Buying a stroller

Hello everyone.

I became a father in 2014 and now I really learn to appreciate the stroller we bought. Since it was a quite cumbersome decision I want to share my experiences with you. I found it quite hard to select a proper one despite all the ratings around.

  • Folding
    • Steps required: This is quite straight forward. Check how big the stroller is when it folds. Is it  one step or does it require several. In our case it were several. Removing the baby bowl folding the stroller and removing front and back wheels separately. At least 6 separate steps if you count the folding as one. For us compact sizing was not that important.
    • Complexity of folding: This may seem strange. However, especially when folding does not work smoothly it can be an issue for other people like grandpa and grandma. My grandfather still struggles with our stroller. So if you plan to share you stroller with a babysitter or similar this might be an issue for you.Vintage Stroller
  • Horizontal distance between grip and stroller compared to your step width
    • What does this mean? So let’s say you are a big guy and you want to enjoy “strolling”. Imagine your feet always touching the stroller or alternatively stoop when this does not fit. So if you are bigger than let’s say 180cm, check if you can walk quickly without stooping our touching the stroller with your feet. Good strollers provide an adjustable grip to deal with these cases.
  • Wheels
    • Size of the wheels: In short: Bigger is better. Why? The bigger the wheels the less they are prone to obstacles on your way. On rough paths for example, it will be much easier for you to push the stroller as small wheels tend to abruptly stop in front of an obstacle.
    • Chassis clearance: This one seems odd but actually it can come in handy quite often. The chassis clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest part of your stroller. If it is too small then escalators entering a bus can get tricky. With a higher chassis clearance you can put your stroller skewed on escalators. The front wheels on the upper stair and the back wheels on the lower stair (which is not a problem for the child if you go upstairs). When entering a bus you might be able to just tilt the stroller and get in with the front wheels and lift the back wheels afterwards. Especially if your are using these low floor buses quite common in Europe. Good strollers may provide a flexible lower stroller basket which allows for more chassis clearance when needed.
    • Air wheels: This one is a no-brainer. On rough underground air wheels provide additional suspension to the child. Good strollers have this. However, if you do not plan to use non-flat underground this may not be that important to you.
    • Fully rotating wheels at the front + fixable: Do you plan to use your stroller a lot in small places like public transport or a mall? Yes? Then you should go for fully rotating front wheels which make a huge difference when maneuvering through clothes hangers, within a bus or in other compact places.
      If you plan to go jogging with the stroller then fixable or even fix wheels might be the way to go. The faster you go the less useful rotating wheels tend to be.
  • Weight
    • Total weight: Pretty standard. The less weight the better. You will have to lift your stroller quite often. This helps.
    • Weight of the baby bowl: You will be using the baby bowl only the first months but you will carry it around a lot in theses days. So for obvious reasons, it helps when it is lightweight.
  • Rain / Sun hood:
    • Yes it may rain and thus a rain hood is pretty standard. However, often it is sold separately. There might be even a separate rain hood for the baby bowl and the buggy  attachment. For both of them it can help if they also support the lying position, if your child is asleep and you need to  change locations in the rain. It also helps when they have a zipper to open up the front when you go from outside to somewhere inside and do not not want to remove the complete rain hood every time. For the sun hood be sure to check if it still works when the child is lying. Good strollers provide an extensible one when you choose the lying position.
  • Shopping basket
    • Well yes. You will be carrying around a lot of additional stuff for your child so why not use this situation to put all your other belongings into the stroller. Good strollers offer a lot of storage.
  • Suspension:
    • Yes. suspension is also important. Dependent on the stroller you will find several approaches. Suspension is usually introduced within the frame but may not be limited to that. Some stroller offer air wheels or even include single wheel suspension. But be aware. The fancier the suspension the easier it will break usually. This happened to a friend of mine.
  • Durability
    • That goes without saying. Imagine your child falling out of the stroller because it breaks. Nothing I want to think of when using an escalator or quickly lifting the stroller up somewhere. So test before you buy. Usual lifting is done via the bar and somewhere in the front. So there should be stable positions to do this.
  • Child position:
    • Height of the sitting child: Yes your child wants to look at things :). Some strollers tend to be quite low. This may annoy your child when it cannot see the table in a restaurant when you are using it as a child seat replacement or when you are going through areas with many people.
  • Lying position of the buggy attachment:
    • Especially a smaller child goes to bed early. If you are not at home and cannot use a baby bed, then it temporarily can help if you can change the buggy to a comfortable lying position.
  • Attachable “maxi cosi” child seat adapter
    • When you use your car very often this can help. For some strollers you can put a maxi cosi child seat on top of the general stroller and thus move your baby from car to stroller easily without waking it up.
  • “Toppling prevention”
    • Your stroller should not easily topple. Especially stroller with big three wheels seem to be affected by this. So if you are buying a stroller be sure to check how easily it topples. Be also sure to check where additional bags can be put. If they tend to be placed where the handle is and the stroller easily topples to the back…
  • Brakes
    • If you plan to go jogging with your stroller, this is a must. In every other case it is barely needed if you are not living in a very hilly area.

