Wheat as intestinal scourer

A silly train of thought in the car (triggered by seeing a billboard for a “Weetabix on the go” drink), followed by a disastrous experience with some burgers (not rusk-free) this evening, led to this. Food should not make you crap blood.


Enabling lxdm in Fedora 19

Quick tip.

Long story short, I decided to swap out gdm for a lighter display manager on an underpowered machine.

I found the lxdm is packaged, but when I ran the system-switch-displaymanager helper script it told me that:

“The graphical display manager lxdm is not supported yet.”

I had a poke around in the system-switch-displaymanager code and found that it is very simple, and does this:

rm -f /etc/systemd/system/display-manager.service

systemctl enable $DM.service

Where $DM is what you pass it (one of GDM, KDM, XDM, WDM or LIGHTDM, currently).

So I checked if lxdm had a systemd service script (it does) and did that myself:

rm -f /etc/systemd/system/display-manager.service

systemctl enable lxdm.service

and it worked.

Webex on 64-bit Fedora 19

It’s hard to believe that 32/64-bit compatibility is still an issue in this day an age. I’d hoped it would be plain sailing by now.

But no.

I use Webex at work, and at some point it and/or java stopped working. I kind of lost track of what I’d done before, but decided I wanted the “pure” solution or none at all (64-bit OS, therefore 64-bit firefox and 64-bit java). I failed to get it working, so resorted to running it in a Windows 7 VM in VirtualBox (works perfectly, of course).

I decided to spend a little more time on it, and with the latest java and firefox (jre-1.7.0_40 and firefox-24.0-1), the applet side of things “Just Worked”, i.e.:

http://java.com/en/download/installed.jsp?detect=jre&try=1 reports “Congratulations! You have the recommended Java installed (Version 7 Update 40).”

To get this far, install the latest jre RPM (http://www.java.com/en/download/linux_manual.jsp?locale=en)

# rpm -Uvh jre-7u40-linux-x64.rpm
# /usr/sbin/alternatives --install /usr/bin/java java /usr/java/default/bin/java 20000
# /usr/sbin/alternatives --config java

There is 2 program that provides 'java'.

  Selection    Command
*+ 1 /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.7.0-openjdk-
   2           /usr/java/default/bin/java

Enter to keep the current selection[+], or type selection number: 2 

Symlink the java plugin to somewhere appropriate (I chose my home directory):

$ ln -s /usr/java/default/lib/amd64/libnpjp2.so ~/.mozilla/plugins/

And restart firefox.

However, starting a Webex would work to a point, but I couldn’t see anything I entered into the chat box, or any response (although both show up on a working client at the other “end”).

I’d got the java console running and googled around on some of the errors I was seeing.

This got me this page:


This implied that installing the 64-bit version of the pangox-compat RPM would help. I already had that. In desperation, I tried installing the i686 version, too. No improvement in symptoms.

After poking around some more, using this error:

Loading native DBR...
java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: /home/jwrigley/.webex/1224/libdbr.so: /home/jwrigley/.webex/1224/libdbr.so: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS32 (Possible cause: architecture word width mismatch

I found that there are a bunch of files pulled down by the applet (I presume?) into ~/.webex/1224/, which are 32-bit (I don’t know if the number, here 1224, differs on other systems).

$ file .webex/1224/*.so
.webex/1224/atascli2.so: ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, stripped
.webex/1224/atascli.so: ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, stripped
.webex/1224/atgzip.so: ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, stripped

More googling brought little hope. The consensus appeared to be that the only solution is to run 32-bit firefox and java. *spit*

Tenacity, or pigheadedness, forced me to have one more try.

As described in the link above, I straced the java process once I’d started a conference. This opened a lot of threads.

I noticed that the strace process would report, when I clicked “Share My Desktop”, something like this:

Process 1004 attached
[ Process PID=1004 runs in 32 bit mode. ]

That saved me some time in grepping, as I opened the strace log for that process and right at the bottom:

15:16:16 writev(2, [{"/home/jwrigley/.webex/1224/atasj"..., 34}, {": ", 2}, {"error while loading shared libra"..., 36}, {": ", 2}, {"libXmu.so.6", 11}, {": ", 2}, {"cannot open shared object file", 30}, {": ", 2}, {"No such file or directory", 25}, {"\n", 1}], 10) = 145

I had libXmu.so.6 in /usr/lib64, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to try installing the 32-bit version:

# yum install libXmu.i686

Tried again, and still not working, but the new thread had a different error, this time libXt.

