Sunday, November 10, 2013

Missing USB devices in KVM or QEMU with Ubuntu Saucy?

I've been a long time user of Fitibits. These are small devices you wear on your person to track activity. For instance, the Fitibit Ultra can track steps taken and stairs taken among other things. The device integrates with an application and has a nice webapp to display your history.

Setup on the Ultra was done with a Windows machine as there is (well was) no Linux client. I borrowed my wife's machine (as she already had the software installed as she too had an Ultra.) Once the device was setup, some guys at Canonical created a library for Ubuntu that would allow you to sync the device properly from Ubuntu (without running Windows.) Windows was only needed at setup time.

Fitbit continued to develop new monitors and I recently ordered the Fitbit Force. The Force is essentially a smartwatch. It has a superset of features of the Ultra. It also requires setup via Windows (or Mac) and I still don't own one of those. I figured I'd just use KVM and a Windows guest image.

I'm running Ubuntu Saucy with

libvirt-bin 1.1.1-0ubuntu8
qemu-system 1.5.0+dfsg-3ubuntu5

these versions of libvirt and qemu.

Fitbit Force comes with a small dongle you plug into your usb port. (Essentially, this is a bluetooth 4 device but it is single purposed, pairing only with the Fitbit Force.) 

So I added the USB device info to my virtual machine description (using the virt-manager.py GUI). This allows for specific usb hub and device passthrough. However, the device was never showing up in Windows (as near as I could tell.)  I spent hours debugging this, changing perms on the usb device tree, running as root, etc, to no avail.

To troubleshoot, I used a USB device lister, USBDeview, from Nirsoft. It's freeware (free as in beer). It did a nice job of listing my past and present USB devices by walking the USB tree and the registry entries of past devices. Nope, no Fitbit Force.

A bit of googling and debugging led me to this gem:
"Apparmor blocks usb devices in libvirt in Saucy" bug #1245251. By using the work around in comment #1, my Fitbit Force (and any other USB device I requested) were now available in the guest.

(I had previously tried the apparmor settings mentioned in the Managing KVM page, to no avail. Those instructions pre-date Saucy.)

Hopefully by the time anyone stumbles on this particular post, this bug will already be fixed in Saucy and Trusty, but I like to publish these lessons learned Just In Case.

Oh, and one other note, once the initial setup is done, you can pair your smartwatch to your android phone... once they add the type of android phone you have. The Nexus 5 is apparently slightly too new..... :( so I'll be using that Windows image a bit more than I planned.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Using kdump on Ubuntu in Azure

This is another of my occasional posts that may help the next guy. I call them YAHTNG, yet another helping the next guy,t blog entry...

kdump

kdump is a tool that allows you to capture (in a file) the linux kernel state when it crashes (oops). It uses the kexec functionality that's long been part of the linux kernel (since 2004 if memory serves.) In order to use this on linux, you install the linux-crashdump metapackage that in turn depends on the right bits and pieces.

apt-get install linux-crashdump

On different versions of Linux, different bits and pieces get installed. Prior to Raring, 13.04, you get one set of packages and Raring and newer, you get a different set. In either case, on Microsoft's Azure cloud and elsewhere under the hyper-v hypervisor, you will get a hang if  you just install the linux-crashdump package and then experience a crash. This is due to some Azure-specific kernel modules that get loaded in the kexec/kdump kernel. You need to exclude these modules, i.e., blacklist them. Here's how.

Older Ubuntu Releases including Precise

In 12.04 (Precise) and 12.10 (Quantal) you want to edit /etc/init.d/kdump (this is the script that runs at boot time to configure the kdump kernel. The kdump kernel gets loaded into memory and configured via this script.)

--- /etc/init.d/kdump 2013-06-28 00:09:22.400504335 +0000
+++ kdump.nohyperv 2013-06-28 00:16:48.903733116 +0000
@@ -48,6 +48,7 @@ do_start () {
  # Append kdump_needed for initramfs to know what to do, and add
  # maxcpus=1 to keep things sane.
  APPEND="$APPEND kdump_needed maxcpus=1 irqpoll reset_devices"
+ APPEND="$APPEND ata_piix.prefer_ms_hyperv=0 modprobe.blacklist=hv_vmbus,hv_storvsc,hv_utils,hv_netvsc,hid_hyperv"

  # --elf32-core-headers is needed for 32-bit systems (ok
  # for 64-bit ones too).

As you can see, we are simply prohibiting the Azure kernel modules hv_vmbus, hv_storvsc, hv_utils, hv_netvsc, and hid_hyperv from loading in the kdump kernel. They still get loaded in the regular Azure kernel (and you will want to keep them there for performance and behavior reasons.) However, if they load in the kdump kernel, they won't actually work and will "hang" the kdump kernel while they try and connect to the Azure services (or hyper-v services.) Additionally, we  prefer NOT to load the hyper-v module setting for ata_piix by setting it to zero.

