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Showing posts from 2009

Happy new year...

Yesterday was Ma'al Hijrah marking the beginning of the year 1431 in the Islamic calendar. So with a new year comes new hope and a fresh new start. Even for my computer. I bought my acer aspire 4810tg a few month ago before the release of windows 7. Even then they already promised there will be a free upgrade once it is released. When I finally applied for my upgrade, found out that the software itself is free, but you still have to pay for the shipping (USD 18 to ship to Malaysia). I applied for it anyway. It arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago but I was too busy then to actually do anything about it. But Alhamdullillah there's a bit of change in the pace of our work in Inigo and finally I've decided I've got enough time to risk it. And risk it I did. After making a full backup of my /etc, /var and /home directory of course.. :P

It took a very long time to upgrade to Windows 7. It was searching for incompatible software, gathering settings and things like that I …

After all that, there is more...

I remember in my younger days when I actually had time to sit for hours and hours in front of a computer to play, just play, and had lots of fun. Some of the games that I still remember fondly is like the classic Digger, Doom (especially Doom 2), Monkey Island (1 and 2 was the most memorable to me), Days of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Command and Conquer, Warcraft, Starcraft, Baldurs Gate, Outlaw, Fallout. I miss those days. Those easy times. Then it was a busy day if you only get to play for just 1 hour. And "balik kampung" was probably the worst time. You can't play for days on end.. :P

And I remember strolling around Imbi Plaza (there wasn't any Low Yat yet back then) and just looked around. I couldn't afford ANY of the things I adored back then but just being able to window shop made me quite knowledgable. Friends and family come to me for advice on what computer they should buy, or for this price what are the recomended specs. I barely know it now. I have no…

xmonad settings

One thing that I did like about using gnome was that for most things, it was very discoverable. You click a few menus, try this and that. But with something like xmonad, it's much more configurable for sure but you certainly have to know your way around. So after seaching the internet, I've finally had a setup which I pretty much like. Here it is for future reference. For ~/.xmnonad/xmonad.hs:

import XMonad
import XMonad.Hooks.DynamicLog
import XMonad.Hooks.ManageDocks
import XMonad.Util.Run(spawnPipe)
import XMonad.Util.EZConfig(additionalKeys)
import System.IO

myManageHook = composeAll
[ className =? "Gimp" --> doFloat
]

main = do
xmproc <- spawnPipe "xmobar"
xmonad $ defaultConfig
{ terminal = "urxvt"
, modMask = mod4Mask
, borderWidth = 3
, manageHook = manageDocks <+> myManageHook <+> manageHook defaultConfig
, layoutHook = avoidStruts $ layoutHook defaultConfig
, logHook = dynamic…

argouml in xmonad

Recently a small window manager war broke out at the #archlinux irc channel. Not much to say about it because it's been done dozens of times already, but it did got me interested in trying out a tiling wm again. I've tried xmonad before and liked it quite a bit back then so I thought I'd give it another go. And sure enough I LOVE it.. :P Not having to touch the mouse (or the touchpad which is even worse) at all is a great feeling. You just want to go faster and faster. Then I fired up firefox and lo and behold, I have to use the mouse again. That's a cannot. So I installed the vimperator plugin. Now I can navigate and use firefox just like using my favourite editor.. :D

But of course that's just the beginning, I had to look for replacement for a lot of other software I normally use too. So now:
1. pidgin -> finch (ym client)
2. xchat-gnome -> weechat-curses (irc client)
3. evolution -> alpine (mail client)
4. exaile -> herrie (mp3 player)
5. nautilus -> mc…

foss.my is back

Last year it was awesome and now it's back again. Yes, I'm talking about the free open source software conference by the people for the people, foss.my, on 24th - 25th October at UCTI, TPM. This year with even more reasons for you to attend. Personally for me, just one reason is enough. RMS (Richard M Stallman) himself will be there. Yes sir, the legendary founder of the Free Software Foundation. The man responsible for liberating mankind from the shackles of propietary software to the freedom of free (as in freedom, not free teh tarik) software. He will be giving the opening keynote on the second day, 25 October. So don't miss it.

