Vanish and mkpasswd on CentOS & RHEL 5

Just because I couldn’t find any information anywhere, if you’re trying to install the latest versions of the varnish caching server on RHEL5 or CentOS5 and its telling you that it wants /usr/bin/mkpasswd (and it’ll only do that to you if you like me, were trying to install using rpm instead of yum), you can find mkpasswd in the package expect

What I’ve Been Up To

Long time no update. So I’ve been running and stuff. So far I’ve run 4 of the 5 Sydney Striders 10K races. I’ve been working at hitting 40 mins for a 10K race. In May I managed pretty close to that (well OK 8 seconds out) which was a surprise since I thought it wouldn’t be able to do that until later on in the year.

Finally hit a 40 minute 10K
Finally hit a 40 minute 10K

This morning’s race I was a bit off with my stomach churning pretty badly in the last couple of kms, so a 40:40 was about as good as I could expect.

  • March – North Head – 42:21
  • April – Lane Cove – 41:57
  • May – Olympic Park – 40:08
  • June – Lane Cover – 40:40

So I guess my goal is to hit a sub-40min 10km by the end of the year.

Also I trained with some work training group for the SMH Half Marathon in May. My previous PB for this race last year was 95:15. This year I aimed for 92 minutes and I ended up nailing it in 91:44, so I was super-happy to knock off that much time off my PB. So now I’m going to raise the bar and aim for a sub-90 in the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival half marathon in September. Apparently its a flatter course, so fingers crossed!

The City2Surf and the Bay Run are both coming up pretty damn soon so I’ve got some busy times ahead.

What I Ate: Wednesday 9th July, 2008

What I Ate: Wednesday 9th July, 2008


  • cornflakes with maple syrup

Morning tea

  • large latte
  • berry muesli bar


  • Egg, mayo and cucumber sandwich
  • packet of honey soy chicken chips
  • diet coke

Afternoon tea

  • white tea with one sugar
  • a couple of wholemeal crackers
  • banana


  • 200ml powerade


  • fried rice with chicken, lup chong, pumpkin, carrot, peas and egg
  • 1 Coopers Pale Ale


  • A cup of sleepytime tea

What I Ate: Tuesday 8th July, 2008

What I Ate: Tuesday 8th July, 2008


  • Two fried eggs on toast
  • watered down fruit juice

Morning tea

  • white tea with one sugar
  • two chocolate crackles


  • Chicken teriyaki
  • can of diet coke

Afternoon tea

  • water
  • white tea with one sugar
  • one chocolate biscuit
  • one banana


  • lamb chops with peas, asparagas, pumpkin and rice
  • fruit cordial with sparkling mineral water


  • 3 chocolates
  • yoghurt


  • glass of milk

What I Ate: Monday 7th July, 2008

What I Ate: Monday 7th, 2008

  • porridge with banana


  • latte with one sugar

Morning tea:

  • white tea with one sugar
  • chocolate chip muesli bar


  • Ham sandwich with tomato, cucumber and carrot
  • lime and black pepper chips

Afternoon tea

  • Pear
  • diet coke

Pre-dinner snack

  • slice of tasty cheddar cheese
  • Coopers Pale Ale


  • Beef lasagna
  • Choc-caramel tart


  • cup of milk

mythtv and screen blanking

So I’ve had my mythtv box running nicely for quite a while now but one annoying thing I couldn’t figure out was how to stop the annoying screen blanking. I’d set various dpms parameters in xorg.conf, turned off the screensaver. But it kept blanking. The most annoying part was that it hadn’t always happened.

Anyhow, I finally found the one command to stop it; xset -dpms.

Dear Fratelli Fresh

Hi guys,

I love the fresh produce you guys sell. I reckon its worth the premium that it might cost me elsewhere for your fresh fruit and veg. But could you perhaps get your staff to be a little friendlier or perhaps even smile once in a while? I’m not asking them to act like they’re my BFFs, but you know, just enough to lighten the mood up or something?


