Posts Tagged ‘hardware’

How to check Linux OS install date / How long ago was Linux installed

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

If you're sysadmin who inherited a few hundreds of Linux machines from a previous admin and you're in process of investigating how things were configured by the previous administrator one of the crucial things to find out might be

How Long ago was Linux installed?

Here is how to check the Linux OS install date.

The universal way nomatter the Linux distribution is to use fullowing command:

 

root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'
Filesystem created:       Thu Sep  6 21:44:22 2012

 

 

Above command assumes the Linux's root partition / is installed on /dev/sda1 however if your case is different, e.g. the primary root partition is installed on /dev/sda2 or /dev/sdb1 / dev/sdb2 etc. just place the right first partition into the command.

If primary install root partition is /dev/sdb1 for example:
 

root@pcfreak:~# tune2fs -l /dev/sdb1 | grep 'Filesystem created:'

 


To find out what is the root partition of the Linux server installed use fdisk command:

 

 

 

root@pcfreak:~# fdisk -l

 

Disk /dev/sda: 465,8 GiB, 500107862016 bytes, 976773168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00051eda

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048 965193727 965191680 460,2G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2       965195774 976771071  11575298   5,5G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5       965195776 976771071  11575296   5,5G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Disk /dev/sdb: 111,8 GiB, 120034123776 bytes, 234441648 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

 


Other ways to check the Linux OS install date on Debian / Ubuntu / Mint etc. deb. based GNU / Linux

 


Deban based Linux distributions do create an initial /var/log/installer directory containing various install information such as hardware-summary, partition, initial installed deb packages, exact version of Linux distribution, and the way it was installed either it was installed from an ISO image, or it was network install etc.

 

root@pcfreak:~# ls -al /var/log/installer/
total 1228
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 ./
drwxr-xr-x 72 root root  12288 окт 22 06:26 ../
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root   4096 sep  6  2012 cdebconf/
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  17691 sep  6  2012 hardware-summary
-rw-r–r–  1 root root    163 sep  6  2012 lsb-release
-rw——-  1 root root 779983 sep  6  2012 partman
-rw-r–r–  1 root root  51640 sep  6  2012 status
-rw——-  1 root root 363674 sep  6  2012 syslog

 

If those directory is missing was wiped out by the previous administrator, to clear up traces of his previous work before he left job another possible way to find out exact install date is to check timestamp of /lost+found directory;
 

root@pcfreak:~# ls -ld /lost+found/
drwx—— 2 root root 16384 sep  6  2012 /lost+found//

 

Check OS Linux install date on (Fedora, CentOS, Scientific Linux, Oracle and other Redhat RPM based Distros)

 

[root@centos: ~]# rpm -qi basesystem
Name        : basesystem
Version     : 10.0
Release     : 7.el7
Architecture: noarch
Install Date: Mon 02 May 2016 19:20:58 BST
Group       : System Environment/Base
Size        : 0
License     : Public Domain
Signature   : RSA/SHA256, Tue 01 Apr 2014 14:23:16 BST, Key ID     199e2f91fd431d51
Source RPM  : basesystem-10.0-7.el7.src.rpm
Build Date  : Fri 27 Dec 2013 17:22:15 GMT
Build Host  : ppc-015.build.eng.bos.redhat.com
Relocations : (not relocatable)
Packager    : Red Hat, Inc. <http://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla>
Vendor      : Red Hat, Inc.
Summary     : The skeleton package which defines a simple Red Hat Enterprise Linux system
Description :
Basesystem defines the components of a basic Red Hat Enterprise Linux
system (for example, the package installation order to use during
bootstrapping). Basesystem should be in every installation of a system,
and it should never be removed.

 

Share SCREEN terminal session in Linux / Screen share between two or more users howto

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

share-screen-terminal-session-in-linux-share-linux-unix-shell-between-two-or-more-users

 

1. Short Intro to Screen command and what is Shared Screen Session

Do you have friends who want to learn some GNU / Linux or BSD basics remotely? Do you have people willing to share a terminal session together for educational purposes within a different network? Do you just want to have some fun and show off yourself between two or more users?

If the answer to the questions is yes, then continue on reading, otherwise if you're already aware how this is being done, just ignore this article and do something more joyful.

So let me start.

Some long time ago when I was starting to be a Free Software user and dedicated enthusiast, I've been given by a friend an interesting freeshell hosting access and I stumbled upon / observed an interesting phenomenon, multiple users like 5 or 10 were connected simultaneously to the same shell sharing their command line.

I can't remember what kind of shell I happen to be sharing with the other logged in users with the same account, was that bash / csh / zsh or another one but it doesn't matter, it was really cool to find out multiple users could be standing together on GNU / Linux and *BSD with the same account and use the regular shell for chatting or teaching each others  new Linux / Unix commands e.g. being able to type in shell simultaneously.

