Things you can do when you have a fews day off

Having a few days off is great. You can relax and have some fun.

So what could we do today? What about getting the Lego model railway out of the box and play with it? Yes, great idea! Let’s put up the tracks first:

The first track layout

That are definitely not enough tracks. Let’s go to the garage and search for the box with the extra tracks that haven’t even been unpacked so far:

More Tracks

That’s more like it. Now let’s improve the layout so the tracks go all the way from the dining room to the living room:

The second track layout

Now let’s make a movie of the train. Chasing the train with the camera is not only difficult the result is also unconvincing. We need a better plan!

What about putting the camera on the train? Yes, that will work. But we need a waggon to hold the camera. Wait, this is Lego. So let’s simply built the waggon:

The Camera Waggon

Not very spectacluar but it does the job. Now we can record our train movie (please click on the picture to watch it):

The Train Move

Things we need for the future:

  1. More tracks.
  2. A better camera
  3. More Internet bandwidth for publishing movies

Anyway, that was definitely fun. 🙂

(Not) downloading Solaris 10

The most advanced operating system ever built is according to Sun Microsystems Solaris 10. Last Sunday I decided to try out the latest update release Solaris 10 6/06 on my ULTRA60. Because I have frequently problems with NFS and NIS on my Powermac (running Mac OS X) I wanted to try out whether another operating system on the server makes a difference.

I went to Sun’s websites and followed the download links until it asked me to login using my Sun Online Account. I entered the username and password that I registered years ago (if I remember correctly for downloading Java) and selected the Solaris for SPARC DVD link. But instead of the requested download I got a form which asked me to update my personal information. That was actually a valid request because the data was out of date. I therefore updated it and submitted it. The result was something which looked like an empty web page. It took a moment to realize that it was the bottom of a mostly emtpy web page. I scrolled up and found this error message:

Fatal Error: We’re sorry, an unexpected error occurred, so your transaction cannot be completed at this time. Please help us resolve this error as soon as possible by e-mailing our support department at ( Download Center Customer Service ) the name and/or URL of the page you were on and a copy of the following error message:

And the real error message was missing. Neither entering my personal data again nor creating a new account helped. I finally followed the advise above and submit a support request. Here is the information I put it (as quoted in the reply I got from Sun):

Name: my account name
Email: my e-mail address
Feedback Type: Download
Browser: Firefox
Version (if known):
Operating System: Mac
Product Name: Solaris 10 6/06
I’m trying to download Solaris 10 6/06. After login in and clicking on the link for the SPARC DVD image I’m asked to enter my account data. If I do that and press on the “Update” button I get a page with a message about a “FATAL ERROR” on it. If I press reload I’m back to the SDLC page and after clicking on the link for the SPARC DVD image the problem repeats itself.

Note that I made the mistake to specify acurate information for the platform I was using to download Solaris. And here is the reply I got from Sun:

Dear Sun customer,

We do not currently provide software that supports the Mac environment. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. For possible suggestions or workarounds, please visit the Java Forum at the following URL:

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.

name removed

Sun Customer Service Specialist

Now I know that I cannot update my Sun Online Account because Solaris is not available for my Mac. Thanks a lot, I’m glad you told me that. I guess I have to ask Apple whether I can get Mac OS X for my ULTRA60 instead. 🙂

My little Bugathon

Elad Efrat, one of the most active NetBSD developers in the last few month, recently organized NetBSD’s first Bugathon. It was a successful effort involving NetBSD users and developers to reduce the number of open bugs report against the NetBSD operating system.

I tried to contribute myself but was fighting with adverse conditions when I finally had some time. I nevertheless managed to take a look at two bugs:

  1. PR bin/24583: /etc/security doesn’t parse /etc/exports correctly
  2. PR bin/28492: more(1) doesn’t handle NUL data blocks well

The first PR was easily solved because Jukka Salmi already supplied a fine working patch. I only applied it on two of my systems (NetBSD 3.1_RC3 and 4.0_BETA), checked my e-mail the next morning to make sure that the nightly scripts worked fine and committed it.

I’m still working on the second PR because I cannot reproduce it so far.

Taking comfort in the Unfairness of the Universe