Educating the world

Our blog has over 10,000 readers a month

Adding birthdays to the N900 calender

May 24th, 2010

One of the nice things about the N900 is the integrated address book. All contact details exist in the same place: telephone number, email address, SkyPe name, postal address to name but a few. You can also add auxiliary information too, like birthdays.

The calender scans the address book so that you get a nice little birthday cake icon on the day to show that it is someone’s birthday. If an event is a birthday it is automatically an all day event and appears in pink instead of blue.

This does lead to a couple of problems. Firstly there is no way to add a birthday event from the calender and secondly there is no way to add a birthday event for someone that is not in your contacts list.

I can live without the first problem it’s just a case of adding the one-to-one relationship from the correct side but the “not being able to add birthdays to people not in the address book” is a bit of a pain. I didn’t want to clutter up my contacts list with a whole load of casual acquaintances but I’d like to remember their birthdays. I suppose the idea is that all your contact information for a person goes into the same place. They may not have a mobile but they must live somewhere?

Well not sure if my second grumble is a worthy point, it’s just that when creating an event you can set the event type to N900 (Synchronised) or Private and it wouldn’t take much to add birthday into that spot too.

Upgrading Plesk 9.3

May 7th, 2010

I keep this blog article as a place holder to collate all the issues I have with upgrading my Plesk server from 8.x to 9.3. Each time Plesk produces a new version there are always hacks and fixes that need to be applied to make things work. These days you have to be more than just a system’s administrator; you have to be a programmer and script’er. Luckily for me (and you) I am all three!

Spam is not filtered properly for a domain
The first manifestation of this problem is in the /var/log/messages file. The following message repeats a couple of times a minute.

spam_hook[pid]: unable to open configuration file /etc/psa/psa.conf: Permission denied

The /etc/psa/psa.conf file holds the locations to system resource folders used by Plesk, for example PLESK_MAILNAMES_D which points to the root of the mail folders for each domain.

Checking the permissions of the file show that it is readable:

# ls -l /etc/psa/psa.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2564 Mar 9 15:16 /etc/psa/psa.conf

so the problem must be with one of the parent folders. If you didn’t have access to /etc then almost everything would stop working and you would notice straight away. So the problem must be with the /etc/psa folder. Checking that revealed a permission error.

drwxr-x— 5 psaadm psaadm 4096 May 6 12:02 /etc/psa

With the permissions set this way (750), the pop user and the spam filtering daemons would fail because they do not have the required permission to read the psa.conf file.

In order to fix the problem we must allow all users to read files from that folder. We will add the execute permission to the folder to allow others to read a file if they explicitly know the name but won’t allow anyone else to view the contents of the folder or to alter anything in it.

Changing the permissions like so will allow the other programs and users to read the file.

chown 751 /etc/psa

which produces the file permissions:

drwxr-x–x 5 psaadm psaadm 4096 May 6 12:02 /etc/psa

There is no need to restart any services or reboot. Everything will just start working.

Armstrong & Miller - WWII RAF Sketches

May 4th, 2010

The “Armstrong & Millershow was a little hit and miss but it contained a set of genius sketches known as the “RAF Sketches".

Our 2 protagonists are RAF pilots who’s speech and behaviour is that of “the youth of today". I was on a bus last week listening to a bunch of teenagers talking like this. It is amazing how someone can talk so much, for so long without actually saying anything - a bit like Zane Lowe.

Satire at its best.

Season 1

Sketch 1: Trousers
Sketch 2: Compensation
Sketch 3: Hospitality
Sketch 4: Dog fight
Sketch 5: Germany
Sketch 6: Scramble
Sketch 7: Phone call
Sketch 8: Parachute

Season 2

Episode 1: Leaving you
Episode 2: Firing squad
Episode 3: Spies
Episode 4-1/2: Tunnel
Episode 4-2/2: Ratting

Red Nose Day 2009 - Comic Relief - BBC

Part 1: Medals
Part 2: Sponsored

Why do I use Green Energy?

May 1st, 2010

I don’t want to live in a country that is dependent on oil and I am prepared to pay to make that happen. Being able to generate an unlimited amount of free electricity is the holy grail and once we have achieved this many of the international and political problems would disappear. Imagine how the world would be different if oil, coal and gas were worthless. The saving the environment angle is just a bonus!

STS brakes after uninstalling Java

April 15th, 2010

As new versions of Java are released the Java updater automatically installs them. The number of Java installations on your computer increases. Normal PC housekeeping dictates that you delete the old versions because they are no longer in use.

I used the Window’s Add and Remove Programs option in the Control Panel to un-install all the old JREs leaving only the latest versions. I do a lot of Java programming and I rely on the environment variable JAVA_HOME to tie together a lot of my build scripts and development environments.

When I tried to load Spring Tool Suite (STS) it wouldn’t load and gave the message:

A Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or Java Development Kit (JDK) must be available in order to run STS. No Java virtual machine was found after searching the following locations: c:/Java/Java/jdk1.6.0_16/javaw.exe

The path of javaw.exe was one of the versions I had un-installed. Even though I had reset the JAVA_HOME and updated the path to point to the new JAVA_HOME/bin it still wasn’t picking up the correct path of the Java installation.

So here is how to fix it:

  1. Find your installation of Spring Tool Suite
  2. Change to that directory
  3. Load the file STS.ini into your favourite text editor.
  4. Change the old command line path from the old version of Java:


    to the new Java path:


    In your set up the version will be different.

    Where 1.6.0_18 is the full path to my latest Java installation.

  5. Save file and re-run Spring Tool Suite