Archive for February, 2010

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-28

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
  • WFH today. Citrix being a bit of a whatsit. Despite that., it's very peaceful and the view more relaxing than south London. #
  • O2 to send a new b/b router as existing one has been restarting every few mins. all last night. At least OK now except set at slower speed. #
  • Attempting to be diplomatic. #
  • Playing with piped gzipping across ssh and running out of space again. #
  • "This copy of windows is not genuine" Utter tosh! #
  • Managed to get my #Chumby to display the 24hr power graph image from #Pachube every few minutes. #
  • Off home now. Hope the river at Betchworth is still flooding the road! #
  • Water subsided since this morning so need to wait for more rain #
  • Off to look for water. #

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The River Mole at Betchworth

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Much, well a little, excitement on the way to work this morning – the River Mole at Betchworth had flooded the road, both sides of the bridge, so the Landy was the ideal vehicle to drive through. Sadly, though, it was only about a foot deep – so no problems at all, and no other cars seemed to be having any problems.

The water had subsided by the time I came home in the evening – but the weather forecast suggests that there might be more rain on Sunday so perhaps there will be another chance after that. Hope so!

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Citrix on Fedora 12 Grief

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Working from home today, so I needed to set up Citrix on my Linux desktop – which I’ve just rebuilt from a selection of parts from other hosts lying around in the study (including replacing the HDD which had a SMART uptime of more than 5 years – it used to be in a a server).

Anyway, after downloading the ICA client tgz file and failing miserably to get that to work, I looked around for more information. As with the Mac (which was a problem when the snow happened) there’s a newer bit of client software, so down the wire that came, and as an RPM should have been easy to install. A quick rpm -ivh did the trick. First step was then to disable a couple of font files which stopped it launching at all (/usr/lib/fonts/cjkuni-uming/* were the culprits). Logging in with the web interface to the office systems, click on the terminal services icon – and wham – a message saying I’d not chosen to install the AddTrust External CA root certificate.

Well – fortunately that existed in the Firefox setup – so a quick export from FF and copy in to the ICA certs folder and It Worked!

It’s still pretty awful – I can’t seem to adjust the screen size for the client window, so I’m working in a small (scaled down) 1024×768 sort of screen. At least, though, I can actually work.

Posted from GScribble.

Update: Inorder to use the wfmgr.bin utility to manage the citrix onnections I also had to symlink /usr/lib/openmotif/ into /usr/lib (although there’s probably a better way of doing it). Now the session manager works I seem to have more control of window sizes. Phew!

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-21

Sunday, February 21st, 2010
  • An evening spent swapping video cards & bits between various old PCs so I can end up with something that works well enough for my desk. #
  • "A disk may be failing: disk has many bad sectors". Time to stop now. #
  • At last, a combination of parts which might be reliable enough to run my new Fedora 12 desktop. #
  • Got a call from a Market Research co. who said they were my wife's bank (but would not say which one). 01233648505 Kay Smith who are you? #
  • Hundreds of alarms on a major site seems to be a scary false alert! #
  • Reading this helps decide what's for supper tonight: #
  • Well, that's all the stuff for supper prepared and ready to go. Now I deserve a beer from the homebrew calling me from the shed. #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-14

Sunday, February 14th, 2010
  • Chasing paperwork for things people want me to do for them. #
  • Looks like more regex fun coming up – this time for #
  • Minor MySQL panic as replication stopped after a slave restart. Fixed now, so I can go home! #
  • I must learn to find out if a problem is actually a genuine problem before trying to fix it especially when reported as such by end users. #
  • Just back from spending a very fascinating 45 mins wandering in a chinese supermarket. Wonderful stuff everywhere. Quite hungry now. #
  • Bought jasmine tea, lychees and Fortune Cookies (and some for the nursery). Tea and cookies delicious, not tried the lychees yet! #
  • IT Architects asking how many of our blogs are brochureware but their definition was a bit wooly. More than I would have guessed. #
  • Arduino kit has arrived from oomlout. Very nicely presented indeed. Surprised how small the Arduino itself is. #
  • LED attached to Arduino: It blinks (just the way I tell it to!) #
  • An opportinity just arose to rescue a damsel in distress. Of course, I took it. #
  • Bloke in front of me earlier this evening in Tesco bought £500 of Euro lottery tickets. I hope I win. #

