Ben Tasker's Blog

NTPD Refusing to accept time from GPSD

One of the (minor) drawbacks of the Raspberry Pi is the lack of a hardware clock. Normally, you'd work around this by configuring a good pool of NTP servers to connect to. What do you do though, if you can't guarantee there will be an Internet connection available when needed?

The solution is obvious, so obvious that many have already done it - use the time provided by a cheap GPS dongle. The gpsd daemon helpfully pushes the time to Shared Memory Segments (SHM) so it's a simple adjustment to the NTP configuration file to have NTPD pull the time from the dongle.

Except, it seems on Raspbian, it isn't quite so simple. You've followed all the instructions (simple as they are) but are still seeing an entry like this

# ntpq -p
     remote           refid      st t when poll reach   delay   offset  jitter
==============================================================================
SHM(0)          .GPS.            0 l    -   16    0    0.000    0.000   0.001

No matter what you try, reach stays at 0.

Frustrating, and there's very little to give you a guide. This post will tell you what the issue is, as well as how to go about finding it should it re-occur

Read more ...

The Storm Ate my Broadband

Like many in the country, the storm has left me feeling somewhat isolated - that is to say my broadband is down. Don't get me wrong, I'm just glad the power is (mostly) back, and I'm far better off than some who've had their lives affected.

The simple fact, though, is that I have things I need to do, and not having a broadband connection really gets in the way of that.

Living where I do, there's precisely one place in the house that gets a 3G signal, unfortunately that place isn't particularly conducive to sitting comfortably. Whilst the Wifi hotspot functionality on my phone helps, the range isn't great enough to let me sit somewhere that I might be able to concentrate.

So, somewhat convoluted workaround needed;

Read more ...

Republished: Windows 7: the Verdict

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 25 October 2009

Windows 7 has been released for all the world to use and abuse, so what do we think of it? You may recall that I wrote a review of the Windows 7 RC back in May I never got quite as far as writing a review of the RTM, which is a pity because there were a number of changes.

However, the final 'polished' version has now been released. So let's see what the final judgement is.

Read more ...

Republished: A look at the Windows 7 RC

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 06 May 2009 (Images sadly missing at restoration time)

So, being a fairly well balanced person, I thought I would give Windows 7 at least the benefit of the doubt. So after a surprisingly quick download (either MS prepped their servers, or everyone else has been using Bittorrent!), I started installing Windows 7 Build 7100.

Read more ...