Posted in Me

Corn Labyrinth

Sunday we went for a bike ride to a corn labyrinth near here. Although “near” may be an exaggeration since it was nearly 60km round trip. It was definitely worth it, the labyrinth was bigger and harder than I had anticipated. Unfortunately my foot started hurting, must have been wearing the wrong shoes the day before. Bike riding was ok, but walking hurts. Hope this gets better within the next few days.

Posted in Gaming

Gamescom

Last weekend was full of stuff. Saturday we took a train up to the Gamescom in Cologne. Even though the media has been hyping it in the news and says how great it is now that it moved from Leipzig to Cologne this year, I was pretty disappointed by the convention. Even if it is closer (to me) and easier to reach now, the fact the half the games there were clones of Singstar or Rock Band didn’t make things better.

Anyway, after the convention we headed over to the Hard Rock cafe and had some good food before we took the train home.

Posted in Internet Stuff

Virtualbox

I’ve been playing around with Virtualbox here at work the last few days (all our MMO games have windows clients, I have a Linux at work), and I must say I am pretty impressed. Before someone comes around the bend and yells “but my favorite virtualisation software XZY can do that too”: I’ve tried a few and Virtualbox is: free, stable, easy to setup and use, has a good performance. The latest version supports Direct3d, so now I can run games that caused problems with wine. Creating snapshots are a breeze too, so I can revert the whole system back to a “clean” version without any problems if I want to test something.

A tip: boot the windows guest into the “safe mode” (press F8 after the BIOS sceen and before windows start to boot) and install the “Guest additions” while in safe mode, had trouble with direct3d if installing in the “normal” windows.

Posted in Internet Stuff

self0wned politicians

The German politicians are currently still pushing laws to censor the Internet (they actually managed to pass one law, now they are trying to defend it and broaden the spectrum of things to censor). It all started out as a good thing, they were trying to eradicate child pornography. Instead of having the child pornography simply removed from the Internet (which has been proved time and time again is fairly easy), they used the topic to implement general Internet censorship instances. Censorship is bad, and what pisses people off most is the fact that the “censorship” just puts up a big red stop sign in the browser of a user when he surfs to a page on the blacklist, and anyone with enough computer experience to turn a computer on and surf the Internet is more than able to bypass the current “censorship” and surf to any website he wants to.

Back to the reason I’m writing this post 😉 DNS servers are the servers that turn , for instance, www.google.de into the computer understandable IP Address of the server (so your browser knows where it has to go to get the pages). DNS servers are a fundamental part of the Internet as we know it. In a nutshell: A politician from the German SPD party stated that anyone running his own DNS server *) is supporting child pornography because he (or she) bypasses the efforts of the German politicians to use the DNS servers of the Internet providers to censor websites. To make this strange mental leap of the SPD even more funny, the SPD has a DNS server that anyone can use and (since certain institutions were explicitly exempted from the censorship laws) doesn’t censor anything.

Let’s look at the list of DNS servers from the SPD:

$ dig -t NS spd.de
spd.de.            26100    IN    NS    ns1.arcor-ip.de.
spd.de.            26100    IN    NS    ns2.arcor-ip.de.
spd.de.            26100    IN    NS    ns3.arcor-ip.de.
spd.de.            26100    IN    NS    dns2.spd.de.

aha, let’s have a look at dns2.spd.de since it is the only one not from a large Internet provider

$ host dns2.spd.de
dns2.spd.de has address 195.50.146.131

$ whois 195.50.146.131
inetnum:        195.50.146.0 – 195.50.146.255
netname:        SPDINET-NET
descr:          Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland
descr:          Wilhelmstr 141
descr:          10963 Berlin
country:        DE
admin-c:        FH1138-RIPE
tech-c:         ANOC1-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         ARCOR-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

yepp, belngs to the SPD, let’s check if it resolves hosts for us …

dig @195.50.146.131 dopefish.de
dopefish.de.        3600    IN    A    188.40.34.99

Works fine, that means we can tell our computer to not use the DNS servers from our provider, but use the one from the politicians who are helping to push Internet censorship.

*) Yes, I know the differences between DNS servers, recursors, … I’m just keeping it simple.

