Information Overload

By | 13th September 2003

I’ve been generally faffing the last week. Actually, it’s been quite a busy week, thinking about it. Last weekend seems a long time ago.

On monday we had cable installed. I have spent quite a lot of time playing with stuff this week to make stuff work on the network. I think I’ll write that up in the extended entry. Read it if you’re bothered, other stuff will be in the main entry.

On tuesday I had an interview with Travel West Midlands. I left early anticipating heavy traffic, but the journey went smoothly and I didn’t get lost this time. I then had to sit through a 2 hour briefing before doing a bit of a written test, which was pretty easy (I got full marks on the highway code section without revision).

Then I had to go out for a little drive in a minibus which went pretty smoothly. So assuming I had satisfactory references and passed the medical, I basically had a job. However, the terms and conditions are pretty binding.

* I had to agree to a block of 10 solid days training, plus the theory test and actual test, therefore I would have to miss some of the beginning of term
* I have to sign up for 2 years minimum, if I leave for any reason (including sacking) in the first year, I pay them £1000. £500 in the second year.
* I have to commit to at least 2 days a week.

Now, I initially agreed to that, and they rush booked me a medical for thursday morning. I got home and talked it over with Hannah and we thought I should do it. I then agonised over it all evening and talked to “carl”: and decided against it. Basically, I can’t make that kind of commitment in my final year at uni.

So now I have to find a job. I’ve applied to Woolworths and Waterstones and I am now looking at some places in the Bullring and the job paper. I’ve got to make a concerted effort on Monday, I might have to go and talk to Sainsbury’s. At least I know when I should be able to work now. I’ve looked at the timetable for my chosen modules and changed them slightly so that I’ll have monday and wednesday completely free. Fits in nicely with being able to go to Tae Kwon-do on tuesday and thursday, too.

Today, Carl and Susie came down from Nottingham and we all went to the National Wedding Show at the NEC. It was all quite nice, and Hannah tried on a beautiful dress (it was only £1650!). We’ll have to try and find somewhere that’ll make something similar for a lot, lot less. We’ve also found someone who will make us our rings. I was surprised how reasonably priced it is to have them custom made. I’m going to go for a titanium ring. I don’t know about any symbolism of it being made of gold, but I reckon having a circular band that’s pretty much indestructable by normal means is symbolic enough of our love for each other. Forget tradition 🙂 We had a laugh at the catwalk show, which was actually highly entertaining and got fleeced for a couple of baked potatos in the food bit. Swines, I’m still bitter about that.

Anyway, then we met up with “jon”: and legged it across town to see “susie’s”: brother “mike bethel”: performing as part of Birmingham Artsfest and bought his new album “Opaque”: (I’m sure he’ll be willing to sell you a copy if you can’t find it at your local record store, that link’s got some demos) and then went and had food at the nearest Wetherspoons before coming home. All in all a very civilised and pleasant day. We’ve got enough magazines, brochures and bumph to keep us going for a while, too 🙂

Right, the perils of getting a debian machine to work with a Motorola Surfboard Cable Modem working with Blueyonder Broadband.

I had set my heart on making my machine work with the Cable Modem on the USB interface. So, my first step was to phone up the support muppets, thinking that I had to get them to change the Modem’s MAC address, as there didn’t seem to be a way of doing that in the Self Care bit of their website. It turns out all I had to do was add it as a normal MAC address through the form, it would have worked fine. Anyway, I had problems with getting it to recognise it. I recompiled my kernel a couple of times with no joy. In the end, I decided to completely reinstall the machine. I downloaded the bf2.4 floppy images, to make sure I had a decent kernel, and crossed my fingers. I plugged in the CM and started the install. I made sure I was inserting all the relevant modules including CDCEther and all stuff and then when it came to the net install bit, I found it was asking me if I wanted to use eth0 or eth1. As I only had one actual NIC installed, I felt this was a good sign. I ran ifconfig just to see, and bingo. It had found the modem all by its self. After that, I just did the install as usual over the Net, using the CM to do it! Magic.

I had some real headaches making my other NIC do dhcp. First of all I had to understand the /etc/network/interfaces file and build in the eth0 stuff myself, because it hadn’t happened during the install. That was probably my fault.

Once I’d done that, giving it a static IP address of I had a terrible time with dhcpd. In the end I tracked it down to being something stupid with /etc/defaults/dhcp overriding the option in /etc/dhcpd.conf that tells it which interface to use. I commented out that line and it magically worked.

I spent ages with CUPS, before reading the HOWTO properly. The only advice I can give is just that. Read it properly and do what it says step by step.

I also had a bit of a fight with NAT. What I did in the end was to just use a firewall script that a friend sent me. You can get a copy at I’ve just found “this”: which looks like a better explanation of how to use it. I’ve just bunged it in /etc/init.d and copied it to /etc/rc2.d/ which makes it work on boot. I don’t know that it’s the proper way to do it, read that tutorial for more info.

Now, having got myself almost up and running, with the CM and my printer (Xerox Docuprint M750) working on USB, and samba *almost* sharing it properly. I found myself having weird instability issues with the CM. Very annoying. I think it was timing out or something. I reckon that rerunning hotplug would fix it, but I can’t very well do that remotely, can I? So now I decide to get a cheap network card and run the CM over that. More headaches ensued. I had to switch over the entries in /etc/network/interfaces and I thought that would just work. But I found I had to delete the contents of /var/lib/dhcp/dhclient.leases and then that partly worked. I also had to add via-rhine (the NIC module) to /etc/modules to make it work on boot and change the config stuff in the firewall script. Now I’m having some issues with the kernel that I’m compiling myself, but at least everything’s working with the debian kernel. I also can’t get my printer working on the parallel port, but I’m not sure why. Something I’ll have to look into, I guess.

One thought on “Information Overload

  1. 'sein

    Try changing the MTU on the ADSL interface of yer Linux box. Currently the MTU is probably 1500, but see whether you can use ifconfig to change it to, say, 1458 instead. It may help with reliability, and you may notice an increase in speed too as packets stop getting fragmented once DSL headers are added to them.


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