April 25, 2010

Iceland Report, Part 2: Haimaey

Filed under: Iceland, Not Tech, Travel — Chris @ 4:03 pm

A puffin

Today’s subject is Haimaey, the largest of the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). The key attractions on Haimaey are the lava flows of Eldfell, dramatic ocean cliffs, and lots and lots of puffins. The following are not attractions on Haimaey: nightlife, comfortable hotels, a large selection of quality restaurants, or accurate maps.

H recommends that you stay at the campsite on the North side of the island. I was intrigued by a little hostel that we passed on the Southern part of the island (here, I believe), but I can find no information about it on the Internet. Perhaps they don’t welcome foreign tourists.

The thing to do in Haimaey, if you’re not a rock climber (and I’m not), is to walk along the coast and spot puffins. The trail on the West side of the island starts rather vaguely near the golf course. Walk down Hamarsvegur to somewhere near the clubhouse, cut across the course to the top of the cliffs, then turn South. At this point, you’ll still be on the golf course and may be in the way. As you head further South, the course will end and you will find yourself on a reasonably unambiguous hiking trail, continuing pretty much uninterrupted down to the Southern tip of the island.

On the Southern tip, you are face with a choice: double back the way you came, walking up the Western coast, or forge ahead to the East, where the trail is not nearly so well marked and you will be blocked from making a full circuit by the airstrip in the center of the island. Taking the (bad) advice of The Rough Guide, we tried the latter course. It starts off well, with an interesting black sand beach, but then the trail sort of disappears. We reached a fence with no stile and were forced to scramble up a fairly steep hill and then improvise.

Not that it was a total loss. There were ponies

Feeding the pony dandelion greens

and sheep


but in the end, we had to walk at least a kilometer back into town, sore and tired, along the puffinless road.


A last word of advice: don’t bother trying the puffin, it’s not very tasty. Instead, have a delicious lamb “boat” sandwich with crispy fried onions.


April 8, 2010

Program Note

Filed under: Top Chef, TV — Chris @ 7:25 am

I will not be blogging about the second season of Top Chef Masters. First of all, I really should be writing my thesis. Secondly, I already have two series of posts that I’m months behind on. Lastly, it’s a good show and all, but everybody’s too good all the time, and mostly pretty nice. There’s hardly anything to kvetch about.

Best wishes and happy Spring,
The proprietor

April 5, 2010

QEMU on Ubuntu

Filed under: Linux, Tech — Chris @ 9:22 pm

It was a lot easier to set up QEMU than I expected it would be. Easier even than the online tutorials make it seem.

  1. apt-get install qemu-kvm qemu-kvm-extras
  2. Download a prebuild image for the guest system you want to run. In my case, I wanted armel, which meant I also had to download initrd and vmlinuz images.
  3. If you want to copy files from the host system (i.e., your computer) into the guest, you need to make a “raw” image that you can mount from both sides:
    $ qemu-img create data.img <SIZE>
    Formatting 'data.img', fmt=raw size=...
    $ mke3fs -j data.img
    mke2fs 1.41.9 (22-Aug-2009)
    data.img is not a block special device.
    Proceed anyway? (y,n) y
    $ sudo mount -o rw,loop data.img <MOUNT_POINT>

    <SIZE> is a size in kilobytes, or use suffixes M and G for megabytes/gigabytes. The image only has to be big enough to temporarily hold the data you want to copy; you can move it to the guest’s root filesystem before you start working with it.

    <MOUNT_POINT> is any existing empty directory where you want to mount the image. I just made a directory foo in the same directory as the image.

    You should copy over any data now, because apparently it would be VERY BAD to do that while QEMU is running.

  4. Now it’s time to start the sucker. An example command line will be given in the README for the image you downloaded. I use:
    qemu-system-arm -M versatilepb -kernel vmlinuz-2.6.26-1-versatile \
        -initrd initrd.img-2.6.26-1-versatile -hda debian_lenny_armel_small.qcow2 \
        -hdb data.img -append "root=/dev/sda1"

    Notice the -hdb data.img argument. That sets up the data image we set up in the last step as a disk drive in the guest system. You can probably login as user with password user. The root password is probably root.

  5. Once you’re logged in, make a directory to use as a mount point, then su and do:
    mount -t ext3 /dev/sdb <MOUNT_POINT>
  6. Now you can copy over your data. And here’s the beautiful part: you should be able to get on the network with no problem. If you need anything that’s not installed, just apt-get update and then apt-get install the missing package. Should work, no problem.

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