The multiple shared shell session was possible thanks to the screen command

For those who hear about screen for a first time, here is the package description:

 

# apt-cache show screen|grep -i desc -A 1
Description-en: terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation
 GNU Screen is a terminal multiplexer that runs several separate "screens" on

Description-md5: 2d86b86ed6058a04c540802e49312f40
Homepage: https://savannah.gnu.org/projects/screen
root@jericho:/usr/local/src/pure-python-otr# apt-cache show screen|grep -i desc -A 2
Description-en: terminal multiplexer with VT100/ANSI terminal emulation
 GNU Screen is a terminal multiplexer that runs several separate "screens" on
 a single physical character-based terminal. Each virtual terminal emulates a


Description-md5: 2d86b86ed6058a04c540802e49312f40
Homepage: https://savannah.gnu.org/projects/screen
Tag: hardware::input:keyboard, implemented-in::c, interface::text-mode,


There is plenty of things to use screen for as it provides you a way to open Virtual Terminals into a single ssh or physical console TTY login session and I've been in love with screen command since day 1 I found out about it.

To start using screen just invoke it into a shell and enter a screen command combinations that make various stuff for you.

 

2. Some of the most useful Daily Screen Key Combinations for the Sys Admin


To do use the various screen options, use the escape sequence (CTRL + Some Word), following by the command. For a full list of all of the available commands, run man screen, however
for the sake of interest below short listing shows some of most useful screen key combination invoked commands:

 

 

Ctrl-a a Passes a Ctrl-a through to the terminal session running within screen.
Ctrl-a c Create a new Virtual shell screen session within screen
Ctrl-a d Detaches from a screen session.
Ctrl-a f Toggle flow control mode (enable/disable Ctrl-Q and Ctrl-S pass through).
Ctrl-a k Detaches from and kills (terminates) the screen session.
Ctrl-a q Passes a Ctrl-q through to the terminal session running within screen (or use Ctrl-a f to toggle whether screen captures flow control characters).
Ctrl-a s Passes a Ctrl-s through to the terminal session running within screen (or use Ctrl-a f to toggle whether screen captures flow control characters).
Ctrl-a :kill Also detaches from and kills (terminates) the screen session.
Ctrl-a :multiuser on Make the screen session a multi-user session (so other users can attach).
Ctrl-a :acladd USER Allow the user specified (USER) to connect to a multi-user screen session.
Ctrl-a p Move around multiple opened Virtual terminals in screen (Move to previous)
Ctrl-a n Move backwards in multiple opened screen sessions under single shell connection


I have to underline strongly for me personally, I'm using the most

 

CTRL + A + D (to detach session),

CTRL + A + C to open new session within screen (I tend to open multiple sessions for multiple ssh connections with this),

CTRL + A + P, CTRL +  A + N – I use this twoto move around all my open screen Virtual sessions.
 

3. HOW TO ACTUALLY SHARE TERMINAL SESSION BETWEEN MULTIPLE USERS?


3.1 Configuring Shared Sessions so other users can connect

You need to  have a single user account on a Linux or Unix like server lets say that might be the /etc/passwd, /etc/shadow, /etc/group account screen and you have to give the password to all users to be participating into the shared screen shell session.

E.g. create new system account screen

root@jericho:~# adduser screen
Adding user `screen' …
Adding new group `screen' (1001) …
Adding new user `screen' (1001) with group `screen' …
The home directory `/home/screen' already exists.  Not copying from `/etc/skel'.
Enter new UNIX password:
Retype new UNIX password:
passwd: password updated successfully
Changing the user information for screen
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
    Full Name []: Screen user to give users shared access to /bin/bash
    Room Number []:
    Work Phone []:
    Home Phone []:
    Other []:
Is the information correct? [Y/n] Y

Now distribute the user / pass pair around all users who are to be sharing the same virtual bash session via screen and instruct each of them to run:

hipo@jericho:~$  screen -d -m -S shared-session
hipo@jericho:~$

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -list

There is a screen on:
    4095.shared-session    (10.10.2017 20:22:22)    (Detached)
1 Socket in /run/screen/S-hipo.


3.2. Attaching to just created session
 

Simply login with as many users you need with SSH to the remote server and instruct them to run the following command to re-attach to the just created new session by you:

hipo@jericho:~$ screeen -x

That's all folks now everyone can type in simultaneously and enjoy the joys of the screen shared session.

If for some reasons more than one session is created by the simultaneously logged in users either as an exercise or by mistake i.e.:

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -list

There are screens on:
    4880.screen-session    (10.10.2017 20:30:09)    (Detached)
    4865.another-session    (10.10.2017 20:29:58)    (Detached)
    4847.hey-man    (10.10.2017 20:29:49)    (Detached)
    4831.another-session1    (10.10.2017 20:29:45)    (Detached)
4 Sockets in /run/screen/S-hipo.

You have to instruct everyone to connect actually to the exact session we need, as screen -x will ask them to what session they like to connect.

