Packaging An Entire Gentoo System

July 31st, 2009

Just a tip as I needed to build binary packages for all the installed packages on a gentoo box:

equery list | cut -d’ ‘ -f3 | while read f; do quickpkg “=${f}”; done

It’s a giant hack, but it gets the job done.

Vista SP1 and EFI on MacBook Pro

June 20th, 2009

Looks like I need to update my triple-boot procedure with instructions for fixing the EFI bug that Vista SP1 introduced. The procedure requires a box running windows (sadly), and a utility called oscdimg.exe which I’ve mirrored. Here’s a quick rundown of the procedure posted at

  1. Download Vista SP1/2008 x64 ISO from MSDN, orgrab your CD
  2. Create 3 folders c:\efi-iso c:\efi-exe c:\efi-dvd
  3. Download oscdimg into c:\efi-exe
  4. Extract iso using 7Zip or WinRAR (Or copy the contents of the DVD) into c:\efi-dvd
  5. Start up a command prompt (Start -> Run -> cmd)
  6. Type: cd c:\efi-exe
  7. Type: oscdimg -n -m -bc:\efi-dvd\boot\ c:\efi-dvd c:\efi-iso\server2008dvd.iso

Evaporation Cooler First Attempt (aka swamp cooler)

May 18th, 2008

Our water collection tray (made of cardboard) got wet and collapsed. So we improvised with black plastic!

There is a fan in another room exhausting air. Cold air comes straight into the living room!

Swamp Cooler

How ssh-agent Works on OS X 10.5

May 13th, 2008

This post discusses how ssh-agent works on OS X Leopard. Very informative.

Rdiff-backup on OS X

May 13th, 2008

Short and sweet

Download my script to automate rdiff-backup installation on OS X.

Longer version with background

I use rdiff-backup to keep all my systems backed up. Rdiff-backup keeps incremental changes and permission information, and only transmits changes over the network. It’s great for automated remote backups. All my Linux systems backup at least once a night, some several times daily to offsite locations via consumer-class internet connections. The first backup is painful if you have a lot of data, but after that only differences have to go so things are pretty smooth. Read the rest of this entry »

The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

May 12th, 2008

A bit dated, but still a good read with thought-provoking ideas about things not to do in the name of security.

  1. Default Permit
  2. Enumerating Badness
  3. Penetrate and Patch
  4. Hacking is Cool
  5. Educating Users
  6. Action is Better Than Inaction

    Fixing Sleep Mode on Portable Macs

    April 26th, 2008

    As discussed in the Macworld article Set newer portable Macs’ sleep mode, it is possible to disable the copying of RAM onto disk when you put a MacBook or MacBook Pro to sleep. I’ve found the recovery from sleep to be more reliable with this feature disabled. Going to sleep also takes much less time.

    I’ve included the relevant portions of the article below for the curious. For the impatient, running the following commands in Terminal will change sleep mode to RAM-only, and remove the memory image file:

    sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0
    sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage

    Read the rest of this entry »

    PC Gaming is NOT Dead!

    April 23rd, 2008

    I read this article on ExtremeTech today and it moved me. The author makes so many great points, especially:

    • PC gaming is NOT dead and us gamers need to let the industry know this!
    • Arguing about whether console or PC gaming is better is completely pointless.

    Maybe you’ll enjoy it too.,1558,2286801,00.asp

    SeaSonic M12-700 Power Supply

    April 22nd, 2008

    For those of you who don’t already know, I’ve been having some power problems lately. I had a 600 Watt Enermax PSU in my system that failed. Upon reflection, I’d guess the poor PSU was overloaded – I have a Q6600 CPU, D975XBX2 board, and GeForce 8800GTX-OC, as well as four 500GB Seagate drives. When the Enermax PSU failed I needed a replacement. The heftiest PSU I could find in Klamath Falls was a 500 Watt Antec SmartPower 2.0. The Antec managed to run my system just fine until I launched a 3D game, then the system powered off or locked up. I solved the problem temporarily by using a spare 300W Enlight PSU to run my hard disks and optical drives. With the two supplies in tandem my computer was stable again – albeit louder due to the open case to allow both supplies.

    A good friend, Ashley, recommended I check out BFG’s ES-800 PSU. It looks pretty nifty, using some new switching technology which changes frequency dynamically with load. Unfortunately I needed a PSU quickly, and the ES-800 is really hard to find right now. As of today it’s still sold out on their website.

    Failing to get the ES-800, I decided to shop around for a new PSU the conventional way. Off to NewEgg, ZipZoomFly, etc. I discovered SeaSonic has a 700 Watt model which looked very nice. When Ashley’s site was more active we had quite a few power supply reviews, and I heard personally from the reviewers about how stable and reliable the SeaSonic supplies are. I took the plunge and paid easily a $40 premium to get the SeaSonic. It arrived yesterday and is now powering my system as I write this.

    The SeaSonic M12-700 has the typical features of modern supplies – thermally controlled fans for quiet operation, modular connectors to reduce clutter, 3 year warranty, case sticker, quad 12V rails, etc. What impressed me most was the variety of auxilliary power connectors supplied. Three SATA power cables were provided, one with four connectors and two with two connectors. This is great for me, I only need to run a single cable down to my hard disks, and a single cable up to my optical drives. Previously I’ve had to run at least two cables down to the hard disks and that just creates extra clutter.

    That being said, the lack of variety in auxiliary power cables disappointed me as well. After being impressed by the SATA connector cables I expected to see the same for all of them. Unfortunately the PCIe 12V connectors came in two styles – one cable with one connector, and two cables with two connectors. The PSU has two connectors for the PCIe 12V cables. For anyone running a single GPU requiring a single PCIe power connector, or two GPUs requiring two connectors each, this configuration would be fine. But for people like me who need two PCIe connectors for a single card there is a cable missing. Two cables with one connector each should have been supplied to facilitate connecting two 12V rails to the single card without leaving two extra PCIe connectors dangling.

    I can’t fault SeaSonic too much – I’ll just leave two PCIe connectors dangling. As soon as nVidia decides SLI on Intel motherboards is a valid market segment I’ll have a use for them, but who knows how long that will take.

    Overall I’m happy with the SeaSonic M12. It runs cool compared to the Antec and Enermax PSUs I had previously and is definitely quiet. It’s been two weeks now running my system and so far no issues have arisen. I think it’s safe to say I would recommend this PSU if you’re shopping for a few more amps to drive those power-hungry GPUs.

    Grillin’ Chickens

    April 15th, 2008

    We do like to grill… nevermind that it’s 10:50 PM and around 40 degrees (Fahrenheit).