Sean McGrath, CTO, Propylon

Sean McGrath's Weblog.

Friday, September 23, 2005
    Firestarter firewall fun
I think it was Germaine Greer who commented that life is too short to stuff a mushroom.

I feel the same way about iptables. So much to learn, so little time.

So I'm cheating, using firestarter.

So I fires it up and puff! - my blog won't appear in firefox. It times out connecting to haloscan. I catch the faintest of whiffs of a puff of logic but I dismiss it. "Pesky haloscan down again", I thought and went about my business...

6 hours later, same story. My analysis is beginning to ooze "SEW (Simple, Elegant, Wrong) fluid" from every orifice. Could it be the firewall???

Yup. Turns out haloscan uses an IP address from the edge of the badlands and is blocked by firestarter by default. Full details here.


posted by Sean 9:18 AM
. . .
Thursday, September 22, 2005
    Ubuntu on Thinkpad T42P. Internal Modem setup succesful. Procedure, comments and observations
The internal modem in the Thinkpad T42P is one of those softmodem thingies where all the smart stuff happens in the driver and very little happens in the modem itself. These things strike fear into the heart of Linux driver creators because they can be um, quite opaque in terms of documentation and barren in terms of manufacturer support/interest in supporting Linux.

It is a straightforward matter of market segmentation really. These things are built to be stacked high and sold cheap, bundled with pre-configured PCs in lots of 10,000,000 units. In a word, they are designed to work with Windows.

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, many of these soft modems are variations on a theme known as the Conexant Chipset. (Formerly Rockwell for us old-timers). Consequently, a Linux driver that groks Conexant Chipset covers a lot of ground. Linuxant have a slow-ware[1] driver known as the "HSF Driver" that works just fine with Ubuntu on the Thinkpad T42P. You can get it here.

The file I grabbed was

The install instructions are here

The install proceeded with no problems producing a bright shiny /dev/ttySHSF0 and a proud symbolic link /dev/modem.

I used minicom to send the modem equivalent of ping - the "AT" command and got back a resounding "OK".

From there I followed the pppd tutorial by Tony Mobily from Linux Journal:

part 1 and part 2.

Note 1: Its very painful navigating a shopping-cart dialog at 14k :-/

Note 2: It is good for the soul to get down into the bowels of Linux from time to time. The beauty of open source is that the bowels are there to be seen, in all their fierce beauty, when required.


I like that.

posted by Sean 4:46 AM
. . .
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
    Thinkpad T42p + Ubuntu - at last, some assembly required
My experiences so far with Ubuntu on a Thinkpad T42P have been very positive. I now have a docking station, a nice USB mouse, WIFI working fine, everything working fine except....

I need to get PPP working with the internal modem. minicom cannot knock a peep out of it. Reports from the trenches feature incantations of SmartLinks and HSFs and other incantations.

At this point, I know one thing for sure (I think) :-) It doesn't work right out of the box with Ubuntu.

sleeves.status = rolled_up.

More news anon...

posted by Sean 9:10 AM
. . .
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
    Banging on the drum about RSS/Atom, Syndication, Aggregation, Event-Oriented Interactions and all that jazz
Oyez! Oyez! RSS! is this weeks ITWorld article in which I come over all swoony, purple lobed and ocuglazed about event streams. Nothing less than the third wave of in electronic information disemmination by my troth.

posted by Sean 4:47 AM
. . .
Monday, September 19, 2005
    PyCon 2006
The indefatigable Andrew Kuchling has posted details of PyCon 2006 at

posted by Sean 8:31 AM
. . .

. . .
Weblog Commenting by