GIMP Scripting for the beginner

Well, it took me approximately three full days of trying and testing, using the Script-Fu console mainly, but I am happy to report that I now understand the way to use the GIMP command line.

I will try to report on my finding, some solutions and assist with future use of GIMP in the best way I can here in this blog.

A script has also surfaced that presents the results of my hard work. (Covered later)

Some of the problems I encountered when tackling this subject for the first time were:

  • understanding the parenthesis syntax
  • using and ssigning variables and their values

However for now I will just attach the script, which should be saved into ~/.gimp**/scripts/

Once done open gimp and Xtns/Script-Fu/Refresh Scripts…..hopefully no errors and you can access it by the toolbox menu Xtns > Script-Fu/Misc/Levels.

Please bear with me as i am writing this in a hurry and will amend it when i get a minute.

Continue reading



Using BloGTK on Linux is easy to write and upload blog entries on WordPress.

Thanks to the article here it was easy to setup as well.

Using Ubuntu (you may need to add multiverse and universe repositories), simply run:

apt-get install blogtk

Now open Applications > Internet > BloGTK.

In the Account and Prefernces window, use the following info:

Server URL:
Username: Username
Password: Password
Bloggin System: MetaWeblog API

Now click SAVE and then OK.

In the main BloGTK window, select File Connect to get a list of your blogs.

Type away till your heart is content and then publish.

Custom Tags

To make full use of the tags available on, such as , open Edit > Custom Tags …

Tag Name: Code Tags
Start Tag:
End Tag:


When back in the main window you can simply insert the code tags by selecting your code tag and clickling the big green tick arrow.

Have fun

Print Directory Listing to a csv file

If you have a whole load of music albums on your hard drive and want to print a listing of those you have:
dir -C -1 -N -R /music/ > music-listing.csv

This effectively uses the dir command with the options:

-C <- this allows the results to be formatted into columns, useful for our csv (comma seperated values) file

-1 <- this ensures only one entry per line

-N <- this removes any ‘\ ‘ characters, linux users know what I mean

-R <- this recursively lists the contents of each folder

/musc/ <- this is your folder location

> music.csv <- this is the output file, which the results are stored in

This will give a nice csv file, ready to be opened in OpenOffice or Micro$oft Excel.

It nicely lists the folders at the top and then the music tracks in the relevant recursive section below.

Something like this:

/mnt/western/Music Library/Various Artists/R&B Classics (disc 3):
01 Nelly – Dilemma (feat. Kelly Rowland).mp3
02 Blackstreet – No Diggity (feat. Dr. Dre).mp3
03 R. Kelly – Bump ‘N’ Grind.mp3
04 Aaliyah – Back & Forth.mp3
05 Fugees – Fu-Gee-La.mp3
06 Eve – Let Me Blow Ya Mind (feat. Gwen Stefani).mp3
07 Foxy Brown – Get Me Home (feat. Blackstreet).mp3
08 Next – Too Close.mp3
09 Mary Mary – Shackles (Praise You).mp3
10 Boyz II Men – I’ll Make love To You.mp3
11 India.Arie – Brown Skin.mp3
12 702 – Where My Girls At.mp3
13 Horace Brown – Things We Do for Love (feat. Jay-Z) (Eddie F’s Paradise mix).mp3
14 Erykah Badu – On & On.mp3
15 Solange – Feelin’ You, Part 1 (feat. Slim Thug).mp3
16 Dru Hill – In My Bed (So So Def remix).mp3
17 Jodeci – Freek ‘N You.mp3
18 Toni Braxton – You’re Makin’ Me High.mp3
19 Ginuwine – Pony.mp3
20 Alicia Keys – You Don’t Know My Name.mp3

Ubuntu 7.04 – VMWare-Server Network Problem Solved


Running the very cool Ubuntu and trying to setup VMWare-Server to host Vista.

