... don't get me started). Where there is purely routing to be done, we just use the mailertable, with smtp:[<host>] to get around the MX being elsewhere.. Sendmail actually makes the inital problem easy, using a virtusertable file. It ends up containing something like this:   otheruser@internalmachine1   otheruser@internalmachine2        %1@internalmachine1

Where the final line is a fall through for any other local part, if it's wanted.

Of course, this can also be really easily done with exim. First, set your domains up as local (since we need to do local part routing, we wont use relay_domains):

local_domains = /etc/exim/local_domains : /etc/exim/relay_domains

Then have a director to do the work:

  domains = /etc/exim/relay_domains
  driver = aliasfile
  file_transport = address_file
  pipe_transport = address_pipe
  file = /etc/exim/aliases_${domain}
  modemask = 002
  owngroups = mail
  owners = root
  qualify_preserve_domain = true
  search_type = lsearch

Where /etc/exim/aliases_${domain} contains:

user1:  otheruser@internalmachine1
user2:  otheruser@internalmachine2

Fall throughs can be done with another director:

  domains = /etc/exim/relay_domains
  driver = smartuser
  new_address = ${quote:$local_part}@internalmachine1

Easy! Of course, all that is Exim3 speak... I haven't bothered to upgrade and learn Exim4 speak yet... one day, just not today.

Writing a perl smtp proxy seems somewhat overkill-ish, where you suddenly have a piece of code you must maintain for eternity... But, each to their own I guess.

[21:43] [/Random] [permanent link]

Wed, 03 Mar 2004

Dead Mouse

Lovely. Last night, the nipple/clit/whatever mouse on my laptop died. Well, ok, it didn't really die, it just lost its Y-axis. Anyway, I'm just glad I use an external mouse at home and work, so it didn't bother me. But, I'm frequently not at home enough, that it would annoy me over time.

As luck would have it, the store I bought it at is right next door to work, and I happen to be a relatively good friend with the service dude. So I wandered in this morning, and showed him. He passed me a screwdriver. Turns out this is common, especially when big louts like myself put too much force on the mouse. Anyway, after reseating the ribbon cable from the keyboard to the motherboard, it starts working again. He said it was either that, or I'd busted it and the keyboard would need to be replaced. Thankfully - my warranty ran out about 9 months ago.

I decided to muck around with x2x this morning too... it's pretty neat. Now I can just pass my mouse right over past the second head on my work desktop, and control my laptop. Neato.

I also discovered - Ok, realised - that I can plug in a ps/2 keyboard before I power up and it'll work correctly... Because I'm using the Software Suspend stuff on my laptop, which means a fresh power up to init hardware after each resume. Double Neato.

Perhaps now I should do some work? nah, home for lunch.

[00:07] [/Random] [permanent link]

Tue, 02 Mar 2004

Apache+mod_ssl, and a morning off work.

Ok, I also agree with joeyh, I hate thinking of titles too....

Moving on, I learnt for the first time today, how SSL Cert creation works... A workmate usually does that stuff. But I run the webmail service, which I finally decided I should get a move on with, and make encrypted. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I created a key, and then the Cert Signing Request, and mailed it off to the 'IT Security Officer' for him to plug into Thawte's web page.

Sadly, the machine in question, is running RHAS... I'm thankful that I managed to put my foot down with my pride and joy.... the Student mail server. Quad 2.8GHz Xeon, 4G RAM, and ~850GB of RAID5'd disk for the cyrus spool. It runs Debian. As part of our 'policies', we reserve the right to mass mail students. The in-house software - Ok, bash script - that was written long before I arrived, used to take a good 5-7 hours on the old Solaris box that once accomodated the students. After an extensive rewrite by myself, it now runs in just under 10 minutes. Ok, to how many accounts you ask? Just under 16 thousand.

Some will remember that I recieved a Summons to Jury duty... It was awfully nice for the accused, a nicely tattooed chap, to decide that morning he'd enter a guilty plea. The court person said "Thanks for coming. We only heard about his decision this morning, so there was no time for us to contact you." Oh well, I'm not too fussed.. I got the morning off work, and $25 for the trouble (Jury duty lands you $25 per half day in NZ). Would have been interesting too... apparently he was weilding a weapon (a knife) on a public street, and had threatened to seriously harm someone with it. A Year ago. It appears that in law, things move even slower than at work.

[10:21] [/Work] [permanent link]