Oct 18 2010

Le Tablet nouveau est arrivee

So I bought myselve a new gadget, a tablet. I wanted a couple of things, first of all I love the mythdroid app as a remote control for my MythTV, but as it runs on my phone and kids don't have a phone it was pretty much a blocking issue when I wasn't at home.
The second thing I wanted was a device for the kids to play small games on ... and I also want to use it for the kids to watch some movies while we travel. On top of that it would be handy if I could use it to surf the web from my couch while not having to open up my laptop.

I was looking into buying an Achos 10.1 which was due to be released earlier this month but I was fed up with waiting so I went googling for an alternative , and I found one .. it's an Apad, or an e-pad .. I still don't know .. the box says epad
ebay listed it as a 10.2" Android 2.1 Epad Apad 1GHZ Tablet PC UMPC Netbook It's not an iPad, .. it's chinese and it costs 1/3 of an iPad and it runs Android. Yes that's right .. I had it delivered from the UK within 2 working days for just about 200 Euro including shipping.
Ordered on thursday afternoon .. on my desk before 10AM on monday.

Opening the box was a bit scary .. it had a weird e logo on the side wich some people recognised as a kind of browser logo that I`m unfamiliar with and the acommpanying manual was only mentioning an platform I don't want to use , however booting up the device reassured me .. there was a nice penguin on the bootup screen and seconds later an android logo appeared.

The Good:

The device is really easy to work with , kids can use it .. (that was the goal wasn't it ? ) It has a USB slot where you can plug in external storage
and it has a SD slot for similar use .. it came with a 512Mb SD card which I replaced with an 8Gb one . It has an ethernet connection an extention cable with a real RJ45 connection . Lots of apps are available from it's market

The Bad:

It's not your default Google Market, the device has no access to the Google App Market but uses SlideMarket, not all apps are availble for download that way, however nothing blocks you from downloading .apk files and installing them on the device. For now I just swapped the SD card from my phone to get all the apps I wanted in a quick way but I should actually test plugging in my Android Phone using the USB and install the applications from the backup as the phone does have access to to the Google Market (Update: this actually works)

Not all apps are using the full screen estate, they've been written with 3-4 inch phone screens in mind and not with a 10" tablet in mind. I've heard the same rants about using iPhone apps on the iPad. The fontsize of the device is configurable but not all text adapts to the new font size and it also looks like the wifi chipset isn't the best around.. I often have to reconnect to my wifi

The Ugly:

Battery life is really not good enough .. it should last 3-4 hours but it didn't even last 2 hours when I first used it .. however I was busy installing new apps and testing lots of stuff so in

I haven't figured out how to configure gmail, gtail and other google services yet I should probably debug what's going on one day to see if it's actually a connectivity issue or if big G just blocks access from the device.

Would I consider it a 1 on 1 replacement for an iPad ? Probably not ... it's not as stylish as the fruit device but looking at the features I wanted compared to the price I paid for it , it's the perfect gadget ...

If I want to work I`ll open my laptop, when travelling I`ll be using my EEE , but to play with the kids and lookup stuff from the couch while watching TV it's going to be a 10" tablet.

Jan 28 2010

Implementing Raid Monitoring on a 3Ware 3w-9xxx based controller.

When you pull out a disk from your Raid setup it shows a warning in syslog

  1. Jan 27 10:18:22 EL860 kernel: 3w-9xxx: scsi0: AEN: WARNING (0x04:0x0019): Drive
  2. removed:port=1.
  3. Jan 27 10:18:22 EL860 kernel: 3w-9xxx: scsi0: AEN: ERROR (0x04:0x0002): Degraded
  4. unit:unit=0, port=1.

However if no one is looking at syslog that won't really be helpfull.

3Ware provides a tool from their site called tw_cli which can be used to manage
the raid setup from the command line.

  1. [EL860-root@EL860 admin]# tw_cli /c0 show
  3. Unit UnitType Status %RCmpl %V/I/M Stripe Size(GB) Cache AVrfy
  4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  5. u0 RAID-1 REBUILDING 41% - - 232.82 RiW ON
  7. VPort Status Unit Size Type Phy Encl-Slot Model
  8. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  9. p0 OK u0 232.88 GB SATA 0 - ST3250310NS
  10. p1 DEGRADED u0 232.88 GB SATA 1 - ST3250310NS

I'd figure I'd either have to write wrapper script around that or find some other way of integrating it.
Asking the question on ##infra-talk on gave me the following link to a check script on github

koollman: sdog: something like should work.

