Retrospection and introsprection

It’s amazing what a difference time makes. You can find yourself in a very different place quicker than cognition. Time is relative after all, with each unit of time becoming a smaller portion of your life as it accumulates. Before you know it another week has passed and if you haven’t stopped to ask yourself who you are, you might have completely ignored your own evolution.

Looking back in retrospect, it fascinates me how life narratives hinge on divergent points. You can trace single moments or decisions that have fundamentally altered you as a person. This works both at a microscopic and a macroscopic level; small personal moments form people, the people form society and history. This is of course a feedback loop as we are then moulded by society.

What am I getting at here? I’m not entirely sure, but I’ll figure it out.

New beginnings v2

This blog has been utterly neglected. Not that it was ever nurtured in the first place. I’ve felt the sudden need to tidy it up as I have my brain in the last couple of years, its time to use this for the outlet of expression it deserves to be. Rather than the bastard child that occasionally gets to see sunlight on his birthday. To that end:

- I’ve removed a bunch of posts that are old and embarrassing
- This blog is changing direction, I no longer have the passion for technology that I once did. It’s now my profession more than my hobby
- Expect more random ramblings
- Hopefully I’ll still come up with the occasional helpful insight
- Prepare for bicycle posts!

Using NUT (Network UPS Tools) With Powershield Defender 1200

Again it’s been a loooong time since I’ve posted anything. Here’s a guide to how I got my Powershield Defender 1200 up and running using NUT under Debian. This is a cheap and lightweight (software wise, UPSes weigh a ton) solution for power protection of a home or small business server.

Installing NUT:

This part is dead simple, the NUT packages are already in the Debian repos so:

sudo apt-get install nut

This will install all NUT components and it’s dependencies. It does most of the hardwork for you, you just need to modify configuration files to your needs.

Modifying configuration files:

There are several configuration files that need to be modified in order to get a functional install; nut.conf, ups.conf, upsd.users and upsmon.conf. You can use the locate command that’s pre-installed on most systems to find them, the following is from my Debian box but your paths may be different:

$ locate nut.conf ups.conf upsmon.conf upsd.users

Use the text editor of your choice to open and modify the configuration files, I use nano. The nut.conf file is a dead simple modification just to set how the UPS is connected, I’m only using it directly connected so I added “MODE=standalone” to the end of the nut.conf file (ensure it’s not commented out with a “#” at the start of the line). Other modes are described in the conf file but most would use the same as me. You then need to add a definition for the UPS and it’s driver to ups.conf, mine is the below:

[defender1200] #A name to refer to your UPS, you can put whatever you like here but something descriptive and easy to type will make it easier to run commands
driver = blazer_usb #USB driver module compatible with Powershield Defender series UPS
port = auto #Typical setting for USB based UPS
desc = “homeserver” #A description for your own reference, is not critical and can be set to whatever you like

You then need to add a user for the upsmon daemon to access the UPS, this is done in upsd.users, I added the following at the end of the file:

[upsmon] #username of your choice
password = enterpasswordhere #substitute your own desired password, this does not have to match a system user
upsmon master #not sure whether “upsmon” on this line is because it’s the user or to give special permission to the upsmon daemon, this is what I was able to scrape together into a working config, master is what you’ll select if upsmon is monitoring a locally connected UPS rather than one on a remote machine

The final config file is a bit more complex than the previous two, it sets parameters for the upsmon daemon that handles the monitoring of the UPS and triggers system commands for low battery signals etc. For a basic setup though you should only need to add one line and modify another. First you’ll need to add a line defining the user to use for upsmon:

MONITOR defender1200@localhost 1 upsmon $UPSD3fender master #this is my example user setup defined in the following format
MONITOR [UPS_name]@[hostname] [powervalue] [username] [password] [master or slave]

UPS_name is the name you’ve configured in ups.conf for the UPS, hostname is the network address of the machine it’s connected to usually just “localhost”, [powervalue] is the number of powersupplies on the system, usually just “1″, username and password are those you’ve configured in upsd.users and master or slave is the method you’re connecting to the UPS by, usually master.

After all this, as root (or sudo) run:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/nut start
Starting Network UPS Tools: driver(s) upsd upsmon.

