Category Archives: geekery

Quick and Dirty Speedtouch reboot

I hate my Speedtouch ADSL router. Occasionally it`ll crumple under the weight of some large file transfers and drop the connection to the Internet. It`s a pain in the arse. However, it`s currently not the right time to buy a replacement. I therefore set up a quick cron job to ping a few Internet sites, and if these fail, kick off a script to reboot the router.

The ping part is pretty simple, so go off and research that. For the reboot, it`s some crappy python and “pexpect”, like so:

# apt-get install python-pexpect telnet
# if necessary – or through the package manager of your
# choosing

import pexpect
import sys

child = pexpect.spawn(‘telnet′)

child.expect(‘sername : ‘, timeout=5)

child.expect(‘assword : ‘, timeout=5)

child.expect(‘{Administrator}=>’, timeout=5)
child.send (‘system reboot\r\n’)

Where I tripped up was using “sendline” instead of “send” above – watch out for that as you`ll notice \r\n needs to be sent for a newline. pexpect isn`t very elegant, but it makes this sort of scripting very easy.

Have fun. Also, “assword”. Teehee.

Raspberry Pi in action: our developer puts it through its paces – video | Technology |

Raspberry Pi in action: our developer puts it through its paces – video | Technology |

What a nifty little device. Just needs a funky case, e.g. a 2U server. Then we can cram a 1000Mbps switch, and 30 of these bad boys inside.

Blitzing Your Facebook Profile – The Easy Way

I recently wanted to delete most of my stuff from Facebook, primarily because I never know when their privacy policy will change or another security hole will be found.  I don`t put much on there, but nevertheless I don`t want it all over the planet.

I decided to look around for a quick way of doing this, short of deleting the account, but nothing seemed to be foolproof.
Until I stumbled across a Firefox plugin I hadn`t used in years, iMacros for Firefox.

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Microsoft Mayhem

Just read. When you can be bothered. I wonder. I wonder if- for example, Microsoft stopped gobbing out such shite code, what might happen. Dream of Utopia. Dare to dream.

When Microsoft can produce a licence stating that their code is fit for purpose and secure, maybe we can consider health certificates for devices. Until then more idiocy aimed directly at the people paying their salaries.

Windows Vista Blue Screen Once A Day


Tonight I received a lovely BSOD from Windows Vista.

Problem signature:

Problem Event Name: BlueScreen

OS Version: 6.0.6000.

Locale ID: 2057

Additional information about the problem:

BCCode: 1a

BCP1: 00041287

BCP2: 00000000

BCP3: 00000000

BCP4: 00000000

OS Version: 6_0_6000

Service Pack: 0_0

Product: 768_1

Files that help describe the problem:




Read our privacy statement:

I also found the cause!  Yes, since I applied all Windows updates to a newly formatted laptop, the whole thing has turned to crap.  Well done guys.  You`ve pushed me one step closer to moving to Apple.  Cunts.

Adventures with Virtual Box

This item was rewritten, August 2011 with the old stuff merged in.

Running VirtualBox from a raw disk.

The previous item.. post.. whatever, was a quick and dirty on using VirtualBox to run a Linux partition inside Windows. This is becoming more and more useful for me as I spend most of my time in Linux Land, but sometimes need to run Windows – then do something quickly on the Linux side. Rebooting becomes more and more of a pain in the arse.

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Woo! Windows OneCare on Sale In USA!

… don`t care, more like

Class in a glass. Microsoft releases its superly duperly awaited OneCare “protection and maintenance service” shortly.

Clicking through the OneCare web site to order the software, you`ll understand the type of people they hope to fleece out of a few bob.

“In order to complete installation of Windows Live OneCare, you must be running Internet Explorer 6 or later as your Web browser. Please switch to Internet Explorer and then restart Setup by typing into the browser address field.”


Not a chance, my fine furry friends at Microsoft. I`ll stick with Firefox and apt-get.

So not only do they produce shite software that`s falling apart at the seams, but they want to charge you for any fixes they produce. On top of that, they`re too bloody lazy to even hyperlink the URL! Microsoft, you`ve lost the plot now. It`s like buying a car – well buying a piece of shit banger; an old Austin Allegro, for example – and having to rent brakes because you know at some point things are going to go pear shaped. I really shows contempt for users of their operating systems that they can get away with providing shit, with the shovel coming at extra cost. Problem is, they dug themselves into such a big hole, they can`t give the software away without getting a bollocking for preventing competition. Nice.

