Blue Skies & FS1

It’s been a long while since I updated this site but I’ve been busy… jumping out of planes!

Back in February 2010 I went on a trip to DeLand Florida with some people from Headcorn Parachute Club to do a course (AFF) to become a fully licensed skydiver. Why? Well, I’d not really thought about doing it any time soon by my mate went on a Tandem skydive and found out about the trip to Florida… He rang me up and asked “How do you fancy doing some serious skydiving; and by that I mean 2 weeks in Florida!?”.

As you can imagine, it took me a couple of days to think about the idea but ultimately I just said “Yeah! why not!”

So, two years down the line and after returning to DeLand on a second trip I’ve now at the time of writing got 77 jumps and my FS1 under my belt. Basically means I can jump out with other people and do formation work, or just do crazy things like “Horny Gorilla” (a good example can be found here).

Without boring you with too many videos (yet!) here’s my FS1 from start to Finish, though one jump is not on camera (levels 5 & 6), you’ll get the general idea! Oh and yes I know there’s some text on the editing that’s wrong… I blame iMovie for not saving my changes but it’s not worth making a whole new one for it. Enjoy!

XMarks and Safari 4

XMarks has released a Safari version of their bookmark and password syncrhonization addon. I’ve been using XMarks since it was previously named FoxMarks as I use more than one laptop for work and home.

One thing worth noting as Diver Guy mentions, if you’re using a Mac then the settings for XMarks won’t be where you expect them to be… Normally they’d be under the preferences within Safari itself but they’ve decided to keep the settings outside and place them as a preference pane option within System Preferences.

Simply click on the preference pane and soon enough the wizard will start to take you through the setup of your account.

XMarks System Preferences

Personally I’ve been very fickle with browsers – with the most light weight or fast one usually winning my favour, Google Chrome won my attention away from FireFox in Windows, and Safari’s speed was the main reason for use on my Mac. Unfortunately there is no Google Chrome version of XMarks yet, and I’m not sure if it is planned but given that Chrome isn’t out on the Mac properly yet but the cross browser syncrhonization is a huge plus if you’re as fickle as me!

Fix sudoers permissions (without reboot)

Well, I was trying to link /etc/sudoers in my DropBox to back up the configuration and thought I’d just change the group permissions so that my user could read it; so I set it to group admin. Bit of a mistake that one as if you’re a linux guru you’ll know thats a bad idea (evidently I’m not)… you’ll get something like this when you try and sudo:

$ sudo su -
sudo: /etc/sudoers is owned by gid 121, should be 0

This is not a problem if you have a root password set up but if you don’t – e.g. if you’re running a Ubuntu like distribution (I’m using Mint at the moment) then chances are, you don’t have a root password set up and dont ever log in directly to root. So, cursed with the chicken and egg scenario of needing sudo privileges to fix sudo, you’re left with booting into a live CD or restarting in recovery mode.

Or are you…? There are alternatives like using kdsu or kdsudo I think but that means you have to have had them installed already. What if you don’t? Well, if you’re an admin user then log in to gnome, run the User Settings program and you can still use the unlock button and then edit the root user and give it a new password!!

Mint Linux User Settings

Mint Linux User Settings

Then you can obviously fix the permissions after switching user to root:

su - root
chown root:root /etc/sudoers

I’ve not seen this as a solution in my brief hunt around google so I thought I’d share it with the net…

Wake On LAN over the Internet

Having recently set up a linux box at home to host things like VMWare Server and generally provide access to things I want remotely while working away, I also wanted a way to be able to fire up the box only when I wanted it to be running. So, I figured I’d set up the Wake On LAN feature of the box to be exposed to the internet.

Here’s how I did it…

  1. Get the code
  2. Set up the router
  3. Send the packet

1) Get the code

Paul Mutton has put up some Java code that allows you to send a Wake On LAN packet. Now the great thing about Java, as everyone knows, is that it is cross platform so all you need is Java to be installed to be able to run the code.

Now, if like me you’re perhaps worried about bots etc on the net that poke around on known internet ports as they crawl the internet, you might want to change the port number that is exposed to the internet so that its a bit more difficult for someone or somebot to work out that it can send a Wake On LAN packet to the address. I know that you need to also specify the MAC address when you send the packet but I just like the extra layer of disguise.

So, open up the file and edit the following line to a port number that you want to use:

WakeOnLAN Port Number Code

WakeOnLAN Port Number Code

There is no change you need to make to the target ‘sleepy’ computer – port 9 is still the port that will be used to wake it up, but we’ll convert the port 9 to port N that you’ve chosen to expose to the internet at the router level (See next step).

Compile the code by opening a command line up to the location of the file and type:


This should create a WakeOnLan.class file so check that there were no errors and that the file was created.

2) Set up the router

Right, now this bit is going to be specific to your router but here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure that your ‘sleepy’ computer is known to the router and either has the same IP assigned to it every time locally OR that the router is intelligent enough to map the firewall rule to the same device each time, regardless of which IP it dishes out to it.
  2. Set up the firewall rule to map your chosen exposed port to port 9 on the ‘sleepy’ computer.

