iSync Plugin Nokia 206

written by admin 1489 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories Uncategorized.

Created and uploaded an iSync plugin for the Nokia 206 “old school” mobile phone.

iSync in action

iSync in action



Truly mind boggling ..

written by admin 2102 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories Lisp.

Inspired by listening to a Podcast about Lisp and since there is quite some hype now around functional programming, I started again to read some Lisp classics, especially The Seasoned Schemer, a truly marvelous book.

Now, every Lisp dialect I know contains at least three fundamental procedures, namely cons, car and cdr. And so does Scheme, a main Lisp dialect. In the spirit of The Seasoned Schemer, we can describe what cons, car and cdr do, namely

(car (cons 1 2))
=> 1
(cdr (cons 1 2))
=> 2

So far there is nothing mind boggling, admitted. Assume now that there is no car, cdr and no cons. All we have is lambda and define where lambda allows us to express a anonymous procedure and where define allows us to give something a name. Just charged with this, can we still implement cons, car and cdr?

The boggling thing is, yes we can. Here we go:

(define cons (lambda (a b) (lambda (m) (m a b))))
(define car  (lambda (z)    (z (lambda (x y) x))))
(define cdr  (lambda (z)    (z (lambda (x y) y))))

Let’s see whether this works as expected:

;; declare a variable z to contain a tuple (1,2)
(define z (cons 1 2))
;; try car and cdr
(car z)
=> 1
(cdr z)
=> 2

It works. It’s mind boggling, isn’t it?

So how does it work anyway? The result of (cons ..) is just a procedure which happens to remember the arguments passed. That procedure is a value like any other. However, that procedure value can also be called with one argument which is expected to be a procedure again. Let’s assume that we have a procedure foo somewhere, then we can do something like ((cons 1 2) foo) and we end up in (foo 1 2), as by the definition of cons above.

So if we want to express car, then foo must be (lambda (x y) x) while in the case of cdr, foo becomes (lambda (x y) y). All what is left is to define car as procedure with one argument and calling that argument with foo, i.e.

(car z) =>
(car (cons 1 2)) =>
((cons 1 2) (lambda (x y) x)) =>
(lambda (1 2) 1) =>

Wireshark & Snow Leopard

written by admin 2580 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories macosx. Tags .

Wireshark failed to start after having upgraded to Snow Leopard, the latest incarnation of Mac OS X.

This is a well known bug. To make Wireshark run again, try to delete your local X11 font cache, i.e.

$ rm -rf $HOME/.fontconfig

That should do it.


Adding A Plesk Event Handler

written by admin 2621 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories plesk. Tags .

Plesk allows you to have a customized event handler. This is a rather useful feature cause it allows you to customize the way Plesk behaves. Take the meanwhile famous vhost_ssl.conf bug. Although documented in the manual, Plesk will not recognize an additional configuration file for an SSL/TLS port in a subdomain. Solutions have been proposed to manually change vhost.conf. That’s a forbidden fruit however, cause all it needs is a websrvmng --reconfigure-all to eliminate your changes. But as mentioned, just install a event handler which is triggered when a subdomain is created or updated. Such an event handler can be just a plain shell script.

However, when I tried to install such an event handler beast via Plesk | Server | Event Handler | Add New Event Handler I ended up in an error message like Error: Some fields are empty or contain an improper value for which add did not have any explanation. Much, very much later, I discovered that I had copied the path of my script to be executed via copy-n-paste into that Plesk command field. That copy contained whitespace at the end of the command, i.e. something like


which is enough to make Please grumpy. What’s more, it’s all about whitespace (blanks, tabs, newline etc) at the end of a command while whitespace within the command is accept without any rumble:

echo > /dev/null

That works fine.


When entering an event handler command, make sure that there is no whitespace at the end of the command.


Announcement – Flaka 1.01 Released

written by admin 2622 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories Projects, flaka.

February 24th, 2010The Flaka project is pleased to announce the
release of Flaka 1.01, the first release of Flaka.

Flaka is an extension for Ant. A main project goal of Flaka is the
simplification of writing a build script.

