Author Archives: hoover

Mondfinsternis 2018-07-27 in Herford

Es war richtig voll an der Hilgenböke in Herford: Mindenstens 100 Menschen jeden Alters interessierten sich für die Mondfinsternis. Da ich als einziger ein Spektiv mithatte (TS Optics 100mm mit Zoomokular 20x-60x), bildete sich teilweise sogar eine Schlange von Leuten, die mal Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars (oder natürlich auch den verdunkelten Mond) mit eigenen Augen sehen wollten.


Es war sehr schön, so viel Interesse an diesem schönen Himmelsphänomen zu erleben.


Das Finsternisende liess sich dann perfekt von der heimischen Dachterasse beobachten.

Updating Lineage OS 14.1 on a Samsung Galaxy S3 (GT-9300i)

While lineage claims that the update process is mostly automatic on the Galaxy S III (gt-9300i), I found that after downloading an update and rebooting I ended up in my TWRP boot screen, with nothing much automatic going on at all.

It took me a while to determine the storage location of the downloaded updates (that much worked I’m happy to report), and it seems that for me (LineageOS 14.1) they end up on the internal SD card in a directory called



The trick was to use the “up one level” function in TWRP’s image selection to actually see the root level of the internal SD card.


Then, all I needed to do was to select the most recent update (it’s in zip format so you may need to switch the image / zip display in TWRP’s “install” screen, flash it (apparently you don’t have to wipe the cache for it to work), reboot the system and wait about 15 minutes, and hey presto!, here’s my most recent Lineage OS update running fine on my S III.

Caveat: During the initial migration from CM13 to Lineage 14.1, I found the system would not boot properly if I chose to select the “SuperSU” package as offered by the Lineage OS installer. Not choosing to install that package would allow the system to boot properly.

I hope this helps you updating and keeping current your beloved GT-9300i phone!

Increasing the number of open files for MariaDB 10.1 on CentOS7 (openstack pike RDO install)

(c) stackhpc

Our openstack pike installation crashed after a couple of days with tons of error messages in /var/log/mariadb/maria.log in the form of

Error in accept: Bad file descriptor

Some googling  hinted at mariadb running out of open files, but I had some problems getting to grips how to set the number of open files for mariadb 10.1.20 (used by the rdo openstack-pike) on a CentOS 7 system, so here’s for posterity:

1)increase the ulimit in /etc/security/limits.conf as usual:

* hard nofile 1024000
* soft nofile 1024000

2) create the file (if it doesn’t exist, otherwise edit the existing file) /etc/systemd/system/mariadb.service.d/limits.conf 

and add the following lines


2a) reload systemd

# systemctl daemon-reload

3) restart mariadb

# systemctl restart mariadb.service

4) check the results

# mysql -pXXXXXXXX mysql

MariaDB [mysql]> show global variables like 'open%';
| Variable_name | Value |
| open_files_limit | 1024000 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

5) Enjoy a hopefully crash-free OpenStack Pike setup 😉


Birding am Ijseelmeer

Post aus dem “Sturmmöwe”-Blog, hier für die Nachwelt festgehalten:

Nach einer Woche Ijsselmeer wollte ich euch mal ein paar der schöneren
Bilder zeigen, die bei meinen Beobachtungen dort entstanden sind (zwar
nicht aus OWL, aber vielleicht für andere NL-Reisende bzw. für die
Suche hier im Blog ganz interessant).

Dank Örn’s Website-Tipp ( konnte ich direkt
in der Nähe von Wervershoof / Nordholland am östlichen Ufer des
Ijsselmeeres gelegen ein wunderschönes Gebiet bei Twisk
( ausfindig machen, welches aufgrund
der Nähe zum Ijsselmeer und vielen Flachwasserzonen eine Menge Viecher
anzieht. Leider war der ein paar Tage zuvor dort gemeldete “Lachstern”
(zu dt. Lachseeschwalbe) nicht mehr vor Ort (Seeschwalben auf der
Durchreise übernachten nicht, wie wir ja vom Hücker Moor schon
wissen), aber trotzdem gab es eine Menge zu sehen (vor allem
Haubentaucher, die dann schnell aufgrund ihrer schieren Anzahl in
“Haufentaucher” umbenannt wurden).

