Useful Consumer Review

I’ve got a computer in the kitchen (as one does), but it’s very difficult to get Ethernet

cabling to where it’s at.  So I’ve been using a Devolo dLAN Highspeed Ethernet II home plug network-via-powerline plug.

And it totally sucks.  Sure, it’s slow, but worse is the latency and unreliability.  I’m using it for NFS stuff, and it’s just too crappy for words.

The throughput is pitiful, but it’s acceptable.

[larsi@stories ~]$ scp 07112011002.mp4 sparky:/tmp
07112011002.mp4                               100%  105MB 535.1KB/s   03:21

But the  latency is crappy:

[larsi@stories ~]$ ping sparky
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=29.0 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=14 ttl=64 time=3.24 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=15 ttl=64 time=4.59 ms
— ping statistics —
15 packets transmitted, 15 received, 0% packet loss, time 14020ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 2.524/8.827/29.004/8.068 ms
So before I went all drill-ey with the Ethernet cabling, I thought I’d try a different poweline model — the Netgear Powerline 200 Mbps Nano Adapter (XAVB2101 (phew)).

And look:

[larsi@stories ~]$ scp 07112011002.mp4 sparky:/tmp
07112011002.mp4                               100%  105MB   3.5MB/s   00:30

It’s like a lot faster!  7x better throughput.  The latency is kinda similar, but more even:

[larsi@stories ~]$ ping sparky
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=1 ttl=64 time=11.7 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=2 ttl=64 time=9.04 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_req=12 ttl=64 time=3.36 ms
— ping statistics —
12 packets transmitted, 12 received, 0% packet loss, time 11016ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 3.353/7.262/11.787/2.470 ms
So…  it’s better, but it’s not…  good.  A max latency of 11ms, compared to the max latency of 29ms of the Devolo.

Anyway, the comparison isn’t really fair.  The Devolos are a couple years old, so they’re previous generation tech.  But it does mean that if you’ve got old powerline gear, and you want slightly less crappy performance, you may consider buying new gear.


I have literally no idea why I might have ordered this book, but I’m unpacking stuff.  And just look at this cover:

That’s just totally fabulous.  And the book feels fantastic.  I want to read it right now!  But I’m not going to.  Probably next week.

Note To Self

This is how you set up the digitemp device the next time the SSD breaks down and you’ve forgotten to back up the /etc directory:

[larsi@stories ~]$ cat /etc/udev/rules.d/20-digitemp.rules
ATTRS{idVendor}==”0403″, ATTRS{idProduct}==”6001″, MODE=”0666″, NAME=”digitemp”

It’s “ATTRS” now, not “ATTR”.  Or “SYSFS”.  Thanks a lot, udev people.  Changing the names to be used in the conf files all the time really helps.  A lot.  Thanks.

stories:~# digitemp_DS9097U -s /dev/digitemp -i -c /etc/digitemp.conf
DigiTemp v3.5.0 Copyright 1996-2007 by Brian C. Lane
GNU General Public License v2.0 –
Turning off all DS2409 Couplers
Searching the 1-Wire LAN
2815ECE002000053 : DS18B20 Temperature Sensor
ROM #0 : 2815ECE002000053
Wrote /etc/digitemp.conf

Now we have a conf file, so we can use the device:

[larsi@stories ~]$ digitemp_DS9097U -q -c /etc/digitemp.conf -a
Jun 28 13:55:11 Sensor 0 C: 23.81 F: 74.86

Couldn’t be simpler.

Useful Consumer Review

I’m going to the Kongsberg Jazz Festival this weekend, but the schedule on Saturday is the weakest it’s been in years.  So we thought we’d do a micro-hackathon.  And then I needed a laptop with functioning built-in 3G. 

And I needed a new one for work purposes, anyway.  I’d never use it for anything but work.  It’s a work laptop.  Not a Gnus hacking laptop.  Nuh-uh.  So there.

So I got this Lenovo Carbon X1, because it has a trackpoint mouse thing.  I hate trackpads.  I installed Fedora 19 on it, and everything basically worked, except the 3G.  Naturally.

But after duckduckgoing (that verb should be shortened) a bit, I found the cause and the solution.

Apparently, the 3G cell phone thing doesn’t support something called “nbim”:

[larsi@building ~]$ lsusb
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 0bdb:1926 Ericsson Business Mobile Networks BV 

This is fixed by this tiny conf file:

[larsi@building ~]$ cat /etc/modprobe.d/avoid-mbim.conf
options cdc_ncm prefer_mbim=N

Reboot, and then it just worked.

So now I’m installing bzr Emacs and git Gnus, and then I’m ready to go.  Hopefully some Gnus bugs will be closed on Saturday.  If the amount of beer at the hackathong is just right.


Every night at 2AM this bird starts chirping outside my window:

After a while, it realises that just because it’s getting lighter, it’s not actually morning yet, so it goes back to sleep, and doesn’t get up until 7.

But what kind of bird is it?  It makes a lot of varied sounds, and I haven’t been able to actually see it.  It’s hiding in the trees.

Inquiring mind wants to know.

Fluttering Back To The 20s

I’ve been running Youtube clips sourced from whatever is playing on the stereo as the background to my hallway weather monitor  for quite some time now, and I kinda like it.  Except when having guests over being slightly er puzzled about what’s running on the screen when the band Sex Worker is playing, for instance.  It can be kinda random playing stuff at random.  And sometimes a bit embarrassing.

So when I got the new Walt and Skeezix book the other month, another solution occurred to me.

(Walt and Skeezix is a collection of the Gasoline Alley dayilies published by Drawn & Quarterly.  The books are just beautiful, and the series itself is really funny and engrossing.  You know, some of these collections of comic strips from the 20s and 30s are more “interesting” in a historic context than actually entertaining, but I’m just loving these strips by Frank King.)

Anyway!  There’s a DVD included in the latest book compiled from home movies Frank King filmed in the 20s and 30s.  So I ripped the DVD and pointed mplayer at that in an infinite loop.

It’s been running for a few days, and I like it.  I catch a few seconds of Oldee Timeyness whenever I go out or come in.


(The line at the bottom is how much it’s gonna rain the next 24 hours.  So much rain!)