Defining multiple cell modems in Leopard

I have two cellular data services that allow me to “tether” to them to provide Internet to my Mac.  No, I’m not mad. One is provided by my work for work purposes only, the other is personal.  The problem I had for a while was not knowing how to configure OS X to have both modems defined and usable. I would delete the settings for the old one and recreate the new one.  

But there is a way to do this using multiple bluetooth serial ports. This guide will show you how.

The phones in question and the connections are:

  • Motorola V3M using Verizon’s Broadband Connect Service via USB cable
  • Motorola V3M using Verizon’s Broadband Connect Service via Bluetooth
  • Nokia N95 using T-Mobile’s Total Internet service via Bluetooth

Using a USB cable is easiest to configure and at least allows the phone to not lose battery while being used (using Bluetooth drains the phone’s battery fast).   However it is a hassle at times when you just need a quick connection. It’s nice keeping it in the pocket for those purposes.

While this guide is specific to these model phones and services, the ideas presented should work for similar situations with some minor modifications. 

Continue reading Defining multiple cell modems in Leopard

Racism is alive

Kosovo IndependenceIt was the day that Kosovo declared independence and we just happened to be in New York City that day. The city was a mess with people celebrating — which meant they all had to get home, wherever that was, at the end of the day.

Unfortunate timing, since my wife and I had to head home as well. We went to Penn Station to catch an Amtrak train south. The place was mobbed. My wife got a bit in front of me, trying to find a seat. We crammed ourselves into the train, no seats to be found. Yet another crappy train ride standing most of the way.In front of me was a black woman, next to her was an open seat with stuff piled on it. My wife was half-way down the car. I was about to ask the seated woman if the seat was vacant (I was pretty sure it was since there was only one seat check on it). Before doing so, the black woman asked. The asian woman who was seated said something to the black lady, got up, went forward in the car a bit, said something to my wife, came back with my wife, said “Sorry” to the black lady, and my wife sat down.

I figured the woman knew my wife, but I started wondering if that was true, so I sent my wife a text message “Do you know that lady?” She sent me a reply back “Never seen her before in my life.

“Wow, I had a hard time believing what I just witnessed. This Asian woman just simply didn’t want a black person sitting next to her, so she went down the aisle of the train and grabbed the first white person she saw.

At the next stop, as people got off the train, I made sure this lady got herself a seat.

Really pretty disturbing. I would have hoped this sort of thing never happens in this day and age. Guess I was being naive.

TSA and expired drivers licenses…

Went to Florida today for a conference. As I was going through security, the TSA agent told me “I hope you are coming back before Friday.” I’m like, “Er, no, Sunday… Why?”

So she proceeds to tell me my drivers license expires on Friday and I won’t be able to use it to come back after that.

YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME.

So I say I’ll worry about it Sunday and she says “Fine, don’t say I never warned you.”

While waiting for my flight I do some googling for info and find a few horror stories about TSA and expired drivers licenses.

Gessh… a few other accounts told about how doing this can land you on the TSA watch list too, even after you get your license renewed.

Fortunately, I have a valid passport back home and a understanding wife who is going to send it to me here.

Now I just have to pray the passport doesn’t get lost. 🙁

 

Update July 2008: Since writing this I’ve found out that TSA will let you board a flight without ID or expired ID but you have to fully cooperate with their attempts to verify your identity. They will use some sort of national database with information about you and ask you a series of questions to determine if you are really you. So be prepared to know all sorts of information like your former addresses.  What they ask can change for each incident and person.  Wired has an article with more info about this.

GoDaddy SSL certs and Symbian phones

I recently got a cool Nokia N90 smart phone but it throws up SSL certificate warnings when used with GoDaddy issued SSL certificates. These certs are nice because they are only $30/year instead of several hundred for Verisign. Allegedly they work with all modern browsers. Sigh, not with the latest Symbian devices.

Not only does it barf on websites that use GoDaddy, but also with my imap and smtp ssl certs used for my email. A pain when reading or sending on the N90.

I ensured the intermediate certificate was installed in the server correctly but that didn’t work.

Then I found a posting on Nokia support forum that said to install the root certificate in the phone using its native browser (not Opera). Which I did, by browsing to GoDaddy’s SSL certificate page and downloading the “Valicert Root — DER Format” root certificate. Once clicked, the phone’s browser prompts to install the cert and that root cert works for email as well!

Now I’m happy again!

Rescaning SCSI bus for SAN disk adds

This should not have been as difficult to do as it was. Simple concept, add disks and hence LUNs to the scan, and you want to use them on your host without having to umount all disks and reload the scsi driver.

There’s a script to rescan the scsi bus from a website that automates the process, but it didn’t work on one host I tried it.

I found that since we use qlogic drivers there’s a command that has to be run first to let the driver know that a rescan is coming (I guess).


echo "scsi-qlascan" > /proc/scsi/driver-name/adapter-id

After running it, I got this goodness in fdisk for the new device! 🙂

Disk /dev/sdd: 2000.4 GB, 2000414572544 bytes

Firefox popups

Just so I don’t forget, here’s how to stop Flash popups from Firefox.

