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Monday, November 07 2016

Experience with my Mediatek MTK8382

I recently purchased a Mediatek MTK8382 tablet to keep around the office for ancillary functions related to my work, things like scheduling, time tracking, messaging, and so on. It seemed a reasonable enough risk to take, those functions being also available to my workstation and Android phone...

"SD card suddenly removed...", "Unfortunately, <app> has stopped..." came with increasing frequency and eventually left the thing useless. I tried all of the usual fixes, from factory reset to uninstall/reinstall of every balky app, and finally found The One True Solution: I pulverized the piece of garbage with a sledgehammer, rendering it completely crash-proof.

→ committed: 11/7/2016 16:28:20

[ / technology / miscellany] permanent link

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Saturday, October 03 2015

AnyMote/Nakamichi NK5 Soundbar Remote

If you've got both the AnyMote Smart IR Remote app and a Nakamichi NK5 sound bar, here's a Nakamichi NK5 AnyMote remote for you, all ready to go.

I created it using AnyMote's "Learn Remote" feature and the factory original remote, then set up the button layout to match that of the factory plastic piece. I changed a few of the buttons to show icons rather than text, but that's easily enough changed if you want to have just text on the button labels.

Enjoy!

→ committed: 10/2/2015 18:11:21

[ / technology / miscellany] permanent link

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Tuesday, September 22 2015

Yes, My Internet Connection Is Flaky

If you're wondering why artsackett.com is having trouble receiving mail and delivering web pages: My connection is flaky right now and it's too late in the day to call the business-hours-only support line.

With luck we'll have fiber to the premises by late Spring...

UPDATE 2015/09/22: Tentatively Relieved
It appears that the bits and pieces between my office and the rest of the internet are all playing together nicely now.

→ committed: 9/21/2015 20:04:51

[ / administrivia] permanent link

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Friday, August 21 2015

Restoring Hulu Video On Debian Jessie

If you're running Debian 8.1 "Jessie" and are a Hulu subscriber, you've probably just received a nasty surprise — the new Hulu DRM will hit you with an error that starts with "One time loading experience to make the rest of your life better" and then an error code. No movie. No joy. If that's what a better life looks like, I'll be quite content to stick to the not-better life I've already got, thank you very much.

I was just about to tell Hulu to take a flying... and go back to Netflix, but I haven't yet found the secret sauce that will enable HTML5 video to make sound on my system. I decided to defuckerize Hulu instead, and though it's a purely evil hack it seems so far to be working just fine. Here's what I did on my AMD64 workstation:

DISCLAIMER: Following the instructions that follow might cause all manner of horrible things to happen to your computer. Proceed at your own risk.

First, make sure that your system backups are current, safe, and within easy reach just in case things go very badly. Then:

You may need some development libraries in order to successfully make and install hal-info — being a developer I've got scads of -dev stuff already and didn't run into any problems. If you run into a glitch, you'll probably have to STFW for the solution. Please don't ask me for help unless you've got a credit card and will be happy to pay my exorbitant hourly rate.

First things first: Extract the hal-info archive, configure, make, and install it. It'll complain that you don't have a great enough version of HAL installed, but you can safely ignore that warning because at the moment you don't have any HAL at all installed.

If you don't have the equivs package installed, install it now:

apt-get install equivs

Then create a fake hal-info package to make apt happy:

equivs-control hal-info

Make the resulting hal-info file look something like this:

Section: admin
Priority: optional
Standards-Version: 3.9.2

Package: hal-info
Version: 20091130-1
Maintainer: Art Sackett 
Architecture: all
Description: Dummy package to make APT happy with source-compiled hal-info
 HAL info dummy package.
 .
 Created using equivs to get apt-happy.

Then:

    equivs-build hal-info
    dpkg -i hal-info_20091130-1_all.deb

That'll keep APT from crying about the missing dependency on hal-info when you install the downloaded hal.

Then, as root, and in the directory into which you've stored all of those heinous Ubuntu .deb files:

  1. dpkg -i libhal1_0.5.14-8ubuntu2ppa5_amd64.deb
  2. dpkg -i libhal-dev_0.5.14-8ubuntu2ppa5_amd64.deb
  3. dpkg -i libhal-storage1_0.5.14-8ubuntu2ppa5_amd64.deb
  4. dpkg -i libhal-storage-dev_0.5.14-8ubuntu2ppa5_amd64.deb
  5. dpkg -i hal_0.5.14-8ubuntu2ppa5_amd64.deb

Assuming nothing caught fire, exploded, or leaked out of your computer, you can reinit or reboot your machine and try viewing a Hulu video. It might work. It did for me.

