Very much old news now, but the shenanigans with ISO certification of OOXML and the loading of ballots, corruption at the heart of a standards body and basic disregard for genuine fair play are very well summed up in this recent Groklaw Article HERE. As it happens, from my current country of adoption, France.

But they have also finally joined the Kerberos Consortium, a very good thing, and one very close to my heart/work at the moment. Back in 2000 they were very much under severe fire for what was seen then as a attempt to modify/adapt and cripple Kerberos interoperability with the main standard. But finally they have seen some sense and joined with all the other major players. Read it HERE.

If only all stories could be like the second rather than the first, it is to our own detriment if we do not force them to be, by lobbying our local governments to investigate other options and vote with our own wallets when we buy a PC (Take an EeePC or an Ubuntu Dell Machine).

Mono-cultures in nature and in IT ecosystems are similarly bad, when there is no choice the market/gene pool stagnates and we lose out.


Read an interesting if somewhat far fetched research article published on the BBC. Aparently RAM can retain data for 10mins to several hours (if cooled to -50c).

The Link to the BBC Article:

To bypass this I hearby suggest to BIOS manufactures (And I put it here in a “prior art and you can’t claim it as a patent”, think “Patent Pending” by Homer in the Simpsons when he notices the ex-con is around for dinner with Marge) add a function where-by the OS at the end of it’s shutdown process can call the BIOS to wipe all RAM to 0s and flip them to 1s a fewย  times wiping memory. Not being a Hardware designer maybe there is something that would prevent this but I can’t see what it would be.

Maybe something for the OpenBIOS guys to implement ?

I suppose the rule applies, beware of suspicious looking individuals with tanks of liquid nitrogen on thei backs ! ๐Ÿ˜€

(Usual disclaimer applies: Use this on a test system, I don’t claim this to be bulletproof if you’ve made changes etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰ but it should work ! ie. did for me on a fully running system )

Install cacti via aptitude as per usual, loads of guides out there for that; configure it etc. can even add hosts. It doesn’t break anything, so this can be an upgrade on a current running system.

Download Hardy’s cacti deb from

Install that locally, you’ll then need to follow the upgrade process via the browser again. Be careful if you used cactid rather than the php script you’ll need to make sure it’s not looking for spine (the new cactid name) which hasn’t changed as of yet.I simply modified the path in the config to point at the current cactid binary file.

Afterย  all that, check it’s running, it should be ! Then you can grab the Cacti Plugin Architecture from

Best thing to do here is make a quick backup of /usr/share/cacti/site

cd /usr/share/cacti/

sudo cp -a /usr/share/cacti/site /usr/share/cacti/site_BACKUP

Then untar theย  plugin-arch tarball to the /usr/share/cacti/ directory and copy the directory within and the patch file into your /usr/share/cacti/site directory and follow the details on the page to patch them, note do not overwrite files as this totally messes up the changes Ubuntu has made to the Cacti package.

There’s a tiny fix needs to be applied though, edit the file /usr/share/cacti/site/includes/global.php and on line 57 (on mine anyway) and modify it to

$config[‘url_path’] = ‘/cacti/’;

The patching proces changes that to $config[‘url_path’] = ‘/’; which means all the graphics disappears etc. which is obviously not good !

That should be it… one thing to note is so far the CLI tools for cacti are not in the Ubuntu package. Dead simple to add these. Just download the 0.8.7a tarball from and extract it somewhere. Inside it is a cli directory, that can be just copied into the /usr/share/cacti/site folder and you can add graphs, hosts etc. via the CLI tools.

Enjoy… ๐Ÿ™‚

Baring any omissions by me (This was done from memory)

While maybe not as exciting (ok not even remotely) as getting an Astronaut up in Space, it’s pretty cool that the main management software on the International Space Station’s Columbus Module is developed by an Irish company. Fair play to the folks at Skytek for their obvious hard work and fingers crossed all goes well on the next launch attempt in January ๐Ÿ™‚

Silicon Republic Article

Skytek Main Site

How Very Del Trotter ๐Ÿ™‚


I get my internet via Neuf Telecom here in France. During a recent upgrade I discovered that my router now had a new totally open/unsecured SSID of “neuf”. Anyone using this can get free internet from my connection. These users are totally walled off from my network (assuming no code problems!) and can do whatever they want. It seems folk in the UK will be getting a taste of this soon.

