Categories: 3d printing (14) arcade cabinet (6) arduino (2) backup (4) blogofile (4) dns (8) mailbox alert (62) making (12) projects (116) RAID (4) rants (24) raspberry pi (2) site (26) ultimaker (4)

mailboxalert 0.13.2

2009-12-22 | Permalink

Ok I finally got around to trying out Mailbox Alert with Thunderbird 3. There were a few nasties hidden in the changed API’s, but I am quite certain I found most of them. FWIW, i’ve been running it for a day here and it all seems to work fine.

Oh and the license is now officially BSD.

Note that those are the only things I did in this version, there are no other changes.


Direct download


2009-12-11 | Permalink

I am very much aware of the release of Thunderbird 3.0, and Mailbox Alert will be updated as soon as i get to it. Unfortunately i have neither the time nor the access to a machine where tb3 actually seems to run for the next week or so, so it’ll have to wait for a bit.


2009-10-16 | Permalink

It’s here! It got in yesterday, making the total count 134 days.

I see that by now the game has gotten cheaper, though the package was gracefully accompanied by no apologies at all.

Thanks Play.


2009-09-11 | Permalink 3-5 days delivery. Unless it’s longer. A lot longer.##

Being a pretty regular customer at, with around 60 orders placed over the last couple of years, I never really had to deal with their customer support. Once, quite some time ago, I had an order that didn’t arrive. I sent them an e-mail, and they sent another copy. Very nice.

So a while ago a friend and I decided it was time that we go and tackle Resident Evil 5 together. We both ordered it (of course at play!) and agreed to set apart a bit of time to play the coop mode, since the single-player version isn’t that great, if the demo was anything to go by.

Being in the Netherlands, we’re used to orders taking up to a few weeks sometimes, I guess it’s something to do with customs over here. So when the order didn’t arrive, I waited until more than a month had passed before i reported the item as missing.

Full of hope I went back to the site to find the e-mail address I used last time to report a missing order. Turns out you now have to apply for a form, which is then sent to you, you have to print, sign and send back over snail-mail.

But sure, I can see that they don’t want everyone to report fake missing items, and that there should be a bit of a hurdle to get your order resent, so I just printed and signed it, and sent it back.

And sure enough, after about a week I got an e-mail:

“Cool”, I thought, “We’re gonna be playing this somewhere next week.”

That is now exactly 58 days ago.

Turns out, by the time my missing item form got processed, the original one was out of stock. And apparently having outstanding (missing item) orders isn’t really a reason to be quick with restocking.

After a few weeks I sent them an e-mail (yes, contrary to what the site seems to say, you can actually e-mail them), but of course I got a standard reply'

Never mind that they had another version of the same game for the same price, still in stock (just checked it, by now that one is also sold out).

All this time, every few days my friend, who already has the game and wants to start playing, asks me whether it’s in yet. How nice of him to wait for me :)

Of course I could just ask for a refund, but by now I’m actually wondering how long this is going to take.

Bets may be placed.

Since the original order, we’re now at exactly one hundred days, and counting.

mailboxalert 0.15 a

2009-01-06 | Permalink

It’s been quite some time, and it will be quite a bit more, but I have restarted work on Mailbox Alert. I’m just about rewriting the whole thing to add a few much requested options. Don’t exactly know which will make it into the next release though, just hang in there ;)

In the meantime, someone told me of another configurable notification tool, Notifu. Haven’t tried it myself, but it looks really nice.

Oh yeah, and a happy new year :)


2008-10-11 | Permalink

So, I finally got my hands on an Eee. There’s only one store over here that sells the Linux version of the 901, which is the only model that has exactly everything I’d want from it. Here are my experiences with it so far.

I’ve played with it for a couple of day now, and am very happy with it. It came with Asus’s own software based on Xandros, which was not really to my liking; the software I use most isn’t directly available, and the default interface could be a bit slicker. It did boot really fast though.

So I threw that out and installed Ubuntu Eee . This is very much a work in progress, and therefore a lot of features you really want from a laptop/netbook don’t really work out of the box. However, the sheer power a ‘general’ Operating System gives you, while still directed at such specific computers, is great. Also, since the Eee seems to be pretty popular, and there is still an overseeable number of different configurations, people tend to run into the same problems, and most are easy to find and fix.

Here are the ones I ran into so far:

By default, the Fn-F5 combination does not work. It doesn’t do anything at all. Here is a wiki page describing how to fix this. When you have done this, it is also trivial so change the default resolution it uses, and as a bonus, you get to learn how to do it manually, if needed.

Switching the wireless off using Fn-F2 crashed the system. Yes. Crashed. The. System. This was quite a surprise, to say the least. Turns out that the internal driver somehow screws things up if the wireless networking interface is still up. The default scripts do bring it down, but apparently the chipset has been changed between Eee versions, and the wrong interface is brought down. So, replacing the ifconfig down statement with the correct one fixed this. Again, a little bonus is that you get to tweak how the switch button works (for instance you can decide whether bluetooth should be shut off too. I think i got the information from the comments on this bug report.

