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HikVision HWP-N2404IH-DE3 PTZ controls

Recently I came into the possession of a HikVision HWP-N2404IH-DE3 mini PTZ camera. It has POE, RTSP, ONVIF, can pan/tilt/zoom remotely, has optical zoom etc.. Hardware wise the camera is great. Proper build quality, nothing to complain about here. But the IT part looks better on paper than IRL. Worst thing is that I could not use the PTZ controls in the webinterface, because they require some Windows .exe to be installed to get that working. But I have a workaround.

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Thinkpad T420 - CMOS battery replacement

A long time ago I bought several Lenovo Thinkpad T420 laptops (used of course). But my wife's laptop gave her the dreaded error (after power loss):

Real Time Clock Error - Check Date and Time settings.
Press Esc to continue or F1 to enter Setup.

Finally I got fed up with it, so I swapped out her old CMOS backup battery with a new one. Then I also did the same for my other T420's.

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Evoluent Vertical Mouse 4 - Disable blue LED light

For a while I've been using the Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 Right. At first I had to get used to this type of mouse, but after a day or so, I already got used to it. The strain on your wrist/arm is much less with a vertical mouse, so I can really recommend it.

But I cannot recommend the blue LED light at the front of the mouse (facing the user). It's a very bright LED with no added value to the user. I'm used to working at different times of the day and also in low lighting conditions, so I use redshift for my monitors. But the bright blue LED on the mouse is really a PITA, since it's brighter than my screen...

Since I'm repairing (or modding) more and more devices, I wanted to disable the LED (in hardware) by opening the mouse. Drobilla.net had the same idea a few years ago so this should easily be doable. The blogpost got updated in 2020 with the news that Evoluent has a software/firmware fix for the blue LED light. So I went for the quick win and it worked like a charm. Just press and hold the "-" of the "pointer speed" button, while plugging in the mouse and the blue logo LED will be turned off.

GRUB - grub_register_command_lockdow not found

Recently the OS disk of one of my servers failed. Since the OS disk is a USB stick and I have had good experiences with Diet Pi for my raspberry pi's, I thought I'd take a look if it is also available for AMD64. Guess what, it is!

So I fired up dd to push the downloaded image to the USB stick, popped the USB stick into the server and ran the OS for the first time. So far, so good. But then I rebooted...

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freenode requires irc.com

Last weekend I wanted to check in again on my Freenode IRC account. I logged into my trusted irssi IRC client and was confronted with these errors:

21:01 [freenode] !*.freenode.net *** You must use TLS/SSL and authenticate via SASL to connect to freenode please visit https://irc.com/login/sso in order to create an account. SASL Configuration: https://freenode.net/kb/answer/sasl -
          Webchat: https://webchat.freenode.net/
21:01 [freenode] -!- Capabilities requested: multi-prefix
21:01 [freenode] -!- Capabilities supported: account-notify account-tag away-notify batch cap-notify chghost draft/relaymsg echo-message extended-join inspircd.org/poison inspircd.org/standard-replies invite-notify labeled-response
          message-tags multi-prefix sasl server-time setname userhost-in-names
21:01 [freenode] !*.freenode.net *** Found your hostname (XXXXXXXXXX.domain.tld)
21:01 [freenode] -!- Capabilities acknowledged: multi-prefix
21:01 [freenode] !*.freenode.net *** Could not find your ident, using ~USERNAME instead.
21:01 [freenode] -!- ERROR Closing link: (~USERNAME@XXXXXXXXXX.domain.tld) [You must use TLS/SSL and authenticate via SASL to connect to freenode please visit https://irc.com/login/sso in order to create an account. SASL Configuration:
          https://freenode.net/kb/answer/sasl - Webchat: https://webchat.freenode.net/]

So I tried to check out the webchat, but it seems to be broken as well:

webchat.freenode.net on 08-08-2021

The only option was to go to the IRC.com website and create an account. With that account I was able to access Freenode again, but I am not happy with this severe change. This triggered me to now finally dropping my nick on Freenode and permanently upgrading to Libera.chat.

P.S. I've requested account and data removal on IRC.com via their contact form (there does not seem to be another way to do that). Hope they are GDPR compliant.

input output errors

One of my servers went belly-up. It is always unfortunate when you are confronted with a failing server. If you ever get messages like this, the hard disk on which your Operating System is installed, is probably K.I.A.. In the end I did a hard reset and was greeted with busybox (which was expected). Just wanted to share the kind of 'weird' messages you can see when you have I/O errors due to a failing drive (in this case it was a USB stick, not a HDD or SSD).

