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Oct. 7th, 2008


Google 2001 index

#define THIS_POST wxT("This post is boring.")

It is funny (and quite hard to imagine) that in 2001 Mozilla firefox did not exist[1]. There were many things on the web that didn't exist such as digg[2], youtube[3]. Ubuntu was still nowhere to be seen[4] (except sites related to education in Africa and maybe in Mark Shuttleworth's figments). Internet explorer and Netscape navigator were the best web browser we could get on PCs :D and Microsoft did release Internet Explorer for Solaris and HP-UX. hmmm...[5].

On Linux (oh Linux! :) side of the story, Konqueror had just been released. OMG! I didn't know armadillo was called Gzilla! and good 'ol lynx and w3m was as always nice for quick browsing.

In these 7 years, my Internet speed moved from 56K speed to Megabit speed (at home) but surprisingly, Debian's page[6] has remained pretty much the same since 1998. Web.archive.Borg[6] is a nice place for all these good 'ol reminiscence.

Also, IPOD did not mean Apple IPOD back then ;)

I was just spell-checking this post before posting and guess what? "Debian" is not in the dictionary and the suggestion is for "Lesbian" O_o

This occasion also marks the Dashain and Tihar celebration for Nepalese all around the world [7]. Happy Dashain and Tihar to all.

[1] http://www.google.com/search2001/search?q=firefox
[2] http://www.google.com/search2001/search?q=digg
[3] http://www.google.com/search2001/search?q=youtube
[4] http://www.google.com/search2001/search?q=ubuntu
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_for_UNIX
[6] http://web.archive.org/web/20010712204309/www.debian.org/
[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashain

Sep. 20th, 2008

ltsp, tux, Nepalinux, linux, fossnepal

Setting up Logitech quickcam e2500 for linux

Today I bought a Logitech quickcam e2500. The webcam is good looking, slim build and sports a 1.3 mega-pixel photos and a decent 640x480 VGA camera. You can look at the camera here

To get it working for Linux, I used these procedures -

$ lsusb | grep Log
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 046d:089d Logitech, Inc.

So, basically I sat down couple of hours ago to make it work on my Linux box; couple of head banging for not remembering the module parameters and it was finally done. The following are the steps I took to make it work -

1) Downloaded gspca source
* wget http://mxhaard.free.fr/spca50x/Download/gspcav1-20071224.tar.gz
* tar -xvf gspcav1-20071224.tar.gz

2) Downloaded a patch specific to my webcam -
* wget http://forums.quickcamteam.net/attachment.php?aid=86 -O patch.tar.gz
* tar -xvf patch.tar.gz
* cd gspcav1-20071224
* patch -p1 < ../quickcamE2500.diff

3) Compiled and installed the patched kernel module -
* cd gspcav1-20071224;
* make;
* sudo cp gspca.ko /lib/modules/2.6.24-19-generic/ubuntu/media/gspcav1/

4) Reloaded the gspca module with additional parameters -
* sudo modprobe -r gspca;
* sudo modprobe gspca autoexpo=0 gamma=2

5) Installed gstfakevideo for skype since it used 90% of my CPU when video was enabled. More info is available here
* svn checkout http://gstfakevideo.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ gstfakevideo ('subversion' package must be installed)
* cd gstfakevideo
* make
* sudo make install
* sudo mv /dev/video0 /dev/video1
* ./gstfakevideo v4lsrc device=/dev/video1 ! ffmpegcolorspace (this will fire off skype)

5) Tried each of the following -
* xawtv (worked)
* mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=352:height=288:outfmt=yv12:device=/dev/video0 (worked)
* skype (worked after I provided the module parameters "autoexpo=0 gamma=2")
* ekiga (worked)
* cheese ( this didn't work for me )

Note: It will take some time for skype and ekiga to load up the image from the webcam. Be patient :)
Have fun! :)

Aug. 27th, 2008

ltsp, tux, Nepalinux, linux, fossnepal

package availability for sid and ibex


Thanks to LaserJock and Bryce on ubuntu-devel list.

Aug. 20th, 2008

ubuntu-np, ubuntu

Ubuntu archive mirror for Nepal

We've been trying to push Ubuntu archive kindly supported by Mitra Network to the main repository. So far it looks good. The archive is up and running and one can use the packages via adding http://archive.mitra.net.np/ubuntu/ in their apt sources.list. We've been advised to wait for a while before becoming the official mirror but that should happen very soon :)

So, I guess that concludes this short note for today. Oh, and a big thanks to Kabindra Shrestha and Surmandal for their role in this. They basically took it up from barebone system to rsyncing a whopping 150GB+ and devoting space for the packages. They deserve a big applaud . Thanks guys!

