Category: Announcements


Permalink 12:24:58 pm, by Greg, 84 words, 197 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Mimetypes on lab machines

If you've tried to open a local html file on the lab machines, you may have noticed that it opens in oxygen. This is a mistake. I've made an adjustment in the next version of the hcmc-desktop package to fix this, but for existing accounts you'll need to remove a file in your home directory to reset things. The file is at:
Once deleted, log out and back in, and you will get the default settings for the machine.


Permalink 12:38:43 pm, by Greg, 164 words, 172 views   English (CA)
Categories: Documentation, Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Nougat on tablet

CyanogenMod has been replaced by LineageOS, and there is an unofficial Nougat ROM available.
To install it, hold the power, volume up AND volume down buttons simultaneously until you see the Google boot logo, then release the buttons.
Once you see the little droid dude lying down with his guts open, use the power button to select Recovery Mode and boot the tablet in to TWRP.

Once in TWRP, plug it in to your computer. It should find the tablet and mount it. Copy the zip file containing the ROM to the root of the drive (labelled 'Internal Storage'). Also copy in any other stuff that you can/must flash (like GApps).

In TWRP, select 'Install' and choose the ROM zip file and use the slider to indicate that you're serious.
Once flashed, run the 'Clear Dalvik cache' and go 'up' and run the install again, this time on the GApps image.
You should be able to boot in to the new OS now.


Permalink 10:39:28 am, by Greg, 260 words, 166 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Linux desktop power user tip

If you want to change the icon of a specific folder/file for some reason, you need to edit the gvfs metadata that is stored in a binary file.
This can be done using built-in gvfs methods like the following:

To get the current, custom icon value
# gvfs-info -a metadata::custom-icon ~/Desktop/foo (file:///home/yournamehere/Desktop/foo also works)

To set a custom icon
# gvfs-set-attribute ~/Desktop/foo metadata::custom-icon file:///usr/share/icons/Humanity/places/48/folder-music.svg

To reset icon to stock
# gvfs-set-attribute ~/Desktop/foo -t unset metadata::custom-icon

Unlike .desktop files, you cannot refer to a canonical FreeDesktop-type icon. You must use an explicit path to the icon you want to use.
NOTE: in a .desktop file you can ref the icon like ICON=folder-open and you'll get the icon theme's icon for folder-open. This icon will change with the theme.

Show other editable attributes for a file
gvfs-info -w ~/Desktop/foo

Which will return something like this
Settable attributes:
standard::symlink-target (bytestring)
time::access (uint64, Keep with file when moved)
time::access-usec (uint32, Keep with file when moved)
time::modified (uint64, Copy with file, Keep with file when moved)
time::modified-usec (uint32, Copy with file, Keep with file when moved)
unix::gid (uint32, Keep with file when moved)
unix::mode (uint32, Copy with file, Keep with file when moved)
unix::uid (uint32, Keep with file when moved)
Writable attribute namespaces:
metadata (string, Copy with file, Keep with file when moved)
xattr (string, Copy with file, Keep with file when moved)
xattr-sys (string, Keep with file when moved)


Permalink 04:18:40 pm, by sarneil, 16 words, 97 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Research assistant stations operational in new lab space

The migration of ten workstations from the old lab space to the new one is complete.


Permalink 09:34:14 am, by sarneil, 42 words, 100 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

New HCMC website launched in Cascade

The latest incarnation of the HCMC website has been launched at On Monday, we will implement redirects from URLs pointing to the old site (i.e. about seven subdirectories of the form


Permalink 04:19:54 pm, by sarneil, 84 words, 514 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 15

Google map in cascade site and OAC

May be of use for departmental sites and project sites. Web coordinator pointed to use of google map with location points at

based on using a map in a google account, as described here:

She also said that embedding iframes in a cascade page is not a problem.
Previous communication with systems people indicate embedding iframes is a problem in OAC online academic community wordpress instance.


Permalink 09:55:54 am, by Greg, 523 words, 2602 views   English (CA)
Categories: Notes, Documentation, Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Thunderbird + Lightning + Exchange calendar plugin

To get Thunderbird working with UVic's Exchange calendar you need to have a version of Thunderbird that incorporates the fix for sending passwords in the clear - this means at least v43. There is a version 44 beta out right now that works quite well, so I went through the process of documenting how I got things going. This also works with v45, which was just made available on the PPA.


  1. Add the PPA and install/upgrade in the usual apt-get way.

  2. download Lightning plugin - note Thunderbird version requirements for each version

  3. download the Ericsson exchangecalendar plugin - currently v3.6-beta1

Email account settings
Account settings->Server settings
Server name:, port 993
Connection security: SSL/TLS
Authentication method: Normal password
Outgoing server (smtp):, port 465
Outgoing server connection security: SSL/TLS
Outgoing server authentication method: Normal password

Configure calendar

  1. Click the 'Switch to the calendar tab' button (top-right) to view your local calendar (called 'Home').

  2. Add new calendar by right-clicking below your 'Home' calendar, and choose 'New Calendar'. Select 'On the network' for location.

  3. Select 'Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013' for format, then name the calendar.

  4. Check the 'Hosted Exchange' option, not the 'Office 365' option.

  5. Check 'Use Exchange's autodiscovery function. Fill in Username (Netlink ID) and Domain (UVIC). Click 'Perform autodiscovery'. You should be challenged for a password.

