nxcEditor in Linux

nxcEditor is not in any repositories for Debian or xubuntu (12.10), neither is a recent enough version of gambas3.

To get a recent gambas3 do:
add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/gambas3
aptitude install gambas3

To get nxcEditor do:
wget https://sourceforge.net/projects/nxceditor/files/nxcEditor/nxcEditor_v0.1.1.gambas

You also need nbc and nexttool in /usr/local/bin:
wget https://sourceforge.net/projects/nxceditor/files/nbc_and_nexttool.zip
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 3123348 Dec 20 20:21 /usr/local/bin/nbc
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  557168 Dec 20 20:05 /usr/local/bin/nexttool

Install ia32-libs if you run 64-bit
aptitude install ia32-libs

Have fun :-)



tmux is now the first command that I type after logging on to a system. I've become a huge fan of it!

Some shortcuts:
tmux at (to reconnect)
Ctrl-b % split screen right
Ctrl-b " split screen bottom
Ctrl-b o go to next panel
Ctrl-b q select a panel
Ctrl-b d detach


Web design, bad example

Not even an option to remove the big empty box, excellent thinking IT-World!


post xubuntu install

Growing tired of the unconfigurability of the Ubuntu graphical interface, I decided to give xubuntu(*) a try. Until now, nothing but goodness.

- useful packages not installed by default:
apt-get install vim tmux aptitude nfs-common git
- macbook pro stuff:
aptitude install pommed macfanctld nvidia-current nvidia-common

(*) Yes all my other computers run Debian, but I can't get it to boot on this macbook pro 5.1 (kernel panic - unknown block (0,0) )


Things I do not understand...

1. Everybody I have ever met agrees that Belgium needs one uniform nationwide voting ballot during national elections, allowing all Belgians to vote for all political parties, without any kind of regional or cultural restrictions. So why don't we have this yet ?

2. Out of six train rides I took this week, six arrived late. Worst was about 30 minutes late, second worst about 12 minutes late. Why doesn't the train company create a real train schedule ? Why is management not fired for this ?

3. Most working people have to get to work about 240 days per year. There are 365 days in a year and yet the majority of workers insist on commuting on the exact same time and the exact same days (Monday to Friday), thus creating huge traffic jams. Why not ditch this legacy Middle Aged system of weekdays land use all 365 days of the year in a sensible way ?

4. Why the hell are we changing the time twice a year ? It has been proven multiple times that "daylight savings" is wasting energy!


42 Legacy IT Books

10 euro for this collection of legacy IT books (picture shows one third of the stack). To be picked up or delivered in Antwerp or Mechelen.

1985, Commodore, Microsoft Basic for the Amiga
1992, Compaq, Microsoft Windows 3.1 User's Guide
1993, Hamit, Virtual Reality and the Exploration of Cyberspace
1994, IBM PC DOS and MS Windows User's Guide
1994, IBM User's Guide to OS/2
1994, Introduction to Novell Netware 4 Directory Services
1995, IBM Client/Server Guide (OS/2, Lotus, CICS, ...)
1996, IBM Getting Started and Managing the Library1998, Fast Track MCSE (six books on NT4 MCSE)
2000, Cisco, Huston, Internet Performance Survival Guide (QoS)
2000, Siyan, Windows 2000 TCP/IP
2000, Goralski-Kolon, IP Telephony (voip)
2000, Cisco, Benny Bing, Wireless Local Area Networks
2001, Houde-Hoffman, TCP/IP for Windows 2000
2001, Telindus Telecommunications Glossary
2001, Cisco Systems, L3-Enabled ATM Solutions
2002, iRobot Roomba Quick Start Guide
2002, iRobot Roomba Owner's Manual
2003, Solaris 9 for Dummies2005, Otey, MS SQL Server 2005 New Features
2004, Suse Linux Fundamentals (Novell Training)
2004, Suse Linux Administration (Novell Training)
2004, Suse Linux Administration part 2 (Novell Training)
2004, Suse Linux Advanced Administration (Novell Training)

