Tuesday, October 13, 2009

re-review Parrot PMK5800

More then a year ago, I bought the Parrot PMK5800. This device is a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit, FM Stereo Transmitter. The reason I bought this device, was that I wanted to be able to listen to the music on my phone, a SE W880i, with my car's stereo.

But I actually never used it. The reason? very poor sound quality. Way too much bass and the sound was completely distorted. So the device ended up in a box. I tried a lot of things: Adjusting the equalizer, changing phones (SE Z750i), tried an other car.

Some time ago, I received a new phone, a SE Z770i, but I forgot all about the Parrot PMK5800. It's only recently, I rediscovered the kit. Watching Ergo Proxy, I fell in love with the title song "kiri", made by Monoral. I wanted to listen to this song in my car, so I thought, why not give that Parrot an other try.

This time, I was able to change the phone's equalizer and the sound was exactly what it needed to be. It worked. So conclusion: If you buy an FM transmitter and the sound quality is very poor, it might very well be your phone not using the Bluetooth Stereo A2DP profile in the correct way.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moblin or Jolicloud

It has been a while since I posted my last entry, but with the upcoming new netbook OS's it seemed to be the right time to get back into blogging.

I have tried both: Moblin and Jolicloud. Both are different OS's and have there own strengths. I will not tell you about bugs, hang ups, because both OS's haven't reached final release yet. Moblin is in Beta and Jolicloud in Alpha release.

Let's get started. Well as for Moblin, you can just download the image, put it on an usb-stick and install or test run. As for Jolicloud you'll need an invitation, which you can ask on there site. On the other hand, Moblin doesn't run on a whole lot of machines, certainly not those small screen netbooks (like EeePC701 with a 800x480 screen). That may already be a very good point, considering your choice.

Let's start with Moblin. This one, actually is a complete new Linux Distribution. It doesn't look, feel or handels like any other Linux distro (but it still is one). Claiming it is a new OS is completely wrong, as for Jolicloud, same story. Both are Linux. Moblin went for the looks. They got a completely new GUI, never seen before. clean, simple and very intuitive. Actually, I think, this is the way GUI on netbooks should look.

Moblin made a choice: simplicity. All you need on a netbook is: a browser, an instant messenger, a status reporter, PIM and media. A very smooth taskbar which gives you access to all those programs and a home screen with all your favourites summed up. No more, No less. But if you want more, you can install more.

Now Jolicloud, that is a completely different story. This Distro is based on Ubuntu NBR, even the GUI has Ubuntu NBR written all over it. But, don't get fooled. Jolicloud has it's own repositories. Now the biggest difference I could see, is that jolicloud actually runs as a program on top of the distro.

What is it? well to me it feels like a manager to install programs, but with the advantage of storing the configuration files on-line. This way you can reinstall or install it on an other netbook and keep all of your installed programs and there configs. Very handy, because you will only need to make your configurations once.

The other smart thing is, that is makes use of prism. This way, you can add internet sites to your desktop as they would be standalone programs. Combining this with maximized windows and it really feels like your using a program instead of a browser. Well and that's about it.

Now which one should you download? None of both. As stated above, they or not in final release yet. I used both, and sometimes they got buggy. Before I left for my holidays, I reinstalled ubuntu 9.04, just to be sure I wouldn't get stuck.

But let's forget for a minute that those distro's are in alpha or beta. Which one should you get your hands on. Well as for Moblin you can start downloading it right now. Jolicloud won't let you do that, you'll need an invitation code. You can ask one, on there website and then you'll have to wait, wait and wait some more. After a month or so, you'll be Jolicouded and get the download code.

But seriously which one should you go for? In my opinion? They should bring out a mix of both ditro's. Because I like the GUI Moblin (very very much), but I really love the special thing Jolicloud does (but I don't like the GUI). My guess is, that changing the GUI of Jolicloud is something that would be much easier to do, than making out of Moblin a Jolicloud alike. So for now, you'll have to go for the looks of an Italian sports car, or the "easy to use" of a Swedish car, but you can't have both for now.


Jolicloud: http://www.jolicloud.com/
Moblin: http://moblin.org/


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Migrating roaming profiles to new Samba PDC

When the time has come to replace your existing DC (Domain Controller), you probably will use new hardware and reinstall your Linux OS next to your old DC. I decided to use an other domain name as well. And while I was reinstalling I decided to use ldap with Samba.

After the installation, I was able to join the computers to the new domain. But than I realized, I would have to recreate all user roaming profiles. This would take a lot off time because all user specific program configurations would be lost.

So On the internet I found a way to just "migrate" the existing roaming profiles to the new domain. It isn't really migrating, but more changing the "old" roaming profile's permissions to suite the new domain.

I will summary the steps to follow, but you should read Morgan Simonsen's Homepage so you can follow the exact list of actions you have to take.