After you modify this init script, you will want to reboot. (But take note and read the last section on the crashkernel as you will likely want to make that change as well, prior to rebooting.

Newer Ubuntu Release (Raring and the upcoming Saucy)

The newest releases of Ubuntu include an additional package that handles kdump configuration called kdump-tools. This package manages the kernel modules in a simple config file /etc/default/kdump-tools. You can edit that file to blacklist the appropriate modules:

    67 #KDUMP_CMDLINE_APPEND="irqpoll maxcpus=1 nousb"
    68 KDUMP_CMDLINE_APPEND="irqpoll maxcpus=1 nousb  ata_piix.prefer_ms_hyperv=0 modprobe.blacklist=hv_vmbus,hv_storvsc,hv_utils,hv_netvsc,hid_hyperv "

In addition to preferring to NOT use the ata_piix for hyperv, it also blacklists the same kernel modules as previously mentioned.

Smaller Images

Low memory (extrasmall, small) Azure instances (well, really any small images including small physical machines) unfortunately run into bug #1206691, default crashkernel setting rarely works on a system with little memory. You will need to modify /etc/grub.d/10_linux and set the crashkernel to 128M for any size instance. Do this by simply altering the range here:

   74 # add crashkernel option if we have the required tools
    75 if [ -x "/usr/bin/makedumpfile" ] && [ -x "/sbin/kexec" ]; then
    76     GRUB_CMDLINE_EXTRA="$GRUB_CMDLINE_EXTRA crashkernel=384M-2G:64M,2G-:128M"


    74 # add crashkernel option if we have the required tools
    75 if [ -x "/usr/bin/makedumpfile" ] && [ -x "/sbin/kexec" ]; then
    76     GRUB_CMDLINE_EXTRA="$GRUB_CMDLINE_EXTRA crashkernel=384M-700M:64M,700M-:128M"



Once you have made this change, be sure to update grub:

sudo update-grub

so that the chnage will take effect. You will also want to reboot. Then you can validate that change by inspecting the boot command line:

cat /proc/cmdline

and see that the new value is now shown.

ubuntu@bug1195328-1210:~$ cat /proc/cmdline
BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-3.5.0-36-generic root=UUID=39eb48d3-958a-48e0-896e-b6b03cc2342a ro crashkernel=128M console=tty1 console=ttyS0 earlyprintk=ttyS0 rootdelay=300

Reference Material

The official references for configuring Ubuntu for kdump are here:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/CrashdumpRecipe
https://help.ubuntu.com/lts/serverguide/kernel-crash-dump.html
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+bug/785394
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+bug/1206691

and you should refer to them for procedures for testing and verifying your crashdump setup.

Micosoft Azure has some notes on the kernel modules here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2858695

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fun with QR Codes

In honor of xkcd's cartoon today, I thought I'd make myself a qr code--a self portrait.


Be sure to follow the QR code in xkcd a couple times and then come back and try this self-portrait. Oh, and you can do your own QR code art at http://www.qrpixel.com/

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

OpenStack Programs Core Developers

It seems to be something I look up fairly regularly: A listing of OpenStack core developers--either so I can get a +2 or just because I need to know if someone is on or not-on a given list.

I found the Canonical list by initially proposing in this blog the wrong list--and apparently that's a fairly common problem. So I'll link to the real list and explain how you might also be referring to the wrong list as well.

Official OpenStack Programs
OpenStack Technical Committee
Lastly, I ran across OpenStack Planet Core Developers when I was creating this list. They may be an aggregator team (ie, bloggers who get aggregated).  And hopefully, this blog will show up in the planet soon.

Now for the wrong list. Not so long ago, much of OpenStack was managed in Launchpad. Consequently, there are also a somewhat correlating list of -core projects in Launchpad. However, I'm not going to reproduce them herein in order to avoid perpetuating them. I will mention the bug that has been posted to help clean them up though: https://bugs.launchpad.net/openstack-ci/+bug/1160277 and it is listed as in progress and did see some activity last month. If you happen to stumble onto this blog post and have some ownership over those dangling -core teams or other defunct/obsolete launchpad teams, go ahead and clean them up (pretty please).

Oh and one other editorial footnote: OpenStack now refers to the individual areas of development as programs, not projects as it used to. You might want to update your mental model to that terminology. Many thanks to ttx for the review of this document (though all errors and faux pas are mine.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

VirtualBox Host-Only Networking

VirtualBox allows one to configure a VM with host-only networking. This can be useful if you are connnecting a number of VMs together and need to put them on the same switch/bridge.

However, it's darn frustrating to figure out how to enable it as all of the googling and manuals indicate you just enable it by selecting settings within the VM.

