Saturday, 6 September 2014

Firefox, GMail and cookies (solved)

I reported a while back, a problem with Firefox and inability to
login to gmail. After a restart of firefox, you get a cookie error
page. I found a solution was to tediously delete all google cookies - then
I could login. However, logging into my other account would, sooner or later,
give rise to the same cookie mismatch error. It was annoying
and infuriating.

I had resorted to using my phone/tablet to handling email, but that seems
silly (except when on the road).

After repeated scouring the web for solutions or solved solutions,
nothing worked. But I bumped into a reference regarding potential
issue with plugins.

So I tried disabling all my firefox plugs, and it worked !

So I then narrowed down which is the offending culprit.

And the culprit is:

Flash Video Downloader - YouTube Full HD Download

I dont know why, but I assume these plugins act as private
proxies, to intercept web requests, and somehow, it is mishandling

So I can relax that I hope this issue is finally over.

I hope this is useful to others out there when faced with a similar

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.35a-b6772

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Galaxy Tab S 8.4 / LTE

I recently bought one of these devices. I didnt really need it,
but I wanted a larger version of my phone (Galaxy Note 2), for
video watching. I dislike my mini ipad - it is a great device to hold,
but the whole iOS experience leaves me very cold. That and the puny amount
of RAM. Switching between 3 apps will force restart the apps since
iOS cannot juggle the demands of only 3 apps in the 512MB of memory.

My phone has 2GB and can easily keep 5-6 apps open. So app switching
is faster, because of the lack of a need to restart.

The Galaxy Tab S has a screen of 2560x1600. Although brilliant from
a bragging rights, its difficult to appreciate what this means. What
it means to me is that when I split screen apps, I can read the smaller
fonts of info from web browser, IMDB, etc.

There is definitely some lag in the device. I attribute this to code which
will synchronously try and connect somewhere. I rooted my device, put
in an adblocker, but sometimes the delays are much more than just bad
OS coding. Theres too many services all fighting to wake up and do
things, and even with a quad core cpu, it hangs. I run a tool to monitor
the CPU speed and when it is being sluggish, the CPUs are at their lowest
clock speed (250MHz) which suggests externally waiting for something
and not a CPU issue. I need to run more stuff to see whats going on, e.g.
a network monitoring.

My major complaint with the Tab-S is its so big. I can easily hold
the Galaxy phones in my hand comfortably, in such a way that my fingers
cannot touch the screen. The same is not true of an 8" tablet. You either
gingerly hold it from the sides, e.g. the end where the Samsung label
is, because theres more room for your fingers, or the other end
where the home/back/menu button is located. That end of the tab is
bad news as the system sees you frantically pressing any/all of those buttons.

If you attempt to grasph the device with your fingers mid-screen, chances
you are going to do something you regret (such as click on a link, or
fast-forward a video). Very strangely, the one advantage of iOS is
that it is such an unfunctional OS, that this does not happen
with the ipads. If you are watching a video and use your fingers
to grasp the middle of the screen, then nothing happens, because apple
doesnt attribute any activity to touching the middle of the view area.

So, the one advantage that Android has (and MX-Player - brilliant video
player) is actually a problem on a large screen device, because there
is nowhere safe to hold the device.

I really dont know what is happening with the edge-less phones
currently being touted. I dont know how you can hold one without
having a very erratic user experience from the edges
of your palm or fingers, just trying to hold the device.

Only time will tell.

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.34a-b6771

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Intel NUC

My NUC decided to die tonight. After only a few weeks. Luckily, google
helped me find the problem.

It had lost its mind/marbles. It couldnt find the root hard drive.

After fiddling in the BIOS, I found that resetting the defaults fixed
the problem.

It is 2014. Issues with BIOS date back to around about 1990 or so - that
was when one bothered to go into the BIOS and configure pointless items.
Since then, stuff works. Thanks Intel. That really is poor software
development - a 24x7 machine suddenly needing a screen to reset the BIOS

Yes, I need to update the BIOS, but go search for BIOS updates for NUC,
and be startingly confused by how many versions there are and advice
not to use the latest one.

Why is the software industry going backwards? Its not just Intel. But
every major software manufacturer is adding functionality and usability
by actively removing it.

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.33a-b6757

Monday, 4 August 2014

Keep at 'em

I keep watching the stats on requests to my rss feed. Google seems
to like me, which is encouraging, and so do some other bots/trackers.

I see the occasional nasty connection trying to break stuff, and
enjoy myself watching some of the attacks. I assume they are attacks
but there may be a reason for some of them. Eg a Japanese person
may be trying out a Unicode request, based on some indirect link
from google, for example.

