Sunday, September 30, 2007

Educational sw and toys

A asked about Educational sw for Ap - so I googled for Educational software 8-10 years and came up with There's also Google Earth and Geekdad.
Searching Ask Slashdot gave pointers to edubuntu and Tuxpaint - that was for pre-schoolers.(Edit: Edubuntu is hardly for kids!)
And wikipedia has a good listing. 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego' can be downloaded from here. And there seem to be quite a few more educational game downloads there too!

bat file for print job

Printing files using
copy filename.bin lpt1
written multiple times in a bat file doesn't work - the printer queue needs some time. One option was to use a Reply statement using the given by MS
Another option is the SLEEP or WAIT given at Something similar is at

type filename.bin > lpt1
works fine even if written multiple times.

youtube and others

Checked out the video quality and other issues like copyright etc for uploading on youtube, google videos and needs a Creative Commons license or something similar. Youtube reduces resolution to 240x180 and restricts to 10 minutes per clip. Google Videos seems to be the best bet - 640x480 res, unlimited length, uploader owns copyright.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

samba issues

There were some issues with Samba and Windows using "Allow Everyone" shares. R's problem was that his Fedora box had a samba share which he wanted to "Allow Everyone" - configured with the gui, didn't work, with Windows clients getting a forbidden message. Googling with
samba share fedora all everyone
found and passed it on to R. R just added a samba user with the gui and it started working. Apparently his box just had root and no other users, and samba root login was banned.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

quick phplist faq

> 1) Why does a user get blacklisted.
When a user unsubscribes, he is blacklisted. Which means that no mails, not
even system mails, are sent to him.

> 2) What about the users who have not confirmed. Is there a way to
> resend a request for confirmation mail to them.
Yes, there is such a feature.
Manage Users -> Reconcile Users has many useful links - scroll till the bottom
of the page to see all of them.

> 3) I have sent a mail to AOL users and asked them to subscribe from a
> different domain and deleted them from the list. Are there any other
> domains which give a similar problem?
You can check using "view bounces". Read the reason given by the mailer daemon
for the bounce.

> 4)Is there anything else which I need to know or manage?

Very good documentation at

Sunday, September 23, 2007

logs on media

Logs on media server were filling up system drive once again. Changed log location to Data drive which has more space. Also using 7zip to archive and download older log files. Commandline is
7z a -tzip filename*.* 

Saturday, September 22, 2007

using autogk to convert mpeg2 to avi

In order to use my workflow for saicast which uses virtualdub, needed avi or mpeg1 input - so, used autogk to convert mpeg2 files to avi. 3.5 hours to convert a 1.1 hr 3.3GB mpeg2 to 2 GB divx avi.

file transfer, samba and sftp

Taking video from video studio via smb on studio's gateway, found that 3.3 GB file was not getting directly sftp'd from the smb-mounted drive - crashing at 2 GB. But copying to local drive over the same smb mount was working! And then sftp worked too. Strange!

flv encoders

Video to flash encoders, freeware from which has a nice search feature, "look for freeware only". DVDVideoSoft's Free Video to Flash Converter makes a basic html page with a basic player embedded too. But the more full featured converter is Riva FLV Encoder. And took only 10-15 minutes for a 50 minute vcd file to be converted to 200 kbps flv file.

PsPad - nice free text editor with nifty features

Looking for a nice text editor, from googled reviews, found pspad freeware editor. Download link for pspad was from, and that led to some more finds, video to flash convertors...

Friday, September 21, 2007

find files with GNU find

Syntax to remember -
find /path/where/to/look -name *.mpg
will search for *.mpg in all sub-directories of /path/where/to/look too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tight VNC tunneled over ssh

As written in my previous post, tightvnc was using far less bandwidth - only 100 kbps instead of 500 kbps for X over ssh. To sum up the setup, run on remote machine
vncserver :63 -geometry 1024x768 -localhost -depth 8
For linux client machine, add to ~/.bash_profile
VNC_VIA_CMD='/usr/bin/ssh -2 -c aes128-cbc -x -f -L %L:%H:%R %G sleep 20'
export VNC_VIA_CMD
Run client as
vncviewer -encodings Tight -depth 8 -quality 1 -via ip.address.of.remote localhost:63
where you should change ip.address.of.remote to the appropriate address, of course. And for Windows clients, Putty should have the tunneling set up as
L5963 localhost:5963

using netstat on Windows

Netstat is always useful for finding open ports, whether a service is running as expected and so on. As listed at
netstat -ao |find /i "listening"
to find process id and open ports. Process id can be mapped to process name with Windows Task Manager, choose to view PID from View -> Select Columns.

open links in firefox

Links in emails were not opening in firefox directly, but were loading from kde cache, like
The solution is to use a %u as given in KDE-Forum. In KDE Control Centre, Components -> File Associations -> Text -> html , make the Command line read as
'/path/to/firefox' %u

Monday, September 17, 2007

optimizing X over WAN

Many different ways of optimization, like using ssh -C to enable compression, using tightvnc which uses tight encoding instead of gzip encoding of the ssh -C option, using servers like NX server

Thought I'd try tightvnc, since there's a simple but elegant step-by-step guide available with bandwidth comparisons - big difference noted between hextile and tight encodings.

Friday, September 14, 2007

tracing routes

Doing traceroutes to digistu and to Calicut, found Calicut in 5 hops (same dataone network) while digistu was 14 hops away from my room in the next building!
Tracing route to over a maximum of 30 hops

1 28 ms 29 ms 29 ms
2 51 ms 51 ms 51 ms
3 * * * Request timed out.
4 62 ms 60 ms 63 ms
5 85 ms 65 ms 69 ms

Tracing route to [(digistu dest)]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 28 ms 28 ms 30 ms
2 64 ms 63 ms 64 ms
3 64 ms 64 ms 64 ms
4 59 ms 61 ms 60 ms
5 61 ms 61 ms 60 ms
6 78 ms 79 ms 79 ms []

7 78 ms 79 ms 78 ms []
8 106 ms 106 ms 107 ms []
9 106 ms 107 ms 106 ms []
10 107 ms 107 ms 107 ms []
11 101 ms 101 ms 100 ms []
12 * 102 ms 101 ms []
13 108 ms 108 ms 107 ms one hop away
14 115 ms 115 ms 115 ms dest

Thursday, September 13, 2007

download issues on saicast

The Hariharan video on saicast attracted a large number of downloads, mostly from India, so the inefficiencies of the code were exposed. Server ran out of memory pretty quickly. Changed the ADODB.Stream object's buffering to be more sane - from code snippet at
found by googling ADODB.Stream large file
for i = 0 to objStream.size
i = i + 128000
My earlier trials along same lines did not work when I tried the Binarywrite and the Read calls in different lines, probably since I didn't save the Read's return value in a variable or something. When it had not worked, briefly tried a javasript-based solution:
<script language="JavaScript" type="text/JavaScript">
function forcedown(x){
myTempWindow =,’’"SSS"’);
<a href="javascript://" onclick="forcedown('');">dwnld</a>
The experts exchange link had some small syntax problems like SaveAs not within quotes, script tag not having the language=Javascript etc. Abandoned this as unsuitable because IE6 on WinXP was playing the file in Windows Media Player instead of showing the download box. Firefox, Konqueror, IE7 etc worked, Safari also did not work.

bandwidth usage

Checked out various apps bandwidth usage for the Dataone connection, using Ethereal.

Skype without video:
9 kbytes per second = approx 75 kbps = 36 MBytes per hour

ssh usage without X = 1 kbyte per second (heavy usage) = 4 MBytes/ hr

X over ssh usage = 63 kbytes per sec = approx 500 kbps = 230 MBytes per hour

Web based admin - phplist:
3 kbytes per second = approx 25 kbps = 12 MBytes per hour

Checking gmail with full interface:
5 kbytes per second = approx 45 kbps = 18 MBytes per hour

Remote Desktop on Windows:
3 kbytes per second = approx 25 kbps = 12 MBytes per hour

So, we've decided to go for an uncapped connection!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

bug litany

saispace2 has lots of problems under Windows. And in spite of running squeaky-clean licensed sw! There's the inserting-DVD-crashing-system problem I've already mentioned, and also Windows Media Encoder randomly crashing during the second pass. Not so random, either. Opening another app or Firefox tab has triggered it on occasion, so nowadays I leave it for encoding turning off all other apps including IM clients. Probably something to do with HDD not being able to keep up, since it happens more often when audio and video are separate files. Fortunately the partial output file can be joined to another partial file, and some time can be saved. Similar problem seen with Virtualdub trying to import an mpg file from a Que Firewire HDD. Lots o' errors. Copy the file to internal SATA drive and then import, no probs at all. The Que drive also has other problems with writes, for eg. MusicMatch jukebox mp3 encoding sometimes fails when that drive is the target. Workarounds, workarounds.... Maybe I should look for motherboard driver update for the Intel 865 GBF.

Monday, September 10, 2007

currently busy with

Stuff I'm doing nowadays:
1. Processing a clutch of videos for saicast
2. Trying to follow up on the new php code for radiosai schedule page
3. Processing a little audio on the side, at least a little
4. Mandir recordings and playlist making as ususal

Sunday, September 09, 2007

reverted to PPPoE from laptop

After my last post, found that there seemed to be no way to do port forwarding in the UT300R2U ADSL router's web interface, so reverted to bridge mode using PPPoE from the computer by resetting to factory settings pressing the recessed button provided.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

BSNL Dataone broadband and UT300R2U ADSL router

Took more than an hour to configure the UT300R2U ADSL router to do PPPoE dialout for BSNL Dataone - even my previous experience was not enough to clear all the hurdles. This particular model number has been used for a large number of different routers, or at least very different firmware. And adding to the confusion was the different instructions for bridge mode (which is not what we want) which were the google matches. Anyway: First mistake was to keep the existing "WAN interfaces" enabled: they have to be disabled, or more easily, just deleted. Then, some of the settings in the wizard needed to be changed from the default for the connection to work. Here's the step-by-step procedure.

0. Reset the router to factory settings in case it's been altered significantly.

1. Set up your ethernet interface to have a static ip of Make the default gateway as well as DNS server. Connect ethernet cable to router.

2. Go to the router's config interface at - by default
username = admin
password = admin.

3. Go to Advanced Setup -> WAN on the left side menu and delete all other interfaces except the one with PPPoE (or delete all and start from scratch)

4. Using Edit if you're not making a new interface with Add, you get the next screen, where you make sure the VPI/VCI are 0 and 35.

5. In the next screen, make sure PPPoE is chosen as connection type, and encapsulation mode is LLC.

6. In the next screen, give your username and password, call the service name dataone, and most importantly, uncheck all the checkboxes, especially the one saying "Bridge PPoE Frames".

7. In the next screen, make sure "Enable WAN service" is checked. Multicast is optional.

8. In the next screen click "Save"

9. Finally click "Save/Reboot"

After the Router power cycles and the DSL light comes back on, you should find PPPoE UP in the WAN Status.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Over the last few days:

1. P's Powerbook G4 65 watt power adapter - seems to be faulty, tho simple multimeter voltage readings show nothing even for the iBook's working 45 watt adapter. The 65 w adapter has a light at the end of the plug which used to light up when they touch the plug tip, it no longer lights up. And no charge indication on the Powerbook either. Apple Bangalore asked for Rs. 2,500 for just testing! Cheaper to buy a new adapter!

2. Some progress on the RadioSai schedule page being written for us by B in php, the schedule not being shown by default was my crib, it turns out it just needed the DefaultStreamId to be set properly in the Constants section. Now maybe we can stuff it with data and do performance tests.

3. Saicast download: not the bandwidth hog we had feared - maybe people are just coming to know about this feature slowly.

4. Nessus audits for our machines, ITC. Also told R about it. Planning on Snort/Tripwire also.

5. Phplist - exporting users and importing - need to first delete blacklisted (meaning unsubscribed) users and also unconfirmed users, since importing auto-confirms. P also reports crashes for importing all 20k+ users, so he's exporting 5k at a time or something like that.

6. R on security implications of ERP software running on JBoss without SSL, ettercap and such. Various ways of making it SSL, like and also worst case fix of using a remote login with SSH!

7. Lots of Mandir recordings.

8. Video studio recording floor D contemplating
Mackie TT24 and Marian Marc X 24.

9. The Yamaha AW4416 in Mandir is having hard disk problems, I think. Sometimes (when it is hot) doesn't shut down normally, with the hdd light continuously lit, stuck at 'change mode to Song' or 'Save Song'. Maybe formatting the hdd will help?

10. Many cards blown on the Annual Motion slot: Is it due to overheating or is there a short or is there a defect in the cards which came back after repair? Also, down to last spare lamp for Star projector.

posting for posting's sake

Lots of stuff to be put in here, but I need a breather in which to do it. Lots o' audio to be processed, fires which need to be put out, etc etc...