What they fail to mention though (but is covered in the built-in help in VirtualBox), is that you must first create a device for this host-only networking to use. From the main VirtualBox window, choose Preferences (below the File) menu. That will bring up the global preferences for the VirtualBox hypervisor. Click "Network" and then the "+" sign to add a host-only network device (typically vboxnet0).





It's possible that some versions of VirtualBox create one of these at install time, but on Ubuntu, such is not the case. Now you can create a number of virtual machines and put them on the same nic. Your host OS will also now show that same nic. Here's an example from my laptop's OS:

medberry@handsofblue:~$ ip a show dev vboxnet0
6: vboxnet0: mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 1000
    link/ether 0a:00:27:00:00:00 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 192.168.56.1/24 brd 192.168.56.255 scope global vboxnet0
    inet6 fe80::800:27ff:fe00:0/64 scope link 
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
medberry@handsofblue:~$ 


and that same vboxnet0 is now an option when you select host-only networking in the vm:


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Talk Like a Spy Day

There really ought to be a "Talk Like A Spy Day", something of a corollary to talk like a pirate day (tlapd).  tlasd would involve things like jamesbondisms, smileyisms, coldwarisms, etc.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Magnificient

I just wonder how many folks will be, like me, googling "magnificient" today after reading xkcd. I certainly did. I'm still undecided if it is a word or just artistic license.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Juju environment in the HPCloud

I've been an HPCloud user a long time. They rocked the cloud world as one of the first OpenStack deployments open to the public.

And I work at Canonical, so Juju is key to my cloud usage. There are some "howtos" for getting the hpcloud to work with Juju but I was just missing a few things... not sure if it was out of date or what, but the following worked fine.

Create an "environment" within your ~/.juju/environments.yaml that looks like this:
default: hpcloud
environments:
  hpcloud:
# Get api-keys here:  
#  https://console.hpcloud.com/account/api_keys 
# after you have a valid hpcloud account and login
    access-key: **************:****************
# from the api-key page use the access key 
#     with a central colon (:)
    secret-key: *************************************
# secret-key is just below the access-key you used above, 
# typically hidden/obscured by default
    juju-origin: ppa
# This was the most important line.
# juju-origin defaults to "distro" and the ubuntu in hp cloud
# currently is precise without an upgraded juju, so without
# setting this to ppa, you have a catch-22
    control-bucket: make-your-own-bucketname-cb
#make this up
    admin-secret: make-up-your-own-admin-secret
#make this up
    region: az-1.region-a.geo-1
    default-image-id: 8419
# use an appropriate image number from the selected region
#  you are using in the next line
#  8419 is valid for az-1
    project-name: hpcloud@medberry.net
# This is shown as the tenant name.
#  yours may look more like email@example.net-tenant-name
    default-instance-type: standard.medium
# This value while required, is ignored since Juju added constraints
# you can set it to any arbitrary string
# use "juju set-constraint instance-type=standard.medium" 
# to actually set a default instance type after you bootstrap
# and you can set the default at bootstrap time
# with "juju bootstrap --contraint "instance-type=standard.medium"
    auth-url: https://region-a.geo-1.identity.hpcloudsvc.com:35357/v2.0/
    auth-mode: keypair
    type: openstack
    default-series: precise

By default, your ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub will be injected into the instances. You can pass an alternative in by adding an:


 authorized-keys: ssh-rsa AAAAPUBLIC_KEY_TEXT_HERE


in the hpcloud environment stanza.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A little issue with nova keystone and cacert.pem

I was having a bit of trouble with OpenStack as I was setting up a demo. The demo included the normal essex bits and pieces: nova, keystone, horizon, glance, rabbitmq, mysql, and swift. Most of the way through the setup, I came to this step:

cd /home/ubuntu/creds
. ./openrc
nova x509-get-root-cert


and got a curious error:

ERROR: string indices must be integers, not str

which is correct, but not all that meaningful. I'll jump to the solution now. Somehow I had glossed over the step to create the nova user in keystone. Once I did that the get-root-cert worked.

Various error messages about this (and askubuntu answers) abound and include helpful suggestions like check your endpoints. (My endpoints were all fine.) And other suggestions (though I've only seen it once--as I was writing this blog post after I had a solution) to "Check that your service users can authenticate against keystone."

That was the actual issue--my "nova" user was never created (as I've said). And although the openrc file I had created doesn't reference this user, it is used by keystone to get the information.

