2015
08.29

So went to the “Brewfest, Meantime and friends” event in Greenwich near the o2 and what a disappointment.

This event costs over £20 to get in if you book tickets in advance not including the payment processing costs so I was expecting it to be rather sizeable, but what it actually turned out to be is a handful of tents serving various beers, nothing else there at all…  heck there wasn’t even any clear indication of where people with tickets should go to “enter”.

Essentially for £20 you get less than 2 pints a small glass and that’s about it, yes they had some very nice beers there to try but far far to expensive for what it was.  Really disappointed and if I was the Meantime Brewery I’d have been ashamed to put my name to it.   You’d have to be a die hard beer fan and live locally to get value out of it, when you add the costs of travel it’s easily the most expensive beer I’ve ever had.

Ended up going into the O2 for Lunch, taking a ride of the Emirates Cable car thing and going for a walk around London.

Bah Humbug…

2015
03.06

I recently ordered an item online, it’s a fairly small item which should be easy enough to deliver, however that seems to be much to difficult for Yodel to actually manage and I’m currently going through Yodel hell.

The item in question was supposed to be delivered to a Doddle shop on 4/3/2015, Doddle being a company that will receive your parcels for you and allow you to collect them, saves waiting in all day.

Doddle is open till 20:00, Yodel deliver to 21:00 so I make a point of telling Yodel this.  Imagine my surprise when tracking updates at 17:44 stating they left a card and couldn’t deliver…  Turns out they tried to deliver to the company next door, not like Doddle have a Massive purple doddle sign outside their building or anything…. Oh wait yes they do!

Doddle

 

  • At 19:30 I go online an request redelivery for 5/3/2015 (This is where I get the email confirmation that shows the wrong address), their system confirms this and I contact Yodel to inform them about the wrong address.
  • 5/3/2015  – Thursday  Comes and my parcel is still at the service centre… WTF I speak to yodels twitter team about this since the live chat they are supposed to have on their website doesn’t appear to be there and I’m not spending ages on the phone to try and talk to them.
  • 6/3/2015 – Still shows as being in their service centre, you’d think given the requested re-delivery date is the 5/3/2015 and they’d failed that they’d show some initiative and load it onto the van for today, apparently not.   I’ve re-requested delivery for Monday online (Since if I don’t I fear my parcel will be stuck in Yodel hell for all eternity) and also asked them to bump it to Saturday at their expense… Who wants to bet they don’t do either or they try to deliver to the wrong address again, after all the redelivery request still shows the wrong address with apparently no way to change it.
  • Update : 11:00 6/3/2015 – Yodels twitter team have responded stating they’ll verify the address and try and arrange it for Saturday, so we’ll see how it goes.
  • Update 18:33 6/3/2015 – The twitter team say they’ve emailed the depot but as of yet i’ve not had an update from them, so I don’t know if they’ll even try delivery tomorrow or if I need to wait till Monday,  heck I don’t even know if come Monday they’ll even try and deliver to the correct location…  I’ve also sent an email off to the retailer’s support team to see if they can push Yodel from their side (Should have done this at the start I guess.)
  •  Update 9/3/2015 – Parcel still didn’t go out today despite scheduling it well in advance,  tracking shows

“Current status: At Service Centre

We are sorry, but it appears your parcel has been delayed. Please find details below” – there are no details below other than the note to say I requested delivery today, I suspect they’ve lost the parcel and don’t want to admit it, the twitter team simply state they have contacted the depot but never seem to follow that up with an actual update.

  • Update 11/3/2015 – It seems that the driver may not be at fault for the incorrect delivery, it looks like somewhere the address got changed, wonder if someone has a system setup to update the address based on PAF data.  However it looks like whatever this is doesn’t then verify the updated address with the user.Still doesn’t excuse them for losing it once it went back to the depot however.

 

  • Update 20/3/2015 – I finally have my Item, although no thanks to Yodel. I was able to arrange an alternative option with the retailer that didn’t involve Yodel, I suspect they still have the hell of trying to recover the missing items from Yodel but at least I should now be out of Yodel Hell.   Well that is until next time I order something from a company that uses Yodel as their courier.

