Monthly Archives: February 2012


Cox Communications “quality challenged” internet connection (of Cats and Cox)


Outdoor internet connection provided to Hermitage Cat Shelter, in Tucson, Arizona by Cox Cable

Outdoor internet connection provided to Hermitage Cat Shelter, in Tucson, Arizona


Patrick J. Esser, President
Cox Communications
1400 Lake Hearn Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30319

The Hermitage Cat Shelter is dedicated to the shelter, protection, and care of homeless cats, especially those that are often not considered adoptable by other organizations. We are both an adoption facility and long-term sanctuary for those felines who are “adoption-challenged.” including felines who are FIV or FeLV-positive, and other types of chronic health issues. All of our kitties roam free within 8,000 sq ft of outdoor/indoor living space. (Mission Statement)

To that end, we rely heavily upon the internet to carry out our mission. Approximately a year ago, The Shelter contracted with Cox Communications here in Tucson, Arizona, to install internet access for the shelter. We have 4 hard wired connections, and a laptop in use, using a central router. Because the way things we’re done, we have a cable modem and laptop (wifi) in one building, and the wifi and hardwired router in another. Because the distance is too great, the laptop cannot connect to the router in the next building, even though it sits a few feet from the cable modem. All of this goes through a single connection from the outside.

When we often have inclement weather during our monsoon season, or extremes in temperature, we experience frustrating and severe outages. Why? Because the technician who installed this took several short cuts (see photo, attached) and obviously has no pride in their work.

We are committed to providing the best opportunity available to the cats under our care. But is Cox committed to doing the right thing and fixing the poor installation quality that was performed?


imicro power supplies, computers, and things that go bump in the night


I am a software guy. I don’t know a whole lot about power supplies.

It’s another black box that works, until it doesn’t.

This supply worked great! For 6 months. Then life started to get flakey.

I have an Asus Mobo. Not exactly no name. The hard drive started to get errors. Uh oh! New hard drives have doubled in price, since I bought mine last year, in part due to the tsunami destroying a key plant (can’t blame this on Godzilla. Honto ni!)

So I put the sata drive and old cable into another machine. Boots great! Hmmm.

Maybe bad Sata controller? Marched down to the computer store and put in a new pci sata controller. Nope still didn’t work.

Tried to booting off a dvd or usb, Nope skip those. Only boots from hard drive.

Reflashed the bios. Nope. No change.

So I said. What the (expletive deleted!) Just for giggles I looked at the hard ware monitor.

Yeah 5V dipping to 4.1 volts, and 12 V dipping to 10.1 volts. Yeah perfectly explains why nothing works.

I’ll be returning the Sata card and buying a more expensive power supply. Something with a brand label, like Cooler Master.

A power supply is a power supply, until they turn to….Flakiness only belongs in pie dough. DOH!

and so it goes….



How to file check a Windows or Dos File System using Linux


It’s much much easier then I thought!

You need to use dosfsck!

1. If not already installed, install dosfsck: (it’s in sbin)

sudo apt-get install dosfsck

2. Find your device name.

sudo blkid

You will get output that looks like:

/dev/sdf1: LABEL=”CANON_DC” UUID=”713B-5AE2″ TYPE=”vfat”

Your device name will PROBABLY be different.

3. Check the usb drive or sd card:

Remember that the device should NOT be mounted, and that it needs to run as root (sudo or su -)

sudo dosfsck -av /dev/sdf1

-a says to automatically repair.

-v says to use verbose output.

You will get output that looks like:

dosfsck 3.0.9 (31 Jan 2010)
dosfsck 3.0.9, 31 Jan 2010, FAT32, LFN
Checking we can access the last sector of the filesystem
Boot sector contents:
System ID “PwrShot ”
Media byte 0xf8 (hard disk)
512 bytes per logical sector
32768 bytes per cluster
6304 reserved sectors
First FAT starts at byte 3227648 (sector 6304)
2 FATs, 32 bit entries
483328 bytes per FAT (= 944 sectors)
Root directory start at cluster 2 (arbitrary size)
Data area starts at byte 4194304 (sector 8192)
120752 data clusters (3956801536 bytes)
63 sectors/track, 128 heads
8192 hidden sectors
7736320 sectors total
Reclaiming unconnected clusters.
Checking free cluster summary.
/dev/sdf1: 693 files, 29358/120752 clusters

No errors. Good to go. Look Ma! No Windows!



Getting the subsonic server to work in Linux with a Roku media player


Yeah this required 3 hours of futzing to figure out.

1. Once you have the Subsonic Server installed, turn it off.

sudo service subsonic stop

2. Next change to the /var directory.

Remember anything with an octothorpe (#) is a comment and NEED not be coded.

cd /var # change to the /var
sudo mv subsonic subsonic.old # renames the existing folder
sudo service subsonic start # restart the subsonic server

3. Now we have to create a symbolic link for the lame transcoder, even if it is already installed.

To verify if lame is installed:

dpkg -l | grep lame

You would get output that looks like:

nwayno@Homer:~$ dpkg -l | grep lame
ii lame 3.98.4-0ubuntu1 An MP3 encoding library (frontend)
ii libmp3lame0 3.98.4-0ubuntu1 An MP3 encoding library
ii libtwolame0 0.3.12-1 MPEG Audio Layer 2 encoding library
ii twolame 0.3.12-1 MPEG Audio Layer 2 encoder (command line frontend)

If lame is NOT installed (the dpkg just returns a prompt) — install the lame decoder:

sudo apt-get install lame

as you can see, mine WAS installed.

4. Go back to localhost:4040 and re-enter all the information. If it complains that lame is not installed in the transcode directory, simply create a symbolic link.

which lame

should return:


5. so off we go again!

sudo service subsonic stop # stop the subsonic server
cd /var/subsonic/transcode # change back to the transcode dir
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/lame # create the symlink
sudo service subsonic start # start up the server so it gets change

it will just return a prompt.

to confirm the symbolic link is there:

ls -l

and you should get output that looks like:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 13 2012-02-01 15:10 lame -> /usr/bin/lame

which tells us that /usr/bin/lame is properly symlinked.

6. Now you can proceed to the Roku Box, and configure Subsonic TV.

Please note that subsonictv for Roku is not free. It is currently $5 USD plus applicable taxes.

The configuration will now save correctly on the Roku set top box, because it can now find the lame mp3 decoder.

Tested with Ubuntu 10.10 (64 bit), and Roku Model 2100X (hardwired)