I was able to troubleshoot this (on a multihost system with nova controller on node B and keystone on node A) by simultaneously tail -f /var/log/**ALLTHENOVALOGS** and tail -f /var/log/keystone/keystone.log where I plainly found:
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] ******************** REQUEST BODY ********************
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] {"auth": {"tenantName": "service", "passwordCredentials": {"username": "nova", "password": "novapassword"}}}
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi]
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Matched POST /tokens   
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Route path: '{path_info:.*}', defaults: {'controller': }
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Match dict: {'controller': , 'path_info': '/tokens'}
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Matched POST /tokens   
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Route path: '{path_info:.*}', defaults: {'controller': }
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Match dict: {'controller': , 'path_info': '/tokens'}
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Matched POST /tokens   
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Route path: '/tokens', defaults: {'action': u'authenticate', 'controller': }
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [routes.middleware] Match dict: {'action': u'authenticate', 'controller': }
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] arg_dict: {}
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47  WARNING [keystone.common.wsgi] Invalid user / password
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] ******************** RESPONSE HEADERS ********************
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] Content-Type = application/json
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] Vary = X-Auth-Token 
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] Content-Length = 89 
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi]
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] ******************** RESPONSE BODY ********************
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [keystone.common.wsgi] {"error": {"message": "Invalid user / password", "code": 401, "title": "Not Authorized"}}
> 2012-09-24 19:26:47    DEBUG [eventlet.wsgi.server] 172.25.100.32 - - [24/Sep/2012 19:26:47] "POST /v2.0/tokens HTTP/1.1" 401 248 0.030605

Once the nova user was created properly, the cacert.pem is created.

Sadly, this user/password is created many many steps earlier (and typically on another node) during the keystone config and only tested near the end of an install.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hangout How To

I found myself googling how to make Google Hangouts follow speaker. Sometimes I click on a specific speaker to put their webcam centermost in my display. However, switching back to "focus follows speaker" mode was not obvious. Simply click on the speaker (at the bottom) that you already have selected and a green outline around the speaker will turn off. This "toggles" the focus follows speaker mode (off or on). Clicking on a different speaker will just move "permanent" focus to the other speaker, so you must select the current speaker (which is more like a "de-select".)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

YAHTNG

Yet Another Helping The Next Guy

I bought my son a shiny new Ivy Bridge based Asus laptop from dealnews for high school graduation. Of course, he only runs Ubuntu, but I wanted to keep the Win 7 64 around for flashing BIOS and related reasons (and someday he may need to run some Windows program....)

It's pretty straight-forward to install Ubuntu alongside windows in a dual-boot fashion as the Live installer knows how to do this. But apparently not on some UEFI based systems--or that's what I thought. It turns out, the installer knows how to work with UEFI systems as well. It just doesn't know how to do it on a system with a broken/corrupt/obscured GUID Partition Table (gpt).

I've used gpt for years as I used to work in HP's Itanium Linux lab. And I've seen some GPT tables corrupted before. The ASUS (at least this one) ships with the secondary GPT corrupted. The last partition (I think 5th) somehow extends INTO the secondary GPT. (Think of the secondary as a backup table in case the primary gets corrupted--a failsafe.) This corrupt secondary table makes the partition table unreadable or possibly unusable to Ubuntu (and moreover, to the underlying libparted and the parted utility.)  The installer just "determined" that the disk was unformatted so it kindly offered to just install Ubuntu to this blank disk (destroying all the existing partitions in the process.) Not so good.

I downloaded gdisk (from Universe) as it seems to be designed from the ground up for GPT tables and it was able to read the partition table and show me the partitions. These matched up with what /proc/partitions was showing me (which seemed to be right all along.) It also matched up with what I was seeing in Windows 7. ASUS ships with a C drive, a D drive, and a recovery drive along with the normal EFI system partition (ESP) and a Microsoft Reserved Partition (MSR). So the layout looked something like this:


Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048          411647   200.0 MiB   EF00  EFI system partition
   2          411648          673791   128.0 MiB   0C01  Microsoft reserved part
   3          673792       339511295   161.6 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   4       339511296       925575167   279.5 GiB   0700  Basic data partition
   5       925575168       976773167   24.4 GiB    2700  Basic data partition


Where 3 is C (OS) drive, 4 is D (DATA) drive, and 5 is the ASUS Recovery partition. It is partition 5 that seemed to be the source of the error:


Warning! Secondary partition table overlaps the last partition by
33 blocks!
You will need to delete this partition or resize it in another utility.


To resolve this issue, I simply deleted partition 4 and recreated it from the same start point but smaller and ending sooner. Then I dd'd partition 5 to another disk, deleted it and recreated it (same size) but now it ended before the end of the disk. I then restored it via dd.  (The partition Warning! went away as soon as 5 was deleted and did not reappear when it was recreated at a new start sector.)

I failed to grab a snapshot of the final partition table entries but I basically shortened 4 by a couple GiB (and didn't try to "nail" it to exactly 33 blocks shorter.)