It does make me wonder, what happens if someone downloads child pornography, breaks into a banks computer or even downloads copywrited material over my connection. Am I liable… hardly !? Is it a sly way for Telcos to protest to the obligation of having to keep records for over a year…..they’d be rendered pretty useless with an open access point.

Anyway it’s a very good idea in my opinion (assuming my neighbour hasn’t got the Police racing to arrest me as I write this), the internet should be as freely/easily accesible by whoever as possible (I’m not condoning illegal practices) although I wish my neighbour had it before I got internet and I could have just leached off of them ! *sigh* ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ooops – People under suspicion by the Police for criminal activity are probably not the best source for a Marketing campaign…

Nicely combined with this, which I have been at the rough end of in a previous job. It’s not fun, basically a case of prove yourself innocent rather than innocent till proven guilty. I even have FAST accreditation battle scars to prove it….

  • IBM’s New Security Spaces Site

There’s a small bug in Ubuntu when you install mplayer-plugin for Mozilla. Two extra links need to be created to get it to recognise DivX files and play them back in a browser. It’s simple to fix. At a terminal type:

cd /usr/lib/firefox/plugins/
sudo ln -s ../../mozilla/plugins/
sudo ln -s ../../mozilla/plugins/mplayerplug-in-dvx.xpt mplayerplug-in-dvx.xpt

Restart Firfox and now you’ll be able to click on a DivX file and it will play properly.

Happy viewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone who knows me will know I have a love for all things aviation and space. The past week I have been glued to Nasa TV listening to the idle chatter from STS-118. I don’t know what it is about someone bolting something to a large can whizzing over the Earth at 17,000MPH+ that interest me, (“Changing Rooms” in space !?)…. well maybe you do, which means you are just as bad ! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also like to know where the ISS is. I love the chart they have in Mission Control plotting its course along the Earth. It’s pretty cool to think if you look up now and conditions are right you might catch a bright star like object crossing the night’s sky. Well here’s how you can using Kubuntu/Debian.

First off we need to install KTrack and a couple of extra packages to get up and running.

At a terminal run:

sudo aptitude install ktrack libhamlib2 libhamlib-dev xplanet

Note there is a bug with the current ktrack package in Ubuntu/Debian that does not properly resolve dependancies. The libhamlib-dev package needs to be entered manually to get around this otherwise it’s going to be crash city for ktrack. Xplanet adds the nice background 3D worldmap.

Now we can also add this script I wrote to pull the “Two-Line-Elements” from Nasa/AMSAT. These are basically the numbers required to define the ISS and other satellite’s orbits around the Earth. The code should be put in /etc/cron.daily/update_nasa_tle script file. Easiest way to do this is

sudo nano -w /etc/cron.daily/update_nasa_tle

Then when the blank file opens up, copy this text and paste it using right mouse button menu or shift+insert

Here’s the script:

NOTE: This was edited as I since discovered a bare text file which didn’t require any sed work.. oh well !


#We will work in temp
cd /tmp

#Grab the file from AMSAT

cp nasabare.txt /usr/share/apps/ktrack/nasa.tle

#Now we clean up the temp file

rm /tmp/nasabare.txt

Then make sure you make it executable:

sudo chmod 755 /etc/cron.daily/update_nasa_tle

I’m not sure how often this file is updated, but doing it daily should catch it (It’s most likely weekly), and it’s a tiny file so they won’t exactly be swamped by the bandwidth usage !

Now all you have to do is set your location when you start up KTrack, select the satellite ISS in the selection menu and make sure you turn on XPlanet in the Options… and if you fancy set it as your wallpaper.

Yes I don’t get out much ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

KTrack Showing The ISS & Hubble

EDIT: In case anyone wants it, here’s the previous version of the script to strip out the satellite info from the non bare file.


cd /tmp

cat nasa.all | sed -e ‘/./{H;$!d;}’ -e ‘x;/AO/!d;’ | grep -v “/EX” | grep ‘.’ > /usr/share/apps/ktrack/nasa.tle

rm /tmp/nasa.all