Transform Cobalt Raq3 into a Raspberry Pi-powered Media Center

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Debian GNU/Linux, Hacks, Hardware, Operating Systems, Programming, Scripting

Anyone remember these adorable blueish 1U servers made by Cobalt Networks?


While I was never in true love with the Cobalt OS itself, I actually liked the Cobalts Raq enclosure.
So much that I salvaged one while cleaning out a data center last summer. I decided to grant it a second live as a media center box running OSMC.
And of course it’s powered by a Respberry Pi. Nowadays there’s simply no way around those nice little boxes 😉
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Importing Rules and Objects into Check Point Firewall using DBEDIT

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Check Point, Networking

While it’s the recommend way to do, managing your objects and rules solely through Check Point SmartDashboard may be cumbersome.
Bad enough, there exists no real CLI interface, that would allow for real scripting. Well, there exists DBEDIT, which allows for automated creation of objects and even rules … sort of.
However there’s barely official documentation about it, if not Martin Hoz had taken the time to write the very useful Object Filler utility, which you find over at the Check Point User Group.

And unless you don’t want to go into the Check Point OPSEC API, DBEDIT (by the help of Object Filler) is the way to go.
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FreeBSD on the Raspi – Pt 3: How to host the package repository

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Bits and Bytes

Hi Folks, here’s my writeup to conclude yesterdays post on crosscompiling arm6v packages for the Raspberry Pi.

Today I’m gonna quickly explain how to expose the packages repository via http from your build server.

This is part 3 of of my series of post related to FreeBSD on the Raspberry Pi.

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FreeBSD on the Raspi – Pt 2: Crosscompiling ARMV6 packages for FreeBSD

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Bits and Bytes

Hi again. My last post covered the installation of FreeBSD on the Raspberry Pi.

Here’s part 2 of my series on that topic.

As I pointed out last time there’s currently only few experimental packages around, and yet, those few repositories out there are far from being complete.

So it’s about time to see how to build packages for the Raspberry Pi on FreeBSD.
As the Pi isn’t very fast, it’s a good thing to look into cross-compiling packages.
Here’s how.

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FreeBSD on the Raspi – Pt 1: Quick and Dirty Intro (also for Linux-Users)

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: FreeBSD, HowTo's

Tonight I went along to fire up FreeBSD on a Raspberry Pi.
Although I’m in for Linux on a day-to-day basis, my heart truely belongs to the BSDish world.
So why not run FreeBSD on the Pi? Especially since I have an idea in mind to build a very specialized and compact access point for one of my ongoing projects.

A good starting point for this is at
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Enable software RAID on XenServer 6.2

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Bits and Bytes

Bevore we start:

I shall not use this on production servers. I shall not use this on production servers. I shall not use this on production servers. I shall not use this on production servers.

[Daaa daadidaada daa dadada daaa] (The Simpson theme rolling …)

Umm… where was I? Right, enabling a software RAID on XenServer 6.2. Possible? Yes. Recommended? No. Field of use: Poor techies like unable to afford a hardware RAID controller for a simple test box 😉
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Bash Script to rip CD/DVD ISO image on OS X

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Operating Systems, OS X, Programming, Scripting

Apple’s OS X has an easy way to rip a CD/DVD image using Disk Utility program.
However, you’ll end up with a file in that is not in ISO format, thus utterly useless if you want to re-use the file for virtualization purposes or on another operating system unable to handle those .cdr files.

For a one-shot option, OS X provides everything to convert the .cdr to .iso files, which is outlined at

If you do however plan to rip a lot (and I mean, a lot!) of CDs/DVDs to ISO files on OS X, here’s a little bash script I came up with.

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Intercept Cisco’s “write net” command with EEM

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Cisco, Networking

Well, here’s just a quick snippet on how to intercept Cisco’s “write net” command.

Why would I want to do it? Because people are lazy and tend to forget.
So instead of forcing them to remember, that they need to add the ‘/incoming’ directory for config writebacks,
I just let an EEM applet do the trick.

How is it working?

The EEM applet is intercepting the ‘write net’ cli command by matching all inputs against the pattern given.
Whenever the command is seen, it will run my own commands instead. Nice, huh? ;-?

