Rob's blog
A Little LDAP Progress


I'm trying to move forward with the plan I outlined the other day. In short I want to use LDAP to simplify my home network of five computers and six users. I haven't got as far as setting up a login yet but I have got the LDAP server running on one of the computers (named copper) that's running OpenSuse 10.2. Today I just want to talk about the steps I've taken to experiment at getting something going. I'm learning this as I go and these are just notes to help remember how I got to where I am. If they help you too then that's great.
Planning for OpenLDAP at Home
A lot's been going on at home lately, Candace and her brood are coming to live with me and my daughter. We're doing piles of construction in the basement to get bedrooms built. We're all excited and working hard to get stuff done this summer. More importantly though, it is now normal for there to be five computers in my living room (none of which are really meant for my use any more, but that's beside the point). Any of six residents can be in the house at any given time. There are also cases where we might log in remotely: for email, SSH access or a couple other web applications that I run on one of the machines like a wiki and calendar. Then there's Asterisk, which I haven't had up lately but desperately want to get back online.

Background - Many to Many Too Many

Obviously we need to have some common file storage locations and control for access to those locations. So I've decided to look more seriously into setting up LDAP. Currently one of the machines dual boots Windows XP and OpenSuse 10.2. Another one (that I use for a Myth TV front end) runs OpenSuse 10.1. My desktop is full-time OpenSuse 10.2 for now, though I might be pressed to also install Windows Vista soon (resisting with all my might). Let's see... that leaves the two laptops. They run Windows XP. Oh, I almost forgot about the old DOS box I put in the garage to run the CNC. I'll not worry about it for the moment.
How To Reset the Password on a GNet BB0060B
I have a GNet BB0060A DSL modem. It works pretty well but when I first got it years ago I screwed something up and couldn't get in to the web-based user interface any more. It also doesn't have a reset button on the back (though the manual claims it does). It does have an RJ-45 console connector on the back. RJ-45 connectors are the kind you find on normal ethernet cables - like a phone connector but wider. This isn't a network connector though. To connect to it you need an RS-232 null modem cable. RS-232 cables normally have a DB-9 connector on both ends (but are sometimes DB-25). I don't remember what I did to connect to it back then, but Steve at Teksavvy was helpful enough to tell me the connection settings I'd need with the null-modem and the command to recover my modem. Fast forward to today and Candace has a GNet BB0060B that she got from a friend. They were both on Teksavvy as well and so Candace could use the modem with the same settings. Trouble is, the way the modem was configured was such that the username and password for PPPoE were stored right there in the modem settings. And the web interface username & password don't match what the manual says they are. According to the manual you should be able to go to in a web browser and log in with the username 'DSL' and password 'DSL' (case sensitive). Failing that, the username 'root' and password 'root' should work. You can also try the same username and password over telnet. None of these options worked for me. So my problem now was to figure out how to get in to the modem settings without a valid username or password and with no reset button available.
Scheme Script for Processing Saturation and Lightness in the Gimp
I'm going to try to keep this short but I wanted to make a note of a quick script I just did to desaturate and lighten a bunch of images in the Gimp. The workflow I used was basically to open a bunch of images then do exactly the same thing to each one of them then close and save each one. My first thought was that clicking Tools->Colour Tools->Hue Saturation... then doing an adjustment & hitting Okay was taking too long. I knew I'd been here before so I dug out the script I did before to do Hue Rotation in the Gimp. I remember that painful learning curve to figure out Scheme. Luckily this time I want to use roughly the same command but I want to leave the hue alone and change the other two parameters. So I modified the code and pasted this in to the Script-Fu console.
Armory Search Plugin updated for European Realms
I've finally got the search plugin I made last month to work for European Realms. The idea is the same, so the info in the original release still applies but I'll recap here.