1981, Kane, Leventhal, Hawkins, 68000 Machinetaal programmeren
1983, King/Knight, De M68000 processor
1984, Chriet Titulaer, Dit zou je moeten weten over computers
1985, Buyst, Structuur en Organisatie van Computersystemen boek 3: binaire gegevens
1986, Commodore, Kennismaking met de Amiga 500
1987, Dittrich ea, Amiga Intern
1987, Palmans, Vensters op informatica
1990, Findlay/Watt, PASCAL inleiding tot gestructureerd programmeren
1990, De Vlaeminck, Verbaeten, Beredeneerd ontwerpen van programma's in PASCAL
1990, Verkoulen, cursus COBOL 85
1992, Buyst, Lagere programmeertaal en machinetaal
1992, Buyst, Computer Apparatuur
1992, Buyst, Structuur en Organisatie van Computersystemen boek 5: datacommunicatie en computernetwerken
1993, van der Lans, het SQL leerboek
1995, PC Undergound (o.a. x86 assembler)
1997, De Essenties van MCSE Networking Studie Gids


When is it ok to spin down a hard drive ?

Dear Lazyweb,

My home NAS has it operating system on a usb stick and data on four sata hard disks that I would like to spin down (so they are less noisy and save some energy). But what if I run an rsync on them every 20 minutes ? Or every hour ? Is it better to let the drives running because the spin down spin up cycle will cause excessive wear on the drive ?

When is it ok to let the drives go to sleep ?

I use this /etc/hdparm.conf for spindown after one minute:

root@gwen:/var/log# cat /etc/hdparm.conf
/dev/sdb {
        spindown_time = 12
/dev/sdc {
        spindown_time = 12
/dev/sdd {
        spindown_time = 12
/dev/sde {
        spindown_time = 12


using bind to block domains

Is this bind usage a good way to block domains on a local network ?

root@gwen:/etc/bind# tail -2 named.conf.local
zone "facebook.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/db.block"; };
zone "twitter.com" { type master; file "/etc/bind/db.block"; };

root@gwen:/etc/bind# cat db.block
$TTL 24h
@       IN SOA ns1.antwerp.local. paul.cobbaut.gmail.com. (
                  2012082800  86400  300  604800  3600 )
@       IN      NS   ns1.antwerp.local.
@       IN      A
*       IN      A

Or is there an obvious better solution ?


Making sense of a serial connection to an ss4000 NAS

update: I consider the unit bricked and will donate it to an open source enthusiast.

I'm trying to make sense of this serial connection on my Intel ss4000 nas (a better picture can be seen here).
I found this dl10-db9 connector in an old computer, should be okay right ?
First problem is that this little cable fits in the pin header in two directions, so I have to figure out the correct way to insert it in the pin header.
The pin header has a whole in its casing on one side, and as far as I can tell from pictures on the internet the red line of this little cable should be on the right side, as in this picture:
I then connect this to a brand new serial cable into a real serial port on another Debian computer. All of the following commands give a blank screen when all cables are connected and the NAS is running(*).

cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 9600
cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 19200
cu -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 115200
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 9600
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 19200
cu -o -l /dev/ttyS0 -s 115200
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 9600
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 9600 8N1
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 19200
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 38400
screen -l /dev/ttyS0 115200

115200 should be the correct transfer rate.

If I connect the little cable with the red line on the left side (pin 9 of the header according to this blog) like in the below picture, then all of the above commands give me lots of garbage (at different speeds...) on the screen.
How can I get this serial connection to work ? Do I have to reboot the NAS with every attempt ?

(*) The NAS does not respond to ssh or ping since the last 'aptitude update && aptitude upgrade' :(


switching backup devices

The sparc backup server from 2005 was up for a replacement. It was too noisy and too power hungry to keep it running, so it was turned off most of the time anyway. I decided yesterday to replace it with a qnap TS-412, but I wanted to keep the four sata disks, and preferably also the data.

