News archive January 2009 - Koos van den Hout

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2009-01-22 (#) 11 years ago
I have a twitter. Somebody invited me for reasons I don't know but I thought "why not". It is so inviting to hook this up to some scripts so I can auto-process homepage updates or other automated scripts. Or hook it up to some sort of ticket system at work (probably on a separate account) so our users can follow our network changes.

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2009-01-20 (#) 11 years ago
The latest attacks: loads and loads of queries for the root nameservers, which gives amplification in resolvers with not completely perfect configurations (a complete list of root nameservers) and the same amount of traffic for resolvers which are completely closed to resolving for the outside world. These are probably an attempt to flood an IP using faked queries. Samples:
Jan 19 06:41:04 greenblatt named[6377]: client 69.50.142.110#53930: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
Jan 19 06:41:13 greenblatt named[6377]: client 69.50.142.110#15557: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
Jan 20 16:31:47 greenblatt named[6377]: client 66.230.160.1#32412: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
Jan 20 16:31:59 greenblatt named[6377]: client 66.230.160.1#8478: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
Already noted at sans: DNS queries for "." isc handler's dairy where the active IPs are listed. And suddenly I see in the logs:
Jan 20 08:36:13 greenblatt named[6377]: client 208.37.177.62#46265: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
Jan 20 11:50:48 greenblatt named[6377]: client 208.37.177.62#46265: query (cache) './NS/IN' denied
I noticed that IP doing weird DNS stuff before. So 'being attacked' is the right conclusion.

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2009-01-19 (#) 11 years ago
Wardriving results 29 December - 19 January: 1915 new networks with GPS locations according to WiGLE. No planned wardrives but I did bring the wardriving box on some trips to places I hadn't visited in a while, so new networks popped up.

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2009-01-19 (#) 11 years ago
Hard to find and expensive, but we found it at work: the kvm switch that actually works. For us, that is. A environment of almost all x86 hardware with a mix of Linux and Windows as operating system.

Our older kvm switches either had no idea about this 'network' thing or (the Avocent Switchview IP) an approximation: the only working network client was the activex component served by its own webserver. Handy when you're at home using some ssh forwards and without internet explorer (or windows). No access. The 'about' box on that stuff said it was based on vnc but no vnc client could work with it.

But now we found the Adderview CATx IP. Cat-5 cable from the video + keyboard + mouse (usb) adapter to the adderview. And any recent vnc client will work with it, even over portforwarding via ssh links. The only downside is that the outgoing vga and keyboard connectors are on the back of the unit so it's a bit of a nuisance to plug in the 'crash-cart' (a table with wheels with a screen, keyboard and mouse on it) we use. Fixed this by using vga and usb extension cable.

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2009-01-19 (#) 11 years ago
I watched Wargames: The Dead Code (2008) this weekend. I'm not the movie reviewing type, but for this time I'll write something reviewish.
Why? The original: WarGames (1983). It must be the movie that influenced me most. It got me more interested in computers, taught me about modems, which led to BBSes, which led to Internet. I must have seen the original Wargames at least 30 times, if not more. Once in a movie theatre (probably in 1983/1984) but years later I taped it from TV and that tape was wearing out by the time I bought it on vhs tape and a few years later I bought the DVD.
This (Wargames, the dead code) is a weak remake. The original may not be a cinematographic masterpiece but this one has a lot less of a story. They try to build a number of parallels with the original but on some occasions that starts to look quite artificial.
At the end the big storyline is the same: big computer tries to take over US air defense and is about to cause total annihilation, hacker kid makes the computer think again by running a high number of simulations and finding out the best strategic move is not to play.
Transplantation from the 1980s to 2008 was done ok: cold war threat and parents that were unaware of their kids situation because of two jobs were replaced by terrorism threat, a father gone under suspicious circumstances and a single working mom. A lot of the 'the computer is watching you' stuff seemed to me right from 'Enemy of the state'.
I really missed a high-ranking officer saying "I'd piss on a sparkplug if it would do any good!"

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2009-01-18 Using the Netgear EVA 8000 HD with a linux server 11 years ago
I recently had the opportunity to test the Netgear EVA 8000 HD, my review of the Netgear EVA 8000 HD. But I am one of those people who does not run Windows at all at home, especially not as a server.

Accessing the content

The box only wants to access files via windows fileshares (also known as SMB shares or CIFS shares). Those are easy to set up in Linux using the Samba package. I simply added a few shares to /etc/samba/smb.conf like:
[revision3]
    comment = Revision3 movies
    path = /scratch/media2/revision3
    public = yes
    writable = no

[mp3]
    comment = mp3
    path = /scratch/mp3
    public = yes
    writable = no
This works, and the box can open files, play them. Setting them 'public' means you do not have to use the on-screen keypad of the mediaplayer to enter login names and passwords.