If you cannot for the life of you get the networking to connect to your LAN – simply add the following to your vm’s .vmx file – using these steps:

  1. locate your vmx file e.g vista.vmx (within the folder that you store your virtual machines in)
  2.  scroll down to just under the line Ethernet0.present = “TRUE”
  3. add, on a new line, ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”
  4. restart /etc/init.d/vmware

et voila !!

worked a treat for me – from the original thread

Nokia N95 + Mac PowerBook

So you just got your new Nokia N95 and not even the techies at the ISP know how to use it.

What do you do?

Hit the Google Hut!!

So in my case i needed to get the modem script for my Macintosh laptop. I found this a great resource

You must basically complete the following steps, with a little tweaking along the way to get things right for you.

1 – download and install the modem scripts into /Library/Modem Scripts/
2 – pair the phone and laptop
3 – configure the new phone bluetooth device through System Preferences/Bluetooth/Devices/Configure
4 – these settings worked for me on t-mobile (more accurate instructions at the link above), GPRS ->> user == user, password == pass, GPRS CID String ==, Modem Script == Nokia 3G CID1

if you need further instructions check out that link, also attached a document from a helpful chap at T-Mobile

Apple Mac Bluetooth Modem Guide for Nokia

Just got my new phone hooked up to my laptop.

Check out my first speedtest results on my mobile in my pocket, whilst sitting on a bench inconspicuously surfing at 100 miles an hour !!!!


And check out another….

Nokia N95 + Mac PowerBook take 2

PXE Network Installations using Linux Servers

Hi again,

I’ve been busy testing out the way you can install an operating system, mainly Linux at this stage, directly from booting up your computer/server.


  • You need a server operating system, in this case I am using Fedora Core 6 – but I have also applied the principles to Ubuntu, capable of running DHCP and TFTP services.
  • Enough hard drive space for the server operating system and also enough space to store the contents of the downloaded discs.


  • The minimum requirement is a network card, NIC, with a network boot ROM on and a hard drive with enough space for an operting sytstem of cours.

General Connections

  • A network switch or hub is recommended, although a cross-over cable would suffice (and proably be fairly quick).

So, now onto the specific server requirements…

  1. Download Fedora Core 6 here.
  2. Burn the discs and install a minimum setup – this should help.
  3. create a folder /Fedora and copy the dics 1 contents into this folder.
  4. copy the contents of the directories Fedora/RPMS from each additional disc into the newly created folder /Fedora/RPMS/ (no need to overwrite anything).
  5. make sure you have system-config-netboot/httpd/dhcp/tftp-server installed on the server system. use the command.

yum install -y system-config-netboot httpd dhcp tftp-server

DHCP.conf configuration/setup

  • Supply information so that the connecting machines know the network details as to whewre to find the operating system installlation files. Soedit the config file using:

nano /etc/dhcp.conf

A basic configuration follows:

ddns-update-style none;
option domain-name-servers;
default-lease-time 86400;
max-lease-time 604800;
subnet netmask {
option subnet-mask;
option broadcast-address;
option routers;
filename “pxelinux.0”;

An explanation,taken from the source of this dhcp tutorial found here, follows:
I explain the configuration options here:
* ddns-update-style: You can tell the DHCP server to update a DNS server if the IP address of a server in your LAN has changed (because it has been assigned a different IP by DHCP). As we do not run servers in our LAN or always give them static IP addresses (which is a good idea for servers...) we don't want to update DNS records so we set this to none.
* option domain-name-servers: This tells the DHCP server which DNS servers it should assign to a client. You can specify more than one DNS server here, seperated by commas.
* default-lease-time, max-lease-time: A client can tell the DHCP server for how long it would like to get an IP address. If it doesn't do this, the server assigns an IP address for default-lease-time seconds; if it does, the server grants the requested time, but only up to max-lease-time seconds.
* authoritative: If this is not set this means that if a client requests an address that the server knows nothing about and the address is incorrect for that network segment, the server will _not_ send a DHCPNAK (which tells the client it should stop using the address.) We don't want this so we set authoritative.
* subnet: The subnet to use.
* netmask: The netmask to use.
* range: Tells the DHCP server from which range it can assign IP addresses to clients. In our example it's from to (30 IP addresses).
* option broadcast-address: The broadcast address to use.
* option routers: Tells the DHCP server the gateway address it should assign to requesting clients. In our case the gateway is

The last two lines I have added myself,
filename "pxelinux.0";

this tells the network installation machine to load the “pxelinux.0” image from the server

Start the DHCP server using:

/etc/init.d/dhcpd start

Hopefully, no errors. now to ensure the dhcp server always starts after rebooting run:

chkconfig dhcpd on

Configure WebSite Alias

The install requires a running web-server from which the files are transferred to the new installation machine.

