pwnd by lenovo

I did't want to write anything about it. I wanted to attribute it to coincidence and bad luck, carry on with my life and forget about it, but after today I can't.

Let me tell you what happened:

02.06.2009 I try to wake my Thinkpad X200s from suspend and the backlight stays dark. Something like this happened before and was cureable by rebooting, but this time it's not. After reboot I'm greeted with the Lenovo logo - I can barely make it out if I hold the display against the light. Great. So I switch the laptop off again and let it sit there for a while without a battery, but the display stays dark. The lid switch also generates ACPI events so that is not the culprit. I guess I'll need to inform Lenovo. Luckily I got the 3 year on site service extension.
03.06.2009 09:32 I report the issue to the IBM/Lenovo ESC (electronic service call) system. Here's what I wrote:

DISPLAY BACKLIGHT STAYS DARK. DISPLAY ITSELF STILL WORKS, ONLY THE LED BACKLIGHT DOESN'T. THE LID SWITCH ALSO SEEMS TO WORK (IT CAN WAKE THE PC, SO IT'S NOT STUCK) MY GUESS: EITHER MAINBOARD OR DISPLAY (BACKLIGHT) BROKEN

A little later they call me and I'm informed that a service tech will probably be here tomorrow. So far so good.
04.06.2009 12:17 The service tech is here (was a nice guy) and he brought a replacement inverter for my CCFL. Wait, what? I bought an X200s with LED backlight. I even said so in my problem description. I provided the model number (7459-5KG) which if you [google][1] for it states it has got an LED backlight. Since I had to provide machine/model number as well as serial number I would have expected the IBM ESC system to filter out the replacement parts that do not make sense (like an inverter card for a model with LED backlight), but it seems that is not the case. (This wasn't the first time - some months ago the hook keeping the battery in place broke and they sent the wrong replacement part)
05.06.2009 20:30 Another service tech arrives - this time with the right part. After he replaced the display panel though we found out that it was cracked. Gah! So the next ETA for the repair will be Tuesday, June 9th. I'll see what fun arrives then.

I wouldn't have said anything on any individual issue. Errors do happen, that's unfortunate, but so is life. All this together though is really making me wonder whether my next laptop will still be a Thinkpad. Unfortunately I see no real alternative except maybe for one of the Toughbooks.

So if anyone is wondering why I'm not on IRC, responding to mails now you know. Hopefully on Tuesday normal operation will resume.

Posted by daniel 06/06/2009 at 00:05


Canon PowerShot S3 supports SDHC

I just had the chance to test a 4GB SDHC card in my PowerShot S3 IS and it works. After formating the card it showed 3.7GB free space. I recorded well over 2GB (the limit for non-SDHC cards) to see if the whole card really is accessible and everything seems to work.

I was a little sceptically since the PowerShot S5 IS is advertised as supporting SDHC and the S3 is not, but I guess Canon just wants to score some selling points on their new model or the old SD controller had SDHC support without them even knowing (or caring at that time).
So now I can get myself an 8GB µSDHC card and use it in any one of my X40, camera or Neo1973 which is pretty cool.

Posted by daniel 31/12/2007 at 03:11


Automatic sorting of mailing lists with maildrop

I'm lazy. I used to sort my mails with procmail and I was hesitant of subscribing to yet another mailing list because that meant finding the appropriate X-Ben-There: (Or List-Id:) header, logging into my server, adding a procmail rule for this list and logging out again, then moving all the mails that arrived before the rule into the folder. This seems precisely like the kind of dull task a computer is good at. :-)

When I started to become involved in the OpenMoko project the number of mailing lists I subscribed to just exploded.

So I read up on the MATCH operator in procmail and came up with the following snippet:

:0
* ^X-BeenThere: \/[^@]*
.ML.$MATCH/

This takes the part matching the regular expression right of the '\/' and assigns that to the variable MATCH.
The problem here is that this only grabs the part before the domain, so announce@foo and announce@bar are both sorted into ML/announce (Folders can't contain @ in their name). Unfortunately there is only one MATCH variable in procmail so there's no way around that as long as you're using procmail. So I had a look at and maildrop.

I find the syntax maildrop uses much more concise (if you know C style syntax anyway). However it seems that you can't define and use functions yourself, which is a little annoying. Especially since you will have to create a new folder yourself if it doesn't already exist.