  1. Type about:config into the Firefox location bar.
  2. Right-click on the page and select New and then Integer.
  3. Name it privacy.popups.disable_from_plugins
  4. Set the value to 2.

Moving data with mirrors

The main data volume on the system at work ran out of PEs due to the old default PE size of 4 MB and 64k of PEs being in the volume group. There’s no way to change that without recreating the volume group, and blowing away everything. So I have to move the 250 gigs of crap to somewhere else, then delete the old volume group, recreate it, then move everything back. Since moving that much data requires several hours and hence downtime to users, that’s not good.

So, the idea is to move the data around live. This requires making a RAID 1 mirror on top of lvm — not usually done this way. It also requires learning enough about mdadm to be able to create a mirror without destroying the good data (ouch). The process of intially creating the mirror will require the regular lvm device be unmounted and the RAID (md) device mounted. But after that is done, the syncing of the mirror can happen live. Hence downtime is kept to an absolute minimum.

Continue reading Moving data with mirrors

Evaluating Groupware

The quest has been given, to determine a good groupware package for where I work. The main component needed is a shared calendar interface. We currently use sendmail on a linux box as an MTA, uw-imap as an imap server, and mailboxes are stored in “mbx” format. For mail clients, we allow any imap client and provide a webmail client from the fine folks at horde.org.

The current version of horde we use has a calendar that is private only. The new version provides many groupware features including shared calendars, however, we are going to look at other groupware products as well.

It’s been basically narrowed down to either Microsoft Exchange or the latest set of Horde apps. One of my techs has set up a test exchange environment and to say it’s bloated is an understatement. Now granted it does a lot, but everything I hear is that most organizations hardly use all of Exchange features. There’s also a huge hardware cost. We do 40,000 email accounts on one dual-xeon 3 ghz box runnign Linux. Apparently we need a farm of several exchange servers to handle that kind of a load. Even only giving 10% of our users exchange would require at least four servers (two front-end and two back-end). Ouch.

Regardless, I have no religion about either platform, as long as the resources are provided to adequately support the chosen platform.

So this blog entry is mainly a place holder to jot down notes and experiences and is not going to be complete. So don’t consider this a formal case study or implementation guide. It will also focus primarily on horde since another tech has done Exchange. Hence it may seem biased towards that product.

NOTE: This is all done on Redhat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4

Redirecting back to home after logon

I didn’t exactly like the default behavior of wordpress to send registered users to the dashboard after they log on, so I did a few google searches and found a faq page that looks like it’s out of date. But it got me close enough.

Trick was to go into the wp-login.php file and find the

case login:

… statement, then go down a few lines and change the

$redirect_to = 'wp-admin/'

… statement and change it to just

$redirect_to = '/'

… to get the behavior I wanted.

If your blog isn’t in the root of your domain then that redirect should be to where it sits.

My last meal ever at Quiznos

My last quiznos meal   

My last Quiznos Meal

You are looking at the last meal I will ever buy at Quiznos. They did the unforgiveable, they switched from Coke products to that Pepsi sludge.

It’s no secret that both Pepsi and Coke work to get exclusive rights to provide their stuff in places like this, by providing “incentives” to the owners to switch. And of course, the people that run these places see dollar signs in their head and switch, thinking that most people don’t care  — and probably that is true — but not this person.

I can’t imagine what the Coke and Pepsi reps tell their customers when working a deal like this. Do they say “You won’t lose any customers because they don’t care?” If they say this, then they are admitting that their product is not so special.

Well, some people care. Nothing beats a nice cold Diet Coke. Diet Pepsi is horrible. It’s bad enough that it does influence my decision. There’s a Subway down the street, and by golly, they toast their stuff now, and they serve Coke products, so I’m switching. I even told the franchise owner I was switching after he told me he couldn’t sell Coke products due to the contract.

Now I’m sure Quiznos won’t care less that ole Weave is switching, and I’m sure they may pick up some diehard Pepsi losers, but that’s not the point. What happened to the customer is always right? What happened to giving the customer what they want? Why not provide them a choice?

WE DESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE OUR OWN BRAND OF FIZZY DRINK

I know places lose some revenue from doing exclusives. Is it more than the incentive, I don’t know. Is the loss of goodwill worth it? 7-Eleven certainly has both company’s products in their fountains, for example. And for a while, they were making a big deal about giving people a choice.

My employer “used” to have both brands available in our cafeteria, but they switched to an exclusive Pepsi arrangement a year or so ago. And you know what happened? They lose revenue cause of it. How can I make such a claim? Because from actual experience I know I and other Coke lovers now smuggle in our own supply. So instead of dropping $1.25 on a bottle of Diet Coke there a few times a day, I just bring in a 12 pack of my own. The company cafeteria operation now gets squat.

And if the pain of having to wash down my meatball sub with a Diet Pepsi wasn’t bad enough, to make matters worse, it wasn’t even an iTunes “free song” winner.

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