This is an OpenSearch plugin, it only adds a search provider to the list at the top, not generic functionality for Firefox. Since it's done with OpenSearch, my understanding is that it might work in other browsers too. My instructions and experience are specific to Firefox though. If you still don't have Firefox, you can go get it from Mozilla or get . I've approached the search two different ways, one way is to search all realms for a character. The other looks for a character only on a specific realm. I think looking on a specific realm is a lot more useful since most of us only play on one realm or at most a few. You can install the realm-specific search for each of the realms you play on and the name shows up when you pick which you want from Firefox's search box.
Technology Day 2007 Notes
The conference went really well considering there was no electricity until 3pm. It wasn't their fault - the power was out in that whole part of the city apparently. Candace went ahead without the PowerPoint Slides she worked so hard to make and gave a great talk on Collaboration Nation. She gave an intro to a bunch of the different ways people collaborate and work together online. It can be a tough topic to approach when you're already using blogs, wikis and every Web 2.0 social site effortlessly. You have to go back to the spot you came in from and try to draw your audience in. I think Candace did a great job of it in the half hour she had. It sounds like U Windsor's got the Open Source bug. The new software they're deploying campus-wide is an open source Learning Management System called Sakai. The executive director of the Sakai foundation, Dr. Chuck, gave the keynote. It sounds like they follow a model a lot like Apache Foundation, in that there's a non-profit foundation which guides the project and a bunch of developers volunteering their time to get the actual work done.
Podcatching: For the Podcast Listener


I did a poster presentation on podcatching yesterday at the University of Windsor's Campus Technology Day. I liked the other presentations at the conference, but today I just wanted to post to make sure I remembered to share mine. I did some research on podcatching. That's right, not podcasting but podcatching. Subscribing to podcasts and automatically downloading new episodes of those podcasts, then getting those on to a media player. Considering all the copious talk there is out there about podcasting, there's surprisingly little help for the listeners. I've done a couple podcasts, but by and large I just listen, I was just downloading manually the episodes of podcasts I like until a few weeks ago when I started really getting in to the research for this presentation. I was pretty happy with what Amarok can do but for my fellow podcast listeners on Macs and Windows machines, you'll just have to wait. The most-referenced names I saw were iTunes and Juice (formerly iPodder). I was disappointed in iTunes in that it considers subscribing to any podcast not in there directory to be an "advanced" option. Then there's Juice, which claims to be open-source but I can't seem to find the source for it. So my choice is clear but at the conference I tried to give as much choice as I could for an interested user so I've included all three.
Twenty Days to Coffee
I accidentally just had my first sip of coffee since the beginning of March. It was good. It's not any kind of self-torture or penance. It's not a cleansing diet. I just want to kick the habit for a bit then I'll go back to it. I told myself 3 months, no coffee. Nothing too formal, not a big deal and I have some caffeine from pop or chocolate, though I'm not having anything like a whole cup of any caffeinated anything. It was really easy after the first week. I hoped to try to move more towards being a morning person for a bit there. I've always been a night-owl and envied the way some people start the day and get stuff done for hours before I'm even conscious. Not so much at night, when they crash early and I keep moving until the wee hours. So I was getting the mornings in hand until I had to go to Germany for a week or so and the mornings haven't come back since.
Using SquirrelMail with 1and1
I can think of three things I really want from my email: it should be easy to use, fast, and private. SquirrelMail gets me pretty close to those goals. It just got better today with the release of version 1.4.10. Somewhere between the last version I last installed and this one they've added support for multiple identities - that is to say that you can have more than one return address. If you want to set it up on a site you host at 1and1, there's an FAQ at 1and1 on how to do exactly that. Unfortunately they haven't updated it since they changed their outgoing (SMTP) mailservers to require authentication. I got the hint because it's mentioned for other email clients. Since SquirrelMail is really just an IMAP email client written in PHP, the same rules apply. What worked for me was this change in SquirrelMail's config/config.php: $smtp_auth_mech = 'login'; The default was none. So overall all you need to change in the default config file to make SquirrelMail work with mail at 1and1 are the $domain, $smtpServerAddress ( and $imapServerAddress ( The other interesting thing is that since SquirrelMail is just an email client, you don't have to run it on your 1and1 web server to get your 1and1 mail. If you have a home server or one hosted somewhere else, you could use the same configuration file and SquirrelMail will go get your mail just like any other client would. Depending on how you use your mail you might find this a little more convenient and possibly faster than using your web server.
The Tab One Timesaver
Firefox has a feature whereby you can press Ctrl with numbers from 1-8 to activate the corresponding tab in the browser. Put another way, Ctrl-1 activates the first tab (counting from the left) and Ctrl-8 activates the eighth tab from the left. I thought Ctrl-9 would do the ninth tab but it's actually the right-most tab. I'm a keyboard guy, but this feature never mattered to me much. I used Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-Shift-Tab to cycle through my open browser tabs. Then I realized that there are a few pages, which some could describe as web-applications but that's less important, that I almost always have open. I mean things like webmail or Pandora. I made a simple change of always having those tabs on the first few spots and now I can always get to them easily.
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