What other reasons you should come? There's no reason why you shouldn't. It only costs RM 20 for a barebone ticket. You don't get any lunch or t-shirt, but hey, if you just wanted to listen to great talks on free software, I think that's a great deal. Most probably would be too busy to have lunch anyway. And there's no one sto…

Virtual machines

I finally tried to give kvm a try on a core 2 duo laptop. And what great fun it is. :D
Following the instruction from the great arch linux wiki, I installed the qemu package. Once I've done that I added myself to the kvm group:

# gpasswd -a abdza kvm

And then I loaded the kvm & kvm-intel module:

# modprobe kvm
# modprobe kvm-intel

To change the new kvm devices to the kvm group I modified the udev rules (had to create the file) at /etc/udev/rules.d/65-kvm.rules:

KERNEL=="kvm", NAME="%k", GROUP="kvm", MODE="0660"

I downloaded some cd iso's to boot install into the "virtual machines". First I tried ubuntu. Once the iso has been downloaded I had to create a virtual machine image with:

# qemu-img create -f qcow2 ubuntu 4194304

Not sure yet what all of that option is for but that basically would create an image named ubuntu with hard disk size of around 4GB. So I had to 'boot' that image with a cd (the iso image downloaded earlier)…

ZeroCD broadband modem

Just a quick note. Recently my father asked me to get a broadband modem to work again after I installed Ubuntu on his computer. The modem was basically a rectangular black stick. The only brand it wrote on it was CSL. And when you plugged it in, it showed up as a thumb drive. This was expected behaviour in Windows because then they'd click on the driver installation of the thumb drive. Once the driver is installed it would detect and register the modem. I had no idea what was supposed to be done with it to make it work. Untill I ran `lsusb` to get the vendor & product number. Vendor was 0x1c9e and product was 0x1001. And I actually googled THAT.

And then I within those pages I found this gem. The post clued me into a utility called usb-modeswitch which can actually switch the modes of the detected usb device. A search of ubuntu packages I found a deb for karmic. Eventhough the computer is Jaunty but it seems the package works. I had to modify the installed /etc/usb_modeswitch.c…

Mounting LVM on external hard disk

Uh oh.. Fedora laptop cannot start. Need to copy data out of it. Take out hard disk, put into usb external hard disk adapter and BAM!!! when you try to mount it says:

mount: unknown filesystem type 'LVM2_member'

Alhamdullillah there's google. A quick search and I found this little gem which basically says to install the lvm2 package and as root do:

#pvs

which would display the partition lvm, for example:

PV VG Fmt Attr PSize PFree
/dev/sdb1 R51 lvm2 a- 10.72G 0
/dev/sdb5 R51 lvm2 a- 26.31G 32.00M

And then use the lvdisplay command to show the volumes like so:

#lvdisplay R51

Which would give more greater details about your lvm:

LV Name /dev/R51/home
VG Name R51
LV UUID VfabJ0-E2hS-HLw4-3Swc-tnkm-SesH-fFxlUB
LV Write Access read/write
LV Status available

And then you should use the LV Name to mount your partition. But... it didn't work for me.. a little bit more googling found this s…

Once upon a time...

Another chapter of my life closes today. I have been at OSCC for almost 2 years. And those 2 years have brought so much memory of struggle and joy, pain and happiness, friendship and love. From the first time I saw the job on JobStreet I was already thinking, "Yeah, this is what I want to do. Open source for the good of the Malaysian public". Patriotic sentiments were oozing through my pores like sweat after a heavy workout (ok, probably that's not the best metaphor for that.. :P). So I applied and was quite suprised I actually got it.

