Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson is no more!

I was never a pop freak, nor a MJ fan. Have hardly listened to any kind of 5 English songs in a row.

Just came to know that Michael Jackson is no more, thanks to a video comment on youtube! This news confirms it.

He was definitely controversial :) I dont know much about his career/life/songs or dance so better not make any statement. So just enjoy the video...

And here is an interesting link about his face :D

Friday, June 19, 2009

Home Server Project - Remote management and configuring alets about system/hdd temperature

The box is back in its final place - my personal-data centre. As observed before, closed cabinet adds warmth to the cabinet and adds almost 10 degree Celsius in the temperature reading. For now, it would remain uncovered and temperature lies between 50-60C

This rack is 8 feet above the ground hence turning the machine on is a challenge. WOL came to rescue. The onboard NIC supports wake on lan so I got one wol utility from internet. There are plenty available. I tried with two and both worked well.

Sendmail for google apps has been already configured for this box. The box is able to mail whenever apache has been started or stopped. To extend this further, I am trying to schedule cron jobs to mail me temperature status of various components. A quick tutorial and hddtemp package is now able to send me HDD temperature over mail, every 15 mins. Following command has been scheduled for it

mail -s `hddtemp /dev/sda | awk '{print $2$3}'` < /dev/null

I am still trying to get sensor temperature but not able to get HTML mail out. It looks like a permission issue. The script works fine when ran as root, but not when through crontab.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home Server Project - Configuring PHPMyAdmin

The steps are getting tougher :) I had to spend a complete day trying to setup phpMyAdmin on the server. It was crazy.

I was able to install php and php-mysql correctly. phpMyAdmin is needed to manage databases using browser. I could otherwise login to CLI and manage things well. Decided to configure phpMyAdmin and it ate up whole day.

First I was stopped by SELinux...

Jun 14 12:16:16 atom setroubleshoot: SELinux is preventing the /usr/sbin/httpd from using potentially mislabeled files (/var/www/phpMyAdmin-3.1.5-english). For complete SELinux messages. run sealert -l b25683a9-e1ea-429d-aa13-4130012ee64d

Tried renaming folders but no luck. One option was to disable SELinux but it was not straightforward either. after a lot of searches and reads, found the simple solution. The error itself asks to run sealert command. Ran it and it tells what to do to stop this from happening!

Next was the Apache authentication prompt. It turned out to be lack of configuration for authusers and authgroups, well not easily again, took another hour I think :)

Now page would just indicate on top corner - PHP 5.2+ required. This was a bummer. I thought it was there, but it wasn't. The DVD ISO was on the client laptop, so thought of copying it over to server and see if php 5.2 was there. The copy software indicated 40 mins ETA for copying over 54Mbps WIFI connection. "Why not copy it by 1Gbps crosscable network?", I asked myself.

The copy broke after connecting using crossover link. Apparently the server lost DNS servers by this and sshd broke. grrrrrrrrr....

Another hour worth of fiddling finally got this done. Just to tell me that the default php that came with installation was 5.1.

Next step was to download PHP 5.2 manually and compile. It was done and next problem - PHP would work fine on cli, just wont enable itself with httpd :|

I decided to go back completely on 5.1. I had avoided pointing to CentOS repo since begining. I tried doing it now. I had to manually edit repo files to replace $releaseserver by "5". And it was faily quick.

Finally at night the brain worked. I installed older version of phpMyAdmin and that was all that I needed to do in morning :) :) :)

Hopefully I can start writing php-mysql toy-code tomorrow!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Server Project - Configuring Apache

Apache configuration is otherwise pretty straightforward. You can choose to build from source or via the packages.

The services will be installed by default and Apache will serve you its default page as soon as the service is started.

Tricky part is to get the pages served over internet for the FQDN -

My ISP assigns me dynamic IP. Luckily the router supports DynDNS. So I setup DynDNS client and let it update DynDNS records every time it got up new IP.
My existing domain -, has been registered using Yahoo! Small Business. I added a CNAME record so that the beta webserver name - points to my DynDNS alias.