Therefore, we add an alias to the web-server, which we will call /fedora. The alias will point to the physical directory /Fedora. Open the web-server configuration file using:

nano /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

and add the directory with its alias to the end of the file:

Allow from
AllowOverride None

alias /fedora /Fedora

Network Boot Configuration/Setup

To install our initial netboot install run:


and choose “Network Install”.


Now add the name of your install – say “Fedora Core 6”.

Add the location of the install files, using we add the line:

The location of our kickstart file will be at


Hopefully, that should just about get you going with a great PXE nertwork install.

Please let me know if I can improve this tutorial or adapt it to suit your needs.


Easy Linux Encoding (FFMPEG)


After much trying and testing I have found a viable solution to encoding movies using ffmpeg.

Simply put:

ffmpeg -i /movies/film.mp4 -b 800k -vcodec xvid -acodec mp3 -ab 192 -ar 48000 -vol 1500 /movies/film.avi -y

Breaking it down:

-i /movies/film.mp4: this specifies the input file
-b 800k: this sets the film bit rate (basically the quality of the output)
-vcodec xvid: uses the xvid codec to encode the video file (Linux users install xvidcore)
-acodec mp3: uses the popular mp3 codec to encode audio
-ab 192: sets a good scope for audio quality (sometimes depends on input bit rate)
-ar 48000: sets the highest quality sample rate (ensures quality audio)
-vol 1500: sets the volume (in case the sound is bad)
/movies/film.avi: the output file
-y: necessary if you want to overwrite without existing files without prompts (useful when testing)


-t 30: this allows only 30 seconds (variable in seconds) of encoding (so you don't have to wait for the whole film to encode before testing it works as expected)

Bash Script for multiple file encoding

If you want to encode multiple files using a for loop the code below will help:

N.B. assuming you are i the directory where your video files are stored.

for N in *
ffmpeg -i $N -b 800k -vcodec xvid -acodec mp3 -ab 44100 -ar 128 /videos/$N

there it is!

leave a comment if you need help


Free Anti-virus/anti-spyware


Sooner or later your free trial of the Google Pack Norton Anti-viurs 2005 will be running out.

In anticipation of this, I can recommend you switch to an Open Source solution.

The application is call AVG-Free edition, which provides a real-time scanning utility with updates for Windows and Linux users.

In addition to this AVG-Free provide an anit-spyware application. This provides free updates, the free version provides real-time scanning for 30days and then defaults to free updates and manual scans there after.

more will follow….



After many years of thinking that PHPBB2 was the only high quality forum. A need to research other options has come to light due to the ever present spammers allowed to roam free on our lovely Internet.

So during my research I decided to Google “forum matrix”. Low and behold someone has covered this topic down to the last tee.

The place to go if you want to set-up a forum/bulletin board for your website is

I am in no way saying that phpBB is not good, in fact it did me proud for a long-time and version 3 is due for release very soon. (after previewing the beta it looks as though it is maturing well).

The latest offer I have started to test is SMF (Simple Machines Forum) – and without doubt blows the socks off of any rivals. Coming soon to

SMF has a brilliant flash integration chat room, anti-spam plug-in, and all this works seamlessly. Its not only the most well presented, easy-to-use and administer, well documented and fun to setup – but it costs……… nothing at all !! You can’t beat that.

But if you want to compare just about every forum then go to the link above to view the forum matrix.

