Category Archives: General

New Home

The blog has officially moved to the new home of ScribblingBrain. I figured that reflects the scribbles of this blog as mental notes for myself most times. The main reason that I’m moving away from using the old domain for web content is it was the only subdomain used from jamesandkristin.net, the URL was really long, and the fact that people misspelled my wife’s name a lot.

I did manage to get it setup with a wildcard, so that old the URLs still redirect to the relevant pages. In case you were curious how, I used the .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^james\.jamesandkristin\.net$
RewriteRule (.*)$ http\:\/\/www\.scribblingbrain\.com\/$1 [R=301,L]

OpenCompute IPMI with F11 / F12 Issues

These are more notes than a real blog post.  Working with IPMI on OpenCompute has weird quirks and one of those is the Serial BIOS with the F11 and F12 keys.

Here’s an example of using ipmitool to pull information remotely about the power status

$ ipmitool -C3 -I lanplus -H 172.16.56.180 -U admin -P <password> power status

Using the Serial BIOS

The serial BIOS interface is a bit brain damaged in that it does not recognise the “F11”, and “F12” key escape codes that most terminal programs send, instead you can send “Esc-!”, and “Esc-@” (yes very logical, as long as the ‘@’ key is normally typed using ‘Shift-2’ – as on US keyboards, not miles away from the ‘2’ key, as on many non-US keyboards).  These escapes from HP, and Dell serial BIOS’ may or may not be useful:

Defined As     F1     F2     F3     F4     F5     F6     F7     F8     F9     F10    F11    F12
Keyboard Entry <ESC>1 <ESC>2 <ESC>3 <ESC>4 <ESC>5 <ESC>6 <ESC>7 <ESC>8 <ESC>9 <ESC>0 <ESC>! <ESC>@

Defined As     Home   End    Insert Delete PageUp PageDn
Keyboard Entry <ESC>h <ESC>k <ESC>+ <ESC>- <ESC>? <ESC>/

Use the <ESC><Ctrl><M> key sequence for <Ctrl><M> Use the <ESC><Ctrl><H> key sequence for <Ctrl><H> Use the <ESC><Ctrl><I> key sequence for <Ctrl><I> Use the <ESC><Ctrl><J> key sequence for <Ctrl><J> Use the <ESC><X><X> key sequence for <Alt><x>, where x is any letter key, and X is the upper case of that key

Ubiquiti APs, TomatoUSB, VLANS, and Linksys e3000

Try not to get too shocked, but this actually an article about networking.

Back story, I picked up some Ubiquiti AP’s for a good price to install around the house. While I have these nice enterprise AP’s, I decided to redesign my home network utilizing VLANs to provide a management vlan, home vlan, dmz vlan, and a guest vlan. I set out to do this utilizing gear that I had laying around that consisted of:

To start off, I decided that I was going to utilize my two e3000’s as a router and a smart switch. I decided to continue to use the TomatoUSB ROM on those routers, but upgrade to the Toastman version (1.28.7502.7) that had experimental VLAN support.

The Design
In the end, I wanted to have four different vlans:

  • VLAN2 – Management
  • VLAN3 – Home Use
  • VLAN4 – DMZ
  • VLAN5 – Guest

In addition, I wanted to have multiple SSIDs on the Ubiquiti AP’s that mapped to specific VLANS:

  • Home – VLAN3
  • Automation – VLAN4
  • Guest – VLAN5

The nice thing about the Ubiquiti AP’s is that they allow multiple SSIDs to be set and also it will add tags to the packets. The only gotcha was that the non-vlan SSIDs and AP needed to be setup on a non-tagged vlan or native vlan.

The Problem
After many hours of trying to get Tomato to work correctly, it turns out that the problem is that I needed to have VLAN2 setup as non-tagged, while VLAN3-5 needed to have tagging on. The GUI had an option for setting the default, but that did not work and packets were ignored. The other issue was that the gui didn’t allow you to set VLAN’s that were tagged for a port and then add an untagged VLAN on that same port. It was either all VLANs were tagged or it would only let you select one untagged VLAN and no other VLANS.

The Solution
After many hours of trying to figure out what was going on, I realized that the firmware wasn’t handling untagged traffic correctly. The solution was that I needed to telnet into each of the routers and update the nvram values directly to specify that the port should be used, but not tagged, while the other VLANS would be tagged.

Read more »

Accessing your eBook collection managed by Calibre without Calibre Server

This post is about how I’ve been going about enabling access to my eBook purchases that are managed with Calibre without actually using the built in Calibre Server.  All of this is running on Linux, with my eBooks and Calibre Library sitting on a remote Linux File Share.

The reason that I’m not using the Calibre Server to do the distribution is because:

  1. I actually store all the eBooks and the Calibre database on a Linux file share that is then shared on my network using Samba.
  2. I use multiple computers to interact with that Calibre database (not at the same time).  They are all setup to open the database on the samba share.
  3. The file share is headless and does not have X installed

So to do this, the first thing I had to do was setup the directory on my file share and then setup samba to share it out to the network.  Once that was done, I then mounted the share on my client computer.  With that done, when I started Calibre for the first time, I just change the configuration to use the samba share directory.  Now whenever I open Calibre, all the eBooks and database files are now stored and shared internally on my file share.

Read more »

DVR Software So Far

I am no where done tweaking with the software and trying to get everything working perfectly. This is just a post to document what I have done so far. Until I have a better internet connection, I will not be playing with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Operating System – Windows 7 Ultimate

I’ve decided to go with Windows 7 Ultimate. This version comes with Windows Media Center by default, which I will get into later. I know this is surprising to everyone that knows me, since it’s not Linux. The reason that I’ve done this is because Linux doesn’t allow the DVR to meet it’s needs. I wouldn’t be able to stream netflix or many other websites through boxee. In addition, it does come with DVR software for free that provides listings for free.