With that in your snmpd.conf you can get the info via snmp

  1. [root snmp]# snmpwalk localhost -v 2c -c public .
  2. 021 | grep ext
  3. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extIndex.1 = INTEGER: 1
  4. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extNames.1 = STRING: TW_RAID
  5. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extCommand.1 = STRING: /usr/local/sbin/check_tw
  6. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extResult.1 = INTEGER: 2
  7. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extOutput.1 = STRING: CRITICAL: Unit: u0, Type: RAID-1, Status: RE
  9. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extErrFix.1 = INTEGER: 0
  10. UCD-SNMP-MIB::extErrFixCmd.1 = STRING:
  11. UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssSysContext.0 = INTEGER: 2073
  12. UCD-SNMP-MIB::ssRawContexts.0 = Counter32: 11781783
  13. UCD-DLMOD-MIB::dlmodNextIndex.0 = INTEGER: 1

Nov 05 2009

Life with an Android

I've have never been a really an HTC fan, because of the platform they used before, I have been a Ericsson GA628, SH888, then Sony Ericsson fanboy for all my life T39m, K700, K800i , so this is my first attempt into using a different brand of phone , I've been wanting an Open Phone for ages.. but I've been waiting for Godot, er the openMoko, for way to long now so with the introduction of the HTC and my K800i being long overdue for a replacement.

The Good,

So in gereral I`m pretty satisfied with my HTC Hero so far, it's quick/reactive , the wifi has good reception , screen quality is good, the touch screen however will take some time to get used to .. it already happened a couple of times that I accidently started calling the wrong person while I was still browing trough the addressbook. But in short .. I like the phone ..

However there's lots of people out there warning us that the Android isn't really an Open phone, true, lots of the software on it is proprietary, and lots of the software in the Market is cripple or pay ware. However imvho it's a step in the good direction going from a fully closed phone so something already more open...

The Bad

The volume button is to easy to use when in your pocket , hence putting the phone on silent by walking around is not unusable and Camera Autofocus is pretty bad .. no I'm not comparing to my EOS 400D, but to my previos Ericsson phone. the quality of the pictures is shaky and there is no way to cover the lens.

As for the The Ugly I'd have to say Bluetooth support, hey I want to be able to browse / download my addressbook from my Phone to my Bluetooth enabled car , this is a feature I had on my previous phone, and the phone before that ..I want to be able to upload and download files over Bluetooth, works on both my previous phones , I want to be able to send phonebook entries over bluetooth .. so that's pretty much my biggest annoyancy
(unless someone knows solutions for this ?)

So when will Sony Ericsson release their Android in Europe ? I`m hoping they'd keep the features they already had on their previous phones , so I`m hoping for better camera and better bluetooth support ..

We have come a long way for Linux to be present in our daily life , even for Joe Average, at home we watch TV using MythTV, my alarm is a Chumby, the phone in my downstairs office is a TuxScreen ... So I`m wondering when I finally will get a car that is running Linux,

May 15 2009

The machine that vanished.

Today I lost a machine, a physical one, I couldn't find it back in my rack anymore. One moment I was logged on to it, and when I instructed it to boot off the network again for a fresh installation I couldn't find it back anymore, it was gone.

When you have different ad hoc build development environments, you often grab whatever hardware is available to add to your pool and hope it doesn't kick you back, time always works against you when you have to build a fresh platform from a pool of hardware ready to be reused.

I had half a rack of hardware ready to be redeployed, the default boot order of most machines is Disk, Network so we trigger a fresh network install by overwriting the MBR. So the one machine .. after doing a quick check to see if there was nothing relevant on it anymore we sent it to the reboot pool.

The host was supposed to boot of the network, but I didn't even see a dhcp request coming in. So off to the lab it was .. where was that machine.. none of the consoles I tried was the correct one... until I found one box.. with a really really old installation , a machine that had returned from a different office.

And then it all came clear ... unlike all the other machines this machine had a 2 disk raid setup, which we actually weren't using , we indeed hat cleared the bootsector of the first disk, but not the second disk .. and we never had really cleared the 2nd disk. So rather than booting of the network because the first disk failed it booted of the old copy on the second disk.

Scratching that 2nd disk solved the problem .. for once it wasn't a DNS problem, but the RAID setup wasn't really helpfull either :)

PS. Yes re-labeling the machines is still on the todolist .. maybe next year :)

Mar 17 2009

Happy 15th Birthday Linux ??

Last Friday that's march 13th, Gizmodo wanted us to celebrated the 15th birthday of Linux. Kinda weird... as about 15 years ago I was already using Linux ....

Fact is that the 1.0 release of Linux just had it's 15th birthday , but Linux itself is heading towards its 18th in september.

Getting old ..both of us :)

So when trying to catch up on my Linux Journal reading I ran into the 15 years of Linux Journal article, which makes a lot more sense than 15 year of Linux.

The fun part being Shawn's adapted Bio

In 1994, Shawn was attending his first year of college at Michigan Tech University. He skipped his engineering classes almost every day to sneak into the computer labs and play with Linux. At the time it seemed a waste of tuition, but looking back, he wouldn't change a thing.

Now pipe that trough s/Shawn/Kris/g and s/college at Michigan Tech University/KULeuven/g .. simlar story there ...