So I hope this helps. In the end, we bought the Mutsy IGO with a little help from my parents. So far we are very happy with it.

If I could help you, you have feedback or anything else, please drop a comment.


Gnome desktop interfering with KDE’s desktop

Recently I ran into the problem that after resuming from standby and changing my display configuration my desktop seemed to be no longer displayed.

After a bit of searching, I found out that the KDE desktop was still running but my Gnome desktop installed in parallel was started and was covering it. For this reason, I saw an empty desktop. The problem is that somehow nautilus is started when using a KDE session. Nautilus is not only a file manager but also starts the desktop component which then can interfere with KDE’s desktop.

In order to prevent nautilus from starting the desktop component, you can use gconf-editor to reconfigure nautilus. Start gconf-editor and navigate to apps/nautilus/preferences in its folder structure and uncheck “show desktop”. After that the desktop will not be automatically started when nautilus is started.

As I am only using nautilus within KDE and not Gnome as a window manager this is of no problem for me. If you also use Gnome in a session you probably have to check if your Gnome session still behaves correctly with the same user.

KMail/Kontact 4.4 very slow after startup in Gentoo

I have got plenty to do at the moment. So please excuse the lack of updates. The pipeline is quite full though ;-).

So, just one short thing I found out:

If you experience a strange slow down of KMail/Kontact 4.4.10 after a KDE upgrade in gentoo, reemerge kdepim related packages.

If you use eix you can easily find these packages by typing eix -I kdepim . I do not know if all packages are related but it does not hurt to rebuild them all after a kde update.

You can do this with one command like this:
emerge -1va `eix kdepim -I –only-names`

After that KMail/kontact worked again as expected.


Synchronizing Android without Google – finally

A few days ago I finally got it working. I now can synchronize my calendar and addressbook from my Android mobile (with synthesis syncml) to egroupware 1.8 and access this synchronized information via web interface or directly in Linux via GroupDAV with KDE’s Kontact/Akonadi (Kaddressbook, Kalendar) applications.

It was a stony path, though. Installing egroupware, activating its SyncML interface and allowing my egroupware user to use it went flawlessly apart from the fact that a new synchronizing account on my mobile (created with synthesis) had to be named (both parts of he account) after the mail address of the user registered in egroupware.

Accessing the synchronized data in eGroupware- with Kontact, turned out to be a real challenge , however. Despite several howtos for the 1.6 version in the internet I could not get it working with version 1.8. The authentication of Kontact at egroupware always failed with my hosted cgi based PHP solution.
After hours of debugging and looking through the code I found out that, the base64 encoding of the authentication information is not decoded correctly which is why authentication credentials cannot be extracted and thus egroupware authentication fails.

TortoiseSVN 1.6.11 and “SSL handshake failed” issues

Hello folks,
I have discovered the issue with TortoiseSVN and a failing SSL handshake. After fiddling around for quite a long time, I found out, that the issue with the SSL handshake is not related to the SVN server but to the TortoiseSVN client version or in particular its linkage against different versions of Neon.