Posted in Internet Stuff, Me

Blog <-> Facebook

So I finally got around to getting Facebook to automatically impoort my blog entries. Was easily done technically, all I had to do was decide if I wanted them to end up in the news feed or as status updates. Both had their advantages, but I decided going with news feeds because they provide better formating.

Now I’m back to moving my website and email server to new hardware (websites are easy, email is a bit of a pain).

Posted in Tech

bash foo

Instead of writing tons and tons of small scripts < 10 lines that all depend on each other I have the habbit of writing them as functions and throwing them into one file (easier to edit, less worries about them depending on each other). To be able to use the functions from the bash shell, just add $(basename $0) “$@” to the END of the file, and add symlinks function_name -> file.

Example:
$ ln -s foo.sh foobar

$ cat foo.sh


Posted in Internet Stuff

mobile and online

I just finished setting up my laptop and cell phone so that I can go online from anywhere.  It’s not comparable to DSL speed, but it is fast enough to surf around and use SSH/VNC/Rdesktop. The hardest part was actually not the technical part, but finding specific information what I need to do from my cell phone provider!

After doing a bit of searching I finally found out that what I wanted (surf the internet with my netbook using my cell phone as a modem) seemd to be the “websessions” option at Vodafone. Now you can either buy dedicated hardware that you plug into your usb port (costs money, need to remember to bring netbook and adapter, needs strange software), oder sou use your cell phone and special software from vodafone (which didn’t work at all for me, couldn’t find my phone even though other software has no problems synchronizing my google calendar to my cell phone), OR you just set up a  internet connection in your cell phone with the APN event.vodafone.de and hook it up as a modem in windows via bluetooth. Unsusprisingly I use the last option since it requires neither additional hard- nor software. Just grab the netbook, connect to the cell phone in my pocket via bluetooth, and go online.

Depending on how often I use this I may even have a look into a flatrate. Only problem I’ve had so far, is that my cell phone (a sony ericsson w880i) sometimes seems to hang up the bluetooth connection, and refuse to reconnect until I turn bluetooth off and on again. I’ll have to check if there is a firmware update available.

Posted in Me

Triathlon photography

This weekend I photographed the local DLRG (German equivalent to American Lifeguard Association) while they kept watch over the swimming part of a large triathlon here (Kraichgau Challenge). The swimmers started in 2 groups (1.9km and 1.5km) at the Hardtsee in Ubstadt-Weiher. It did get a bit cloudy by late afternoon, but the whole morning and early afternoon the weather was great allowing me to get some good shots. I selected around 45 photos, cleaned up the lighting where needed, and uplaoded them to the DLRG Ubstadt-Weiher picture gallery

Hardtsee Ubstadt-Weiher
Hardtsee Ubstadt-Weiher
Posted in Me

HDR / DRI pictures

I admin, I haven’t been updating my blog all to often lately. Mainly due to a) nothing special happening and b) getting stuff prepared for our wedding. So what have I been doing the last few weeks? Well, I finally installed and played GTA IV (which I bought many months ago ;))

Other than that I’ve been plaing around with my camera (and Photoshop CS3) a bit. Tried some light painting, played around with HDR a bit (bought myself a Photomatix license since it can handle my nikon raw format natively), added some of the stuff to my deviant art page d0py.deviantart.com

Posted in Programming

rrdtool tricks / tips

There are various different ways to generate rrdtool images. And most people will probably be generating elaborate ones out of perl or php scripts. The ones I am currently generating are built in a shell script (bash) and I was really having a problem with quotes and white space here for a while. If you generate the query and save it in a variable, the quotes go to hell and your white space (e.g. a space in a COMMENT) starts causing problems. my solution may not be the best, but it works without any trouble: Throw the whole command line into a temporary file and then use eval to create the graph. The following is not a complete statement, just a few lines as an example.

Posted in Internet Stuff

Du bist Terrorist (You are a Terrorist)

Sadly, this isn’t a joke or just being paranoid. The politicians are going a bit overboard with internet censorship right now (elections this year). They are currently trying to pass a law, allowing the BKA (the German FBI) to block sites on the internet and monitor people trying to access the blocked sites. The BKA can freely decide which sites to block, and no one except for the BKA officially  knows which sites are on the list.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGD2q2vewzQ

You are a Terrorist! A Campaign against Terrorists.
United for a safer Germany. The Campaign „Du bist Deutschland“ (You are Germany) in 2005 was the beginning of a wave of positive spirit in the whole country. This combined energy has turned backwards in 2009, because now you are a potencial Terrorist and you have to be watched closely.

