They finally figured out how to make ubuntu rock on wifi…

They have a new laptop.  It came with Vista Ultimate, but even now, the bluetooth on windows never works as it should — not that they are surprised. Since they use bluetooth really often (to upload photos from the camera on the phone they have), this is a problem.

OK, not much of a problem.  They like linux, they run servers for a living, so they installed Ubuntu.  Nice!  Bluetooth works flawlessly! But, sadly, using wifi on Ubuntu is a pain.  Truly a sub-optimal solution.

Until they found wicd. Wicd supports browsing available networks, remembers WPA or WPA2 passphrases, and supports every other type of wifi encryption they have heard of (and a few they have not heard of).  It also automatically connects to available networks. For ubuntu, it is available for dapper, edgy, feisty, gutsy and hardy — that is to say, any decent version of ubuntu.

All they had to do was:

echo ‘deb http://apt.wicd.net hardy extras’ > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wicd.list; apt-get install wicd

(I did that as root; you may need to ‘sudo /bin/sh’ first) followed by adding the ‘/opt/wicd/tray.py’ to the gnome startup session.

Now, they have both wifi and bluetooth, and rarely — if ever — boot into windows.

If you are running linux on a machine that moves between wireless networks regularly, wicd is definitely worth a look.  They are quite pleased, and recommend it highly.

And why are they going on about this?  Because google searches did not lead they to this solution without much searching.  Hopefully, this article will be found and help out more folks.

Long time coming…

they.com is now running on new hardware!

There was a happy congruence of tax refund check and Dell having a sale of 45% off servers, so the 8+ year old system (a sun netra t1 with a 900MHz ultrasparc IIi, 1G RAM and an external 30G drive) has been replaced (by a poweredge 2750, with 2 2GHz AMD processors, 8G RAM, and 6 160G drives with hardware RAID). After running for 7 hours, the new system has yet to swap memory to disk!

They have also made the switch from Debian GNU/Linux to Gentoo.

There will still be a few things to work out — for example, they have not decided whether or not to re-export the /docs/ directory (which they don’t think they will do again), and some wordpress upgrading differences have yet to be fully resolved.  Also the installation of gallery2 seems to not want to display .3gp videos, so they need to figure out how to hack that back in again.

For now, though, they are just glad to have made the switch, because they can now re-enable spam filtering on the server, and now have virtual mail delivery (so that there are fewer hackable login accounts).

Oh, and since it doesn’t take over a minute to make a post on wordpress anymore, you can expect more frequent posting!

Here is the new server last weekend, while they copied over the gallery images to save bandwidth:

DSC00826

WordPress 2.1 upgrade complete

So, they upgraded to wordpress 2.1 tonight. So far, things seem to be going well.

They had some issues with the widget page and the links list (now called blogroll), but overall things went smoothly.

To solve the widget page issue, they had to hard-code /wp-includes/js/sciptaculous/ into the newest version of widgets.php, but everything else went smoothly.

Oh, and the spell-checking built into the visual editor rocks!

Network statistic, or political commentary?

They were intrigued by this week’s nanog posting of the

BGP Update Report
Interval: 30-Jun-06 -to- 13-Jul-06 (14 days)
Observation Point: BGP Peering with AS4637

TOP 20 Unstable Origin AS
Rank ASN                Upds     %  Upds/Pfx    AS-Name
1 - AS15611           19231  1.6%     206.8 -- Iranian Research Organisation

They hope it is simple ironic coincidence. Nonetheless, they wonder how North Korean ASN’s are faring…