One problem is that there is no way for four RAID5 configured disks to insert them into the qnap without them being "initialized" (as in completely erased losing all data).

First I wanted to be sure all four disks where still operational, which I couldn't do as long as the adaptec controller was in the sparc computer, so I had to move everything to an (already full) x86 machine... or not ?

Being a Linux user, I am generally lazy, so I figured it also had to work if I just moved the controller to the x86, leaving the disks in the sparc... not without risks:

1. the 64-bit pci card had to work in a 32-bit pci slot. Some don't... luckily this one did! The picture below shows the Adaptec controller in the x86 on the right, with the sata cables going through the back of the sparc to the four disks.

2. What to power on first, the x86 or the sparc ? Can something break if only the controller, or if only the disks have power ? I pressed both buttons simultaneously... was I lucky that it worked, or is this normal ?

3. The fricking sparc blade 1000 cover has to be shut tight for the sparc to actually power on. Note also the lack of any cables on the x86 (the left), except for the cat5. This computer has been working without keyboard or display since 2003... why bother when ssh and ssh -X can do everything!

4. Will the x86 (running debian) still come up when I add an extra scsi controller? Note that this x86 was installed with Debian ten years ago, and since then upgraded to $currentDebianToyStoryCharacter. It did make the RAID5 appear as /dev/sda, but thanks the UUID= in /etc/fstab it all worked fine!

root@barry:~# fdisk -l 2>/dev/null | grep Disk
Disk /dev/sda: 960.0 GB, 959994396672 bytes
Disk /dev/sdb: 60.0 GB, 60022480896 bytes
Disk /dev/sdd: 200.0 GB, 200049647616 bytes
Disk /dev/sdc: 82.0 GB, 81964302336 bytes

Everything worked, data was copied, disks inserted in the qnap and reformatted and all is up and running.


Just an hour ago Microsoft Windows had a small problem displaying tram and bus information here in Antwerp ;-)


gsm langer laten bellen

U kent het vast wel, uw gsm belt, maar u bent net te laat om op te nemen. De standaard beltijd is op 15 of 20 seconden ingesteld. Vooral bij dames die de gsm in de sjakoche steken, is de beltijd veel te kort.

Hieronder de codes om de beltijd te verlengen naar 30 seconden (de 30# hieronder).

Proximus:       **61*+32475151516*11*30# of **61*+32475151516**30#
Base:           **61*+32486191933**30# of *61*+32486191933**30#
Mobistar:       **61*5555**30#
Telenet:        **61*5555**30#
Mobile Vikings: *61*+32486191996**30#

Langer kan niet, want dat zou de providers teveel geld kosten (de beller betaalt vanzodra de voicemail aan springt, de gebelde betaalt bij het terugbellen).

Persoonlijk zou ik liever de optie hebben om deze beltijd op 60 seconden te zetten, of zelfs langer.

De morgen nov 2010
een forum


gmail new look

Dear Google,

these buttons are easy to use:

these are just plain stupid:

Is there an option to get text on these with the new gmail look ?


Antwerpen ligt in Oost-Vlaanderen

Wil iemand even met een atlas tot aan de vrt lopen ? Hun info over Antwerpen is een beetje fout...


spam hints...

Having catch_all email since 1997 helps keep track of who actually starts spamming you, or who sells your address ;-)



about Loadays, a sore throat and a book

Yes, I was at Load (for the t-shirt) or at least my zombie-self was ;-)

Thanks to airco and teaching 8 or 8+4 hours a day for six days in a row I had lost my voice and sleep. Swallowing is painful with a sore throat, and for some reason the sorer the throat, the more one needs to swallow when trying to sleep :(

Anyway, the puppet tutorial at load was excellent! I tried following the Debian packaging talk from Wouter, but missed the start... and became way too exhausted.

