Windows Live Messenger v8.0.0689.00 leaked.


Looks like this has leaked out onto the web. It hasn't been released to official beta testers as yet - so if you do want to test it, you can grab it here. If you haven't already been invited to the Windows Live Messenger Beta, chances are that this won't work for you - as you need to be migrated onto different MSN Servers. If you would like to be on the testing team for this, send me your email address and I'll send you back an invite for the beta. I've got around 35 invites left to give out - they just keep coming :)

As with the last version, Ahmed has released a patch to remove the ads and other junk to give WLM a nice slick interface. Grab the patch here.

Icom PCR-1000 Scanner on Linux.


For a while now I've been hanging on to a working version of pcrd - the linux control program for Icom PCR-1000 scanners. This version will compile with the latest gcc based distributions and work on all known Linux distros. You can find it here. It seems to work well here - the only issue I encounter is sometimes getting the unit to turn on - however after that, it tunes fine for as long as it's turned on.

If you do notice any problems with pcrd, feel free to let me know - I'll see what I can do about them. I want to add DSP support, but I don't have the needed details to do this as yet, so it's on the todo list.

Apple snobs SuperDrive problems


Yesterday I got a call from Janine Beach (Executive Relations, Apple Asia/Pac) to state that Apple regards that the problem with the SuperDrives (as reported here, here, and here) is a correctly functioning SuperDrive. Apple's official line is that there is no problem burning on 8x Apple media so the drive is fine - even if it fails to recognise any other brand or speed of media. This means you can ONLY use Apple media in the drive - as even 16x TDK discs do not work correctly. There was no notification of the fact that Apple SuperDrives would only burn as advertised on Apple media - and when I stressed this point, I was told by Janine that the drive works as it should, and Apple would not be doing anything about it. After telling Janine that this was unacceptable, I was basically stonewalled.

For this reason, I am asking anyone who has experiance in lodging official complaints with the ACCC or starting class action law suits to contact me to discuss the best approach in making Apple accountable for thier faulty equipment.

Updated 10/4: I understand that Apple Australia employee email accounts are the first letter of their first name, then their last name @asia.apple.com - so Joe Smith would be jsmith@asia.apple.com if people want to contact someone within Apple about their SuperDrive issues as well.....

Updated Australian DAPS available.


AIrservices Australia have updated a few of the Australian DAPS. I've updated my collection of these DAPS for those wanting to keep up. Niel Brown states that the following changes have been made:

The following charts are new: YSCB SID HOWLY 1 YSCB SID NONUP 1

The following charts are updated: YBCS STAR HENDO 6 YBCS STAR KEEWI 4 YMML SID OWENS 9 YPAD SID ADELAIDE 7 YPAD SID NATYA 9 YPAD SID TAILEM BEND 2 YPAD SID TORRENS 1 YPAD STAR RIKAB 2 YPPH SID BADJA 3 YPPH SID BALLIDU 4 YPPH SID BINDI 7 YPPH SID CLACKLINE 8 YPPH SID JOSBU 3 YPPH SID KAJUN 6 YPPH SID MELBA 3 YPPH SID PEPPA 4 YPPH SID PINGELLY 5 YPPH SID SPUDO 4 YSCB SID CANBERRA 4 YSCB SID CORRYONG 2 YSCB SID CULIN 3 YSCB SID TANTA 3 YSCB SID WAGGA 3 YSCB SID YASS 3

HDTV Digital TV recorder scripts finished!


After a few weeks of playing around, I've managed to get my USB HDTV decoder working properly under linux (Fedora Core to be exact). I've managed to write a few scripts up that allow me to log into a web site and schedule show recordings. The scheduling is handled by atd, and I use the zapdvb package to capture the HDTV stream straight to disk. This is then handled by a few other scripts and encoded to a 1Mbit/sec Xvid avi. It's good to be able to schedule the shows and then just watch the avi file when ready! If I get the time, I'll throw the scripts up on here for others to pick apart.

MSN v8 Messenger (WLM) Invites


So I keep getting more and more of these invites, and less and less people to give them to. Email me if you want one! Want to know more about Windows Live Messenger? Check out the WLM site.

I personally think v8 is a good step forwards from v7.5 - which is the current publicly available verison of MSN Messenger. I do believe however that it is a bit cluttered with ads. This being said, there is a patch that will work that removes ads. It's available locally or from the original site.

Server outage details.


On Friday around 3pm, I started to upgrade various packages on the server. The distro in use at the time was Fedora Core 2 - which had been out of the whole update scene for quite a while. This is something I wanted to correct.

I started installing a few packages that would have little impact on operations, when everything stopped. As only my ssh session was responding (no web, no new ssh sessions etc) I told the box to reboot. At this point, the server did a kernel crash and refused to do anything. I called someone onsite to hard reset the server, and they watched the screen as it booted, however the kernel panic'ed on all reboots with an error in ext3.ko. This is where things get fun. It seems something (still unknown as to what at this point) corrupted around 91Mb total of files on the filesystem. One of these was ext3.ko - which made the box unbootable. At this point, I also redelegated the multiple domains on the server to another primary nameserver to stop having DNS issues with the primary nameserver offline.

I then pulled the server out and brought it home to work on - and I figured that as it wouldn't boot at all, I'd upgrade it to the latest Fedora Core 4 packages as I went. It then turned out that the journal was also corrupt on the ext3 filesystems - and as it was the root drive, the system would not let me fcsk it without major hassles - and 91Mb worth of lost data.

So, I booted of the FC 'panic' DVD and copied as much data as possible off the system, reformatted the whole thing and installed FC4. The rest went without a hitch. The fairly recent tape backup (done on the 19/2) restored without a hitch, and 95% of things were back to normal. This took between 7pm and around 4:30am Friday night/Sat morning.

I had to work at 9am, so I did my 9->5 shift and then came home to work more in the server. As most of the data was repaired, I spent myself punishing the server to see if I could make it crash again - with no luck.

Today, the server went with me to work (for another 9am -> 5pm shift) where I tried harder to make it crash (no success!) and finally tonight at around 7:30pm the server was put back online in it's new home in Collins St.

Sorry to all for the outage. It wasn't something planned, however the backup system worked flawlessly to get the machine fully rebuilt and back online in a shade over 48 hours with minimal data lost.

I'm currently working on improving the backup to a nightly setup at a remote location, to minimise data loss to under a day - however this is currently in the planning/testing stage.

Vandals beware, bug spray keeps you away!


This one comes from the weird department. I was just leaving for work the other day when I notice that some punk had spray painted crud on both mine and my next door neighbours garage doors. I won't post any pictures of it, but it's not the kind of look that I want for my house! Anyway, we were looking up things that remove spray paint - and the proper stuff is damn expensive - when someone suggested using fly spray. Now I was interested by this - but as it turns out, fly spray removes spray paint. Now the tools for this job are quite specific, as using the wrong type of cloth will just spread the paint around. We found that a 'Chux' type cloth (the ones that are thin with lots of holes) work very well - whereas the normal cloths just spread stuff around. The Chux cloths also rinse clean in warm water - so you can actually remove the paint. This just has to be filed in the 'who-would-have-thought' file.