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

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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;

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Republished: Phorming Relationships

Originally published on Benscomputer.no-ip.org 06 Jun 2008

Most people have heard of 121Media, although they may not be able to place where they heard the name. Well 121Media are back as Phorm, and so far they've created quite a stir. They are pushing a new style of Targeted Advertising whereby they place some hardware between your computer and the Internet and analyse the pages you access in order to serve you with 'more relevant' advertising. Unlike many other online advertisers, Phorm will not just base adverts on partner pages that you have previously accessed, but will actively analyze the contents of almost every page you view.

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It's funny how times change

Over the past few days, I've been going over the old Benscomputer.no-ip.org archives and have republished some of the content.

What's struck me as funny though, is how times change, but a lot of the issues remain exactly the same.

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My Volvo is Dead

It's been a sad week, on Monday I took my Volvo 440 for its MOT, knowing I'd get a few 'must fix' items back - emissions being the usual headache. This year, emissions passed with flying colours, but it was noticed that the sills have seen better days. Or as the garage I took it to for a confirming opinion said - if we remove the plastic covers to check, you won't have sills anymore!

So after 3 years of hard service, my car has finally gone to the scrapyard. I only ever expected it to last a year, so it's done well, but it's still quite sad to be left with nothing but spares to sell, especially as it was otherwise mechanically sound.

Still, on the upside, at least I'd gone in knowing there was a chance of a fail so it wasn't a complete shock. Life goes on, and cars don't last forever (parts were getting a little scarce too), though it's going to take quite some time to find a car that drives quite as well, something that's going to bug me for quite a while on my daily commute.