ISP Change

April 16th, 2007

I am currently in the process of switching internet service providers. I was growing tired of dealing with the faceless blob that assimilated istop before it went under. Plus, IGS/Cybersurf/3web/CIA are actually routed through cogentco, for great slowness.

what are binary options?

I found a new ISP, electronicbox. They offer me everything istop once did, and more. Expect a bit of downtime while the move order is processed, and while the DNSes are refreshing.

Everything should be back in order in a few days.

I hate the new DST changes.

March 13th, 2007

I have spent most if not all of last week frantically running around servers and devices trying to patch them up­. Some were pleasant, some were not.

My Cisco PIX 501 for instance, was easy to patch for DST.

azrael(config)# sh clock
12:30:25.078 EST Tue Mar 13 2007
azrael(config)# clock summer-time EST recurring 2 Sun Mar 2:00 1 Sun Nov 2:00
azrael(config)# sh clock
13:30:26.999 EST Tue Mar 13 2007
azrael(config)# wr m
Building configuration...
Cryptochecksum: 7898776d bee63c89 5f3ab01b 9064f51c

I’ve had the pleasure of patching production servers running Oracle 9i and UC4 Global. Doing the Oracle jazz helped me fully grasp the deadly truth that is, I am not a DBA. With reason. I have spent a day just to determine the consequences of the DST changes. Turns out none of the systems used TZDATA columns, whatever that means. So I have pushed the patch into the next maintenance window.

Since everything java is affected, I had to run around upgrading every single jvm and jdk running on servers. The problem is now apparent with a Macromedia/Adobe Jrun instance we have. Log entries are off by one hour for two weeks, and I hope none of the transactional code is actually fucking up. I couldn’t patch the jdk on the production server because of a nasty bug with anything above 1.5.0_05, where the Java compiler outputs notices no matter what, and Jrun interprets these as errors, thus rendering your web application non functional in some cases.

I think it is time they get rid of Jrun. It has brought nothing but misery. So, all of this just so it can be dark outside when I get up to go to work, and “save costs” while spending thousands trying to get everything patched up? (A giant bitchslap to companies who provided their patches last tuesday before the change). Just so that we can all spend the two weeks adjusting to the change and living with jet lag-esque effects? Sometimes I wonder who the fuck decides these things…

Update on the Apache-Hangs-On-Digest-Generation topic

February 14th, 2007

Just to let everyone know I’ve poked my head in the Apache2 hanging on digest generation problem again, and figured out a better solution than relying on rng-utils.

Check it out.

GAH! Why?

February 8th, 2007

I just woke up, glanced tenderly at my Mac Book Pro next to my bed, and plugged the cord in. I pushed the button on the battery that is supposed to tell me in what condition the charge is. Nothing occured.

I power up the laptop, and see this.


For those not speaking french, it means “No battery available”.

Fuck. And I’m about to go on a trip to toronto. The battery of my older Powerbook died the same way in the very same outlet. What the fuck is wrong with this power outlet, I ask you? Damn.

Thank you Dell.

January 24th, 2007

See the following link. Clicky clicky.

I have waited so long for something like this to occur. Especially from Dell.

Apparently they started offering machines without windows. They are called the -n series, the hard drives come unformatted. And they explicitely mention Linux. Great.

In other unrelated news, it seems I’ll have to upgrade wordpress since 2.1 came out. Last major upgrade was nothing short of hairy, let’s hope it goes smooth.

On the topic of the iPhone…

January 12th, 2007

Well, you’ve seen it. So have I. You probably have been extremely excited, clutching your credit card tightly into your groin as you watched the keynote. So have I.

And now, it turns out uncle Jobs came out with a total boner killer.

No third party applications on the iPhone.

Jobs said:

“We define everything that is on the phone,” he said. “You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.”

He also said:

“These are devices that need to work, and you can’t do that if you load any software on them,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be software to buy that you can load on them coming from us. It doesn’t mean we have to write it all, but it means it has to be more of a controlled environment.”

Of course, the third-party applications on my Treo are such a goddamned liability. Meh.

This probably made a few thousand hackers (myself included) cringe. I was eager to hack around on the device and saw infinite potential. I already saw myself running a terminal on it, and ssh’ing around from my 600$ USD iPhone.

600$ USD is around 705$ CAD. That price would have seemed right if I was allowed to do whatever I damn please with it. Now it is just another overpriced toy which I doubt I’ll ever buy…

Oh well. My bank account is probably happy. As far as I’m concerned now, Steve just announced a very expensive brick.