Flaka provides:
1. an expression language (Java Unified Expression Language)
2. well known programming elements (for, when, switch, choose, ..)
3. exception handling
4. additional types, tasks and macros

A small teaser script to demonstrate some of those features:

<project xmlns:c="antlib:it.haefelinger.flaka" name="Flaka" >
    Hello #{ ? : ''}!
  <c:for var=" f " in=" ''.tofile.list ">
    <c:when test=" f.isfile ">
        ;; report basename and modification time
        file #{} last modified: #{ f.mtime }

Flaka’s Google Project Page is

(* Part I of this manual contains a broad overview of
features Flaka has been charged with *)

Jar (ready to be used – no additional dependencies required)

Development Package (rebuild from scratch)

Issues should be reported to:

More information on Flaka at ; and

Wolfgang Häfelinger


MacPorts, MySQL, PHP5 and that socket thing ..

written by admin 2632 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories macosx, macports. Tags , , .

I’m using MacPorts to have a variety of Open-Source software on my computer. Amongst them MySQL and Apache’s web server with PHP. In addition I’m also running Wordpress, a popular blog software, and Mediawiki, the software behind Wikipedia. Both applications are written in PHP and can be configured to use MySQL as database.

I install those two web applications myself rather than using MacPorts to do so. The installation is basically nothing more than unzipping the distribution package and to modify the configuration files to make sure they connect to my MySQL database on my localhost. However, while installing Wordpress went smooth, I run into database connection failures when installing Mediawiki. It took me some time to figure out what is going on here.

If you have weird connection problems using PHP and MySQL then try one or both of the following solutions:

  • Solution: Use instead of localhost as host of your MySQL database server. This has a rather surprising effect, see below.
  • Solution: Change your PHP’s configuration file, which is /opt/local/etc/php5/php.ini, to contain the following two lines:
    1. Tell PHP about the Unix domain socket to use
         mysql.default_socket = /opt/local/var/run/mysql5/mysqld.sock
    2. In addtion make sure that PHP’s save mode is off (notice that this feature has been deprecated and removed in PHP 6), otherwise your previous modification will be gracefully ignored:
          safe_mode = Off

    Notice that in addition you need to restart your Apache web server so that your changes are taken into account. You can do that with apachectl restart.

Background Information

Neither Mediawiki nor Wordpress (nor most other PHP based web application accessing MySQL) implement the gory details how to connect to a database. Usually they just delegate this to mysql_connect();, a API function provided by PHP.

PHP in turn uses the functionality of a (shared) library provided by MySQL, i.e. the MySQL driver. MySQL allows you to connect to the database via two routes:

  1. via Internet sockets (TCP/IP); and via
  2. UNIX domain sockets

So, how does one choose between this two routes? The answer is rather surprising. MySQL decided to give localhost a new meaning. If you specify localhost, then the UNIX domain socket route is chosen. If you say instead, then you connect via an Internet socket. While this is probably the most natural thing for those MySQL folks, it’s a rather confusing fact for all other humans. It is rather carved deep in our brain for years now that and localhost is the same thing.

After I have changed both Mediawiki and Wordpress to use localhost I had for the first time a situation where both web applications behaved in the very same way. They both did not work. Then, when I changed to, both worked fine. Btw, notice that localhost is the default hostname used by Mediawiki while is the default host suggested by Wordpress.

Using is usually fine, however I do want to use the UNIX socket and I was wondering what went wrong.

The problem is that MacPorts MySQL port patches the original MySQL sources to use socket /opt/local/var/run/mysql5/mysqld.sock instead /tmp/mysql.sock. This change is not particular well documented. One would assume that this kind of change goes into an appropriate my.conf configuration file. That’s actually not the case. Even worse, MacPorts MySQL port does not even ship with such a configuration file.