Enough talking, here’s the code:

no event manager applet WRITENET
event manager applet WRITENET
event cli pattern “write net” sync yes
action 1.0 puts “Please wait …”
action 1.5 cli command “enable”
action 2.0 cli command “conf t”
action 2.1 cli command “file prompt quiet”
action 2.2 cli command “exit”
action 3.0 cli command “copy run tftp://tftp01/incoming/”
action 4.0 cli command “conf t”
action 4.1 cli command “no file prompt quiet”
action 4.2 cli command “exit”
action 5.0 puts “Copy stored to TFTP server at /incoming, good bye”

Use Arduino Micro as ISP with ATmega on a breadboard

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Hacks, Hardware, HowTo's

Arduino is super cool, I really love that thing, but …

Who would really want to put a fully-featured Arduino board into each and every project, at least when they’re built to more like a permanent setting?
I guess nobody. Honestly, an Arduino is not expensive to buy, but to expensive, if you want to put dozens of them in place.

So, why not put just the ATmega chip, which drives every Arduino at its heart, inside and leave all the rest away?

This is what this post The RRRRRRRRRRBBA, a $3 Arduino talks about: Just provide power to the ATmega and get rid of all the bells and whistles. You can even spare the oscillator and the resistors.

Well, this is exactly what I wanted. But since I didn’t have the proper gear at hands to flash the ATmega chip, I first had to look into another topic, namely how to turn your existing Arduino into an ASP (in-system programmer).

Here’s some of the pages I came along:

Arduino ISP
Arduino to Breadboard
The Arduino Micro schematic
Arduino Leonardo as ISP
Arduino Micro as ISP and atTiny84A

But I soon found that doing so with an Arduino Micro, the only one I had available at that time, is not as straight forward as with other Arduino boards.
So I did this writeup to cover my findings on this.
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Raspberry Pi with Raspbmc: Getting around Onkyo and Philips woes

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Hardware, HowTo's

The culprit with technology is always the same: to old, to buggy, something missing here and there.
Adding something new usually urges you to add even more to get it running, so in the end, yeah, you know, why didn’t I stay with what I had before?

So to speak recently when I hooked a Raspberry Pi equipped with Raspbmc to my almost prehistoric Philips 42PF9966/10 plasma tv.
The reasing for doing so? Well, I use XBMC on a (jailbroken) Apple TV 2 for some time now and got fond of it.
Yet, for some obscure reason, the ATV2 only works properly when connected to my ultra cheap noname TV through HDMI.
With my Philips TV, the ATV2 would just refrain from working. All I’d get is a black screen and nothing else. Apple declares this being because of the connector type, because the Philips TV offers only one DVI digital input. Well, seems they didn’t know that HDMI was designed for backwards-compatibility with DVI, it uses the same protocols, but … yeah … you know … 😉

So, when I heard about upcoming XBMC supporting the Raspberry Pi, I gave it a try.
I was happy to see that it indeed worked on my Philips TV. But since I had only one digital input, which was taken up by my Bluray player, I had to put a new A/V receiver in between to get enough inputs.

So after hooking up everything to my new Onkyo receiver through HDMI, connecting the later with HDMI-to-DVI to the Philips TV, I soon found that the Raspi wouldn’t give video output. And neither would it give an audio signal. Still, the Sony BD player worked like a charm.

So I connected the Raspi directly to the Philips again, which finally gave a video signal, but only after rebooting the box. After reconnecting it to the receiver, I finally got a video singal through the receiver, but still no audio, and yet, it wouldn’t last after the next reboot.

Reading on some Raspberry Pi internal workings, I found this:

  1. The Raspberry Pi does always fall back to Composite output if no HDMI display is found during startup
  2. If the HDMI display does not support audio capability, audio output on HDMI is disabled

Well, that seemed at least to explain it.
To get around it, I had to to force the Raspberry Pi to always drive the HDMI output, regardless if a display was connected or not.

According to these are the settings, that need to be added to /boot/config.txt to achieve this.


However I still had some issues getting video output to work properly. Especially, I couldn’t get stable 720p output, so I had to force it to 1080i. These symptoms went away using these settings:


Still I had no audio. To get this working, I had do force audio output via HDMI. Additionally, I really had to enable the “ignore edid” data mode, although I wouldn’t expect my Philips TV being a “crappy Chinese one” as stated in the docs 😉


After all, everything works fine now, so no reason to buy a new TV :-)