Saturday, 29 September 2012

Do I really really need the tech

When I go running I normally have pulse meter around my chest and wrist, iPod on one arm, GPS smart phone on the other.
The other day I reached for my tech and the iPod was flat. No matter I thought as I can use the phone for both GPS and tunes, but the phone was on its last drips of battery juice also! I sat there staring at my useless items and  decided there would be no run tonight!
Then I heard myself and was shocked at what I had muttered. Before the iPod there were walkman's and before that there was nothing and it didn't stop me from going out for a run then.
So after a rarely short debate I decided to go it alone.
As I ran along and passed some walkers they said something and I answered politely back and this went on as I ran my familiar route. Normally I would have just nodded or not even noticed the activity around me.
Actually it was a very nice run meeting some nice folks on the way and I did it in the same time I would have normally.
So really I didn't need the tech, I just want it, and on this occasion it was actually fun and social. Think I'll do it again.
I wander how often we find ways of forcing the tech when really simpler might be better. (Sometimes)

Friday, 28 September 2012

MS Report Builder tips in Progresso

1) Automatically launch report builder from a report file.
I often save report files that I am working on locally and upload them when I am finished with them.
Normally you have to go into progresso then reports, then create ad hoc report to open report builder then file open to get to the report.
Well that irritates me no end so I changed the file association to fix it, heres how.

Fire up the report builder by using the irritating method above(create ad hoc report).
Right click on the Windows task bar and select "start task manager".

Scroll down the task list until you find MSReportBuilder.exe.
Right click and select "open file location".

 This will bring up the folder which will have a nightmarishly long path name, in my case "C:\Users\simonchappell.WELLINGTON\AppData\Local\Apps\2.0\O995YX76.Z3L\HMR42L7L.93O\repo..tion_c3bce3770c238a49_000a.0032_901521fa506df57".
Copy it into the clipboard by right clicking and selecting copy.
 You now have the path to the executable file in your clipboard.

Go to any report that you have saved locally.

Right Click , Select properties.

In the "Opens With" dialogue box click change.
Then click "Browse" in the next box.

Paste the clipboard string we collected earlier into the "Open with..." box and press "Enter".

Select MSreportBuilder(you may have to scroll down) and click open, then click OK in the next box.
Video showing the result, excuse the very slow VM that I did this on.

2) How to remove a saved password.
Though best practice would dictate that you never save a password sometimes we do.
Once you saved your connection password in reportbuilder it keeps it forever. Here is a quick way of removing the password so you can input a new one or change a login.

From report report builder click disconnect link,  bottom left.
Then File Options,
Then Clear all recent item lists, then Ok.
Ok to close the Report Builder dialogue box.
Then close Report builder.
When you open it again it will ask to connect to the server then prompt you for a password.
Video showing how, excuse the very slow VM. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Zoneminder Update on iNodes

Well with only 70% of my diskspace taken up I was getting out of space errors in zoneminder.
Turns out its my iNodes not the physical space on the disk.

If your running out of space with your inodes (like I was) you can setup a nightly deletion of the old files so that problem is nicely automated

pop this into crontab

0 0 * * * find /var/cache/zoneminder/events/ -name "*.jpg" -mtime +5 -exec rm -f {} \;

Change the +5 to be +howeverManyDaysYouWannaKeepYourImagesFor.

Picture taking software for our MIS

We had a load of students that missed getting their pictures taken last year. This is a shame for the grannies but a bit of an irritation for our MIS that proudly displays this years photo's giving us non teaching staff a chance of identifying students.
We were asked to take some snaps and I decided that a few scripts would save us a lot of hassle.
We took the pictures for internal use so they didn't have to be 5000 pixles wide.
What we did was setup an intranet site on a PHP server that we could search the MIS database for a student by surname.
and click a button to take a snap of the student.
record the image in the correct format for the MIS to pick it up easily.
Well it went so well I thought we should share it. It is not an out of the box solution unless you use Facility CMIS but there is only a few bits to change to make it work with SIMS.