It’s 8:52 am

December 11th, 2006

The guy in the office next to mine is listening to Andrea Bocceli, full blast. I gave him headphones with an obviously forced smile, but he didn’t seem to catch the subtle drift.

Opera in the morning is too much, especially when you have an ear infection, and are trying to do some work.

It now stopped but then he proceeds to watch shitty videos, again, with the sound at full blast, like he has been doing for the past two months. When he’s gone, I’ll disconnect the internal speaker of his desktop machine. Watch me.

New Parallels Workstation is awesome.

December 8th, 2006

If you have an Intel Mac, you already know what Parallels is and what wonders it can accomplish. Virtualization is awesome, especially with Intel VT, of course.

One new feature of the latest version that came out last week would be Coherence Mode. It is similar to running X11 applications “rootless”. I’m not sure of how to describe it. To cite David Young from StuffOnFire, who describes it in much better words than I would:

Have I ever mentioned how freaking awesome Parallels Coherence mode is? Probably not, because it’s only been out for a week. Well, it’s freaking awesome. What do you run Windows for? Visual Studio? Office? You put the taskbar on auto-hide and it’s just like using a really ass-tastic Mac application, like something made by Adobe. And it runs on your Boot Camp partition! Hell yeah. If there were a Mac Software Engineering Team of the Year award, I’d suggest that the Parallels guys get it.

I just wanted to mention how awesome it was really. No acerbic rant about stuff, or witty comments, really. Just a plain “Oh shit it’s awesome, I want people to know this and belch, fart and shit their pants at the same time when they see this”.

I’ll post a screenshot later on.

Hooray for Cisco!

December 7th, 2006

At this price, is hope the memory stick is gold plated, beautifully marked with the Cisco logo, hand chiseled by romanian virgins trained in their craft since birth. And guaranteed to never, ever go bad.

Cisco Flash Memory 32mb Module - SIMM 80 pins at CDW - 747.95$

That’s a metric fuckton. Well, I guess the enterprise can justify it, else, they should have gone with the SOHO stuff. I use cheap hong kong made knock off flash SIMMs in my personal 2611 router. 20$ for 64 megabytes on e-bay. Don’t do that if you’re using your router seriously, though, unless you like words like “void warranty” and “obscure failures”.

On another note, their new logo looks like two raised middle fingers. Appropriate, for the price tag.

Crappy parser is craaaappy

December 1st, 2006

Just when I was starting to actually enjoy (read: thinking “hey, it’s not so bad!”) Windows scripting after discovering documentation for the 32 bits command interpreter in Windows NT, I realize I have been spoiled by Unix shells and expect some things to work, and then frown in disgust when they don’t.

for /F "usebackq tokens=2,*" %i in (`net use | find "..."`)... 
| was unexpected

I really wanted to like writing cmd scripts. But the parser is way too obnoxious when parsing brackets. For instance, you can’t set an environement variable in one branch of a conditional statement.

if "text" EQU "othertext" ( 
    set VAR=value 
) else ( 
    echo Not Working. 

This will fail silently or with unexpected results. Can’t wait until PowerShell becomes mainstream enough for me to use.

Windows Tip: Remote Console with remote.exe

November 29th, 2006

This is nifty. Not something to scream about while tearing your clothes off in a moment of raw ardency, but still, I find it relatively useful.

You perhaps already know how Windows Debugging Tools such as WinDbg can output to a serial or network console, but I found out this concept can be extended to basically any console application that doesn’t really mess around with the terminal. See it as a mix between netcat and screen.

You just need “remote.exe” that comes with the Windows Debugging Tools. I personally use it to launch Macromedia JRun4 in a console on a development server at one of my client sites to debug their web application remotely. That way I can see the log in my local console instead of toggling between the server and Terminal Services. Read on for an overview of how it works. Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Windows Tip: Active Directory MMC as Admin

November 24th, 2006

That title is way longer than it should be. Anyways, I just like to administer Active Directory Users and Computers from my workstation, on which I am logged on as a plain user.

To run the Active Directory Users and Computers with Administrator rights, you can use some runas.exe magic. Just create a shortcut to the following target:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\runas.exe /USER:DOMAIN\adminuser "mmc dsa.msc"

Of course, just change DOMAIN\adminuser to whatever applies.

It works fine for my purposes. The trick is just knowing the name of that particular mmc snap-in. That’s pretty basic knowledge, but I’ve been asked three times this week about it.

PowerShell is out

November 16th, 2006

Microsoft PowerShell was just released.

PowerShell is actually the only new technology coming from Microsoft that has gotten me excited. I have played around with the Betas and Release Candidates at work, now I can finally USE it. It will take some time before it reaches the production environnement, but this will make my life substantially more pleasant when working with windows.

