Wednesday, March 28, 2007

transfering a domain from

My main domain is up for renewal. 5 Years ago I spent 70 bucks or so with for registration fees.

Since still is charging a whopping $35 a year (down to ~$16/yr if you register for 7 or more years), I was looking for alternatives. My other domains are registered with, who are still not the cheapest but reasonable. I start the transfer process, get half a dozen emails to my domain contacts from GoDaddy, but don't hear anything from This morning I search through their site, and there is literally no mention of how to transfer a domain away from (surprise). Eventually, I find the FAQ entry to obtain the "Auth Code". I need to call them. ok.

[cheery voice] "Hello, can I interest you in our content services?"
- No
"ok, how can I help you today"
- need auth code for domain transfer
[voice even cheerier] "ok, I put you right through"

[guy voice] "What is your domain name"
- I tell him. We go through the secrect question game.
[guy voice getting cheerier] "ok, how can I help you with your domain"
- auth code for transfer, please
"why are we talking about this?"
[I start to hate cheery guy]
- you guys charge $35, GoDaddy way less than $10. simple, no?
"we offer premium support, sure, there is a premium in price for that"
- I never called you guys for support
[Damn, how hard can it be to need support for a frigging domain?]
"I totally understand that. We don't want to loose you." [sure, I'm not costing them anything]
"I can offer you a substantial discount from our published prices. How about $35 for 5 years?"
[I'm speechless for a second. What are they thinking? I'm annoyed. This is a slightly better deal than what I'm getting at GoDaddy. However, I hate these bait tactics.]
- please just give me auth code
[so he does]
"but remember, you can always still accept this offer and GoDaddy will need to refund the money you already paid for the transfer, since they didn't actually provide the service." More heavy sales blurb follows.
- yeah, yeah, thank you

I hang up. I'm annoying and amazed at the same time. ... So, wait, I could call GoDaddy now and ask for the same price, otherwise I move all my domains to Now that would be fun, if that's how the game is played... hmmmmm...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Interestingly, after NOT specifying Option "TVOutFormat" "COMPOSITE" the TV out on the new FX6200 card now works properly. TV out seems even a bit more crisp than with the old FX5200 card.

The channel switching problem when trying to record shows persists. I can watch live TV just fine, but all scheduled records fail with the error I posted yesterday.

I rerun myth-setup, delete all encoder cards and made sure that MPEG (PVR-500) is selected, then re-run mythfilldatabase --do-channel-upgrade. Now it works properly. I guess, 0.20 added a few fields to the capture cards that needed to be populated by mythtv-setup, even though it was all set up from 0.19 already.

No spontaneous shutdown for 24 hours. Replacing the video card really seemed to help. That's good enough for today. I'll worry about LIRC and ndiswrapper on the weekend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

grumpy powers down spontaneously

After I determined that the FX5200 in grumpy was bad, I swapped in an older Matrox card. I'm not sure if that's related, but Grumpy would not stay up for more than a few hours. It would just shutdown, similar to entering hibernate mode, particularly when I'm not doing anything on the system at that time. The problem is that I also can't wake it up, unless I hold the power button for 30 seconds or so. Only then I can power up again. and of course, I don't want it to shut down in the first place.

At first I suspected heat problems in the cpu. I tried cpuburn, within seconds got the cpu up to more than 90C until the kernel spew out temperature warning messages to the log and entered moduled frequency, i.e. ramps down the CPU frequency to reduce the heat. No such log entries exist from other shutdowns, so I don't think that's my problem.
When grumpy shut down again on me, I swapped in a new FX6200 card with TV out that I picked up today. So far it hasn't shut down on me. We'll see. If it's still up and running when I come home tomorrow I decalre victory and blame some interaction of the Matrox card with the motherboard. I'm not sold yet.

On a related note:
When I boot with the new card I get console output, so he physical connection to the TV works. However, as soon as X is enabled, the TV screen goes black. X is running because I can her the KDE login music, I just can't see anything. Frustrating.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

grumpy very grumpy

The 300GB Maxtor drive now really had issues (heat?). On top of that the video card in grumpy died (heat?). At first it looked like the CPU was toast, since the box didn't even beep anymore. I got an Asus board with Celeron CPU. Should have gotten a P4, since the Celerons apparently don't support SpeedStep (though Linux seems to think otherwise). /proc/acpi is not terribly well populated on this board.

I had lots of trouble with getting 2.6.18-4 to cooperate. ndiswrapper is a no-go so far. nor is lirc. module-assistant is really cool.

I added to my apt sources and spent most of last night watching apt getting dependencies, while at the same time copying the movie and media files from the old disk to the new 500GB disk I bought recently. No issues whatsoever with that disk yet, while the 300GB disk is was throwing CRC errors left and right. bad IDE cable? I'll test that later.

mythtv 0.20 now finally works with kernel 2.6.18-4-686 and ivtv 0.10.1. I cheated with the ivtv install and compiled straight from source, since the drivers are not available via m-a.

