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Monday, December 18, 2006

Body impact timelines for quitting smoking, drinking cola

Intriguing descriptions of the short-term effects of quitting smoking and drinking cola.

(via a crick in the net)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Links for 2006-12-09

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Maintaining other Debain releases in chroots

This question came up on the mvpmc-users list in response to my throwaway comment:
The VLC in Debian Sarge (0.8.2) doesn't appear to be able to do this. Instead I fished whatever version happened to be in sid yesterday (0.8.6).
My reply:
On Tue, 2006-12-05 at 14:12 +0100, Marc wrote:

Roland --

On Wed, 29 Nov 2006 19:13:21 +0000, "Roland Turner (mvpmc-users)" wrote:

> I maintain a number of chroot environments (one each for woody, sarge,
> etch and sid) on my machine:
> - created with debootstrap
> - some cleverness with bind mounting /tmp and /home, plus some tweaking
> of /etc/passwd, provides an equivalent-to-host environment
> - accessed with dchroot

Would you mind sharing that bit with the cleverness? I currently run a server with sarge,
for peace of mind. I experimented with VLC on my laptop and enjoy it a lot, but I'd prefer
to run it on the server.

Was googling around a bit with debootstrap and dchroot as my keywords, but no result...

The following is from memory. I suggest that you peruse the relevant documentation (man pages, etc.) at each step to verify (a) that you understand what you're doing and (b) that I haven't goofed.

# apt-get install debootstrap dchroot
# mkdir -p /chroot/sid
# debootstrap sid /chroot/sid
# echo 'sid /chroot/sid' >>/etc/dchroot.conf
# cat /etc/debian_version
# dchroot -c sid
# cat /etc/debian_version

Note (check!) that the Debian version changed.

At this point, you've got the basics up and running. You still have a superuser shell, but you're inside a chroot with a copy of sid in it.

# vi /etc/apt/sources.list

Set up relevant sources for sid and save

# apt-get update
# apt-get install vlc
# vipw

Place a copy of your personal account from your "real" /etc/passwd. In particular, be careful to preserve your UID.

# vigr

Put your personal username into whatever groups you require.

# ^D
# cat /etc/debian_version

Verify that you're back in the real root.

# vi /etc/fstab


/home /chroot/sid/home none bind 0 2
/tmp /chroot/sid/tmp none bind 0 2
/var/local /chroot/sid/var/local none bind 0 2
proc /chroot/sid/proc proc defaults 0 0


/home will mean that your normal non-root-user environment continues to work; this is the reason for preserving your UID.

/tmp gives you access to the local X server at /tmp/.X11-unix/X0

/var/local may not be of interest to you; I keep all kinds of useful stuff there.

# mount -a

$ dchroot -d -c sid
$ vlc somefile.mpeg


- Raz

Monday, December 04, 2006

A seasonal use for those excess business cards

I was talking with Shalin and Fazny last weekend about the whole "we've had 1000 business cards printed, we'll never actually use that many" problem that most people have encountered at one time or another. I was reminded of my time at Discreet, the 1500 (!) cards that each engineer was issued with and what one of my colleagues (J I think, Mark vdB may have been involved) did with some of his one Christmas. Teams throughout the company were invited to decorate a tree for the lobby, this entry was one of a couple (both from R&D) that didn't actually look like a Christmas tree:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Threshers revisited

So, the coupon that I mentioned last week has been downloaded 800 000 times! Hugh has created a monster! Says BBC:

Queues have formed at one store while the Threshers website has crashed under the strain of demand for the offer.

"It was never intended to get this big," a company spokesperson said.

The company admits it is slightly concerned about the popularity of the offer.

Threshers' website appears to be down as I type...

(thanks to Fazny for the link)