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Arduino Arrives

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Today saw the long awaited arrival of an Arduino starter kit. Ordered from oomlout a couple of days ago it’s arrived in good time, and made a great impression.
The kit itself is neat, tidy and very well presented in a plastic compartment box – so no cause for untidiness or losing anything – together with a great little guide to getting started. The guide, as well as some handy introductory material about the kit, programming and electronic components. After that each page takes you through constructing a small experiment – working up in complexity and using all the components in the kit.
I chose to install the IDE on my eee 1000H netbook rather than my desktop as it had a much more up to date Ubuntu installation which met the requirements without any further hassle.

A first Arduino Experiment - flashing LED

Arduino flashing a LED

I started with the first example – to make a LED blink – and discovered how case sensitive the sketch seems to be – but it was easy to work out where I was wrong from the way it debugged during the compile and highlighted the offending line.
A very quick upload later and the LED was blinking merrily away. So easy to change the mark/space ratio by altering the delays in the loop and uploading again. How easy is that?
I see much time to be spent playing and learning how to get the best from this. Very satsifying indeed.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-07

Sunday, February 7th, 2010
  • Have ordered an arduino starter kit from oomlout. Too many ideas. #
  • Received second time around wedding invite from an old pal. Have suitable gap in diary. That's Good. #
  • is getting confused trying to load up and work a dispenser for brown pacel tape. #
  • Struggling with win s/ware Typing Instructor for Kids 4 which has no sound (and should) & won't register DLLs properly at install. Grrrr. #

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Arduino Kit on the Way

Saturday, February 6th, 2010
Arduino Starter Kit from Oomlout

Starter Kit

I’ve finally broken, and splashed out in a Starter Kit for the Arduino.  I’ve ordered the kit from as it seems to have lots of bits along with a decent size breadboard and natty holder to fix the board and the Arduino unit itself together which should make it more stable.  It also has a servo motor which I’ve never used before, although the rest of the components are pretty familiar, and which I’m looking forward to getting to grips with.  The only problem is there are just too  many possible projects I’d like to construct!

In other news it seems Paul and Clare are to marry in the Summer.  Invite arived today so that day’s already been set aside in our diary.  We’re very much looking forward to the event, and finally meeting the lady herself – all previous attempts have failed through severe diary congestion.

Possible Arduino Projects

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

This is really just a short note to file away for the future.  Having recently discovered the Arduino, and seem many of the things it’s been made to do, I wanted to jot down a few ideas I might follow up myself one day.  Real Work seems to get in the  way most of the time, but with a long history of dabbling in radio and electronics and having built many gadgets, radios, remote controls and so forth, the Arduino looks like a fab  way to interface with mechanicals.

So the first idea is a way to play some little bells to make tunes.  I have a couple of sets of mini bells from B&Q some years ago which play a fixed set of Christmas tunes, controlled from a small box and a 12v supply.  If I can interface each bell line to the Arduino using a (reed) relay [or even directly, perhaps?] I’d have an eight note one octave player.  A quick look on the ‘net shows someone has made a similar bell tower from hand bells, however I’d like to be able to play more than one note at a time.  Input from a text file of some sort – I’ve seen a form of music notation that might do the trick, but this needs more investigation.  Ultimately I could build a multi-octave machine like a player piano or adapt a harmonium.

Second Idea: Temperature sensors on the heating system to measure use and efficiency – and combine with a gas meter reader to complete the energy consumption records  via Pachube (i.e. to add the the electric consumption data).

Third idea: Talking parrot, an adaptation of an ambient orb.  I have a USB parrot which only works on Win and has no recent drivers or apparent way to use in Linux/OSX – so I’m going to keep it for possible hacking in the future.  Flap wings or nod head , open beak etc to relay data values of some sort.  The higher the home energy use, the more the little bird will fidget.