Once the GPT table had a functioning secondary GPT, the Ubuntu installer was able to find it without problems. I just used gdisk to make the D partition into a Linux format partition (8300). (There was nothing on the D drive.) The installer did create a GRUB entry for the Win 7 but that doesn't really work. However, using ESC, I can select the Windows partition from the UEFI boot menu and it dual boots just fine.  After the installation was done, I upgraded from the Precise install release bits to the latest bits (including newer kernel) and the grub update worked fine as well--so it seems to be a rock solid dual boot machine now.

Holler if this helps you or if you know more about why ASUS formats the disk this way--there could be an underlying reasons. Oh, and one more thing, I actually did make the Win 7 recovery disks PRIOR to doing any Ubuntu at all and I've not tried to do anything since with the recovery partition.

You can reach me via the comments below or email me at asus DOT dowdberry AT medberry DOT net.

And some final words: Ubuntu Live Installer makes an awesome detective kit and this Ivy Bridge notebook truly rocks.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Helping the next guy

Just a bit of IRC discussion I thought I'd share. A friend was looking for a way to disable X on an Ubuntu install converted to be a mythtv backend. After a web discussion, another friend suggested passing "text" in on the cmdline. That's a darn good suggestion.

This works in both gdm and lightdm as they both search for this in their startup script (/etc/init.d/gdm and /etc/init/lightdm). Lightdm is the default display manager in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric and gdm was the default display manager in prior versions.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Read Later Fast aka Diigo

Just checking to see if RLF is really all it is cracked up to be (by forcibly changing the content of my blog.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flickr Uploading from Ubuntu

As a linux user, I've long been frustrated with the tools available for uploading pix or vids to Flickr. I thought I'd give using Wine a shot with the Windows uploadr today. No luck. It gives an error "No XPCOM".

I was stumped and frustrated at this point. Sadly, if I had really been paying attention at UDS-O in Budapest, I would have immediately tried the winetricks hacks. (Winetricks were shown as a way to get performance measures during Wednesday's plenary session.) But no, I wasn't that swift.

Fortunately, someone else was... even swifter: Thank you  Sandip Bhattacharya. Your blog post Using the official Flickr uploadr on Ubuntu made my day. Kudos Sandip!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chroot Setup

Another in a series of notes to help me find and remember things. When setting up a chroot, immediately after, examine and if necessary rectify the /etc/resolv.conf settings. A Debian debootstrap chroot will use a default of 192.168.1.1 but you might want something other than that. The first clue will be when you can't ping or apt-get something.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another rant -- Colorado Public ... Radio?

www.cpr.org is not a site dedicated to cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. No, the letters stand for Colorado Public Radio. RADIO, yes, RADIO. However, I challenge you to find their radio broadcast frequencies on the home page. Or even an obvious link. FAIL.

A search for frequency will bring you to the Station Map where you will find that in and around Denver, the classical music station is 88.1 and the news (and news talk) is on 90.1.

Now you may be asking why in the world I'd be looking up an FM transmitter in this day and age. I still have analog radios. Really. And my ogg music player has one built-in and I regularly have it with me when exercising. And it's the holiday season here in the states... and I need to exercise. And yes, I can exercise to classical music.

Friday, November 5, 2010

FBReader full-screen feature

Let's get this out of the way first: This is a totally self-serving post.

FBReader, an e-book reader that can handle EPUB, has a feature to go full-screen. This is very useful--but also quite confusing. None of the menubar buttons seem to enable/disable this feature. Yet, it's fairly easy to accidentally turn on or off--and completely baffling when it happens. A quick google turned up nothing really obvious about how to enable/disable/toggle fullscreen mode. Thus, this blog entry.

Without further ado, here's the shortcut key: <RET>. Yes, the return key or enter key is the way you toggle fullscreen, full screen, full-screen off and on. And this does make some sense. The return key is pervasive on most PDAs, handhelds, and certainly on the author's laptops. So, it is nearly universally available (and moreover the enter key makes little sense in the body of a more-or-less read-only document format like EPUB.)

I've intentionally loaded this blog entry with searchable terms so that others trying to figure this out can easily find the information. That's why keyboard shortcuts and the word fullscreen appears several times with various spellings. Likewise, FBReader appears repeatedly. FBReader, which has nothing to do with FaceBook and does not predate FB, was certainly something I was aware of prior to my knowledge of facebook.

I don't yet own a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader or any other dedicated ebook reader. Moreover, I don't have an iPhone, Android phone, Palm or other smartphone. I do have a Nokia that can apparently also run FBReader and I may try that out at some point but I have not yet done so. And no, I've never owned the original FBReader device, Sharp Zaurus.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Undocumented ILO2 Settings

There appear to be some undocumented ILO2 settings, as a google search for:

oemhp_rawvspport

turns up zero hits as of this date.

