Robotic Tendencies
The personal blog of Robert McQueen

May 20, 2005


In other news, I submitted my dissertation yesterday after being awake for 32 hours completing it. I’ve reconnected to IRC for a bit, a couple of pub visits scheduled, and I’m going home for the weekend to relax before I start preparing for my finals in two and a half weeks.

posted by ramcq @ 4:41 pm
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May 20, 2005

Resizing LVM2 physical volumes

People keep running into situations where they’ve grown a block device (by repartitioning or md-fiddling) and want to grow the LVM2 physical volume on that device. Once when I wanted to do this, I managed to find a post to the linux-lvm mailing list explaining how to resize an LVM2 physical volume given that LVM2 has no pvresize. I’ve blogged it here so that I don’t have to remember the exact search terms to find it again, and hopefully Google will find it too and help others in the future.

posted by ramcq @ 4:29 pm
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May 14, 2005


As a result of viewing an over-large jpg in Gimp, I ran out of disk space on ~ today whilst I was fiddling around trying to ssh to localhost and X forward something so I could run ethereal on lo and see what it was doing. The upshot of this was that my X auth cookies got munched when ssh tried to fiddle with them, so I was unable to open any new X clients and was forced to restart my session, so decided to try and make X listen on tcp to avoid the ssh hassle. In the process, I discovered two things:

  • Editing /etc/gdm/gdm.conf to remove -nolisten tcp from the X server command line is apparently not sufficient – it adds it on the end of the line anyway. I had to use Xnest in the end.
  • Rhythmbox has a thread which saves your playlists into an XML file. It makes a temporary filename, calls xmlSaveFormatFile to write the playlist to the temporary file, and then renames the temporary file to the original one, with absolutely no regard as to whether or not the previous function worked or not. So I’ve lost all of my Rhythmbox playlists. Again. One RC bug coming up.


Update: When going to update my todo list, I discovered that stickynotes-applet ate it. I am unamused. Rather than the active idiocy of making a temporary file and failing to check if it was successful before clobbering the original (did someone get distracted when writing that? a bee came into the room?), this is just sheer idleness. It fails to make a temporary file at all and just unleashes the same xmlSaveFormatFile on the only existing copy of all of your notes, giving me my 2nd RC bug of the day. Marvellous. Just because it says xml doesn’t mean it can never fail. I’m not trying to find them, they’re forcing themselves on me. Sorry, but there’s just no excuse for throwing my data away like that.

posted by ramcq @ 6:47 pm
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May 12, 2005


Recently I received a pleasant package of forms and information from college about graduation. One of them is a pleasant reminder that if I owe any money to college by the (previously unheard of) Friday 5th June 2005, I will be removed from the list of graduands. Given that my last bill was £3,300 greater than what it was supposed to be, because my LEA lost my original student support application, so I submitted a replacement application over two weeks ago, and have heard nothing since. I phoned them today and they checked on their computer system, had a wander round the office, and assured me that the last they’d heard from me was my form for last academic year. They then went on to blame me for probably not putting enough postage on when I handed the f🤬ing form in at a post office, and they weighed it and charged me the appropriate amount of postage. So now I have to fill out and send them another of their stupid forms (taking no chances – recorded delivery this time). Thanks guys, it’s not like I have enough to worry about with my dissertation being due in 8 days time.

On the up side, I rewrote half of the code between Monday and Wednesday, meaning it’s 1500 lines shorter, but has the benefit of actually working now. As a consequence, I also have a lot more to write about (testing it, demonstrating it works, why the first one didn’t work, etc) rather than something which is a poor reimplementation of strace. On the down side, you get no marks for the code, so I’d better get back to the writing about it. Yay.

posted by ramcq @ 7:47 pm
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May 3, 2005

Seven Gummie Sins

Spotted this link on IRC, a series of photos on flickr which depict the Seven Gummie Sins. Just thought they were really cool.

posted by ramcq @ 9:50 am
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May 2, 2005


Was helping a friend with his Debian box, he thought he had some filesystem corruption after an unclean shutdown, so we booted from a live CD and unpacked coreutils into /tmp/asdf and started replacing the corrupted files including /bin/ls which was segfaulting. Then set about doing the usual dpkg -l | grep ^ii | awk to get a list of packages to reinstall, but then ls started segfaulting again, and grep got Aborted. Hmmm…

livecd:~# /tmp/asdf/bin/cp /tmp/asdf/bin/ls /bin
livecd:~# /tmp/asdf/bin/ls -la /bin/ls /tmp/asdf/bin/ls
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 75948 Apr 29 16:20 /bin/ls
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 75948 Jul 16  2004 /tmp/asdf/bin/ls
livecd:~# grep
Usage: grep [OPTION]... PATTERN [FILE]...
Try `grep --help' for more information.
livecd:~# /tmp/asdf/bin/ls -la /bin/ls /tmp/asdf/bin/ls
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 80611 Apr 29 16:20 /bin/ls
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root root 75948 Jul 16  2004 /tmp/asdf/bin/ls

Pwned! Turned out to be unstable from about February 2004 with kernel 2.4.22… aaargh. Gave him Ubuntu so that he gets a little pop-up icon when there’s security updates to install in future, and he’s very pleased with it. Might try and do some forensics later, but in the meantime I’ve got some dissertations and finals to stress about for the next month.

Of course, I managed to find time to sponsor a shiny new unison 2.10.1 package, complete with long-overdue Gtk2 support, coming soon to a mirror near you. The old 2.9.2 version is now provided in a unison2.9.2 package for compatibility with woody systems.

If anyone wants to help woody to sarge upgrades for Gaim users by forward porting the ability to import at least your IM accounts from old .gaimrc files, which was removed in Gaim 0.7x-ish, please let me know. I don’t really have time to dedicate to doing it right now.

posted by ramcq @ 10:36 pm
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