1. you have to join the computer to the new domain
2. login in with your new account in the new domain, so a profile is created
3. logout, restart and login as an administrator with domain privileges
4. copy the old profile folder into the new one and reset permissions
5. logout and login with the new account

Morgan states:

These are the items in the old profile that you lose access to from the new user:
Data that is protected by the Data Protection API (DPAPI)
DPAPI helps protect the following items:
o Web page credentials (for example, passwords)
o File share credentials
o Private keys associated with EFS, S/MIME, and other certificates
o Program data that is protected by using the CryptProtectData() function


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Restrict incoming and outgoing mail on #exim4 with #ldap

When I first had to set up an emailserver with Exim4, it took me some time to figure out how to restrict incoming and outgoing mail. This way some accounts were allowed to send mail outside the domain and others could receive mail from the outside world and most could do both.

This turned out to be very useful. I managed to do this with a list including all names. allowed_out and allowed_in. The next step was to figure out how to setup this within the ldap database. Setting up a list, wasn't hard to manage. Finding out the router settings was a lot harder, but I finally found out.

First you'll have to make an ldap entry containing all the users allowed to send mail outside your domain. The ObjectClass for now is inetOrgPerson, better would be something like PosixGroup in combination with memberUid attribute. (I'll change this later)

dn: cn=allowed_out,dc=example,dc=com
cn: allowed_out
objectClass: inetOrgPerson
objectClass: top
sn: Allowed out
mail: cow@example.com
mail: horse@example.com

Now, you'll have to make a router for your Exim4 config. /etc/exim4/conf.d/router/081_local-config_check_out (whatever filename you like in that dir, but make sure, it's one of the first routers checked)

driver = redirect
#don't check local mail
domains = ! +local_domains
#if the sender doens't match the ldap list allowed_out
senders = ! : !{${sg {${lookup ldapm {ldap://,dc=example,dc=com?mail?sub?}}}{\\s+}{:}}}
# fail sending the mail
# giving the sender next message
data = :fail: You are not allowed the send mail outside this domain. example.com

You can do the exact same thing for incoming mail.

dn: cn=allowed_out,dc=example,dc=com
cn: allowed_in
objectClass: inetOrgPerson
objectClass: top
sn: Allowed out
mail: cat@example.com
mail: horse@example.com

This time you'll have put some lines in /etc/exim4/conf.d/acl/30_exim4-config_check_rcpt just above the line "acl_check_rcp"

#deny if the mail address is not in the ldap list specified
# but don't check this if the sender is from within the same domain
!hosts = +relay_from_hosts
recipients = !:! {${sg {${lookup ldapm {ldap://,dc=example,dc=com?mail?sub?}}}{\\s+}{:}}}
message = This email-address isn't allowed to receive mail outside of it's own domain. example.com

That's all, now don't forget to update your Exim4 config and restart the service.

/etc/init.d/exim4 restart


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Virtualisation: firewall and webserver on ESXi

In this article I'll explain howto put a firewall (IPCOP), a webserver (apache) and if you like a small PDC (Primary Domain Controller) on one Server. We will use VMware ESXi for the virtualisation. It's free, but you will need to register.

Before you start downloading, you'll have to be sure, your hardware is recognized by ESXi. Or you could just download it and test the iso image, as I did.

I used an HP Proliant DL120 G5. It is not mentioned in the hardware list as being compatable with ESXi. But I tried any way and succeeded. But There are some things you need to know.

- For any ESXi installation you'll need more than 1 GB ram(less just wont do, I found out the hard way), go for 4GB
- on the HP Proliant you can't use SATA raid (it actually is a software raid and ESXi has no drivers for RAID setup), so you'll have to disable it in the BIOS
- also you'll have to put SATA in native mode
- For this setup you'll need at last 2 nic's

Once you installed ESXi, witch is not more than downloading the iso, burning it on a cd an than booting your server with the CD. You will be able to do a minor config on the console.

You'll need the set a root password, the name, domainname, IP address (pick out the right nic. if you only connect 1 nic with a cable, you can see witch one you'll have to pick), subnetmask, gateway and DNS. When your done, you should be able to browse to the servers ip address. http://ip-address-server You might get something about wrong certificat, just add it. The site you'll see shows you a link for downloading the VMware Infrastructure Client. Go download and install this.

Once your done, you can run the cliënt and login in to your ESXi host. So, now you Host has been set up and ready to be configured. First thing you should do, is configure the netwerkcards, because we will have some real nic's and some virtual ones.

Before we continue I should explain a bit about IPCOP, the firewall we will use.

IPCop Firewall is a Linux firewall distribution geared towards home and SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) users. The IPCop interface is very user-friendly and task-based. IPCop offers the critical functionality of an expensive network appliance using stock, or even obsolete, hardware and OpenSource Software. This is what you'll find on IPCOP:

Luckly it doesn't much of computer to run: a 386 processor, 32Mb of RAM, and 300Mb hard disk. Very nice. If we want to put up a firewall we will need at last a network interface for the connection with the internet and one for the connection with our own network. Running a webserver, will give you the need to have a third. and here is the beauty of ESXi, we will use a virtual nic.