I followed this cycle a couple of times, installing 32-bit versions of libXt, libXmu and gtk2 (for libgtk-x11-2.0.so.0), and lo! I got a popup telling me I was sharing my desktop. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see my desktop on the other client, but when I shared that desktop, I could see it on my local machine.

The packages I installed, as a one-liner:

# yum install pangox-compat.i686 libXt.i686 libXmu.i686 gtk2.i686

(the last one pulls down quite a few dependencies.

The problem with the chat appears to have come along with the newer java, as there are claims that it’s fixed by rolling back. The associated error/traceback is:

chat component version = 2011.01.29.1101
Resource: atlchat
Resource: atlchat_en
Resource: atlchat_en_US
Exception in thread "AWT-EventQueue-3" java.lang.IllegalStateException: This function should be called while holding treeLock
at java.awt.Component.checkTreeLock(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.Container.validateTree(Unknown Source)
at ChatControlPane.access$100(ChatControlPane.java:61)
at ChatControlPane$1$1.run(ChatControlPane.java:120)
at java.awt.event.InvocationEvent.dispatch(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventQueue.dispatchEventImpl(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventQueue.access$200(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventQueue$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventQueue$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at java.security.ProtectionDomain$1.doIntersectionPrivilege(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventQueue.dispatchEvent(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpOneEventForFilters(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEventsForFilter(Unknown Source)
at java.awt.EventDispatchThread.pumpEventsForHierarchy(Unknown Source)

So, only a partial fix, but at least I can view somebody else’s shared desktop from the comfort of my own browser, which is about 90% of my use-case.

Run/Walk along the River Dove

Last weekend, we were in Burton-on-Trent for a wedding. We were only attending the evening reception, so took the boys to Jangala soft play centre (recommended). Hannah suggested I take off for a little while and go for a walk, so I hopped in the car and drove around looking for somewhere to walk.

I parked up next to the River Dove and felt more like running than walking, despite the heat and just headed down-river until I ran out of time and had to head back. It was a pretty river, slowly meandering through fields, although the path, if there was an official one, was ill-defined and I was quite glad I chose to wear shoes and didn’t go barefoot.

Louth Canal Walk

This post has been sitting largely written, as a draft, since about last October!

While we were on holiday in Cleethorpes, I took off for my customary “alone time” barefoot walk. I’d had a look at the available options, and settled on a walk from Louth, along the Louth Canal to Tetney Lock, and then along the coast a little way to the Haven Holiday park.

Hannah and Oscar dropped me off in the centre of Louth, where I found a WHSmith and duly bought an OS map of the area. I didn’t expect navigation to be an issue, I just like having a map.

The trickiest part was figuring out how to get to the head of the canal. I got little help from the people I asked, most of whom hardly seemed to know there was a canal. I half-located myself on the map and headed for a thin blue line that looked like it hooked up with the canal, and after a bit of meandering through the streets of Louth, found myself in the car park of the Co-Operative supermarket with a small stream. So I followed it downstream.

It was hard to follow at times, but after a while I found myself at the beginning of the canal, where the stream is funnelled through a pipe, to trickle into the canal.


The stream that drains into the canal. The River Lud, according to Wikipedia


Louth River Head


Having grown up near the Grand Western Canal and lived near the waterways in Birmingham and Reading, all navigable to some extent, it was a little underwhelming. The Lough end of the canal is very shallow and, as I would discover, most of the locks are in a poor state. Parts of the canal would be a struggle to navigate in a kayak.

However, it made for a pretty place to walk, and I finally set off on the walk proper.

The metalled path was hard going to begin with, and the area felt quite urban, so I didn’t dawdle and began a cycle of alternately jogging and walking.


Rough stuff

IMG_20120911_124434 IMG_20120911_124757


Tilting Weir

Tilting Weir

Tilting Weir

Keddington Lock

Keddington Lock

The locks were pretty, but in poor condition for the most part. The Louth Navigation Trust has plans for restoration.

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

Willows Lock

There was a field with a bull and cows, which made me somewhat cautious. Being a country bumpkin, I’m not worried by cows, but have a healthy respect for bulls! Also, cows with calves are to be respected. I kept my distance and hastened on my way.



Having a hard time identifying some of the locks.

IMG_20120911_132312 IMG_20120911_132407 IMG_20120911_132416 IMG_20120911_132428

This fellow would have dearly loved to eat me, I think. I’ve rarely encountered such furious barking and snarling. I tried not to taunt him too much.