Almost immediately once I was in OSCC I got involved with MyMeeting (Version 1 at that time). And before I came to OSCC while working with Abdullah Solutions I was creating my own CMS, here at OSCC I finally had to learn to use Joomla. I hated both products at first. Joomla was confusing and foreign for me. And MyMeeting... well.. MyMeeting was quite a big mess at that time :P. But soon I got used to how Joomla was organized and became more…

More reading

Last weekend my family went to my in-laws. Because there is no comfortable working space there, I did not bother to bring my laptop along so I have quite a lot of time on my hands. Alhamdullillah I brought along and finished a book. It's title was "The Darkeing Sea" by Alexander Kent. It's written there on the cover, "The Master Storyteller of the Sea". Now I'm not much of a sea adventure fan, but decided I'd give it a try when I saw it at Carrefour last week. Especially one written by the "master storyteller". Well... I didn't enjoy it as much as "The Isle of Joy" but it was pretty enjoyable. And Alexander Kent being the "master storyteller of the sea", the details given were quite.... well.. detailed. Specific name of types of ships and all their parts and how the crew worked them. It is quite impressive I guess if I was a fan of ships and sea adventure.

The story revolves much around a certain Vice-Admiral Sir Ric…

Sending out email by python gaierror

I had to debug an instance of Plone that had an error to send out email today. First there was the whole problem with configuring sendmail to properly relay email. Finally I gave up, uninstalled sendmail and installed postfix.. :D Once I've verified the server can actually send email out, the problem still persist. It came to my mind that since the program (Plone) itself can send out email on other machines, it must be something else specific to that machine. Maybe python itself cannot send out email from that machine. So a quick google and I copied the code to send email out using python. It gave out the error more verbosely:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "tryemail.py", line 24, in ?
server = smtplib.SMTP(SERVER)
File "/usr/lib/python2.4/smtplib.py", line 258, in __init__
addr = socket.gethostbyname(socket.gethostname())
socket.gaierror: (-2, 'Name or service not known')

Googling some more and I found this thread which basically says tha…

I am Caine, I will help you...

Waaaaaaah... I haven't felt like this for so long. What feeling am I talking about? You know when you read those Kung Fu comics and the masters meet up in a lone path in the valley and as they pass each other they both know, "He's a master of his craft". Last time I felt this way was when kaeru was still a "Marketing" manager at OSCC. Now my replacement at OSCC is able to give off that kind of vibe, I know OSCC is in good hands.
His name is Chang Phui Hock or just "pH" as he likes to be called. He's well versed in Java & Python. I know he must be pretty good but wasn't sure how good he really was. Until today. We were doing some modifications to the TaskManager this afternoon. First thing I noticed, this guy is quick. I didn't need to explain much, he's already got it and doing it. That is already pretty cool. Then while editing the files I saw it... his vim-foo was better than mine. OMG!!! He was editing the files like a beatif…

Reading

I haven't read a good fiction for a long time. It was the 'usual resistance' (tm) like I'm too busy, I have no time, I've got better things to do and stuff. But last week I've finally decided enough is enough. I've got to get a more balanced and less (much less) critical view of my life. So I picked up a book at Carrefour for 5 Ringgit (LOL... even then I didn't want to invest too much into something which I considered as 'a waste of my time'). The book was 'Isle Of Joy' by Don Winslow. It was only 296 pages but took me a week to finish. Just last night I've finally finished it.

The book is about a Private Investigator by the name of William Withers who was assigned as a body guard for the young presidential hopeful Senator Joe Keneally. Things went wrong and the Senator's girlfriend got killed and everyone was trying to pin it on Withers. With his cool charm and sharp wit he handled it all. The book started off pretty slow at fir…

Testing out Chromium

Finally I had time to install the AUR version of Chromium from the Chromium linux build. And it is running ever so sweetly on my Arch Linux... :D Been waiting for this for such a long time. Now it's not even close to being complete yet but it is usable enough for just normal browsing the web. The biggest thing not done yet? Flash... Yup.. No youtube or even fancy in browser multiple file select upload for flickr. Not yet anyway. But apart from that it's GREAT!!! :D