TortoiseSVN 1.6.11 links against Neon 0.29.4 whereas the working TortoiseSVN 1.6.10 links against Neon 0.29.3. The current development version of the 1.6. branch of TortoiseSVN also links against Neon 0.29.3 and works, too. Together with the fact that Neon announces “Fix GnuTLS handshakes failures with ‘TLS warning alert’ (Bryan Cain)” as a release note for Neon 0.29.5, I strongly suspect the linkage against the 0.29.4 version of Neon as the culprit for all the errors.

For all people using TortoiseSVN and experiencing these errors this means either to downgrade to TortoiseSVN 1.6.10 or to use the latest development version of the 1.6 branch until the issue is resolved.

Update: Bug is taken care of. See .

Best Regards,


Additional Information

Creating a DOS boot CD with custom data for BIOS updates with the help of K3B in Linux

A few months ago, I came across the problem of creating a DOS-based bootable CD-ROM with custom data on it. I needed the image to upgrade an old mainboard BIOS. Sadly the manufacturer did not provide a bootable CD by himself. It took me quite a long time to get the image working. Either the image would not boot or my custom data was not available. If you ever find yourself in the same situation and you are using a Desktop Linux for creating the images, I might have a nice solution for you.

In the following, I will describe how to create a bootable DOS based ISO with custom data on it with Linux command line tools and K3B.
But first things first.

I will use the following programs/configurations in this post.


  • Burning tool K3B –
  • Loop device mounting in kernel:
    -> Device Drivers
    -> Block devices (BLK_DEV [=y])
    -> Loopback device Support (CONFIG_BLK_DEV_LOOP)[/code]
  • DOS Boot image drdos.img ( from
  • Prepared K3B project file –
  • File structure: The K3B file provided assumes the following file structure:tmp

    drdos.img # original/ extendable dos disk image
    loop/ # mount point for extendable dos image
    dosimg.iso # created iso image with K3B


Preparing the disk image

  1. Download DOS boot image (see above) and extract drdos.img to folder /tmp/dos-iso/img
  2. Prepare the DOS files you want to access out of the running dos
  3. [code lang=”bash”]#mount DOS image with loop interface
    mount -o loop /tmp/dos-iso/img/drdos.img /tmp/dos-iso/loop/[/code]
  4. copy your DOS files to the mounted loop/ folder from the last step
  5. [code lang=”bash”]
    #unmount loop file
    umount /tmp/dos-iso/loop/ [/code]


Writing the extended ISO Image

  1. Start K3B
  2. Open prepared K3B project from
  3. Check if correct boot image was selected (default from K3B project “/tmp/dos-iso/img/drdos.img”), otherwise
    1. Click paper with pencil icon
    2. Click “new…”
    3. Select extended drdos.img with files
    4. Leave other options untouched
  4. “Burn” iso image to a file for testing it before burning. Default location with K3B file should be “/tmp/dos-iso/dosimg.iso”


Testing the created boot image

  1. Install kvm or other virtualisation software
  2. Start iso from commandline [code lang=”bash”]kvm -cdrom /tmp/dos-iso/dosimg.iso[/code]
  3. In the kvm window you should see something like “Starting Caldera DR-DOS…”
  4. Then you should get a commandline asking for the date (just hit enter)
  5. After that you should get a line looking like “A:\>_”
  6. Type in “dir” hit enter and check if you see all files from the drdos.img prepared before

If everything works… Congratulations! You can now burn the CD from the ISO image, start your computer with it and access your copied files out of a running DOS.

If it does not work for you or if you have any other suggestions, drop me a comment on this post.

Best Regards,


Server Optimization II – Apache

As already stated I do not want to reinvent the wheel at this point. There are many excellent tutorials like e.g. this one concerning the optimization of Apache. For this reason I only want to give a few short hints how I did the optimization in Gentoo. I only did a few and not all of the possible steps so be sure to read the mentioned tutorial (or others) carefully to identify the correct steps for you. In this post I will only mention software optimization which only brings small performance enhancements. If your server is seriously struggling under tons of requests, consider upgrading your hardware, too.

