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