Hibernation did not work either; after the default install, the swap space was too small to store the suspend data. Recreating another swap space on the second disk did not work for me either; it somehow immediately seemed to start up again. I got around this by installing the uswsusp package. Now hibernation works fine. This was pretty important to me, because Ubuntu Eee boots a lot slower (about a minute from cold start to a logged in state where you can start to actually do anything). Getting out of hibernation takes about 20 seconds now.

The final problem I encountered, and for which I unfortunately have no fix at this time, is IPv6. It appears to support IPv6, and gets both a link-local and a global scope address. The routing table seems fine, and ICMP works. But unfortunately, TCP does not; I did some experimenting with netcat and incoming packets are handled just fine, but it will not send out any tcp packets at all. They don’t even show up on a local tcpdump. I did notice that the iptables modules for IPv6 were not loaded, but loading them did not seem to work. I will continue to play around with this and if I find a solution I’ll post it. In the meantime, please let me know if you have one :)

Apart from these issues, or maybe even because of them, I am very happy with my little netbook. It is a lot snappier than I dreamed of hoping for, and with Ubuntu Eee, it has a really nice interface. The battery life is also amazing, so if you are on the road a lot, or just fancy a really tiny laptop that can still do some pretty heavy lifting, and if you are not afraid of doing a little work to get the most out of it, I heartily recommend the 901.

PKCS11 library

2008-09-10 | Permalink

Here’s another one from my software wish-list, a full implementation of PKCS#11 as a software library.

Let’s do this as a little brainstorm, in the form of a small FAQ.

A software implementation of an API that is designed for hardware interaction… For the love of crypto, why?

Very good question! The reason I’d like to see a software implementation is simply because not everyone has cryptoki hardware available at all times, or maybe even not at all.

However, in order for libraries or other products to support cryptoki hardware, one would have to either make an elaborate plugin structure, possibly depending on multiple cryptographic libraries, and perhaps even implement it’s crypto multiple times using different API’s.

Of course, one solution is to take a general crypto API such as the very nice OpenSSL project. However, due to its design and implementation, getting it working may be a little more work than one would expect.

So, a completely new crypto library then?

Yes, well, hmm. Implementing all the algorithms is probably going to be a problem; this stuff is hard. So we could make it depend on another library. Again, OpenSSL comes to mind. But that would pose a possible problem; why create a library that implements an API that is then again possibly used by one of the libraries that it uses?

So a more ’light-weight’ crypto library would be nice. Or maybe the cryptographic functions should indeed also be implemented, thereby keeping the number of dependencies low.

So how would it work?

It might be necessary to provide a daemon service; it can store keys and other data in it’s own location that is not readable by other users or software. On the other hand, having yet another service running on a computer that may or may not want to use cryptographic function through this api might be a bit much, so another solution that does not have continual state would be nice.

And when exactly will this be done?

Just a little while after somebody decides to build it, of course! Or maybe a long while. Until somebody (which very well may be me, if i find the time, and the energy to get to it) actually makes a start, it certainly won’t be done.

OpenID Library

2008-07-29 | Permalink

So here’s one idea:

An OpenID 2.0 Library, in C minor.

There are already a lot of implementations of OpenID, but none of them are done in C. Now this might not be the first language that comes to mind when one thinks about it implementing it, especially since OpenID is (at the moment?) mainly targeted at blog-style web sites, which are often programmed in languages like Ruby, Python, or Java.

But there might be just a target for a C implementation;

  • it could be light-weight, and perhaps a little faster, though this would not be a design goal
  • it could be plugged directly into webservers like lighttpd
  • it could be used as a basis to create libraries for other languages, since most languages seem to have C-hooks to create API’s

For instance, what I’d like to see (i actually had a working version of this for OpenID 1.1, just never got around to polishing it up and releasing it, and now it’s a bit stale, to say the least) is a plugin for lighttpd and/or apache, that uses OpenID as the underlying mechanism for http authentication.

When this is used instead of any http-auth modules, scripts and websites that rely on the authenticated-user value in the web server, don’t have to be changed, and they can support OpenID.


2008-07-02 | Permalink

Okay, one of these days I’m going to misuse this news page to put forth some wishes, or other things I would like to do or see done in the near future.

I’ll keep the topics to possible software projects, not unattainable stuff like world peace, or finding true love.

The idea is mostly to sort my head around various ideas I’ve got floating around in my mind for quite some time now, and maybe sorting them out and putting them down will get me far enough to actually start doing some of them. Or, alternatively, drop some of them altogether, so my head has more room for other stuff.

If anyone thinks some ideas are better than great, and would like to either do them or start some form of collaboration, drop me a line.

Of course I’m not going to put one up right away, if you’re interested, just check back in a few days.

More control over sounds in Windows

2008-06-11 | Permalink

Scott Crevier has written a little tool to provide more control over what sounds are played in Windows when using Mailbox Alert. I haven’t tried it, or looked at it in depth, but you can find it here.

Please let me know how it works for you.