For The Record: I always advise very strongly against installing Ubuntu packages on Debian systems, but in this case I ignored my own advice and got lucky. There's no way I'd install a full, real HAL from source because it would very likely hose up a modern Debian system — HAL has always sucked almost as badly as Flash, which I suppose is why Adobe chose to make DRM in Flash depend upon HAL in the first place.

If you give this a shot, please leave a comment below with a few pertinent details about your system and whether or not it worked.

→ committed: 8/21/2015 00:46:00

[ / technology] permanent link

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Tuesday, June 16 2015

I Read Your Email!

NL;PR. (Not Long; Please Read!)

Being a system administrator, I read your email. Of course I do. If you didn't want me to read it, you wouldn't send it to me. I want you to read the email that I send to you, too, but I don't set your priorities so whether or not you read the email I send is entirely up to you and I'm not going to worry about it.

Starting today, Monday June 15th, 2015, I will assume even if I have reason to believe otherwise that all email that I send to you and which is accepted for delivery by the mail server(s) for your email domain:

  1. will promptly be read and understood by you;
  2. will be retained by you for future reference;
  3. addresses a subject which is unimportant to you at this time if you do not promptly act upon any action items contained within it.

If you're a current client I'd be thrilled to hear from you that you got as far as reading "the magic word" which is (intended humorously): nihilarian.

→ committed: 6/15/2015 21:15:00

[ / administrivia] permanent link

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Tuesday, May 19 2015

Temporary Office Closure

I'll be out of the office from the afternoon of May 22 through May 31, reopening on June 1, 2015.

During that period I'll continue monitoring systems under contract and will respond to system failure alerts as always. Everything else will be on hold until the 1st.

→ committed: 5/18/2015 19:16:36

[ / administrivia] permanent link

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Thursday, May 14 2015

Client Security Quickie

As you may be aware, and certainly are if you have reason to be, I am somewhat fanatical about information security. It's a habit that's been with me for just about 35 years now, so it has become second nature. I was thinking just a few minutes ago about a hole in my security practices that requires an unconventional approach to remediation, and the result is here.

If you have reason to be concerned about the security of data that you own that I store for you, you might wish to periodically look in on that file and verify its cryptographic signature. If you don't have my public key, it's here. It would be a good idea to grab it long before you need it, and to rely upon it only if you've independently verified its validity — perhaps by talking about it on the telephone with me.

→ committed: 5/14/2015 00:26:37

[ / technology] permanent link

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Thursday, February 05 2015

Limited Duty This Week

I'm fighting some respiratory disease that's trying to make itself at home in my body, so I'll be on limited duty for the rest of this week.

UPDATE 2015/02/09: Almost But Not Quite
I was hoping to be back to 100% by now, but I'm not. On the up side I believe that I might actually survive this vicious microorganism. I'm taking it one day at a time, and will update here when something changes.

UPDATE 2015/02/10: Another Not Quite Kind Of Day

Improvement continues, some work may be accomplished, but I'm still nowhere near able to talk on the phone.

I wonder if it's possible to overdose on mentholated cough drops.

→ committed: 2/4/2015 18:35:41

[ / personal] permanent link

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Wednesday, December 24 2014

2014 Holiday Shutdown

I'll be out of the office until January 5, 2015.

All server monitoring and monitored server emergency response will continue as usual, but I'm not handling any non-emergency business or servers that are not under contract. It might be possible to bribe me to work, but it'll be quite expensive.

Happy Holidays!

→ committed: 12/23/2014 17:47:53

[ / administrivia] permanent link

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Saturday, September 13 2014

Cell Phone Upgraded, Old Number Gone

I've recently acquired a new cell phone and with it a new carrier because the carrier I was using doesn't support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Accordingly, my number has changed. I'm not going to post it publicly because I don't need to hear from every salesdroid with a web browser and an offer I cannot refuse. If I somehow managed to leave you off of the bulk mail recipients list so you don't have my new number, please email me about it.

If you need to get in touch but don't have my email address handy, you can use my contact form.

Yes, the HTC One (M8), Google Play Edition, is a schweet device.

→ committed: 9/12/2014 21:10:09

[ / administrivia] permanent link

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