All the best

Cisco Security Basics


Here are the basics for setting up a Cisco router:

Thanks to Neuromancer & Data Plumber for pointing out the initial commands and helping me with this blog. So, to prepare for entering configuration commands. The initial commands to enter into the system:

Router#configure terminal

You are now ready to start entering commands to configure the system. The following are probably the most common and those neccessary to configure a working router.
Enable password-encryption (to ensure passwords are stored in a way that is unreadable to any chancer):

Router(config)#service password-encryption

Enable secret – higher encrypted authorisation.

Router(config)#enable secret password

Enable login using password authentication:

Router(config)#enable password password

Enable console password authentication:

Router(config)#line console 0
Router(config-line)#password password

Enable virtual terminal password authentication (for the five available logins):

Router(config)#line vty 0 4
Router(config-line)#password password

Set the hostname of your Router:

Router(config)#hostname Cisco1

Set the banner displayed when greeted by the router:

Cisco1(config)#banner motd # Authorised access only #

If, like me your router is too small to hold a newer ISO image. You can do one of two things – a) like I now have, buy memory upgrades (from ebay) or b) store your newly purchased IOS image on a tftp server and load it at boot time.

Cisco1(config)#boot system tftp 2500-io-l.122-5.bin

Breaking the last down, the first tells the router to read this boot line first, it then reads that we are booting a system file, the third part says that we are retrieving an image from a remote tftp server (this tftp server must be on a network connected to one of the configured interfaces) — this is not a configuration file, which is separate and stored in nvram, which is loaded into ram during the bootstrap,next is the IOS image, this will vary entirely on you, lastly is the address of the tftp server — there thats it, just saved £30 on a memory upgrade

So now you have your system quite nice and customised to your liking – you better save it!

Cisco1(config)#end //you can also hit CTRL-Z
Cisco#copy running-config startup-config

Hmm, I wonder which version of software I am running and how much memory I have.

Cisco1#show version
Cisco1#show flash

Configuring RIP routing protocol, so that a router can act as an intermediary between two networks. In this example we are traversing networks and

Cisco1#conf t
Cisco1(config)#router rip
Cisco1#copy run start


Keep your eyes on the Zimbra project at as they are soon due to release version 4.5 of the groupware application.

It provides administrators with a great deal ofr features within the web front administration section. The previous versions required you to input them all by hand, which is a real nightmare.

I can report that, during the Christmas period, spammers were hitting my clients hard with phishing scams. I am confident that Zimbra is holding up well and will see my through without many problems.

This alone is a distinct advantage over competitors such as Scalix – who seem to resent the idea of including anti-virus into there package. They provide scarce details on how it can be done and say that their application is fully compatible — well why not just do it and earn those valuable extra marks !!!

Back soon

Barnfield College

I recently attended a day school at Barnfield College, in Luton. I have for a long time wanted to train to be an MCP for unknown reasons.

Barnfield on the surface may not look like much – but after spending one day there ,on my Cisco Day School, I found out that it is a wealth of resources.

The tutor there, Bill Reed, was qualified to the 9’s with Microsoft and Cisco credits. He runs private classes and also works for both Barnfield and The Open University.

I will definitely be taken a course there after I finish my Honours degree. The prices he quoted me were very affordable, around £200-£250 for MCP and Cisco courses.

At present I can say that it would be worth the money and you will be taught by not only a good tutor but by someone who is passionate about his trade.

The link above is to the college but more on Cisco Academy courses are provided through the Open University.

Well-worth a look


In addition to the Packet Tracer simulation software, they have a netlabs environment set-up so you can login and practice your CCNA commands.

Either that or, like me, spend a few weeks (before the start of your course) searching ebay for Cisco equipment.

For those starting CCNA – I would recommend the 2514 routers (n.b. the model is the exact model), which provides ethernet connections through the old AUI connectors. Again, just search ebay for AUI to RJ45 Transceivers. The routers vary but I would.nt recommend paying more then £50 each. The transceivers are available from

In addition, the Catalyst switches are a great buy, the 1924 provides 10MB connections – but don’t forget that network traffic will run faster if using a switch as opposed to a hub – therefore effectively making the network feel as if it is running well. The 2924 switches provide 100MB connections but are in great demand. This means that its pretty much up to the seller to charge what they want. However, around £50 should get one of the two, the latter if you are lucky.