Of course I had to try the standard fare. Gmail & GDocs of course works flawlessly. I was even able to login to Maybank2u (yup.. full https here baby. Not like if you run it under wine). And facebook works too. Normal browsing of web pages and planets of course work. Even dragging out the tab works. That was very-very cool. Only thing is that if you have 2 windows open, and one of them have only 1 tab, don't drag that single tab out to the next window. It would not close it gracefully yet and crash the whole …

Buildout with python2.4

I've got to write this down before I forget. With the newer distros, python 2.5 or 2.6 is the default python version of choice. But plone and zope currently still use python 2.4. And if you want buildout goodness you have to get buildout working with python 2.4. So if you're on ubuntu, first install these packages:

python2.4
python2.4-dev

And then google for ez_setup.py. Download it. Then run in your terminal:

abdullah@codebase:/$ sudo python2.4 ez_setup.py

That would install the 2.4 version of easy_install. Then to install buildout you just have to do like so:

abdullah@codebase:/$ sudo easy_install-2.4 zc.buildout

That would install buildout into your system. And then inside your plone or zope folder run:

abdullah@codebase:~/taskmanager$ buildout init

That would create a local instance of buildout for you to run specifically for your app. All eggs will be downloaded into that folder and would not pollute your system. To run the app specific buildout just do a :

abdullah@codebase:~/task…

More browsers

As a web application developer, one of the more annoying things that have to be done is to test out workflow and permissions of the system, thus requiring to login as one user, do a certain action, then login as another user, do whatever action that other user can now do. This is extremely tedious if you are only using 1 web browser since even though you can open many windows or many tabs, they will share the same cache and thus login only 1 user per site. So I like installing many web browsers and running them at the same time being logged in as different users.

Usually I like the other browsers pretty light because I just need the basics. So the alternative browser of choice is usually epihany. But recently I stumbled upon this article which talked about the midori web browser. I immediately installed it and tried it out. It is very fast and very light. Flash sites like youtube works. Even heavy ajax sites like gmail, gdocs and facebook works. And most importantly, maybank2u works to…

Things have been happening

A lot of things have been happening lately. This week tops it off with the MSC Open Source Conference (mscosconf). I was there for only 1 day (monday) but really felt the open source scene was coming alive here in Malaysia. Open Malaysia blogged about it already. And since I wasn't involved very much with it, I'll just leave it at that I am very happy with the overall direction we're going in Malaysia in regards to open source and hope that it will only get better and better (prep yourselves for foss.my 2009 and MyGOSSCON 2009.. Coming soon and it's gonna ROCK.. :D )

I was lucky enough to also be around for the lauching of OSDC.my dinner. Tun M was there and everything (first time I've seen him 'live' in person so that was fun). I'm not sure yet exactly what's the direction that osdc.my is going to take. Again I hope it would be successful at gathering the strength of all the various open source developers community we have here in Malaysia (you know…

Installing OpenOffice 3.1.0

Finally there is a need for me to actually install the latest version of OpenOffice.org. To do it first install the ppa by adding the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/openoffice-pkgs/ppa/ubuntuhardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/openoffice-pkgs/ppa/ubuntuhardy main
And then you need to get the key for that ppa by running the command:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 0xd2bb86e0ebd0f0a43d4db3a760d11217247d1cff
After that a quick update to update the list of packages:

sudo apt-get update

And then I actually had to remove my old OpenOffice manually because it refused to upgrade it when I ran:

sudo apt-get upgrade

So to remove the old OpenOffice I did:

sudo apt-get remove --purge openoffice.org

And only after that I installed it again:

sudo apt-get install openoffice.org

Now it's ready to be tried out. Hope it all works.

p/s: Yeah. I'm still on Hardy. You should change that for you ppa if you are using intrepid or ja…

Just some thoughts

April 24th was the date of my last post. That means I have officially missed last week. Didn't post anything at all. So in the end it's lucky when I actually get to write something once a week. At least that would keep my writing skill in practice.

