Pedelecs are fast!

A quick comparison of average speeds for my daily commute, these numbers are average moving speed.

Note: Bulls is the brand name of my standard trekking bike, Raleigh is the brand name of my wife’s pedelec city/confort bike (electrical pedal-assist up to 25 km/h) and Peugeot is the brand name of our car.

Each of these modes of transport has 2 average speeds. For bicycles, one should understand the “easy” one as going slow enough to avoid too much sweating, whereas the “fast” one is when trying to be as fast as possible. For the car, it is the lowest and highest measured speed (depending on traffic).


For more information on pedelecs: Wikipedia article on Pedelec.

Home Server – What do I want?

What service do I want to run on my Home Server?

I do have a NAS already which has the following services: File Sharing (Samba, AFS and NFS), Media Streaming Server (DLNA), VPN Server, Cloud Sync Repository. So I do not intend to have redundant services on my Home Server. What is left?

My Home Server could support:

  • Backup: Having a proper backup of all important files from the NAS and our laptop. Implementations: rdiff-backup, Box Backup, fwbackups*, duplicity*, rsnapshot or storeBackup.
  • (N)-IDS: As I have services open to the internet, I want to take some precautions and check that no exploits is taken advantage of. I am not sure this is enough, but it is the least I can do. Implementations: AIDE or Suricata.
  • DNS cache/server: I am thinking of hosting my own DNS server to perform some caching and hopefully enhance a bit the browsing experience in terms of performance. Though I would need to benchmark this to make sure I have any gain as I suspect my old router to do some caching. Implementation: dnsmasq.
  • DHCP server: My home router is a Netgear WG614 and its features for what concern DHCP are fairly limited, having my home server addressing this issue is a nice idea (until we get a better router). I could be even tightly coupled with the DNS server (see earlier bullet point) so that one could use hostname within the local network. Implementation: dnsmasq.
  • Syslog server
  • Maybe – ownCloud: maybe one day I would prefer to use an open source solution for Cloud Sync rather than the closed source one from my NAS vendor.

*: FreeBSD support is uncertain.

As one can see, I could use Linux or BSD based OS or a mixture. However, ZFS is so compelling that I am seriously considering to go for FreeBSD+jails and basta cosi! February will be the month where I try to set-up a FreeBSD server.

HI (Human Intelligence) in Computer Science

The number of errors you find in forums or user groups is sometimes amazing. Here in this thread, the first answer mix up file system journaling with indexing, the second rightly tries to correct the thread but adds more errors by stating that ZFS is a journaling FS, which it isn’t. It is a transactional copy-on-write file system.

And this other thread on Ubuntu Forums is even worse. First, people do not exactly answer the question, some just express opinion/beliefs without facts, finally some are trying to base their answers on facts but those are incorrect. Example: “NTFS does not have a journal, neither is it 64 bit like Ext4.” (it is pretty hard to have that many wrong facts in one sentence, bravo!) Thanks, some users are trying to sanitize this thread (e.g. Udayakiran or falconindy), sadly their answers are flooded in the mass of bad/wrong ones.

Flash Player “Square” is out on preview for Linux

Adobe Flash Player 64bit

Adobe released yesterday a preview of Flash Player “Square”. It includes native 64bit support and IE9 hardware acceleration enhancement. Yes, you’ve got it! Adobe is again supporting a 64bit release of their plug-in and for all 3 platforms: Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

I have updated my previous article on surfing the web in 64bit with the new details.

To get more information, jump to Adobe Labs.

Note: there is a free (libre) alternative to Adobe Flash product called Gnash, however it is still far from being stable enough on all web sites to be widely use. But anyway, it is a highly interesting project which have made recent huge improvements towards reliability and speed. You should try Gnash first and if it doesn’t work for you, then go for Adobe.

Update: Flash Player “Square” is now Flash Player 11, and there is a second beta released this August 2011.

An Icelandic Saga

On the road...We are on the edge to write a new Icelandic saga. In a few days, we will embark on a plane direction: Iceland.

10 years ago we were leaving Iceland after an incredible time there. Now we are going back with our bicycle to explore it differently.

Iceland is an amazing place, but it is a difficult one too, especially on a bike. The weather is harsh, the wind strong, the roads are tricky and bridges only exist on road #1! But Iceland is a magical place, it’s wild, it’s colourful, it’s warm and cold.

Just let’s go exploring it!
Continue reading “An Icelandic Saga”

How do geeks have fun?

How do computer geeks have fun?
Warning: If you are not a geek, you better not read further for 2 good reasons:

  1. you will not find that funny at all!
  2. you will be scared about the psychic health of geeks and ask the police to arrest them.

While installing a software, I stumble on this small message:

If you are a hardcore computer nerd staring at this file through your favorite text editor, you are probably hunting [the build instructions!] Well it’s not here. […] Because all the build instructions are now in Apache’s cool web-site.[…]

Continue reading to learn more about the context.

Continue reading “How do geeks have fun?”

Testing DNS response time

Since Google released its Public DNS, I was curious about how it would really perform. Thus, I have looked around and I have found a script on the internet that I ran at home, here are the results:

| Domain           | My ISP | Google | OpenDNS|
|   |  17 ms |  68 ms |  68 ms |
|     |  18 ms |  69 ms |  68 ms |
|       |  19 ms |  79 ms |  70 ms |
|       |  58 ms |  88 ms |  66 ms |
|           |  16 ms |  64 ms |  67 ms |
|        |  55 ms |  65 ms |  67 ms |
|       |  58 ms |  63 ms |  78 ms |
|  |  58 ms |  66 ms |  68 ms |
|           |  57 ms |  65 ms |  99 ms |
|           |  56 ms |  62 ms |  68 ms |

Google Public DNS and OpenDNS performed quite similarly. However, my own ISP is still quicker to respond, a possible answer is that Google DNS in Europe are located in Frankfurt, Germany.

N.B.: these tests were performed on a wireless link under Mac OS X Leopard in Toulouse, France. If you want to run the script on a Mac, you should change the first line of the script to #!/bin/bash

Update 2009.12.10:

Making Chrome flashy on Ubuntu

Giving Chrome its wings
Giving Chrome its wings

After making the chromes shine on Ubuntu, let’s make them flashy! In the previous article you learned how to have Google Chrome and Chromium installed, now that you have used them for awhile, you perhaps find out that you cannot play video on or, that you do not have annoying advertisement, etc. Yes, Google Chrome and Chromium Linux versions do not yet support Adobe Flash!

However, since you are not afraid to try a test version of these browsers on your favorite OS, you will not mind activating a test feature: plug-ins.

Continue reading “Making Chrome flashy on Ubuntu”