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05 March 2009

Easier locking of keypad on e71

One long click

Nokia phones have traditionally always been locking their keypads by hitting the top left key ("left softkey") and then the bottom left key (on the e71 "function key"). Which is nice and dandy, but once you had a phone with a real lock button or even hardware switch, it's just clumsy. Especially since those buttons have other jobs too, so it's easy to e.g. go into the applications menu by mistake.

There is a much better solution: Download the little freeware program mLock, assign it for example to a "long press" on the calendar key - where you can find it easily by touch. The funny thing is that this will work from any application, so now I can lock the keypad while I'm in IRC... locked keys but I can still follow what's happening online.

Now if I only could get the default auto-capitalization (aka auto-shift) to be turned off totally. I hate that stuff.

Posted by betabug at 11:07 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 March 2009

Café Abyssinia

Listening to chloe here
Café Abyssinia in Monastiraki

Chloe from has some of the best food pictures (and generally some of the most beautiful blog pictures) around. She also has a recommendation for the Καφέ Αβυσηνία (Café Abyssinia) on her Things I Like page. Yesterday, wanting to go to a new place for once, I went there with good friends.

The place is truly beautiful. Loved the look of it from the start. It was almost empty when I arrived and it stayed more or less that way till we left. OK, we were a little bit early for Greek eating habits, but still it made me wonder.

The food was quite good, the right mix of the usual dishes, variations and old traditional stuff that you won't find so often. Subtly seasoned, good taste. What we didn't like so much was the prices. OK, it's a nice place, with a great atmosphere... but come on! More than 60% more expensive than some of the place we usually go to?

We didn't even take some of the more expensive food choices and still the bill was a bit striking. They also have the lousy habit of making the portions really small. 4 slices of grilled Χαλούμι (Haloumi - a very nice cheece from Cyprus) for something like 6-7 Euro? It's not that I can't afford it, but I start to feel like "they touch my ass" as they say in Greek ("σου πιάνουν τον κώλο" - approximately "they take your money and make fun of you on top of it").

I wonder if it's really worth for them to have the shop empty and make their money with some tourists and the weekend nights when they probably have more work. With a little bit more logical prices I'd go there more often. Anyway, if you're in for a night where the eye eats as well as the mouth and don't mind to spend a bit more, the Address is: Café Abyssinia, Kynetou 7 (Plateia Avyssinias), Monastiraki, Tel. 2103217047.

As for the picture: Chloe's blog really got me inspired to try a little bit harder on my own photography. This morning I discovered that two of the pictures I had taken could be linked to a panorama (with a piece of free / open source software called hugin), so that's what I did... you can click on the picture for a somewhat bigger view.

Posted by betabug at 12:04 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
13 March 2009

apache and reverse DNS hostname lookups

No, no, no, it ain't me babe!

Doing reverse DNS hostname lookups on every request in apache (to have those domain names in the log file) is a bad idea as it will slow your server down, everybody seems to agree on that. Yesterday I noticed one of our servers doing just that, despite me not having remembered turning that feature on. Took me a bit of searching and cursing to find the culprit.

There are a few reasons why Apache (or Apache 2) will start looking up hostnames:

  • HostnameLookups on somewhere
  • checking of allow / deny rules with domains instead of IP ranges, e.g. Allow from or Deny from
  • a rewrite rule with a condition like RewriteCond %{REMOTE_HOST} (the last two I found on this thread)
  • update 2009-06-23 according to a post on a "simplywebhosting kb" , having Deny from none somewhere (this caused the problem to reappear for me one more time), apparently "none" is not a proper apache directive
  • and the winner was: using %h in a LogFormat directive instead of %a (%h will give you the hostname, no matter what HostnameLookups says, %a will give you the IP address)

... and now please don't ask me why Apple (or is it Apache 2 at fault?) has the LogFormat with %h in their config on Mac OS X 10.5.

Posted by betabug at 10:42 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
17 March 2009

Shell fun: limit bandwidth on scp

... but is that really fun?

I wasn't really sure if this post should go into the shell fun category.. but anyway here goes a little hint about one sometimes overlooked feature of everybody's beloved OpenSSH scp command: You can limit the bandwidth it uses with the -l parameter. Just give it the maximum number of kilobits/second that it should use.

This parameter can be fun, because it can allow you to surf the web. How so? Imagine you have a limited amount of uplink bandwidth - like on your average ADSL line - ok, no need to imagine much there, you probably are there already. Now you fill up all that uplink bandwidth by beaming a big file to some remote server with scp. What happens is that your asymmetrical pipe is congested and surfing (or irc chatting or whatever) becomes painfully slow. You could go all the way and implement some traffic shaping. Or you could switch to using

scp -l 200 hugefile.tgz

and thus use only 25kByte/second (200kbit/sec = ~25kByte/sec) of your wimpy 1024kbit/second uplink bandwidth for this. The uplink will take longer, but at least you can get back to read some webcomics - or whatever urgent business you had at hand.

Posted by betabug at 14:09 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
23 March 2009

got earphones (again)

Earphones Nokia HS40... not HS47

I admit, I treated my earphones mean. They came with my phone (Nokia e71), they sounded ok, so I used them a lot. One day I pulled hard on the cord and they started to play only intermittently. I shouldn't have done that. I ordered a new pair from Last Wednesday I took my delivery. Half an hour later I opened the box and to my surprise they were stereo headphones with only one earpiece.

At first I thought I had ripped off one earpiece while opening the blister. But no, there were no dangling cables. A closer look revealed that the box contained a headset Nokia HS40. Which is not a stereo headset. The box clearly wrote HS47 - Stereo. Someone in China had put the wrong thing into the wrong box. Next morning I went back to the outlet. Patiently I explained a couple of times what had happened. I left the HS40 with them (had snapped a pic before) and they told me they would have to send it over to their technician "who will look up some serial numbers and such stuff". Right. Good luck to me and no music so far.

Saturday I received an SMS: "Your product has been replaced, you can come to pick it up." Good again, so this morning I went and indeed received a replacement. Going through the complaints moves wasn't the nicest experience ever, it took some time, but it wasn't that bad and in the end I got the product I had wanted.

Posted by betabug at 09:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
28 March 2009

Greek Independence Day

Pictures finally
Μπακαλιάρος με σκορδαλιά

Sometimes I joke that all Greek holidays and special days are marked by the fact that everybody eats the same things. Last Wednesday it was Μπακαλιάρος σκορδαλιά (Bakaliaros skordalia, codfish with garlic paste). I spent the day with good friends and ate a lot. Click for more pix.

Continue reading "Greek Independence Day"
Posted by betabug at 16:20 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)