 

I have the following suggestions for Yodel to prevent  re-occurrences

1) Since Doddle is a place to take parcels and it should actually make it easier for yourselves the more people that use them (Multiple parcels in one drop) it would make sense to make your drivers aware of their locations and opening times.

2) If your corporate site is going to direct people to live chat on myyodel.co.uk then make sure the live chat is there, working and staffed.  If this had been the case I wouldn’t be moaning at you on twitter!

3) If it’s to late for something to be re-delivered next day then don’t offer it on the online system, if you fail to load the item onto the van in time then contact the customer or at least load it for the day after.  Just leaving it sitting there in limbo is not acceptable.

 

 

 

2014
09.27

This is more to remind myself than anything else… but also if it helps anyone then that’s a nice bonus.

Originally I had Zimbra and Z-push on totally different domains, using 2 Public IP’s but I recently moved them and in the new Location Public IPv4’s are less readily available than they were before… That and using 2 IP’s was a bit wasteful anyway.

Obviously with IPv6 that wouldn’t be an issue… but we all know how widely supported that isn’t at the moment 🙁

Reverse Proxy config for ZCS FOSS and Zpush to run behind the same public IP

Needs Nginx 1.7x or newer if you want the proxy to validate the SSL cert of the backend server…

You will probably need to use the same certificate in your default config as it seems most activesync devices don’t support SNI.

Taken from Various forum Posts sadly I don’t recall exactly where, otherwise I’d be happy to link back to them.

In my case it’s passing the active sync traffic back to Apache/PHP, I believe it’s possible to run z-push using a php fCGI instance and then passing it directly to PHP from Nginx but I’m more comfortable passing it to Apache for now.

server {
listen 80;
listen 443 ssl;
ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/Mycert.bundle.crt;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/Mykey.key;
server_name mail..mydomain.net;
tcp_nopush off;
keepalive_timeout 65;
tcp_nodelay on;

location / {
proxy_pass https://MyZimbraURL/;
proxy_ssl_verify on;
proxy_ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/mycert.bundle.crt;
proxy_ssl_verify_depth 2;
proxy_set_header Host $host:$proxy_port;
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr:$proxy_port;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for:$proxy_port;
}

location /Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync {
access_log /var/log/nginx/activesync.log;
proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding “”;
proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8099/Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync/;
}
}

I think the real key here is the proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding line as after adding that things started working,  I may look into this configuration further and see if I can optimize it as I suspect it’s not the best.

One of the tweaks I may make is to revise the logging locations as I’m sure eagle eyed readers might have spotted I specify a separate access-log for the activesync traffic, but not for the general traffic to zimbra (which is still logged btw, just not to it’s own file)

I’ve also edited /etc/hosts on the Nginx machine so my zimbra domain resolves to the internal IP of the zimbra server (It’s behind some NAT sadly)

2014
05.17

Recently picked up a couple Acer Aspire XC-603 desktops as they were rather cheap (£129 inc VAT on offer @ Ebuyer) but come with FreeDos which isn’t really particularly useful for most people.

A lot of reviews state that they only work with windows 8, a few others were stating they would work on windows 7 after a Bios update but that Linux can’t be used on them, I can’t speak for other Distros since I’ve not tried any (Yet at least) but Kubuntu 14.04 can certainly be installed on them.

Mine Shipped with Bios P11-A1L After changing a few Bios settings mine seemed to have no trouble booting Kubuntu 14.04 from a USB stick.

Note: if the settings below do not work for you or are missing you might need to update the Bios first, the Acer download for the Bios appears to be windows centric but I’m led to believe the driver CD downloadable from the Ebuyer product page can be booted from to flash the Bios. (I didn’t bother trying as mine was working)

For Linux try the following Bios settings.

Set the Hard-drive to ACHI mode (Advanced > Integrated Peripherals)
Set USB key emulation to HardDrive (Advanced > Integrated Peripherals)
Set secure boot off (Authentication) 
Set Launch CSM to Never (Boot options)

You should now be able to boot your Kubuntu installation media.

Once you have Ubuntu/Kubuntu You can install the XBMC Media centre following the instructions here

You will probably need to go into the sound settings on both the desktop and XBMC and change the default audio output to HDMI if you have the PC connected to a TV/Theatre system, it seems to be able to output at least 5.1 over HDMI.