For me, I have an O2 Thomson Router (TG585v7) some people on the internet have described that they’ve had to telnet to the router and set up arpadd, this is necessary to enable the permanent routing of the wake packet  even after the computer has been off for a long time (see below).

Here’s how I’ve set it up on my router, if you’re using a different router you’ll have to try something similar:

  1. Go to the router web page and navigate to Toolbox > Game & Application Sharing.
  2. Click “Create a new Game or Application”
  3. Name it as you like, I’ve called mine WoL
    Firewall Rule Name

    Firewall Rule Name

    Be sure to select “Manual Entry of Port Maps”

  4. Select UDP and enter in the exposed port number range in the first boxes and the target port of 9.
    Port Range

    Port Range

    I’ve used 12345 as an example port exposed to the internet here, but use whichever port you’ve chosen. Click Add when you’re done.

  5. Now we need to assign this rule to the ‘sleepy’ computer… Click on “Assign Game or Application” near the bottom of the page:

    Assign firewall rule link

    Assign firewall rule link

  6. Assign the newly create rule to the computer you want to wake and click Add

    Select device

    Select device

  7. You’ll have to define a static ARP entry on the router, just creating a static IP from within the GUI wasn’t enough for me – after a while if the ‘sleepy’ computer was off-line then the Wake packet seemed to have no effect. I think this is because of the dynamic nature of the router perhaps marking the device as down and no longer forwarding packets. Anyway, based on a similar issue to here, this is what you need to do:
  8. telnet o2wirelessbox.lan
    (Google for the password)

    (If there is an entry for your device then use arpdelete to remove it first)

    Select intf and hit return
    Use the down arrow to select LocalNetwork and hit return
    Fill out the IP and MAC address also

    When done, type arplist and see that there is an entry with STATIC listed

    NOTE: I had this gotcha when I had to redo this on my router after a hard reset… You need to have your target machine powered down once you delete the ARP entry, otherwise it gets assigned another one dynamically – so beware of this if you find that your new entry is still DYNAMIC rather than STATIC.

    If you don’t make sure it is STATIC then the route times out after a while and your WOL packet won’t get sent on.

  9. Tab to cancel to exit the menu
  10. Type “saveall” to persist the configuration after a reboot
  11. Type “exit” to log out of the telnet session.
  12. Done!

3) Send the packet

So hopefully, the router rule is set up with the same port that you’ve coded into the Java class and are ready to send the packet from the internet to the router.

I’ve set up a DynDNS address so that I don’t have to find out the IP address every time. Most modern routers support the ability to update a Dynamic DNS service such as DynDNS, it will mean that you don’t need to know the IP and it will automatically get updated should your internet connection be reset for any reason.

So, the information you need to be able to send the packet using the ‘customised’ code is:

  1. The external IP address of the router OR the Dynamic DNS address that you’ve set up
  2. The MAC address of the network card that’s listening for a Wake on LAN packet on your ‘sleepy’ computer

Upload the code you compiled in step 1) to a computer you’ll be using from outside the local network and execute the code from the command line in the folder you’ve placed the code. For example:

java WakeOnLan your.dyndns.address 00:11:22:33:44:AA

You can swap the dynamic address above for the IP address if you wish.

Next step – give the box some time to boot up!


If you’re setting this up at home and have remote access to a computer outside of your local network, it will help you to be able to test and verify that things are working. You can use the external computer to send the Wake on LAN packet from the outside and watch to see if the computer actually wakes up.

I hope this post is useful to anyone trying the same, I’ve written it up mainly for my own benefit to remember how to do it next time around but let me know in the comments if you’ve found a better way for your set up. I personally like the Java code approach as I can run it anywhere and don’t have to install a program to the external computer that’s doing the waking; I use a variety of computers with differing operating systems so I like the light-weight approach 🙂

Firefox 3.5 Addons

FIrefox 3.5 4gb addons

Firefox 3.5 4gb addons

Anyone else see this odd one when upgrading from Firefox 3.0 to 3.5? Everything went smoothly despite the description of 4gb addons and they were all updated but thought this was an odd one…

My first impression of Firefox 3.5 is that it is still a bloated beast when compared to Google Chrome or Safari 4. The load times for the application itself seems sluggish still, Chrome opens in an instant and I think Safari is a mid ground between the two. It’s all a bit speculative as I’ve not done a proper test but they’re my impressions anyway.

I’ve become very fickle with browsers and use whatever suits my mood but when it comes to work I use Chrome and Firefox if I have to because of some compatibility issues on a few sites for Chrome. For home use I tend to use Safari 4 at the moment but I have Firefox 3.5 and even Flock installed, though I don’t even remember the last time that was fired up!

I look forward to when XMarks is available for Safari 4 as it will help maintain my favourites across systems and browsers, its a shame Chrome isn’t even on the list yet though!

Up until now, you might notice I’ve left out a certain (pointless) browser out of the picture but I feel I have to mention it purely because of the rediculously comical PR stunt as shown at lifehacker! Hilariously they believe that IE8 is more secure, private and reliable than Firefox or Chrome, all I can say is HAHAHA Microsoft are branching out as global comedians. Thanks for the laughs lol

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