Just install it on your PHP server, insert your SQL details, and point it to an IP cam and you are pretty much ready to go.

what you need to do
Download the picsw software here
untar it onto your PHP server.
tweak the
Change the remote_img variable to point to your ip webcam.
make sure the webservice has write permissions on the image folder and you are good to go.

Procedure for quick pic taking
Ask the student for the surname
do the search as the student steps into the marked out box.
confirm the students first name
Say cheese and click the camera icon.
you will see the captured image on the screen.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

HTC desire

well just had my first holiday leaving the iPhone behind and just using the new Android based desire.

awesome phone. picture quality and usability are brilliant. over 200 snaps in 5 days and all on the desire. can't fault it. loads uploaded faultlessly to Facebook easily and quickly.

can't recommend the phone and the Android OS enough.

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Zoneminder with the Panasonic BLC-101 with motion detect

Well I am a big fan of Zoneminder a great CCTV software package.
Its open source, easy to setup (when you know how!) and with the right hardware can be quite cheap.
Here is how I did it.

We run VMware V-sphere so the zoneminder system I created was just a virtual machine with a bit of allocated disk space.
Panasonic BLc-101 which is an excellent cheap POE camera.

The Install
Firstly I installed Ubuntu 9.10 Server from here.
You can burn it to a DVD if you are using a real machine but the ISO was good enough for my vm to boot from.
Installed ubuntu with standard settings.
Made sure I installed the apache and SSH servers.
Once the system is up and running then ssh in and install zoneminder
apt-get inst

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneminder /var/www/zm

/etc/init.d/zoneminder restart

point your browser to

you should see the landing page.

Securing ZoneMinder

Its a good idea to secure zoneminder.
From the landing page note the options button in the top right hand side.
click it.
look for OPT_USE_AUTH on the page, place a tick in the box.
Do not click save yet.
Before we lock ourselves out of zoneminder and undo all our hard work lets create a user for us to get back in with.
go to the users tab and click add new user.

I used zm_admin.

Now click save.

Its a good idea to test your new login before going any further.
Logout of zoneminder , (to do this click the admin link at the top where it says "logged in as admin").
Try your new user if you can't get back in the standard setup is
username admin
password admin
Provided you can get back in then you can change the password on the admin user.

Now to setup the cameras.
Click "add new monitor" setup the first page like this.

And the second

The text i used for Remote Host Path is

Securing the camera's
Now you may want to secure your cameras.
log into each camera and set an admin password.
You will have to allow guest access which is on the same page.

If you have done it all right then the camera's IP should come up green in the main window.
Click on the name of the camera and it will pop a new window and you can view the camera.
If you are running in modetect mode like I am then leave the camera for a while and send someone to wander round the room to get ZM to detect motion and start recording.
You shold see some events appearing after next to the camera's IP on the main page.
Click on the number of events and then click timeline.

this is my favourite view as you can quickly see the activity. As you move the mouse over the red bars you will see the image change, click a red bar and the event pops up and plays.

Well this was just a quick look at zoneminder with ubuntu Karmic Koala adn some panasonic blc-101's.
I have only just got it working myself so I may revisit this how-to when i get some more content.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Gimp windows on Mac OSX Leopard

I am a gimp fanatic. I do most of my image stuff in Gimp but one major thing has been bugging me. The window behaviour.
Basically when you open Gimp you have 3 windows. Toolbox,Main image window, and Layers window.
What happens is that you click on the paintbrush and nothing happens, you have to click it again to select the paintbrush. Then you try to paint on the image in the main window, nothing happens!, you try again and this time it works.

This is down to two reasons ,
1. Focus follows behaviour in Gimp
2. Click through behaviour in the Mac OS Xwindows

I decided to dedicate some time to fixing this so that I could use the gimp without screaming at the macbook and tell everyone how to fix it.

1. Fix the Gimp setup.
From the main gimp window select EDIT | PREFERENCES
Navigate down to Window Management

Change the two hints to KEEP ABOVE
Save the preferences

2. Fix Xwindows
Then open a terminal window and paste this in
defaults write wm_ffm true
And this
defaults write org.x.X11 wm_click_through -bool true

You can shut down Gimp and Xwindows and reopen Gimp to enjoy some sensible single click behaviour