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September 2008

don't anthropomorphize computers - they don't like it

posted to writings on sep 11th, 2008 with tags asterisk and voip

it appears that asterisk/sip servers are now a target of random (?) internet brute force scans just like ssh and smtp with authentication enabled.

i'm curious what they would have done had they found an account with an easily guessable password, though. make free long distance calls to their friends? it'd be like finding an ssh account and then using it to telnet back to your home machine, no? i'm half-tempted to create one of these simple accounts and then make asterisk record all of the calls made by it and then post the audio up on the internet.

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rescuing a lacie "big disk extreme with triple interface" usb drive

posted to writings on sep 4th, 2008 with tag mac, last updated on sep 4th, 2008

i've been using a lacie 500gb "big disk extreme with triple interface" on the mac mini hooked up to my tv to hold all of my movies. it died the other day and wouldn't attach to the mac. since it was out of warranty anyway, i opened it up to see what was happening.

it's a big unit since it has two 250gb drives in it that are concatenated as one 500gb drive to the operating system. when plugging it in, the drives would whirr up very faintly but nowhere near full speed. the blue light on the enclosure would blink and then go solid for a second, then keep blinking as if it was continuously trying to read from the drives to attach to the mac.

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July 2008

My history with OpenBSD

posted to writings on jul 30th, 2008 with tags me and openbsd

I received an e-mail asking me how I got started with OpenBSD, so I thought I'd write the answer here in case anyone else wanted to read it.

I started using OpenBSD in 1998 (version 2.3 or 2.4) to host a BBS that I was running. I chose OpenBSD because of its security record and because I was getting fed up with Linux (Slackware) at the time. I think the machine was a Pentium 75 or something, and OpenBSD worked quite well on it. During the course of building the BBS, I had to install some 3rd party software, so I got interested in OpenBSD's ports system to make installation of that software cleaner. I submitted some ports to the ports@ mailing list and got them committed by other developers. I tested others' ports and supplied feedback where I could. I hadn't done much unix development back then, so writing simple makefiles for ports was an easy way to get involved.

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disabling auto-correction on the iphone 2.0 firmware

posted to writings on jul 21st, 2008 with tag iphone

i upgraded my iphone to the 2.0 firmware yesterday since the jailbreak was just made available. sadly, some of the apps i was used to don't work on 2.0 yet (sendpics, mcleaner, etc.) but one of the most annoying changes was that i couldn't easily disable the typing auto-correction with a tweak to the preference plist like i did with the 1.1.x firmware.

however, it seems if you just move the dictionary out of the way, it accomplishes the same thing:

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and on the nokia n810

posted to writings on jul 20th, 2008 with tags 770, laptops, n810, nokia, openbsd, and zaurus

i don't remember what prompted it, but i also bought a nokia n810 the other week. i bought a nokia 770 two years ago and it sucked, but now that it has a physical keyboard and gps, i figured i'd give it another try.

i found the casing to be a bit flimsy. when the keyboard was extended downward, the display wouldn't sit still and would kind of tilt one way or the other. the keyboard was not very easy to type on, but certainly easier than pecking at an on-screen keyboard like with the 770.

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on the hp 2133 mini-note

posted to writings on jul 20th, 2008 with tags 2133, laptops, libretto, msi, openbsd, and wind

i bought an hp 2133 mini-note a while ago. it's a "netbook" or whatever people are calling all of these new eee-pc-like machines. the size is similar to my libretto l5, which came out like 6 years ago (and mine is sitting in my closet with a broken keyboard) so i'm not sure why all these companies are suddenly making similarly sized machines.

the overall size is decent but, because this one has a 6-cell battery, it sticks up twice as tall in the back and makes it awkward to carry. the keyboard was very nice and big, and its keys and tactile reminded me of the keyboard on my old powerbook g4. the trackpad is pretty stupid, though, since its buttons are on the sides and not at the bottom. the trackpad itself seemed a bit unresponsive at times as well.

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February 2008

but that is the traditional god and he's a terrible character

posted to writings on feb 16th, 2008 with tags acpi, laptops, openbsd, thinkpad, and x61

i started working on an acpi driver this evening to make my thinkpad x61 work better under openbsd. i just finished it and so far it matches on the IBM0068 acpi hid device, checks it for the appropriate version, enables the bluetooth device (which is required before the hardware toggle switch can power it on and let the ubt0 device show up), and sets up a callback to run whenever a special button (e.g., fn+f[1-9], brightness, thinklight, etc.) is pressed. i'm pretty sure it will work on most other thinkpads but i haven't tried it on my x40 yet.

i mapped out all of the events that get generated, which on my x61 tablet include the screen rotating around, the lid opening and closing, and even the pen being ejected from its little slot. when the brightness buttons (fn+home and fn+end) are pressed, it sends a cmos command through acpi to actually adjust the screen brightness accordingly, so now it's working just like my x40 did on its own. being able to turn the brightness down when on battery is the main reason i wrote this.

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i'm just saying, if you go fishing don't get mad if you catch a boot, or a tin can, or even maybe some seaweed

posted to writings on feb 10th, 2008 with tags fujitsu, laptops, lifebook, openbsd, and x40

for certain reasons, i've been looking at getting a tablet laptop. i bought a fujitsu lifebook p1610 tablet in december but found its screen and keyboard too small to use on a daily basis.

after using openbsd on one of my imacs for the past few months (and rarely using my thinkpad x40), i had gotten used to the extra screen real estate of the 1440x900 resolution. now that i'm back to using a laptop as my primary machine, i've been looking for something with a higher resolution (as well as more cpu power and ram) to replace the x40 as well as provide tablet functionality. the thinkpad x61 tablet satisfied those requirements while still staying relatively light and thin, so i bought one.

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January 2008

don't get on my case, familiar person

posted to writings on jan 9th, 2008 with tags dbus, gaim, growl, openbsd, perl, and pidgin

a while back i wrote a half-assed growl-like notification system called "meow" that i could use on openbsd. i wrote a gaim plugin that used meow to notify me of new messages so i wouldn't have to keep switching back to the workspace it was in to see who was talking to me. but it was a perl plugin for gaim and i didn't remember how i got perl support working in the openbsd port. the port's maintainer didn't care to fix it and i could never get it working in any future releases. so without gaim notifications, i didn't really have much use for meow and it was scrapped.

recently this bothered me again so i looked into writing another plugin for gaim pidgin. i read up on its dbus support and with a quick port of ruby-dbus, i had a working ruby script listening to pidgin events via dbus and sending notifications to meow. but as it turns out, dbus is used in a lot of software these days and has its own specification for notifications (for which a notification daemon exists in openbsd's ports). i installed it and changed a few lines in my new plugin to just send the events back through dbus to the notification service:

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