Posted in Internet Stuff

Mythtv + Wii Remote + ScummVM + Google Earth

Yesterday and today I went and got my Wii controller linked up to my htpc in the living room. No more boring old standard infrared remote control for me, now I can control the pc with my Wii controller. The first solution I found was MythPyWii which worked pretty well, but was nonetheless useless (due to some restrictions in the way myth works, and the way MythPyWii sends it’s data to myth) because Wii input was not forwarded to myth plugins (e.g. Myth Video or Myth Games).  Next I had a look at the inner working of MythPyWii and had a better look at wminput from the cwiid project.  Anyone who want’s to do this stuff: the packages bundeled with varios distributions kinda suck. Go ahead and pull the lastest codebase from their SVN and compile it yourself. If you want to go into serious FPS you are going to have to do it anyway to get some additional plugins compiled. I then set up the controls to work fine with mythtv and my video players (mplayer, vlc). With that done, I could (more or less) replace me traditional remote with a wii remote, now it was time for the fun stuff.

Next on my list was google earth (since controlling google earth with a Wii Remote just has to count as cool), easy to download and install. somewhat more challenging getting it into mythtv (Myth Games), don’t worry too much, plenty of helpful site around the internet, various ways to do it. The key mapping Wii->Keyboard was somewhat more difficult, since wminput currently doesn’t support different profiles, and I wasn’t in the mood of actually coding that functionality in. So I did a dirty hack: the script that calls google earth, switches the wminput config and then restarts wminput. The downside to this is that the controller has to reconnect. oh well.

I did the same with ScummVM, and now can play “point and click” adventures with my Wii Remote on the TV in the living room. Now that definatly counts as cool. As with google earth, the scummvm got it’s own key bindings.

I’d recommend using the acc_led plugin for wminput. I use it to signal which profile the controller it is currently in (or if it is in a profile at all). Without this plugin, you can’t tell if the controller is linked to the pc or not (you can’t even see if it is on or off).

Posted in Me, Tech

self0wned

Doh, I was just writing a bash script to calculate the current network traffic and write it to syslog. nothing special. I’m posting this from my laptop because I was forced to reboot my main PC after accidently writing a fork bomb. I wanted to recursively call myself and detatch the process so I could use the script as a deamon without worring about it if I logout.

AFTER starting the script, I noticed a flaw in my “if” startement to make sure I don’t DOS myself. By the time I got around to “hmm, maybe I should check the pid of that child and kill it so it doesn’t go and suck up my resources” it was too late. duh.

Posted in Internet Stuff, Tech

United-Domains offers world map for “bloggers”

United Domains Karte
http://www.united-domains.de is currently (till march 31st) offering free world maps with TLDs printed in the countries to bloggers who fullfill a few criteria. nothing wild, basicaly you just have to spread the word about the event, make sure the links appear in the posting and send them a mail. easy 😉

The offer is good as long as supplies last, so with some luck I may still get one. Cool. Have a look for yourself http://www.domain-karte.de

Posted in Me

Blog updates

I’m sorry about the lack of updates here lately. I’m having a bit of a problem with WordPress. I can’t edit any postings, which is a slight pain. I also can’t figure out why this problem popped up. I’m using the SVN version, and if I revert all the files it is still broken (but a new install works fine). i started debugging the problem, and the SQL query that grabs the list of posting is extremly fubar, but unfortunalty the SQL query is built very dynamically so it’s not easy to fix.

Posted in Internet Stuff, Tech

Free vServer during beta phase

I just stumbled accross this website: https://ssl.euserv.de/produkte/vserver/betatest.php where you can order a vServer for free during the beta phase. The beta phase is planned to last till the end of 2009. For more details, have a look at the link (there are a few thing not allowed to use the server for, mainly high traffic and illegal stuff).

An order key is required, just have a look at the tags of this posting …. one of them is a bit “strange” 😉