On the server, the hostname and DNS suffix has been setup for its internet domain - After that edited the apache configuration files and add ServerName directive for correct domain. The server also needs to be given static IP on home LAN.

The router firewall needs to be updated so that port 80 is forwarded to the webserver's internal IP and port 80.

Now I am able to connect to from outside!!!

PS: This breaks sometimes though. I guess this happens when the router is restarted and IP changes before DNS servers on Internet flush their cache. This can be solved by restarting apache and network services on the home server first. Turn off router for a minute and power it back on. That should take care of it.

Home Server Project - Configuring Sendmail (for gmail)

This one was tough!

I was always intimidated by sendmail :) My interaction to it was limited to disabling it at startup because it used to hang at bootup :)

For the home server, decided to set it up so that I could be notified for different events. There are many links that explain how to setup sendmail for gmail but it took me little longer to decipher it and get it up. Config is complicated by the fact that gmail uses SSL for mail acceptance via SMTP and sendmail is not friendly for beginers :)

Check out the links that were more useful

After lot of fiddling around, the mails started flowing :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home Server Project - First extended UAT run

Its up for 12 hours today

# uptime
23:11:35 up 12:30, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Temperature is now in little control. I got one cheap HDD cooler and removed two small fans from it. Adding these fans to the case has brought down cabinet and CPU temperature to less than 60...earlier it used to hover around 70!!!
Keeping the case open reduces it further...problem with Zebronics chotu cabinet is its SMPS. The SMPS generates more heat and heats up entire cabinet. I had kept a sponge sheet under motherboard because it shorted itself before. But I think that blocked bottom went in the cabinet.
Now its removed so hopefully aiding ventilation.

After 12 hours, following temperatures are noted

Adapter: SMBus I801 adapter at 2000
in0: +2.55 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +3.32 V)
Vcore: +1.15 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +2.99 V)
+3.3V: +3.28 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.38 V)
+5V: +5.00 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +6.64 V)
+12V: +12.31 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +15.94 V)
VCC: +3.30 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +4.38 V)
in6: +1.58 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +1.99 V)
in7: +1.77 V (min = +0.00 V, max = +2.39 V)
SIO Temp: +43.0°C (low = -127.0°C, high = +127.0°C)
temp2: +53.0°C (low = +40.0°C, high = +70.0°C)
temp3: +47.0°C (low = -127.0°C, high = +127.0°C)
cpu0_vid: +2.050 V

Not bad at all!

Managed to create and configure Apache with a self-signed certificate. The web page is accessible from outside world. But for few minutes, the pages stop serving from internet domain. Not sure why. If I used the DDNS provided, it works flawlessly.

Need to check with ISP if they can provide static IP. I had requested that in application form but they nicely ignored it :) Bunch of craps...

Good to see things moving a step everyday ! makes me happy!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Intex USB TV BOX drivers

Drivers for this are not available from Intex website. I purchased the tuner and missplaced the driver CD.

The tuner quality is not so great and you need to select "CATV" method if you are tuning cable TV signals. If the quality had been good, the accompanying software could have made it a great deal to buy.

Original manufacturer of this box is "newmi" and drivers can be found at following location

Hope this helps

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Home Server Project - HD Playback check

I was sceptical before attempting HD movies.
Intel Atom 330 is able to handle HD playback fine, while folks on web dont feel so.

I downloaded some HD movies from net and played back -both the 720p and 1080p variants. Both play smooth and CPU utilisation doesnt shoot up. Not sure if I am missing anything...I am running them on a TFT screen set at 1024x768 usng onboard 945GMA.

Someone please let me know if things change when you run it through HDMI.

PS: upgraded Windows XP SP3 and system started rebooting yest night. Did a system restore and things are back fine. Good news is that the ADMTek wireless card is able to connect, however only if the antenna is in line of sight. Not bad anyway. Havent been able to configure it yet in Linux, maybe tonight!