I did the following software related optimizations on Gentoo.

Cleaning the apache module list

Identifying the minimal module list for your configuration can be quite time consuming because often (at least in my case) you do not exactly know, which module provides which feature.
You can find a list of all modules and a link to their documentation in the Gentoo wiki. Personally I use php, url rewriting, logging, cgi, basic authentication, vhosts and subversion (and several other smaller features) and found the following list to be working for me. Insert your list into /etc/make.conf as the APACHE2_MODULES variable.

This is my configuration:

[code]APACHE2_MODULES=”actions alias asis auth_basic authn_alias authn_anon authn_default authn_file authz_default authz_user authz_host autoindex cgi dav deflate dir env expires filter headers log_config logio mime negotiation rewrite setenvif status unique_id vhost_alias dav_fs dav_lock dumpio ext_filter imagemap mime_magic”[/code]

For testing out needed modules, you do not need to recompile apache every time. Within a dynamic module configuration it is enough to edit the /etc/apache/httpd.conf, comment out the questionable modules, restart apache and determine if your applications still work as expected. But when you know which modules are needed, change the mentioned variable so that you do not have to compile unnecessary modules when you update apache.

After changing this variable you have to recompile and restart apache. Before you restart you should (if needed) update your config files because new modules may add new LoadModule definitions to httpd.conf. Be also sure to check for <IfDefine …> directives which only activate modules, if you added the value after IfDefine as an -D argument to /etc/conf.d/apache2.

Choosing the right MPM (Multi Processing Module)

When choosing the MPM I took the advice of the tutorial mentioned before and use the prefork module because our server only has two cores. If you want to save some compile time you can tell portage to only compile this MPM by setting APACHE2_MPMS=”prefork” in the make.conf. Like all other apache modules in Gentoo the worker can be configured in /etc/apache2/modules.d/ in 00_mpm.conf. In this file you can change essential parameters like the processes or threads apache should create on startup. You can see which MPMS are available and which parameters they use here.

Deactivating overrides and symbolic links

Deactivating overrides means deactivating .htaccess files in every directory which will be nearly impossible for hosting providers. But if you are the only one who updates the configuration or can manage to be the only one who does these updates, you can save significant processing time. The same applies to symbolic links. If you want to know how to do deactivate these features, look at the tutorial mentioned in the beginning (also for the deactivation of HostnameLookups).

Further optimizations

If you want to optimize apache further consider using a cache. Apache itself has several options described in the Caching Guide. Apart from that you can use a caching reverse proxy as for example Varnish to cache and redirect your requests between different servers.

I hope this article and the further documentation gave a rough overview of tuning apache for sites with numerous requests and helps you saving hardware.

Comments and corrections are, as always, welcome
Happy tuning


WLAN access over SSID “802.1X” or “UniBamberg-802.1X” at the university of Bamberg with Linux and wicd

It took me hours to figure out that a certificate file/chain is not needed to use the 802.1x authentication with Linux at my university in Bamberg.
To use wicd as authentication client which again uses wpa_supplicant, you have to create a new wicd template however.

You can either read the original forum post here or continue reading.

First create the new file /etc/wicd/encryption/templates/peap-mschapv2 and insert the following content:

[code lang=bash]name = PEAP with MSCHAPv2
author = ElitestFX
version = 1
require identity *Identity password *Password

After that activate the template by adding the filename (peap-mschapv2 in our case) into a new line in /etc/wicd/encryption/templates/active .

Finally restart the wicd daemon
[code lang=bash]/etc/init.d/wicd restart[/code]

and choose the template PEAP with MSCHAPv2 in the wicd gui in the properties of the network. Insert your identity (eg. baxxxxxx) and password (your login password from the data center (RZ)) and connect successfully.

Happy surfing,