In other news, Load saw the world premiere of a new book, more about this later, when I have a landing page set up for orders ;-)



26 February 1970:
- in the morning there were only 4.834.800 seconds on Unix time
- the Beatles released Hey Jude
- rfc 34 was published
- in the evening Led Zeppelin performed in Stockholm
- one of my uncles was 40 years old

today is 26 February 2012:
- Unix time just passed 1.330.210.800 seconds
- only two Beatles are alive
- rfc count is up to 6533
- I am 42
- that same uncle is now 82


Space: the final frontier

Generation X grew up with a recent history of Moon landings that allowed dreaming about permanent Moon bases and manned missions to Mars in the Eighties.... but both seem to be further away than ever.

Currently the most exciting space endeavors are:

Launched in the summer of 2011 and on a five year trip to explore Jupiter. If all goes well Juno will orbit Jupiter in the years 2016 and 2017.  Jupiter was already explored by the Pioneer and Voyager probes, and while I have no doubts about the scientific value of this mission, I fear that the mathematics behind the Earth flyby next year to speed up its course to Jupiter are more exciting.

China achieved automatic space docking in 2011. They have a small space laboratory named Tiangong and reliable rockets and spacecraft to get there. While I applaud their effort and follow their progress closely, it does feel like repeating Mir and Skylab. Expect one or two spacecraft to dock with Tiangong this year. Their progress is steady, but slow.

Richard Branson has the money and the will to start a space tourist business with SpaceshipTwo. The goal is to fly tourists to space... well almost space since they aim for the bottom of the Thermosphere, well below the ISS (which in itself is barely halfway in the Thermosphere). Flights with paying tourists should start in 2013.

New Horizons
Maybe the most promising of all current missions, aiming for a close encounter with Pluto. (Remember Pluto used to be a planet). Promising because we have not been to Pluto yet. The best pictures today are only ten pixels wide. Expect some nice desktop (or smartphone) wallpapers by 2015.

So... no Mars to stay mission yet, no manned Moon base today, nor are there any plans to return to the Moon (please don't point to babbling American presidential candidates or Russian managers at Roskosmos). Maybe a blog post about Bigelow or SpaceX next year... did I miss anything ?



Vakbonden hebben in het verleden zeker hun functie gehad om op te komen voor basis mensenrechten voor arbeiders. Dat is gelukt, ondertussen leven we in Belgiƫ allemaal in grote luxe. Hoeveel stakers bezitten een eigen huis, eigen wagen, laptop, flatscreen TV, smartphone en hebben nog geld over voor een reis?

Met de bedrijven gaat het minder goed. Het is crisis en de concurrentie uit het Oostblok en uit Azie is moordend. Het laatste wat een bedrijf vandaag nodig heeft, zijn stakers. Staken kost geld, en de winstmarges van de industrie zijn al lang niet meer wat ze vroeger waren. Als ge frustraties hebt met de banken, ga dan naar een andere bank. Er zijn voldoende kleine banken die niet gokken op de financiƫle markten. Maar werk uw frustraties niet uit op onze bedrijven aub.

Maandag wordt er niet gestaakt voor mensenrechten, wel om invloed uit te oefenen op de regering. De vakbonden willen het beleid van dit land bepalen. Als ze het dan toch zoveel beter weten, dat ze dan een partij oprichten. Eigenlijk zou Di Rupo en zijn regering maandag ontslag moeten nemen en tegen de vakbonden zeggen "Doen jullie het maar, en neem ineens het parlement (of alle parlementen sic) over!".

We hebben in dit land teveel! Teveel parlementen ok, maar vooral ook teveel luxe. Vergelijk met Azie, het Oostblok, Noord-Afrika waar men nog volop moet zorgen voor basis produkten zoals riolering, electriciteit, proper water enzovoorts. Daar zijn nog veel mensen die willen werken, die hard willen werken en die blij zijn dat ze werk hebben. Wees dus niet boos als na de staking van maandag blijkt dat bedrijven liever in Azie een filiaal openen dan hier.

Ik ga werken op maandag, want staken heeft alleen maar nadelen voor ons land!