:user@hostname:~$ ssh cyberdyneinc.net.sukar
Linux sukar 4.19.0-14-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 4.19.171-2 (2021-01-30) x86_64

The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
You have new mail.
Last login: Tue Jul 27 13:03:33 2021 from 10.83.1.239
-bash: /usr/bin/id: Input/output error
-bash: [: : integer expression expected
-bash: /etc/bash_completion.d/docker: Input/output error
-bash: /etc/bash_completion.d/docker: Input/output error
user@sukar:~$ sudo -i
[sudo] password for user:
-bash: /usr/bin/id: Input/output error
-bash: [: : integer expression expected
-bash: /etc/bash_completion.d/docker: Input/output error
root@sukar:~# journalctl -f
Bus error
root@sukar:~# df -h
-bash: /bin/df: Input/output error
root@sukar:~# reboot
-bash: reboot: command not found

postfix can deliver e-mails again towards Microsoft addresses

Recently I upgraded to my new, freedom-loving, pro-privacy Internet Service Provider Freedom Internet. I was already running a mailserver before I switched: postfix. For years I had no issues sending out e-mails towards other mailservers. After I upgraded though, it seemed I was unable to send e-mail to Microsoft e-mail addresses. I noticed it only after a few months, when I tried to reach someone with an @live.nl e-mail address.

TL;DR

So I decided to change my reverse DNS record from something.connected.by.freedominter.net to something.domain.tld And behold, my e-mail was now being accepted again by Microsoft.

So although Microsoft's policies and guidelines state "Email servers must have valid reverse DNS records.", that is not the entirely true. I assume that Microsoft rejects e-mail servers with rDNS records with more than 2 dots. Beware if you use multiple DNS zones.

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offlineimap - unicode decode errors

My main system is currently running Ubuntu 21.04. For e-mail I'm relying on neomutt together with offlineimap, which both are amazing tools. Recently offlineimap was updated/moved to offlineimap3. Looking on my system, offlineimap reports itself as OfflineIMAP 7.3.0 and dpkg tells me it is version 0.0~git20210218.76c7a72+dfsg-1.

Unicode Decode Error problem

Today I noticed several errors in my offlineimap sync log. Basically the errors looked like this:

UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xfc in position 1299: invalid start byte
UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf-8' codec can't decode byte 0xeb in position 1405: invalid continuation byte

Solution

If you encounter it as well (and you use mutt or neomutt), please have a look at this great comment on Github from Joseph Ishac (jishac) since his tip solved the issue for me.

To "fix" this issue for future emails, I modified my .neomuttrc and commented out the default send encoding charset and omitted the iso-8859-1 part:

#set send_charset = "us-ascii:iso-8859-1:utf-8"
set send_charset = "us-ascii:utf-8"

Then I looked through the email files on the filesystem and identified the ISO-8859 encoded emails in the Sent folder which are causing the current issues:

$ file * | grep "ISO-8859"
1520672060_0.1326046.desktop,U=65,FMD5=7f8c0215f16ad5caed8e632086b81b9c:2,S: ISO-8859 text, with very long lines
1521626089_0.43762.desktop,U=74,FMD5=7f8c02831a692adaed8e632086b81b9c:2,S:   ISO-8859 text
1525607314.R13283589178011616624.desktop:2,S:                                ISO-8859 text

That left me with opening the files with vim and saving them with the correct encoding:

:set fileencoding=utf8
:wq

Voila, mission accomplished:

$ file * | grep "UTF-8"
1520672060_0.1326046.desktop,U=65,FMD5=7f8c0215f16ad5caed8e632086b81b9c:2,S: UTF-8 Unicode text, with very long lines
1521626089_0.43762.desktop,U=74,FMD5=7f8c02831a692adaed8e632086b81b9c:2,S:   UTF-8 Unicode text
1525607314.R13283589178011616624.desktop:2,S:                                UTF-8 Unicode text

LTT - Generation Gap

A while ago I "discovered" the Linus Tech Tips channel on youtube. Last week I wanted to reference a specific part of a video to a friend and really needed to put some effort into it to find it again (the correct video and then the correct time in that video). So why not 'document' it here...

The video I was looking for was the She should've studied - ROG RIG Reboot 2020 at about 12:26. Linus starts talking about "rolling" and she doesn't get it at all. He is referencing the lyrics to the song "Rollin'" by Limp Bizkit, whos frontman is Fred Durst. I immediately got the 'hint' and the song started playing in my mind.

During the course of the video, you already got the gist she is quite a bit younger than Linus. Then it hit me. Linus and I are about the same age, so we probably had a similar exposure in songs and types of music. Songs (and lyrics) which are well known to us, can be completely unknown to younger generations (e.g. there is a generational gap). It is not something bad, it is just something I am starting to be more aware of (as I'm getting older).

Note: Let me be clear here, I'm not trying to bash or humiliate the girl in the video. I think she's brave by taking part in a public youtube video in a popular youtube video channel.