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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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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Perl/SOAP::Lite: Rewrite response XML for ASP.NET compatibility

Posted by: gdelmatto  :  Category: Hacks, Perl, Programming

So you finally hacked up your nifty SOAP::Lite web service only to find that it works fine with SOAP::Lite or PHP clients, but ASP.NET terribily fails?
Yes, I should mention, that you must of course write up a WSDL first, especially for .NET, I’ll cover that topic in a follow-up.

This post however refers to a hack that I have done to SOAP::Lite to allow for dynamic response rewriting for different SOAP client implementations.
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Tricking Squeezebox Server into downloading firmware files from local server

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

Gosh … I’ll never (as in _never_) cease my home internet again before moving out of the flat. Here’s another workaround to trick my Squeezebox Server into downloading firmware files from a local server – just because of lack of internet connection. Dooooh!
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Baking Recipe to fix broken MacBook LogicBoard

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks, Hardware

What a shame: After four years of service my 3rd generation MacBook Pro broke last wednesday – obviously a well-known issue with the Nvidia GPU. Strangely enough, this really is easily to be fixed with your kitchen’s baking oven…

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Replacing stock mini PCIe WiFi by DW1390 WiFi on eeePC 1000H

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks, Hardware

This february I had my 30th birthday. My boss surprised me with an eeePC 1000H as an unexpected as well as also a very cool gift 🙂

Ok, I must admit, that I took a glimpse at the tiny netbooks more than once. My dream was to actually run it with OS X instead of Windows or Linux.

So, just the next-day my netbook was OS X-ified (a topic, which I’ll cover later on), only to notice some more or less annoying issues.
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ras_init.vbs: Override And Restore Routes With Windows RAS

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks

When initiating a PPP/PPTP connection through Windows RAS you will usually end up with an altered network default route which will redirect all and every traffic through PPP/PPTP.

There are many cases however where such a behaviour is simply not desired, considering Windows RAS providing you with no way to circumvent this, you’re on your own for once more.

I wrote this script, ras_init.vbs, out of the requirement to restore my default route for normal connections and route only specific hosts and networks through PPP/PPTP.

ras_init.vbs is released under the terms of the GNU GPL, version 2. Any feedback is appreciated.

Note: Some time in the past the code of release 0.3 has been lost. As this script is not actively maintained any more, I will not invest time to redo the bugfixes.
The script would need to undergo a major rewrite, maybe in PowerShell, to work on Vista/Windows 7/Server 2008 anyway.

Change Log:

r0.3 2007/06/06

  • fixed a bug with wrong RAS_Routes array enumeration
  • changed script to figure out language settings on its own
  • addedd support for RAS_Name, RAS_User and RAS_Pass attributes to include whitespace characters
  • added support for Windows Vista (requires administrative privileges though)

r0.2 2006/06/16

  • add support for interactive/non-interactive mode

r0.1 2006/06/13

  • initial release
  • tested on Windows 2000/XP
  • searches through all interfaces and looks for the expected RAS subnet address
  • removes RAS default route and replace it by your local default route
  • optionally set up host/network routes for routing through RAS

FreeBSD patch: enable fsck in mdmfs

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks, jails

This patch is actually a follow-up development to my article on implementing filesystem allocation limits on FreeBSD jails.

My previous article basically lined out how to place jails inside a vnode-backed memory device to enforce filesystem allocation limits. This became possible through a new flag introduced to mdmfs in FreeBSD-CURRENT which allowed to skip 'newfs' (which requires mdmfs actually to be called mount_md to work properly).

This solution is quiet handy as it will automagically mount the container volumes as required. But since we do not live in a perfect world - and computers ain't perfect either - crashes do happen. File system corruption on volumes will prevent jails to startup as their (virtual) root device will fail to mount.
This is where this patch comes in. It will enable mdmfs to optionally run an fsck on given volumes.

To apply the patch, create a new temporary build directory first:

#mkdir /root/mount_md
#cd /root/mount_md

Then get the original source code from CVS. Maybe it’s easiest to get this particular release through WebCSV at

Save this file to your previously created build directory.

If you have wget at hands you can also download it directly.

#wget -user-agent='Mozilla/5.0' '' -output-document=/root/mount_md/mount_md.c

Download and apply the patch: mount_md.c.diff

#wget -user-agent='Mozilla/5.0' '' -output-document=/root/mount_md/mount_md.c.diff

#patch < /root/mount_md/mount_md.c.diff

Compile the source:

#gcc /root/mount_md/mount_md.c -o /root/mount_md/mount_md

Then copy the file to some location you like, eg. /usr/sbin.

#cp /root/mount_md/mount_md /usr/sbin/mount_md
Make sure you call the file as given in the example. It won’t work otherwise.

Special care must be taken that you DO NOT replace your existing mdmfs binary file by this new version. DO NOT overwrite it. Do not rename this patch to mdmfs. Use the names provided in this example instead.

Setup Jail’s fstab

Now check out your jail's fstab and look for this line:

md /var/jails/ md rw,-P,-F/mnt/r5_vol1/jails/

Change it as follows:

md /var/jails/ md rw,-P,-F/mnt/r5_vol1/jails/,-Tufs


md /var/jails/ md rw,-P,-F/mnt/r5_vol1/jails/,-tufs

The difference in the two lies in the '-T' or '-t' argument. Both enable fsck before mounting the volume, hence '-T' runs 'fsck -y' while '-t' does not.

You need also to provide the filesystem type with either option for fsck to work properly.

Policy Filter for ClamSMTP (pf-clamsmtp)

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks

pf-clamsmtp is a perl-written policy filter for use with Postfix and clamsmtp primarily written for one purpose: pass messages to the clamsmtp virus filter only if they don’t exceed a given size.
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Courier IMAP Login Exec (cile)

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Hacks

Courier IMAP Login Exec (abbreviated ‘cile’) is a small patch against the popular Courier IMAP server.

It basically adds a ‘execute script on login’ feature to both pop3d and imapd.
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