However, by logging into a DL380 G62 ILO-2 CLI console, you can see this setting:
hpiLO-> show /map1/config1  
status=0
status_tag=COMMAND COMPLETED


/map1/config1
  Targets
  Properties
    oemhp_mapenable=yes
    oemhp_timeout=30 minutes
    oemhp_passthrough=disabled
    oemhp_rbsuenable=yes
    oemhp_rbsulogin=no
    oemhp_rbsushowip=yes
    oemhp_telnetenable=yes
    oemhp_httpport=80
    oemhp_sslport=443
    oemhp_rcport=23
    oemhp_vmport=17988
    oemhp_tsport=3389
    oemhp_sshport=22
    oemhp_sshstatus=yes
    oemhp_serialclistatus=yes
    oemhp_serialcliauth=yes
    oemhp_serialclispeed=115200 bits/sec
    oemhp_minpwdlen=7
    oemhp_hotkey_t=NONE
    oemhp_hotkey_u=NONE
    oemhp_hotkey_v=NONE
    oemhp_hotkey_w=NONE
    oemhp_hotkey_x=NONE
    oemhp_hotkey_y=NONE
    oemhp_high_perf_mouse=automatic
    oemhp_enforce_aes=no
    oemhp_authfailurelogging=3
    oemhp_computer_lock=disabled
    oemhp_rawvspport=3002
    oemhp_console_capture_port=17990
    oemhp_console_capture_enable=no
    oemhp_interactive_console_replay_enable=no
    oemhp_capture_auto_export_enable=no
    oemhp_capture_auto_export_location=http://192.168.1.1/REDLOF/capturePCThPCTt.ilo
    oemhp_capture_auto_export_username=0
    oemhp_capture_auto_export_password=0
    oemhp_console_capture_boot_buffer_enable=no
    oemhp_console_capture_fault_buffer_enable=no
    oemhp_shared_console_enable=no
    oemhp_shared_console_port=0
    oemhp_key_up_key_down_enable=yes
  Verbs
    cd version exit show set oemhp_loadSSHkey

And as you can plainly see,
oemhp_rawvspport appears therein.

Mentioned Elsewhere

Okay, I was reading scrollback from a chatroom at work and saw this phenomenally cool video (that kind of makes me wish I was still 20 y.o.) Probably best viewed with volume off, there's just the camera operator's commentary and a few honks from passers-by.






Props to Vinsh for sharing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Uncle's Day -aka- Cub Lake Trail


CUB LAKE
Originally uploaded by MERLIN08
My neice Jessica invited our family along with part of hers for a pre-Father's Day hike in RMNP. We hiked along the Cub Lake Trail which starts in the meadow and works its way up to Cub Lake. I'm now calling the day before Father's Day Uncle's Day in commemoration (though there probably already is an Uncle's Day according to Hallmark.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summertime

Today was glorious, warm, sunny, and summery. It was so nice out when I got up, I went out to "flush" the backyard of canine detritus. That was quick as it had been done recently. This was prep for mowing. However, it looked like string line trimming needed to happen, so I grabbed my trusty B&D whacker and went to work... After cutting for a couple minutes, it dawned on me that 6am* might be a bit early for the fam and the neighbors... :^) So I set down the whacker and had some breakfast. But it does illustrate how glorious today was.

As I was eating breakfast, I noticed birds retrieving dog hair from the back deck welcome mat. I grabbed some video equipment to record this (as last summer there was quite a pecking order established between a few birds competing for materials that was hilarious.) Unfortunately, by the time the gear was gathered and aimed, the birds had given up.... Maybe tomorrow.

I did ultimately get five hours of yard work completed before lunch. And followed that up with a high school graduation (air conditioned!) And then a bit of tool shopping to replace the worn out string trimmer. I picked up another B&D trimmer. I went for battery operated this time so that we don't have to string power cords all over the yard. (I don't think gas-powered are all that good for the air.)

And now, blogging from the coffee shop during a thunderstorm. Northern Colorado, late May, delightful.....

*I regularly wake up before 5:30 a.m. to feed the spoiled rotten Shih Tzu.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Presidential Memorial Day Observance

I found this nugget:
[President] Obama is not retreating on Memorial Day. Instead of visiting Arlington cemetery, Obama and the first lady will participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill., about 50 miles south of Chicago. Moreover, not every president has spent Memorial Day at Arlington. In 1983, President Reagan was at a summit meeting, and the deputy secretary of defense -- not even the veep! -- placed the wreath. Nine years later, President George H.W. Bush passed off the wreath to Vice President Dan Quayle. And in 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney took on the wreath mission, while President George W. Bush was in Texas.