  6. If you got this far you'll be asked to choose an EWS server. I only got one to choose from:

We have a shared calendar for vacations and so forth. To share a calendar, log in to the account that owns the calendar (through OWS) and right-click the calendar you want to share, and choose 'Share calendar'. In the dialogue that appears, add the email address of the person you want to share with (note that this can only be a UVic email address). It will send an email to this person that has an XML attachment. They can create a new calendar based on the information included in this attachment.

Add shared calendar

  1. The email that the share recipient gets has an XML file attached (called 'shared_metadata.xml'). It contains two things we need: SmtpAddress, which is the email address of the person that shared the calendar; and FolderId, which is a very long string (hex?). These are XML elements, and we only need the text values, nothing else.

  2. Add a new calendar as above, but in the 'Primary email address' field, use the email address of the person that shared the calendar - not yours.

  3. Use your Netlink ID in the 'Username' field.

  4. In the 'Share folder Id' field, add the hex value of the FolderId element (from the shared_metadata.xml file).

That should be it. I've had no trouble with this setup, other than being unable to see nested folders - but this problem has been there for ages. For example, I have a folder for the Humanist list that I've placed inside a 'Lists' parent folder. Thunderbird shows me the Lists folder, but not the Humanist folder. This is true for all folders more than one layer deep.


Permalink 01:10:23 pm, by Greg, 328 words, 877 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Announcements; Mins. worked: 240

Dell monitor RMA

My Dell U2412Mb monitor has been acting up for a while now: dark corner and flickering. The problem was temporarily resolved by power-cycling but the issue always came back, usually after going in to power-saving mode. The other day, though, I decided to RMA it.

As I understand it, we have 'pro' support, which is supposed to make this kind of process simple and quick. However, it was stereotypically bad in reality:
- Lots of different people pass you from one office to another, making you wait on-hold for at least a few minutes each.
- You finally speak with someone that will help (which may or may not be 'Basic Warranty Support' - it's very difficult to be certain, but it *definitely* wasn't Pro Support) and you go through a diagnostic exercise, followed by a proof-of-purchase test (send proof-of-purchase by email - and wait for 15 minutes for the email to arrive in the inbox of tech support). In the end, you've spent half a day sorting things out.

Next step; I will receive an empty box in 1 or 2 days, and I will place my failing monitor in the box and send it off. It should take 7 to 10 days to get to a Dell depot. At this point, I don't know what kind of turn-around I'm looking at, but I have to imagine that it will be at least a few days - maybe 10. I suspect that I will be without my monitor for at least 3 weeks.

I had heard that the process is relatively painless (because Pro-Support FTW!), ending in another monitor being shipped immediately (that is, before I sent my failing monitor). As it turns out, the process was excruciating - in the last two days I have spent about 4hrs to get to this point. And I still have to ship/receive/set-up/tear-down before I'm done.

A conservative estimate of the cost of me handling this is roughly $300. The monitor cost $297 before tax.


Permalink 02:11:57 pm, by pat, 41 words, 586 views   English (CA)
Categories: Announcements; Mins. worked: 0

Holocaust Archive: files received

I received the first primary source documents from Jason for the Victoria Holocaust Archive today. Helga will send some more shortly and I will commence my design mock-up.

Images are lowish resolution, but I should be able to work with them.


Permalink 04:28:32 pm, by Greg, 339 words, 749 views   English (CA)
Categories: Activity log, Activity log, Announcements; Mins. worked: 120

Local install of Zooniverse (in VM)

Not a casual job...
Install notes

rvm install jruby-1.7.16 --2.0 doesn't work. RVM looks in a config file to see about 'know-strings', and jruby-1.7.16 isn't one of them. It apears that jruby-1.7.22 is the only one it finds. So, change that.
Also, the $JAVA_HOME it sets isn't right. Set it in .bashrc, like this:
then, do 'source ~/.bashrc' to let your tty know about the change

Also, javac is not installed when RVM does the java install. I installed java-default to compensate, but it adds ~200MB to your install base - there's probably a more economical method of installing javac.

Setting up postgresql: instructions say 'psql -d template1 -U postgres'. But that won't work. Do this instead: 'sudo -u postgres psql -d template1'

Configuring Panoptes: seems to have changed slightly, or docs are bad. Filenames now use a .hudson extension and include test and development settings.
The db:migrate command I change from rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=development to rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=test because the .hudson config files ref'd development and test - with test having the localhost ref from docs
Running the db migrate command fails like this: no such file to load -- bundler/setup
It's because bundler isn't installed, so: gem install bundler
Run rake again: git:// (at update-cql-version) is not yet checked out. Run `bundle install` first.
Ran bundle install
Then got this:
Errno::ENOENT: No such file or directory - /home/hcmc/.rvm/gems/jruby-1.7.22/gems/jruby-kafka-1.0.0.beta-java/deps.lst
An error occurred while installing jruby-kafka (1.0.0.beta), and Bundler cannot
continue. Make sure that `gem install jruby-kafka -v '1.0.0.beta'` succeeds before bundling.
So, did this:

then ran rake db:migrate... again. Kept getting same error. Online suggestion=move on and see if the problem matters. I did that and MAYBE it worked.
Got further errors suggesting that I needed more gems, so I did what it said.
Stuck here

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This blog is the location for all work involving software and hardware maintenance, updates, installs, etc., both routine and urgent, in the server room, the labs and the R&D rooms.


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