Creating a share for the 'data save location'

The 'media library management' of the Netgear EVA 8000 HD really likes a location to save its index files. I created a directory especially for this purpose:
drwxr-xr-x 6 nobody nogroup 4096 2009-01-18 11:39 /scratch/netgeareva
And created a samba share for it:
[netgeareva]
    comment = config path netgear eva
    path = /scratch/netgeareva
    public = yes
    writable = yes
Now the mediaplayer can save its library in this location and it will save a lot of time on scanning. The ownership by user nobody and the public = yes make sure no username/password is needed to access the share.

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2009-01-18 Review Netgear EVA 8000 HD 11 years ago
I got to play with a Netgear EVA 8000 HD from the hcc!pcgg. This is one of the 'network in, tv out' boxes being sold. There does not seem to be a real generic name for these devices yet. I'll stick to mediaplayer.

First impression

The first impression was caused by my wife who asked whether it can record TV. The answer is that it can't by itself, it needs a Windows PC with a supported TV-card.

What this mediaplayer can do by itself is play video files and audio files from windows (smb) fileshares or from usb storage. It can follow RSS news feeds and play attached videos. It can also work as a bittorrent client downloading content (I never tested this option).

Playing with it

I hooked it up to my home network and the TV. I first tried the component output connected to my AV receiver which should be able to convert that to S-video but that did not work (no color in the image). Probably more of a problem of the AV receiver. Composite video worked. Later I tried the scart connector and that works too. What I could not get it to do was output 16:9 content as palplus so the TV would automatically recognize it and scale it.

The Netgear EVA 8000 HD assumes you are a slob in organizing your media files and it just lists all files in alphabetical order or modification time order (newewst files first). The next better option it has is to browse all found folders in alphabetical order and look for files in each folder. I did organize my media stuff in a somewhat tree-like manner and it completely ignores this, you can't for example browse shares and directories in a tree-like way. Showing which directory you're in is an 'advanced' option.

But after that it just plays (almost all) content. Video files play, music plays. When it starts playing it will show 'Buffering content' but after that content plays without a hitch.

The big advantage of a media-player

The big advantage of a media-player is that it hooks up your tv to your video content. Suddenly you can just hang / lay down in front of the TV and watch your .avi files.

Specs

File formats

  • Audio files: Mpeg-1 layer 1-3, flac, ac3, wav, m4a, wma, aac
  • Audio playlists: Wpl, asx, wax, wv, pls, m3u, rmp
  • Video formats: Vcd, Mpeg-2 video, mpeg-4 video, wmv9, mov with lots of codecs
This is also an area where the software updates made available by Netgear can help: newer codecs. There is always one more format that this device does not play (yet).

Network

  • Wired: 100base-tx,10base-tx.
  • Wireless: 802.11bg, WEP, WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK.
It is good that the designers took into account that a device like this is not always close to a wired network. The small downside of connecting to a wireless network is that you spend a lot of time with the on-screen keyboard trying to enter the encryption keys. Wireless can have a shortage of bandwidth for some types of HD video.

Outputs

  • Component
  • Scart
  • Composite
  • S-video
  • Hdmi
  • Stereo audio
  • Sp-dif
Looks like enough options to connect a European or American television and audio equipment of the latest or previous generation.

Conclusion

With the growth of the Internet as delivery system for video and audio content lots of people will be looking for a mediaplayer like this that can play their available content on a TV. Building a good user-interface for this is still complicated and the fact that this particular box does not take into account that some people can organize their content is a downside of the user-interface. Following generations of media player boxes will probably improve.

Positive

Lots of output options. Plug and play (for windows users), plug and almost play (for people who use other operating systems).

Negative

User-interface does not deal with organized media collections. No support for palplus.

Would I buy one myself

No. My wife has a very valid point: if you want a device like this, you want it to replace the video-recorder too. And harddisk video recorders are at the moment either very closed or very do-it-yourself. And digital TV makes this even more complicated as a lot of the digital TV equipment likes to listen to the content makers a lot more than to the owner of the device.

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2009-01-16 (#) 11 years ago
Interesting how conditions change, compared to the DX scan from yesterday Digitenne Bouquet 1 at 618 MHz (with Radio/TV Noord-Holland) is fine again and Mobile TV at 658 MHz is fine. Yesterday bouquet 1 had a very high error rate and 658 MHz did not show up at all. All with just w_scan. I think the location of the antenna is the key to these differences, centimeters movement make a lot of difference for certain frequencies.

