500 Can’t locate object method “configure” via package “Net::HTTP”

If you’re seeing this error from mod_perl, then probably your CPAN repository has changed. Try restarting Apache so that mod_perl can find everything again.

If you’ve upgraded Apache, you may need to rebuild mod_perl, depending on your deployment.

Anyway, don’t do what I did and waste half-a-day trying to debug the Perl when a simple boot to Apache’s head will show you what’s really going on.

TOAD versus DBVisuzalizer

Earlier this year I began working with Microsoft SQL Server for the first time. Until now I’ve always been in open source databases, either MySQL or PostgreSQL.

At the time I looked around for a SQL Server-specific tool that simplified the process of sorting through table data (basic column sorting, filtering and the like), since SQL Server Studio seemed to focus primarily on managing query results. I tried a couple of tools like EMS’ SQL Manager, but nothing really stood out. Nothing worth paying for at least.

In the end I went back to my old standby, Minq’s DBVisualizer, which I’ve been using on-and-off since it was released back in ’99. It’s extremely convenient to have all one’s working databases, no matter the server, accessible from a single DBVis interface.

Recently, however, an Oracler tipped me off to Quest Software’s Tool for Application Developers (TOAD). Somehow all my googling last spring didn’t turn this up. Despite being a bit sluggish for a native Windows app, so far TOAD seems to be considerably more powerful the DBVis. I’m just scratching the surface, but TOAD’s inline editing of data is certainly more transparent, and includes nifty little touches like a popup calculator for numeric fields, date selectors, etc. The “group by column” feature is especially handy. Searchable built-in knowledgebase is a godsend for folks jumping back and forth between databases. The built-in session monitor is enlightening.

I’ll post more as I explore TOAD’s built in functionality, which seems to include a host of data differs, graph generation, and report designers.

I still wish I could view all my databases from a single dashboard — TOAD has different versions per database. But if you’re working in Windows, and spend a lot of time sifting through and managing data, then I have to say that TOAD has DBVisualizer beat hands down. Certainly worth the price of free.

Silverlight… would appear to suck.

Maybe I’m completely missing the boat here, but Microsoft’s new Silverlight seems to be little more than a cheesy Flash knock-off, minus the standards, supporting technologies, install base, and developer community.

What the heck is Microsoft thinking? Why didn’t they just buy Macromedia like the rumor mill has been threatening for the last half a dozen years? For that matter, why didn’t they release it bundled with Vista so that there would at least be an instant user base?

Unless Redmond does something sneaky, like pushing out Silverlight in automatic service packs, I just don’t see it achieving any market penetration for a long time.. if ever.

Remote Desktop over SSH

For a simple and free (and fairly standard!) way to secure your remote desktop sessions — and without having to figure out the crazy, proprietary Microsoft security stuff — take a look at copSSH. copSSH uses a streamlined Cygwin client to setup an SSH sever on your Windows box.

I’ve recently been using copSSH and PuTTY‘s Pageant authentication agent to tunnel RDP through PuTTY/copSSH SSH connections. Works like a charm.

One gotcha: copSSH doesn’t clean-up after itself well. Consider running taskkill from time-to-time.

C:\WINDOWS\Taskkill /F /IM bash.exe /T

Or if you prefer bashing:

$ kill -9 ps | grep ^I.*bash$ | cut -c2-9

Accrue more than 64 zombied PTYs and you’ll find yourself locked out of the server.

rpm freezes on Redhat 9

This kind of thing is exactly why I dislike Redhat. Probably such problems have been fixed on more recent distributions, however if you encounter a stubborn freeze, try killing the stale locks with rm -f /var/lib/rpm/__db*.

Apparently it will happen after prolonged usage or under heavy load. Or if you mutter nasty things about Bob Young.

Upgrading legacy Redhat 9

I find myself stranded with another piece of shrike Redhat 9 server, somehow sold to an Indian client by Redhat India. (You’d think they would have the decency to say “by the way, there’s the project called Fedora..”) Anyway, I’m eventually going to try to bodysnatch it, but until then it desperately needs some package upgrades, and there’s no way I’m paying for RHN.

Here’s how to do Redhat 9 upgrades for free:

  1. Head over to the excellent RPM repository for legacy and recent Redhat/Fedora distributions maintained by Dag Wieers. He also has a tool called “rpmforge” which seems to help manage the packages (though I haven’t fully figured it out yet — maybe its just the config files for apt, up2date, yum, etc.) From RPMForge.net:
  2. The RPMforge.net project is an independent community-driven project to provide the infrastructure and tools to allow users, developers and packagers to meet and work together to provide and improve RPM packages.

  3. Check the FAQ for the appropriate RPMForge RPM. Install.
  4. Install the appropriate yum RPM. (Though I experimented with up2date, I could only get yum to work. apt-get is also probably okay..)
  5. Copy the yum configuration from /usr/share/doc/rpmforge-release-0.#.#/rpmforge.yum into /etc/yum.conf.
  6. Make sure that baseurl and mirrorlist are uncommented and correctly configured in yum.conf. (This bit threw me.. I have no experience with yum since going Gentoo.)

And that should do it. Running yum update from the command line will do a global system update for you. yum list updates will show you what’s available.

YoLinux has a delicious little yum tutorial, as well as a link to upgrading across releases if you want to enhance flavor and keep the hat on.

Simple protection for Windows Media streams…

For whatever reason this was virtually impossible to find. Even the Great Google knew not.

Hoyasoft Screenshot

Hoyasoft’s Windows Media Server plugin, VideoGuard, enables a wide range of simple content protection mechanisms for video streams: From basic HTTP authentication to referer URL checking to MD5 ticket validation. VideoGuard’s snap-in admin interface is intuitive and makes setting up URL-level authorization and/or authentication strightforward.

Though the documentation could do with a serious overhaul, Hoyasoft’s email-based technical support is quite good. (Thanks Steve!)

And most importantly, VideoGaurd seems to be the only product on the market offering this kind of simple security functionality. (Which should probably have been built into Windows Media Server in the first place…)

Subversion Project Startup Cheat Sheet

This is one of those things I have to do once every so often and that I can never freaking remember how to do.

  1. Create a repository on the server. AFAIK can’t be done over the network; must be done on the machine hosting the repository.

    # svnadmin create /path/to/repositoryname

  2. Import your files (often from a remote machine).

    $ svn import /tmp/project svn://url.com/repositoryname -m "initial freaking import"

  3. Check them out again to your desired directory.

    $ svn checkout svn://url.com/repositoryname

That’s it! See the Quick Start in the online book if you need to mess around with branches and tags and the like.