Today's round of file format bingo: password management

So I got struck by one of my frequent itch-scratching urges...

I keep my passwords in Revelation, a GNOME password manager. It's been mostly unmaintained for years, but hey, it does what I want and works well. Occasionally I'm out somewhere and want to log in to something or other, but can't because I don't have my passwords with me. Curses. Every time this happens I think 'man, I should just stick them on my phone', so today for some reason I decided to finally get around to it.

The tricky bit is that my phone runs Windows Mobile. So I had a fun round of file format bingo to hit on a method to get the passwords out of Revelation and into an app on Windows Mobile, all without needing to pay for anything (and, ideally, using open source software).

In the end, I hit on this: export from Revelation in Password Safe 2.x format. Import in Password Safe 3 on a Windows machine (or via wine if you don't have one handy). Export to Password Safe XML format. Import to KeePass on the Windows machine / wine (1.x or 2.x, doesn't matter). Export as KeePass 1.x format. Install KeePassPPC on the phone and transfer the database file you got from KeePass to the phone. Run KeePassPPC, open the file! Success at last. Whew.

There may be an alternative route to this which cuts out the Password Safe step and is all Linux-native: export from Revelation in XML format, use this script to translate the XML file into a format KeePassX can use, open it in KeePassX, and save to a file to load in KeePassPPC. But now I've got it done I can't be bothered confirming that works :)

Well, hope this helps anyone else who happens to be in the same (or similar) situation. It's worth noting there's what looks like a very well-designed Windows Mobile manager here with a really good touch-friendly interface. I'd love to be able to use that, but it seems fairly basic at present and doesn't appear to have any import capabilities, which makes it something of a non-starter, unfortunately. I'm not re-entering a few hundred passwords!

Home again, mplayer accelerated repo update

So I am back home in Vancouver, for the next three months at least. You don't realize how much you miss a fast quad-core desktop with dual 20" screens until you have to work on an Atom with an 9" screen for a month! Wish I could get something around the size of the P with a bit more power. I wouldn't mind paying for it. Sigh.

My partner bought me a 23" monitor for Christmas, which was very nice. There's no way I can actually attach three monitors to my desktop, though, so I had to think of something else to do with it. I decided to set it up as a second TV in the bedroom, so I went out and bought a second HD cable box. Just had the usual trials hooking the thing up - had to power my server machine down as it was plugged into literally the only socket I could actually use to plug another powerstrip into, bought a cable I didn't need, found out my amplified coax splitter's completely useless as it doesn't handle internet signals, just all the normal stuff - I finally had the new 'TV' all hooked up, hit the big power switches, and....blank screen. Disaster. Finally I twigged that Shaw's HD TV signal is 1080i, and guessed the new Acer monitor can't handle a 1080i signal. Google reports another guy who figured much the same thing. It took 10 minutes for me to realize I could just use my partner's monitor as the 'TV', and let him use the new monitor - his monitor is a Samsung 22" which can handle 1080i input. So I set it up that way, so ironically he's now using the gift he bought me :). The new cable box can actually function as a PVR with an external hard disk, too, which is neat. Of course Shaw sells an external hard disk with a price markup labelled as a 'PVR expander' and keeps fairly quiet about the fact that it's just an eSATA disk and any old eSATA disk will do, but hey, what more do you expect. So I'll try and find an IDE -> eSATA enclosure (they're quite rare as it's not a very common need, but Netlink seems to have one) so I can reuse an old 250GB IDE disk I have lying around.

In Fedora news, I updated my system to Rawhide today. It's boringly functional - actually, it made my scanner work, which it didn't seem to in F12. The only exciting bit is that Evolution seemed completely broken at first (with 2.29.4) and is still slightly broken (with 2.29.5) - it forgets how wide the side pane is supposed to be every time it starts up, and doesn't seem to count the total messages in the Inbox. But that's pretty small beans for Rawhide. C'mon, people, break stuff!

I have also done an update to my accelerated mplayer repository for Fedora. New versions of mplayer-accelerated and vdpau-video. I'm not entirely sure what's changed in 'em (Gwenole doesn't provide a changelog and I can't be bothered diffing).

I will be working on an update to the official RPM Fusion mplayer package today and tomorrow, as well. It's due a version bump and could have VDPAU support built in, and there's several bug reports I could look at too. So expect that reasonably soon.

in the snow

Sorry I haven't been updating lately. I'm in the UK on a family visit, and for whatever reason I don't tend to update my blog as much here.

