Category Archives: Helden der Technik

Schlimmer geht immer

Immer wenn ich denke, jetzt kann Werbung nicht mehr schrottiger werden, kommt ein neuer Held ums Eck und belehrt mich eines Besseren.

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Hard Typing Ahead

This camera module is known to be mounted upside-down in some notebooks. Applications that use the libv4l library should display the video correctly, as libv4l detects upside-down cameras and rotates the image automatically. See Hans de Goede’s post on the linux-uvc-devel mailing list for more information. For applications that don’t use libv4l, try holding your computer upside-down.

From the Linux-UVC wiki.
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Vorhin rief ‘ne Kundin an, ob ich Passwort weiß.
Ich merke mir Passwörter eigentlich nie.
Aber an weltfrieden konnte ich mich in der Tat erinnern.

Wäre mir wohl ähnlich gegangen.

Sonos Megafail

I’ve been a Sonos fan for some years now. No more. Two weeks ago I sent in my defective ZP100. Had to pay a service fee of € 103,08 to get it fixed or a replacement unit. Today the replacement unit arrived. Oh boy, how happy I was. Now I’d finally be able again to listen to music while working – or so I thought.

So I wired the device but when I plugged in the power cord there was this faint “brzzzt!” sound. “BRZZT?!?” I thought and did a closer inspection of the box sent to me. As I feared, the voltage switch on the back was set to 110V. 110V!

WHO THE FREAKING FUCK SENDS OUT REPLACEMENT UNITS SET TO 110V IN **GERMANY** ??? Without attaching anything like a little note or a sticker to the unit, saying something in the way of “WARNING, Check voltage setting on the back!”. Oh well, so now I paid € 103,08 for a ZP100 that never had a chance to play some music. And I’m so pissed that I consider selling off all my remaining Sonos stuff. Any takers? but will keep the other stuff nevertheless.
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Give more threads to Varnish

When running my preferred proxy cache Varnish on Linux I realized that I couldn’t start enough threads on heavily accessed systems. As I found out, reducing the stack size is the key to get to the number I need. Oh well, if everything would be easy, I wouldn’t get paid I guess ;)
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Move it, move it (a.k.a. “Screw it up the IBM way”)

I work with web sites for a living. I give them a place to live, I trash them when they’re no longer needed and I also move them. And believe me, moving a site is the trickiest of the jobs. But in all of my professional life, I’ve never ever seen a blunder like this (output shortened for brevity):

crow:~$ dig
; < <>> DiG 9.6.0-APPLE-P2 < <>>
;		IN	A


Really. Did they outsource the last thinking person in their networking department? Ok, maybe they fixed it and the change just hasn’t trickled down. So let’s try a different approach (again, shortened:)

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Interesting searches: readynas uninstall togglessh

For reasons unknown to me, I get a lot of hits from searches for “readynas uninstall togglessh”. Obviously a lot of people who tried the ToggleSSH addon for their ReadyNAS found that it didn’t suit their needs and now want to uninstall it. Ok, so I’m going to tell you how to fix your problems ;)

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Resolved: “ld: fatal: file values-Xa.o: open failed: No such file or directory” when compiling on (Open)Solaris

Ah well. Compiling software on Solaris could be really easy if it weren’t for the small problems all the time. Today I was faced with

ld: fatal: file values-Xa.o: open failed: No such file or directory

when trying to compile Subversion 1.6.5 on OpenSolaris.


pkg install SUNWarc


CentOS5/RHEL5 fix for ImageMagick “cpio: MD5 sum error” and “cpio: read”

Back on CentOS 5 for a customer I stumbled across a little problem while installing RMagick for Ruby. Said interface between Ruby and the Image Magick tools requires Image Magick in a version greater then 6.3.5 to be installed on one’s system. However, CentOS 5 and RHEL 5 only provide version 6.2.8. Even more unfortunate is that while there are RPMs to be found on, they’re all for Fedora. So when trying to install the binary .rpm file, all you’ll get is something like this:

[root@testsys rpms]# rpm -Uvh ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386.rpm 
error: Failed dependencies: is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386 is needed by ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.i386

No problem you might say. Just grab the source rpm and rebuild from there. Alas, this will lead to another problem:

[root@testsys srcrpm]# rpm -Uvh ImageMagick-6.5.5-6.src.rpm 
warning: user cristy does not exist - using root
warning: group cristy does not exist - using root
########################################### [100%]
error: unpacking of archive failed on file 
4aa10a8f: cpio: read

With older archives you’ll get a similar message:

[root@testsys srcrpm]# rpm -Uvh ImageMagick-6.5.5-5.src.rpm 
warning: user cristy does not exist - using root
warning: group cristy does not exist - using root
########################################### [100%]
error: unpacking of archive failed on file 
4aa10b19: cpio: MD5 sum mismatch

The reason is that Fedora uses newer RPM utilities than the ones found on CentOS 5 / RHEL 5. This is the reason for the broken MD5 sums. Also, they recently switched from providing .tar.bz2 packed archives to .lzma packed archives which RPM on CentOS 5 / RHEL 5 doen’t know anything about.

Google wasn’t of any help to solve this particular problem without installing everything from source.

But fear not, there’s an easy solution. Just read on.

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Real Internet Gaming

An attack by a Chinese online game provider meant to cripple the servers of its rivals ballooned to cause an Internet outage in much of the country in May.

[ More &#187 ]

We’re back

Thanks to some very strange procedures at my provider, the server was taken down on Sunday but it took them ’til now to realize that they actually did it and that they thus were indeed able to put it back online. Wonderful world.


PEAR broken in PHP 5.2.10

While trying to upgrade a customers installation to PHP 5.2.10 I learned that hard way that PEAR is broken in this release. This isn’t specific to any OS as the bug reports show but rather seems to be a general problem that slipped Q&A (who is laughing there?). All you’ll get is

"Cannot use a scalar value as an array in
phar://install-pear-nozlib.phar/PEAR/ChannelFile.php on line 1391"

when trying to install PEAR.
So, for the time being, better not upgrade to PHP 5.2.10 if you need to use PEAR.


Yes, that’s why we use SVN

How to use SVN productively - Not

How to use SVN productively - Not

Why bother with descriptions? You can always go back some arbitrary number of versions.


Shakes & Fidget

Shakes and Fidget If you’re a bit into computer games and especially the RPGs, you’ll love Shakes & Fidget – even if the current online selection is somewhat crippled by recent actions of Activision Blizzard. Still: A must-read.

Nokia, Intel: Hey, us too!!

ofonoI’m not really sure where, but I believe I heard a quite similar sounding statement already from somewhere else:

Nokia and Intel have launched a joint project called oFono which aims to build an open source telephony framework for the Linux platform. It will serve as an abstraction layer, providing a rich high-level API for application developers and a plugin API for snapping in cell modem software.

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PHP: Fix For The Empty $_POST Array

One of the reasons I “love” PHP so much is that it sometimes poses problems the solution of which makes you scratch your head in wonder. Take for example the spurious “empty $_POST array” problem. It is easy to recognize for what happens is that parameters passed to a PHP script via a POST request won’t show up in the $_POST superglobal array.
To fix this, first make sure that you really pass the parameters. This can be easily checked:

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