Monday Jan 26, 2009

OpenSolaris 2008.11 on the kids computer

OK, colour me impressed.

We got a hold of a "broken" computer today. After replacing the power supply and putting on an old 9gb disk (the previous owner wanted to keep the disk) I started wondering what I was going to put on it. So it occurred to me that I really should try to put OpenSolaris on it, as I think it should do most of what the kids want.

Downloaded the image from and burned the cd image. Note to self, don't try to burn a cd image while running itunes, downloading a podcast and playing second life under XP. It's a good way to have a write underrun and burn a coaster.

Put it into the machine and booted it. Lovely, came straight up into the live cd. Hmmm, but no network. Dived into the device assistant and it noted I had a Via ethernet and needed the vfe driver, for which it kindly pointed me at A little bit of finger trouble later, I found the compiled version of the amd64 driver for it and installed it. Reading the README.txt is a good idea, as I left a step out and was wondering why I had no network. The trick was, ...

$ rm Makefile
$ ln -s Makefile.amd64_gcc Makefile
$ pfexec make install
$ pfexec ./

That last step is vital.

Just to be safe I rebooted (it's late on the Monday of a long weekend and my brain is not working real great) and it came back with a network and everything looks honky dory.

Given this is for the kids and they spend a lot of time on You Tube and Club Penguin, I needed flash installed. I did a quick bit of googling and found something that I should have known from my day job (like I said, late n the Monday of a long weekend), in that if I went to and using my Sun Online credentials that I could register for the Extras repository and there was a package for flash in there.

Well I did this but stil had some trouble as it kept telling me that my certificate date was in the future. OK This one I could figure out. This did used to run windows, so the time on teh machine was an hour slow because of how windows set the clock for summer time. Easily fixed:

$ pfexec ntpdate

And getting back through the screen saver that obviously came up :).

OK, now it liked the certificates and I could install flash, and successfully look at youtube after a firefox restart.

The final step was to make a new account for my 10 year old son.

Now the smoke test. I had him login. He immediately brought firefox up with no prompting from me. A few web sites later he is happily playing on Club Penguin.

We'll see how this runs for them over the next few weeks.

I'm pretty happy with how this has gone down so far.

Wednesday Jan 21, 2009

Too much kids computing

Oh dear. Jake (10) was sitting next to me playing a game on my notebook. He stood up and said to me...


... and headed off to briefly return. For those not in the know - brb is Be Righ Back.

Tuesday Nov 06, 2007

Toy Recall - HOLY CRAP

I just had my dad call me to tell me about this toy recall.

The toy (Bindeez Craft Beads) won the Australian Toy of the year award! Now they find that

"The colourful beads contain the same chemical as the illicit drug GHB, otherwise known as 'fantasy' [...] the product actually contains 1,4-butanediol [...] When metabolised, 1,4-butanediol converts into GHB."

My (almost) 9 year old daughter loves playing with these things!!!

Sometimes as a parent I have the absolute sh\*t scared out of me.

I will be packing these up to be returned as soon as I get home!

Sunday Dec 17, 2006

Lucy in a modelling competition

My daughter Lucy, who turned eight on Saturday, has a photo up in a modelling competition. We are being encouraged to have folks vote for her. I would really appreciate anyone who thinks she's had a good photo taken to do so by going clicking on her photo and voting (and encouraging friends to). Voting requires an Email address (they send out a thank you email and a couple of links when you vote). Pramod, she's wearing the outfit that you haggled for me for on my last day in Bangalore.

Note I've used the image as the link as while I have not received my copies, I have purchased copyrights to the photo shoot. If you can't see the image, you can click here. There appears to be a problem with accessibility of the site from outside Australia, I'm following this up with the website.

The terms and conditions of the competition state that if AKC believes that anyone voting is bypassing the normal system of vote casting by continously changing their IP address, AKC reserves the right to disqualify that contestant. Please be sure to ask your friends and support crew not to do this as, ultimately, it will disadvantage your chances.

The terms and conditions of the competition are available here. The important ones relating to voting are:

  • 5. Participants of this site may only use programs such as Netscape® Navigator®, Netscape®Communicator®, Safari and Microsoft®Internet Explorer® (or equivalent web browsers) in trying to win the prize. Use of any other software not designed for browsing the World Wide Web is expressly prohibited. No electronic devices or software programs may be used to falsify winnings from this site. In the event that use of non-approved client software is detected, we reserve the right to invalidate any prize or claims to the prize. In the event such fraudulent attempts to claim a prize is uncovered, such individuals will be subject to prosecution.
  • 6. Aussie-Kids.Com reserves the right to permanently disqualify from this promotion any person it believes has intentionally violated these rules or otherwise tampered with this promotion. Any attempt by any person to deliberately damage this Website or undermine legitimate operation of the poll constitutes a violation of criminal and civil laws and, should such an attempt or attempts be made, we reserve the right to seek damages from any such person or persons to the fullest extent permitted by the law.
  • 9. Voting is enabled via a simple polling method installed, activated and monitored by our webserver. It permits only one vote from an individual computer within a 24 hour period for any contestant entered in the "STRIKE-A-POSE" Photogenic Quest. It does not permit multiple voting due to the restrictions enabled through our software which identifies the IP address of the person (computer) voting. Aussie-Kids.Com is not responsible for any software malfunction that may occur during voting. Aussie-Kids.Com is not responsible if voting is not possible due to the networking of some computers in government bodies/departments or business houses and will not enter into any discussions or explanations as to this fact before, during or after the voting period.

Wednesday Nov 01, 2006


OK, Halloween is not as big a thing in Australia as it is in the US. That being said, for the last few years we have had kids come around trick or treating, and our kids have gone around too and generally had a pretty good time.

This year, Lyn (my wife) decided to "do up the house" for halloween. I've got a series of about 66 photos (most of which she took) on Flickr.

A sample of which appears here.

House done up for Halloween

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* - Solaris and Network Domain, Technical Support Centre

Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him


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