Also, keep on the look-out for the CCNA books, the course material is online from Cisco Net-Academy so if you are away from an Internet connection – the books will be worth the money. Don’t forget that if you have the books you can still read-up on stuff after the course finishes.

All the best, that’s it for now.

Unlocking Nokia 6630 (from Vodafone)

Hello all,

This is for those of us with the excellent Nokia 6630 mobile phone, who want to change Networks to find a better offer – but keep the benefits of the great Symbian handset.

If like me you sign up for an amazing deal with Virgin or T-Mobile and try to insert your new card into your existing 6630 handset – you are no doubt greeted with a “Sim Restricted” message.

No doubt, and like me, most users with a 3G Nokia 6630 will be on the Vodafone network. You may have also scoured the many unlocking website, only to be told that “these phones cannot be unlocked”……

It is in my personal opinion, and first hand experience, that the people who tell you this do not actually own a Nokia 6630 of their own!!

I can 100% guarantee that it is possible to unlock these DCT5 phones for use with any network.

I lay out the instructions for you, and advise that the overall process took me just less than a week and cost me £0.00p yes – it is free!!!:

  1. Make a note of you IMEI number (press *#06#).
  2. From your mobile handset call 191.
  3. Inform the operator that you have had your phone for approximately 18 months (very important as phones under a year old incur an unlocking fee).
  4. Place a request for unlocking the phone with the operator.
  5. Wait a few days (or call each day) and check the unlock status for your phone.
  6. Make a note of the unlock code (when available) – it will be something like #pw+xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx+x#
    1. + is found by pressing * twice.
    2. p is found by pressing * three times.
    3. w is found by pressing * four times.
  7. Make a note of your PIN number.
  8. Enter the unlock code (#pw+xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx+1x#) where x represents a number.
  9. Your phone should now say Restriction Off or something similar.
  10. That’s it!! You can freely use your new sim card.

I am now very happily using my free minutes with a great deal from Virgin/T-Mobile and Telewest.

All the best

Linux Compiz Effects

I have moved from being a dedicated Microsoft Windows user, into a fanatic Mac OS X addict.

My latest spare time sponge is Linux. In particular the SuSE Open Source desktop operating system. The main reason for this switch is the jaw-dropping effects available with my NVIDIA graphics card.

I tried installing Fedora Core 6 but compared to SuSE 10.1 it just did not have the kind of feel and all-round satisfaction that SuSE gives.

If you use SuSE and have a compatible graphics card, Christmas has come early. For an introduction on the effects, using the XGL features you can visit Check for your graphics card before trying to set this up

Another good read is at

The compiz homepage is at

Will post back some more after further testing.

Media Wiki Setup


Just setup a new wiki for my website. So easy — I used Media Wiki as commonly found on Wikipedia.


  1. Ensure you have Apache, PHP running.
  2. Download MediaWiki.
  3. Unzip and move the folder to a web directory.
  4. Change permissions on the config folder.
  5. Open browser goto http://website/wiki_folder.
  6. Fill in user and database details.
  7. Copy /config/Localsettings.phto the main wiki directory.
  8. Delete the config directory.
  9. Enjoy !


I recommend using a separate database for each instance of MediaWiki – this way if you need to uninstall it you can just mysql# drop wiki_database.
Install php-mmcache or similar to help speed wiki access up for users.

The first thing i did was to customise the logo – which has to be 135px by 135px.

Red5 Open Source Streaming Flash Server

I have had a busy weekend playing with the Open Source Flash Streaming Server, known as, Red5 !!

It really aims to fill a whole in the market, similar in essence, as Darwin Streaming Server has done for streaming video in the Open Source community.

I managed to follow the instructions- and spent many hours on the #osflash channel hosted on (respect to daTR in particular for all his help and wisdom).