If you’re lucky you’ll get the above output and you’re ready to go! You can check the UPS stats using the following, where defender1200 is the name you’ve given the UPS:

$ upsc defender1200
battery.voltage: 26.90
battery.voltage.nominal: 24.0
beeper.status: enabled
device.type: ups blazer_usb
driver.parameter.pollinterval: 2
driver.parameter.port: auto
driver.version: 2.4.3
driver.version.internal: 0.03
input.current.nominal: 5.0
input.frequency: 49.9
input.frequency.nominal: 50
input.voltage: 245.0
input.voltage.fault: 245.0
input.voltage.nominal: 240
output.voltage: 245.0
ups.delay.shutdown: 30
ups.delay.start: 180
ups.load: 0
ups.productid: 5161
ups.status: OL
ups.type: offline / line interactive
ups.vendorid: 0665

Hopefully this makes the process more clear for anyone in the same situation as I found it difficult getting some aspects of the config just right and had to trawl around quite a few man pages. The configuration provided here will automatically start a shutdown when the UPS sets a low battery signal, if you configure your machine to automatically power back on after a power failure it will also restore itself once power is restored.

Server Setup – TV Mobili

It’s been ages since my last post so I thought I’d give an attempt at something useful for the interwebs. Tvmobili is a free DLNA server I’ve recently become familiar with. There’s a million and one ways of streaming media and DLNA is one of them, personally I’d prefer SMB but with an XBOX 360 being part of my network DLNA was a must for my new home server so this was my solution. The server is running x64 Debian which has posed a problem; tvmobili is only compiled to run on 32 bit. There’s a simple solution for this which I’ve listed below. Take note, I use sudo so if you don’t have the sudo command installed and configure login as root or type “su” enter and login as root. These instructions should work for many debian based systems:

1. Download the tvmobili *.deb package, logged into a terminal I used wget
2. Install 32 bit libraries if using x64 linux, these are required to run 32 bit software:
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs
3. Install TvMobili:
sudo dpkg -i –force-architecture tvmobili-debian-linux-i386.deb (you can forego the –force-architecture on a 32 bit install)
4. Check tvmobili started properly:
ps -e | grep tvmobilisvcd
If this command shows any result then the tvmobili daemon is running
5. Login to configure tvmobili, you can do this from the same machine by visiting or on the same local network by going to your server_hostname:30888 (where server_hostname is your hostname) or the ip_address:30888 where ip_address is your server’s IP. From here you should be able to follow the guides on their site regarding configuration, here.

If all went according to plan that should be all that’s required, give tvmobili a while to index all your content, though it is rather speedy and took only a matter of minutes to index about a terabyte of my own data (though this was on a 4 disk RAID so it had a lot of disk read speed). You can monitor this on the status page of the tvmobili configuration page. It should automatically become visible to all DLNA clients on your network.


I kill wildlife.
It’s one of those days when you keep making mistakes.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) for HTC Desire on Telstra!

It’s finally made release. It’s not an Over The Air update as was originally speculated but you can grab it here. It’s relatively simple if you follow the instructions. Keep in mind though it will erase all user data including messages and contacts. I recommend downloading MyBackup (the free version) from the App Market. You can use this to backup all your apps and phone data then restore them once your update is complete, it will backup to a folder called rerware which will remain after the upgrade as will other data such as your music and video files. A couple of great reasons to get the update: 720p video recording and a wifi hotpsot app so that you can share your phone’s internet connection with other wifi enabled devices.

Ant <3′s Cat

I finally got a pic of the graffiti I posted about a while back.
Interspecies Love

The Random Rapper of Bentley

There’s some colourful people in my suburb, check out this dude:

Behind The Helpdesk

We get some strange people in this line of work. It can be quite challenging to remain polite and professional to customers. There’s all types: seedy sounding people you really wouldn’t want to meet in real life, lonely people that you can hear pain in their voice and an unwillingness to let you go, eccentrics and rude people. I enjoy my job though, it’s satisfying to solve people’s problems, even when a large number of people won’t thank you for it. The domain names that people enquire about are pretty hilarious too, I once dealt with a business calling themselves Fix Ur Computer Kwik IT.


For those of you who have ever wondered what an $800 phone looks like after being run by a bus, I have an answer for you. Here’s the result of my HTC Desire vs a Transperth bus:

A very expensive lesson in why one shouldn’t run to catch the bus. Next time i’ll just be late for work and not have to work over a week to pay for a new phone. Telstra were very helpful, by that I mean they tried to convince me the only option was to buy out my near new contract at almost $1000 and start a new contract with a new phone when the handset replacement price is much cheaper.

Feeling much better than I was yesterday morning when this happened now it’s replace but it certainly stung my savings account. Apps, widgets and settings all settled in just like my old phone, Viva La Android! On that note, my new favourite app is Rockplayer. I will write a post detailing my fav apps soon.

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