The M570 Trackball

Written by vidarlo on 20131120 in english and hardware and rants with no comments.

The Logitech M570 trackball is good. If I use a normal mouse, I’ll get a stiff shoulder after a couple of days. What I can use is an clitoris or trackball. My x220 has a clitoris, which I don’t like in games.

The trackball, however, works fine in openTTD.

I’ve used various trackballs before, but the wireless of M570 is good. It meens I can sit in the sofa, without having to care about the wire. The performance is the same as previous trackballs, and I don’t really understand why a LASER is important on a trackball – the surface is known… But what goes with the territoriy…

At least – I happen to love my trackball, and it’s totally worth the price of ~100$.


Written by vidarlo on 20131111 in english and privacy and rants and software with no comments.

bitcoin-logo-1000_0Ok, so we have a couple of cryptocurrencies out there, bitcoin, litecoin and so on. I had a look, trying to buy some litecoins, but was utterly turned away by the hoops I have to jump…:

In addition, the credit card interface was in russian, with quite a lot of options to select from – and wanted me to create a user at a separate website from the trading site. And of course there was a 3% fee, or more, involved, plus the 1.75% VISA charges for foreign valuates.

I consider myself more technologically advanced than the average – by far. Yet I’m not able to get my hands on those cryptocurrencies in an easy way.

So how do you ever expect it to be for someone not speculating, criminal or enthusiastic about it? If you’re a criminal, it offers clear benefits. If you’re speculating, their rise has been spectacular…

But as means of purchasing something? Sorry. With Paypal I enter my username and password, and press enter two times. Convenience are more important than the high ideals about anonymous, untraceable currencies. For I’m all for the latter one, but not with this horrible user experience.

And then I’ve not even mentioned the litecoin client, which downloads at least a few hundred megabytes of data, taking long time, providing little or no feedback…

It’s utterly useless as a currency or mean of payment to me right now, and I bet I’m not the only one with the same feeling…


chdk – again.

Written by vidarlo on 20131108 in english and hardware and software with no comments.

Once again, I’ve gotten myself a Canon compact camera that can run CHDK.CHDK

Apart from some minor details, it works great. One of the stupid things is that the lens does not come out automagically when turning on camera with CHDK activated. I need to do a half press of the shutter first… OK, I can live with that, typically I use the standard firmware for point’n’shoot, and only use the CHDK when I want to do some scripting.

CHDK is fun as always. Easy to do new things, quite easy to create your own scripts. But I’m a bit flustered – there is not very much documentation on some functions – how to check if camera has aquired a good autofocous for instance? I don’t know if this is problems with the camera hw, or bad documentation from CHDK’s side.

Anyway, its entertaining to be able to script my camera, and with a gorilla pod, AC adapter from ebay, and 4GB memory card, thet total price is around 220$ for the package. Unbeatable amount of fun for that money 🙂

The possibilities are nearly endless:

The list goes on, and their FAQ explains it quite well.

Nordmann for Al Qaeda?

Written by vidarlo on 20120706 in Norsk and rants and security with no comments.

NRK skriv at ein nordmann er trent av Al Qaeda. Der kan ein lese følgande gullkorn:

Den 33-årige etnisk norske mannen som har konvertert til islam, har plettfritt rulleblad, norsk utseende og regnes som en stor potensiell fare dersom han er trent, operativ og klar til å begå terrorhandlinger mot et vestlig mål, som for eksempel et sivilt passasjerfly.

Dette fordi han regnes for å gå under «radaren» på grunn av upåfallende utseende og fortid, og dermed svært vanskelig å plukke ut som potensiell terrorist.

Det tyder i så fall på at svært mange av sikringstiltaka er sikkerhetsteater, og lite anna. For ser du etter skjeggete muslimer så rekruterer Al Qaeda blonde nordmenn.

Men fyren vart jo plukka opp av etteretning, og har vel neppe sjans til å settje seg på eit fly utan å bli grundig sjekka neste gong?

Om antiterrorsystema våre antar at terrorister er skjeggete muslimer er det problemet.

Quick and dirty download proxy

Written by vidarlo on 20120216 in english and Linux and software with no comments.

fget is a small, quick and dirty download proxy in php and python, to be used on a webserver to allow it to download files to the webserver, and allow access to them.

Written for personal use when travelling, and on various bad links.
License? Buy me a beer next time you see me if it is useful.

Bypassing liquid ban with help from KLM

Written by vidarlo on 20110501 in rants and security with no comments.

I recently flew with KLM from Singapore to Amsterdam. They have this tradition of giving you small houses filled with jenever.

Thats just fine, but the problem is that they are filled with liquid, and above 100ml. So you have to have them in a sealed bag through security if you have a connecting flight.

KLM’s solution? Hand out a sealable bag, a card stating at which flight it was received, and date. The card was quite simple, with no serial numbers, no stamp, no signature. Just the flight numbers.

I got the bag and card after the house, and was told to seal it myself! I just ignored both, the house was quite ugly after all, and a bit of jenever is not worth carrying for me…

However, it is quite nice of KLM to hand out unsealed bags… Just another dent in the airport security?

