HDhomerun3 Product Review



With the arrival of the Digital Age, Silicon Dust has a niche market: For those people who want to free themselves from cable bills, Silicon Dust created a digital tuner which can easily be added to a computer network, allowing you to have your own Personal Video Recorder. One of it’s unique features is that it is a networked appliance, so any device on the network (with the proper software) can watch videos from virtually anywhere on the planet with highspeed internet connection. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The product does come with an installation disc for the Windows operating system. I choose to use the free open source Mythtv for Linux. Mythtv installation can be frightening. I required assistance from my friend Mike M. in the Kansas City area.

The installation went with a few hiccups, but the real challenge was just ahead. Configuration. That is more art then science. It required more thaumaturging (magic wand waving) then I would have liked. The biggest issue was that when I did the channel scans, and then ran mythfilldatabase to update the logs. Nothing happened! It turns out that you need to add the xmltv id.(see highlighted red section — xmltv id is just and index into a database that contains the channel specific information. Zap2it is the easiest to use)


After that, I was watching tv for the first time! YaY!

All good things crashed last week. The digital tuner quit working. It would NOT tune any hidef channels, either over-the-air, or cable, even though my HDTV received them fine, either way.

The true mettle of a company is revealed when there are repair issues. The problems did not surface until day 31 of a 30 day return period. I am under the manufacturer’s 1 year warranty period now. What I found out…has been challenging. There is NO telephone number to call for Tech Support. It is all done by email via Fog Creek. Silicon Dust does NOT do their own Tech Support. It is done by a 3rd party vendor. Support is very slow, arduous and painful. You can expect 1 reply / day. It could take weeks to solve a simple problem. The embedded diagnostic software, that phones home is operating system dependent: requiring the user to have Windows. For Linux users, this requirement is un-acceptable. If a product is advertised as Linux compatible, then the diagnostic software should be available native to Linux, NOT Windows.

The email Tech Support, lack of native diagnostic software, the Windows requirement, and product reliability/durability gives this product 1.9 out of 5 rating. (C-)


Why doesn’t bash aliases work over an ssh connection


I had this problem years ago. And it cropped up again, a few days ago. I didn’t write it down then…

Symptom: bash aliases work if I am logged in as a local user. However, if you use ssh to gain access, the bash aliases are gone!

What’s happening? Actually it is very easy to fix. You simply need to add the .profile file to your home directory. The profile file is something that is executed each time you login. It is like the old Windows autoexec.bat file.

Here is the text for the file, and an addition I made to make life easier. Using a text editor of choice (gedit, nano, or….vi) create a .profile file.

# ~/.profile: executed by the command interpreter for login shells.
# This file is not read by bash(1), if ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login
# exists.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files for examples.
# the files are located in the bash-doc package.

# the default umask is set in /etc/profile; for setting the umask
# for ssh logins, install and configure the libpam-umask package.
#umask 022

# if running bash
if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
# include .bashrc if it exists
if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
. "$HOME/.bashrc"

# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then
# add /sbin to the path so we can use things like ifconfig
# without have to do sudo or getting
# bash: ifconfig: No such file or directory
# PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"

After you create the file, log out, and back in again, and the bash aliases will work over ssh.


Blessed Retirement, Joe



Today is a hallmark day for my friend Joe Sloan. It was his last day as a Unix System Administrator, at Toyota Motor Sales, in Torrance, Ca.

I have had the privilege of his friendship, guidance, prayers and mentoring. In about a month, I will start my 9th year with Linux, thanks primarily to the one man who stood tall: Joe Sloan. A lot of what I learned from Joe, is on this website.

As you enter into this new phase of your life, their will be challenges ahead. Thank you for your inspiration and the man of faith you are.

My Life at Toyota, Selsi Kato


We both worked for different car companies. Who knew?



How to: Install Skype on 64 bit Debian Wheezy


It is NOT as easy as it would first seem. Some magic wand waving (oh yes — Hokey Pokey again!) is required.

Download Skype for Debian 7 (multi-arch)

NOTE: if you are using Ubuntu or Linux Mint, you will need to download the Ubuntu Multiarch version, instead.

Debian Skype

1. What is multi-arch? Multi-arch supports the 32 bit libraries needed to run Skype or even Boinc. So first we need to tell Wheezy (Debian 7 — 64 bit) that we need this support:

Linux 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Normally, you would just get a prompt.

2. Now update the system:

sudo apt-get update

and it should find all the necessary components for the 32 bit support. Yup, Skype even on a 64 bit system, is a 32 bit application!

3. I found it necessary to run upgrade after doing the update, this differs from what other sites say.

sudo apt-get upgrade

4. Let’s install Skype!

sudo dpkg -i skype-debian_4.1.0.20-1_i386.deb

Or whatever version you download.

5. If you end up with um-met dependencies like I did, Don’t Panic!

Simply tell Linux to fix the dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -f

Repeat step 4 (above)

6. Q.E.D.



Stabilizing an atheros ar9485 (ath9k) connection in Linux (Wheezy)


If you search the internet, one of the issues that seems to come up a lot, are connectivity issues with the atheros AR 9485 card.

I am configuring a new laptop, an HP Pavilion G6-2323DX for my Mom. I ran into many issues that caused me to have to do hokey pokey.

This is pure hokey pokey. But it does work.

