hrm's blog

Verdi's Requiem

The choir I sing with, the Southampton Phil, is putting on a performance of Verdi's Requiem next Saturday, in Winchester Cathedral.


Vlad is now alive again.

After spending a significant chunk of Saturday grubbing around on the floor, elbow-deep in computers (think James Herriot, only less gooey and with sharper edges), I've diagnosed vlad's problems: At least one of the two hard drives in the RAID-1 array containing my home directory has media errors, and the motherboard has decided to stop working entirely.

Wanted: Blood for resurrection ritual. Virgin preferred.

At about half eleven last night, my server, vlad, died. Quite comprehensively.

HantsLUG meeting: Openmoko

We held this month's HantsLUG meeting yesterday. It was relatively quiet, but a good meeting nevertheless. I gave a talk on ssh – part two of my series on basic cryptographic software (part one was on GPG, part three will be X.509 certificates). There were also talks on Bacula and BackupPC from Damian and Adrian repsectively.

We had some interesting hardware along for the day – Laura brought her new OLPC, and Daviey had a Neo1973 running Qtopia.

Hooray for XRandR

For years, it's been a major failing of Linux (and X11 in general) that it's not been possible just to plug in a new monitor and be able to extend your desktop on the fly. This is just about OK for desktop machines, which don't tend to change their configuration very often. It really, really sucks for laptops, though. It's really quite painful (and potentially quite embarrassing) to have to kill X and restart it before you can plug your laptop into a data projector at a conference.

But... X now has a thing called XRandR, that allows you to reconfigure your X display on the fly without restarting anything. I've got a couple of talks coming up shortly, so I thought I'd have a play.

S&M at part 2

In my previous post, I talked about the Apache configuration for's Static and Managed (S&M) server. In this post, I'm going to talk about the patches and configuration needed to make DokuWiki work on it.

S&M at

Something I've wanted to do for some time (and have been talking about for far too long) is to get a "static and managed" service running on's system. This will allow us to provision web applications for users in a way where we ( admins) control the installed app -- so we can do upgrades when necessary, and have them rolled out over the whole service.

The VM has been around for some time – it's called snm (Static 'n' Managed), and is referred to colloquially as S&M. I've finally got a couple of web apps up and running on it in the way I want. Here's how...

Ealing 2, Mississippi 1

I watched the Cohen Brothers' The Ladykillers last night. It's a remake of the old Ealing comedy of the same title. Sadly, as with many remakes, it falls distinctly short of the earlier mark. Most of the main characters are ludicrously one-sided, and irritatingly overacted. The two main leads (Tom Hanks and Irma P. Hall) make the exception, and are actually entertaining – Hanks in particular.

Site revamp

Well, I've dragged myself into another small part of the 20th Century. A new website based on Drupal (after having seen the site going up. This also means that I get to write a blog an occasional series of brief articles.