Havn't blogged in a while, but this one has me very motivated.

Solarwinds are a relatively well known IT Management & Monitoring Software company.
Amongst their commercial product suite(s) are free tools that they make available to people who simply have to provide their personal information (name, email address, some other information) so that they can collect information about who's using the tools. Supposedly.

I have personally used their TFTP Server and their Advanced Subnet Calculator at various stages over the last 7 years or so and been fairly happy with them; despite being bannerware they actually do what they advertise and the Subnet Calculator has been very helpful as recently as in the last 12 months. (I run Linux almost exclusively these days, but still flitter in Windows and when i'm there, these tools still feature).

Unfortunately for Solarwinds, they've ever compromised their standards and disclosed their user information publically, or... they've been compromised, and had their user information disclosed publically.

On 6 December 2012 I received a spam email to an address i'd only ever given to

Noting this I engaged with Solarwinds via Twitter, who, to their credit, were prompt in responding and I forwarded a full-headers version to them at their request.

Unfortunately there's been nothing further from them, and today I received yet more Spam. Similar enough I believe it to be from the same crowd.

A quick look on their Facebook page shows i'm not the only one now receiving unsolicited email to an email address that was exclusively given to only. Noone else.

So it's time to put it 'out there'. Did you receive the above? To an address disclosed to ? Surely a company such as Solarwinds must realise how scandalous this sort of thing can be - or is?

Yesterday I took the first of a few days of Annual Leave, looking to spend some time with the family after a fairly chaotic few months with work and brigade committments.

Mother-in-Law still in town from Wellington, we took the kids to Ambury Park - a great experience for urban kids! - and then decided to hit Ruby Red Cafe in Mangere Bridge for a coffee/fluffy break.

My mother picked up the tab, and ordered our usual collection of Soy Fluffies (for the kids) and coffees for the rest of us, Soy as required....

Unfortunately the person behind the counter heard 'two flat whites' when mum said 'two soy fluffies'.
So when two unwanted coffees (that our kids could hardly drink!) turned up and we refused them, there were apologies and the correct order did arrive fairly promptly.

Sadly though, no refund was coming. Although the waitress had offered one, by the time it came to it, the guy behind the counter refused, saying he made what we ordered.

Mum being mum, she wasn't interested in the conflict.... but for me it's simple; as a retailer you take the hit and offer the refund in the interests of return business. I know we won't be going to Ruby Red again - what's it cost them in loss of business?

(Mum learnt a lesson too; get a read-back of the order and question when the charge looks too high!)

Too much spam, not enough good stuff. Until I get around to updating my Captcha engine i've turned off anonymous comments. Sorry... returns after being down since last evening. Looks like something ran amuck and used up all my memory. Will be monitoring the situation more closely... !

Apologies to anyone who noticed downtime on the part of services hosted by today.
With massive thanks to my coadmin DPA (who lets face it, does all the hard work...), the majority of my services are now on the 'right' server. Let me know if you spot any glitches!

So today, in amongst other bits and pieces, I set about trying to figure out why my old Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop - now connected to the TV in my livingroom - was constantly failing to play DVDs. In one case the title would load up, but none of the chapters would play.

Googling the errors that came up (oh thanks VLC for the constant references to 'fake' error messages), I finally found a useful hit on the Ubuntu Forums.

The bottom line was indeed that I needed libdvdcss2 - this is after I installed 'ubuntu-restricted-extras' to ensure I had all the codecs I needed. Of course, throwing that into apt-get install gives you this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package libdvdcss2 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package libdvdcss2 has no installation candidate

The above link describes how to install it (on my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.. which is definately not Medibuntu):

$ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

And just like that, it worked.

Not sure why Xubuntu didn't take a leaf from Ubuntu and make Vino a better integrated tool.. however you can install it, and you can configure it, and use it.
I used instructions from Ehow but the gist is:

# apt-get install vino

followed by

# vino-preferences

followed by creating a new auto-startup entry for

# /usr/lib/vino/vino-server

Something that came up recently.. again...

The Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 states in part:

emergency vehicle means a vehicle used for attendance at emergencies and operated—

(a) by an enforcement officer:

(b) by an ambulance service:

(c) as a fire service vehicle:

(d) as a civil defence emergency vehicle:

(e) as a defence force emergency vehicle

enforcement officer means—

(a) a constable:

(b) a Police employee who is not a constable who is authorised for the purpose by the Commissioner of Police:

(c) a person who is appointed to that office by warrant under section 208 of the Act or who holds that office by virtue of the Act

Fire Authority has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977

fire service vehicle means a vehicle that is—

(a) owned by the New Zealand Fire Service Commission or a Fire Authority; or

(b) operated by the New Zealand Fire Service, a defence fire brigade, or any brigade responding under a co-ordination agreement and approved by the National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service; or

(c) operated and approved by a Fire Authority

And also states

Use of beacons

(1) A person must not operate a beacon fitted to a vehicle unless the beacon has been approved for fitting to the vehicle, and is—

(a) a blue beacon or a red beacon fitted to a vehicle operated by an enforcement officer in the course of that officer's duty; or

(ab) a blue beacon fitted to a vehicle operated by—

(i) a customs officer (as defined in section 2(1) of the Customs and Excise Act 1996) to exercise a power to stop conferred on the officer under section 144 of that Act; or

So knowing that my Ubuntu 10.10 was about to go out of support, I took the plunge and made two calls:

1) Ubuntu's move to Unity was not to my liking, and

2) I'd like to move to the new LTS; 12.04.

So I went to Xubuntu; the Xfce based Ubuntu variant.

Unfortunately, as it's only March 2012, 12.04 is only just into Beta stage. So my installation is Xubuntu 12.04b1 64bit.

First impressions? I like it. However there's been a few odds and sods i've had to deal to manually, and eventually i'll tie them into this blog article.

I operate with Firefox as my main browser, and Chrome/Chromium as my second browser, used for mainly work-related things or where i'm testing for browser incompatibilities. Unfortunately Chromium doesn't seem to play well with other browsers, and where Firefox is otherwise configured as the default, this isn't necessarily true...

Anycase this was my fix to make Firefox take all the stuff that Chromium was stealing, in this case links presented via Pidgin IM:

root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm gnome-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm x-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox gnome-www-browser
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox x-www-browser

More coming soon as I work through the kinks. On the whole i'm pretty damn happy with it so far, including the fact that it's able to run Gnome apps.

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