Ansible local_action privilege de-escalation or: how to wait for a reboot

I increasingly use Ansible not only for glorious tasks like setting up my various VMs I use for prototyping but also for mundane things like resetting my personal laptop every time I get a new one or break it (dedicated readers of this blog will know me to do that a lot [2],[3],[4]). Most of … Continue reading Ansible local_action privilege de-escalation or: how to wait for a reboot

Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire E15 (E5-571G-51TH)

Having failed the 3rd repair attempt at the Thinkpad E540 [1] I gave up and bought the next best laptop from the nearby store that somehow is usable for programming. Behold: the Acter Inspire E15. 8GB RAM, i5, matte screen (1920x1080). It worked out of the box with the SSD transplant from the old Lenovo, … Continue reading Ubuntu on the Acer Aspire E15 (E5-571G-51TH)

Ubuntu 14.04 on the Lenovo Thinkpad E540

Update 25.03.2015: I strongly recommend against the Thinkpad Edge 540. There seems to be a systematic manufacturing problem with keyboards in many Edge models. Mine broke down a week after ordering, I installed a replacement keyboard which broke within two weeks of installing.   For details see: https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/11e-Windows-E-and-Edge-series/thinkpad-edge-15-keyboard-problem/td-p/406731/page/8 Original text: After not being so long … Continue reading Ubuntu 14.04 on the Lenovo Thinkpad E540

Formatting USB flash drives for write speed

Flash drives enjoy a reputation for being fast and that certainly goes for high-end models with their elaborate memory controllers and multi-bank layouts. A fundamental "problem" with current flash memory technology is that writing even a single bit of information requires that an entire block of flash memory is reset first [1], which greatly reduces … Continue reading Formatting USB flash drives for write speed

Running varnish as unprivileged user

Since I haven't found any documentation on the topic of running varnish as non-root, I proudly present: how to run varnish as non-root. A warning ahead: this will require fiddling with init scripts, so make sure to keep backups. Also, scripts will be overwritten with each package update. Changes to /etc/init.d/varnish Ulimit calls are not … Continue reading Running varnish as unprivileged user

Running a website on ip6

I started quite a while ago moving a pet project to ip6. While it doesn't involve any programming per se, it turned out to be quite a complicated process involving multiple configuration steps. Thus, for your enjoyment I present: running a website on ip6 with Ubuntu 14.04 (older versions won't work because their kernel doesn't … Continue reading Running a website on ip6

Linux picking the best access point in a WLAN with repeaters

In many larger WLAN setups you'll find repeaters or extenders which spread the WLAN to farther places on the floor. Often they are set up in such a way that they use the same WLAN name (SSID) and password. In that case the WLAN hardware on your laptop will pick the best access point and … Continue reading Linux picking the best access point in a WLAN with repeaters

Smaller brightness steps with the Asus N56VB and Ubuntu

Ubuntu on the laptop is definitely maturing. We're way past "at least it boots" and now that survival is ensured, it is time for luxury illnesses. One of those on the Asus N56VB is handling of screen brightness which, for my taste, comes in too steep steps. Especially the minimum brightness is still too bright … Continue reading Smaller brightness steps with the Asus N56VB and Ubuntu