Enable additional ENV variables on linux for non-interactive ssh logins

Use-case: run Hadoop with localhost as your only master/slave and with a custom JVM:

echo JAVA_HOME=/home/user/jdk > ~/.bashrc
echo JAVA_HOME=/home/user/jdk > ~/.ssh/environment
sudo -i
echo PermitUserEnvironment yes >> /etc/ssh/sshd_config
service ssh restart
ssh localhost ‘echo $JAVA_HOME’

Blogging tools

This post is not a list of tools to use to make your blogging life easier.

Recently I’ve switched my primary laptop from a Lenovo to a Mac. This in turn brought with it a need to change (almost) all of the software I used, including my blogging client. I use a desktop blogging client because I still have times when I’m not online, because I appreciate the responsiveness and the feature bloat of a desktop text editor.

On Windows I used Windows Live Writer, which, contrary to most MS products, is a good one. It worked like a charm, taking me through some blog changes and merging without glitches. However, it doesn’t work on the Mac, so I had to find something else. After fiddling with the idea of using a simple text editor and a custom script to post, I ended up using the trial version of Ecto. So far it seems an OK editor, though with less (apparent) features than WLW. I say apparent because I haven’t used for long enough to get to all of the hidden features, but unless I do in the 13 days of trial left I may even consider running WLW in a virtual machine.

Oh well, the price we pay for being lazy.

iPhone reloaded

Just read the live coverage of the WWDC 2008 keynote by Steve Jobs on Ars Technica and seen details on the second version of the iPhone. Again the rumors were true – the second installement of the phone is more enterprise friendly, but most interesting – it’s got 3G, GPS and a price tag of only $199. For that price I don’t think you can get a phone with all these features, as well as the design and user experience that the iPhone brings.

The app store touted by Apple as the only way of getting 3rd party apps on your phone seems to become the primary revenue driver behind the new phone. By lowering the price while adding features, Apple seems to get into a ‘printer-like’ business: sell the printer cheap, but bill for the ink and other parts. So I’m guessing Apple wants to drive adoption, so it can thicken the revenue stream through the app store.

Some of the features Steve announced today will also be available on the current version of the iPhone, via a free software update near the end of july. Which means my jailbroken iPhone will get it a month or so later 🙂 still before the second version will be in my hands.

Welcome Mihai

Starting today, one of my colleagues, Mihai Corlan has started his own blog. If you’ve visited our local adobe site (myadobe.ro – sorry, romanian only) you have probably enjoyed some of his posts. He has posted on the myadobe blog for quite some time and now he’s got his own place to rant about stuff.

I can only wish him good luck and encourage you to visit him.

OpenSuse 11 and WiFi

A week or so ago I shuffled computers around the house. As a result one of my desktops couldn’t be reached by wired Ethernet any more, so I thought of going wireless. Bought a cheap Asus PCI-Wireless card (WL-138G) which worked like a charm on Vista and XP. That’s the sunny side of the story.

In the spirit of weekly change, Thursday night I got my hands on OpenSuse’s latest and greatest – version 11, Beta 3. It installed fairly quickly, it looked nice, and it even seemed that it got all my cards – including the WiFi one. Oh joy. But my joy did not last too much – one click on the Firefox icon and doom came: there was no internet. So I tried changing the settings in the Network Settings menu of Yast2, using the Network Manager to shuffle even more seetings, but all in vain.

Back to the internet for a solution. Most links I found involved blacklisting the default driver and using ndiswrapper to extract the firmware from the Windows drivers. Which of course didn’t work. Late last night though I found a solution in a forum, somewhere. I had to tweak it a little, but it worked.

Technical data: the card uses a BroadCom 54G Air chipset, shown by a lspci command as BCM4318. I also had an ethernet port, which proved essential to get the wifi to work.


  1. Open Yast and go to the Software management category.
  2. Search for and install most things that have to do with wireless. Especially the K WIFI NManager.
  3. Search for and install the b4xx_fwcutter and curl.
  4. Open a terminal and run ‘su’. Then enter the root password.
  5. Run install_bcm43xx_firmware. This will fetch two packages and install them.
  6. Reboot the machine. On the page I found this idea it said that it should work.
  7. However, when using the K Network Manager to setup my wireless there was nothing detected. Nor were any networks found using the K Wifi LAN Manager scan.
  8. In the K WiFi Manager, in the settings tab there is an instruction that allows you to change the signal strength thresholds. Once you click that, wifi will start poring in.

So this is it, guide to WiFi in OpenSuse 11 Beta 3 in 8 easy steps 🙂

Now if I could get libxine, mplayer and lirc to work with my specs I can get rid of Windows.

360 Flex Milan is over

The first edition of the 360 Flex conference in Europe is over. It’s been three interesting days of talking to people, attending sessions and networking. Overall the conference was interesting, although there were less people that I was expecting – but I guess this is because in Europe the conference doesn’t yet have that much popularity.

The sessions were mostly held by non-adobe speakers – there were three sessions held by Adobe guys and the keynote during the first day. The rest were people that used Flex, have done cool things with it, or developed tools to help in working and deploying Flex applications to clients. Some thoughts:

  • the guys from Kaltura are pretty funny. And they have an interesting concept to boot: a wiki-like application for rich content. It uses Flex for the video editing tools – check them out at kaltura.com.
  • the guys at NitroLM came up with a hosted licensing solution for Flex and AIR applications. And they work with Flex 3 – NitroLM homepage
  • there were a lot of other interesting sessions,  like the one Jaco held, but my plane will leave soon, and I need to get off the wireless 🙂

Fun facts at the conference:

  • I spoke too fast and finished my preso 20 minutes earlier 😦 fortunately people were curios enough to stay and ask question and just talk afterwards.
  • The guys at simplified logic burned their Guitar Hero 3 set – plugged their 110V into Europe’s 220. They only sang a last "puff"
  • Koen had a lot of misfortune – his mac crashed twice during the presentation and one of the demo apps would not work no matter what 🙂 So macs are human too.

Next post will have pictures – if I can get them from Mihai’s camera.