piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
since neither the paramour nor brother wanted the ipod touch the paramour won, and i'm kinda the mac person in this family, i've inherited it. which seemed convenient at the time, since my android phone has bricked itself (no, really, it wasn't me rooting it; i had in fact not rooted it if you can believe that). anyway, the phone is dead, and i've not bothered to get a new one because i don't actually use it much.

so, i figured i can use the ipod for some of the things i do like, such as listening to music when out and about among noisy people (it works great for that), and keeping my shopping list.

oy. now, that is rather more complicated than it should be. first of all there is the app store. for which one needs an apple ID. ok. the apple ID enforces a certain degree of password security, which i am all in favour of - it wants a mix of capital and lower case letters, and at least a number. fine by me; add some punctuation and i am all set.

except such a password is a royal PAIN IN THE BUTTOCKS to type on an ipod. the virtual keyboard needs me to switch from alpha to numeric for every number or punctuation symbol. and it's not the easiest thing to type on this, unless you have dainty, pointy fingers. i don't.

so i type and switch and type and switch and type, and then it tries to load the app i had searched for and chosen (a free app in this case -- why in the world does it need my password anyway?). and once it's done loading, it tells me that my password was incorrect, and i get to try again. after mistyping it twice, it asks me innocently whether i might have forgotten it and offers me a choice to cancel or reset it. NO, i've not forgotten anything, I JUST WANT TO USE A BETTER KEYBOARD! and if i cancel, then i get to start over.

this, needless to say, is not winning me over to apple's app store model. it's easier to print my shopping list. which i will proceed to do now. i refuse to change my password to something easier to type, you bastards.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
this was a pain to set up, and i won't know whether it'll even work; i had to fake creating a livejournal, and then edited the account info to slip dreamwidth in there. this used to be easier.

nope, first try didn't work.

ok, so second try did work, but i don't have access to my userpics; it uses the ones from the LJ account with which i tricked it. it also sets comments to "disabled". tags? ummm... darn, i knew i forgot something. i wonder what it does if i try to resend it after i edited it elsewhere? it overwrites it. that's not actually bad, it means i can edit it and it'll save the edited version here. tags also came over.

why am i bothering? because i am clearly not writing here, and part of that is that i have too many bloody tabs in my browser, and i am writing in too many different places. so, consolidation sounds like a good idea.

of course i'd have to do this today, when i ought to protest SOPA/PIPA by not contributing to the knowledge on the web, but considering how little i've contributed, and the fact that dreamwidth participates in calling attention to the problem, i think i'll forgive myself.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm evaluating personal library programs for the mac and sharing the results with a book group to which i belong. however nifty librarything is, i do prefer to have my entire library catalogued locally, so it is available when i am (or LT is) offline. i have more than 2000 books entered into LT already, however, and do not care to duplicate the effort. therefore, whichever program i choose has to be able to import my books in some form.

i didn't think that was going to be an issue in the year 2010.

think again. )
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i'm busy today and therefore not able to rev up my google-fu right now, but if any of you have experience or knowledge of a twitter-to-jabber gateway, i'd be interested to hear all about it.

what i want to do is ship my tweets to my jabber client (ichat, though i can change that if needed) so they're sent to the *poing* who is at the other end of that connection, and who does not want to sign up to twitter or have yet another client open to yet another communication channel. (which is a very sensible attitude to have.)
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
*yuck*. i am hiding the entry because of GIANT FONT MADNESS. click if you want to see )
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
for a while now, since i've started listening to japanese drama CDs, it's been annoying me that the archive programs we have on the mac can't properly unzip them (keeping the original filenames intact). i understand the problem; the mac deals natively with unicode, which is a step up from ye olde windows crap of old. but most people who rip drama CDs in japan don't use unicode, they use Shift_JIS or EUC-JP.

today i got off my butt and in no time at all found an archive program that can detect those automatically, and unzip with the japanese filenames intact: the unarchiver. and if it can't detect it automatically, it'll stop and let you select. sweet. i am very happy (if a bit mad at myself for taking so long looking for something better). some of my donation budget will go to its makers.

(Midara na Kiss ni Midasarete: Morikawa Toshiyuki x Okiayu Ryoutarou! *squee*!)
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
mysql is pissing me off tonight. what's with the cryptic error messages? if you don't have permissions for a file, how about saying "i don't have permission to access that file"? how hard is that?

how to reset the root password, for future reference:

as root, create a text file in /etc/mysql, call it mysql-init. put this in it:

SET PASSWORD FOR 'root'@'localhost' = PASSWORD('pickAnewPassword');

chown the file to mysql:mysql.

now run mysqld_safe --init-file=/etc/mysql/mysql-init &

probably a good idea to delete the file after. :) and tomorrow, run the fix for the new grant-tables stuff.

i wonder whether the printhead is dry yet.

piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
google's picasa is an entry level photo editing and management application. it tends to be a bit basic for my own needs, so i won't be writing a full review here; i am unlikely to use most of its image editing and sharing features. picasa 2 looks comparable to iphoto and adobe photoshop album (neither of which i've used, so i can't tell you any more about pros and cons; just that that's the level we're talking about here). picasa is free, however.

and ya know, it's terribly exciting that they made an effort to bring it to linux. no, it's not OSS, and it's not an actual port, but uses wine (which is a windows API middleware layer). but it includes a runtime version of the libraries, so there's no hassle with having to install wine itself. simply download the package for your distro (it comes in deb, rpm, and bin), install, and that's that. it runs well on redhat; no problems at all so far.

it actually behaves like a (unusually pretty) linux app -- it sits in the task bar, and it handles linux file structure like a charm. i have my main image drive from aegis NFS-mounted, and it's scanning at a pretty good clip.

right now i am using it to classify images (whiling away the time until i get up the oomph to take my laptop apart), since one specific thing picasa does intelligently is that it stores captions and keywords in the image's IPTC data instead of in an external database. that means i can work in picasa now, and the work will later be easily transferable to any other program that handles IPTC data.

thanks to google (and codeweavers). nicely done.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
finally, months later, i've come upon the solution to my firewall spilling billions and billions of log messages all over aegis's console.

no, i am not particularly fast about some things.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
well, that was totally painless. a couple of days ago i bought tiger and a 300GB drive, yesterday i backed up drynwyn, and today i upgraded the system. the only thing that didn't work right away was ssh -- for some reason the upgrade changed the settings, and hosed the hosts file.

if only every upgrade were so easy.

i am happy we have a large backup drive now. it's a maxtor one-touch II with both USB and firewire interface, so it'll work on all of our systems. after the initial full backups i'll probably leave it connected to aegis, and run daily changed-files backups via rsync.

and it has a blue light. blue! it looks way cool at night when the lights are out. :)
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
so we're getting ready to upgrade to tiger (OSX 10.4). the paramour pointed out that we have some proof-of-purchase coupons that came with our last upgrade. i found them on the desk (how organized is that!), but they don't have numbers, and need to be filled in with (way too much) info. so i searched all over apple's site to find out under which circumstances they are applicable, and how much we can save with them. couldn't find anything. also, apple's store design -- much too small a font, guys!

google and blogs to the rescue. it turns out that there are upGRADES (such as from 10.3 to 10.4) and upDATES (such as bug fixes between such upgrades). most people download those updates online. for those people who don't have broadband, they can take those coupons to an apple store and get a free CD with the updates (or i guess mail them in to have the CD shipped to them).

ok, totally useless for us. fine. but it would certainly be a good thing if apple printed that on the bloody coupons.

so tomorrow i get to buy new software, if at list price. good ghod, leaving the house already again! and i had barely hunkered down. :)
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
you probably don't need this advisory, because you better know what you're doing.

microsoft has released a patch for the latest security problem. if it's not coming down the pike for you automatically, read the release bulletin, which will also point you at the update centre where you can download it. note that contrary to lots of suspicion in the blogosphere this doesn't appear to require upgrading either from windows 98/ME nor from XP SP1.

if you followed the directions in the post i pointed at, you should now uninstall the unofficial patch (from control panel -> add/remove software). you can do so either before or after installing M$'s patch.

the state of the piranha: cranky, tired, but not unhappy per se, just mired in tedium. i've been incessantly fighting with my system, trying to get my video card driver upgraded to handle a newer version of openGL for a new piece of software to run adequately, which is a horrid chore -- install a driver, reboot, find out whether it works, uninstall, reboot, rinse, lather, repeat. dear toshiba: you suck. just because nvidia's reference drivers rule doesn't mean you should have just fallen down on the job of keeping a finger on the pulse. so now they no longer support the card; how about you do?

this explains my absence in IM. i am not keeping up with LJ or email either; sorry everyone. but all this rebooting is getting me to pare my startups down. ghod, how overloaded windows gets with crap that people decide should all run at startup time. ASK ME whether i want it or not! period cleaning; not just for spring anymore.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
the last year ended with a major vulnerability in M$ windows, and the new year starts with snowballing pieces of malware out there exploiting it. if you haven't heard about the "WMF exploit" yet, get yourself to this link and follow the instructions to apply the unofficial patch and deregister shimgvw.dll -- this is really serious, and you won't even be safe if you don't run IE or outlook, which are the usual vectors for such crap. this can hit you through other browsers as well. website for the unofficial patch, which might be more up-to-date than the first link by the time you're reading this. remember that you did this, when M$ comes out with their official patch, you'll want to undo both these changes.