 

Just for reference the Specs of this machine (Taken from the Ebuyer site) are as follows:

Processor

  • Intel Celeron J1900 2GHz
  • Quad-core (4 Core)

Memory

  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Expandable to 8GB

Hard Drive

  • 500GB SATA

Optical Drive

  • DVD Writer

Software

  • Operating System: Free DOS
  • Click here for Windows 7 drivers

Display

  • Not Included

Graphics

  • Intel HD

Input Devices

  • Keyboard and Mouse NOT Included

Networking

  • Ethernet Technology
  • Wired LAN RJ-45 port

Power Supply

  • 220 Watt

Dimensions

  • Width 369.6 mm
  • Depth 266.5 mm
  • Height 100 mm

Interfaces

  • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ-45
  • Audio Line In
  • Audio Line Out
  • 1 x VGA Port

Expansion

  • 1 x Mini PCI Express Slot

Warranty

  • 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty

 

Update: 3/7/2014 : There are mounting holes for a 2.5″ drive in the HDD bay meaning you do not need any adapters if you wanted to replace the HDD with an SSD.

Also sound over HDMI doesn’t appear to work out of the box in Kubuntu 13.10 (The lesson there is don’t go about installing the OS when half distracted by something else, Hadn’t even noticed I’d burnt a 13.10 image to my usb key instead of 14.04)

2014
05.10

Many people use VPN’s either to remote access internal networks, or Perhaps to provide an additional Layer of security when accessing the internet at an untrusted location such as a public Hotspot.

However with the increasing deployment of IPv6 it’s possible some people are not as safe as they might think.

You see it’s possible to get into a situation where if the network the user is connected to supports Both IPv4 and IPv6 but the VPN only supports one of these (most commonly IPv4) that traffic to any host using the other protocol bypasses the VPN entirely.

This is certainly true with some OpenVPN based VPN’s on windows and I suspect the problem is not unique to OpenVPN or windows for that matter either.

One work around is to temporarily disable IPv6 on the client device (assuming you can, on some mobile OS’s it’s almost impossible) this will of course mean you can’t get to any IPv6 only services, but any services using both IPv6 and IPv4 should still be reachable over v4.

Hopefully once IPv6 deployment accelerates and VPN software gets better IPv6 support this will be less of a problem as ether the VPN itself will be IPv6 enabled or it will at least be able to stop IPv6 leaking data when the VPN is established.

 

Update: 17/5/2014

Thanks to Jeremy’s comment below,  I’ve realised that this post might come across that OpenVPN does not support IPv6, I’d like to clarify that OpenVPN itself can indeed support IPv6 and force Default routes (So that even IPv6 will go via the VPN) however it requires the network hosting the VPN concentrator to support IPv6 and for the VPN to be configured to support IPv6.

It’s down to the way the VPN concentrator is configured rather than down to OpenVPN itself.   I cannot comment on other proprietary VPN solutions as I’ve not tested them.

 

2014
01.11

Arrgh Linux (AGAIN)

Following on from http://www.fbdragon.co.uk/2013/10/05/arrghlinux/

I thought I’d give Linux as a “Desktop” (Well Laptop) OS another shot, this time using Mint 16.

Sadly it’s still not in a fit state for daily use, that’s pretty disheartening given most of the apps I use these days actually have Linux equivalent.

The problem is as always one of drivers, specifically Nvidia drivers, whilst they’re better than they used to be they still cannot handle Optimus with multiple monitors.

I wouldn’t even care if I was forced to have the Nivdia GPU doing all the rendering, it has to be powered up anyway since the HDMI output is directly connected to it, I almost had it working but I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t switch my displays around so the Laptop display is the Primary.

I also couldn’t adjust the positioning of the displays, every time I tried to reconfigure Xorg to tell it the HDMI display was on the left it just crashed.

Do the people who write this stuff never use more than one monitor or something?  It seems to be something that shouldn’t be difficult to get right but quite clearly it is.

 

Anyway if anyone else is in the same boat here’s some resources that might help

 

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=153078&p=808293#p808293 < – Forum post on optmius in mint 16

http://www.noobslab.com/2014/01/install-lightdm-display-manager-in.html <- (needed for Graphical login after installing the nvidia drivers I believe)

http://negativo17.org/complex-setup-with-nvidia-optimus-nouveau-prime-on-fedora-19-2/ <- Guidance on multiple monitor support using Nvidia drivers and optimus/prime

 

Don’t ask me about the monitor positioning, never did figure that one out 🙁

2013
10.05

Arrgh Linux!

