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Dear Aunt Google, //at 23:45 //by abe

from the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel dept.

this is “Do no evil”—urchin.js isn’t.

For luck, urchin.js and friends can be easily blocked using e.g. Firefox plugins like AdBlocker or NoScript, or with filtering proxies like Privoxy. And a line like

in the dnsmasq.conf of your home router works like a charm, too.

SCNR, via Symlink


Blosxom 2.1.0 released //at 02:03 //by abe

from the Just-in-time-for-Lenny dept.

Today I had the honour to prepare and announce the first Blosxom release after exactly two years and six days.

The primary cause for the Blosxom 2.1.0 release date this week was to get our development efforts of the last two year into Debian Lenny with a nice version number (i.e. one without snapshot dates in the package version ;-). The second biggest cause was that it just was time. But Debian Freezes always give you a good kick in the ass. ;-)

Rhonda plans to prepare an updated blosxom package for Debian during the day. (Update 25-Jul-2008: Packages are available.) So if Planet Debian is broken in a few days, you know whom to blame: Me and my last minute bug fixes. ;-)

But since you seem to be able to read this, the release shouldn’t be too broken – because of course my blog already runs the very fresh Blosxom 2.1.0 release. ;-)

MicroClient Sr. //at 01:16 //by abe

from the *WANT* dept.

About a year ago, I bought a Norhtec MicroClient Jr., a complete 200 MHz MMX-compatible SoC (“Vortex86”) PC so small that it fits into your hand or onto VESA mountings. Althought thought as thin client, the machine has 128 MB RAM and runs Debian from either netboot, USB stick, CF card or 2.5” harddisk without problems and not even that slow.

Later last year, we needed more MicroClient Jrs. at work and since the MicroClient JrSX had a 300 MHz 486SX-compatible SoC processor (“Vortex86SX”) from MSTi and 128 MB DDR RAM instead of SD RAM, we expected them at least in the same performance range and bought a few for ETH and I also bought one for myself. Well, they were about three times slower, since the FPU is missing, not all programs from Debian Etch work fine, e.g. X doesn’t work without patching and recompiling (with Sid, X works, but not the kernel anymore – Update, 26-Jul-2008: See #454776 for a solution for this problem)…

BTW: I had both machines with me at FOSDEM ‘08 at the Debian booth and the MMX-compatible machine also at Chemnitzer Linux-Tage (CLT) at the Symlink booth and in Kurt Gramlich’s talk about ecological computers. So if you saw them there, just imagine the same case, with a twice to three times faster CPU and four times the amount of RAM, but with roughly the same carbon foot-print!

For our thin client purposes at work we now use ALIX boards from PC Engines (Mini-ITX format) with 500 MHz AMD Geode processors. They’re much faster than the MicroClient Jr. and need even less power.

Today, while surfing around on some Mini-ITX shops, I found some computer in obviously MicroClient Jr. case, but with 500 MHz VIA Eden processor and 512 MB of RAM. I first couldn’t believe it. They are selling it as eTC-2500. Since eTC-2300 was one of the brandings of the MicroClient Jr. which is called eBox-2300 officially by the manufacturer DM&P, I searched for eBox-2500, but didn’t find anything useful. Then I looked at the manufacturer’s product page at and found the eBox-4300 — so it’s really true, they managed to fit a board with 500 MHz VIA processor and half a Gig of RAM into the already fscking small space inside the MicroClient Jr. case, and even without needing more power: Still 15W from the power adaptor. Next stop was Norhtec’s Website. And yes, they also have a new MicroClient product: The MicroClient Sr.. I really need to have one of those for my MicroClient collection! ;-)


Debian and GPRS with the Nokia E51 //at 01:33 //by abe

from the written-via-GPRS-just-because-I-can dept.

A while ago I wanted to have internet over GPRS (either EDGE or UMTS) via my Nokia E51 working before I leave for the weekend. But whatever I tried, I always got an ERROR if I sent any AT command. Even ATZ and ATH resulted in errors. So started googling for all components: I found AT commands which are said to work with the Nokia E51, I found AT commands which are said to work with Swisscom GPRS and I found many sites describing how to setup a bluetooth modem.

But since the even those AT commands which should work with both, Swisscom GPRS and Nokia E51 didn’t work at all, I noticed that all the Nokia E51 howtos were using the USB cable. So I tried that, too, and it worked immediately. It looks very strange to me that the set of AT commands is dependend on which way you connect to the phone. :-/

So here’s my working PPP config:

connect "/usr/sbin/chat -e -f /etc/chatscripts/swisscom-gprs"
user "guest"
bsdcomp 0,0
lcp-echo-failure 10000
lcp-echo-interval 1000
asyncmap 0
and the chat script (/etc/chatscripts/swisscom-gprs):
'' \nAT
OK ATD*99#

So I have now four levels of mobile computing available:

Fixing servers while sitting on a park bench at Schanzengraben
  • Nokia E51 with T9 and phone keyboard (for short texts)
  • Nokia E51 with Nokia SU-8W bluetooth keyboard (for longer texts and emergencies, see photo on the right)
  • ASUS EeePC (7", 630 MHz Celeron, 2GB RAM, 4GB SSD) with Nokia E51 as modem (complete computer, but still small, portable and nearly always with me)
  • Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (14" wide screen, 2.2 GHz Core2Duo, 4GB RAM, 160 GB SATA Disk) with Nokia E51 as modem (complete computer with power and disk space)

Should suffice in nearly all situations. ;-)

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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