Mmmmm. Munin.

Mar 15, 2006 / 0 comments

I've been using MRTG for many years now to draw pretty graphs. It's a bit inflexible though and I'd written a kludgy script or two to graph things that wanted more than 2 lines, or that I wanted to dynamically configure. I'd been on the looking for something simple that would do this all for me and replace my MRTG + scripts setup. All of what I'd seen seemed a bit complicated to get up and running, and what I had was BALGE, so I hadn't really looked that hard.

At the start of the week, however, I got pointed at someone else's stats page, generated by Munin. The graphs were presented in a nice clear format rather than a million levels down a tree, and all the graphs for a host were on one page for at at-a-glance view. Of course there's a Debian package, so I thought I'd try it out. Very quickly I was up and running with my local machine being monitored. A little extra work and I had SNMP monitoring of my switch, allowing me to ditch MRTG. Slightly more work and I had my UPS being graphed too. Finally I installed snmpd on my wgt634u running OpenWRT and had that sorted too. Excellent. A lot less work than I expected and a much nicer setup than before. I'm sure there are other good options out there, but I found this one worked for me.

Oh, and while I was at it I discovered mbrowse, an SNMP MIB browser. I think I'd rather have something that showed me the values read from the device in tree form, but I still found it quite handy.

Scanner Access really is Now Easy.

Mar 13, 2006 / 0 comments

I finally replaced my aging SCSI scanner over the weekend. It was making really odd noises while scanning, and had somehow upset my SCSI chain such that the BIOS could load GRUB ok, but GRUB then couldn't load the kernel. I have better things to do with my time than sacrifice goats, so I went looking for a cheap 'n cheerful replacement.

Oddly enough PC World provided an acceptable option. They have a system whereby you can reserve an item on the web for pickup from your local store, and get a reduction off the in store price. I have no idea why they don't just reduce in store prices anyway. I ended up with a Canon LiDE 60 for £44.82, slightly less than ebuyer charge before P&P and with the added advantage that I could go and pick it up on Saturday.

I had, of course, done some research beforehand to ensure this was a supported scanner, however it turned out I'd misread. I thought the version of SANE in Debian was a little old; turned out the versions for sane-frontends and sane-backends differ and I'd looked at the former instead of the latter. Plus I thought I was going to need to pull a CVS or snapshot copy to get the support I needed. So I unwrapped the scanner, plugged it into a spare USB port and checked lsusb showed it up. Then, just to see what would happen, I tried scanimage -L and was rewarded with device `genesys:libusb:004:009' is a Canon LiDE 60 flatbed scanner. Rock. scanimage just worked and produced a nice PNM of my Electric Six CD inlay.

I don't think installation could have got any easier than that. Admittedly I already had SANE installed as I'd had a previous scanner, but if I hadn't the only addition would have been aptitude install sane-utils.

All the people.

Mar 8, 2006 / 0 comments

More Amstrad E3 joy.

Mar 1, 2006 / 0 comments

Rock. I've now got the LCD on my E3 working; blurry picture at (I couldn't convince the camera to both focus well and shoot the flash in a way that made the text visible). I've updated my Amstrad E3 page with a few of the recent 2.6 developments as well. I'm quite chuffed with myself; while Mark did the original work of getting it booting with serial and USB I've managed to write the NAND driver, the LCD driver and sort out the keypad keymap.

There's still quite a lot left though:

  • Get u-boot onto the actual device rather than having to load it over the serial port on each reboot.
  • Add NAND support to u-boot.
  • Get the modem setup.
  • Sound
  • Handset - both mic/speaker and off-hook detection.
  • Mailboard (the pull out keyboard)
  • Camera

And then I can worry about the application layer. :)

No FOSDEM for me.

Feb 28, 2006 / 0 comments

Bah. All these people back from FOSDEM posting about having had a great time. And Dominic got engaged!

I'd have liked to have gone to FOSDEM this year, but it clashed with Christmas and someone had to stay in the country to mind things (Dominic and Simon both went, so I drew the short straw). Plus I decided not to go to Debconf this year; although I've enjoyed the past 2 years I couldn't really justify the cost of flights. And I'll no doubt need time off around the wedding, but I made the decision not to do Debconf before we got engaged, so that wasn't quite so big a factor.

However I now find myself lacking in geek events this year. I'm sure there'll be the usual Linux Expo stuff, but I've been considering the UKUUG Linux conference, which people have said good things about in the past. Is there anything else in the UK I should be considering?

I did get some hacking done this weekend however. Mark Underwood got 2.6.15 booting on the Amstrad E3 videophone to the point of USB and serial working. So I spent a while trying to figure out where Amstrad had hidden the NAND flash and managed to write a driver for it. I'm all chuffed with myself; my E3 now has a JFFS2 root filesytem. I also mapped out the keys on the keypad and tried to get the LCD working, but although I can get it to light up (the easy part) it doesn't actually seem to want to output anything. Bah. You can find all the bits you need at - both Mark's original stuff and my patch on top of that are there. Oh, and the list at is a useful place too.

(And yes, I know Christmas is in December, but I have a yearly Christmas meal with the people I lived with in my final year of university, but it can take so long to find a weekend we're all free that it's often nowhere near Christmas by the time it happens - February is pretty good going for us!)

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