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2009-01-15 (#) 11 years ago
Interesting DX conditions: A dvb-t scan using w_scan gives me Mobile-TV at 570 MHz and Digitenne bouquet 2 at 826 MHz easy (no tzap and dvbsnoop, just a simple scan).

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2009-01-10 (#) 11 years ago
New DX score: Digitenne bouquet 1 with Omroep Brabant at 546 MHz. Weak, but enough Service Descriptor Table was caught by dvbsnoop that I saw it. Transmitters of that bouquet are all over Brabant. I updated the DVB experiments overview with information on how I scan for signals and how I identify transmitters.

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2009-01-10 (#) 11 years ago
Barry Bouwsma, one of those people who have a measurable positive influence on clue-levels, explains to the linux-dvb mailing list how dvb-t uses single frequency networks (with multiple transmitters on the same frequency) and how receivers can cope with it. Now I understand how that works.

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2009-01-09 (#) 11 years ago
I've heard rumours about it before, but full details have been published now about the IPv6-powered TV network NTT uses in Japan. Actual working IPv6 multicast is used for broadcast channels. Set-top boxes make access to this easy and probably hide all those technical details from the viewer. Via NTT details IPv6-powered TV service (Networkworld).

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2009-01-09 (#) 11 years ago
I noticed some funny stuff on the maps plotted at the weather map site. Non-fitting temperatures like 28°C in the south of the Netherlands where it is -4°C to -8°C according to the people who know. Or 5°C at site 'EHDV' which was plotted somewhere in the eastern part of the country, near Marknesse, but the reading for Marknesse was not the same.

The first error was caused by the recent upgrade at home: Ubuntu comes with Geo::METAR 1.14. I did not notice this right away because they did fix the error about only accepting metar data from the USA. So I put in my own Geo::METAR which fixes the parsing. The other error was that EHDV was in the wrong location in my data. Searching using google found that EHDV is the code for oil platform D15-FA-1 which is also hard to find, but somewhere deep in the data history of air traffic control the Netherlands is the right location out on the North Sea. Where it is indeed a lot warmer than in the east of the country, thanks to less cold wind from the east and more warm wather from the Gulf stream.


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2009-01-09 (#) 11 years ago
Satelliet schotel op het dak met rijp Een mooi beeld vanmorgen toen ik even op het dak was om de aansluitingen van de schotel goed aan te draaien: door het koude weer was er een aardige laag rijp op de schotel neergeslagen.

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2009-01-08 (#) 11 years ago
Op het werk hebben we een satellietschotel geinstalleerd. Vandaar mijn interesse in voeten voor schotels een tijdje geleden: de schotel staat op een plat dak. Er is gekozen voor de canal digitaal triplesat set met Philips DSR 7121 HD satelliet ontvanger, dit wordt zo als pakket aangeboden door Canal Digitaal en satelliet dealers. HD televisie is het onderwerp van onderzoek.
Deze ontvanger is duidelijk in dienst van Canal Digitaal en niet van de eigenaar. Zonder smartcard weigert het apparaat totaal. En de kanaalnummering is wat er in de folder van Canaal Digitaal staat waarbij hooguit te zien is aan de zenderomschrijving of het signaal van Astra 19.2, 23.5 of 28.2 komt. De gebruiker heeft daar geen invloed op, die kan favorietenlijsten aanmaken.
Ik miste zonder meer alle 'ik weet het beter' knoppen: zo besloot de ontvanger dat als er een 16:9 TV aan hangt dat 4:3 beeld altijd uitgerekt moet worden. Ook hadden we enorm moeite met richten van de schotel omdat we daar geen ervaring mee hebben. Maar na richten met behulp van een satfinder bleef de ontvanger aangeven dat er geen signaal was, waarbij de kans dus aanwezig was dat de eerste LNB wel naar een satelliet gericht was maar niet naar de goede en het afstemmen dus niet lukte. Met een andere ontvanger lukte het wel en zagen we dat de schotel naar de goede satelliet gericht was, dus de ontvanger was duidelijk de 'schuldige'. Na een paar reboots zag deze ineens wel signaal. Pas dan kun je ook verder met deze ontvanger, zolang er geen signaal gevonden is mag je niets. Maar ook nadat een en ander ging werken en er twee software updates waren bleven de opties tot instellen heel beperkt en dan ook nog in lastige menu's. Een ander audio-kanaal kiezen is al lastig. En technische informatie is ook ver zoeken, met veel moeite is er achter te komen wat signaalsterkte en error rate zijn. Aantal bits in de data-stream van het kanaal of verdere technische informatie is niet op te vragen.
Ik weet nu heel zeker dat als ik ooit aan de satelliet ontvangst ga dat ik dan een ontvanger wil waar ik een stuk meer over te zeggen heb middels 'ik weet het beter' knopjes en die meer wil vertellen over technische details.