In that case to connect to screen-session, each user has to run with their account:

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -x shared-session


If under some circumstances it happened that there is more than one opened shared screen virtual session, for example screen -list returns:

 

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -list
There are screens on:
    5065.screen-session    (10.10.2017 20:33:20)    (Detached)
    4095.screen-session    (10.10.2017 20:30:08)    (Detached)

All users have to connect to the exact screen-session created name and ID, like so:

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -x 4095.screen-session
 


Here is the meaning of used options

 

-d option instructs screen to detach,
-m makes it multiuser session so other users can attach
-S argument is just to give the screen session a name
-list Sesssion gives the screen-session ID

Once you're over with screen session (e.g. all users that are learning and you show them stuff and ask them to test by themselves and have completed, scheduled tasks), to kill it just press CTRL + A + K
 

4. Share screen /bin/bash shell session with another user

Sharing screen session between different users is even more useful to the shared session of one user as you might have a *nix server with many users who might attach to your opened session directly, instead of being beforehand instructed to connect with a single user.

That's perfect also for educational purposes if you want to learn some Linux to a class of people, as you can use their ordinary accounts and show them stuff on a Linux / BSD  machine.

Assuming that you follow and created already screen-session with screen cmd

hipo@jericho:~$ screen -list
There is a screen on:
        5560.screen-session      (10.10.2017 20:41:06)   (Multi, attached)
1 Socket in /run/screen/S-hipo.

hipo@jericho:~$

Next attach to the session

bunny@jericho:~$ screen -r shared-session
bunny@jericho:~$ Ctrl-a :multiuser on
bunny@jericho:~$ Ctrl-a :acladd user2
bunny@jericho:~$ screen -x UserNameHere/shared-session
 

Here are 2 screenshots on what should happen if you had done above command combinations correctly:

screen-share-session-to-multi-users-screenshot-multiuser-on-on-gnome-terminal2

screen-share-session-to-multi-users-screenshot-multiuser-on-on-gnome-terminal3

In order to be able to share screen Virtual terminal ( VTY ) sessions between separate (different) logged in users, you have to have screen command be suid (SUID bit for screen is disabled in most Linux distributions for security reasons).

Without making SUID the screen binary file, you are to get the error:

hipo@jericho:/home/hipo$ screen -x hipo/shared

Must run suid root for multiuser support.

If you are absolutely sure you know what you're doing here is how to make screen command sticky bit:

 

root@jericho:/home/hipo# which screen
root@jericho:/home/hipo# /usr/bin/screen
root@jericho:/home/hipo# root@jericho:/home/hipo# root@jericho:/home/hipo# chmod u+s $(which screen)
chmod 755 /var/run/screen
root@jericho:/home/hipo# rm -fr /var/run/screen/*
exit

What is IPMI (IPKVM), ILO and IDRAC – Remote management interfaces to server / PC on BIOS level

Friday, May 30th, 2014

IPMI-Block-Diagram-ILO-IPKVM-how-it-works
IPMI
Intelligent Platform Management Interface is a standardized computer interface also accessible remotely via Java applet allowing remote management and monitoring access to PC BIOS. IPMI is a way to manage a computer that may be powered off or otherwise unresponsive by using a network connection to the hardware rather than to an operating system or a keyboard physical / screen login shell. The IPMI server standard was introduced by Intel and nowadays supported by more than 200 computer vendors i.e. – Super Micro, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Dell etc.

Intelligent Platform Management Interface is an open, industry-standard interface that was designed for the management of server systems over network. IPMI interfaces by various vendors have also Virtual Media support (i.e. – Operating System  ISO files could be mounted remotely to a Virtual CD / DVD rom and you can approach installing a bare-metal server without physical presense to it). Just like Power Off / Restart, BIOS Entrance and Virtual Media access is done directly through a web-browser interface over the network or the internet.

HP_IPMI_ILO-screenshot-remote-management-server-console

ILO – stands for Integrated Lights-Out and is  HP Proliant servers remote console to PC / server physical screen. ILO is server integrated chip on HP servers and doesn't need further installations. It gives you a web console using Java showing you server screen just like there is a Monitor connected to the server it is precious for remote system administration purposes as often when there is no SSH  or Remote Desktop to server you can see directly whether the server has completed hanged and try to recover or see a failing hardware notification on the screen to a server with a partially accessible services. Using ILO console access to an HP server one can have a BIOS access remotely to machines already colocated in data canters. In other words ILO is HP's variation of IPMI remote interface also known under business buzz word IPKVM.

DRAC-Dell-Remote-Acccess-console-IPMI-tools-remote-management-bios-interface

DRAC (iDRAC)- Dell's Remote Access Controller is interface card from Dell Inc. offering remote access (out-of-band) management facilities – i.e. DRAC is Dell's variant of HP's ILO – an implementation of Intel's IPMI out-of-band standard. DRAC is also giving you remote way to access no other means accessible server on a software level. Interesting and nice things is Dell provides their DRAC source code, so if you're a developer you can learn how DRAC technology works on a lower level.

ILO, iDRAC (Dell's new generation DRAC for Blade servers) and ILO's remote management interfaces's (IPMI tools) most valuable features is it allows remote system Power On / Shutdown and Remote Restart while monitoring the server screen (hardware output) messages and allowing you see critical hardware issue messages on pre-OS boot time, failure with memory, hard disks etc. and remote interface to do BIOS tuning.

