Monday 27 March 2006

Learning more about EFI systems

I've been interested in the inner workings of cars and engines for a few years now, in particular engine management systems. One project that has my attention is MegaSquirt which is an Electronic Fuel Injection controller intended to teach people how EFI works. I've decided to get in on the action, but since my soldering skills are a bit rusty I'm starting with the MegaStim kit (much easier to build) which is a small diagnostics device used to test out MegaSquirt hardware. I purchased the kit from and I was impressed with the service, I'll get the rest of my MegaSquirt gear from them for sure. Even if I don't end up using MegaSquirt for anything, I'm sure it will still be worth it for the experience.

Monday 13 March 2006

Fight against dirty wheels

I don't know what it is with European cars but most of them come standard with brake pads that love to totally cover the wheels with carbon. I've attached a picture of what my wheels look like when it's been a couple of weeks since the last wash. Next service I'm supplying a set of EBC Greenstuff brake pads which should hopefully put an end to this problem, I'll keep you posted.

Keeping up with multiple Blogs

After a quick search for RSS aggregators, I found Google Reader to do exactly what I want. It saves so much of my time monitoring RSS feeds from a central location, and being web-based means I can access it from anywhere. In case you are wondering, I don't work for Google!

Update: Since publishing this, I've had a few people tell me how much Google Reader sucks compared to the alternatives out there. Greg Black recommended Bloglines to me, and after giving it a go I must say that it's a much better solution. Looks like I'll stick with this one for a while.

Sunday 12 March 2006

Dealing with Japanese imports

A number of my friends have recently purchased Japanese cars. One of the minor issues that is often overlooked is the lack of ability to tune into any FM radio stations above 90MHz. Since I was working on one of these said cars this afternoon I thought it would be a good time to mention this problem. Among other things, be prepared to replace the stereo if you import!

Even into taking these things into consideration, Japanese imports are still great value! You get way more car for your dollar.

Friday 10 March 2006

Interesting Microsoft disclaimer

Hotmail's disclaimer caught my attention whilst I was troubleshooting an Internet connection using netcat. Looks like they're either hiring the Mafia to do their dirty work, or taking matters into their own hands:
Violations will result in use of equipment located in California and other states.
This disclaimer is displayed when you first connect to the SMTP port of I have no idea what kind of torture the disclaimer implies but I'd rather not find out!

Thursday 9 March 2006

Other efforts to stop Spam

Watching the logs closely after my Greylisting install made me notice just how many attempts are being made to deliver junk to my mail server. I thought I'd add some a few more checks to Postfix so the messages don't even make it to the Greylisting stage. The most effective ones are; requiring a fully qualified HELO string (you'd be surprised how many Spammers just use HELO localhost), and checking that the sender exists before accepting the message. This is done with reject_non_fqdn_hostname under smtpd_recipient_restrictions, and reject_unverified_sender under smtpd_sender_restrictions respectively. A good guide on how to set up sender verification can be found on the Postfix website.

Wednesday 8 March 2006

Sick of Spam

For some reason, Spammers love my e-mail address. I'm guessing it's one of my posts to Usenet where they have harvested my particular address. I've been looking into Greylisting recently to help combat the situation, specifically Postgrey (I use the Postfix MTA).

Since setting this up, I have yet to receive an unsolicited message! That's a big difference considering I was getting around 50 junk messages a day beforehand. Installation was very simple under Debian as it has already been packaged, so you just need to apt-get it and add a check_policy_service line to your smtpd_recipient_restrictions in