matthias's blog

rescuetime on ubuntu 10.10 (maverick)

I've been a fan of RescueTime for a while. I periodically like to take a look at how I spend my time and Rescue Time does a great job at giving me access to some great data.

Since I'm running Ubuntu as my OS and there is no native uploader, I'm using the RescueTime Linux Uploader.

Just following the provided instructions however leaves some things not working. Primarily the applets don't work.

OpenOffice and external data in CSV

Bleh. OpenOffice has a neat feature whereby it's possible to link a spreadsheet to external data simply by clicking Insert -> Link to External Data.

That would be great if you could link to a CSV file, which I often generate based on script output.

After the dialog pops up and a CSV file is selected is shows up in the preview, but when clicking OK, the next dialog doesn't show anything under Available tables/ranges.

execvp: Permission denied and rpm -qV to the rescue

Sometimes bad things happen even to good systems. In the case the box become unresponsive and had to be kicked. When the host (a VM) came back it lacked network capabilities and presented the following error on the console:


execvp: Permission denied

Digging through log files, I found the following in /var/log/boot.log:


Aug 30 08:46:32 bad-box ifup: execvp: Permission denied
Aug 30 08:46:32 bad-box network: Bringing up loopback interface: failed
Aug 30 08:46:32 bad-box ifup: execvp: Permission denied

parallelism or multiple threads in BASH

I was working on a Nagios check the other day, which was looping over a number of items and assessing their status. I found that the check would routinely time out if the number of items was large. So, to make it scale I thought spawning the individual steps to run in parallel and then evaluating the status at the end would be a nice way to do it. There are many programming languagues that make this quite easy, but BASH isn't really know as one of those. Since the script was running pretty well as written in BASH I set out to try and stick with it rather than redoing the whole script.

from VCR to AVI

I have a bunch of old VCR tapes and started the project of converting them to digital format. Part of my setup features a MythTV box, which features a video capture card. One of the inputs is taken by the TV signal, but the coax input was available for input from the VCR. Here are a couple of scripts I put together to ease the process of converting the old VCR tapes.

Basically, the process comes down to 2 steps:

  1. Record the video to digital
  2. Cut the captured video down to the actual video

GMail backup to IMAP server

I'm a big fan of GMail. It works, it's free, it's easy to use. I use my GMail account for a bunch of things, but I also have my personal email account, for things I really care about. Why the separation? Well, I don't trust Google enough with all my email. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that Google will do evil things, but in the end, they are a business and things may change at some point. Additionally, I just don't think anyone is going to care about my email as much as I will. So, I set out to come up with a good way to back up GMail for my own use. In a nutshell, I came up with a way that utilizes Cyrus IMAP, in conjunction with imapsync and fslint and offers backup of GMail without storing duplicate emails ... yep single instance storage.

more on google chrome and tiddlywiki

Turns out my recent post was kind of correct, but not fully. It seems that now you need both of the flags to make everything work. So start chrome with both --enable-file-cookies and --allow-file-access-from-files and it should work.

On Ubunut just fire up the Main Menu editor under System->Preferences to make that easy.

Sadly the upgrade and import for tiddlywiki over the web are still not working and so I switch to firefox for that.

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