Jul. 8th, 2008

ltsp, tux, Nepalinux, linux, fossnepal

trusty old dcop

I was getting sick of trying to manually seek audio in amarok and really pissed that my dell laptop didn't sport a seek multimedia key. So, as any enthusiast would do, I tried to leverage the seek function using our old trusty dcops (sorry non-KDE users! :).

Basically, all one has to in ubuntu/debian is to install 'xbindkeys' package-
$ aptitude install xbindkeys

Check for the keycode-
$ xbindkeys -mk # -h for more info
Press combination of keys or/and click under the window.
You can use one of the two lines after "NoCommand"
in $HOME/.xbindkeysrc to bind a key.

--- Press "q" to stop. ---
"(Scheme function)"
m:0x8 + c:153
Alt + XF86AudioNext

(In the above instance, I've pressed Alt and Dell's Next button)

Then create ~/.xbindkeysrc and dump those lines from above-
$ vim ~/.xbindkeysrc
1 # forward 10 secs
2 "dcop amarok player seekRelative +10"
3 m:0x8 + c:153
4 Alt + XF86AudioNext
6 # rewind 10 secs
7 "dcop amarok player seekRelative -10"
8 m:0x8 + c:144
9 Alt + XF86AudioPrev

Then add it to autostart (when KDE session starts)-
$ vim ~/.kde/Autostart/xbindkeys
1 #!/bin/sh
2 /usr/bin/xbindkeys;

If one runs Gentoo, have a read through http://gentoo-wiki.com/HOWTO_Use_Multimedia_Keys


Jul. 7th, 2008


Different world? :-)

Must love this article by David Dale. :)

Jul. 2nd, 2008


Preparing video for Youtube

This is the procedure i used while trying to upload an AVI file (audio only) with JPG.

1) install mencoder, mplayer and ffmpeg
2) ffmpeg -i SomeFlash SomeAvi.avi
3) mplayer -dumpaudio -dumpfile SomeDumpFile SomeOriginalAvi.avi
4) mencoder mf://\*.jpg -o Final.avi -ovc lavc -mf fps=0.008 -ofps 10 -audiofile SomeDumpFile -oac copy -endpos 6:0

Now adjust fps=0.008 accordingly (repeating step 4 multiple times).

For a demo of Final.avi upload to Youtube visit http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=gVYMbxMMKG0

A big thanks to sfullenwider and cbreak.

Enjoy! :-)

May. 30th, 2008

OS, universal OS, debian

Trust thy debian package source!

Everytime one downloads a debian package, it has various files within it (zipped inside, try opening with ark or some such) that gives `dpkg' information on what to do about various bits and pieces of binaries/source files which are contained within the package (which could eventually be removed/installed/upgraded on the system). Those files within control/p* are a critical piece from a computer security standpoint (Really this information applies to people who are not familiar with how debian packages work. If it insults your wit, please feel free to read some latest headlines -> www.reuters.co.uk :D)

Okay, what I'll iterate below is of utmost importance - Trust thy source of Debian packages before hitting -
a) 'sudo aptitude install foo' (could be infected via malicious website line in the sources.list / sources.list.d)
b) 'sudo dpkg -i bar.deb' (could be infected via malicious control/p* file within the deb file downloaded off the internet)

If one downloads a virus/malware from bad sources.list/sources.list.d or a malware site [p-h]osing as debian packages, then it could do anything from installing backdoor in the system to wiping out enough files to make it unbootable (rm -rf / in the control/p* or even parted rm /dev/[s-h]db1 etc..).

Hence, I recommend folks to download packages from trusted source (such as main debian repository for debian/debian-derived distribs). There has been cases in the past such as 'rm-rf'ed system from such malicious deb files. It certainly won't be the first nor the last so I feel in many ways that it is better to arm oneself with the information that every piece of debian packages that one downloads could be *possibly* infected. Also FEI, main Ubuntu repository (archive.ubuntu.com) was cracked in the past. That's scary because it could have potentially provided an avenue for malware inside the packages (yes, carried out by the crackers).

Enouf now :-) I guess. Have a great weekend! (me goes shopping for a new cordless or VOIP phone; just depends which ones cheaper :-))

May. 14th, 2008


chili volcano, smoke, lots of them


May. 6th, 2008


sshd snooping

I was reading a paper[1] which described the design of a secure L4 kernel (a wonderful paper btw) -
"First, the namespace for IPC outside the current address space is global, and visible to every thread in the system. This exposes the structure of the system to all threads which need to perform such communication. This causes a few problems. First, it restricts the design of OS personalities somewhat — for example, if a server is multi-threaded, the client threads must be aware of that fact. More importantly, it opens a possible covert channel between areas of the system that should be isolated." when my memory suddenly remembered the nasty sshd snooping attack[2] from a while ago which was the result of using function calls to communicate between the different sshd processes.

[1] http://www.disy.cse.unsw.edu.au/theses_public/05/philipd.pdf
[2] http://pentestmonkey.net/blog/sshd-snooping/

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