Best Windows tools to Test (Benchmark) Hard Drives, SSD Drives and RAID Storage Controllers

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

atto-windows-hard-disk-benchmark-freeware-tool-screenshot-check-hard-disk-speed-windows
Disk Benchmarking is very useful for people involved in Graphic Design, 3D modelling, system admins  and anyone willing to squeeze maximum of his PC hardware.

If you want to do some benchmarking on newly built Windows server targetting Hard Disk performance, just bought a new hard SSD (Solid State Drives) and you want to test how well Hard Drive I/O operations behave or you want to see a regular HDD benchmarking of group of MS Windows PCs and plan hardware optiomization, check out ATTO Disk Benchmark.

So why exactly ATTO Benchmark? – Cause it is one of the best Windows Free Benchmark tools on the internet.

ATTO is a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. ATTO though being freeware is among top tools utilized in industry. It is very useful in comparing different Hard Disk vendors speed, measure Windows storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes.

ATTO Disk Benchmark is used by manufacturers of Hardware RAID controllers, its precious tool to test Windows storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs).

Here is ATTO Benchmark tool specifications (quote from their webstie):
 

  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • – See more at: http://www.attotech.com/disk-benchmark/#sthash.rRlgSTOE.dpuf

Here is mirrored latest version of ATTO Disk for Download. Once you get your HDD statistics you will probably want to compare to other people results. On  TomsHardware's world famous Hardware geek site there are plenty of Hard Drives performance Charts

Of course there are other GUI alternatives to ATTO Benchmark one historically famous is NBench

NBench

nbench_benchmark_windows_hard-drive-cpu-and-memory

Nbench is nice little benchmarking program for Windows NT. Nbench reports the following components of performance:

CPU speed: integer and floating operations/sec
L1 and L2 cache speeds: MB/sec
main memory speed: MB/sec
disk read and write speeds: MB/sec

SMP systems and multi-tasking OS efficiency can be tested using up to 20 separate threads of execution.

For Console Geeks or Windows server admins there are also some ports of famous *NIX Hard Disk Benchmarking tools:

NTiogen

NTiogen benchmark was written by Symbios Logic, It's Windows NT port of their popular UNIX benchmark IOGEN. NTIOGEN is the parent processes that spawns the specified number of IOGEN processes that actually do the I/O.
The program will display as output the number of processes, the average response time, the number of I/O operations per second, and the number of KBytes per second. You can download mirror copy of Ntiogen here


There are plenty of other GUI and Console HDD Benchmarking Win Tools, i.e.:

IOMeter (ex-developed by Intel and now abandoned available as open source available on SourceForge)

iometer-benchmark-disk-storage-speed-windows
 

Bench32 – Comprehensive benchmark that measures overall system performance under Windows NT or Windows 95, now obsolete not developed anymore abandoned by producer company.

ThreadMark32 – capable of bench (ex developed and supported by ADAPTEC) but also already unsupported

IOZone – filesystem benchmark tool. The benchmark generates and measures a variety of file operations. Iozone has been ported to many machines and runs under many operating systems.
 

N! B! Important note to make here is above suggested tools will provide you more realistic results than the proprietary vendor tools shipped by your hardware vendor. Using proprietary software produced by a single vendor makes it impossible to analyze and compare different hardwares, above HDD benchmarking tools are for "open systems", e.g. nomatter what the hardware producer is produced results can be checked against each other.
Another thing to consider is even though if you use any of above tools to test and compare two storage devices still results will be partially imaginary, its always best to conduct tests in Real Working Application Environments. If you're planning to launch a new services structure always test it first and don't rely on preliminary returned soft benchmarks.

if you know some other useful benchmarking software i'm missing please share.

Russian Arcade old school electronic game for your mobile – Russian Eggs (Nu Pogodi)

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

 

 

I still remember the days of  "Electronic Games".  As a citizen of Bulgaria – a country which was almost a Soviet Republic (in alliance with the Soviet Union)  and due to existence of separation between Communistic and Democratic societies, we the kids of the Eastern Block didn't have the opportunity to play the so popular in that time in democratic "free world" arcade games on consoles like Nintendo and Atari. Nomatter that in  Soviet Union times there were a couple of electronic games.  Games were not advanced and were copying already concepts existing in games produced by major game company producers like Konami,  Data East, Atari and Nintendo. Russian console like games were a separate game device running its own hardware and software, the major company producing that games was the legendary Electronika.

Nupogodigame-russian-best-arcade-electronic-game-of-1986

Elektronika was so emblematic in Soviet Union times that there is probably no kid who used to be a citizen of the USSR who doesn't remember playing some of  Elektronika's games. The most famous game produced by the company is "Ну Погоди" / Nu Pogodi (Wolf / Vylk) and was popular under emblematic name "Eggs".
the-merry-cook-the-cheerful-cook-veseliy-povar-nintendo-fp-24

The hardware of the Eggs game was actually a clone of famous Nintendo game console  – Nintendo EG-26 Eg.
There were a couple of other games which was remake of "The Wolf / Eggs" like "The Merry (Cheerful) Cook" – "Весельiй Повар"  running on Nintendo FP-24 Chef, Explorers of Space (1989) (running on MG-13) and a couple of others.

