Adding Skype to Pidgin

I’m running Fedora Linux using KDE and like using the IM client Pidgin to handle gmail/yahoo im services. But I just recently added Skype which is nice… I did get an error message from Pidgin at first, “Failed getting PIE value” which was due to the skype client plugin being too old in my yum installation. So, I installed by source as follows and everything worked great!

git clone git://
cd skype4pidgin/skypeweb
sudo make install



Recover missing space on USB thumb drive

I have an 8GB thumb drive that I used to burn a boot image onto, and then when I was done with it the damn thing showed 49MB and re-formatting did not make it any bigger! So how to get back my original free space?

I figured I was going to have to plug it into my linux box and do some gpart or fdisk stuff, but turns out Windows has some handy tools. First to see what your thumb drive looks like, search for “disk management” or “create and format hard disk partitions” and you’ll find the tool to use.

Choose the thumb drive and you’ll see all your missing space in the “unallocated” box!

Now run the windows command “diskpart” from msdos prompt. Type “list disk” to see the drives. Based on the disk number in the parition tool you will type “select disk N” where N is the disk number from the parition tool list.

Then do the commands “clean”, and “create primary partition”

If you have your partition tool open you will see these commands take effect realtime so you know it is working, and that is it!



Postfix shows Connection Timed Out but direct telnet works

I ran into an interesting problem the other day when a client’s mail server was failing to send email. If you viewed the mail queue you would see a lot of “Connection timed out” errors.

Now one way to test this is to manually telnet to port 25 of the server you are emailing to, and walk through the handshaking manually. This in fact worked in this case! So why wouldn’t Postfix work?

The one thing that comes to mind is the ISP is not allowing port 25 outgoing, or in general it is a firewall issue. But as I said, I could use telnet just fine.

I found that the server had multiple IP addresses configured, and indeed it was a firewall issue, BUT only on some of the IPs! You can configure Postfix to use certain IPs outbound under certain scenarios, which was exactly the problem. After editing “/etc/postfix/” and reviewing the lines with “smtp_bind_address”, once I updated those address settings to be the main server IP that was allowed outbound, then everything worked.

Coding Unix

Installing Node.js4 in Centos7 with Yum

A quick summary that may help people who are installing AngularJS v2 and need to make sure they have the latest stuff.

First off, CentOS does not use a recent version of Node,js or NPM due to, well, lots of reasons! In fact the version the repo has for Nodejs is ZERO and it is already up to 4, 5 and 6. So that’s pretty damn old. When I’m in the software store and the guy asks “hey, do you want version 6 of that software?”, I rarely find myself saying, “Nah, please hit me with version zero.” What software store do I speak of? Well, this one of course!

All your software needs conveniently located at the shopping mall

Anyway, here is what you do to get the version 4 for nodejs etc:

curl –silent –location | bash –

yum install -y nodejs

Unix Websites

Disable search in google chrome address bar

I dislike how Chrome has turned the address bar (also known as a “location bar” or “URL bar”) into an “Omnibox”. Since I run Chrome on my Linux box, and I have a bunch of test hosts defined in my /etc/hosts file, everytime I try to shortcut by just typing a dev hostname, Google pops up a damn search result!

There are some posted methods to avoid this. One was to check chrome://flags, which does have a bunch of nice settings, however my version of Chrome DID NOT have the one to do this!

Instead I found that creating my own search engine option was the solution. Go to chrome://settings/ and choose “Manage Search Engines”. In there, add a new one with “none”, “null” and “http://%s” as the options.

Boom! No more annoying forced search! Suck it, Omnibox!

OK, deep breath.


Amazon S3 forcing streaming or download

When you upload MP3 files into AWS S3, they will default to being a content-type that browsers will treat as a download (I believe “octet-stream”). If you want to change this so the delivery will be streaming, you need to change the content-type to “audio/mpeg” via the AWS console by editing “Properties” -> “Metadata”:

And if you want to revert back to forcing download, just remove the content-type metadata — note that there is no pulldown value for octet-stream!


Bootstrap Button Text Word Wrap

Using bootstrap to display button pulldowns,, I had trouble getting the text to wrap and make the button taller as needed. The fix was adding this to the CSS for the button!

white-space: normal;


Increasing Network Connections in Centos7

I had a client who was losing network connectivity intermittently recently and it turns out they needed to increase the high limit for network connections. Centos7 has some variable name changes from previous versions so here are some helpful tips on how to increase the limits.

In older Centos you might have seen these error messages:

ip_conntrack version 2.4 (8192 buckets, 65536 max) – 304 bytes per conntrack

In newer verions, something like:

localhost kernel: nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet

The below is for Centos versions that have renamed the ip_conntrack to nf_conntrack.

To get a list of network parameters:

sysctl -a | grep netfilter

This shows current value for the key parameter:

/sbin/sysctl net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max

This shows your system current load:

/sbin/sysctl net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count

So now to update the value in the kernel to triple the limit, of course make sure your RAM has room with what you choose:

/sbin/sysctl -w net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max=196608

To make it permanent after reboot, please add these values to the /etc/sysctl.conf


Hope this helps!


Windows 10 DVD Player Not Showing Up

My first big problem was I was going to rip a Christmas CD and my new Windows 10 upgrade no longer saw my DCD/CD Asus player! It worked fine in Windows 7, but it would not even show up in the device manager (hint: windows-key + “R”, then type “control” and choose hardware -> device manager)

I tried a bunch of things before discovering I had to create a registry subkey! Follow these steps:

Press the Windows logo key + R to open the Run box. (or right-click on windows icon in lower left corner)

  • Type regedit in the Run box, then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow
  • In the navigation pane, locate the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\atapi
  • Right-click atapi, point to New, then click Key
  • Type Controller0, and then press Enter
  • Right-click Controller0, point to New, and then click DWORD(32-bit) Value
  • Type EnumDevice1, and then press Enter
  • Right-click EnumDevice1, click Modify
  • Type 1 in the Value data box, and then click OK
  • Exit Registry Editor
  • Reboot

Now let me say to Microsoft, what the hell? One of the better things about the recent versions of Windows has been that it autodetects and installs drivers VERY well, and the fact that this happened to me (and frankly a LOT of others based on the dozens of online posts I had to wade through) really shows a lack of QA and continued driver support I would expect from MSFT.


Windows 10 Background Themes

I sure do like me a nice background theme! Whenever you start to realize that holy Hell I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for hours and why am I not outside enjoying the wonderful San Francisco weather — that is when you need to tune into a nice background theme and trick your mind into thinking you are on the beach or up in the mountains or playing Angry Birds?! Who the hell thought that was a good theme to make?

In any case, go check out the panoramic themes especially made for multiple monitors. Download and pick your favorite!

Then, make sure you go to control panel -> appearance -> personalization (you should be here already if you just downloaded and installed a theme), then click “Desktop Background” at the bottom and at the bottom of that settings page, make sure “Choose a fit” is set to “Span”. Note that you will need to do that for each theme since it doesn’t apply to all at once.