Arduino Library for Decoding DCF77 Time Signals

DCF77 Module
A couple of weeks ago I bought a cheap DCF77 receiver module from German electronics retailer Reichelt for use with the Arduino prototyping platform after inadvertently frying the one I had salvaged from an old weather station that I had lying around.
After solving some reception problems due to electrical noise I was able to get usable readings using the sample code written by Matthias Dalheimer.
I used a good chunk of that code to write a library which can be used in other Arduino projects.

The project is fittingly named "Funkuhr" (German for radio clock), the code is available for download on GitHub.

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Fiendie.net is now IPv6 ready

IPv6 Certification Badge for fiendie
In the wake of the looming IPCalypse I've been playing around with IPv6 the last couple of months. I set up some tunnels and subnets generously supplied by SixXS, added AAAA records to my domain and subdomains, enabled IPv6 in Apache and Postfix and finally took the survey from Hurricane Electric.
I couldn't get past "Professional" because ZoneEdit which I use to manage my zone doesn't yet support IPv6 glue records. It helped me work out some kinks in the configuration, though.

The website now also uses Drupal 7 which was just released a few days ago. Since it doesn't run any mission critical stuff I thought I'd take the plunge. So far there were no major problems with the new installation. The only third party module I used and which isn't compatible yet (if it ever will be...) was the one for Gallery2 which sucked anyway.

The Loudness War Is Getting Out of Hand

I recently bought a copy of Alice in Chains' latest recording "Black Gives Way to Blue", their first studio album in 14 years.
Before I could even let the music sink in I noticed how muddy and noisy it sounded. The drums were completely drowned in the mix and even though I have very good listening gear the output was on the verge of distortion.

Alice in Chains - A Looking in View (2009)
Alice in Chains - A Looking In View (2009)

So here we have one of the latest victims of a phenomenon fans and critics appropriately dubbed the Loudness War, a practice by the
recording industry where the average loudness of a recording is increased by compressing the hell out of the signal in the mastering process.
While this is a very widely publicized issue (at least in the United States) and many music fans may already have read about it I just wanted to add my own account with this blog post because I think the more attention is drawn to this questionable practice the better.

Change of Scene

Blowing some dust off the website (again).
The favicon looked awfully similar to the one from facebook, although I am pretty sure I had mine for a while. Before I even heard of them if I remember correctly. But anyway, I kinda like the black look even if it's still pretty much an off-the-shelf drupal installation.
The Twitter-Block allows me to update the site more frequently in a way.
If I ever get to start my new Guitar project or even write up on the previous one 140 characters won't suffice, though ;)

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Getting MD5-Challenge-Response Authentication to work with Postfix and Courier-IMAP

Since I was in the process of shaping up my servers anyway I thought it's time to remedy one of my last security woes. Passwords between the mail client and Courier-IMAP as well as Postfix were still being exchanged in plain text. A better way to authenticate a client is using CRAM-MD5 authentication where the server first sends a challenge string to the client which then responds with a username followed by a 16-byte digest containing the user's secret in form of an HMAC-MD5 hash. If the client's and the server's digests match, the authentication is successful.
With Postfix CRAM-MD5 authentication is supported via the SASL module. Courier uses its own userdb to store passwords. Since all How-Tos for Courier CRAM-MD5 auth I dug up were for use with virtual domains I am writing this one for mail servers that store mail in the user's home folder.

Using Postfix as a Satellite System/Smarthost with SMTP-Auth via SASL

I run two different servers, leela.fiendie.net and flexo.fiendie.net (yes, I *am* a huge Futurama fan), which have slightly different purposes. My mail server is running on leela but I wanted flexo to be able to receive mail for the domains it is responsible for.

One option would have been to set up another mailserver and just collect the mail locally or with an IMAP client. The slightly more elegant solution in my opinion was to use flexo as a so called satellite system and leela as its smarthost.
This way incoming mail is not delivered locally but relayed from the satellite to the smarthost. I found some documentation online but no coherent How-To for the exact scenario I had in mind. Which is why I want to compile it here.

It's Been A While

It was probably the worst idea to start cleaning up my web server now, of all times, with one of my final exams coming up but it seems to be human nature to delve into things like cleaning up your appartment or blow the dust of your old blog. But every distraction is welcome.
Anyway, after some battling with with the drupal-upgrade and the awstats config file I ironed out the kinks that accumulated due to my dormancy and the site is once again glistening in its renewed splendor (Well, actually it looks pretty much the same but I assure you, it's prettier underneath!).

OMG, it's here!

I will refrain from posting another excessive review of the latest incarnation of Apple®'s Mac OS X™ line of operating systems with the sonorous name Leopard™. There were already loads of them across the net long before it was even released, mostly because of the large number of Beta-testers out there.
For the average person, last Friday was the day marked red in iCal™.

It worked apparently

Thankfully my exam went pretty well so that I had the time and the guts to follow through with the switch from SuSE to Debian. All in all it maybe took a day for everything to get up and running again and the only things that I am still struggling with are Postfix-TLS and Mailman, but that's not much of a problem at the moment.

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SuSE is giving me the creeps!

Enough is enough. I'm trying to cope with this sorry excuse for a Linux Distribution for more than a year now and it's really starting to piss me off...
A recent "security update" not only broke my installation of cacti but also that of AWStats. The Directory structure was completely different and the old configuration files stopped working. I still haven't got around to fix it and I might not even bother.
Debian Large
When I registered this V-Server, SuSE was the only option, but since the price was unbeatable I thought to myself: "Linux is Linux". Well...So I thought. Recently, Strato added Debian to their choice but I always shyed away from a fresh install because the format of the configuration files is different at many points and the current state took quite a while to set up.

Anyway, my impatience with SuSE reached a level which sort of makes it inevitable. As I mentioned earlier, SuSE's YaST is not even good enough for the software it handles (apart from being slow and ugly), which makes a potential RPM Dependency Hell for software that is not in the repositories even more unbearable.

I know it is kinda crackbrained to do this now since I just started to fill this site with content but it has to be done.
So, if the site is unreachable for some time in the next 2 weeks, you know what's going on :)

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