Rhythmbox from the command line

So I was playing around with my conky config and I thought it’d be cool to be able to see my “now playing” song from it. Conky has some built in bits for that kind of thing in mpd but that’s no use to me since I use rhythmbox to listen to my music. A bit of googling around came up with some hits on using dbus-send to find the info [1,2] but the output was a little more raw than I was hoping for. While I was have a brief look through the rhythmbox manpage I noticed down the bottom of the page:


Aaah, how handy 😀 So issuing a rhythmbox-client --print-playing gives me this (the last line of the screenshot):

rhythmbox-client and conky now playing screenshot

rhythmbox-client can also handly play/pause, stop, next, previous, skip, add songs to the queue and other stuff to rhythmbox, all from the command line. In my .conkyrc I put the following line to give the “Now Playing” output:

${color #5b6dad}Now Playing: ${color}${exec /usr/bin/rhythmbox-client --print-playing}

Goodbye 2007

Here’s to 2007. Can’t say it was great year but I guess it wasn’t that bad either (besides Dad getting bowel cancer but he seems to be on the mend, so its all good).

darkenergy 20071231

Here’s my current desktop at work. I’m running fluxbox 1.0rc2 (guess I should upgrade it to 1.0 sometime huh?), mrxvt with full transparency with window decorations turned off. All the stats and info on the left is conky. Love it.

I guess one of my goals for the new year is to perhaps blog a bit more (yeah, we all say that don’t we huh?) If you’re curious what’s travelling through my brain, you can always check out my bookmarks.


Rozie, her Dad, brother and I are heading off overseas for a month for a holiday. First stop is Toronto for two weeks (we’re attending a family wedding next Monday). I’ll also be squeezing in a half-marathon on the 14th October. After that, we head to New York for 3 days, then onto San Francisco for 5 days, Hong Kong (with perhaps a day or two in mainland China) then back home again by the 3rd November. We’ll hopefully be posting updates to our blogs and also uploading to flickr as we go along as well.

Finally a coffee from Toby’s Estate

On Saturday I had a tasty breakfast in Chippendale at Cafe Giuloa’s (their website appears to be offline at the time of writing). Three super-thick pancakes with maple syrup and unfortunately not enough cream kept me well sated until later on in the late afternoon. But, I did rather feel like some coffee after walking around the overly muddy Live Green Festival (put on by the City of Sydney Council) on City Road, so we decided to head to Toby’s Estate.

If you’re moderately serious about your coffee in Sydney then you’ve probably already heard all the good things about Toby’s Estate Coffee (if not, then where have you been? 😉 ).So this was the first time I’d managed to get there for a coffee and boy did they deliver. A perfectly brewed, delicious picolo latte. Hmmm. Seeing as they’re a bit closer than the fab Campos Coffee up in Newtown, I think Campos has a new contender for favourite coffee in town (although I didn’t see any affogato on the menu at Toby’s Estate). Or perhaps there’s just a good excuse to drink more coffee on the weekends…

City 2 Surf 2007

So I had the goal of finishing up the City 2 Surf this year in under 60 minutes. In the lead up to the race (and in fact even before the Bay Run) I’d been experiencing some heal and foot pain, which I saw the physio for. My physio told me to take it easy and also to include some strength exercises (he thinks that my injuries were due to increased mileage and my leg muscles just not being strong enough to keep up with the continual). So the end result was that I just wasn’t able to put in the training that I wanted/required for the City 2 Surf. My legs are feeling much, much better now though with the leg strength training (with the added bonus of the new found leg strength really giving my rock climbing a noticeable boost).

Pre-race jitters didn’t help me much and I couldn’t get to sleep until about 1am or so (after going to bed around 11pm, that totally sucks) and I’m just not really a morning person. Morning runs suck. So I ended up finishing the race in 62:35, which is still 2 minutes 30 seconds faster than last year, but I really had my heart set on a sub-60 minute run. Oh well, something to work towards for next year when my legs are working better and I can put the time and effort into a proper training plan (I never really got into a training plan at all, even though I had one setout for myself). I guess it was kind of cool having my result on the first page of results. I placed around 1268 I think out about 64000.