MG-13-Explorers-of-Space_1989

So why I bring back this old good memories ? 🙂 Because my readers who remember the Eggs game should know the game has a remake application for Android OS under name Eggs. To install it follow prior link or (Type in Google PlayStore "Eggs" or "Russian Eggs"), install and bring back the mania of the old days of the distant 1989 to 2014!!! 🙂

eggs_electronic-russian-arcade-game

There is no question whoever thought of porting the game for Android was a genious as the size of most middle class mobile smart phones almost perfectly fits the size of the original Nu Pogodi!
The game surely can be a time eater as it is addictive 🙂 The sound effects of the game brings back child memories and are pure joy .
Its nice that the game had a remake asour children can enjoy the same old school arcade game of youth of their fathers 🙂

That's all folks, Enjoy the Wolf 🙂

My struggles to find good substitute for old QWERTY Nokia 9300 Communicator and The Death of QWERTY Smart phones

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Nowadays having a a touch screen mobile phone has become like a standard. I'm not such a big fan of Touch screen technology, thus I've been fighting with the idea to own a touch screen phone for a year or so. Just till recently I happily lived with my old Nokia 9300i with a physical QWERTY keyboard for already 4 years.

Unfortunately lately while talking with my Nokia I started getting frequent voice interruptions missing words in my phone call conversations and need to ask person I'm talking to, to repeat his words / sentence in order to understand what is communicated .. I'm economic person and therefore don't like bying anything new if it is not absolutely necessary so I opened the phone and clean it hoping that this will solve the conversation issues but with no luck. With this half-usable mobile my only option left was to buy a new mobile phone.

I'm not very rigorious on what a mobile phone should be and I'm very much minimalist by heart so I was thinking of bying new cheapest available Nokia phone on the market and solve my "issue" quick and efficient,  only problem was  I'm quite used already of using my handy QWERTY phone as a note taking device thus I preferred to not buy a keypad mobile phone but get again a smartphone with physical QWERTY.

I have consulted with some friends who are more knowledgable on what's latest on mobile phone market with a question what will be a good substitute for my Nokia Communicator 9300i and heard comments like:
'IPhone is the most functional and superior in interface', while some friends and colleagues adviced me:
'Choose an Android based phone as Android is Linux based and gives more freedom to the user as well as has more free applications to install'

I appreaciated my friends help but I didn't like the idea to buy a Smartphone with a touchscreen display – virtual keyboard is not so confortable as having a physical one and besides this is a very slow interface compared to physical keys. Thus initially strongly rejected the idea of bying a phone without a physical keyboard. After some weeks of pondering and checking in the market – in 3 Major mobile operators shops in Bulgaria MTel, Globul and VIVACOM and HANDY store. I've find out currently on the market there is no good price / quality and functionality ratio (qwerty keyboard mobile) available. My options were limited to either by a Nokia Asha 210 or some variance or a Blackberry mobile.

nokia_asha_210_mobile_phone

In first glimpse I liked the Nokia ASHA 210 – QWERTY powered mobile  but after noticing the blue Facebook "F" button got quickly jolted.
The sales lady offered me a couple of other Nokias with Qwerty keyboard as well as a Blackberry 9320 Curve.

blackberry_curve_smart_mobile_phone
After a quick test of all QWERTY mobiles, found the intertface on both is so inferior to IPhone's IOS and Android based phones.
I asked my HP workmates for advice of a good QWERTY bundled mobile phone with Android and was referred to Motorolla Droid 3 – which seems to among the only options on the market for mobile Phone which have both Android Operating System and a Physical QWERTY keyboardMotorolla Droid 3 seemed to be exactly the mobile I was looking for but unfortunately it is not available in Mobile phones stores in Bulgaria and only in bulgaria is only offered for sale as a second hand and I had to buy it over the Internet (I prefer not to buy on the Internet). Even if I bought it as second hand  DROID 3's price is too high for my budget – 250 EUR!

Motorola-Droid-3-mobile-nokia-9300i-substitute

I wanted to buy economic phone and same time to have a good balance between price and phone modernity, same time don't tie myself with mobile operator yearly tax plan thus decided to pay my whole mobile price in cache (no credits, no binding 2 / 3 year conversation plans).

After evaluating the options on Market I stopped on two mobiles identical by price 150 EUR I could choose between Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite or ZTE Blade 3. The sales lady adviced me its better to get the ZTE Blade 3 than Samsung Galaxy Trend Lite (S7350) because ZTE has better Camera (5 Mpixels), a better Display and has much less hardware issues than Samsung Galaxy Lite.