There's nothing immediately exciting going on with Fedora QA right now, we're in the planning stages for all the Exciting New Stuff that will come during the F13 cycle, so stay tuned! James and I will be working on the F13 test day schedule soon.

I managed to come to the UK for the worst weather in nearly half a century; much much colder than a typical Manchester winter, and nearly a foot of snow. I went out with my dad's camera and took some pictures of the local park - don't get to see it like this very often.


FUDCon Toronto 2009 wrap-up

So, as I promised yesterday, here's a quick wrap-up of my FUDCon experience. This was my first FUDCon, and it was definitely a lot of fun. My photos of the event are up here.

I arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and met James and Will at the airport - they'd been delayed. We got to the hotel and unpacked, then headed over to Boston Pizza for dinner and refreshments:


After that, we went back to the hotel. I came back down to the lobby, met a few others, and headed over to Irish Pub (as it was christened for the weekend - it was really called Dub Linn Gate, but the name was in small letters and not lit up, while Irish Pub was in much larger, illuminated letters). For a long time we thought no-one else was really there, then discovered the back room where they'd all been sitting for the last two hours:


I spent the rest of the evening discussing sports with Jarod Wilson (j-rod), over a few more refreshments. We all left Irish Pub around 1:30, and I fully intended to go to bed, but somehow got pulled into an earnest lobby discussion of the Fedora mission statement with John McCann, Mel Chua and others. It seemed rather important at the time, but the ten people I told about this discussion the next day gave me exactly the same routine: blank look, pause, then "We have a mission statement?", which leads me to suspect any details about wording in the mission statement are not perhaps of vital burning importance!

In the morning we all rode the bus to the main site for the event, Seneca@York (Seneca College's site at the York University campus):


We all packed out the largest lecture theatre for the introductory session. Others have noted that we managed to pretty much break the BarCamp style of organization by having a ridiculously awesome number of people pitching talks, but I provide solid pictorial evidence!


That's the line-up to pitch talks - it actually wound all the way up that side of the room and then across the back of the theatre. Luckily, my talk on how to get involved in Fedora QA was included in the 'user track', so I got a guaranteed spot on the roster. In the end we wound up with five rounds of talks. I was in the second round, unfortunately going up against the 'What's New In The Kernel /' talk, so I wasn't expecting many attendees.

In the first slot I attended Steven M. Parrish's talk on how to report good bugs, to support a fellow BugZapper and provide any additional info I could. Steven had a good attendance of both existing project members and curious folks, which was great. His talk was excellent - a really clear and concise guide to generating a good bug report, and well delivered. You can read the live log of his talk here.

I then gave my talk - an overview of the activities of both QA and the BugZappers, and the many ways you can get involved with both. I was happy to have about 12-15 people in attendance, including a few plants - thanks to James and Steven and Denise! - but also some interested Fedora and Red Hat people, and some curious prospective new members as well, which is who I was really hoping to talk to. I was very happy to have two women I didn't recognize attending, and I really hope they come on board in some capacity (please do, if you're reading!), being an active participant in the Great F/OSS Gender Wars and all. It was the first time I've ever given any kind of presentation anywhere, in fact, and I think it went pretty well, all considered - many thanks to Steven and Denise and James (again) for filling in many little bits of information and resources that I'd forgotten to include. You can read the log of my talk here, as provided by Steven - it's awesomely concise, yet contains all the useful stuff I said.

In the third session I went to a talk by pretty much the entire Infrastructure team on collaboration - working together as a group, and the lessons they've learned (both positive and negative) through being quite a big group working on a wide range of projects. It was a pretty loose format, but very interesting, with a lot of useful nuggets of information for anyone who's involved in group collaboration on F/OSS projects (or any others, really). I videoed about half of the talk - that's with Matt Domsch, who will be uploading all available recordings of the event soon. I think Remy DeCausemaker may have better video of the whole thing, but never mind! In the mean time, you can read the log here.

In the fourth session I went to Bill Peck's and Will Woods' talk on automated testing - it was a combination of Bill's talk on Red Hat's automated testing system, RHTS, which has been open sourced as Beaker, and Will's talk on Fedora's own automated testing suite, AutoQA. I already knew most of what Will talked about regarding AutoQA, but it was great to see it all pulled together for a pretty big and interested audience. Bill's talk about RHTS/Beaker was great, and filled in a lot of blanks for me. It's interesting to see how the two systems have been designed to meet different needs, and Will and Bill had some good ideas about how they could work together in the future. Y'know, to fight crime. I tried to do the live logging of this talk, and my extremely inexpert attempt can be found here. It's incomplete, cutting off in the middle of Bill's section, as I was on a very poor wireless connection at the time and got cut off before the end of my writing actually reached the server.

