Monday, 31 August 2009

Madly dysfunctional family barbeque

At Steve's house in Cambridge. First Debian party I'd been to. House full of people I knew only from email, some very old friends. Wires and leads filling the front room floor - laptops _everywhere_ . [My netbook died with nasty ACPI errors - since fixed/worked around - it was practically the one place in the world where I could yell for an ACPI expert and folk knew what I was talking about :) ]

I wish I'd taken a camera - I was there for 1/2 hour before I realised I was only about three feet from a large TV which then became the focus for competitive Wii Fit archery :) Thirty second rule on sofa space - if you left for more than about 30 seconds you had to sit on the floor when you got back (I jammed myself onto a corner of the sofa once I realised I'd barely get through the crush :) )
[Forget students in a mini / UK telephone box - how many DDs can you fit into a very narrow kitchen :) ]

It's a huge, dysfunctional family with its own rules, geeky humour and in-jokes but it's MINE - it's the people I want to hang out with and, as perverse as it sounds, just being there gave me a whole new reaffirmed sense of identity and a large amount of determination to carry on "wasting my time with Linux" and Debian

Thanks to those who signed my key for me (and Noodles who didn't sign but gave a very intelligent rationale as to why he couldn't at the moment :) )
Thanks to Steve for quintessentially being and being the perfect host - and I hope to be back next year. And the food was excellent - chilli popcorn comes highly recommended :)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

UKUUG conference and other pleasantries

To Birmingham (UK) on Friday and Saturday last week - first time ever :) Friday was a rather laid back tutorial day: I was learning about Arduino boards and playing a bit with electronics. Good fun - not least watching Phil Hands cursing Java and getting his hands dirty with the command line. Back on Saturday to represent Debian, man a T shirt stall and generally talk. I didn't go to any of the staged talks but did sell a couple of T's. Sheevaplug got some interest :) Lots of interesting people - all sorts of sideline conversations.

Moving computers on Monday: lots of muttering but I think I've got it sorted now: one computer needs connecting to keyboard/mouse/monitor purely to tell it to ignore errors when it hasn't got keyboard/mouse/monitor :( Smaller room so we'll see how it pans out: Desk has 1 mini-PC, speakers, 1 laser printer, 2 x wireless routers and 1 x 8 port switch, 1 x 4 port KVM, desk light, radio and tiny clock on top and 4 x tower cases underneath in 0.75 x 1.5m

Looking to republish useful snippets of blogs to illustrate an argument at (paid) work has meant that I have had to ask explicit permission from other bloggers/mailing list contributors. For any bloggers/contributors in a similar position who may want to quote this drivel of mine in the future.

Boring legal bits
In the absence of any other more restrictive licensing from me, feel free to treat this blog as GPL version 2.0 or later / CC-BY 3.0 or later for the purposes of extracting any quotes or other information This relicensing applies to all prior posts in this blog. I'd prefer that you didn't misrepresent me so preservation of context where practicable is desirable but not essential.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Sheevaplug - now with Apache, X and KDE :)

If I'd had lots more money ($249 instead of $99) and been about a month later - before the current back order situation - I'd possibly have been tempted by an OpenRD board. [Think Sheevaplug in metal box, with audio, video, SATA disk connections also brought out]. As it is, I didn't get the chance.

Instead, and to help demonstrate the capabilities of the little box, I added some packages - it now has X Windows, KDE and Apache installed.

I opened up SSH to allow a friend to pick up the files needed to install up to date U-boot, the Debian base system from Martin Michlmayr and the "I bricked my Sheevaplug" alpha installer. He, in turn, took great delight in running various X applications on the Sheevaplug and has promised me screen captures :)

From Sheevaplug -> Atom machine -> cable modem with port forwarding -> cable modem with port forwarding -> firewall -> firewall -> his machine and STILL acceptable performance :)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Now with added wifi :)

It looks as if an Edimax (Realtek rt73 chipset) USB wireless dongle may work with no other modules needing compilation. Thinking of putting Apache on and putting up a wireless web page - Saturday/Sunday is a UK Unix Users Group (UKUUG) conference in Birmingham. Debian should be in attendance and it would be cool to have a web server small enough to fit in my pocket.

I could take complete Debian and Ubuntu archives - but the terabyte disk is about four times the size of the server and wirelss dongle together.

So, for the person that asked me what I was going to do wth the Sheevaplug - that might be a start :)

Sheevaplug - now with added SD :)

Now working and running off an 8 GB SD card. The trick was to get the machine booting off USB and then use that to force booting from SD card.

Thanks once again to the people who took time out to help me with U-boot.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Key added, now syndicated on Planet Debian?

Thanks due for all the help I've received from Benjamin Mako Hill and others. This post should now arrive on Planet Debian.

Still struggling with a Marvell Sheevaplug: I've now got it to (not quite but Oh so nearly) boot: if you remove the SD card it whines - and recognises the partition layout - but doesn't boot from it, hanging on a "waiting for boot prompt"

The next trick is to try an install to a 4G USB stick and see if that works, then try and get new/different SD cards to try. WARNING - the supplied USB cable for serial console is significantly short and weak :)