X100 Expansion Board

Recently I purchased this X100 expansion board for my Raspberry Pi, mainly for its HDMI to VGA output but the RS232 port was of interest assuming that it works as I expect it should!

The kit includes the following items 1x USB male-male adapter, 1x HDMI-HDMI male-male adaptor and mounting hardware to secure the expansion board to the Raspberry Pi. Also included is an optional reset switch pin header that isn’t required for the board to function but adds the function to reset the Pi but this should be used only as a last resort because you face the strong possibility of corrupting the SDcard if you happened to drop the power while the SDcard is in the process of writing to the card!

Installation is pretty straight forward, there’s two mounting posts and you line up the GPIO pins, then plug in the USB & HDMI adaptors and that’s it! At this stage you have the option to solder the reset pin header to add that functionality if desired.

My thoughts, if you use the kernel that’s available from Suptronics you have access to the RTC on the board, however this is a 3.6x kernel and is a little old. The drawback in using this kernel is that you would need to manually go through the setup process every time your Raspberry Pi had a kernel update, or you could just pin the current kernel you have to prevent this. There’s also no source code for the modules that are provided with the kernel so you can’t compile them to be used with a later kernel, if you don’t really have a use for the RTC then not a big issue but after all if you purchase one of these you’d want to be able to use all of the functions! Although I’m sure that some searching should find either a newer based kernel or the ability to compile one (I’ve not checked as of the time of writing) Sure if I simply wanted a HDMI to VGA converting function I would have simply got something else that may have been cheaper.

 Images and installation information available from suptronics

Gremlin in the Server!

Over the last few days I’ve noticed that my web server has been a little unreliable. As usual there’s nothing obvious in the logs to recommend just what the cause might be. I’ve made some changes via ISPConfig and it’s possible that I may have set up something wrong! as GoogleBot has complained that it can’t reach the robots.txt file (this is in the root of the web server and is visible to me) So there’s a gremlin hiding here somewhere!

Gremlin

This is also effecting my mail server, So the occasional mail is bouncing (inwards) I just hope that this isn’t the beginning of a failing SQL table…

Oops WordPress 3.5alpha

I’ve uploaded to the latest nightly (as of writing) and it appears that page links are broken. Posts are fine so will have to await for tomorrow’s build to see  if this is fixed, or I’ll need to file a bug report (if not reported already)

So one doesn’t use nightly builds unless you expect some breakage 🙂

Living on the bleeding edge

For some time now I’ve been using Arch Linux for my desktop pc. For those who have no idea what that is/means then go back to your coffee/tea and come back in 5 minutes! No seriously, Arch is just a distribution of Linux aimed at being minimalistic so you build your desktop to what you want. Arch is a bleeding edge distribution that pretty much has the latest software that’s generally available. Now this is great for the person who prefers to have a constant stream of updates (aka rolling distribution) However some prefer a slightly slower release that hopefully has a higher level of stability. This is where Arch can bite you (big time) if you don’t pay close attention to the pending updates, as was the case for me about a month or so ago. The ln board graphics chip is a dreaded ATI (my first time for this chip type) as previously I’ve had Nvidia cards. Anyway there was the April ATI update awaiting and not giving it the attention that I normally would I allowed it to be applied. At this point all looked like a normal update until I rebooted (included a kenel update) and this is when my trouble began!

Being rather optimistic, I figured that within a day or three there would be a patch to fix the segmentation fault I was now getting from xorg-server. Now my Minecraft server resides on this pc so I needed to keep that running so I opted to use my Eee PC for what I believed to be a temporary period until a fix came through. So today I decided to tackle the problem with the intention of getting the existing software to behave as it should. After a few hours of no result it was getting to the point where a re installation would be the better solution rather than going around in circles (as I was)

15 minutes later and “Bingo!” was back in business. All that was required now was to restore the data backup and install a few programmes.

