Month: July 2013

Upgrades and installations

These days I run a HP Microserver N40L with 3 x 2TB drives in a software raid5 on Debian linux. This machine has been performing a number of tasks, I did upgrade it to Debian 7.1, however wanted to really rebuild it.

I’ve been wanting to implement lxc, however I got it working on a virtual machine with some hacking around with a Debian host, however when i went to redo it couldn’t get it to work. Despite the research I did.

Looks like Ubuntu 12.04.x LTS has a good out of box setup for lxc, and based on that fact I think the first time in a long while I am going to change the machine from Debian to Ubuntu purely to make use of lxc which seems to work out of box without much fuss.

I attempted to do the install lastnight and as part of that install I changed my boot drive from a 500Gb to a 250Gb drive. Post install all I got during grub boot was GRUB displayed in top left corner. I tried all sorts of things to resolve it. Wasted a bit of time doing so. In the end I went hang on I changed the drive, is it possible the drive boot order got screwed up. Sure enough it had, and once I set the order correctly we could now boot. Looks like when the system tried to boot one of the other drives which had no grub files (basically nothing for stage 2 etc).

Raspberry Pi with RTL8188CUS 802.11n wifi adapter

I did my research and determined that if I wanted WiFi on my Raspberry Pi I should stick to a model that can also run in Access Point mode for hacking around with, and sure enough I settled on a Realtek RTL8188CUS chipset one.

If anyone is interested, I purchased mine from this ebay seller here. This is a direct link to the one I actually got, in fact I bought two since they were cheap and I do have two Raspberry Pi’s after all.

I am using the blog post here, to determine if I can get it to do something. So far so good, see the output below;

michaelf@tom ~ $ dmesg | grep rtl
[ 6.792640] usbcore: registered new interface driver rtl8192cu
michaelf@tom ~ $ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9512 Standard Microsystems Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp.
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:2838 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL2838 DVB-T
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter

I followed the post and sure enough it works. if you want your RPi to still use a static IP with the br0 interface you can use the sample one below.

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
auto br0
iface br0 inet static
bridge_ports eth0 wlan0
bridge_fd 1
bridge_maxwait 0
bridge_hello 3
bridge_maxage 10
bridge_stp off
address 192.168.n.14
network 192.168.n.0
broadcast 192.168.n.255
gateway 192.168.n.254

allow-hotplug eth0
iface eth0 inet manual
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual

If you want to setup the WiFi adaptor in client mode, you can follow the information on this post here. Which I can confirm works, as I got it working with my adapter.

Asterisk and Voice Over IP

Purchased a humble Linksys/Cisco IP phone SPA922 and installed it earlier in the week. However wasn’t able to use it until the power brick I ordered arrived. It came later in the week.

Been a long time since I installed asterisk, but I have fond memories that it was very awesome once you got it working. I struggled a little, but somethings were easy and others not so. Thanks to a friend who helped I managed to configure everything I needed and even got it to talk to my provider MyNetFone which I purchased a DID from to use from Sydney 02 region.

After tinkering Friday evening I got the inbound working and outbound working. My next step was to get IVR working on the inbound calls. I got this done on Saturday morning and evening.

Very happy with the setup so far, have subsequently copied over my configuration and voice files onto a Raspberry Pi where I have setup raspbian and installed asterisk. I choose to run it like this as I found the pabx based distro with the nice web interface confusing. What I have got works, and works well so far more me. Will continue to work/tweak it.

So far so good and very impressed.

Raspberry Pi

Purchased 2 new Model B Raspberry Pi’s. The model now that has 512Mb ram. Plan is to use one for some SDR stuff and the other looks like might end up being used for Asterisk, as I am getting a Linksys desktop VoIP phone configured with it. Looking to setup a DID with a provider and do some testing against it.

Purchased a single unit first and after testing for a week found the new models to be very good, so purchased a 2nd unit this week.

HobbyKing Remote Control Car Purchases

I wanted to purchase a remote control that my sons and I could use together, and it needed to have good parts support. i.e where parts could be purchased for every aspect of the car.

After some research I decided to give some of the products at HobbyKing a go.

I ended up purchasing two car’s, and the following items too, as the car’s come ARR (almost ready to run).

Will be doing more posts about these HobbyKing car’s we purchased, as it’s hard to know what to order when things break, so I will share my experiences with them.

Confluence 5.1.4 installation and configuration on Linux

Over the past 2 years or more I’ve become a bit of an expert and/or go to person for Confluence. Below is my notes on how I would do a Confluence 5.1.4 deployment, please note it will not be a detailed process. We will have some assumed knowledge.


