Archive for January, 2012


Further to my earlier post: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/sonos-up-and-runnings-ish/ I have now received the Sonos Connect (ZP90) and have now solved issue #1 (stream to both Sonos S5 / Play 5 devices and my living room Onkyo TX-SR608 amp simultaneously) but issue #2 is still outstanding (streaming from the Onkyo TX-SR608 to the Sonos devices).

The problem is the lack of analog audio outputs on the Onkyo amp. Strictly speaking there are 2 sets of analog outputs on the amp: Zone 2 and VCR/DVR but they only work if the input is analogue (which in most cases it is not).

As the main device I’d want to send audio from the amp to the Sonos devices is my AppleTV 2 I think I will probably buy a Digital Optical to Analog RCA audio convertor (£20 off eBay)- this is also the more energy efficient solution as the amp won’t have to be powered to feed the ZP90. Unfortunately this will leave me unable to stream audio from the sky box, htpc etc but it’s unlikely I’d ever want to do that anyway…

L

Got back from a great week away and caught up on this week’s 24 years at the tap end. Up to the usual standards- thanks Scott Mills / Chris Stark:

24/01/2012
26/01/2012

L

Sonos up and running… ish

A month back there was a special offer on a package comprising 2x Sonos Play 5 (or S5) and 1x Sonos Bridge- so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. After a rather painful wait for stock I finally took delivery of the units.

I have to admit I’m pretty impressed. Setup was an absolute breeze- all 3 devices in no more than 5 minutes. Within 15 minutes I’d updated the firmware on all the devices and tested most of the functionality.

As I’m trying to be conscious of my energy consumption I did a little analysis… The Sonos Play 5 uses approx 9W whilst idle, then between 14W (low volume) and 21W (full volume) whilst in use. I find the idle figure to be a little higher than I’d’ve hoped, but the active figure isn’t bad.

I have several issues with what I’m now left with:

1) Whilst I can stream to both S5 devices simultaneously, I cannot simultaneously stream the same source to my living room a/v equipment (onkyo amp). To address this drawback I’ve ordered a Sonos Connect (Zone Player or ZP90)
2) I cannot stream from my devices like I’m used to with airplay / appletv. I’m thinking of potential solutions for this… I could go from appletv -> amp -> connect but that’s a bit wasteful. I could also purchase 1 (or more) airport express devices but again, that seems rather wasteful. I read somewhere that Sonos released the API / documentation for streaming to their devices, so I guess I’m hoping there is already a better solution out there?

As always- I’ll do my best to keep you posted.

L

Until a few months back I was a member of Experts-Exchange. I’ve found the site a great tool for those little problems you know countless others have encountered and could solve for me in a matter of seconds…. Anyway- this year I was thinking twice about renewing when I re-discovered Stack Exchange a very similar tool but this time at no cost. Stack Exchange has been invaluable in assisting me with a number of recent problems…

SUMIF with multiple criteria in Excel 2003

What I wanted to do seemed relatively straightforward and google threw up a lot of results but the majority of recommended solutions were for Excel 2007 and above. The remaining solutions simply didn’t seem to work?

Here’s the question/answer on Stack Overflow

In the below screenshot I was trying to sum all income for org_code (row 18) and month (column A).

It turned out I was making a few fundamental mistakes:

  • org_code is being held as a string in data table (the left-hand alignment helped Jesse spot this and point me in the right direction!
  • none of the possible solutions seem to like named ranges or evaluating entire columns (A1:A1000 works fine but A:A does not)

I’d like to find some more time to look at this (though unlikely I will). I should also have been able to use SUM and IF in an array formula too.

The working solution looks "something like"

=SUMPRODUCT(D1:D8,--(A1:A8=OrgRef),--(C1:C8=MonthRef))
Thanks Jesse!

ESXi problems

1) ESXi 5.0 relapsing to an old configuration on reboot

I’m still unsure what caused this but I did find that volumes weren’t mounting as expecting during the hypervisor boot process. Choosing recovery mode (shift-r) option during boot successfully solved the issue however.

2) Unable to power on ESXi 5.0 host from vSphere

Still a bit of a puzzle but the primary reason appears to’ve been that the host had to not only be managed to vCenter, but also had to be part of a "cluster". Once I created a cluster and moved the host into it I was able to place the physical machine into standby mode. Unfortunately, I still don’t appear to be able to power the host from an off state. If I make any further developments I will try and update this post.

Cat5e cable with cat6 connectors

There appears to be a lot of contradicting information online about the back-ward compatibility of cat6 connectors but from this experience I would have to rule that cat6 connectors are NOT backward compatible with cat5e cable. Question on Server Fault.

Let’s hope I continue to gain a lot from these sites!

L

Apparently I must be getting old- both my driving license and passport have expired. Being a photographer, you’d’ve thought it’d be pretty easy to take a photo for the new documents… apparently not! I got there in the end- let’s see if they accept the applications!

Anyway- a few little bits I’ve not had time to post so here goes…

A few weeks ago saw the last ever night at Dukes Genesis in Chelmsford, after 30 years! I have many memories from that place and i’m sure a lot of you do too! Here a couple of shots from the night.

Some of the team:

I’ll be back out snapping tomorrow for my Kool Kids residency at the Sunrooms: https://www.facebook.com/events/228704463872362/ shocking to think how long since I took my first photo in a nightclub!