Right this post is basically a rant…

I seem to have a love hate relationship with Linux at the moment, for things like Servers and embedded applications it’s great.  Many of the day to day things we take for granted wouldn’t be the same without it, It’s in everything from your DSL router to your smart TV, heck the server that powers this site is running Linux.

But for an OS for your Home PC It still sucks.

It’s annoying as it’s a good solid OS but it’s driver support for things like GPU acceleration often leave a lot to be desired and not through the fault of the Linux devs either, it’s usually the Vendors who refuse to give the Dev’s the information they need to write a proper driver.  Instead they’ll push out some proprietary driver (If you’re lucky) which usually is a bit broken and doesn’t get updated anywhere near as often as it should do.

Also there are plenty of annoyances like settings not saving properly when done via the various GUI configuration utilities.

Maybe the upcoming SteamOS will change things a bit, I’m hoping it will take off in a big way because if it does then things will hopefully improve all round

Namely

1) People might think about usability more, so that you don’t get half broken apps (particularly for setting configuration) and there’s more consistently between applications.

2) Hardware vendors will hopefully pull their fingers out their backsides and actually start writing decent drivers that support all the features of the hardware and not just the most basic ones, after all they’re motivated by profit and if a large enough percentage of the market is using a particular OS then they’d be stupid not to put the effort into supporting it.

 

2013
06.30

Had a case recently where my gaming performance was absolutely shockingly terrible, to the point where the game I was playing was like a slideshow.

Now I’m running a GT555M in this machine so it’s not the fastest thing in the world but most games are usually playable on it.

I decided to look into the possibility of overclocking my video card slightly to see if that helped and this is when I came across an interesting fact about the Nvidia drivers.

If the driver crashes for whatever reason they go into a failsafe mode which runs the GPU at a very low clock speed (Just over 200Mhz in the case of my GT555M instead of the 590Mhz it Should have been running at) it seems the only way to fix it is to do one of 2 things.

 

1) Reboot the machine

Or

2) If you’re running a machine with optimus you might be able to get away with disabling/re-enabling the nvidia card in the device manager

Optimus machines use a combination of the Nvidia and Intel cards, I’m not really sure what would happen on a machine with just one video card, I think it reverts to the standard VGA driver but I’d suggest one doesn’t try it just in case they end up with no video output.

 

2013
05.19

So I was staying in a Marriott hotel and wanted to connect my Laptops HDMI out to the TV, Should be simple right…. Nope no obvious way to select the damn HDMI input.

Anyway after searching I came across

http://www.avsforum.com/t/847387/marriott-hotel-32-lg-question#post_22147891

For Me pressing 0 worked, although I did manage to confuse their control box at one point causing the tv to stop working for a couple of minutes.

The other thing that apparently might work is to disconnect the cable from their control box to the TV (It’s the one that looks like a network connector) but if you do this don’t blame me if they come looking to see why their TV dropped off the system… Also don’t forget to plug it back in when done.

 

 

2012
12.31

Ebay are F**king Useless

So a while ago someone signed up to ebay using my email address. Despite telling Ebay this many months ago and even going as far as emailing their CEO’s office and receiving a response that they will sort this I am still getting emails for this other account.

It’s annoying as my other account forwards to my main one which means as well as my own messages I get someone elses, Despite telling ebay the data they hold is incorrect they don’t seem to want to rectify this.

This seems to Mirror other attempts I’ve had to contact ebay over the years about various things, including once trying to report a bug in the checkout process if you had a paypal balance in a foreign currency.

I.e they’re completely useless and talking to a brick wall would probably prove a more constructive thing to do.

I just hope I never Ever have a problem that cannot be solved without contacting them as I fear I won’t have any sanity left if that happens….

 

Update: 6/2/2013:  

Looks like I’m not the only one having problems, although for this guy things are even worse.

http://arstechnica.com/staff/2013/02/ebay-fraud-and-me-the-sequel-a-pathetic-end-to-the-debacle/

 

Oh and they STILL haven’t managed to actually remove my email address from this other persons account