But anyway here's the snippet, that sorts your mailinglists into folders of the format ML/listname-at-listdomain (replacing the dots in the domain with a hyphen):

if ( /^X-BeenThere:\s*(.*)/ )
{
  ADDR=getaddr($MATCH)
  if ($ADDR =~ /^(.*)@(.*)/)
  {
    LISTNAME=${MATCH1}
    LISTDOMAIN=""
    foreach ($MATCH2) =~ /[^.]+/
    { 
      LISTDOMAIN="${LISTDOMAIN}-${MATCH}"
    }

    MDFOLDER="${MLBASE}.${LISTNAME}-at${LISTDOMAIN}"
    include "${MAILDROPFOLDER}/deliver2folder"
  }
}

Since I can't define any functions I am including files with the required functionality and pass arguments through variables (ugly, but it works). Here's the content of deliver2folder and createfolder (used by deliver2folder):

deliver2folder:

include "${MAILDROPFOLDER}/createfolder"
to "${MDBASE}/.${MDFOLDER}/"

createfolder:

# Check if a maildir folder exists and create it if necessary
# The folder must be in MDFOLDER, the maildir base folder in MDBASE

`test -d ${MDBASE}/.${MDFOLDER}`

if ( $RETURNCODE == 1 )
{
  `/usr/bin/maildirmake -f ${MDFOLDER} ${MDBASE}`
}

Now if only I could convince claws-mail to automatically scan for new folders every time...

Posted by daniel 05/12/2007 at 16:48


GUADEC recap

GUADEC has been over a while now, but I still wanted to say how much I enjoyed being there. The atmosphere was really friendly and I enjoyed the lectures and the talks afterwards at dinner. If I have time I definitely want to come again next year. So thanks to all who crossed my way in the UK and made this. You know who you are.

Posted by daniel 02/08/2007 at 21:37


London madness

Yesterday has been really busy. I'd say bad, but lots of good things also happened to us this day. Alex and I were driving to London after sleeping somewhere close to Weston super-mare. We found the Wookey hole by accident and decided we should take the tour. The caves were pretty impressive with lots of LED lighting inside which made for a really nice atmosphere.

London, however was a completely different story. We spent something around 6 hours searching for a B&B we could afford (I had realized that I lost my debit card at that time). Two really nice people we met in Harrow went through a lot of trouble to get us a cheap place for the night. Many thanks to you two! We finally managed to find something quite nice - by that time it was about 2230.

I'm now sitting in London in an Internet cafe with free wireless internet access and Avenue Q starts at 1700 GMT and all is well again. I even found my debit card which is really embarrassing (such things are known to happen to me) but nonetheless I'm happy we can afford the musical and the fuel for the way back to Birmingham where our plane leaves tomorrow. :-)

Posted by daniel 21/07/2007 at 17:13


Rack upgrade

Some time ago I got a 19" computer rack for free from a bank branch that closed. Actually Stefan spotted the offer on our local LUG mailing list and planned on installing it in his server room, but unfortunately the rack was too big.

Lucky me :-)

I disassembled it completely, but even then the inner frame was too large for the elevator. Jan, Stefan and I had to carry it 12 storeys high. Thanks again guys, I owe you (and I hope you'll be there when I move out ;-).

I recently installed a UPS and two shelves in my rack and threw out the big 17" monitor. I think the result looks a lot nicer.

Here's a before/after picture:

My rack My rack

The rack now consists of (from top to bottom):

  • CMC Rittal rack monitoring and security system. The door is locked with a keypad, but you can open it anyway, if you know where to place a strong magnet (so much for security)
  • Two shelves with computer related books and CDs
  • Rittal KVM switch (unused)
  • Fonera access point
  • Nortel BayStack 450-24T 24 port 10/100 switch
  • My server, an Athlon TBird 800MHz (so if you ever wondered why this site is so slow here's the answer), which is housed in an old SCSI storage controller. That controller had some cool features like a LCD text display, 18 dual color LEDs and 5 big fans not to mention the 18 5.25" slots. I already have a PCB designed to control all of this with an ATMega8 chip but it will be some time until I find the time to finish that project.
  • APCSmart 700 uninterruptible power supply

Posted by daniel 28/05/2007 at 01:21


Comments disabled

A comment recently asked:

Any bunch of thoughts about protecting blog from hijacking?

Yeah, I'm disabling comments. Sorry, but this spam just annoys the hell out of me. If anyone wants to contact me, please use e-mail instead. I do get lots of spam mails, but I can deal with that in a far more efficient manner than with the comments on this blog.

Posted by daniel 08/05/2007 at 03:05


Jabber on totalueberwachung.de

I finally configured my local jabber server for multiple domains. And the whole procedure was really painless, too. I just followed the instructions on: http://www.jms1.net/jabberd2/

My previous domain, thebe.orbit.homelinux.net, will still remain active in parallel to totalueberwachung.de as there are quite some people registered (mostly friends and their friends) and I don't want to force anyone to switch, especially since migrating the contact list is not trivial.

Anyone can join that server, so if you are in need of a jabber account feel free.

Posted by daniel 08/05/2007 at 03:00