generally it's a good idea to have Windows Data Execution Prevention turned on, which keeps data from executing in areas already marked as storage (which is how buffer overflow exploits usually work). in XP SP2 you do that via start -> control panel -> system, tab advanced, performance region settings button, tab data execution prevention, radio button Select Turn on DEP for all programs and services except for those I select. you don't have to add anything there unless you're debugging code. reboot after applying changes (one reboot for all 3 actions, the two above and this one will do :).
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
XP service pack 2 quietly limits the TCP-IP stack to 10 simultaneous connection attempts. ostensibly this was done to avoid the spreading of worms, which is all good and well -- except that i fucking want to be TOLD what is being done to my system, and i want to be given the option to ignore microsoft's idea of "best practices". i know, this must be so hard for bill to believe, but some of us do know what we're doing with our systems, and -- *gasp* -- we actually know better than him!

that limit is a problem for any applications that open a lot of TCP connections -- such as p2p programs. it'll slow them down. why is that so? TCP connections are initiated with a 3-way handshake: the client sends a SYN packet, and waits expectantly for a SYN and ACK response from the server. once the client gets that, it sends back an ACK. as long as the initial response from the server hasn't been received, the connection is "half-open", and the client waits for a certain period of time before giving up (and trying again a bit later). limiting the number of half-open connections means any further attempts to initiate a connection are put into a queue and have to wait their turn. windows will also consider writing to the event log. all of this takes processing time away from actually exchanging data.

if your system event log contains several 4226 events each day, this is happening to you. there is alas no registry fix, but you might want to grab ahold of the patch that's available; it allows you to raise the limit. the defaut of 50 should work fine, and still provide protection against the fast spreading of worms (if you are worried about that), but you can rerun the patch with a higher limit if you still find a lot of 4226 events in your event log.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
sometimes i am slow. i recall hearing some vague comments about windows screen font smoothing, but i never paid any attention. today, while checking out font managers, i came across what is called "cleartype font smoothing", turned it on, and let me tell you, I CAN SEE!

it has improved my screen quality amazingly. pages from certain sites (frex the guardian) which i previously needed to switch over to viewing with my own font, are now perfectly legible. everything is much more defined, sharper, with better anti-aliasing. smaller letters especially. it's beauteous.

it's meant first and foremost for LCD displays, but allegedly it also improves matters for many people with CRTs. if you want to try it (instructions for winXP):

right-click on your desktop, pick "properties", appearance, effects. second drop-down menu (for smoothing the edges of screen fonts), pick "cleartype", OK, OK, enjoy. there is some fine-tuning you can do by downloading a tuner from microsoft.

i only hope this doesn't mean a real performance hit.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i've let the paramour go for a walk by zirself, even though the weather was nice, and i could have used the walk, and would have undoubtedly enjoyed it. but i've been playing all day with tcp/ip traffic control, my firewall, and bittorrent.

i can see why so many people bitch about bittorrent, and never get theirs working well. it's rather complicated, with several factors all affecting not only whether, but also how well bittorrent will work. i am glad i am a geek with some inkling of networking.

i wonder if i could actually write a handholding document for complete non-geeks. *urk*. not going to give in to that temptation just now; but i want to write down what i had to do and why. which i'll do under this cut. )


i love our cats. i always have company in my room; at least one of them tries to lay down on my wacom pad (but will settle on the other side, snuggled against my left arm if prodded), and bacchus usually curls up under the workbench.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
with fireHOL, a language to express firewalling rules. it produces a stateful firewall. (it keeps track of the events in any particular sequence of interaction, which means it knows which packets are legitimate for any specific connection state, and can make intelligent decisions about which to keep and which to reject).

it is easy to write. it is even easy to read. look how damn easy it is:

    interface eth0 homelan
    policy accept
    
    interface eth1 internet
    protection strong
    server http accept
    server ssh accept src trusted.example.com
    client all accept
    
    router homelan2internet inface eth0 outface eth1
    masquerade
    route all accept

my actual firewall is of course more complicated, but it didn't take more than 30 minutes to learn the language and write out a scipt (fireHOL uses bash scripting). and it would have worked perfectly right away were not telus blocking standard bittorrent ports, the bastards. but at least that became obvious pretty much right away, while before using fireHOL i wasn't certain whether i was handling the forwarding of the bittorrent traffic correctly (as it turns out, i wasn't).

so now i am happy. i have a nice, new, clean firewall script that i actually understand backwards and forwards.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
i got bittorrent to work, which entailed piercing two firewalls. me and iptables should really become better friends, but we're definitely closer than last time i tried this.

i like the concept of bittorrent -- both the load distribution, and its tit for tat speed adjustment (if you don't share, your download speed will suck) are pretty good ideas for p2p services. i also found a much better client than last time -- azureus packs lots of power, and how can one not like a program named after the blue poison dart frog?

i have a big hardon for p2p -- the idea of decentralised sharing of stuff just really works for me. i am sitting here, watching 80% of my upload bandwidth being used, and it makes me happier than the fact that i am finally sustaining a pretty good download speed too. i never leech on p2p networks; the whole point for me is to share stuff i like with other people who might also like it.

so now i have a collection of 1980's abandonware games, and a couple of scanlations for manga i bought in japanese. once i come up for air from cleaning images, that'll be fun to dig into.

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piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
renaissance poisson

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