The operating system I am using is Debian/Wheezy V 7 RC 1 (64 Bit)

If you do a uname -a I get back:

Linux AnnLin 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.41-2 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Let’s just step by step check things.

1. let’s see if Linux see’s the card:

lspci | grep Wireless

You will get back a line like:

02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

That means Linux sees it, but of course it is NOT configured.

2. Let’s see if the driver (ath9k) is loaded. We will use modprobe.

modprobe ath9k

if the device driver is loaded, it will just return a prompt. That’s a “good thing” as Martha would say.

3. Let’s look to make sure the wpa-supplicant programme is installed. The WPA supplicant provides wireless protected access (encryption) for our connection.

dpkg -l | grep supplicant

and you should get back:

ii wpasupplicant 1.0-3+b2
amd64 client support for WPA and WPA2 (IEEE 802.11i)

We’re good!

4. Now let’s modify /etc/network/interfaces

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo cp interfaces interfaces.org # make a backup copy
sudo nano interfaces

You will get back something like this:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

#define the network interface for the wireless lan card
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid MyHome
wpa-psk MyPass

wpa-ssid is the name of the wireless network you are trying to connect to. wpa-psk is the password for that network. Yup plain text!

The iface line defines wlan0 so it has access to the internet, and gets it’s ip address dynamically (dhcp).

The card interface is STILL not up!

5. Bring up the interface!

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

you will get output that looks like:

ifdown: interface wlan0 not configured
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit https://www.isc.org/software/dhcp/
Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 8
DHCPREQUEST on wlan0 to port 67
bound to — renewal in 37985 seconds.


Install wicd (Wireless Interface Connection Daemon)

sudo apt-get install wicd

once that is installed, REMOVE the gnome network mangler!

sudo apt-get purge network-manager-gnome


Reboot the machine. After re-booting bring up the interface.

sudo ifdown wlan0; sudo ifup wlan0;

It should look like this:



now go back to /etc/network/interfaces and remove (or comment out with a # in front the wpa-ssid, and wpa-pskid for the wlan card. so just: iface wlan0 inet dhcp and whatever else was there — just not the wpa information.

cd /etc/network # go to network interfaces
sudo nano interfaces

9. Restart the network:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

you will get back something like this:

[….] Running /etc/init.d/networking restart is deprecated because it may not[warnnable some interfaces … (warning).
[….] Reconfiguring network interfaces…Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.2.2
Copyright 2004-2011 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit https://www.isc.org/software/dhcp/

Listening on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on LPF/wlan0/20:16:d8:e5:32:b4
Sending on Socket/fallback
DHCPRELEASE on wlan0 to port 67

this basically makes sure we don’t have any errors in /etc/network/interfaces


Reboot once again, and this time the interface should come up automatically. Screensaver engagement should not knock the connection offline.

And that’s what it’s all about!

I have to thank 3 people for all their help. Joe, Loni and Frances.



Dear Mark: Thanks for Ubuntu 10.04 lts


Dear Mark Shuttleworth:

Thank you for Ubuntu 10.04 lts. It was perhaps the best Linux OS I have used. As it hits end-of-life at the end of the month, I have gone in another direction. Debian/Wheezy. I am not at all happy with the direction that Canonical has taken, in regard to desktop environment. I realise with Unity, you are trying to give the same desktop look/feel to all modes of communication: desktop, laptop, cell phones.

While my cell phone runs a Linux variant, it is customised to the device. One design does NOT fit all. Imagine trying to use a cell phone os, on a desktop. Oh wait. I think that’s windows 8.



Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.04 (lts) to Ubuntu 12.04 (lts)


On 03/26/2013 10:48 AM, wrote:

Sunday night I upgraded my server again – I had previously upgraded it from ubuntu 8.04 to 10.04, so I figured I’d go ahead and take it to 12.04 so it will be supported until 2017.

It all went smoothly. All I had to do to get the ball rolling was to type: ‘do-release-upgrade’ and the process began. Again, the box stayed up all through the upgrade, continued to serve dns and dhcp, routed nat traffic to the internet, and kept the vpns running.

When the upgrade was complete, I had to go to run level 6 to boot into the new kernel, so the system was down for about a minute while the reboot process ran its course.

When it came up, there was a problem with forwarding traffic to the internet. That was caused by a new /etc/sysctl.conf which didn’t have the ipv4 forwarding enabled. I fixed the file, typed “sysctl -p” to make the new setting take effect, and lan access to the internet was restored.

A bit later I noticed a second problem: wireless devices were not able to access the internet. I found that the dhcp server was not running. I tried starting it manually and it failed. Looking in the log, I could see that apparmor didn’t like the fancy things dhcpd was trying to do. Admittedly it’s a custom configuration, and the new version of dhcpd might require a few changes. At any rate, I just unloaded apparmor to get things up and running. Then dhcpd was able to start, and there were no other problems.

All in all, a smooth upgrade with a rather short outage.



Santa Claus Defeats (conquers) the Aliens


This has absolutely nothing to do with Linux.

He sends me cheesy movies! The worst he can find! (sha-la-la)

Knowing I have a penchant for uber quality challenged horrible films, my friend Eric sent this to me:
]Santa Claus Defeats the Martians
Santa Claus Defeats (conquers) the Aliens (Martians)

79 cents. Can not beat the price!

In case you missed this cinematic blunder, here’s the official trailer:

Thanks Eric!


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 18 19