Dell OptiPlex 9010 Ubuntu Linux Lock-Up

Posted in Technical on July 10th, 2012 by p14nd4

The History

I’ve been waiting for a while to get a new desktop computer at home. Back in 2006, I was biding my time to replace my dead desktop until the Windows Vista buy your computer now and we’ll give you Vista whenever it comes out program to be officially announced by Dell, and finally bought my OptiPlex 745 Small Form Factor PC (with a nearly top-of-the-line Conroe Core 2 Duo E6600 CPU) in October. Since that date, I’ve been running said computer nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it’s held up remarkably well.

While I ran Windows XP full time when I got it, I switched to Ubuntu full time (aside from playing through Portal when it came out) whenever I got my hands on Vista. That’s not to come as a condemnation of Vista, as everyone is so quick to do, but it just worked out that way: since I was going to do a fresh install on a fresh hard drive for Vista, it was a perfect opportunity to install Ubuntu alongside. And once Ubuntu was installed, I wanted to keep using it (as I had been full time in the months between my old desktop dying and purchasing that new computer). I preferred the desktop environment, window management, and most of the apps were either the exact same ones I used already on Windows (e.g. Opera, Firefox, Pidgin), or had suitable (if not preferable) replacements, with the exception of Foobar2000 and Media Player Classic (MPC). Things worked well, too!

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No ICS for Motorola Admiral

Posted in Technical on May 18th, 2012 by p14nd4

I was very disappointed to see today that Motorola announced it’s effectively decided to abandon the Admiral and its user-base less than seven months after releasing the product (though, I’d imagine the decision was actually made long ago). I hope that by not not even providing an upgrade to the version of Android (4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich) that was released[1] prior to the Admiral’s retail availability[2], Motorola’s message to current and potential customers is heard loud and clear: the relationship ends once your credit card clears from buying the phone.

While the Admiral had the potential to be a great phone, this should pretty much condemn it to failure, since anyone who knows anything will know better than to buy it now. And I, at least, now know not to ever buy another Motorola phone and expect anything more than whatever software it ships with.

(Mostly a copy of my post on Motorola’s forums, but I’m not sure if they’ll leave the comment up or delete it.)


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Personal Update: 2009

Posted in Music, Personal on January 2nd, 2012 by p14nd4


I just want to get this out of the way: I am not good at updating my blog; I know this. For anyone who actually cares (approximately zero people), I’m sorry for that. I’ve had various approaches to working around this problem in the past, most recently being an attempt to just write as much as I can in one shot, picking up wherever I last left off. As of my last such post on April 1, 2010, that meant I was about a year and a half behind current events; as of now, I’m a bit more than three years overdue. I started writing a more extensive blog post about early 2009 back in late 2010, so I’ve got a fair amount of detail there, but that’s hopefully where it ends. It drives me a little crazy to do this, but I’m going to try to cover the first two of those years in about four paragraphs (after the extra detail for early 2009), and then spend a little more time writing about 2011 as it draws to a close.

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Motorola Admiral Review Follow-Up

Posted in General, Technical on November 16th, 2011 by p14nd4

I wrote my initial review of the Motorola Admiral (my new phone) about three and a half days after getting my hands on it. I’ve been using the phone full-time for almost two weeks now, so wanted to follow up with a few other thoughts. You should definitely read the initial review above to put these additional notes into context.

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Mini Review: Motorola Admiral

Posted in General, Technical on November 7th, 2011 by p14nd4

After nearly five years of using my trusty (Palm OS-based) Treo 700p (preceded by over three years with a Palm OS-based Treo 300, preceded by over a year with a Treo 180, etc…), I finally bit the bullet and moved to Android. I actually did pick up a used Samsung Moment (landscape QWERTY slider) off a friend a couple summers ago, but never activated it; pretty much all of my reference point for Android comes from that device, though (running a custom rom, rooted, Android 2.1). I wasn’t especially thrilled with the Moment for a few reasons, which convinced me it was alright to stick with my Treo for a while longer, and keep my eye on the market. A few months ago, there were some leaks about an upcoming portrait QWERTY device from Motorola on Sprint that was supposed to be pretty fancy, and even back then, I had pretty much made up my mind: this would be my next phone.

Details in subsequent leaks changed a little bit, and the rumored release date came and went without additional information, but at long last, the Motorola Admiral was released at the end of October. I was hoping to find some other reviews online right away, but they didn’t come immediately. A few people on forums ordered the devices promptly and answered a few questions, and someone posted a Youtube overview, but there wasn’t exactly a thorough review out. Nevertheless, I decided to pull the trigger, and ordered mine (requiring upgrading my plan to Everything Data) this past Wednesday. I was fairly impressed with Sprint’s customer service that got my plan changed and corporate discount applied over online chat with virtually no pain, and then I ordered the phone, and they had it to my door around noon the next day. Nice work, guys!

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Solved: no iKVM64 in java.library.path on SuperMicro IP KVM

Posted in Technical on September 30th, 2011 by p14nd4

I recently purchased a Super Micro X7SPA-HF-D525 motherboard, and was excited to try out the IP-KVM feature. While I was able to log into the web interface fine, launching the console redirection java webapplet partially proceeded, but eventually failed for me with an error no iKVM64 in java.library.path. I was able to experiment a bit and developed a patch (below) for the launch.jnlp file served for the iKVM applet that enabled this to run on my system (i.e. downloaded the launch.jnlp, patched it, then ran with javaws launch.jnlp). When run without the patch, Java fails to download liblinux_x86_64.jar for me, because it only tries the following two URLs, which don’t contain the relevant file: and (while the actual path is something like /liblinux_x86_64__V1.0.3.jar.pack.gz).