If you are attempting to set this up yourself and get errors in starting compiling or using this server then i recommend taking note in the setup instructions on the red5 website ine the following areas:

  • Get the correct JDK form Java ( JDK download page ) normally justuse the “JDK 5.0 Update 9”

If you have or use IRC dont just go in and ask every question you can think of as this will upset people !!

You may think, well how do you know that….. trust me ~:0)

Best of luck – i look forward to hearing about anyone elses experiences


Email Servers

Webmail/email/groupware servers

Since our server migration, which took place in early September and after much research, Zimbra has been the groupware solution of choice. Other groupware solutions such Kerio, Microsoft Exchange, Winmail, Scalix, eGroupware and PHPGroupware were all given a fair testing but failed on points such as ease of setup, reliability, features, costs and compatibility. These are my personal opinion, which I may not have expressed in the most politically correct way or in as much detail as you may like. So if i break mid sentance at points please either ask me or be patient whilst i construct as best a blog as possible please. Thank and hope this helps.


It offers a superb webmail interface in addition to mail filters, calendars, IMAP(s), POP(s), Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, . For most small – medium sized businesses with between 5 and 50 users Zimbra is an excellent solution. It has the added benefit of being shipped with ClamAV anti-virus and SpamAssassin anti-spam. The Open Source edition does not have an online backup solution, but this is just a simple case of copying the whole ‘zimbra’ folder to a backup folder. Zimbra presents webinars and has a good forum which is active and provides an excellent wiki. Updates are regular and the developers have a feature requests feature which I haven’t used yet — but its only early. I have seventeen users as well as a demo account which is available at Login using “” password “demo”.


Scalix, the alternative to Zimbra (comparing licence costs) is rather more complicated to setup as it requires thrid party integration. Provides a faster interface at face value, does not have the same feel as Zimbra. Administration was found to be complicated and rather limited. Support was good with regular ‘Live Tuesday’ webinars and a forum for the Open Source community. Requires a lot of time and attention with no sign of backups from my experience.

We used this for a long time, which was very costly. However, if you have the money and run a Windows, Mac or Linux platform – I would highly recommend this choice. Backup and security is paramount with a commonly featured webmail interface. I thought POP and IMAP access performance was slowed due to the dual anti-virus – but who knows! Installing is very easy and backups are a since with excellent full and incremental options. Anti-spam is provided along with mail filters. Last I experienced, Kerio were integrating ClamAV


In comparison to the licence costs and ease of setup and administration Zimbra wins hands down. Using a Linux platform Scalix may seem faster for the end-user when intereacting with the webmail interface. Using the Windows platform Kerio id the easiest and most reliable choice, in addition it allows for two anti-virus applications to scan mail — however, it costs!

The Open University

I have been with the O.U. now for almost 6 years. Through this time i have studied a whole load of technology and computing courses. Along the way I have so far gained, a Certificate in Information Technology, a Certificate in Web Applications, a Diploma in I.T. and a Bachelors Degree.

My views on the courses are varied but overall the O.U. has a very high standard and the people are very, very helpful and friendly.

I started out with T171 then moved onto TU170 then TX174 and passed all of MT262, T223, TT280, TT281, TT282, TT380, TT381, TT382, M150, T187, T209, T305 to reach my latest course T228 Cisco Academy!!

Fingers crossed this will be a good course, I know a brilliant past tutor is the course manager and have faith that it will be one of the best courses yet.

Will keep you posted.


Hello and welcome to my newly created blog. This entry will be a short introduction as I am busy setting my site to conform with web accessibility and validation standards. I am also working on SSL; remote client assistance through LogMeIn services and DynDNS clients; VPN tunneling; Cisco IOS commands and as many more as I can keep my eyes open for..

I run and host many other websites which I will be discussing in more depth as the months go on. I like to design websites and love working with PHP and MySQL. I keep meaning to learn AJAX as I know it will impress visitors to my websites – but just haven’t found the time as yet.

I am very excited at the moment as I have just embarked on a new university course – as a student of the Cisco Academy. The university I am with is the Open University and the course is T228 which basically covers the Cisco CCNA curiculum.

Well this is all for now will be back to post an update as soon as I get a minute.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you