I suppose if there’s a moral to the story it’s be aware that the bleeding edge will at times give you grief!  😀

Posted from WordPress for Android

Trial use of WPGplus

One of the frustrating things about Google+ is the lack of an API for developers to be able to write 3rd party plugins for either posting to or reading from Google+

It’s been a while now since I last checked on WordPress.org to see if there’s been any progress with a plugin for posting from WordPress to Google+ and to my surprise I stumbled across WPGplus

I’m not sure if it’s going to be suitable just yet, but at this point it looks like the only solution. So this post will be my first at using it (WPGplus) so let’s see how it fares!  😉

Posted from WordPress for Android

What’s With Port 70 ??? (Gopher)

image

Ok so if you recognise the critter in this image then your half way to understanding what I’m talking about!  Port 70 is traditionally reserved for the Gopher protocol. What is Gopher? Well it’s a slim text only layout that pre dates the internet as we know it as (aka HTML)

Gopher started life back in 1991 and lost popularity in the mid 1990’s in favour to HTML (port 80)  Just recently I have rediscovered Gopher and so have a group of friends (identi.ca, StatusNet)

I’m hosting a Gopher service using Pygopherd. This has the advantage of serving both Gopher & HTML simultaneously. This means that you can point your browser at vk7hse.org:70 and view using HTML then if you have the Overbite plugin installed for your browser you can then switch to Gopher.

Take a look, follow the links and enjoy the world of Gopher!

What's With Port 70 ??? (Gopher)

image

Ok so if you recognise the critter in this image then your half way to understanding what I’m talking about!  Port 70 is traditionally reserved for the Gopher protocol. What is Gopher? Well it’s a slim text only layout that pre dates the internet as we know it as (aka HTML)

Gopher started life back in 1991 and lost popularity in the mid 1990’s in favour to HTML (port 80)  Just recently I have rediscovered Gopher and so have a group of friends (identi.ca, StatusNet)

I’m hosting a Gopher service using Pygopherd. This has the advantage of serving both Gopher & HTML simultaneously. This means that you can point your browser at vk7hse.org:70 and view using HTML then if you have the Overbite plugin installed for your browser you can then switch to Gopher.

Take a look, follow the links and enjoy the world of Gopher!

A New Trend (StatusNet)

Since around September last year when Identi.ca was updated to the much-anticipated Status.net 1.0 it has suffered from many outages causing some people to focus on either abandoning identi.ca or hosting their own Status.net instance.  At first I wasn’t overly bothered on hosting my instance, but some time back I did setup a test instance of Statusnet version 0.93 but decided at that it wasn’t necessary for me to simply duplicate the service of identi.ca (that I was using fairly regularly at that time)

In recent weeks I had decided to spend some more time again on identi.ca, but most of the time when I went to post notices I was having some trouble with Mustard (Android Status.net/Identi.ca/Twitter client) but it simply turned out that identi.ca was down! So I wanted to make sure that Mustard was ok with Statusnet 1.0 so the only way to test that for me was to simply setup a setup an instance and well that led me to keep it going once I’d finished the test!

Here’s a copy of my config.php (sensitive data removed!) for reference on how my instance is configured…

<?php
if (!defined('STATUSNET') && !defined('LACONICA')) { exit(1); }
$config['site']['name'] = 'vk7hse.org';
$config['site']['server'] = 'vk7hse.org';
$config['site']['path'] = 'status';
$config['site']['fancy'] = true;
$config['db']['database'] = 'mysqli://xxxxx:xxxxx@localhost/xxxxx';
$config['db']['type'] = 'mysql';
$config['site']['profile'] = 'singleuser';
$config['singleuser']['nickname'] = 'vk7hse';
$config['site']['logfile'] = '/var/log/statusnet.log';
$config['site']['theme'] = 'neo-kafei';
$config['queue']['enabled'] = true;
$config['oldschool']['enabled'] = true;
$config['attachments']['supported'] = array('image/png', 'application/ogg');
$config['attachments']['supported'] = true;
$config['sms']['enabled'] = 'true';
$config['admin']['panels'][] = 'sms';
$config['discovery']['cors'] = true;
$config['attachments']['supported'] = array('image/png', 'application/ogg');
$config['attachments']['supported'] = true;
$config['attachments']['file_quota'] = 25000000;
$config['attachments']['user_quota'] = 1000000000;
$config['attachments']['monthly_quota'] = 350000000;
$config['attachments']['uploads'] = true;
$config['attachments']['path'] = "/file/";
$config['attachments']['dir'] = INSTALLDIR . '/file/';
$config['sphinx']['enabled'] = true;
$config['sphinx']['server'] = 'localhost';
$config['sphinx']['port'] = 3312;
// addPlugin('TwitterBridge');
// addPlugin('FacebookBridge');
// addPlugin('OStatus');
// addPlugin('Realtime');
// addPlugin('ClientSideShorten');
addPlugin('InfiniteScroll', array('on_next_only'=>false));
addPlugin('SubMirror');
addPlugin('Autocomplete');
addPlugin('TabFocus');
addPlugin('Blacklist');
addPlugin('SiteNoticeInSidebar');
addPlugin('Blog');
addPlugin('Memcached');
addPlugin('LogFilter', array('priority' => array(LOG_DEBUG => false)));
addPlugin('BitlyUrl', array('login' => 'xxxxx','apiKey' => 'xxxxx'));
addPlugin('Gravatar');
addPlugin('Realtime');
addPlugin('Sitemap');
addPlugin('UserFlag');
addPlugin('NoticeTitle');
addPlugin('LinkPreview');
addPlugin('Meteor', array('webserver' => 'vk7hse.org','webport' => '81','controlserver' => '127.0.0.1','controlport' => '4671'));