Subversion: .htaccess gives 403 forbidden?

November 14th, 2006

I’m trying to import a brand new top secret project into my Subversion Repository.

Okay, I’ve had my share of troubles with that set-up — it is behind an Apache Reverse Proxy, with a bit of perl hacking to support move operations accross SSL tunnels. (I’ll post about this soon, I’m sure it will interest someone).

So, I was trying to import my new project and BANG, it dies.

Ajout          public/javascripts/application.js
Ajout          public/javascripts/controls.js
Ajout          public/404.html
Ajout          public/index.html
Ajout          public/.htaccess
svn: PUT of '/svn/repos/!svn/xx/.htaccess': 
302 Found (
svn: Le message de propagation a été laissé dans un fichier temporaire :
svn:    'svn-commit.4.tmp'

I first wonder the meaning of such foolery (foolery that has nothing to do with Tom, whatsoever) and then slap my forehead loudly.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rock the crane

November 14th, 2006

I just came accross this [rocktheskillcrane].

It’s awesome, and you must check it out. It’s basically allowing you to play a Skill Crane in some arcade remotely, and then it e-mails you a video of how you did.

Such geekery is not to be taken lightly.

This is on short notice

September 28th, 2006

But I did it. I am now a proud member of the Free Software Foundation.

[FSF Associate Member]

I feel good. Really good.

If you owe a lot to Free Software, you should consider becoming a member too.

What would I do with my weight in gold?

September 28th, 2006

I am honestly considering becoming a member of the FSF.

120$ USD a year is a little heavy on the wallet, but it would feel right. That would be giving back a little of all the great things I got. I feel like I owe so much to Free Software, most of my passion for Unix was spawned from it…

I still need to think about that… but I think I will. I can probably afford it, even with my student loan which I’m trying to pay back.

One thing is sure, were I to win an obscene amount of money, such as, say, 15 millions, i’d immediately distribute five among my favorite Open Source projects and the FSF.

I mean, what the fuck would I need so much money for? I have no interest in living large. All I ask for is a home, room for my computers, electricty and bandwidth, and a way to pay for all of this. Maybe I’d just build a small datacenter with a phat pipe and lend out rackspace, bandwidth and servers to Free Software projects. I don’t know, anything.

One thing I know for sure is that I’d keep working. I love my job too much.

Well that wasn’t really interesting, was it? I’m tired. I’m off to bed.

Great Scott, Apple

September 14th, 2006

By Sithis, where is my gcc 3 for x86?


That explains why there’s a crapload of things I can’t build on my intel Mac.

C compiler cannot create executables, yeah well, that makes sense. I guess I could possibly cross compile, but that’s too much hassle. I’ll just have to wait for someone to update the ports.

So if you’re wondering why that occurs to you, it’s because there’s no gcc 3.3 for x86 on OS X 10.4. You have to use gcc 4.

Bypass WGA for downloads (From Mac and Linux too!)

September 6th, 2006

Some clever folks over at found a neat way to download to your heart’s content from microsoft while bypassing the silly WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) check.

Simply put, all you need is the mgadiag.exe tool and the URL you wish to download from.

I tested it and it does work. It goes something like this:

  • Run mgadiag.exe
  • Look for the Download Center Code, and write it down (ex: 8KLVDJ6)
  • Go to the URL you want to download from
  • append &Hash=8KLVDJ6 to the URL (replace the value with your own)
  • Enjoy your download.

The important part is that it works in Wine. And in the recently released CrossOver Office for Mac OS. See screenshot below.


Gentoo can be annoying, sometimes

August 20th, 2006

The next best thing to getting ran over by an 18th wheeler would be having a gentoo baselayout update breaking havoc over your mail server.

Metric Units of Fun

I have no idea why, but Courier, which is the mail server suite I use, in conjunction with DJ Bernstein’s qmail and vpopmail, all this lovely stuff keeps breaking all the time on Gentoo. I’ve had courier hand mask’ed since they kept screwing up.

Now, the lastest baselayout prevents authdaemond from starting, and leaves no evidence in the logs. The Gentoo bugzilla is confusing, they say it’s Courier’s fault, and that they need maintainers, and that uh.. I don’t know, I’m not sure. They sound like they expect the problem to fix itself, or that it will magically occur at some time.

Gentoo is definitely not something you should run on a production server, sometimes.

Update: Well, updating to the lastest courier and removing /etc/init.d/authdaemond seems to have fixed it. The ones who are having problems are actually those who are running the “unstable” courier, with ~x86 flags. I wish you guys luck.