Time Running Slow for a FreeBSD x64 Guest under VirtualBox


As part of my efforts to reduce our power consumption, I have decomissioned my diskless VM host and move the virtual machines onto my fileserver. This involved migrating the machines from VMWare (on Linux) to Virtualbox (on Solaris).

One of my VMs is a FreeBSD x64 system, and while it came across fine, the time on this machine ran 3-4 times slower than normal (other x86 FreeBSD machines were fine).

To correct this, I added the following line to /boot/loader.conf:


Hacking the Efergy Wireless Power Meter

I just bought an Efergy wireless power meter on Ebay. It consists of a hall effect current meter clamp that clips around the mains line to your house, an RF transmitter module, and a receiver module with an LCD display that shows various bits of information that it gathers. The same meter was also sold at Aldi recently under the brand "Trade Power".

Hall of Shame - Internet Unsaavy Companies


I'm annoyed. Bankwest have charged me an arrears fee as they misread a faxed direct debit form. Why was it faxed? It was faxed because they do not allow you to submit forms electronically on their website, nor via email. From now on, every time I deal with a company that is big enough to know better, I'm going to list them on here.


Vista Media Center (MCE) keeps waking up


Our Vista Media Center machine was continually waking up a few minutes after it was put to sleep. This lead to higher power bills, and higher greenhouse gas emissions. To find out the cause of the last wakeup request, you can execute the following command from a Command Prompt:

powercfg /lastwake

Unfortunately, this didn't give any useful information for me, so I took the following approach:

Cloning dual-boot Windows XP machines

A disk in a workmate's computer failed recently, and when restoring the backup, we had issues getting the second partition to boot. We were able to get the OS to load only as far as the second loading screen (the blue screen with the scrolling orange/blue animation at the bottom, not the black screen with the scrolling green animation at the bottom), at which point the scrolling animation would freeze (although the keyboard and mouse were responsive).

Network Booting Fedora 8 (NFSROOT)


OK, here is how I went about network booting Fedora 8. I'll be booting my machine from a Solaris box, but any reasonable NFS server should do.

First, fire up VMWare, and do a basic install of Fedora 8. You can choose whatever packages you want (I suggest a minimal install plus "Software Development", since you can add extra stuff later). We will be using this machine to give us a tarball of the Fedora root filesystem, plus a platform to build the initrd.