Leider glänzte auch die Trauerseeschwalbe durch Abwesenheit (diese Art
hatte ich eigentlich fest eingeplant als neuen “Lifer”, aber wie das
Leben so spielt… die Viecher machen, was sie wollen!), eventuell war
es auch noch zu früh für diese Art auf dem Wegzug in die

Als Standort kann ich Wervershoof (“Camping Vislust”) für Birder nur
wärmstens empfehlen. Auch die Nordseeküste (Den Helder / Fähre nach
Texel) ist von dort nur 20 Autominuten entfernt, die fest
installierten “mobile homes” sind gemütlich und preisgünstig zu

Direkt über die Straße ist ein toller Beobachtungsplatz in 3 Minuten
mit dem Rad erreichbar (erhöht auf dem Deich mit bequemer Bank), an
dem sich regelmässig bis zu 40 (Maximalzahl) Löffler einfinden sowie
auch weitere interessante Arten. Fast jeden Abend liessen sich dort
(mit der Sonne dann praktischerweise im Rücken) neue Besucher
ausfindig machen, wirklich toll. Auch die Holländer waren immer sehr
interessiert und hatten viele Tipps, so daß man wirklich nie länger
als 5 Minuten “alleine” war und so auch einige Artnamen (“de
Knoppelzwaan”, “Aalschover”, “Kiektiif” etc; einfach herrlich) in der
Landessprache schnell erlernte. Auf der “Gartenliste” landeten dann
auch schnell Arten wie Flussseeschwalbe, Löffler, diverse Gänse und
sogar Regenbrachvögel (2x überfliegend und dank ihrer
charakteristischen Flugrufe auch für mich sicher bestimmbar).

Abschliessend nochmals vielen Dank an EM (auch wenn er meinen
vermeintlichen Seeregenpfeifer gnadenlos “abgeschossen” hat ;-)) für
den Support per Smartphone bei zahlreichen Bestimmungs(an-)fragen.

I love X-Plane 11, and X-Plane loves Linux, too


If you’re interested in flight simulations, you may be aware that “X-Plane 11” hit the digital streets a few weeks ago. I shelled out the €60 or so for the Linux version without thinking twice, and boy, has this been a good investment.


Flying along the “Obersee”, situated about 20km from where I live.

Trying out custom scenery (LGSA Souda on Crete)

FPS look very good even with object-intensive add-on scenery (much can be downloaded for free off the net using some custom, free libraries)


Ready for take-off from RW 11 @ Souda

Flight from Iraklion to Souda along the Cretan Northern Coast


Installation was very painless and worked like a charm. Updating X-plane also worked without any issues. I really like the fact that you can simply move the installation around on your hard disk (as I ran out of space in my /home partition) and re-activate it by simply creating a softlink to the new install folder. That’s how software should work, without any crappy registry entries that break once you move the installation folder.


Parking Position at Emden airport… note the ability to include real weather updated in near real-time.

I just love the Linux support, the version runs flawlessly and natively on my Linux box (currently Mate Cinnamon 18.1) and even the HOTAS Warthog from Thrustmaster works great on Linux natively as two separate devices (throttle / stick) without requiring any drivers or fiddling.

Naturally there is a lot to learn and a a lot of time to be spent on studying the manuals… make no mistake, while you can hop right into X-plane and enjoy the occasional care-free flight, it’s a full blown simulator (what the BMS folks like to call a “study sim”) that will teach you a lot there is to know about aviation and aircrafts.

Bottom line: 9/10 to Laminar Research for this excellent product.



New “Birding” section


I’ve created a new section to post some of my “birding” pics taken with my new camera.

While the results are probalby mostly ranging from mediocre to horrible to a professional photographer, I’m still amazed what one can do with the Nikon’s zoom while not lugging around a tripod (which I’m usually doing anyway when birding for my spotting scope, but I’ve yet to buy a 2nd tripod adapter for the camera).

I also hope my composition skills will improve over time so shots will hopefully get better, too… call it a sort of “study history” if you will 😉

You can find the section as a new page next to the “home” link on top.

Dave Purdy passes

The SimRacing community mourns the loss of one of its most gifted figures: On May 15th, Dave Purdy passed away aged 71.  His countless contributions to simracing will be remembered for a long time.