I’ll then heading up to Centre Parcs on Monday for a little holiday with a few mates- can’t wait to kick back and relax for a few days!

A few more updates on there way…

L

You know the drill

It’s Thursday- that means more from Chris Stark’s autobography- 24 years at the tap end: http://tickett.net/downloads/24yatte/120119_24yatte.m4a

Definitely highlight of the week from the Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1. All previous readings here: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/24-years-at-the-tap-end

L

Today’s Tap End

Today’s instalment of 24 years at the tap end. A reading from Chris Stark’s autobography: http://tickett.net/downloads/24yatte/120117_24yatte.m4a

For those of you not already familiar- this is a twice-weekly feature from the Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1 (tuesdays and thursdays). The back catalogue can be found here: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/24-years-at-the-tap-end

L

I wanted to deploy a new OSX Lion 10.7.2 virtual machine this morning so thought I best first run the latest unlocker from : http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=267296

I downloaded the unlocker, unzipped onto one of my datastores and tried to run it from one of my ESXi hosts:

/vmfs/volumes/9fe35ffc-47004197/unlock/esxi # ./install.sh 
VMware ESXi 5.0 Unlocker 1.0.1
==============================
Patching files...
Setting permissions...
Patching bin/vmx
open failed Permission denied

Damn- the error was coming from the Unlocker.ESXi application so I couldn’t peak at the code to see which file(s) were causing the permissions error. However, as we’re passing the newly patched files from bin/ I thought it was safe to assume these were the cause of the problem. I chmod 777 bin/* then ran ./Unlock.ESXi bin/ and the permission error had gone :)

I modified install.sh and ran again:

/vmfs/volumes/9fe35ffc-47004197/unlock/esxi # ./install.sh 
VMware ESXi 5.0 Unlocker 1.0.1
==============================
Patching files...
Patching bin/vmx
Patching bin/vmx-debug
Patching bin/vmx-stats
Setting permissions...
Creating darwin.tgz...
bin/
bin/vmx
bin/vmx-stats
bin/vmx-debug
Adding darwin.tgz to boot.cfg...
Acquiring lock /tmp/bootbank.lck
Copying darwin.tgz to /bootbank/darwin.tgz
Editing /bootbank/boot.cfg to add module darwin.tgz
sed: /bootbank/boot.cfg: No such file or directory
Editing /bootbank/boot.cfg failed: 1
Please now reboot the host system!

Doh! I’m not sure whether the missing boot.cfg is worrying or normal- but I went ahead and created an empty placeholder touch /bootbank/boot/cfg then ran the unlocker again:

/vmfs/volumes/9fe35ffc-47004197/unlock/esxi # ./install.sh 
VMware ESXi 5.0 Unlocker 1.0.1
==============================
Patching files...
Patching bin/vmx
Patching bin/vmx-debug
Patching bin/vmx-stats
Setting permissions...
Creating darwin.tgz...
bin/
bin/vmx
bin/vmx-debug
bin/vmx-stats
Adding darwin.tgz to boot.cfg...
Acquiring lock /tmp/bootbank.lck
Copying darwin.tgz to /bootbank/darwin.tgz
Editing /bootbank/boot.cfg to add module darwin.tgz
Please now reboot the host system!

Perfect :) I added the permissions fix and missing boot.cfg fix to the install.sh script- see the revised script below:

#!/bin/sh
set -e

echo VMware ESXi 5.0 Unlocker 1.0.2T
echo Modified by tickett.wordpress.com
echo =================================

# Ensure we only use unmodified commands
export PATH=/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin

# Make sure working files are removed
rm -f darwin.tgz
rm -rf ./bin

# Patch the vmx files and place into bin folder
echo Patching files...
rm -rf ./bin
mkdir bin
cp /bin/vmx bin/
cp /bin/vmx-debug bin/
cp /bin/vmx-stats bin/
## tickett: added to fix open failed Permission denied
chmod 777 bin/*
##
./Unlocker.ESXi bin/

# Ensure correct permissions are set
echo Setting permissions...
chmod 4555 bin/*

# Create the tar file for ESXi kernel
echo Creating darwin.tgz...
tar -czvf darwin.tgz bin/

# Add entry to the boot configuration file
echo Adding darwin.tgz to boot.cfg...
## tickett: added to fix error when boot.cfg missing
touch /bootbank/boot.cfg
##
BootModuleConfig.sh --add=darwin.tgz --verbose

# Clean up
rm -f darwin.tgz
rm -rf ./bin

echo Please now reboot the host system!

Or to download click : http://tickett.net/downloads/esxi_unlocker_patched_1.0.2T.zip (note this is just the patched install.sh- you will need to download the rest of the files from http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=267296)

Thanks to Donk and Zenith432 for making Mac OS X on ESXi possible without Apple hardware!

L

Thursday’s edition of 24 years at the tap end, a reading from Chris Stark’s 12th year: http://tickett.net/downloads/24yatte/120110_24yatte.m4a

Back catalog available here: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/24-years-at-the-tap-end/

L

It looks like you’ve been awaiting this as eagerly as I have… blog stats show a lot of searches led you here today :) So here it is: 10/01/2012

As always- I’ve added the chapter to the first post: https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/24-years-at-the-tap-end/

Enjoy

L

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