Don’t be alarmed by seeing the section commented out (hence the double //) I noticed that I had duplicate listings for plugins so I commented them out. I hope that seeing this configuration helps you out should you wish to setup your own Statusnet instance.

Credits to: @jpope, @parlementum, @ryanweal, @jonkulp & @sazius for helping me by sharing their config files with me, I owe you guys a BEER! 😉

Self Hosted StatusNet (aka !feds)

Well although I’m not as active as I once was on Identi.ca  I’ve decided to set up my StatusNet instance (again!) on this server. OK you just saw that “again” in brackets what’s with that? Well a while back I attempted to do a similar thing but failed due to my inadequateness to make sense of some of the basics to make your own instance talk to others via Oauth. Well after some help from a few peeps on the !feds group I now have all that sorted (rather easy really I just was not making sense of the docs AGAIN!)

So at this stage this is purely for my own purposes, meaning that I’ve no likely intention to open it up for user registration (aka Identi.ca/StatusNet)

Ok now you can bet that the recent amount of downtime that Identi.ca has experienced will have been fixed and all of this will have been for nothing! but maybe not because this time round I’ve learnt something!  🙂

Update: I’ve recently deleted my account on identi.ca in preference to using my own setup!

4th January marks 3 years!

Wow has it really been that long? I started experimenting with WordPress back in June 2008 with the intention of setting up a site for the company I was working for so that it was the were to get information within the company (intranet) However, as most things tended to never happen there it was never implemented so not long before I was made redundant I was given the server that hosts this blog (and other services) so I put it to use here at home!

So lets look back at the versions of WordPress, Now as I said I started tinkering in June of 2008 so that would have been version 2.5.1 (yes I cheated, see release history here) Now I won’t give a breakdown of each release as you can read that from the link above! But WordPress has come a long way from my early days, there’s a lot more automated items now where traditionally you would have had to ftp your updates or themes and the like.

Also within the 3 year period my server has changed a lot as well (software) as when I originally started it was using Debian Etch. Although my preferred Linux distribution at the time was Ubuntu 8.04, However for some reason the live CD of either the Desktop or install media for Ubuntu Server wouldn’t recognise the RAID card! So that made for a rather short-lived prospect for running Ubuntu. It wasn’t until Ubuntu 8.10 that I was able to install, as for whatever was the issue on the 8.04 LTS had been either addressed or the necessary module was now included by default. I was also wanting to host my Email server and there was some simple setup prerequisites that Ubuntu Server 8.10 introduced that made setting up Postfix with all the bells and whistles of using AmavisSpamAssassin & ClamAV to give you a bit of mail cleansing! So Ubuntu remained as the servers OS untill September this year when trying to update to 11.10 when horribly wrong! and I was left with a non working system, Yes I certainly did do a system backup of all the data that I considered important, but this didn’t include a full drive clone though (something I considered but didn’t do!)

I’d become a little displeased with the direction Ubuntu was going anyway (I’d stopped using Ubuntu on my desktop not long after the release of 9.10) and the usage of Plymouth cause me some headaches as the video chip wasn’t up to spec for displaying the intended splash screen associated with Plymouth (even my desktop PC didn’t play nice with Plymouth!) It is my opinion that a server should only show verbose output while booting so you can see if there are any issues, by hiding that (verbose output) behind a splash screen as default was a bad move! So after some thought it was clear to me that my server needed to return to Debian (stable release) so that happened on the 9th of September and hasn’t missed a beat for me.

Now I have to admit that the majority of the content on this blog is really of no significance (to any one else!) but over the time of it’s existence I’ve learnt how to set up a Web server, Email server and a few other monitoring solutions. This blog (well the server really) is purely for my self education and none of this would be possible without Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and the developers that dedicate their time etc…

So will this last another 3 years? … Lets hope so! 😉