Samsung-Galaxy-Trend-Lite-S7390-smart-mobile-phone

 

Finally I bought the ZTE Blade 3 and nowdays I'm trying to get used to it and to be honest even with a week passed I still can't get used to the Virtual Keyboard

Android interface is quite shiny but a little bit chaotic if compared to design use interface I've tested on IPhones. Android OS seems to behave very weird at times but in general is quite easy to use. Managing / installing / Removing applications from Google AppStore is done by only 2 clicks. My major concern on Android is its highly addictive. I've catch myself, since last week I spend much more time using my mobile than before with my Nokia Communicator …
ZTE-Blade-III-Black-smart-phone

To conclude it I would say living with a smartphone has its advantagous (you can easily check weather prognosis / news) and do a number of things with it, but it is addictive .. obviously its easy to  become an Android addict and spend your free time on useless stuff like installing / testing new apps and playing with phone. Having a smartphone just like I priorly suspected is a big time eater and it seems my hypothesis  that its better to live without a smart phone is true. But who knows, perhaps its just a moment addictiveness just like with any new thing posession – time will show. In meantime I believe my ZTE Blade III – purchase was a good deal as it gives me opportunity to explore Android OS. I'll stop here with my ranting and excuse myself if the article was too boring …Please drop me a comment with mobile types and names who had QWERTY keyboard and a modern OS. Very sadly it seems the QWERTY hardware keyboard mobiles will soon be dead and gone …

How to disable nginx static requests access.log logging

Monday, March 5th, 2012

NGINX logo Static Content Serving Stop logging

One of the companies, where I'm employed runs nginx as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) server.
Actually nginx, today has become like a standard for delivering tremendous amounts of static content to clients.
The nginx, server load has recently increased with the number of requests, we have much more site visitors now.
Just recently I've noticed the log files are growing to enormous sizes and in reality this log files are not used at all.
As I've used disabling of web server logging as a way to improve Apache server performance in past time, I thought of implying the same little "trick" to improve the hardware utilization on the nginx server as well.

To disable logging, I proceeded and edit the /usr/local/nginx/conf/nginx.conf file, commenting inside every occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main;

to

#access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main;

Next, to load the new nginx.conf settings I did a restart:

nginx:~# killall -9 nginx; sleep 1; /etc/init.d/nginx start

I expected, this should be enough to disable completely access.log, browser request logins. Unfortunately /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log was still displaying growing with:

nginx:~# tail -f /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log

After a bit thorough reading of nginx.conf config rules, I've noticed there is a config directive:

access_log off;

Therefore to succesfully disable logging I had to edit config occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main

to

After a bit thorough reading of nginx.conf config rules, I've noticed there is a config directive:

access_log off;

Therefore to succesfully disable logging I had to edit config occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main

to

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main
access_log off;

Finally to load the new settings, which thanksfully this time worked, I did nginx restart:

nginx:~# killall -9 nginx; sleep 1; /etc/init.d/nginx start

And hooray! Thanks God, now nginx logging is disabled!

As a result, as expected the load avarage on the server reduced a bit 🙂

How to fix clock on Slackware / Slackware and this old incorrect BIOS time troubles

Friday, February 24th, 2012

There two main reasons which cause incorrect clock settings on Slackware Linux.
One common reason for incorrectly set time is improper clock and timezone settings during Slackware install.

On install, one of the ncruses install menus asks an ambigious dialog question reading

HARDWARE CLOCK SET TO UTC?
Is the hardware clock set to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)?

Some newbie Slackware users make the mistake to choose YES here, resulting in incorrectly set clock.

Second possibility for improper time is incorrect time on BIOS level. This is not so common among laptop and modern desktop PCs. However in the past impoper system BIOS hardware clock was usual.
In any case it is a good practice to check the system PC BIOS clock settings.

To check BIOS battery hardware clock from command line use:

bash-4.1# hwclock --show
Fri 24 Feb 2012 01:24:18 AM EET -0.469279 seconds

The system clock on Slackware is set via a script called timeconfig. To fix slack's incorrect host time run:

bash-4.1# timeconfig

Slackware Linux timeconfig set to UTC ncurses dialog clock setting

Slackware Linux timeConfig Country Selection dialog

Running timeconfig once should configure a proper timezone to be set on next system reboot, however the system time will probably still be not ok.
To manually set time to right time, use date command. To set manually the system wide time to 12:00:00 with date:

bash-4.1# date -s "12:00:00"

Anyways for time accuracy the ntpdate should be used to feth time from NTP internet time server:

bash-4.1# ntpdate time.nist.gov
...

Finally to make the new set right time permanent also for the BIOS battery clock issue:

bash-4.1# hwclock --systohc

By the way its curious fact Slackware Linux is the oldest still existent GNU / Linux based distribution. Its up and running since the very day GNU and Linux came to merge at one Free OS 😉

Play Terminal Velocity (Terminal Reality) 3D shooter DOS game on Debian Squeeze GNU / Linux

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Terminal Velocity Game title logo dosbox Debian Linux

Some of the computer DOS geeks certainly should remember Terminal Velocity / (Terminal Reality Inc. – TRI) DOS 3D Realms (ex Apogee company) game. For those who are younger or for any reason miss to play TV here is a short review. Terminal Velocity is an addictive fast pace 3D Flight Simulator game.
The ship one navigates has a mean to accelerate or down-accelerate flying speed. There is also an AFTER BURNER mode which accelerates the ship movement speed drastically while in use. TRI's AFTER BURNER game feature create unique feeling whilst in game, raising gamers adrenaline and giving feeling of great dynamics 😉
The game graphics are a bit low, the game can be switched between VGA and SVGA from within the internal game menus, anyways for the year 1995 the game graphics looks fine.