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[protobuf] Solved: Invalid file descriptor data passed to EncodedDescriptorDatabase::Add()

Posted in Technical on September 23rd, 2011 by p14nd4

I’ll make this brief, but wanted to document my fix to potentially save someone else some aggravation in the future.

I’ve been working on a c++ project utilizing Google protobuf, and at one point ran into an error during application startup (static initialization):

libprotobuf ERROR google/protobuf/] Invalid file descriptor data passed to EncodedDescriptorDatabase::Add().
libprotobuf FATAL google/protobuf/] CHECK failed: generated_database_->Add(encoded_file_descriptor, size):
Abort (core dumped)

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Solved: Debugger:: An unhandled non-continuable exception was thrown during process load “0xc0000022”

Posted in Technical on November 22nd, 2010 by p14nd4

I recently developed a new application on my local machine (in Visual Studio/C++ 2008), and then moved it into our source/revision control system at work, IBM/Rational ClearCase (cc). The new app uses some third-party libraries for which we only have DLLs (no source), so I checked those into ClearCase, too. Unfortunately, the first time I made any changes to the version in cc and tried to step through the app in the debugger, I was immediately presented with an unfriendly error and app termination:

Debugger:: An unhandled non-continuable exception was thrown during process load

along with some return code (0xc0000022).

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WordPress vBulletin Bridge (vbridge) disabling WP Super Cache

Posted in Technical, TechwareLabs on September 7th, 2010 by p14nd4

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been playing with WordPress, vBulletin, vBridge, and some other stuff as part of my work for my other site, TechwareLabs. One of the other plugins I utilize on that site is WP Super Cache, which I discovered was an easier way to accomplish basic static caching instead of trying to jump into the deep end of learning mod_cache, memcache, and other sorts of fancy things for an actual elegant solution.

Unfortunately, these are complicated systems, and vbridge in particular seems slightly less polished than some more widely utilized components (though, in fairness, its user base is considerably smaller than most wordpress plugins).

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WordPress vBulletin Bridge & NextGEN Gallery Error

Posted in Technical, TechwareLabs on August 17th, 2010 by p14nd4

I’m the webmaster (and co-founder) of TechwareLabs, which gives me opportunities to play with some technology, software, and code that I otherwise likely wouldn’t have the motivation (or occasion) to pursue on my own. (This isn’t the main point of the post, but one of the coolest in recent history was using Xdebug profiling in PHP with KCachegrind to debug a performance problem on the live site. Flipped the profiler on for a few seconds, sent a few requests to the server, disabled the profiler, and loaded the output in KCachegrind to immediately get an awesome graphical overview of all the calls made to render the page, and how long they took. I don’t get to use fancy software like that at my day job, so this was very cool to use, and even cooler that it actually helped solve my problem so quickly.)

Anyway, back to the main point of this post! We’re currently working on an integration between the site backend (WordPress) and our forum software (vBulletin). I found a slick plugin for WordPress that’s supposed to accomplish most of this: Complete WordPress/Vbulletin Bridge and a guide explaining that vBulletin’s own utility, ImpEx, already has the ability to import users from WordPress. (Side note: ImpEx is available only to current vBulletin license holders, and can be downloaded from the same page where you can download vBulletin, after logging into the members area on their site. This wasn’t immediately apparent to me from reading that guide.) Woo! I can follow instructions!

Things went pretty smoothly, other than the hiccup I had trying to use the WordPress or WordPress CMS importers in vBulletin ImpEx. I eventually realized I had to click some start over link to get ImpEx to clear my session before I could continue with the BBpress importer, as the guide mentioned above recommended. Things seemed to be working pretty well in my testing, aside from a few pesky PHP errors about headers already being sent on some pages in the WordPress admin control panel, and a few slightly more concerning vBulletin-generated emails about insufficient database connections (yet to be resolved).

The bad news came when someone actually tried to publish a live article, and discovered that the Add media button for uploading images wasn’t working, and was instead presenting an error:

Are you sure you want to do this?

Please try again.

I poked around in media-upload.php, and first noticed that $_GET[‘inline’] wasn’t being defined, so I thought this was the problem. Not so fast! I guess the staff’s been using the NextGEN Gallery Plugin for WordPress, so this does something fancy for the media upload links, so that wasn’t the problem. My google-fu was apparently a little weak, since although I found other people reporting the issue immediately, I had to read through about twenty pages of the plugin thread before I found a solution (which, in retrospect, I wish I would’ve thought to check, myself, earlier).

User ‘skariko’ posted a [possible?] solution for folks having a problem with the WordPress flash-based image uploader, and while this wasn’t exactly what I needed, it was the Eureka! moment I needed to solve it, myself with a few keystrokes of modification. He suggested modifying the following line in vbbridge.php:
[code lang=”php”]#if (basename($_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_NAME’]) == ‘upload.php’) { return; }[/code]
[code lang=”php”]if (basename($_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_NAME’]) == ‘async-upload.php’) { return; }[/code]
I’m guessing that async-upload.php is the file that the flash uploader posts to, and for whatever reason needs to be unaffected by the vbbridge code. Anyway, I wasn’t even getting that far, so I just changed it to
[code lang=”php”]if (basename($_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_NAME’]) == ‘media-upload.php’) { return; }[/code]
and everything magically worked!

It turns out that someone else posted this exact same solution on another page of the thread, but I wanted to share it here, too, so maybe someone else in the future can have better luck googling for a solution (or in case I forget how I fixed it, and have to fix it again :-p).

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