References:
http://www.cem.va.gov/cems/listcem.asp list of National Cemeteries (why not visit one near you?)
http://www.cem.va.gov/ includes the info on President Obama's visit to Lincoln National Cemetery

Fort Logan National Cemetery
4400 W. Kenyon Avenue
Denver, CO 80236

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Post-A-Day, NaNoWriMo Redux

As anyone (anyone, please, throw me a bone, anyone?) who reads this blog knows, I epically failed at the "blog-a-day" for 30 consecutive days plan last November. However, the long days (sunshine from 5am to 9:30pm) are motivating me to blog again. No promises (or even plans at this point) on frequency, but hopefully MORE than once every half-year.

Middle of Nowhere Update

I went back to Albin over the weekend. Prior to that, I sent my son up there with a Cradlepoint router and a Verizon Wireless USB EVDO cell phone modem. This particular Cradlepoint has an external antenna. Once again it worked fine. And by worked fine, I mean if you were in the garage with it, you got a great WiFi signal from the Cradlepoint (and its MIMO rigging.) However, the garage is detached and 40+ yards away from the house. Within the house, the signal only penetrated 1/2 a room--so you had to be almost staring out the garage-facing window to use the WiFi-Cell router.

I had brought a Netgear wireless router and about 50' of Cat5E. However, the reason the Netgear was scrapped became obvious. Although the WiFi on it was working fine, the WAN port apparently was not. So, I got a nice signal from the Netgear but a signal to nowhere.

And on that note, I'm full circle--back to the middle of nowhere. I don't plan to return to the hinterlands for a while, so I've terminated the Verizon Wireless account. (As always, Verizon Customer service was quick, knowledgeable, and efficient--no joke.) There was at least one other bit of good news. There were many other folks at the family reunion, many sporting AT&T phones, mostly iPhones, and they were able to get a cell signal much of the time at the north end of the house.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Toy or Tool

I've been looking at getting a new toy/tool and am leaning towards this one:

This machine comes from the long line of eee pcs from Asus. This one is a Tablet computer--so it's not just a "pad", it's also a computer. It does have a few shortcomings, primarily that it is limited to 2G of RAM. It's also a bit tricky to convert it from 160GB HD to an SSD (rumors of 16 screws to do so.)

However, it does run Ubuntu Lucid Lynx and that (with a few tweaks/fixes) enables about everything except a fully functional multi-touch and pressure sensitivity. I'll likely keep this multiboot. If you are one of 'doze kind of people, bear in mind that the Starter edition is pretty much a non-starter on this box and you'll need to pay the Ballmer for something more (or re-read that first line: IT RUNS LINUX.)

There is a promotional video here and a "hands on" video here (but a bit long.) I think if I purchase this, I'll do a "hands on Lucid" video for teh Intartube.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nanu Nanoo Nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo (National Nobody Writes Month?) is on and although I'm not entered into that fine group of folks and have no intent to crank out a 50000 word novella this month, I thought I'd use their inspiration as my own (albeit 19 days late) and try and crank out a blog-a-day for 30 days.

This idea came to me yesterday so I'm counting my start date as 2009-11-19. (And unsuprisingly, I already have another thought to blog so want to get "mental" credit for two consecutive days.)

Oh and for those of you dereferencing the title, here's the obligatory Mork &Mindy links:

... and, jftr, it's National Novel Writing Month--not really Nobody Writes Month.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Laptop Display Attracts Flies

Okay, I've not heard of anyone else complaining of this--but my laptop screen REALLY attracts flies. I've never had a machine do that before. (This is probably my 15-20th different laptop.)

This particular unit is an HP Mobile Workstation, the HP EliteBook 8530w. It's a very nice machine--it just has this one peculiarity.

I'm blogging this primarily for folks to weigh in if they have seen something similar. Please email me or post against this blog entry if you are having a similar problem (with any notebook or laptop or netbook.) Thanks.

laptop.flies@dowdberry.net


Now, where did I leave that swatter.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Middle of Nowhere

I took the MiFi to PhilBurn Pharms, northwest of Albin, WY. Yes, this is one of those middle of nowhere places.

I set up the MiFi in the detached garage and got a very nice EV-DO signal--1Mb down, 400 Kb up. More than sufficient for this type of remote access. However, I noticed the signal / connection varied a lot depending on unknown factors (though potentially my location with respect to the MiFi.)

After the successful garage test, I tried to connect to the MiFi's wifi router from the house. There are 50 yards are so from the house to the garage. No joy. My laptop couldn't make a solid connection to the Verizon SSD over that distance. I then repositioned the MiFi within the garage trying to get a connection to the house. No location provided a connection.

The next step was to try the MiFi itself in the house. The MiFi never saw an EVDO signal. I could generally get a low grade 1xRTT signal (19-90k at times), but that is no better than dial up (which is already available in the house.)

The garage is situated south of the house on slightly higher ground. Anecdotally, some folks were able to get cell phone coverage on the south end of the house or on the porch steps at the south end of the house. So I next positioned the MiFi on the Southeast corner of the roof of the house. Bingo. This provided an EV-DO connection (albeit somewhat slower than the garage's connection.) It also was a bit flakier than the garage connection. I might get an EV-DO signal long enough to run a dslreports.com test but then have it decay to 1xRTT immediately thereafter. (The signal type is reported by the MiFi web gui.)