DVR Software – Windows Media Center (MWC)

I’m using Windows Media Center for the DVR software. It does decent, but is free with Windows 7 and comes with free listings. It does a good job of setting up with the tuner card. It allows for some plug-ins also. I haven’t spent much time trying to tweak it, but I need to find a way to modify the main menu to remove a lot of junk I don’t want. The movie section also leaves a lot to desire, as it does not break things down by folder and just displays all files it finds regardless of which folder it is in.

I have it setup so that when the DVR starts up, that WMC will startup in full screen. With this setup, there is no need for a mouse or keyboard.

Air Video

Air Video can stream videos in almost any format to your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. You don’t need to copy your videos to the device just to watch them. The program runs in the background and starts automatically when the DVR starts up. With the recent Beta version of the server, it can stream the drm laden wtv format without having to convert them first.

My Channel Logos – MCE Plug-In

This is only a minor plug in, but it adds nice Broadcaster logo’s to the channel listings. It’s a minor touch, but a nice one.

Media Browser – MCE Plug-In

I use this for accessing, organizing, and viewing my shows on the remote server. If you loved how XMBC populated information about shows and movies, you will love this plug-in for watching all your backed up media. It will key off the title, download all the information about the media, and also pictures. Much better than the stock movie lister that came with WMC

Remote Potato – MCE Plug-In

I’ve used this for setting web access to the DVR. It allows for viewing the listings and setting up recordings using a web browser. It also allows you to stream already recorded shows to windows and os x web browsers that support silverlight. This doesn’t include the implementation on linux though.

A new feature that I haven’t had time to test out is streaming to iOS devices. I might try it out in the next couple weeks and update this post. Currently, it does not support native mode on the iPad.

Streaming Windows Media Center DVR Shows to the iPad

I had started this article out about how I use all these different applications, such as using MCEBuddy to convert videos to a non-drm stream on a nightly basis, save to a separate location, and then using Air Video Server to stream it to the iPad or iPhone.

So while I was getting the links together, I realized that Air Video Server now has a beta server out that does that all for you. Air Video now has the ability to stream the DRM WTV video format that WMC saves the shows in!

Software Used

Instructions

  1. Navigate to http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/index.html and there will a box announcement link in the top left of the page that there is a new Air Server beta. Click the box, which will take you to the forum to choose either Windows or Mac in the first post. Download the software and then install on your application.
  2. If the server hasn’t been started yet, start it now (either in task bar or going to applications). Under the “Shared Folders” tabl, click the “Add Disk Folder” button. For a default WMC installation, you should add the folder “C:UsersPublicRecorded TV”. At this point, if you have other video file locations (MKV, mp4, divx, avi), you can add those in there also. Now start the server by clicking the button at the top left. You are all done on the server side.
  3. Download “Air Video” from the App Store. Once you start up the app, click the “+” button and if you are on the same network as the DVR, the server should pop up. Just navigate to the shared videos and start. It’s that simple.

One of the additional benefits of Air Video is that you can also stream at a lower resolution from your DVR over the internet, but you will need to go to the Air Video Website for more detailed instructions on that.

MSI Wind and Triple Booting

So I just purchased an MSI Wind from Microcenter and have already removed all the OS’ from it. I’m planning on installing Windows XP, Mac OS X, and Ubuntu Linux. Like most of my laptops, things are just plug and play to get it working, so I have a page to help me remember how I did it at: http://james.jamesandkristin.net/setting-up-msi-wind-to-triple-boot-windows-mac-os-x-linux

So far it looks like it’s perfect for what we need. A nice little laptop that will fit in Kristin’s purse and that will fit in little safes on vacation. Luckily my friend had a usb to ide adapter, so I didn’t have to purchase an external hard drive. I had looked into making a usb boot disks for all three os’s and even looked at using netboot to install. Netboot would have been cool, but I don’t have that much time to get it setup for all three OS’s.

One important note, you need to install Windows XP before anything else.

Another wordpress / gallery upgrade

Well, I’ve managed to upgrade wordpress and gallery again. It’s been a while, so the versions were pretty far behind. One nice benefit of this upgrade is that the photo gallery is now working again. Enjoy.

Still trying to upgrade

Hopefully nobody has noticed, but I have upgraded the blog software to the latest and greatest version from wordpress. It was only about 9 or 10 version behind and 2 years old. If you have tried to go to the photo gallery, you have noticed that it currently isn’t working right now. I’m trying to find time to get that working again. I need to upgrade the gallery software and then upgrade the connection plugin to work with it. Hopefully I’ll have it done by next week. Summer is always the time when I have the least amount of time; Trying to finish the basement, clean the garage, get the yard respectable still, and jet skiing. I’m also working on getting my Solaris Systems certification, which I would like to have done before next year.

Google thinks my home ip is in the UK

You heard right, Google thinks that my ip address that I use at my home is located in the UK.  I know this by the pages google displays to me and the ads I see.  When I do a search on google, I get sent to UK google.  I can go back to the regular google, only to be sent back to the UK google.  The ads on google also display adds for people in the uk.  I got to other sites that use Google Adsense and they will only display adds for the UK.  It’s starting to annoy me.

I’m going through Current for my ISP.  From the looks of it, they are based out of New York.  The service is great and when I do traceroutes, it never goes near the UK.

I’ve spent a couple hours trying to find a way to let google know of the issue, but it’s close to impossible to find a place you can just send an email to let them know of the issue.  I actually had an easier time finding a snail mail address for technical support.  If anybody knows how to get this corrected, please let me know.