So what have I been up to all this time? Well, around two weeks ago I actually got to try KMS (kernel mode setting). High resolution terminal from the beginning FTW!!!. No flicker at all when logging into X and it even seems a whole lot faster too. But in the end I opt out because it requires acceleration to be enabled and when I do that, my poor onboard 915 display card just couldn't cope with anything beyond 2048x2048. I needed 2300x800 to stretch over two monitors to be able to work productively so I had to disable it.

Apart from that there wasn't much else about open source that's worth while mentioning. Oh yeah... there was the buzz about the MSC Malaysia OSCONF 2009. You can check it out more here and here. Kinda iro…

Configuring webdav and effective user in plone-buildout

If you installed Plone 3.x from their universal installer, there is a default buildout.cfg provided. Edit this to installed cool additional packages and just run `bin/buildout`. It will download whatever you need and then ready to be up and running again. The buildout will override your zope.conf so if you want any settings to persist in your zope.conf it should be put into your buildout.cfg.

Inside the buildout.cfg there is section for client1 and client2 if you installed the default cluster settings. So to configure the effective user for client1 (so that root can start the instance) you should add:

effective-user = plone

in the client1 section. And inside client2 section you can just add:

effective-user = ${client1:effective-user}

so that you don't have to edit at 2 places later. And do you want to enable webdav with that? Then just add:

zope-conf-additional =
enable-ms-author-via on
<webdav-source-server>
addres…

The art of writing

I've always considered myself more of a coder than a documenter (if there is such a word). I like writing codes but I hate writing about them. I do write about it once in a while in a blog or something if it's something especially hard and I might have to refer about doing it again but usually I'll just file it in my head as "ooooh.. I can look it up later if I REALLY need it". So some of the stuff that I really hate to write up are user manuals and requirement specs.

Now I've been burned enough times to know that requirement specs are really crucial to a successful software project. If the user does not know what they want, then you'll soon be sucked into the black hole of "user wants" pretty soon and it would take a whole lot of thick face justifying yourself just to save your sanity much less the project. But even then, I'm still very much unmotivated to do it. One of the reasons is that it is so bland and boring. Boring to write, boring t…

Joke's on you

I'm a Fedora ambassador, I recommend people to use Ubuntu, but I myself use Arch Linux. I'm not sure what that makes me.. :P But I love using Arch. It is lean, mean and geared towards the more tinkering inclined in the sense that almost everything is default and you have to hand configure yourself... with a text editor :D

So it was really sad for me last week to read that they are going to drop support for the i686. For a whole week I was contemplating which distro would I go to now? I really like Arch's way of a rolling update. Not waiting for a certain dateline but get the newest thing as soon as it's ready. But after reading that news I am concerned because I don't think my laptop support x86_64 (Haven't tried it yet though, but it's a really old laptop). And not only that, if one day I am fortunate enough to get myself a netbook of my own, I doubt those small atomic chips support 64bit either. So where should I go? My choice was 2. Fedora or Ubuntu. I ha…

Starting a script after NetworkManager

I need to access a VPN. But to be able to start the VPN I need a network connection. How to know when NetworkManager has already created your connection? By refering to here, you can add scripts into the /etc/NetworkManager/dispatcher.d to be run by network manager everytime an interface go up or down.

#!/bin/bash

IF=$1
STATUS=$2

if [ "$STATUS" = "up" ]; then
/etc/rc.d/openvpn start
else
/etc/rc.d/openvpn stop
fi

So that openvpn will start straight away whenever any interface (IF) has the status up.

Lesson learned

Sometimes I just wonder, am I an idiot or just stupid. Last night was so bad I feel I've got to write something about it so that I'll never forget and repeat the same mistake again.