Notice how I`ve bothered linking to their site. That`ll be a fifty dollar rental fee for the use of the hyperlink, please thank you, you like bag? Also notice a subliminal plug in the image for Giovanni and Sebastian. In every shite weblog post, a little gem.

The Destructiveness of Bluetooth on a Windows XP PC

Bluetooth`s victory over graphics cards. RARRRRRRRR!

After installing a .. Bluetooth adapter
The nice thing about having a PC is that you can buy software and hardware and plug it in and make it do stuff. Well that`s the theory anyway.

This morning I plugged in my little USB Bluetooth dongle thingie. It`s nothing flashy, but is useful for transferring files between the computer and phone. Plug it in, and it just works. Usually. Today, Windows decided to fart in its general direction.

Install completed, reboot required. What is it about Windows and reboots? You don`t get this crap with Linux. Machine starts up, and wooooo – 8 colour display! Obviously you`d expect a USB Bluetooth device and an AGP graphics card to conflict with each other, wouldn`t you? Well maybe not, but Windows XP seemed to think so. Let`s use the System Restore feature. One reboot later, and things are still knackered. Yes, rather predictably, System Restore is as much use as a chocolate tea pot.

after fixing Windows and its piece of crap installation code and useless System Restore
OK, I`m techie enough to have sorted this crap out in 10 minutes, but why should two devices sharing nothing but the same PC be fighting with each other, and why does Microsoft include this System Restore thing that`s absolutely useless?

Apologies for Dr.Who Cybermen wallpaper.. I don`t know what came over me. Trigger`s metal army, probably.

Gates Goes Bonkers

Bill Gates finally tries to own the world and its wife by pissing on XML document formats

Microsoft has recently been going on a patent spree, trying to patent the likes of the FAT file system, through to patent 525484 – `Word processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML`. What does this mean? It means he wants to stop any word processor being able to read, write, or update XML, and claim the idea as Microsoft`s.

This is absolutely crazy, yet worrying, knowing the types of ridiculous patents granted in the States. The man (and whoever thought up this bright idea) is nuts. Time to buy him a Darth Vader helmet and be done with it.

I would suggest that every company that has developed any kind of editor before Microsoft should then jump on the boat and try to patent `text document stored in a single text file that may be manipulated by applications that understand text`. That`ll be $2 for using vi, thank you very much; however you can use Notepad for $35 – decisions decisions.

Now bear in mind that MS Office supported XML (a typically bloated representation) in Office 2000, which was released in 1998. I don`t remember the XML specification being provided as part of this software (I don`t believe Microsoft own W3C just yet), even whilst I was developing XML based applications in 1998. Perhaps I`m confused and Microsoft invented XSL? Either way, they may as well try to patent web browsers, TCP/IP, black computer monitors, keyboards… and be done with it.

Essentially what has happened, is:
– Microsoft has tried to open its crappy proprietary Office formats, offering XML documents, possibly because they will at some point get a bollocking for anti-competitive behaviour
– This backfired, and open source and other commercial software vendors have used this to provide interoperability with Office, taking away revenue by giving users some choice
– Microsoft isn`t making the money it used to out of its operating systems and applications (who really needs any of the Office features post Office 95?) and wants yet more money

If this patent is approved, IT software developers had better start looking for new careers, because Microsoft will have the likes of W3C by the short and curlies. Next up they`ll have a patent for rendering XML in web browsers or storing XML in relational databases.

Curious indeed that Microsoft haven`t tried this stunt with SGML (XML`s slightly smelly father).

HTML Validator for Firestoat

Nifty validation tool, but it`ll scare you

Big fan of Firestoat and its extensions (plugins), and found a nice extension that displays HTML warnings/errors, and can show how well the site conforms to W3C accessibility standards.

Run this sucker and it`ll scare you with how many little things need to be fixed on web sites; I`ll be using this and gradually patching up the site. Still, the site works on lynx so it can`t be all that bad!

Also available for Linux, which is always good news.