Being a canal, the terrain was flat and easy and I made decent progress. Jogging along for reasonable periods, walking when I wanted to enjoy the views, popping off the path to explore occasionally. I came across a few odd things…

A dead weasel, just lying on the tow path. No nearby road, no obvious cause of death.  A crow or similar had visited, however. Blech.

A dead weasel, just lying on the tow path. No nearby road, no obvious cause of death. A crow or similar had visited, however. Blech.

IMG_20120911_143525 IMG_20120911_143633

As I got closer to the coast, the canal became deeper and fuller, more plausibly canal-like, and the tang of salt on the air. There was debris on the tow-path, high up from the water where I assume it had been dredged, and large shell fish. I think they were freshwater mussels.



By the time I reached Tetney Lock I was tiring, and it was quite hot, so I stopped at the pub for a drink and some icecream. Some locals were quite perplexed that I had walked from Louth, with no shoes, but were friendly.

I had a dinner date with the family, back on the caravan site, so I pressed on towards the sea, following a footpath that should have taken me across the marshes so that I could join the beach.

Somehow, I went a bit wrong at the end of the canal.

Canal one side

Canal one side

"Estuary" on the other

“Estuary” on the other

I misinterpreted a path on the OS map and somehow ended up alongside a muddy creek. Being male, I wouldn’t go back until I’d gone far, far further down the wrong way than is rational. I kept thinking I’d be able to cut across back to the path, only to find myself on a narrow spit of land surrounded by mud and water. You can see from the embedded map further down the page just how far I went out of my way, and was just on the verge of panic as I wasn’t sure of the tides or whether they were a factor. Sanity ruled in the end, and I doubled back all the way to where I should have turned in the first place.

This doesn't look like much of a path.

This doesn’t look like much of a path.

This definitely doesn't look like a path. What to do? Press on!

This definitely doesn’t look like a path. What to do? Press on!

That looks familiar, I was here only a little while ago!

That looks familiar, I was here only a little while ago!

Finally, the sea!

Finally, the sea!

In the end, I got back in time to have dinner together. My feet had held up well, and the last section of the walk, along the edge of the sea, wading in the cold water to ease my muscles in feet and calves was blissful.

A good walk, but I’d recommend taking care to keep to the path near the coast.

(Not so) Mysterious Cutting Out

I got on Marlene yesterday to run some errands. She started up nicely, but every time I tried to engage 1st gear, she cut out instantly.

Given that it was instant I had an idea of what it might be. There is a safety cut-out on the side-stand, that prevents you from going into gear with the stand down.

I got off and took a look, and lo and behold, the switch (a plunger type) was stuck in. I was in a hurry, so I simply pulled it back out with my nail and went on my way. Next time, it wasn’t an issue, so I’ve just squirted it with some lube and worked it in and out a bit and hopefully that’s that.


Fuel leak

The morning after the MOT, I noticed a dark patch under the bike, and assumed it was oil. It was towards the back of the bike, so I thought maybe it was the drive shaft leaking. I didn’t have time to look at it, as I was working.

During my lunch break, I took a closer look, and discovered it was fuel, not oil, but it was difficult to see where it was originating. The drip (very slow) was coming from the underside of the exhaust.


I was quite concerned that it was a cracked tank or something nasty, as there was a lot of muck and rust in the area. Looking at manuals and on VMaxForum.net showed that removing the tank is quite a job. It sits inside the frame, under the seat, and seems to require removal of the rear wheel and swingarm, and other gubbins to do much with it. Even it it were a dodgy fuel hose, that could be quite a job.

After work, I had another look, with a torch and it looked as though it might be the drain bolt, but the whole lot was so mucky it was impossible to tell, except that that area looked wet with fuel and nothing higher than that was wet.

IMG_20130625_124515 IMG_20130625_145353

I had a little scrub with a wire brush but that just spread the muck around, really.IMG_20130625_150200 IMG_20130625_150209

A bit more degreasant and cleaning up with an old sock (pro tip, save old socks they make good rags) made things a little clearer, but it still wasn’t entirely clear where the leak was.