Yesterday was my birthday, and my lovely wife decided she wants to take me out for dinner. When I asked where, she asked me to choose. My first mistake, I didn't decide something that I KNOW would be good. I'm not a choosy eater. I eat almost anything that's halal (almost.. things like tapai and tempoyak have a way of making me not really want to eat them.. :P). So anything like going to Nandos, Kenny Rogers, Pizza Hut, McDonanlds or even the Utama restaurant at Desa Serdang would have all been good. But I was undecided. Rather than picking something I know I like I said 'Why don't we drive around at Bangi and see what might be good to eat?'. And since she's adamant about me choosing the place she accepted the idea. Why I didn't choose anything that I already know I&#…

Running dosemu in Ubuntu Intrepid

dosemu is a great little program to use to keep all those old legacy dos programs you might still use running even in this modern day and age. But in Ubuntu 8.10 (or Xubuntu 8.10 for that matter), running `dosemu` right after installation will give a

LOMRAM mmap: Invalid argument
Segmentation fault

error. Based on the steps written here, you need to edit (with sudo of course) the file '/etc/sysctl.d/90-low-memory-access.conf' (the file might not exist yet, so just create it if it doesn't exist) and add in the line:

vm.mmap_min_addr=0

and then run

sudo invoke-rc.d procps start

Then you are all set. Now you can even run those old dos games of your misty youth or even some old dbase accounting programs if that's what you're into.. ;)

Oh yeah.. and another thing, printing works almost out of the box. Configure your ubuntu box with a default printer and even 'shift-print screen' will work. How cool is that? :D

Tabs in urxvt

Finally had it with opening with so many urxvt windows, I finally googled for 'urxvt tabs' and found http://princ3.wordpress.com/2006/10/01/unicode-terminal-with-tabs-support/. It is only a minimalistic tab (you can't move it around or anything) but it's all that I need. Just run 'urxvt -pe tabbed' and you're good to go. Press Ctrl-Shift-Down Arrow to create a new tab, Ctrl-Shift-Left and Ctrl-Shift-Right to move to previous and next tab. Simple.

As the Arabs see the Jews: His Majesty King Abdullah, The American Magazine, November 1947

This e-mail was forwarded to me from a friend. It is most enlightening
considering the current situation in Palestine.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hi guys,In light of the recent Gaza invasion by the Israeli Armies, I would
like to share with you a letter originally written by King Abdullah,
grandfather to King Hussein, the present King of Jordan.I have decided in my conscious mind to forward this mail to you
regardless your religion, nationality nor creed.This piece of thought provoking letter is rather long to read, having
read it myself I find that it is absolutely worth more than your
average tea time. This Article is sourced from
<http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/kabd_eng.html>*******************************************************SummaryThis fascinating essay, written by King Hussein's grandfather King
Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948
Arab-Israeli War. In the article,…

How open source changed my world view

I have been using open source software almost exclusively for more than 3 years now. And quite frankly I am very comfortable using it. And not only that but I like seeing how open source software have improved so much in those 3 years. Leaps and bounds ahead. I nearly laughed myself silly when I first saw Windows Vista at Low Yatt and people were looking at it and going "oooh.. aah.. so 3d.." We had compiz even long before that.. :P

Last year I went into one of those now very rare pirate software shops. And looking at the abundant choices of games available I find that I have changed my world view. It used to be that whenever I looked at all those lovely games I'd think "Oh man.. my computer could never run that. I need more RAM, I need a better display card, I need to upgrade my CPU!!!". But this time I didn't even think about that. In fact I was absolutely not interested in the games at all. All that crossed my mind was that "My OS can't even run …

A year to remember - 2008

I have spent at least 10 minutes thinking of an opening for this blog post. And no matter what I write it just doesn't do justice. 2008 was probably the most meaningful year of my life. Full of cherished memories and new experiences. There was a lot of very high highs and some very low lows.. And I'd like to think it all made me a better person today. So what happened in the year 2008?

Fatimah... :) My daughter was born on 14th January. Since she's my second child, there wasn't as much anticipation and anxiety as Muhammad. But there was still a lot. And we even had a false alarm a few weeks before. Now she's almost 1 year old and she's already babbling baby talk. Babbling a LOT of baby talk. It's so cute.. :) Sometimes even when times are really trying, just looking at her smile makes it all okay. But of course when she's crying, and double that with her brother.. fuh.. fuh.. :P

My wife's grandmother passed away on 21st June. It was a pretty big blow …