Star Wars: Revelations

Cleaning my hard drive I found a 10 year old file: Revelations.divx

I had no idea not what it was, so I opened it. What will it be? A pirate copy of Matrix Revelations? I don’t think so. Also because it was The Matrix Revolutions 😂

Meanwhile the media player loads: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…”
What??? Star Wars???

I keep looking, but I’ve never seen this stuff!!! It’s very well made, so I say to myself “maybe it’s a pilot for a TV series that I’ve never heard of.”

Then I open Wikipedia and see:

It is a 10 year old fan film!

At the time, there was not even YouTube + Adsense or Kickstarter to monetize it, and yet they did a high-quality film, with no economic return (except in reputation for the director)

The original site no longer exists, but you can always see it on YouTube

Send all new files saved in a directory as email attachments

I wanted to send by email scans made with the printer I have at work. Once I have them in my email, it’s easier to archive/send them more easily.

Problem: the printer software is bugged and doesn’t allow to use my long, complex password, so I had two options:

  • Change the email password to be shorter
  • Think a workaround via a linux server

Obviously I opted for the second option!

It works like this: we tell the printer to save the PDFs on a network share, inotifywait waits that a new file is created, and then sendEmail sends it as an email attachment

The script has to be ran in a screen, and it runs in an infinite loop

What to do if the proximity sensor on the Redmi 3S doesn’t work anymore

As a secondary phone I use a Redmi 3S. Recently I noticed that the proximity sensor wasn’t working anymore: when I called someone the screen wouldn’t turn off, and I was activating the device with my face, disabling the mic, placing the call on hold, opening apps, and so on…


To solve this problem I had to:

  1. Turn off the phone
  2. Turning it on while pressing the “volume up” key
  3. On the engineering screen, press 中文 (chinese language), to have the menus in english. (Yes, it’s not intuitive, you have to press on 中文 for english and press on english to have chinese…)
  4. Now choose “single test” and then “proximity sensor”
  5. Keep the phone upright and with the proximity sensor not blocked and press “Calibration”
  6. Tap on “pass”, go back and tap on “power off”.
  7. Restart the phone
  8. Now we can see that the sensor it’s working, either by calling the *#*#64663#*#* (a secret app for testing will appear) or by placing a phone call ✌

Your website could be used for a mail bombing

Today, by pure luck, I looked quickly to the mail server logs. Since the beginning of the year it has sent about 1500 emails.

“Ah, ok”, I think, and I move on.

Then I think about it. Hey, 1500 emails sent in a couple of days???

Looking the logs I immediately found the culprit:

After every post of a WordPress website it was enabled “share by email”!

A chinese bot, every minute, was going to the page and was sending the content to the same email address!

Result: a mail bombing!

I hope that my IP address reputation is not tarnished and doesn’t affect my deliverability…. 😡

The old website wasn’t accessible for over two weeks

Today is a slow day at work (customers and suppliers are both in holiday!, so I told myself “let’s manually transfer some content from the old website!”

I go to open it:

Huh? Why it doesn’t work?

I got a new server and I forgot to update the IP address! I fix it:

Huh? Again? I also forgot to configure the new server 😳

Moreover, I can’t configure it correctly, I tried many setups, but it doesn’t work correctly…

How to convert a VM from VirtualBox to KVM

Converting the virtual machine images is very easy, but many guides suggest you to convert  from VDI to RAW and then from RAW to QCOW2. It doesn’t really make sense, you’ll waste double the time, and it’s gonna be hours if the drive is big.

To convert from VDI to QCOW2 just use qemu-img:

qemu-img convert -f vdi -O qcow2 [VBOX-IMAGE.vdi] [KVM-IMAGE.qcow2]

If the virtual machine was Windows-based, probably will crash at first boot, because of the virtual hardware changes, and because there are no virtio drivers installed (unless you make a VM with IDE emulation)

For fix the BSOD at boot you can do onf of this:

Personally I chose the first option, but then I had to install again hundreds and hundreds of security updates, it would have been better if I installed the patch before migrating.

Update: I noticed that the converted Windows XP VM uses the cpu at 100% even when idle. This is a nasty bug that would take ages to fix. I tried to force enabling ACPI, but all I can get is a BSOD on boot. I’ll just scratch the VM and rebuild it…

Is it worth to keep a PC case open?

I got a new server for Dandandin and I kept it open from all sides while I was doing tests. Average disk temperature 23 ° C. When I saw that was stable, I closed, placing fans on the front and on the back, to have a positive airflow. Disk temperature lowered a couple of degrees, and the disk has much more activity than last week!

caso-chiusoSo, even if it might seem that an open case will have “more airflow”, you will have a better airflow with a closed case.

update: looks like smartctl is not reporting accurately the hdd temperature. I need to do more tests with hddtemp.

How to do a quick CPU benchmark on Linux

With Enki (a Brain Training app for coders – if you want to try iy, and you need an invite, you can my code: MAGNE985) I found a quick benchmark to for Linux, to see the speed of a CPU core.
dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1024 | md5sum
This line tells the CPU to calculate an md5 hash for an 1gb of “zeroes” and measure how long it takes. For example, on the Pentium G3420 that I have in my office I get this:
dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1024 | md5sum
1073741824 byte (1,1 GB) copiati, 2,10036 s, 511 MB/s dd if=/dev/zero bs=10M count=2048 | md5sum
21474836480 byte (21 GB) copiati, 49,0278 s, 438 MB/s
while on an Intel Xeon W3520 (my web server) I get this:
dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=1024 | md5sum
1073741824 bytes (1.1 GB) copied, 2.79137 s, 385 MB/s

dd if=/dev/zero bs=10M count=2048 | md5sum
21474836480 bytes (21 GB) copied, 56.9042 s, 377 MB/s
Hey! It takes 10 seconds more! What? An expensive Xeon is slower than a cheaper Pentium????
Yes, the server is outdated, but I did not expect to have such a difference! It is time to change my web server!

My brief adventure with m.2 SSDs

Some time ago I bought a motherboard with an m2 SSD connector. I only noticed this connector after purchasing it, so I did not bought a suitable drive, I just used a regular SSD.

Then I read a review, a comparison between a SATA 3 SSD and an NVMe SSD. Astonishing performances, up to 4 times faster! Whoa!

The review mentioned the Samsung 950 Pro but it has a problem for me: it’s 3 times more expensive than a regular SSD!

I found the Crucial MX300 m.2, for just 15 euro more than a regular SATA SSD. Yes! I Bought it immediately!
The installation was easy, just open the case, insert it into the slot and tighten the locking screw.

Windows starts but… I can’t see the drive anywhere! Where is it?
I go into the BIOS settings (ok, EFI) and it’s not shown! Did I install it wrongly? I take it apart and I install it again, but… nothing!

What happened? I assumed that m.2 (the form factor), also meant NVMe (the data protocol), but it’s not . The Crucial MX300 is an m2 SSD m.2 SATA, so it (should) seen by the system as SATA!
In my board it’s not compatible, so I have to return it.

Next time: if you want to buy an m.2 SSD, check that’s it’s NVMe, otherwise, at least in a desktop PC, it’s better to buy a regular drive.