Android Z-Push

For weeks I had the intention to use my Android phone with Zarafa and Z-Push. However, my phone always reported that protocol version provided by the server would not be supported. I had a day off today and dug into the code (first Z-Push, then CyanogenMod 10) to track down the problem. It seemed like there would be a problem with the OPTIONS request in ActiveSync and the headers sent by Z-Push. I ended up using Fiddler to inspect the HTTPS traffic, in particular the headers and it turned out that Z-Push did not send the headers to identify the ActiveSync protocol. But the PHP-code (already messed with debugging output of my own) did send the headers.

Surprisingly, a minimal PHP script that did nothing by sending headers also worked. After a while it seems like the PHP output buffering (ob_start) dropped the headers, but then ob_clean or _flush at before and/or after the header call didn’t change anything.

Staring at the Fiddler traffic of the working testing code brought the saving idea: I had mod_pagespeed enabled (which I noticed, because it also added a header of its own). Turning it off made everything work!

Conclusion: Z-Push is incompatible with mod_pagespeed!

Umlaute von Zotero nach BibTeX exportieren

Mag sein, dass dieser Artikel eine beinahe inexistente (Wissens-) Lücke füllt. Für all jene, denen weder BibTeX noch Zotero etwas sagt, ist er mit Sicherheit nicht lesenswert, aber allein die Möglichkeit, dass ich selbst nochmal auf das geschilderte Problem treffe, rechtfertigt ihn dennoch.

Das Problem von dem ich spreche ist der Dateiexport von Zotero, einem Programm das ich zur Verwaltung meiner Bibliographie verwende, nach BibTeX, dem Dateiformat das ich zur automatischen Erstellung der Referenzen und des Quellenverzeichnisses in meiner Dissertation verwende. Wenn nun im Titel von verwendeten Quellen oder in Namen von deren Autoren deutsche Umlaute oder diakritische Zeichen (wie z.B. französische Akzente) vorkommen, werden diese in der exportierten Datei unverändert wiedergegeben, weil Zotero die ausgegebene Datei per Vorgabe als UTF-8 kodiert. Diese Kodierung wird aber von BibTeX nicht richtig verarbeitet.

Für diese Problem gibt es zwei Lösungswege, wobei ich leider viel Zeit mit dem ersten verloren habe:

  1. Man kann versuchen, BibTeX zur richtigen Verarbeitung der UTF-8 Datei zu bringen, bzw. einen dementsprechenden Ersatz für BibTeX einzusetzen. Diesbezüglich gibt es jede Menge Diskussionen im Internet, die die Hoffnung (leider) nicht schnell genug sterben lassen. Der Vollständigkeit halber sei hier beispielhaft auf bibtex8 verwiesen.
  2. Viel einfacher ist es jedoch, Zotero dazu zu bringen, die kritischen Zeichen entsprechend der LaTeX Syntax auszugeben. Das schafft man aber nicht, indem man selbst die Einträge entsprechend ändert, sondern indem man die Dateikodierung für den Export ändert.

    Dazu muss man lediglich in den Einstellungen von Zotero in der Kategorie Export ein Häkchen bei „Option für Zeichenkodierung beim Export anzeigen“ setzen. Beim nächsten BibTeX Export ist dann einfach „Westlich (ISO-8859-1)“ aus der Liste auszuwählen und schon erstellt Zotero eine problemlos verwendbare BibTeX Datei.

Nur „echte“ Benutzerkonten anzeigen

Um am Login Bildschirm von Fedora nur jene Konten anzuzeigen, die sich in letzter Zeit eingeloggt haben, muss man nur eine kleine Änderung an der /etc/gdm/custom.conf Datei vornehmen:

--- old/custom.conf	2011-07-07 09:35:01.462829111 +0200
+++ new/custom.conf	2011-07-07 09:30:27.146258540 +0200
@@ -7,6 +7,7 @@
 [xdmcp]
 
 [greeter]
+IncludeAll=false
 
 [chooser]
 

Damit werden nicht oder zB nur per scp genutzte Benutzernamen ausgeblendet.

Fedora 15 on NVIDIA NVS 3100M

In an earlier post, I already wrote about how to install the proprietary video driver on Fedora. In a brief update I suggested to change the acpi_sleep kernel option to accomplish proper display wake-up from standby. Unfortunately, that solution doesn’t work reliably in my experience. Today I found a solution that seems to successfully work around the problem of the black screen by waking up the screen „manually“.