Rozie’s uploaded a whole bunch of photos over at flickr, so you can laugh at me in my silly running tights.

Also, since I haven’t really got my mileage up, I decided that I’m not going to bother doing the Sydney Running Festival half marathon, since I won’t have the time to put the training in to put in a decent time. But, instead, Rozie and I are going to be in Toronto in October and that does give me enough time to train, so I’m probably going to enter the Toronto Half Marathon instead. I’ll see a bit closer to the date how my form is going before I put my entry form. If I’m feeling a bit sucky in my training, I’ll enter the 10km Oasis Zoo Run instead, which goes around the Toronto Zoo. Sounds like fun!

Bay Run 2007

So running goal number 2 (after the SMH half) has been completed for the year. I did the Bay Run around Iron Cove back in July. Happily, I finished up in a respectable 29:15, very, very happy with that time. It was a rather chilly morning. So chilly in fact that 5kms into the 7kms race my hands were still cold. Afterwards I celebrated with some breakfast at Bills in Surry Hills. Hmmm. If you want to have a sticky-beak, I’ve got some photos from the race day that Rozie took up over at Flickr

SMH Half Marathon 2007

So on Sunday I did my first ever half marathon. After putting in satisfying efforts with the Bay Run, City 2 Surf and the Sydney Bridge Run last year, I felt like more of a challenge. So I went for the popular SMH Half Marathon. For those of you who don’t know, a half marathon is 21.1kms (and full one being 42.2kms obviously). The course goes through the CBD, up across past the Art Gallery to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and back again to Hickson Rd, then you do it all over again!

Back two and a half months ago, I started a half marathon training routine from Runners’ World Magazine. It consisted for 3 training runs a week. Intervals, tempo and distance runs. Admittedly I was getting pretty sick of all the training leading up to last week and I just wanted to get the race over and done with. By Saturday night I was pretty excited. Got to bed by about 12 and had really patchy sleep until I woke up at about 5am.

Rozie, being the wonderful wife that she is came down to Hickson Rd for the 7.30am start with me. We ended up catching a taxi down since the buses didn’t start until about 6.45am (that’s when I wanted to get there). On the way down, the taxi driver told her that I was a fantastic husband because I opened the door of the taxi and let her in first. Rozie just laughed and said she was fantastic for getting up so early for me. I guess we’re both fantastic (or something…)

Away, we managed to get down there at about 6.45am or so which gave me plenty of time to warm up, pee, and find a place for the start. Compared to the City 2 Surf and perhaps even the Sydney Running Festival, the crowd seemed a lot more serious. I got the impression that regardless of peoples’ abilities as runners, that they were mostly people who ran pretty regularly, as opposed to the fun runners who might only do it a before a race like this.

And they're racing!

Anyway, I digress. The first 5 and 10kms of the race was fantastic for me. I managed to knock over the first 10kms in about 42mins(!). Looking back I probably went a bit hard since the second half (well 11.1kms to be exact) took me about 53 minutes to complete. The main reason for this though is that for about the last 5 to 6kms I had a really painful blister coming through, which really slowed me down. I think if I didn’t have that blister that I could’ve saved myself about 3 minutes in the second half of the race.

Running in the SMH Half Marathon 2007

My final time ended up 95 mins 58 seconds and placed 771st out of a field of 4639 finishing runners. So I am really happy with the final result, since all my training was aiming for 95 minutes anyhow. Since I got pretty close to the time I was aiming for, even with a blister slowing me down, I reckon I can easily run a half in under 95 minutes and perhaps with some more endurance training get my time closer to 90 minutes.

The finish line
I passed the line a couple of minutes earlier

I’ll probably aim for the Sydney Running Festival half marathon in September.

My running goals for the year are:

Gatorade trash