Android + webdav

Written by vidarlo on 20101128 in english and Linux and software and tutorials with no comments.

Being a geek, the opportunity to upload pictures straight from my cell phone (Android) to the web is a nice feature. I could of course use Dropbox or a similar solution, but that is boring, and I don’t get to decide the URL…

So welcome WebDAV.

Finding a good webdav client for Android took me most of the time. I eventually settled for Cloud Browser (€.99), which was the first one to work as expected, and the only one I found which integrated neatly on the ‘Share’ menu of the gallery, making upload easy. There are several free apps as well, but the ones I tried did not integrate / behave the way I want.

The only drawback is that Cloud Browser uses Basic authentication, and not Digest. If you’re using public WLAN’s it might be a very good idea to use https to access your webdav repository like me.

For the Apache part of things I added a WebDAV configuration, more or less as detailed in the apache mod_dav documentation.

<Directory /home/vidarlo/websites/>
 RewriteEngine off
 AllowOverride All
 Options FollowSymLinks +Indexes
 Order Deny,Allow
 Allow from All;
 Dav On
 AuthType Basic
 AuthName "WebDav"
 AuthDigestDomain /dav
 AuthDigestProvider file
 AuthUserFile /home/vidarlo/htpasswd
 require valid-user
 require valid-user

This simply worked. I can upload pictures once I snap them, and I can sync files the other way too. Better than the dropbox for android, and I have control over my data… 🙂

Highly recommended system 🙂 If you’re lazy, you can always use the app mentioned with Amazon S3…

Er postordrebestilling fra elkjøp ekstraservice?

Written by vidarlo on 20100928 in Norsk and rants with no comments.

Ja, meiner

Selvfølgelig skal du betale mer for å få tilsendt produktene til din egen postkasse eller nærmeste postkontor, i stedet for å hente det selv i varehus. Det er en ekstraservice det er rett og rimelig å betale for.

Er det sjølvfølge at det er ekstraservice? Nei. For Elkjøp sparer eit par kostnader.

Det er ikkje sikkert det er billegare for elkjøp, men eg vil anta at det er det. Og det er iallefall ikkje automatikk i at det er ekstraservice – tvert imot…

I will not try OpenSuSE 11.3 for the next few weeks.

Written by vidarlo on 20100717 in english and Linux and software with no comments.

OpenSuSE 11.3 is out.

This will be the first release in quite a few years that I won’t try at the day of release. I’ve been using OpenSuSE since Pre-Novell (9.0 I believe), and have usually upgraded as soon as possible.

But why not this time?

Because the last three times I tried to upgrade, it was a mess for two days. The sturdy and solid SuSE is gone, and I’m left with a flaky OpenSuSE, which usually needs a few weeks to settle the most annoying bugs.

Preciously, SuSE was the one distro that you could be sure was working. But not anymore. They’ve simply got to many fuckups on the release day for me to thrust ’em.

I will upgrade. But not in a few weeks.

CHDK on Ixus 100IS

Written by vidarlo on 20100716 in english and hardware and Linux and software and tutorials with no comments.

CHDK is software for some Canon compact cameras, which allows somewhat more than the original firmware. Or rather – it’s a addon for the original firmware. Quite risk free.

On Ixus 100/SD780IS (can someone explain why canon insists on seperate names for EU and USA?), it is as of writing only a beta port – some flaws, such as the camera turning of in some conditions.

The manual for installing CHDK was not that great, with a lot of technical details missing in my opinion. Here’s what I did to get it working.

Manual load

To make the firmware update available in the menu, I had to put the camera into play mode (press the button to display pictures), enter the menu, set Lens retract to 0 mins. and restart the camera and go into play mode again. Pressing menu gave me the firmware update at the bottom. And it worked. But it’s quite slow way to ender chdk…

Automagic booting

For some reason, pressing ‘Make bootable’ in CHDK-menu did not work on this camera. I don’t know if it was because it’s a beta, or what the reason might be. I assume that you’ve already tested manual loading, so card is loaded with files…

Making the flash card bootable by hand was somewhat a hassle, as the procedure was not documented in the FAQ or Howto from CHDK. Except the mac guide for some reason.

It turns out that I had to edit the boot sector of the memory card. This is not for the faint of heart… Grab a copy of your boot sector with dd if=/dev/mmcblk0p1 of=bootsector bs=512 count=1. Replace mmcblk0p1 with whatever device the first partition of your memory card happends to be.

Open the file in your favourite hex editor (ghex2 or emacs for instance). Now, replace byte 64-72 (or 40-48 if you count in hexadecimal) with the value ‘bootdisk‘.

Write your modified boot sector back to the card with dd if=bootsector of=/dev/mmcblk0p1 bs=512 count=1, eject the card and flip the write protection switch. Power on your camera. Enjoy the glory.

My impression so far…

Ok, shooting in raw is quite nice. It means a chance to manipulate colour balance after the photo is taken. It gives a lot of possibilities originally out of range on a compact camera.

But the by far coolest thing is motion detection. The possibility of scripting, and controlling the camera with scripts is certainly nice 🙂

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