I fiddled with schema update issues a lot (basically reversing each failed update until the step no longer complained). After the update the channel line-up was a mess. I couldn't get recordings to work properly. They failed with

2007-03-20 22:45:51.701 TVRec(1): Changing from None to RecordingOnly
2007-03-20 22:45:51.718 TVRec(1): HW Tuner: 1->1
2007-03-20 22:45:51.798 Channel(/dev/video0): SetInputAndFormat() failed
2007-03-20 22:45:51.799 TVRec(1) Error: Failed to set channel to 3. Reverting to kState_None
2007-03-20 22:45:51.800 TVRec(1): Changing from RecordingOnly to None
2007-03-20 22:45:51.809 Canceled recording (Recorder Failed): Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Scheherezade": channel 1001 on cardid 1, sourceid 1
2007-03-20 22:45:51.827 scheduler: Canceled recording (Recorder Failed): Law & Order: Special Victims Unit "Scheherezade": channel 1001 on cardid 1, sourceid 1

wiping out all channels, running mythfilldatabase --refresh-today --do-channel-updates seems to have helped. At least I got a recording going now. on channel 40. However, I still can't record from channel 2. Will try again tomorrow. I suspect the table wants the channel frequencies.

To prevent very nasty video distortion when watching or recording channels that air in HD, I switched the recording profile from 480x480 as originally recommended by mythtv to full-size 720x480. No more distortions when watching TV, I hope the same is true for recordings.

Sound was not a problem to my surprise.

The setup is a mess right now: No video card with Video-out support, so I have my computer screen in the living room. Bah.

I failed over the system to the 500GB disk using the find / cpio trick I mentioned earlier in this blog.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The End of Internet Radio? - Copyright Royalty Board is going nuts again

Bill Goldsmith from Radio Paradise my very favorite Internet Radio station
wrote about the latest attempts to put Internet Radio out of business
. The royalty payments set by the Copyright Roalty Board are flat out ridiculous. Pay per performance (ie. for every single listener) is a flawed model. Internet stations get penalized twice compared to over-the-air stations, they not only pay for the additional bandwidth consumed, but also pay more royalties the more successful they are. Just because you can exactly measure how many people actually listen on the Internet shouldn't give anyone a blank check to cash in on that, especially not the greedy music companies represented by the RIAA and SoundExchange.

Successful stations like Radio Paradise with 1000's of concurrent listeners easily make it above the low bar of 159,140 "aggregate tuning hours" per month in less than a day even though they are a non-profit radio station. The CRB seems to be under the impression that "non-profit" is code for "not successful".

The analysis on the same page is even more chilling. While Radio Paradise is listener-supported and, I happily pay a contribution regularly, many other Internet radio stations are not. The analysis suggests that an ad supported radio station would have to pay royalties roughly equal to 100% of their revenues.

While I agree with Bill's gloom assessment of the situation I certainly hope there is a way for Internet Radio to survive, and be it by a crutch similar to the agreement negotiated in 2002 mentioned in Bill's post. Meanwhile, Congress needs to get their act together and reign in this craziness.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Success ... I think.

Phew. I spent a long time last night copying data off the old chef. One particularly annoying wrinkle was that after the parity rewrite, chef came up with unlean filesystems, and mounted them read-only. Including /. That meant, no logs could be written, and general unhappiness, which prevented remote logins. copying stuff out of chef via scp yielded a question every ~3.5 minutes, that the "host key of new-chef is unknown, is that ok"? In my 1am haze I dutifully typed yes every 3-4 minutes for an hour until the transfer was done.

This morning I thought about this more and figured that the only reason why it's asking repeatedly was that it couldn't write the host key to /root/.ssh/known_hosts and therefore when the ssh re-keys, it had to ask me again. Chef was still up this morning with read-only file systems and I still had to copy off 20GB of data, I didn't want to type yes all the time. I can't fsck the root filesystem while it's mounted read-only, and I was a bit concerned that chef might not come up again, when rebooting, so I mounted memory file systems over /root and /tmp:

mount_mfs swap /root
mount_mfs swap /tmp

The first parameter is just for the mount command to get some disk parameters, usually the special device of the swap partition on a local disk. Using "swap" forces mount_mfs to use a generic default. Useful for systems with no local disk.

I got all data transfered, decommissioned the old chef in the afternoon, and replaced the Athlon 900 motherboard and the two 160GB with a VIA M10000 board, 512MB of memory, and a 300GB disk. The disk is set up as one half of a raid1 mirror, so when I upgrade grumpy to use a 500GB disk as planned, I can use the 300GB in chef. Provided that disk passes a full-blown offline self-test via smartctl and a 8h stress test using multiple bonnie++ instances. The 500GB disk is going to get the same stress test before I put it in grumpy.

One immediately obvious benefit of the new chef is that it feels fast when using it with IMAP. A modern 1GHz CPU easily smokes a 5+ year old 900MHz Athlon. The memory is 4 times faster, too. And the whole system is quieter (mainly because the CPU fan on the Athlon was showing its age).

There's still lots of work left to do. I added features to Chef in small installments over 2+ years. But the basics (smtp, imap, web) are working reasonably well, so for now I'm happy enough with this that I'm going to watch some TV now.

Friday, March 02, 2007

chef bit the dust

While copying data off chef, OpenBSD panicked in the file system code and gave me a "map corrupted" error. That's not good I guess...

I got the family web site and my mail off in time, but I don't have high hopes for the rest of the data. Chef is currently undergoing another one of those wonderful 4 hourlong parity rewrite sessions.

In the meantime, I'm rebuilding all the needed functionality on the new chef.