Changing the default socket location is one thing, not telling us and the PHP5 maintainer this is another sin. So, while MySQL happily uses that weird socket location, PHP5 still expects /tmp/mysql.sock. In other words, PHP and MySQL are not working out of the box when using MacPorts. At least not when relying on Unix domain sockets. It does work when using Internet domain sockets cause that default port, being 3306, has not changed. Btw, the MacPorts maintainer of PHP and MySQL is one and the same person. Sounds familiar? Yes, I also have been thinking about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. No serious. I assume that there is a serious reason why this does not work out of the box as we all wish. I just don’t get it.



written by admin 2634 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories apache httpd, plesk. Tags , .

Plesk is kind of freaky creature. Working with it can be a frustrating experience. Not when working with the graphical web interface. Used in that way, it’s easy to create/modify/remove sub-domains and other important tasks. However, the guys from Paralles do not expect apache to server something else than static pages. How else can it be explained, that touching a vhost.conf file is something that is described in appendix A, Advanced Features, in the Plesk manual?

So just assume that you have create a new subdomain and you want to make your CSS files available via /css instead of going via some hardwired domain URL. So all you want to have is an alias like

Alias /css "/path/to/my/css/folder"

Ok, but where to enter? When you look at the folder structure and files created by Plesk it is by no means clear what to do. But hey, what are manuals good for anyway? What you discover is that Plesk created a folder like


for your subdomain. The folder is empty. It would be really great if Plesk would in addition create a README file in that folder. That file would then state something like this:

To configure your subdomain, add herein a file name vhost.conf. Put any Apache configurations in this file you like but be aware that this file is being included in a virtual host definition.

Once you have have added vhost.conf, please reconfigure this subdomain so that your file is taken into account. You do this by

 $ /usr/local/psa/admin/sbin/websrvmng --reconfigure-all

You need to do this only once, because this command does nothing more than insert a Include statement in /path/to/domain/conf/http.include. But refrain from do it manually because websrvmng will rewrite that file from scratch on the next run.

Oh, and btw notice that regardless of what our manual says you can only have a vhost.conf in a subdomain’s conf folder. Any vhost_ssl.conf therein is not taken into account.

Good luck and have a nice day.

Unfortunately, that README file is missing. Unfortunately.


git-svn article

written by admin 2640 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories git. Tags , , , .

Working with git-svn without upstream (= subversion) branches is kind of no-brainer. It starts to be a different story when branches are involved. I wrote a rather small article about some experiences and experiments taken with git-svn. Please download this article for reading by following the link(s): PDF. HTML.


XeTeX: “Failed to convert input string to UTF16″

written by admin 2641 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories tex. Tags , .

XeTeX allows me to hack away directly in Unicode. But what’s even more cool is that I can just use the fonts installed on my system without diving into some of TeX most darkest corners. However, when I compiled a larger document with xelatex, I faced some strange warnings like

This is XeTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.2-0.9995.2 (TeX Live 2009)
entering extended mode
** WARNING ** Failed to convert input string to UTF16...

and I had no explanation where this might come from. After a divide-and-conquer debugging session, it turned out that my input was just fine. It was rather a setting that caused this warning:

     unicode=true          %  causes UTF-16 warning

After having removed that line, all UTF-16 warnings are gone.


iSync Plugin

written by admin 2644 days ago. Last update at 2013-04-02 16:29:26. Categories macosx.

Uploaded an iSync plugin for the Nokia 2720 (fold) mobile phone. When plugged in, it will become easy to synchronize addresses, events etc. between the mobile phone and your Mac. Just enable Bluetooth on your Mac and on your phone and make sure that they are paired. Then, start-up iSync and add a device. It should find automatically your mobile. Otherwise it will report that your mobile is not supported. Once the device is added, just press the big round button to start syncing.

iSync screenshot with device Nokia 2720 added.

iSync screenshot with device Nokia 2720 added.

The easiest way to install this plugin is by using the nokia-2720a-2.dmg installer package. When being used, the plugin will be installed in folder /Library/PhonePlugins/. To support other installation locations, other package formats have been uploaded as well. To support a private installation, create folder ~/Library/PhonePlugins then download an untar package nokia-2720a-2.phoneplugin.tgz within this folder. Eventually restart iSync and try adding your device again.

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