Finally, I went to Diana Martin's talk on the anthropology work she's currently doing on the Fedora project (at our invitation!) It was a fascinating introduction to the work she does, and sounded like it could be very valuable (and interesting) to the project. I'm only sorry I forgot to ask a couple of questions, and that I didn't manage to do an interview for her before the weekend was up (she was trying to interview as many people as possible). Happily I was able to help out a little bit in getting her wireless working (it's a Broadcom...) later on in the weekend! The log is here.

So that was it for the presentations day. We headed back to the hotel, and prepared for the infamous FUDPub, which was taking place at Dave and Buster's. This place is billed, partly, as an arcade. Now, I'm trying to be kind, but I'm an arcade snob, and the DnB arcade was, by my standards, frankly crap. Luckily, arcade participation was not mandatory, and in fact we were parked in the pool / snooker area, with nibbles and soda. I loaded up on pizza (yes, more pizza) and sharked the pool tables all night; my foolish victims inexplicably unaware that I grew up with a six foot snooker table in the basement, spent more time at college playing pool than studying (probably), and on one night that will live forever in legend, once ran fourteen games in a row on a Saturday night at Numbers. So I ran through most of the attendee list like a knife through hot butter, until I ran into Greg DeKoenigsberg, who - obviously having had as much of a misspent youth as I did - was made of sterner stuff. In our first game he ran the table on me down to his last couple of balls, then promptly managed to pocket the 8 ball. After I sportingly replaced it and played on, missing a hilariously easy ball of my own, he potted his last two balls and then scratched on the 8 ball - possibly the first time I've ever beaten anyone twice in one game without ever sinking a ball. He beat me in our second game, but I won the third, thus comfortably taking the undisputed FUDPub Pool King title. Well, maybe in my head. The event as a whole sadly failed to live up to its debauched reputation, probably because everyone had stayed up late the night before, and we all headed back to the hotel quite sober and reasonably early. I would have headed back at 11:30, but Scott Sullivan and I discovered the one snooker table hiding in the back corner. In case you're not familiar with the game of snooker, it can briefly be described as 'hard pool', with the note that it takes two people who aren't really really good a minimum 45 minutes to finish a game. I made the single best snooker shot I've ever played - a red two feet from the bottom left corner, with the cue ball tight on the top rail - but was trumped by Scott's ridiculous 24-foot double of a red clean past the pink half blocking the top corner, which was the single best snooker shot I've ever seen (and I've seen Stephen Hendry play live). Even if it was an outrageous fluke.

The last two days of the event were all about hackfests. My major project during these was helping John Poelstra revise the Fedora release criteria, along with James Laska and a Cast of Thousands (or at least dozens. Okay, a dozen. Ish.) We blithely hoped to have this done by lunch on the first day, but it actually wound up swallowing most of the two days for me. Still, it was worth it - the final criteria are a massive improvement on what we had before, I think. They properly document what we expect to have working at each release point, and provide a sound basis for the QA acceptance tests - before this, the tests were the de facto release criteria.

I hoped to help Pascal, Mel and others from the news and infrastructure teams work on Fedora Insight - the new Fedora news system - but just wasn't able to get free to do it, sadly. Still, it sounds like they got a lot of good work done without me (imagine that!) and things are moving along fast. I'll have to learn how to write my FWN beat into Insight, soon, which is great. Most of the hackfests looked pretty much like this:


a mid-sized group of people around a table, getting work done when not making extremely geeky jokes. It was a fun time. I did get to move around a lot and chat to various people. Over the three days of the conference, I must have talked to at least 20 people about Poulsbo. It's a very hot topic, and it's only going to get hotter. The theme is still one of massive confusion - no-one, however well placed, seems to have a clue what Intel's upcoming hardware is actually going to be, exactly, and what Intel's plans are as far as providing drivers for it (and updating the ones for Poulsbo) is concerned. I suspect this includes most people at Intel. Sigh.