So in short this is our setup( follow this link for more info on IPCOP's nic setup):

GREEN + ORANGE + RED (ipcop interface setup)


I'll explain a bit more about the virtual nic's and virtual switches you'll have to setup. In you your cliënt console, go to configuration > Networking. You'll see allready a virtual switch is pressent and it's connected to a nic. Click on properties of this virtual switch and add a virtual nic and call it GREEN. Next we'll have to add a new virtual switch and connect it to the other free real nic. Call this one RED.

For our webserver we will use a virtual nic and a virtual switch , that will be connected to a virtual nic (ORANGE) on our firewall, so we wont need a real nic. When you're finished adding your nic's and switches, you can now start adding virtual machines. Setting up a custom machine, other 32-bit linux system with 256 Mb ram, 1 cpu and about 500 MB disk space will do fine. Add 3 virtual nic's (GREEN + ORANGE + RED) and your ready to install ipcop. Download the ipcop iso image, you don't have to burn a cd, you can connect an iso with your cliënt as a CD. reboot you virtual machine (CTRL+ALT+Insert) when your in console mode and follow the IPCOP's installation guide

Now you can add a new virtual machine and install a webserver on it. You only have add a new virtual nic on the same switch of your IPCOP's ORANGE virtual nic. And if you want, you can even add another Virtual machine as an PDC. Just add a new virtual nic on the same switch of your IPCOP's GREEN virtual nic.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

CeBIT 2009: ASUS, secrets not on the Flyers

As you all know, Asus had a very big stand on CeBIT 2009. Lot's of new stuff, we already knew about, but now had the change to touch. And I really mean touch. Lot's of EeePC T91 and Eee PC T101H to try out. Very nice of ASUS.

And yes, a "new" concept: no keyboards, only 2 screens. Behold, the dual-screen-notebook.

Also the Eee keyboard, the Eeetop and the Eee box B202, B204 and B206 were there to touched, alltough the Eee keyboard was keept behind big locks. Only on demand it came out of its cave and no touchy touchy.

I could post some more video's an pictures, but make google your friend and you'll find plenty of those on the net. What I'm about to tell you, is probably not that easy to find on other places.

The first day on CeBIT, I just tried to see as mutch as possible. The second day, I started to ask questions. So on the Asus stand, I went to an Asian looking guy and started asking questions. At first that person didn't feel much in anwsering my questions. But he came along, and this is what I found out.

NO MORE LINUX on the new devices. I asked this question because I wanted to buy a Eeebox B206 (this should do HD), but no go for Linux. The Asus person even told me I wouldn't be able to put Linux on it. Why? problems with the drivers for some components. He even told me (of the record), it is not only the graphics chipset that distinguishes the B202 from its two other brothers (B204 and B206). And the drivers were the main problem to get Linux on those devices. His advices: Buy a B202 model. Is this true? Time will tell.

Now about the Eeekeyboard, no linux on it for sure, but this thing is only a prototype. I might come out, it probably will come out, but they are still developing the gadget. And for now, it won't do anything (yet?)

And what about the dual-screen-notebook? Should I still remind you: No Linux. Well The dual-screen is not more than actually 2 screens put together. There is no computer in it. It's only a showcase. Not for real. They even don't know if it will ever come out.

So what should you remember of this: No more Linux for ASUS. Damn, one of the reasons I loved ASUS is gone now. But there are enough brave souls out there, that will find there way to put linux on all Asus devices.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cebit Hannover 2009: the overview.

Before telling what I saw and how it was, let me give you some tips, if your planning to go yourself. Wear a tie, learn german and make some business cards. I do speak some German (enough to ask questions and understand the answers), I do have real business cards, but I didn't wear a tie (not our company policy) and that my friends, kept people from sharing there precious information.

So what did I expect and what did I see. Hoping to see OLED, colour e-ink and lot's of e-readers seemed to be an illusions. Found one e-reader though. Furthermore, I wanted to find out more about Document management solutions, Anti Virus Solutions and Infrastructure. Nothing new. Lot's of scanning, but no new management solutions. Same story on Anti Virus, but I did find the infromation I wanted on Infrastructure and Wireless Technologies.

But there were others things that made the trip worth going. True 3D screens, without the need of glasses., Tobii Eye Tracking system, that makes you controll a system with your eyes, and people it really workes. ART+COM shows a real surface touch table, not some little childeren surface table. We also found the Open Source Section, the Asus and Msi stand.

If you ask me, you should visit hall 6,9,19,20,21 and 25, but for the resellers part in hall 25, you'll need to disguise into a reseller, or you're not getting in. I've seen things I didn't expect and expected things I haven't seen, but I'm happy I went, though I can't feel my legs any more. Man, Hannover Messe I one big site. I forgot all about that, since I last went to EXPO2000.

I just want to thank some companies for there very helpfull and good information: ART+COM, Asus, BenQ, CBL, Foxit, OpenOffice, SAXNET, Tobii for answering all of my questions without searching for my tie. On Asus, I'll do some more later on.