I then proceeded to try the other three corners of the house and the ridgeline on the north and south sides of the house--no joy. Only the southeast corner of the roof would pickup a signal. Also, it seemed vary dependent on how the MiFi was oriented. No signal at all at times and a flakey signal at best. At this point, I tried to regain a strong signal in the garage. No luck. It appears to be very, very transient and spotty. Here is the Verizon wireless coverage map. Select Broadband and V-CAST and see what coverage is near Albin, WY. Lot's of pockets where there is no connection and nothing much north of Albin more than a mile or so.

It's also difficult to assess where there cell towers might be located as there is no clearly defined direction from the map.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

MiFi -- Wifi via EVDO

Well, nothing but kudos for the folks at Novatel and Verizon Wireless for coming out with the MIFI 3G Hotspot. Works like a champ here at my office and at my home. The real test will be the middle of nowhere. I'll give an update then.

The short story is: works as advertised. It does seem to require Windows or Mac to perform the initial activation via USB but works fine providing WiFi and DHCP afterwards. (It will connect wifi prior to being activated, but you have no uplink.) Also, you can view some statistics/configuration information via the MiFi's web interface with any device after it gets a dhcp lease.

More about this new toy later.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Webby?

I don't get the webby awards. I probably never will. There were sooooo many categories I didn't even have the patience to scroll through the list.

The name of one, Wordle, did intrigue me. By referencing this blog, it generated the following image:

Wordle: dowdberry

Thursday, April 2, 2009

HP delivers!

I don't often (ever?) blog about HP, but just today they did something blog-worthy. My son has a 2510p laptop. It started making a really weird noise a week or so ago. I found out about it a week ago. It was clearly a hardware problem related to the fan. (It sounded like a cross between a dying cow mooing and a sheep bleating.)

We called HP support. We bought the laptop with a 3 year extended warranty. Their voice menu sent us to hold but after about 6 minutes a human answered. I described the problem and offered to boot up the laptop so she could hear it. Upon hearing the fan noise, she immediately said "Yep, that's a hardware problem. I'm overnighting you a shipping container. We'll have it back to you in a week."

HP had it back in less than a week. Nice. That this came on the heals of a fiasco with my neice's Acer Aspire laptop (which is essentially a brick now) made it even sweeter. Thanks HP.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mouse Traps Man

We live on the outskirts of town, not far from the mountains in Colorado. We've seen deer, fox, elk, etc in the neighborhood and in our own backyard. Once, I even saw a bear cub. Of course, we're somewhat urban as well, so we also have our share of squirrels. Moreover, there are lots and lots of bunnies in our neighborhood and as a result there are also reports occasionally of mountain lions.

However, I've never heard of any of these critters ever attacking people. Perhaps they might attack the occasional dog or cat. And, I certainly wouldn't have my toddler playing outside after dark upon reports of a cougar sighting.

Now however, there has been one report of dangerous animals: mice. Mice, a general nuisance and sometimes a public health hazard, are not known to take down humans. Sure, I've had my finger nibbled on in the middle of the night--a most disturbing phenomenon. But hardly life threatening. Today however, I went to check the traps distributed throughout our house as we've been seeing/hearing mice again for a few days. (They are driven indoors during the winter.) At last, we've killed one with the classic claptrap, spring-loaded mousetrap. I finish my cup of coffee and prepare to haul the critter to the trash. I grab an empty plastic grocery sack (classic re-use) and pick up the mouse, trap and all and head for the dumpster in the garage...

and it starts moving...

I nearly have a heart attack. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm prone to being easily startled. Seriously, I thought I was going to die from the fright. I could see it now, in the Rodent Reporter:
Mouse Traps Man

In local news, a mouse named Lazarus gave his all for the cause today. He, a longtime resident in Loveland, CO, trapped and killed a man today. He feigned his own death by deliberately catching himself in a mousetrap. However, he did so in such a way that he was not mortally wounded. Then, he waited for the unsuspecting homeowner to return home. He lay very, very still, in classic dead mouse fashion--akin to an opossum. As the homeowner proceeded to dispose of this "dead" mouse, Lazarus begin wriggling and moving... triggering a fatal heart attack in the startled homeowner.

Sadly, Lazarus did not survive the incident. The homeowner crushed Lazarus as he fell to the floor. And from this, the second "death" of Lazarus, he would not arise.

Lazarus is survived by an unknown number of kin. Funeral arrangements are being made by Waste Management of Northern Colorado. There will be no viewing. In lieu of flowers, please send cheese to your favorite charity in Lazurus' name.