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Unbricking WRT54GL (v1.1)

I was playing around with various firmware versions for the WRT54GL the other day and, without thinking, I attempted to flash the wrong firmware. The power LED flashed rapidly, and stayed flashing when power was applied; none of the normal (simple) resetting methods worked.

I thought that I was in real trouble when the thing did not even respond to ping. This suggested that I needed to use JTAG to recover, which is annoying and requires soldering.

Fonebank - get money for old mobile phones.

I have just tested out Fonebank to recycle (or sell) my old mobile phones. It's a simple service where you send them your old phones, and they send you money in return. I was impressed.

HOWTO: increase the maximum number of files

Whilst I was aware that "ulimit" was responsible for setting the maximum number of files a user could have open in Linux, I rarely need to alter this value. Today when I needed to increase it for a relatively niche purpose, and I was shocked to realise that I couldn't remember how to do this.

Bethere SMTP Server

I quite like the ISP Be. It's fast due to ADLS2, and whilst I don't get the full 24Mbps, I am happy with the 15Mbps I manage - especially as there is no traffic shaping or restrictions on it's use that I have ever come across. There is one thing that annoys me a lot. You need to use their SMTP servers to send email with your email client (which I am perfectly happy with), but I can never find the details of the server quickly when I want to. So, here they are, once and for all, to aid my memory:

Great DNS tool

If you want to check out an overview of your DNS setup for a domain, just to make sure you don't have any issues, there is a great website called that will list everything you want to know in a simple and easy to understand manner. Further, if you want to go straight to a query for a particular domain, it's as simple as appending the domain onto the base intodns url; for example Brilliant.

Bind: "permission denied" solution

I was having a strange issue with configuring a secondary name server on one of my Ubuntu servers. I had configured it (I think) in an identical manner to another secondary name server, but this one wasn't working, and I was getting the following error:

Some help in starting to get started with Lisp

I decided the other day, virtually on a whim, to learn lisp: the programmable programming language. I'm not going to explain myself here, but I have found it slightly tricky to know where to start. Unlike some other languages it can be a tad hard to find a good guide and way in which to learn, so I shall just list a few things here.

Rant: Fewer and less are not synonyms.

Fewer and less are not synonyms. In short, fewer should be used when you can count objects, and less with continuous items. For example, you may have less time, or fewer hours, to achieve a task than you might have wished. I'm seeing this being used incorrectly all over the place at the moment, from TV to software. From now on, whenever I see it in a software program I will be filing a bug report. You have been warned.

GNOME: Stop telling me that you're "Launching HTTP Cache Cleaner"

I keep getting an entry in my window list that says "Launching HTTP Cache Cleaner". It lasts a few seconds, and then vanishes, causing two resizes of all the windows in the list. It's been annoying me for quite a while, but I finally decided to see what was going on there today.

Narrow Terminal Tip

Just a quick tip. If you're working in a terminal and want to parse the output of a command, you can have issues with commands that try to limit their output dependant on your terminal width. An example of this is "dpkg -l" which lists all the packages installed on a machine (first few lines shown below)