My LJ subscription is up for renewal... not sure what I`m going to do .. I haven't been reading it from front to back anymore as I used to, I`m usually running 3-4 issues behind on reading .. And by that time I can read everything online anyhow...

Mar 01 2009

Geekdinner Antwerp Edition 2

Last Wednesday after the LSec event with Bruce Schneier and the R ans S from RSA , we already had a mini AdHoc GeekDinner in Leuven, one that pretty would have matched Philips requirements for having it called Geek dinner

Philip has been ranting this week about different events titled "Geek" not attrackting real geeks. that know hex and binary is but merely atrackting the Startup/Web crowd, now there's nothing wrong with both crowds, and I happen to be part of both but it can cause strange situations
Geekdinner.beTom K arranged a nice deal with De Troubadour so foodwise it promises to be great.

And with the list currently showing a variety of
Linux and BSD geeks, (both on Kernel and System Level it seems) the Apache geeks , some Ruby geeks, some Legal geeks, some Java geeks, etc that part should be covered ..

So I`m pretty sure that the majority of Geeks at the upcoming Geekdinner will realize there are only 10 kind of people

Still missing however from that list are the Drupal and PHP folks, the Django crowd, some Distribution geeks, some Gnome Geeks and some KDE geeks. Heck you all know I`m talking about you .. so go and subscribe here

I hope we aren't scaring away too much folks with this really Open Source oriented GeekDinner :)

PS. And yes I think it's time for Elise to organise a Real Belgian Girl Geek Dinner :)

Oct 27 2008

TikiTag on Linux

After the O'Reilly GMT interview , the nice folks over at Tikitag sent me a Tikitag presskit to play with. I actually got it about 2 weeks ago but I only got like 5 minutes of time with it earlier. Just time to find the Linux Client and get that to connect to their site. So far so good ... I however couldn't get a connection between my reader and the client. The readers' led was constantly on.

So today I connected the reader to my Fedora based Dell Laptop, I figured out the content of the Debian package and copied those files (a startupscript and a jar file to my laptop)

The led started flashing gently. I restarted pcscd , started the client and the Java client detected the reader , I launched the Tikitag Dashboard but that failed to detect the reader till after I restarted my firefox.

From there on I could map tags to url's etc. So now I have a bunch of Tikitagged Businesscards.

So my next step is to figure out why it isn't working on my EEE. Because after all the EEE is what I carry around when going to conferences and other places .. which is when I might want to actually use the TikiTag reader. (Any ideas anyone ?)

There is a lot of potential for this kind of technology.. Imagine using it in a museum where you get a tagreader equipped device which you can use to read information about the artworks you are about to see.

Aug 29 2008

Great Advertisement

But not a commercial one :

Jul 31 2008

Eat your own dogfood

Can someone over at ZDNet please kick this idiot of this planet ?
We already knew that he doesn't have a clue what he is writing about

But Steven is also surprised that Dana isn't using even Linux while he has been writing about it long enough ..

Please make it stop !

Jul 26 2008

OLS Day 3

As mentioned earlier Day 3 of the 2008 Ottawa Linux Symposium started of with our own talk about the different monitoring tools available on this planet.

I planned on heading to the SynergyFS talk but phone calls and the hallway track with interresting discussions on Configuration management, the use of Live Migration and obviously Open Source Monitoring tools and the scaling thereof came in the way of that..

So the openVZ Live migration talk came next ... Andrey also spoke on the Virtualization Mini summit and luckily he went a bit deeper
into their Live Migration strategy .. however as someone noticed .. why spend so much time on developing something that already
exists for ages ... so yes.. I guess I'll have to make that wheel T-shirt one day ...

After lunch I headed into the Performance Inspector, very interesting to see a tool that might help out to debug Java code and corelate it to platform stuff .. I however need to figure out if it would actually fit our environments or if it requires too much other dependencies.

Next was the Live Migration with Pass Trough Device for
The propose to use guest PCI hot removal and hot add so it can be migrated.

The topic has been discussed already a couple of times here in Ottawa (and in Boston at the Xen summit)
What puzzled me was the bonding mode used... I'm used to using miimon and thus the linkstate of my physical interfaces to decide between active and backup, but the arp_interval is another way to test if there is traffic on the (virtual) network interface and decide which one should be active.

The Auditing the Edgy and Complicated talk was a lot of fun.. it reminded me a lot of the time when I was more involved in the security area.. the stories from the trenches haven't really changed .. and it's still a pretty insecure environment out there which we should work on more often.

No pictures from space this time (as at LCA 2005), but an outreach to the community to synchronise

The blogosphere already had it's say about this a couple of months ago .. so now the kernel community can discuss it.

We're going to skip the Whiskey thingie .. I know a couple of people that will have heavy heads tomorrow morning .. but they are used to it .. we're off to get some decent food.. and probably some drinks ..