We raise our glasses in remembrance to a man who never shied away from stating his opinions in a very soothing and likeable, yet determined  voice (the only medium that many of us ever got to know him over, sadly)  and who produced a plethora of useful information and genuine content  that helped us improve, enjoy and pursue our passion.



Our thoughts & deepest sympathies are with his family and friends.

You will be missed.


Godspeed, Dave.


Setting up & running letsencrypt a.k.a. certbot on CentOS / RHEL 5 systems


Getting letsencrypt to run on an ancient CentOS  or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 system (they still tend to appear in the wild from time to time) can be a major headache. I took some notes during the setup, I hope you find the useful (you'll need some basic Unix admin skills in order to follow this recipe, so caution is advised as you go through the procedure). 


Important: You'll need to use Python 2.7.8, anything beyond that version will
die with an invalid certificate error during the certbot setup phase. 

# compile openssl from source:

mkdir -p /server/src && cd /server/src


tar xvzf openssl-1.0.1t.tar.gz && cd openssl-1.0.1t

./config --prefix=/server/openssl-1.0.1t shared --openssldir=/server/openssl-1.0.1t/openssl

make depend && make && make install

# create a softlink for convenience 

ln -s /server/openssl-1.0.1t /server/openssl

# Get Python 2.7.8

cd /server/src && wget

tar xvzf Python-2.7.8.tar.gz

cd python-2.7.8

# set up compile environment

export LDFLAGS=-"Wl,-rpath=/server/openssl/lib -L/server/openssl/lib -L/server/openssl/lib64/"

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/server/openssl/lib/:/server/openssl/lib64"

export CPPFLAGS="-I/server/openssl/include -I/server/openssl/include/openssl"

./configure --prefix=/server/python-2.7.8

make && make install

# create softlink, adjust PATH

ln -s /server/python-2.7.8 /server/python; export PATH=/server/python/bin:$PATH

# install pip in new python version

wget --no-check-certificate


# install virtualenv, wheel

pip install virtualenv wheel

# git-clone certbot (latest version)

 cd /server/src/ ; git clone

# Request a certificate manually (certonly)

cd certbot; ./letsencrypt-auto certonly --manual -d my.server.tld 

# configuring your webserver of choice is left as an exercise for the reader.


VBulletin keyboard navigation (a bit half-****, but works)


I really don’t like web forums all that much, I think they all suck in one way or another and I really yearn for the good old USENET days when everybody was free to use their reader of choice… well, those were the days.


With “vBulletin” being a vey prolific and widespread software for many forums / fora / forae I visit regularly, I wanted to bring some comfort back to browsing them by adding some simple keyboard navigation using some javascript I freely “borrowed” from the web sites out there.


Here’s the result:


“n” – Search for new posts

“g” – go to the first post in the list of new posts

“j/k” – navigate forward / backward in the pages of a thread and / or search results

Cut & Paste the script below and save it to a location of your choice, then you can use the  “tampermonkey” extension for Chrome and other browsers to enable these features (chrome stopped accepting non-store based extensions a year ago for whatever reasons they saw fit, tampermonkey helps to get chrome back under the user’s control)

Add the URLs of your favourite forums to the script and import it into tampermonkey (some niftier form of configuration may be on the cards, but I’m lazy so feel free to add it yourself if you want to).

I hope you find this script useful, enjoy keyboard navigation in vB! 😉

VBB “What’s new” user Script

// ==UserScript==
// @name VBB Show new posts
// @namespace
// @description Adds a "whats new" search link and some shortcuts to vbb forum pages
// @description Download URL:
// ##### ADD THE URL of your vB forums below ##################
// @include http*://**
// @include http*://**
// ==/UserScript==

var EuropeanDateFormat=1; 
var newlink = document.createElement('a');
var todays_posts = document.createElement('a');
newlink.href = 'search.php?do=getnew&contenttype=vBForum_Post';
todays_posts.href = 'search.php?do=getdaily&contenttype=vBForum_Post';
tn = document.createTextNode(' Show new posts ');
tn2 = document.createTextNode(' Show todays posts');

var footer = document.getElementById('footer_links');

if (footer) {

// quick hack to set a default email address
from = document.getElementById('it_from_3');
if (from) {

if (EuropeanDateFormat == 1) {
 var dates = document.getElementsByClassName('date');
 for (var i = 0 ; i < dates.length ; i++) {
 var post_date = dates[i].innerText;
 // check if there's a year string in the -2012 notation (will stop working in 2100 ;-) 
 if (post_date.indexOf("-20") != -1 ) {
 year = post_date.substring(6, 10);
 month = post_date.substring(0, 2);
 day = post_date.substring(3, 5);
 var new_date = ""; 
 dates[i].innerText = year + "/" + month + "/" + day; 

