Google knows all

Oct 11, 2005 / 0 comments

In the top hit for a Google on "Jonathan needs": Jonathan needs to start drinking more beer

New GPG key

Oct 3, 2005 / 0 comments

Ages ago I got round to getting a smartcard reader and ordering a couple of OpenPGP smartcards from Kernel Concepts (who were very helpful and quite happy to deal in English via email). Unfortunately this all didn't arrive in time for the yearly Debian UK BBQ, so I missed getting a new key signed there. However, with the forthcoming Linux World Expo I thought I should get round to sorting out a new key. Much faffing later and I now have a key, 0xF4A8B30C, which has never been stored on a networked host (or indeed one with writable persistent storage). Though of course I'm doomed as soon as RSA is cracked, either by cunning maths or quantum computing. 0x5B430367 is still valid and I'll still be using it in general, but I'll probably expire my old PGP Type 3 key, 0x4DC4E7FD. I can't imagine anyone's tied to PGP 2 these days and there are flaws with the old key format AIUI.

So, anyway. Come to LinuxWorldExpo (I should be around the Debian stand for most of Thursday) and sign my new key. :)

vdr cutting rocks

Oct 1, 2005 / 0 comments

In the continue theme of things software I've been using for a while can do, but I only just discovered, I give you editing of recordings under VDR. I use VDR as my PVR; taking a raw MPEG2 DVB stream and saving it without any conversion seems the right way to do things to me. And the interface may be simple, but that's good. However it's annoying to end up with lots of adverts on things I'm planning on keeping around; takes up unnecessary disk space for starters. So I finally put the effort into learning about setting cutting marks while watching playback. Hit 0, it makes a mark. Do it again, it makes another and decides the video between these two is what you want. Do this for all of the program and hit 2 and then it stitches all the bits you want together and ditches the rest. Result. You can even fine step the marks with 4 and 6. I've halved the amount of disk space my South Park collection is taking up. Result.

Netgear DG834G hackery

Sep 28, 2005 / 0 comments

I have a rather weird network setup at home. Partly due to having both a sensible ADSL connection from Black Cat and an NTL cable modem as backup, partly because I have native IPv6 (over the ADSL). I used to just use a normal PC with a USB Speedtouch plugged into it, but a while back I managed to get an ASUS WL-500g setup to do the job (it has USB for a flash drive / webcam, but this got the Speedtouch plugged into it). It does the job, but is somewhat hacked up. Plus I think the USB ADSL modem adds extra latency and can sometimes be dodgy.

So, when I discovered that the Netgear DG834G had source available for all the important bits (wireless, ADSL, ethernet) I was intrigued. I already know a bunch of people who have this router and are happy with it, so the knowledge that it was more hackable than the average ADSL router made it very appealing. As it happened quinophex (who seems to becoming my hardware pimp) had a spare one, so we did a deal and he brought it round today.

After checking it actually worked and could connect to my ADSL line it was time to open it. The screws are hidden underneath the little white feet and appear to be torx style, but I had a normal flathead that did the job (I should really get myself a larger set of screwdrivers). At first I couldn't spot any headers, but then I saw JP603 half hidden under a sticker with the MAC address on it. Ta da. 4 holes, one obviously ground, one looked non connected, 2 had tracks leading away from them.

I found a piece of veroboard in my toolbox and realised I'd put off building my MAX232 level shifter for too long. After much too long (but no burnt hair) I'd soldered up the simple circuit and was ready to try it out with my Linksys WMA11B. Using Andrew Wild's excellent serial port instructions I had an adapted device to test with. Hooked it all up and it didn't work. Bah, think I. My soldering sucks. No, serial ports suck. ttyS0 has decided not to play nice on my desktop machine. One USB serial port adaptor later and I can see the Linksys boot. Yay!

So, onto the Netgear. A bit of prodding (and dodgy soldering) later and I have a console. Yay! I can see ADAM2 and I can see the kernel boot and get a busybox login. Rock. Now I just need to work on getting a better firmware installed that can handle what my Asus is doing at present.

GPS doesn't love me

Sep 26, 2005 / 0 comments

I finally got the loan of quinophex's Magellan 315. So I went on a wander with it, to see how it faired. (The advantage of a handheld device is that it's self contained, so I can go for a walk with it easily rather than having to bring the USB device and a laptop with me.) However I'm still getting the same offsets compared to the Landsat pictures when I compare on OSM or osm-editor locally. I've set my datum to WGS84, which I understand is the default for GPS. I've made sure the GPS can see a reasonable number of satellites (5 locks is good, right? With an extra couple of marginals?). I was walking, so it's not at any great speed. And yet, as with my USB device, the track is slightly down and to the left.

I'm planning on going on a drive with both devices hooked up to the laptop so I can compare the data from each at the same point in time, but does anyone have any idea why I might be having these problems? Take a look at a screenshot of osm-editor (579KB, 1280x1024) to see what I mean; the track at the bottom is clearly shifted downwards from where the dark line of the road is.

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