It did break a record today, and if this keeps up, I can start
figuring out how to really handle high load. At the moment,
the load is low, and even although the feed is written for speed of
development, and not optimal cpu usage - its a great exercise for
some future optimisations to really decide how to sustain higher

I ought to give it a real name, since the P and Q pages are not
really indicative of what the service is.

Definitely an interesting experiment.

BTW I have used 250MB of mobile bandwidth in 3-4 months (to my phone).
I cannot believe how low my bandwidth is, now that all adverts and
other HTML window dressing is removed from the equation.

Who needs 4G? This works at 9600 baud really well :-)

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.33a-b6757

Monday, 21 July 2014

Problems with RSS

RSS Feed

Not sure what did it - maybe I ran as root, accidentally when I didnt mean
to, but nothing would update, despite changing permissions and resetting
some internal state. In the end decided just to clean it all out and
start again. If you are reading the feed, you likely wont notice much
and in a few hours, the differing RSS feeds will race ahead with their
usual updates.

Despite the simplicity of the code, theres always a surprise lurking
in the code - but then, thats the fun of the fair !

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.33a-b6757

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A real good read... (Xplain)


I do like a good read, and the above link is a nicely written way to
understand X Windows and X11 and related. I remember the first time I heard
of X, and had some consultants explain it, a long long time ago. And it
took me a while to get used to it - the day I moved from a character based
terminal to a Sun/3 workstation with an infinite set of display options,
and a whoopingly large 1600x1200 display. It took nearly 20y to be able to
afford one of these at home, and today, we finally have 1920x1080 (alas,
no more 1920x1200), 2560x1440, 3200x1800 and real 4k and 8k screens
coming, with prices dropping on a weekly basis.

Have fun

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.33a-b6757

Saturday, 12 July 2014

A sad day...A glorious day

It is a sad day. I am going to decommission the CRiSP FTP server.
This is a macmini - PPC vintage (400MHz) I think. It has performed
absolutely admirably. 9y of service - the oldest file seems to
be March 2005.

At the time the PPC mac mini came out - it was a brilliant device.
It still is. It has not murmured in the last 9y, despite 24x7 operation.
A *huge* 80G hard drive, 256MB of RAM. This is a *big* machine compared
to my earliest machine. (My earliest machine - had *1K* of RAM; my
first real PC had 4MB of RAM, 20MHz i386 and 20MB of disk space). My
Galaxy Gear watch beats the pants out of all of these.

The PPC (I cally it "minny") hasnt misbehaved - but it was
murmuring a little - but I attribute this to either some DNS lookup
delays, or my news aggregator Perl script. The news aggregator
has a bug/memory leak, so after a few weeks of operation its used about
200min of CPU and a whopping 40MB of RAM. One of my weekend jobs is
to fix the memory leak.

Now the good news. Intel NUC. I keep seeing these devices, and they
are cute. Of course, one never buys a machine because it is cute, but,
err...ok, I did. The Intel NUC (go see Amazon or Intel for details) is
a device slightly taller than the old style Mac Mini, but smaller - about
the size of a CD case. I kept trying to decide what to do; previously
I had purchased a Raspberry Pi, as a replacement for minny, but I was not
happy with the Pi - too low performance, horrible dangly wires and
protusions and unreliable power supply. The NUC is good - I opted
for the outdated Intel Celeron model - the cheapest. I thought I would
use USB for hard drive or an SSD disk. But why pay for SSD. A 1TB
disk was about 50 pounds. Add 26 pounds for 4GB RAM, and we are looking
at a new machine for about 170 pounds. The machine screams.

I installed Ubuntu 14.04 - the same as my other machines, and I can now
divorce myself from the PPC vs x86 binary compatibility problems.

I never filled the 80GB drive in the mac mini and I definitely wont
fill the 1TB drive in the new machine. Of course, the new machine needs
a name - "nucky" - after Nucky Thompson, from "Boardwalk".

I am presently copying the old crisp releases on to the machine so it can
transparently take over from minny. And thats about it.

In all the years of minny - bots have been continuously attempting
automated dictionary attacks to break into the machine. Maybe, because
its a PPC, that no-one ever succeeded. I like to think they wont
on nucky, but, there is nothing to steal from there. It would be
darned annoying.

This new "mini" machine is great; I might get a higher end one - an i3 or i5,
but the price differential seems obsurd. The Celeron chip is a dual
core chip - with a decent size cache. Its a great CPU for this purpose. It
might not be for intensive video (but should be sufficient for watching
videos), or gaming.

So, say hello to "nucky" the next time you grab some news from the
aggregator, or a copy of CRiSP, or a copy of dtrace, etc.

Post created by CRiSP v11.0.33a-b6757