  • Linux client/server installed
  • apache2 installed
  • mysql installed (I use mysql still)

Download the Confluence 5.1.4 bin file and copy it to your client/server. Since we will be using mysql, we should also download the mysql connector per the Confluence documentation. See step 6 on this page here.

1. Create the mysql database that you will use for your confluence;

mysql> create database confluence_wiki character set utf8 collate utf8_bin;

2. Create a mysql user with a password and provide it the privileges required to access the database above;

mysql> create user ‘conf’@’localhost’ identified by ‘password_string’;
mysql> grant all privileges on confluence_wiki.* to ‘conf’@’localhost’;
mysql> flush privileges;

3. You can check the account privileges via the command below;

mysql> show grants for ‘conf’@’localhost’;

4. Now chmod 755 the Confluence 5.1.4 bin file you got and execute it. Run through the installation and define your install path and confluence data path.

5. Extract the contents of the mysql connector archive and copy the jar file to the path below;

<Confluence installation>/confluence/WEB-INF/lib

6. Before you now point your browser at the Confluence to complete the setup, I would recommend you stop and start it. Below is the scripts you can use to perform this.

<Confluence installation>/confluence/bin/
<Confluence installation>/confluence/bin/

7. Now you can point your browser at the URL stated back at the end of step 4. Complete the installation as needed, following the Confluence installation documentation.

If you’d like for your users to be able to access the Confluence via an apache2 vhost, without the need to remember the servers name/ip and port for the Confluence installation you can do the steps below.


Ensure that you have the DNS setup for the vhost, so clients go sent to this webserver.

1. Setup the vhost configuration file in Linux distribution specific way. i.e. Debian is /etc/apache2/sites-available

Sample vhost configuration file;

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAlias wiki

ProxyPreserveHost On

<Proxy *>
Order deny,allow
Allow from all

ProxyPass / http://localhost:8090/
ProxyPassReverse / http://localhost:8090/

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log

# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
LogLevel warn

CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

If my vhost was called, it would send all client connections to to the localhost:8090. Thus serving out the default confluence installation just completed prior above. If you have multiple confluence installs on the client/server, you would just make as many vhosts as you need and modify the port on the end to point to each unique confluence install.

2. Ensure you have installed the proxy* modules for apache2 and have them enabled. i.e. Debian is the location below;

root@bravo:/etc/apache2/mods-available# ls -l proxy*
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 87 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_ajp.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 355 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_balancer.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 97 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_balancer.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 803 Mar 3 23:07 proxy.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 95 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_connect.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 141 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_ftp.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 87 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_ftp.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 89 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_http.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 62 Mar 3 23:07 proxy.load
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 89 Mar 3 23:07 proxy_scgi.load
root@bravo:/etc/apache2/mods-available# pwd

They can be enabled by running “a2enmod proxy_ajp” etc.

Be sure to restart apache2 when all done.

3. If you have everything configured correctly, you should be able to access and get set to the confluence install you completed previously. I would recommend updating the hostname in the confluence console to use the vhost if it all works, so any links that get generated now use the vhost.

— That concludes things.


Farewell Bindi – several months on

It’s now been nearly 2 months since our Labrador Bindi passed away. You can see the post here for more details on that very sad event.

Immediately post the event I must say I was feeling pretty sad, and it was really difficult to be reminded of it. We miss her and it’s been hard when our oldest son asks about her. What can you tell a 4 year old? Not a lot I don’t think. Can’t talk about death that’s for sure. We merely said she was away getting better with the vet.

Even nearly 2 months on I still find myself thinking about her every so often. Especially when we see something that might remind us of her.

Remote Control Fun

Met up with some friends today and we all had a bit of fun with our remote control cars. As you can see from the photo below it was a bit hectic.

I’d recently got a hand band GoPro mount so decided to mount my GoPro Hero3 on my head so that it could just capture photos every 5 seconds constantly. It actually captured some good photos to be honest. Will be using it more in the future.


Raspberry Pi – Model B – 512Mb

I purchased a Raspberry Pi – Model B – 512Mb[1] version to have a tinker with. As I noticed this model came out at some point.

I previously had some 256mb models and they ran pretty well however had a few limitations with them which affected what I needed to use them for. It appears so far the newer 512Mb model hasn’t had those issues so far. The problem I had was during reboot from command line the unit would hang during post and/or hang randomly.

I am going to check out OpenELEC again and see how much it has improved, in addition I have ordered a DVB usb tuner [2] that is being used for SDR. As I want to run some of that off the Raspberry Pi (RPi) to see how well it performs. Will post more about this soon, once all my hardware arrives.

[1] – Element 14 – Raspberry Pi – Model B – 512Mb cased.
[2] – Ebay –┬áRTL2832U & R820T DVB-T RTL-SDR+DAB+FM USB Digital TV Tuner Receiver.