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2009-01-07 (#) 11 years ago
Url doing the rounds: TV radar. I am really interested whether there is any UK agency to complain to about this and whether the same problem would occur with Freeview UK (DVB-T based TV). According to the theory of DVB-T it can deal with multipathing a lot better. Sounds like an ideal place to test this theory.

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2009-01-06 (#) 11 years ago
At work we tried to run iscsi on a server. Two network interfaces, one for outside network, one for storage. The iscsi target was on the storage network behind eth1 and kept giving weird errors, which showed in the syslog like:
Jan  6 16:43:54 fokke iscsid: Could not bind connection 0 to eth1 
Jan  6 16:43:54 fokke iscsid: cannot make a connection to 172.16.0.3:3260 (1)
Jan  6 16:48:16 fokke iscsid: iSCSI logger with pid=21827 started!
Jan  6 16:48:17 fokke iscsid: transport class version 2.0-724. iscsid version 2.0-868
Jan  6 16:48:17 fokke iscsid: iSCSI daemon with pid=21828 started!
Jan  6 16:48:17 fokke iscsid: send fail Connection refused
Jan  6 16:48:37 fokke iscsid: Could not bind connection 0 to eth1 
Jan  6 16:48:37 fokke iscsid: cannot make a connection to 172.16.0.3:3260 (1)
The culprit? SELinux. Disabling SELinux completely made iscsid function normally and log in to the storage system and our configured volume show up. It seems SELinux gets in the way a lot of times, I usually have to disable it on systems.

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2009-01-06 (#) 11 years ago
temperature of -7C on webcam.idefix.net this morning Cold weather here in the Netherlands (at least for us).

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2009-01-04 (#) 11 years ago
Just seen in the ntp stats: A peak of 3271 packets/second of ntp traffic on ntp.cs.uu.nl.

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2009-01-03 (#) 11 years ago
Good to very good radio conditions at the moment. I just picked the following out of the air in the attic:
tune to: 674000000:INVERSION_AUTO:BANDWIDTH_8_MHZ:FEC_AUTO:FEC_AUTO:QAM_AUTO:TRANSMISSION_MODE_8K:GUARD_INTERVAL_AUTO:HIERARCHY_NONE
Network Name 'WDR D'
0x0000 0x0064: pmt_pid 0x1330 ARD -- MDR S-Anhalt (running)
0x0000 0x0081: pmt_pid 0x1320 ARD -- NDR FS NDS * (running)
0x0000 0x00e2: pmt_pid 0x1340 ARD -- SWR Fernsehen RP (running)
0x0000 0x0104: pmt_pid 0x1310 ARD -- WDR Düsseldorf (running)
0x0000 0x0109: pmt_pid 0x1350 ARD -- WDR Wuppertal * (running)
0x0000 0x010b: pmt_pid 0x1360 ARD -- WDR Duisburg (running)
Totally unviewable due to all the errors, but the service list is correct. This should be the transmitter in Wesel, Germany at 113 Kilometer distance. Later on I realized how special this was: several hours later there wasn't even a hint of signal on 674 MHz. This was probably due to tropopsheric ducting, I saw an active area forecasted on William Hepburn's tropospheric ducting forecasts from roughly the center of the Netherlands going to the east.

I also saw Dutch Mobile-TV at 522 MHz (Utrecht), 530 MHz (several locations, weak signal), 570 MHz (several locations), 658 MHz (Lelystad).


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2009-01-03 (#) 11 years ago
I took the plunge and migrated from the old homeserver gosper to the new homeserver greenblatt. The physical migration was several hours of de-installing and installing hardware in the big tower case. Most software came up as planned, some minor nits to fix after stuff started running. Most statistics were only fixed after I got things running again, but the assorted sensors at home are available again.

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2009-01-01 (#) 11 years ago
Happy new year! Our cable-tv signal dropped completely last evening of 2008 at 23:10. I guess some fireworks may have taken it out. So we watched the rest of the evenings TV using the dvb-t stick and the laptop. I called the cable-company this morning and reported the malfunction. Several neighbours I asked in the street are also without cable-tv signal.
Later in the afternoon the signal came back.

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, reachable as koos+website@idefix.net. PGP encrypted e-mail preferred.

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