Herman I. May

Herman I. May


09 May 2004

MisterHouse anomalies

A new version (2.90) of MisterHouse was released last week. After having already skipped an interval update, I decided to go ahead and install this version on Friday evening. There was no real functionality added, but several bugs were fixed — including those introduced by poor change management within the intermediary release, v2.89. Things started going bonkers from the beginning.

The first sign of trouble was an inability to make use of my PalmPad remote to activate macros. In order to turn on some of the lights in the house, I had to either make use of the web interface or use the hard-coded buttons for that house code range on the SuperRemote (UR19A). The code files for these macros were checked and rechecked and did not appear to have sustained any sort of corruption. However, the logs began to show signs of strangeness.

In an effort to trace the cause of the problem, I parsed the logs for the period since the upgrade. There were all sorts of errors related to the flushing of bad checksums with respect to the W800FR32. This was odd. From time to time, there had been the occasional flush during normal use of the antenna as a general rule. However, these were few and relatively rare. Now, they were occurring just about every five to ten minutes. Not only that, but they appeared to be more verbose than usual.

Following two days of this flaky behavior, I "downgraded" to MisterHouse version 2.88. That has not solved the problem, but it has alleviated it to some degree — the flushes are not taking place roughly every half hour or so.

It may very well be that this anomaly has nothing to do with MH at all. The flushes seem to be taking place around the time that the security system sends it hourly "check-in" with the base station. However, it is simply too strange that these events began happening at roughly the same time for there not to be some relation. Further diagnostics will be carried out over the next few days in an effort to resolve the issue. The designer and distributor of the W800RF32 may also be consulted for insight.

08 May 2004

Juke Box repair

Apple released version 4.5 of iTunes last week. In so doing they proceeded to break the DAAP server running on Scheherazade. Thus, for the better part of a week, the household has been devoid of the sounds of our music collection.

It appears that certain aspects of the Rendezvous broadcast and sensing code has been rewritten to curtail certain DRM circumvention exploits that had been manipulated to allow for third party access to the beacon without proper authroization. One change in particular has been a change to the http request. Instead of the more generic "GET /server-info", iTunes now makes a more specific query to "GET daap://servername:3689/server-info". The built-in web-based administrative interface to mt-daapd resides on that port in the current public release. Thus, it absorbs these requests and results in failure of the catalog to be transmitted. The tarball snapshot from CVS dated 2004.04.28 includes the fix for this alteration. A build and install from that source now returns functionality.

A caveat for those upgrading from 0.1.1 (or 0.1.2 if you had access) to the 20040428 tarball: mt-daapd now requires gdbm. The GNU Database Manager is used to create a cache of the tracks contained within the library in order to, presumably, increase launch time subsequent to the initial install. The problem is that, at the time of this writing, there is no published mention of the need for gdbm as a dependency unless one has read through the bug and support requests through the project home at SourceForge.

Nevertheless, a compile and installation of the 20040428 CVS snapshot will completely restore library access through the mt-daapd service.

04 May 2004

The virtues of patience

I am not usually particularly patient when it comes to dealing with the "suits" of corporate America. However, my willingness to wait for an acceptable solution appears to have paid off.

Return visitors may recall that I ranted on the hollow merits of the SonyEricsson/AT&T T68 upgrade program back on 02 March. This is the program whereby registered owners of the T68i were being offered the opportunity to "upgrade" to a T226 free of charge. Unfortunately, the feature set of the T226 is severely lacking with respect to those offered on the T68i. (Read the original, detailed article for more information.)

It is now just over eight weeks since that original commentary and it has been on my mind of late. So, having a little time to kill today, I did a 'Net search for "sonyericsson t226 upgrade". The sixth hit was quite intriguing and following it heightened my resolve to pursue the prospect of a better replacement device.

Entitled "NEW! Proven Sucessful Steps to resolve the ATTWS T68i", my first thought was some string laden offer by a seedy lawyer seeking disgruntled clients. In following the link, I discovered that it was the synopsis of the personal experience of another ATTWS customer. This individual was able to secure the replacement of their T68i with a T616 within twenty days of the program's beginning. Granted, they offered (and were charged) $50 for the privilege, but they got a phone with comparable features.

Buoyed by this story of relative success, I called the SonyEricsson Rebate Processing Center in an effort to argue my eligibility for a similar option. I must say it was slightly anti-climactic. Following a lengthy explanation of my interpretation of the program, the results of my previous contact, and the discovery of the above mentioned posting, I was taken aback when the representative, "Louise", simply stated that they would be happy to offer me the T616 in exchange. She verified my information and indicated that she would submit my request for processing and that I could expect to receive the replacement telephone in four to six weeks.

I probably should have protested the length of the wait. It took SonyEricsson only three weeks between the sending of the postcard announcing the program and the receipt of the replacement devices initially. However, I did not have the time to belabor the issue at the time and I have already waited two months as it is. A few more weeks is not that large an issue. Besides, in looking to purchase a replacement phone the other day, I noted that ATTWS is currently out-of-stock with respect to the T616.

Now, I await the arrival on my T616; somewhat satisfied with the result.


continue to the April 2004 archive

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last BBEdited: 2004.06.30