New theme: Sparkling

Ever since I tried out the ‘Svblte’ (clone) theme, I’ve used ‘Spun’. This stayed in place longer than I’d anticipated (mainly through apathy). In reflection, this occurred as a holding mechanism: it was good enough for the time being; I’d get around to finalising a choice later. I hadn’t really spent much time blogging of late and it seemed good enough during the 60 seconds I spent evaluating it at the time. Cut to the present: I had time and spent it evaluating the current themes available for WordPress. I saw “Sparkling” and it resonated with me. I installed and activated it. Fin. 🙂

New blog theme: improved svbtle

I’ve just changed the theme for my blog. I haven’t changed it in some time, the last time would most likely have been around 2-3 years ago. Why did I change it? I’ve always been a fan of minimal design and the previous theme became unappealing to me. This was particularly apparent on mobile devices. So to the details. The theme in use is “improved-wp-svbtle”, based on “wp-svbtle”, which in turn was based on Dustin Curtis’ svbtle. Kudos to Andrei! [edit: I found some cracks. Time to try out some other themes.]

No Movember for me in 2011

Inspired in part by +Adrian Hempel‘s impassioned post on Google+, I sent the following email to my fellow workmates:

In earlier years, I have taken part and been a strong supporter of Movember. With the chairman of beyondblue (one of Movember’s main charities), Jeff Kennett, now actively working against the stated goals of the initiative he purports to lead, I believe that Movember should follow its own aims and stop supporting an initiative that does more for bigotry than men’s health.

I sent the following message to Movember at the start of this week. As our company is planning on supporting Movember this year, I would encourage everyone to at least read more on these topics before pledging your support. I would note that Movember has thus far not commented so far on Kennett’s outlandish statements.


While Movember continues to support beyondblue with Jeff Kennett at the helm, I will no longer take part in the event.

I firmly believe that Mr Kennett is using his position as Chairman to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) on the subject of depression and mental health, as well as reinterpreting scientific reports to fit the goals of his preferred lobby groups.

I draw your attention to the following:

In the event that Kennett stands down from his position or Movember should choose another charity in beyondblue’s stead, I would happily reconsider my decision. Kennett’s bigotry and misrepresentation of scientific truths offend me as an Australian male, a Hawthorn supporter and a scientist. 

I cannot support any organisation that endorses views of this nature.


Lightweight email delivery for an Ubuntu server

Nobody really wants to deal with email delivery beyond relaying it off to a remote host these days. I mean, c’mon! It’s 2011, not 2001! Even the more configurable MTAs like Exim and Postfix are overkill when you just want a system to be able to send email out.

That’s why these days, I just install mailx and sSMTP.

sudo apt-get install bsd-mailx ssmtp

You’ll need to configure sSMTP with at least the hostname of the remote server to relay outgoing mail to, but otherwise that’s it. Simple.

Using the D-Link DWA-125 with Ubuntu 10.04


This method has only been tested under Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx), but should work for any previous version of Ubuntu. Additionally, the driver compile instructions referenced should work for any modern Linux distribution (2.6+ kernel). YMMV.


The default driver for the D-Link DWA-125 wireless 150 USB adapter currently available as part of the Ubuntu Linux distribution has errors. This article offers a method for fixing this issue.


You will need a default Ubuntu install (ideally), a D-Link DWA-125 wireless USB adapter and access to an account on the machine in question that has superuser capabilities.


Firstly, plug the device into a USB port and identify it using the following command:

lsusb | grep D-Link

This should return the following text as output:

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 07d1:3c0d D-Link System

If the USB device ID is 07d1:3c0d, then continue to the next step. If not, then the device is not the D-Link we are looking for and is out of scope.

The issue can be confirmed by checking the system output using one of the following commands:

  • grep rt2 /var/log/messages
    which should return something like this:
    rt2800usb 1-6:1.0: firmware: requesting rt2870.bin
    ; or
  • dmesg | grep rt2
    which should return something similar to the above output.

The next step is to grab the most current Linux driver from D-Link, compile it and install it. The GNU make program is needed for this step, but it should already be installed as part of a base Ubuntu installation. Run the following commands to download the current driver source, extract it, compile it and finally install it for use:

wget --quiet*LINUX*DWA-125*.tar.gz --directory-prefix=/tmp ;
tar -xzf /tmp/*LINUX*DWA-125*.tar.gz ;
cd /tmp/*RT3070*Linux* ;
make && sudo make install ;
echo "blacklist rt2800usb" | sudo tee --append /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

If the commands above complete successfully, the new driver has been installed and the incorrect driver has been prevented from automatically loading. Restart the computer and the device will be available for use.

Resizing an ext3 LVM2 volume

The process of resizing an LVM volume is pretty straightforward, but it’s important to take care in performing them – one false step and say goodbye to the data on that disk.
  1. Shut the machine down
  2. Boot off a live CD or rescue disk
  3. Skip mounting your existing volumes
  4. Run lvm vgchange -a y
  5. Ensure that the volume group and logical volumes are visible
  6. Run e2fsck -f VOLUME to ensure the existing data on the volume is intact and the file system is sane
  7. Run resize2fs -p VOLUME SIZE[M|G] to resize the file system on the volume to the intended size
  8. Run lvm lvreduce -L VOLUME to resize the logical volume to the preferred size
  9. Run resize2fs VOLUME again to fill up the logical volume