Terminal Velocity TV DOS game screenshot

TV supports network games of up to 8 Network Players and for 1995 is among the few 3D games supporting so high number of network players simultaneously. As most of the games of its time TRI supports modem network game play. I don't know about you, but for me Modem Network game DooM peered plays brings up some nice memories 🙂

Every now and then in the levels, there are holes (Tunnels) you can enter, the tunnels is one of the most exciting part of the game as it reminds me tracking mods music culture, Future Crew's Second Reality graphics demo and the rest of the old glorious Assembly Demos – if not familiar with the aforementioned be sure to check the link cause you've missed a lot!

The ability to enter Tunnels while in the midst of the game makes TV unique and sets it apart from the rest of the games which were bombarding the 3D game flight simulator market in '95s.
Terminal Velocity DOS Level Tunnels screenshot
Terminal Velocity MINIMUM HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS are:

486 with 8 megs of memory.
For SVGA graphics (provided only by registered game version) require 486 DX4/100 or Pentium to display at acceptable frame rate.

Terminal Veolocity on Disk technical support manual

This requirements are nothing and even looks funny while compared to today's available hardware. Nowdays an Android ver. 2.2 OS running (PriVileg) mobile "smart" phone runs at at least 400 Mhz CPU and has a giga of memory.
Its quite interesting to see (from historic point of view) how thoroughful the TV Help manual is, and how well organized software documentation used to be in these old DOS days. If you want to take a look at it launch TVHELP.EXE (you will notice it along with other game .EXE files after extracting)

The game soundtrack is amazingly cool and is one of the main things that add to the great gaming experience.

It took me a while to find Terminal Velocity, as the game download link provided on 3drealms.com/downloads is broken and most of the websites with mirror of 3dtv12.zip file was no longer active.

After about half an hour of search!, I've finally found and managed to download 3dtv12.zip.
In order to preserve Terminal Violocity game from disappearing I've made a mirror of 3dtv12.zip you can download from here

Thanks to dosbox DOS Emulator , is playable on both GNU / Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS and Windows.
I did not have the time to check if the game runs fine on other operating system architectures besides mine – a Debian GNU / Linux codename (Squeeze). On my aptop Thinkpad R61 with hardware configuration (Dual core x 1.8 Ghz with 2 GB of Memory), the game runs smoothly with both good playable graphics frame rate and properly timed sound/music.

For all those who want to play the game in the Linux realm, you will have to have earlier installed dosbox dos emulator. Once dosbox is there you can further proceed download / unzip / run and enjoy Terminal Velocity on your Linux Desktop:

1. Download and unzip 3dtv12.zip

hipo@linux:~$ mkdir TV
hipo@linux:~$ cd TV
hipo@linux:~/TV$ wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/3dtv12.zip
hipo@linux:~/TV$ unzip 3dtv12.zip
Archive: 3dtv12.zip
� � ������ � � ����� ������ � ������ �����
� � � � � � � � � � �
�� �� �� �� ����� �� �� � �� �� � �� �
�� �� �� � �� � �� �� � �� �� � ��
������ �� ������ �� � �� �� � �� �� � �����

Running VADV 2.10 ���� ���� ������
� � � � � VirtualNet 1801001
4 Telnet nodes ����� ����� ������ FidoNet 1:311/2
VADV-PHP Website �� � �� � �� BattleNet 169:1/120
����� ����� �����

Telnet/web: lightningbbs.com
Alt: lightning-bbs.darktech.org

Full access on the first call. Simple, short and to the point newuser
questionaire. Over 50 door games online, all of them are registered.

Fun RPG games like LORD, Usurper, TEOS, Trade Wars, Clans, and Quest for Nora.

Strategic war games like BRE, FE, Global Wars, ISA, and Colonies.

Adult door games like Strip Poker, Bordello, Studs and Studette.
...

After unzip is complete you will have the following list of files and directories:

hipo@linux:~/TV$ ls -1
FILE_ID.DIZ
INSTALL.EXE
LICENSE.TXT
TV/
TV12S.SHR

As you can read in the unzip notice the .zip file was taken from Telnet/web: lightningbbs.com
I was happy to find out that lightningbbs.com BBS is still up and running in both web and telnet mode! I took the time to telnet to lightningbbs.com and it was charming. lightningbbs.com is a real place of "living computer history"! For people who have never experienced the days of BBS use, I warmly recommend you do telnet lightningbbs.com and check it out. Issue in console/terminal:

hipo@linux:~/TV$ telnet lightningbbs.com
��VADV32 v4.4.110325 - (c) 2004-2011 Aspect Technologies - www.vadvbbs.com
o NetFoss - Revision 5 FOSSIL - Com Eng v1.03 - (c) 2001-2010 pcmicro.com
Connected @ 11520 to Lightning BBS on line 3

Virtual Advanced 2.10 for DOS
Multi-User Multi-Network Graphical Bulletin Board System
Serial #99608791
...
...