IMG_20130625_151050 IMG_20130625_151055 IMG_20130625_151137 IMG_20130625_151155

After leaving it for a little while, it became more apparent. The leak is from the fuel level sensor. Additionally, when cleaning it up, one of the wires to the sensor became completely detached, which probably explains why that hasn’t been working (knew about that when I bought it).IMG_20130625_151846 IMG_20130625_151911

It looks likely that the problem is simply the o-ring for the sensor, and I think I can get it out by draining the tank and just unscrewing it, as I can access those bolts without removing the tank or wheel (I think).



I have the replacement o-ring, courtesy of my local Motorcycle Parts Centre. I also bought new bolts and a new drain plug washer to be sure. The leak has actually slowed or stopped since I used up some of the fuel in the tank, riding, so I’m going to wait until I’m back from Hayling Island, to avoid jeopardising that if I run into problems. I’ll also try to solder the sensor wire while I’m at it.

I was interested to find, in the Haynes manual, that they include a check on this in the 4000 mile routine service:

Check for leakage from the level sensor in the base of the tank.
If it is leaking, tighten the mounting screws (see illustration).
If leakage persists remove the sensor and replace its gasket with a
new one (See Chapter 4)



Teardown: Exhaust, tank and switch gear

Spent a few minutes in the shed this evening.

Dismantled the exhaust,with the aid of a hacksaw to the clamp bolt. Not sure what to do with it, whether to clean it up and try to polish it or paint it. I lean towards the latter. I can hear rattly bits in the silencers, not sure whether to try to do anything about that…

Note to self: bolts for the clamps were 3x M6 30mm hex bolts with nut.

Took off the fuel cap, petcock and mounting rubbers from the tank and drained most of the remaining dregs of fuel. Seems impossible to get it all out, and don’t want to flush it with water. Maybe the last dregs will evaporate and I can then sluice it with something else. Will soon be ready to paint.

Lastly, removed most of the bits from the handlebars, except for the left switchgear and grip as I couldn’t get the grip off. I imagine it’s bonded and don’t want to cut it off…yet. Will probably replace the grips but don’t want to burn my bridges yet (I’ll also likely replace the bars with ones which aren’t so silly.

Welcome to the family, Marlene

Having passed the MOT without any advisories (except informal ones to replace the tyres when I can), I feel I can finally welcome my new bike to the family. I was stumped for ideas for a name (don’t question the naming, I just do, OK?) so I put the matter to Hannah and Oscar. Oscar, my 6 year old son, immediately suggested Marlene, after the otter in Penguins of Madagascar (that he’s been watching a lot of recently).

I wasn’t exactly smitten with the name, but lacking an alternative decided to roll with it. It’s growing on me, and seems quite suitable, now.

Marlene is an otter bred in captivity. As long as she’s inside the walls of the zoo, she’s quite cutesy and mild-mannered.


The moment she sets foot outside the walls of the zoo, she becomes a crazed, wild animal.


Seems somehow appropriate for a bike that looks rather like a cruiser, but if you open her up, takes off like a bat out of hell (bred for the drag strip).




Little things

Always nice when things work out…

I thought I’d better do some minimal pre-MOT checks ahead of Monday.

  • Headlight – working dipped and main beam (as it’s a US-model, no “Off” option)
  • Rear Light – working
  • Brake Light – working for front and rear brakes
  • Horn – *PARP*
  • Left Indicator – TAKAKAKAKA (fast)



That’s the indicator that I replaced the stem on when I first “received” the bike. Could have sworn it was working OK when I last checked. But did I? Or did I make a bad reconnection. Or has the bulb blown (hope it’s that).

I was going to wait until the morning, pull it apart and hope I’d still have time to get down to the Motorcycle Parts Centre (highly recommended) before they close (being Sunday). The possibility of an MOT failure for something so simple (on the face of it) was weighing on my mind, though so decided to try to take a look in the gathering dusk.

Took the lense off. Drat, the filament is intact and can’t see anything wrong with the bulb. I took it out anyway to see if I could see anything bad with the housing. Didn’t have to twist it much to get it out, and wasn’t sure it had re-seated properly so made sure and re-tested. Bingo!

I gave the assembly a bit of jolting and waggling to make sure it wasn’t getting dislodged again, and it’s still working. The other side was OK already.

I also checked the tread depth on the front tyre, and I /think/ it’s at least 1.6mm all over. My tread gauge isn’t very precise, but it looks about OK. I intend to replace it anyway, but not until I know there are no other nasty surprises from the MOT. I believe that a re-test is usually free within 10 days, so if it fails only on the tyre that shouldn’t be a problem.

Fingers crossed. I’m itching to take the old girl out for a spin.

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