Archive for October, 2010

Using (PuTTY) SSH keys for athentication with Linux

Monday, October 25th, 2010 | Linux, Tech-savvy | 4 Comments

I recently completely switched from a Windoze to a Linux environment. It’s been an amazing experience so far, but switching OSs I “lost” my beloved PuTTY. Well, there is a Linux PuTTY port available, but it kinda felt wrong to me to use a third party SSH client when there is openssh available out of the box as the default SSH implementation. There was just one thing bugging me: I really loved Pageant, the PuTTY authentication agent – enter your passphrase once, never enter a password again. This is very convenient and saved me hours adding up the time I saved not entering my credentials every time I log in to a remote machine 🙂 (@see Victor Tugelbend)

I had no idea how this works using Linux but this OS is so frickin kewl I managed to have this up and running in less than 5 minutes without Google!. See for yourself reading the log of my shell session.

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Review: Wild Target (2010)

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 | Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment

Victor Maynard is a middle-aged, solitary assassin, who lives to please his formidable mother, despite his own peerless reputation for lethal efficiency. His professional routine is interrupted when he finds himself drawn to one of his intended victims, Rose. He spares her life, unexpectedly acquiring a young apprentice, Tony, in the process. Believing Victor to be a private detective, his two new companions tag along, while he attempts to thwart the murderous attentions of his unhappy client.

Bill Nighy is one of my (and my wife’s!) favourite actors, and a character named Maynard played by him is pretty much a guarantee for excellence, isn’t it? 😉 Emily Blunt as the fricking hot kleptomaniac and Rupert Grint as the naive “apprentice” make a very enjoyable troika to watch.

8.0/10 – Finest black British humour with a sweet romantic touch. Absolutely recommendable.

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Flight of the Conchords meet The Simpsons

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 | Misc, Movies | 1 Comment

Today we started to watch the 22nd Season of The Simpsons. Lisa goes to spend a week at “Performing Arts Camp” and meets Bret and Jemaine aka The Flight of the Conchords as staff. Hilarious! Quite a few New Zealand / LOTR references in here as well.

As my wife said: having a guest appearance in The Simpsons is something like a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Totally agreed! Well done, Bret and Jemaine. (Even if it is hard to sing while … playing … guitars … )

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the “tapes to mp3” project: 9 years of hard labour

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 | Gadgets, Misc, Tech-savvy | 6 Comments

Music always played a big part in my life, so it’s only natural I own a lot of media containing music, mainly CDs, some records and … TAPES. Literally hundreds of them. With CD ripping being an easy task I completely switched to computer / iPod playback. This left me with a pile of old beloved handmade tapes I used to listen to a lot. So I decided to record my tapes and convert them to mp3 for safekeeping and nostalgia reasons. I was dreaming about a complete set of my tapes, all available by the click of a mousebutton.

I am well known to be somewhat neurotic about the things I do. Well, that’s okay with me, I keep comparing myself to Terry Pratchett’s Victor Tugelbend, who is too lazy to carry extra weight thus goes to the gym regularly.

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rsync to the rescue: effective and simple backup

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 | Linux, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

One of the first things I had to do switching boxes and the operation system was migrating my data. First, I tried to copy ~600 Gig to my NAS. This operation was estimated to take 19 hours over my faulty Gigabit LAN and died half way through. Ah, what the heck, I got a screwdriver and installed the old hd in my new computer. This was not a technically difficult task, I was just a little bit afraid of dropping the disk to the floor or frying my data connecting my NTFS Windoze formatted disk to my Linux machine. To cut a long story short: migration worked smoothly and I copied the data in somewhat more than 2 hours.

After that, I unplugged the NTFS disk and installed it into an external box (Western Digital MyBook) to become my backup disk. First, I formatted it using the ext4 file system. It was kind of spooky to delete the only backup of my precious data. If I’d screwed something up now a lot of work would have been lost…

I used to simply copy my files to a USB drive. This became a very inefficient way, because I copied unchanged files over and over again. Evaluating fancy third party tools seemed over the top just for the sake of copying some files from a to b. I also took a look at xcopy a while ago – but I can’t say why it wasn’t up to the task any more. After switching to Linux I knew rsync could become pretty handy, so I gave it try.

rsync — a fast, versatile, remote (and local) file-copying tool

The solution to my backup needs is so easy, I had to write about it and hopefully save other people from some tedious backuping.
The rsync man page is quite lengthy, so I googled for some examples and bingo, the rsync homepage provided me with a little script that does exactly what I want.

#!/bin/sh
 
export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin
 
LIST="data"
 
for d in $LIST; do
 rsync -avx --exclude fstab --delete /$d/ /media/MyBook/$d/
done

(I know the for-loop is completely superfluous as long as you only have one directory to back up)

IMHO this is an easy and convenient way to back up your files because

  • there is no need to delete the old backup beforehand, rsync deletes files that are no longer available in the source directory automatically.
  • it provides a complete accessible copy of my data, not just a tar.gz alongside a heap of incremental files.
  • only files that are new or differ from the already existing copy are being processed, thus this is way faster than a simple dumb copy-all process.

That’s it. From here you can enhance the script for your personal backup needs, like more directories or writing the verbose output to a backup log. Go crazy! :mrgreen:

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The new machine is up and running.

Friday, October 1st, 2010 | Gadgets, Linux, Reviews, Tech-savvy | No Comments

As I mentioned in a previous post I was about to build myself a new PC, as my old one wasn’t up to the task no more. It was too slow and way too noisy.

I did not change my previously chosen configuration at all, except getting “only” 4 Gig of RAM. I monitored the RAM consumption on my old Linux box, and it never went higher than ~600 MB, with eclipse, Audacity, GIMP, OpenOffice and some more apps running smoothly alongside. So I decided to save a hundred bucks on RAM I most probably will never need. Still, my MoBo has two extra RAM slots, just in case 🙂

Plugin it all together

Assembly was fairly easy. The only thing that was a little bit tricky was RTFM completely and installing the monstrous heat sink. Here are a few impressions:

Firing up the machine the first time was not crowned with success. The machine kept going on and off in let’s say 2 second intervals, with no warning beeps whatsoever. Hmm… after unplugging everything step by step without finding the root cause Rob asked me why the ATX 12 volts plug was not connected. A quick manual consultation revealed: “The ATX 12 volts plug powers the CPU. If not connected, the computer won’t start.” FAIL! A fairly easy solution indeed. After that, the machine was up and running.

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Resident Evil 5 Move Update Fail, Capcoms Reaktion

Friday, October 1st, 2010 | Games | 3 Comments

Anfang der Woche habe ich enttäuscht über die Vermarktung des Resident Evil 5 Move Features einen bitterbösen Brief an Capcom geschickt. Mit einer Reaktion habe ich ehrlich gesagt nicht gerechnet.

Was soll ich sagen, heute traf ein Päckchen ein mit einem persönlichen (!) Brief, einer Resident Evil Action-Figur (Licker) und der Resident Evil 5 Gold Move Edition für die PS3. Ich bin total baff. Wie geil ist das denn? Die technischen Hintergründe für das Update Versäumnis der originalen Edition kann ich zwar weiterhin nicht nachvollziehen, aber “Hut ab!”, das war ein feiner Zug von Capcom!

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