Gernot Walzl wrote a „nasty workaround“ (quoting himself) in the form of the following script:

#!/bin/sh

# nvidia_dpms_fix.sh
# 2011-06-12
# by Gernot WALZL

# nasty workaround for nvidia drivers to resume from dpms off/suspend

export DISPLAY=:0

getXauthority () {
  export XAUTHORITY=$(ps -C X -f | grep "$DISPLAY" \
    | sed -n 's/.* -auth \([^ ]*\).*/\1/p')
}

handle_line () {
  if echo "$1" | grep -e "(EE) NVIDIA.* DisplayPort link training failed" \
      > /dev/null; then
    getXauthority
    xset dpms force on
  fi
}

tail --follow=name /var/log/Xorg.0.log --retry --lines=1 2> /dev/null \
  | while read line; do
    handle_line "$line"
  done

To actually make this do its job, I copied it into /usr/local/bin, made it executable and created an autostart entry for GNOME 3 by saving the following lines under ~/.config/autostart/nvidia_dpms_fix.sh.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Exec=/usr/local/bin/nvidia_dpms_fix.sh
Hidden=false
X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=true
Name=NVidia DPMS fix
Comment=Wakes up the display properly

I believe the problem that is being worked around is indicated by a line in the Xorg.0.log:

(WW) NVIDIA(GPU-0): AUO (DFP-3): Failed to set DisplayPort power state

Although I could only test this on my machine (HP EliteBook 8440p), with some luck this works for all cases where a similar log message is found.

Go C10k

Inspired by (admittedly „ancient“) part 1 of a very instructive post series by Richard Jones and while waiting for Channels API support in Google’s new Go App Engine, I decided to make a quick port of Richard’s mochiconntest_web Erlang module to Go.

Source first, discussion later:

package main

import (
	"fmt"
	"http"
	"log"
	"time"
)

func main() {
	http.HandleFunc("/test/", feed)
	if err := http.ListenAndServe("127.0.0.1:8080", nil); err != nil {
		log.Fatal(err)
	}
}

func feed(w http.ResponseWriter, r *http.Request) {
	ch := time.Tick(1000000000)
	fmt.Fprintf(w, "Goconntest welcomes you! Your Id: %s\n", r.URL.String())
	w.(http.Flusher).Flush()
	for N := 1; ; N++ {
		<-ch
		n, err := fmt.Fprintf(w, "Chunk %d for id %s\n", N, r.URL.String())
		if err != nil {
			log.Print(err)
			break
		} else if n == 0 {
			log.Print("Nothing written")
			break
		}
		w.(http.Flusher).Flush()
	}
}

Of course this could be stripped down by ignoring (i.e. not handling) errors, but IMHO this doesn’t fall behind the Erlang implementation in terms of beauty; well, my sense of „beauty“ anyway.

You might have noted, that I’m not using the time.Sleep function, but instead a seemingly „artificial“ construct with a time.Ticker channel. This internally allows for a multiplexing of the Goroutines spawned by the http module to only a few system threads, scheduling the network operations via epoll.

Update 2011-05-23: Removed usage of ChunkedWriter from Go source according to a hint from Brad Fitzpatrick.

Update 2011-05-25: The flushing by w.(http.Flusher).Flush() is necessary to make sure that the chunks get written in-time. Thanks to Brad Fitzpatrick for pointing this out.

For the client side, I used Richard’s floodtest.erl module, only removing the {version, 1.1} line from the http:request, because that option doesn’t seem to be supported by Erlang R14B.

The result from my Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU M 620 @ 2.67GHz:

The RSS usage of goconntest_web converges at 321MB i.e. roughly 32KB per connection (13KB less than the ad-hoc Erlang implementation). Also note, that Go indeed spawned only 4 threads on this quad-core machine to handle the 10k open connections.

The only disappointment was the rather high CPU usage. Although I’m aware that the screen-shot is far from any acceptable benchmark measure, still 1.5h CPU time seems to be more than „practically nothing“ Richard reported for the Erlang implementation.

Update 2011-05-25: While testing the new code above, I logged the process statistics with pidstat and then made the following plot (Python script, data file):

Mind the logarithmic time scale! The dashed line indicates the ramp-up of opened connections to 10k (theoretical, not measured). The colorful background is a stacked plot of the per-thread CPU usage with one color per kernel thread-id. Obviously Go spawns more threads than there are cores. Finally, the thick black line is the resident memory usage, which seems to converge much later than the CPU usage.

Thanks for reading. Maybe, if the App Engine Channels API takes long enough, I will continue my investigations.