After the first day of hackfests I skipped out of the planned downtown skating trip to go and visit a decent arcade - Lovegety Station, the Toronto area's last remaining decent Japanese-style arcade, as far as I can discover. I had been planning to go with Duv Jones, a Fedora community member and Toronto area resident who was at FUDCon and goes there regularly, but we got split up at FUDCon. Happily, after I made my way there myself (thanks, Google Transit), he found me there, and we had a great Korean dinner and a really interesting conversation about Fedora, other distributions and operating systems, web rendering engines, and many other topics, before going back to play some more games. Lovegety's a decent little arcade, not as big or popular as the main Vancouver arcades, though:


On the first hackfest day, I made it back to the hotel a little after midnight, tired, and somehow got stuck in the hack suite which had been organized until about 3:30. I managed to do about twenty minutes' worth of FWN writing in between taking pictures, experimenting with white balance metering, attempting to fix random hardware problems for people (we got one non-booting kernel update fixed and Diana's wireless working: yay), providing working internet to the room via my cellphone's wireless access point functionality (seven hackers all accessing teh intarwebz through my measly Touch Diamond was fun), and random conversations. It was a lot of fun, but I could have done with the sleep!


On the second hackfest day, I hit up Lovegety again right after the conference - having more or less got the transit figured out by this point - then headed back to Irish Pub with a group in the evening. Got through a pint and then half a pitcher of Keith's in record time while holding court (increasingly incoherently) on working for Mandriva, the RPM / RPM5 situation, and other things of which I have only vague memories. Got to talk to Luke Macken for the first time, which was great. After Irish Pub kicked us out (very politely), we wound up back in the hack suite, discussing free culture and personal foibles of legendary F/OSS figures - very amusing. Luke and I discovered our shared enthusiasm for the drums (him real, me fake), which was fun.

In the morning I had my last rather nice breakfast buffet of the weekend, then shared a cab back to the airport with several others and waited for my somewhat delayed flight back to Vancouver. And that was my FUDCon! It was a great experience, definitely recommended to anyone who's managed to read this far. I'll be at the next one for sure. I keep suggesting FUDCon Yellowknife, but people inexplicably don't seem to jump at the prospect of -35 C weather...

Random things I didn't work into the above: had some good chats with Adam Jackson about stuff and Poulsbo (again) - always good to meet someone you frequently work with face to face. Spoke with Justin Forbes about upcoming kernel changes, it was great to learn about what's coming up and also fun to catch up with my Red Hat orientation colleague! Talked to the awesome Adam Miller about many and varied things, most exciting of which was definitely his enthusiasm about doing automated testing of the Xfce spin and working it into AutoQA. I suggested he go and discuss his ideas with Will Woods, and they seemed to make some solid progress on hackfest day #2. Caught up with Brennan Ashton on that old chestnut, the BugZappers triage metrics project - he got plugged into a Fedora Community discussion which included a plan to pull in various statistics modules, which seemed like a good way forward. Talked with David Malcolm about a cool script he'd written for auto-triaged Python bugs filed by abrt, and promised to help him try and co-ordinate with the abrt team to give the code a future independent, maintained and useful existence. Brought Mel Chua up to speed on the Test Day process, and successfully enthused her as concerns using it to help make sure Fedora Insight is a success when first implemented. And many, many other conversations, not all of which I can manage to bring to mind right now - apologies if I'm leaving you out! It was definitely an awesome weekend. Sorry for the gigantic post.

Back from FUDCon

Just a quick post to say I'm back from FUDCon. Had a great time, met a lot of people, and managed to do some useful stuff! Also took a lot of pictures, all of which I'm currently uploading. Will do a longer post tomorrow to wrap up everything I actually did, and link to the photos - but too tired right now! Mel has me beat on the 'lowest total sleep time at FUDCon' count, but not by very much...

FUDCon update

I'm here at FUDCon Toronto. At the moment in the Infrastructure team's session on collaboration - very interesting.

Arrived yesterday afternoon and happened to run into the rest of the QA Mafia in the airport, we took a cab to the hotel and then hit Boston Pizza for dinner and the Irish Pub (it's actually called Dub Linn Gate, but Irish Pub is much better) for drinks. Met loads of people, but spent most of Irish Pub talking sports with j-rod for some reason!

Got back to the hotel at 1:30 then sat in the lobby with Jon McCann and Mel Chua and others having an earnest discussion about the mission statement for two hours, then woke up at 8 for the bus to the conference, so I'm running on adrenaline right now...

I gave my QA talk this afternoon - had a dozen or so people show up, which is more than I expected going up against 'what's new in and the kernel' :). I think it went quite well - thanks a lot to James and Denise for their helpful leading questions! I'll throw up links to my slide deck and the IRC log of the session later.

Tonight is FUDPub, which will be fun, and then the next two days are hackfests - I seem to be booked by about fifteen different teams so I expect they'll be busy. I've been having lots of fun so far at my first FUDCon, I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Been taking pictures and things which will show up later, and I may video some talks.

If you're here and want to chat about anything at all, please do grab me! I've got my name badge on.