2. Run and enjoy Terminal Velocity 😉

The game itself is extracted automatically in TV sub directory. To launch it directly enter TV/ and run GAME.EXE , e.g.

hipo@linux:~/TV$ cd TV/
hipo@linux:~/TV/TV$ dosbox GAME.EXE

Terminal Velocity Screenshot Debian GNU / Linux 6.0 Squeeze Dosbox dos emulator

Terminal Velocity game screenshot dosbox GNU / Linux

Running the game through the game launcher TV.EXE or GAME.EXE worked but the game sound was missing music and sound FX 😐
The no-music and sound issues were however pretty normal and expected. Back in the DOS era setting your exact Sound Card device type was required before the first game launch.
Configuring the exact screen resolution (EGA / VGA / SVGA) and Sound Blaster or PC Speaker type (Sound Blaster 16 / Sound Blaster Pro) in TV is done through running SETUP.EXE .
3D Realms Terminal Velocity Screenshot Level 5 Debian Linux Squeeze dosbox

Actually SETUP.EXE used to be like a standard for almost all DOS games I've encountered.

To make Terminal Velocity sound work I had to choose from SETUP.EXE main menu:
Sound Setup -> Sound Blaster 16
or
Sound Setup -> Sound Blaster Pro

Choosing any of the two SBs produces the same sound / music effects. I guess this is the case becase dosbox emulates a number of sound cards compatible with soudn blaster.
After choosing the SB you should select Save and Launch TV to run the game with sound.
Terminal Velocity TV, dosbox setup.exe sound blaster setup program screenshot

If you quit the game and try to relaunch it with dosbox GAME.EXE unfortunately runs the game without sound fx and music again. Hence the only way to make TRI run properly with music is to everytime configure sound blaster type with SETUP.EXE . TV also supports joystick and it was nice my Genius JoyPad worked like a charm with TV under dosbox emu 😉
To play the game in full screen mode with dosbox press ALT + ENTER simultaneously. 

An interesting fact which is not related to the game is Terminal Velocity is a physics term, here is a quite from Wikipedia:

"In fluid dynamics an object is moving at its terminal velocity if its speed is constant due to the restraining force exerted by the fluid through which it is moving."

On 3drealms.com, I've found also a collection of Terminal velocity mod musictvmods.zip. For the sake of preservation tvmods.zip from disappearance I've made a mirror of tvmods.zip on here

TV has also 20 cheat code words which can be typed in while playing the game for various goodies like Invisinbility, Shield Restore, Power up all weapons, skip level etc. Complete list of Terminal Velocity cheat codes is here
If you're an absolute TV addict and you want to set a TV screenshot on background Check the TV Planet 1024×768 Background resolution

TV has also a game editor, could be valuable if you want to make yourself some custom game levels here is a mirror you can download tvcad10.zip.
I've made also a quick research if someone in the Open Source / Free Software realm is not busy working on a fork of TV, but as of time of writting it seems there is no effort to make an "open source" Terminal Veolocity game. As TV is starting to disappear from the scene and 3DRealms are not existing for so many years now, it would be nice/wise if the company publish some of their prior games source. If they don't, so many great games (like TV)'s source code will be probably lost in max 10 / 15 years time.

We know 3DRealms release some of their source code for Duke Nukem 3D, I think it is now time to release source of TRI and the other old forgotten games.

How to install display and audio drivers on motherboard Asus P5B-Plus with video ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT on Windows XP

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Ati Radeon 2600 XT, Display and Audio Drivers download how to

I re-installed one PC with Windows XP which was refusing to boot. The PC had a hardware of:

Motherboard: Asus P5B-Plus
Video Adapter: ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
Sound card / Sound Blaster:

Ethernet card: Attansic L1 Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000Base-T Controller

It took me like 1 hour of search on the Internet and looking through forum threads and sites to properly install all the hardware. In hope to help someone out there looking to install the hardware Window drivers on ATI RAdeon HD 2600 XT, I’ve made a small archive of all the drivers necessery to make the Video card , Sound Card and Ethernet be properly installed and operating.

Here is download link to all the drivers for ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT to run smoothly on Windows XP

Installation of the drivers on Windows is pretty straight forward download the ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT archive extract and install each one of the files contained in the archive. A few restarts will also be necessery after some of the installed drivers to make the drivers work.

ATI Catalyst (included in the archive) will install the Video drivers for the Radeon XT 2600, whether AD1988AB_Audio_V6585_XpVistaWin7 and 11-11_xp32-64_hdmiaudio will install the Audio drivers. Attansic_L1_Lan_V1737907_V10560011159 contained in the archive needs to be extracted and installed to make the Attensic L1 Gigabit ethernet to show up as installed hardware in Windows device manager.

Hope this post will save some time to ppl looking to install the same drivers on XP 😉
Cheers 😉