// stolen shamelessly from's facebook key navigation
// Thanks to Droll Troll

function OnKeyUp(e)
 var anchors = document.getElementsByTagName('a');
 for (var i = 0 ; i < anchors.length ; i++) {
 var href = anchors[i].getAttribute('href'); 
 if (href) {
 if(href.match(/goto=newpost/)) {
 break ; 

 // do a search if we cannot find the "next page" link
 next_page_or_new ="search.php?do=getnew&contenttype=vBForum_Post"
 for (var i = 0 ; i < anchors.length ; i++) {
 var next_page_href = anchors[i].getAttribute('href'); 
 var title01 = anchors[i].getAttribute('title'); 
 if (title01) {
 if(title01.match(/Next Page/)) {
 next_page_or_new = next_page_href
 break ; 

 prev_page_or_new ="search.php?do=getnew&contenttype=vBForum_Post"
 for (var i = 0 ; i < anchors.length ; i++) {
 var prev_page_href = anchors[i].getAttribute('href'); 
 var title01 = anchors[i].getAttribute('title'); 
 if (title01) {
 if(title01.match(/Prev Page/)) {
 prev_page_or_new = prev_page_href
 break ; 

 key_map = {
 "N" : "search.php?do=getnew&contenttype=vBForum_Post",
 "G" : href,
 "K" : next_page_or_new, 
 "J" : prev_page_or_new, 
 "T" : 'search.php?do=getdaily&contenttype=vBForum_Post'

 if (String.fromCharCode(e.keyCode) in key_map && 
 (typeof == "undefined" || ( != "text" && != "textarea")) && 
 !e.altKey && !e.ctrlKey && e.keyCode <= 90)

window.addEventListener("keyup",function(event) { OnKeyUp(event); },false)

Mercury Transit (not much to see here ;-))



Not much to see here I’m afraid, more or less this post is a reminder to myself that I observed the Mercury Transit using my 100mm spotting scope and a custom built mylar foil filter (basically just a bit of cardboard wrapped abound the tube with some mylar strapped on the business end).

While the view wasn’t very spectacular it boggles the mind to think about what’s actually happening out there: A little planet forever caught up in the Sun’s gravitational well, its hemispheres being alternately boiled by our central star or deep-frozen by exposure to empty space when in the shadow, racing across the Sun’s face in a mere couple of hours… wow, it really boggles the mind, not least of all our ability to predict such events with fantastic precision.

3 Weddings and a great live band

The first wedding of the year has been duly celebrated very much helped by the “Dollies“, a great live band from Osnabrück who really did a stellar job of entertaining us during Robin’s and Linda’s wedding in Kirchlengern yesterday.



Best wishes to Robin & Linda and thanks for a fantastic party!




Because I could not stop for Death…


I guess you know the feeling… what songs to pick for your own funeral and so on while browsing your 50+ GB playlist 😉

 My favourites right now would be “Mr. Blue Sky” by ELO, “Träum vom Meer” by the “Wise Guys”, “Drowned on Dry Land” by Del Amitri, “Morning Aire” by Tommy Emmanuel, “Death and and all his friends” by Coldplay , “The Final Trawl” (both versions by North Sea Gas and Emily Smith) and many many more….  probably too many to fit into a service 😉

One of my all time favourite poems for the occasion is copied below thanks to by Emily Dickinson. Enjoy!

Because I could not stop for Death

by Emily Dickinson, 18301886

Because I could not stop for Death – 
He kindly stopped for me –  
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –  
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility – 

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –  
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –  
We passed the Setting Sun – 

Or rather – He passed us – 
The Dews drew quivering and chill – 
For only Gossamer, my Gown – 
My Tippet – only Tulle – 

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground – 
The Roof was scarcely visible – 
The Cornice – in the Ground – 

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity –