New blog theme, Xen Packages

I've finally changed my blog theme after what is probably years and years of the same theme. This one is very minimalist - which means fast loading etc. I think its quite good - comments welcome :)

I've done a quick refresh to the Xen packages in my repo to remove an extra repository file from the package which could cause some issues with yum. Its a minor issue - so if you've already got 4.1.1-2 installed, just delete the file /etc/yum.repos.d/dom0-kernel.repo and you'll be set.

Xen & Dom0 Kernel updated

I've just updated the kernel-xen and xen packages used in my Xen Repos for EL6.

Kernel Changelog:

* Sun Jul 31 2011 Steven Haigh - Brought kernel config inline with stock EL6 kernels - Fix: xen/blkback: don't fail empty barrier requests - Revert "xen/blkback: When writting barriers set the sector number to zero..." - blktap: Fix reference to freed struct request. - Merged in - Fixed minor bug in post-install script modifying yum.conf to recognise kernel-xen as a kernel package and allow multiple installs. - Fixed bug not removing generated initramfs when removing kernel-xen pacakge

Xen Changelog:

* Wed Jul 20 2011 Michael Young - 4.1.1-2 - clean up patch to solve a problem with hvmloader compiled with gcc 4.6

Keeping the media honest

In this day and age, the media outlets wield a mighty wallop when it comes to swaying the opinion of the general public. How does this really work out for us when news agencies employ underhanded techniques and misrepresent facts to further their own agenda?

MP Bob Brown has recently voiced concern with the media and the news sites have pounced!

I would like to think that journalists have integrity and believed that the truth is the most important thing to publish - however in recent times I have found this to be something that you only really see in Hollywood movies.

One such topic was The NBN. The Australian's IT section has seemingly become the laughing stock of many internet forums due to the wildly inaccurate and highly biased stories. This particular example was headlined 'NBN could cost households 'an extra $3000'.

Now the internet is great for researching facts - something journalists should learn! After a few days of that article doing the rounds, a post appeared on Whirlpool from the person the journalist used as a source for this article. Here is his quote:

In mid August I was called by Journalists from the Australian to quote on the cost of wiring a large house (4 bedrooms, 3 studies, rumpus room plus dining and living areas etc) for a fully wired solution.

They tried every option to make the prices higher (older style, large, non-radio, stone construction etc), and their end result was a worst-case high costing that was well over budget for a typical home / home unit. It was very clear to me that the good story was never going to be compromised by the facts that most homes could be wired for about 50% or less than their "quoted" costs but they were not listening to my rationale. (Not Happy Jane!)

Reading The Australian's article however, and you see choice quotes like:

It has argued that some households could pay up to $3000 in rewiring costs to take full advantage of the superfast internet service.
Mr Tinslay said a standard retrofit could cost up to $3000.
Ms Gillard clashed with Sydney radio personality Ray Hadley when questioned on whether it would cost between $2000 and $4000 to rewire his house to take full advantage of the NBN.

If this is how badly the media presents one story, I would not hesitate to believe that many, many topics are also being distorted in this way.

I once found myself watching a recording of parliament on a late night television slot and took note of what was said. Upon reading a news article from it the next day, I had to wonder if the journalist actually watched the same things that I did - the two seemed like polar opposites!

So what can we do? I believe the only thing we can do is to do our own research on topics that we care about. Dig a little beneath the surface. HANSARD is the name given to transcripts of parliamentary proceedings - these records are transcripts of almost everything that happens in parliament. Read the information for yourself - direct from the horses mouth and then make a decision for yourself on how honest the news outlets are.


Well haven't I been slack. Quick recap time.

1) I've updated all my home systems from CentOS 5.6 to Scientific Linux 6.0. Its the same code base as CentOS - however the release of CentOS6 has been slipping and slipping. I've been more than happy with the results at this stage.

2) I did a solo navigation exercise from Melbourne to Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. Clocked up 19.7 hours command time. Was an awesome trip and great experience. Did most of this using just the magnetic compass and my watch - nothing beats the basics.

3) Got my CSU and RG endorsement.

Thats about it for me at this stage, now back to work ;)

Cisco 7970, sccp and asterisk

I've been tinkering around with a Cisco 7970 IP phone. After spending 3-4 days of trying to get SIP working on this device, I gave up hope and started working with SCCP. The good news is that it worked straight away!

Using Asterisk and the greatly improved chan-sccp-b project, the majority of the features work out of the box.

While the concepts of sccp are a lot different than using separate SIP accounts, sccp is much more like standard phone system operating on lines instead of accounts. If you are struggling getting one of these devices working on Asterisk via SIP - save yourself the hassle and get it running using SCCP!

Home is IPv6 enabled!

Well, it took a few days to figure out how, but just about everything at home is now IPv6 enabled :)

I'm using a 6to4 gateway that tunnels every ipv6 packet to the anycast gateway at Thankfully, my local gateway resides within PIPE Networks - which means most of the ipv6 traffic comes up as free on my ISPs plan!

The final touches were added today with fully functional DNS - I wonder how long it will be until I get my first email via ipv6 ;)

WOPR desktop wallpaper

Ok, so I admit it - I love the movie War Games. I recently built a new PC and on it went 3 x 23" LCD screens running 1920x1080. My girlfriend noted that it looks like 'the computer from that movie'. I knew she was talking about. She was talking about the WOPR - which became the name for this new machine. She has now inherited the Mac Pro known as Enigma.

I hunted around for a bit and couldn't find a suitable background to use for this and came up empty. So I created my own. It's attached for anyone else that would like to use it.

It's native at 1920x1080 resolution and should hopefully bring back a few memories :)

For those of you lucky enough to have 3 x widescreens - here is the whole thing stitched together...

Asterisk and Australian Reverse Caller ID Lookup

It's been a while since my original script to use for Australian caller ID lookups and since the online database disappeared, my script went into the archives.

Now its back.

Thanks to the API functions offered by Reverse Australia we can now have caller ID lookups back in Asterisk!

You'll need a few things to achieve this: 1) Obviously a Linux PC running Asterisk 2) Asterisk::AGI Perl module 3) LWP::UserAgent perl module (should be included with your distro) 4) A running MySQL Database 5) My cid-lookup-v4.agi script.

Setup the MySQL Database with a table called 'cid' and two fields called 'name' & 'number'. We use this to store unidentified inbound callers as well as cache looked up details from Reverse Australia. This means you can go edit the details later and have them show as you want rather than as unknown or the content returned from Reverse Australia.

Setup is VERY basic. Throw cid-lookup-v4.agi into your agi-bin directory, then place AGI(cid-lookup.agi) in your extensions.conf where you process incoming calls.

You will need to edit the script and change the setup for your MySQL database - as well as add the Reverse Australia API key.

Looking up calls online is optional.

This has been tested with the following configurations: CentOS 5.5 with perl-LWP-UserAgent-Determined from rpmforge. Fedora 14 with stock F14 perl-LWP-UserAgent-Determined package.

If you use CentOS, it is much easier to use the prebuilt perl packages from rpmforge. If you use CentOS, save yourself the heartache and use rpmforge for perl modules!