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Arfonzo's Blog

26/09/2011 19:52 BST | Stopping X from turning off the display.
If you run virtual machines with X, you are probably familiar with disabling the screensaver from coming on via the desktop GUI, and disabling the power saving features from turning off the monitor. Unfortunately in some instances is not sufficient: if you're not using Gnome or KDE desktop environments you may run across this. I recently experienced this in an Arch Linux VM using XFCE.

The screensaver itself did not come on, however annoyingly, the screen kept powering itself off despite these settings via the GUI controls. This is incredibly ugly, especially if you use VirtualBox's seamless mode, like me: you end up with black patches where X windows were, all over your desktop until X detects mouse movement.

I was able to resolve this by running the command:

xset s off

Which sets the screensaver to off. You can verify this by using the 'xset q' command.

Hope this helps.

23/09/2011 20:56 BST | New router hell
So, after holding out for a couple years, I've purchased a new router for our home, to replace the WRT54G running tomato firmware. We got a Netgear DGND3700.

As a dual processor device, it's built to take on a load. It's gigabit and wireless n, which was nice to watch wireless n-enabled devices go from 54Mbit to 300Mbit. Although the new router performs much faster than the WRT54G, I'm not impressed with many of it's disadvantages.

For one thing, the limit is 20 port forwards(!) What the fuck is that? To get around this I've setup a machine to DMZ to, which handles all the port forwarding. What a pain in the arse.

Another problem is the lack of SNMP or SSH... for such an expensive piece of kit, I'd expect at least those features out of the box.

The web administration interface also leaves much to be desired.

We had a problem keeping connectivity on our ADSL2+ circuit. Digging around on the forums, this is a known issue due to be resolved next firmware release, whenever that may be.

I've taken a look at the internals and it is a Linux ARM MIPS machine, with your standard tools like busybox.

I'm hoping someone one day will put out an open-source alternative firmware to the Netgear piece of shit we're all currently stuck with. Until then tho, I've bridged my ADSL modem to it, and all seems to be relatively stable.

Final verdict: great hardware, shitty firmware.

03/09/2011 11:27 BST | Life goes on...
So, it's been quite a while since my last post. Things have been busy in the past few months... I've spent a week in Spain with the missus and her family, then began a two-month secondment which I'm still currently on.

I've not had a chance to do any serious nerding since then--woe is me.

I have spent the past month or so working on a SharePoint EDRMS project for an international client, which has allowed me to delve deeper into some SharePoint 2010 features like Managed Metadata Term Store for taxonomy, and custom workflows. I like the way terms are managed, I don't like how there does not seem to be an easy way to export the terms for staging to other farms.

Apart from that, all quiet on the homestead.

12/07/2011 01:45 BST | Dell Streak Gingerbread project
I've begun work with fards to try and build a working Gingerbread device source tree for the Dell Streak. Hopefully this will lead to a fully working kernel source tree, which we'll then push to a public git repo.

Work is slow, but it has begun. Any and all help would be welcome. Check for "details" (if you can call them that), here:


Currently we are cleaning up some of the makefiles, porting source and config from other vendor devices which have published Gingerbread code. Also the creation of a working script to pull necessary files off a StreakDroid 2.0 beta phone (the extract-files.sh).

Please join us on #DellStreak (irc.freenode.net), as most of it goes down in there.

08/07/2011 01:40 BST | Compiling Synchronet BBS for OpenBSD amd64.
I've made a guide on compiling SBBS on OpenBSD. This was done with the help of DigitalMan and Deuce, thanks guys, all credit goes to them.


There are a few things to update, but the document should get you from "what the fuck is this?" to compiled SBBS system without too much hair-pulling.

07/07/2011 17:25 BST | sc - fixing the syntax errors
I've found that running 'sc' on a gcc4 built system (i.e., OpenBSD 4.9 amd64), you may run into a load of syntax error messages when doing even trivial operations such as editing text. This is apparently due to GCC4 not playing nice with the code in sc (http://old.nabble.com/-PATCH--math-sc-doesn't-work-at-all-with-gcc4-p31926212.html). There has been a patch released for Slackware, and it works fine for Linux, as well as OpenBSD, which I have tested. Steps to resolve:

- Remove your distro-installed 'sc' binary package.
- Download the sc source code:
- Download the patch:
- Extract the source code.
- Extract the diff patch.
- cd into the source directory.
- Patch it: 'patch -p1 < /path/to/sc-7.16-3.diff'.
- Compile 'sc'.
You can use my OpenBSD Makefile here, which fixes 'make install', etc, to provide /usr/local/* based installation and working manpages:

Hope this helps keep sc alive, enjoy!

06/07/2011 00:10 BST | Breaking into our safe
23:53 < art> aye, well today I closed my safe, and thought I didn't have the combination
23:53 < art> so I started having at it with a fucking electrical drill
23:54 < art> 20 minutes later, I remembered the combo.
23:54 < samos_> dig much of a hole?
23:54 < art> surprisingly, yes, about 3 mm.

Note to all safe-owners: put that darned combination in your KeePass file.

05/07/2011 22:41 BST | Blog ported to gopher phlog, finally!
After long harsh nights, sleepless weekends, night terrors and cold sweats (OK, fine--so it wasn't quite so traumatic--but it was still a PITA), I've finally managed at long last to port all of my blog posts into this gopherhole! I'm looking forward to becoming more active again with the posts, I have definitely been getting lax with regular content--such is the cruel world of IRL.

I have been working on a project to manage my phlogs, my goal has been to make it at least as simple to browse and maintain as mine-WordPress-blog-of-ye-olden-dayz. While it's fine for creating posts, my problem was somehow converting all my posts going back to 2006... ouch.

I was having difficulties as there were all sorts of non-ASCII characters, and HTML artefacts in all my posts that needed cleaning up. With the help of a little tool I wrote in ruby, I was able to reduce the amount of grunt-work required to do this. It allowed me to select entire months' posts, and literally paste them into the input of the program without much effort.

The program then cleaned up most of it, leaving me with the final task of going through all the converted posts and making sure they were formatted and linked to the proper content--phew! Glad that's done.

Next step: redirect visitors from http://art.csoft.net to the HTTP-gopher proxy here...


/me rubs hands with glee.

03/07/2011 18:30 BST | Testing flogger
I'm testing a quick ruby hack I've made called flogger: it helps create phlog posts without hassle. You set a few variables such as your phlog path and your favorite editor, and give your post a title.

It handles all the overly mundane stuff - parsing the date and title into a nice, sortable filename, inserting a standard header into every post, update your phlog .abstract with a summary of the latest post, and so on.

You can read more about the features and decide if you'd like to test it here:

I have not released the source code, mainly because I'm not sure anyone is interested--it's still early days. If you'd like to test flogger, contact me.

Click here for past posts.