FUDCon: any other arcade fans out there? and misc other stuff

So, here's a suggestion - for future FUDCons, there should be a mailing list participants can sign up to for pre-event organizing. Things like planned events and gatherings and meals and rideshares and stuff. I think that would be helpful.

Since there isn't such a thing, I'll post my question here, in the hopes most attendees will catch it on Planet Fedora. Are there any other arcade gamers going to FUDCon Toronto? As only those who've been paying attention for a long time will probably remember, I'm a major DrumMania addict, as in 'I currently play two hours a day despite the increasingly-hard-to-ignore muscle pain in my right leg', so I was kinda thinking about checking out Lovegety Station at some point while FUDCon's going on. It seems to be Toronto's excuse for a decent Japanese-style arcade. It'd be cool if anyone else was interested in coming along.

edit: I suppose someone may be scratching their head and thinking, well, we're going to Dave & Buster's for FUDPub anyway, right? This is true. However, Dave & Buster's is a rather different type of arcade. It's more aimed at the 'Americans nostalgic for the 1980s' (and also 'drunk enough to spend large amounts of money on dodgy flight simulators') crowd. Lovegety is a modern Asian-style arcade. So, um, to sum up - Lovegety: Maximum Tune and Gundam. Dave and Buster's: Pong. Get it? Got it? Good. :)

I upgraded my HTPC to Mandriva 2010 today, as well. Now that was smooth - just did a plain old urpmi update and everything worked on reboot, including the proprietary NVIDIA driver I run on it (to get VDPAU acceleration). Well, my remote control is broken but that's not MDV's fault, something not playing nice with the 2.6.31 i2c support rewrite. Booting to a 2.6.29 kernel fixes it for now. Nice work, everyone. Honestly the distro release I'm running doesn't make a lot of difference to an HTPC setup, but I upgrade it every release anyway just to make sure I've got the latest versions of stuff.

I'm procrastinating heroically about my FUDCon preparation. I'm supposed to be giving a presentation there, haven't written a word of it yet. Fortunately James asked me for a summary of it ahead of time, or else I'd probably be writing it on the plane, knowing how I am with deadlines. :) It will be good, though. Looking forward to catching up with a lot of people about a lot of projects while I'm there.

Misc stuff - comment spam update, Seagate, and video acceleration repo

So, I enabled akismet, and it seems to be on top of the comment spam. I also disabled login with anything but OpenID, just to keep things simple. Let me know if you have any trouble logging in or posting comments.

Hard drives can be an emotive topic among those who have to deal with a lot of the things. Personally, I almost always buy Seagate. It's a very anecdotal field, and those who use industrial quantities of the things (Google) will tell you all manufacturers are pretty much alike, but personally I've had far fewer problems with Seagate than anyone else. And when you do have problems - one disk of the RAID-5 array in my HTPC that stores all my media has been dropped from the array three times due to unrecoverable errors now, so I'm going to RMA the thing - they have a great return process. You feed it the drive's serial number and model number (both of which you can get from SMART) and it tells you whether it's still in warranty and gives you all the warranty details. For $20 they'll send the replacement drive in two days, advance of you returning the old one and include a box and pre-paid shipping label for returning the old one, which is frankly a great deal since it costs about that much to buy a box and shipping yourself, plus the hassle of doing it. The process is very simple and trusts you - it doesn't ask you a bunch of stupid questions designed to prove it's not really broken and it's All Your Fault. A very pleasant experience, or as pleasant as dealing with RMAs can be. Thanks, Seagate.

I updated my video acceleration repository again yesterday. The update to libva in the last repository update was broken - even though it was labelled sds7, it still contained sds5. D'oh. Thanks to Bernard Johnson for pointing that out, in Bugzilla. I have now updated it properly, to sds8 (which came out in the mean time).

Ikea light bulbs: rubbish

This is by way of being a general public service announcement. Don't buy Ikea energy saving light bulbs. They're crap.

I bought a job lot of the things from Ikea last year. Let me see - nine of 'em in total. These would be the awesome bulbs that last for ten years, remember. Out of those nine, five have now failed entirely.

They're also not terribly bright and take ages to warm up. When the Ikea ones started failing I bought some Philips ones from London Drugs instead. They're brighter, whiter, warm up faster, and not a one of them has failed yet.

So, yeah, screw Ikea, go Philips. PSA ends!

Comment spam counter

So, since enabling my whizzy new comment authentication system, I've two comments kindly offering information on handjobs, one on pharmaceuticals and one which I'd really rather not describe. Good thing all this sophisticated modern authentication stuff is so spam-proof, eh? Sigh.