opinion

Why you need a guest wifi

This is a copy of a post I made at Medium.com, an experiment in distribution and exposure. It wasn’t very successful, so I’ve brought it back home to my blog.

3 min read

Engineers make poor managers

Update: after a back-and-forth with Lindsay, this post should more accurately be titled “Good engineer != good manager”

~1 min read

Buy a watch, save your brain

Jeremy Vandehey points out in “This is your brain on mobile” that buying a watch can reduce the amount of time you spend distracted on your smartphone, since you won’t be whipping it out to check the time, only to repeat a few min later because you’ve forgotten. (this totally happens to me!) I’m holding out for the rumored iWatch before making any purchasing decisions though.

~1 min read

The illusion of speed

An excerpt from the excellent Farnam Street Blog (below). I’m trying to be more intentional about how I spend my time, and be more “present in the moment”. I especially liked the following, re the difference that it makes to slow down, not considering all hours to be equal:

~1 min read

Confirmation Bias

I read Shane Parrish’s mental model on confirmation bias this evening, and found it resonated with me. I’ve notice that once I’ve struggled with a decision and come to a conclusion, then I find myself coming up with more and more reasons why my decision was the right one.

~1 min read

On the joys of Actually Reading

Against the author’s wishes, I’m sharing the article titled “Actually Reading”, a comment on the fact that we (I’m guilty of this) often appreciate an article for it social “sharability” rather than the value it adds to us.

~1 min read
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note

Restart VRRP on JUNOS to fix master/master issues

I spent about 30 min this evening chasing a non-existing VRRP issue between 2 JUNOS SRX devices after a hardware drop-in replacement. One was configured as master, one as backup. Both were in the master status (normally indicating a lack of L2 connectivity), but each could ping the other on their interface address. The solution, ultimately, was to run restart vrrp gracefully on each router, which restored the expected master / backup behavior.

~1 min read

Copying SSH host private keys between JUNOS devices to when replacing hardware

A certain customer of mine is (rightly or wrongly) pedantic about security warnings. Recently, we did a hardware replacement of a JUNOS device (an SRX240 firewall). While the config was a drop-in replacement, users who tried to SSH to the host post-migration would normally see an SSH “host key has changed” warning. In this environment, we wanted to eliminate this friction (and stop training our users to ignore security warnings), so we copied the following from the old device:

~1 min read

Importing existing RAID devices into new Linux installation

Recently I had to rebuild a CentOS5 VM host as CentOS6. My VMs were stored on a RAID1 pair (seperate from the OS disks). To avoid any possibility of impacting the VM data during the re-installation, I removed the VM data disks from the host during the reinstall.

~1 min read

Solving vsftpd’s unsupported record version unknown 48.48 error

I use FTPS with vsftpd to update my WordPress plugins. This means that the wordpress files don’t need to be writeable by the webserver user, which adds another layer of protection and separation. I make FTPS available to localhost only, and force SSL encryption end-to-end.

~1 min read

Postfix config on OSX Mountain Lion (Server) not where you expect

I spent the better part of an hour wondering why my postfix main.cf config changes didn’t apply on a OSX Mountain Lion server. Turns out that because “OSX Server” no longer exists (it’s just Server.app now), the postfix files specific to the Mail component of the server now live at:

~1 min read

Fixed Cacti not displaying interfaces for HP 1810G switch

While implementing a new network for a customer, we took an existing HP 1810G 48-port switch under management. As per normal, we setup monitoring (Icinga) and graphing (Cacti), but while the switch responded to Cacti sysname polls (leading us to believe it was happy), it didn’t return any interface details, so we weren’t able to graph anything.

~1 min read

Workaround for the Cacti segmentation fault on CentOS5

Seems a little dumb, and I’m not sure how other distributions deal with it, but if you install Cacti from RPM on CentOS, and then browse to your /cacti/ directory via HTTP, you’ll find that it dies with a segmentation fault. You know this is you if every other website on your host works, but everytime you go to your /cacti/ URL, your browser reports that the site is totally unavailable (as if apache weren’t even running).

~1 min read

Clearing static nat on Cisco router

I was asked to change a incoming NAT translation on a Cisco router for a customer today - however since this NAT was used to deliver all their internal email, it was never not in use, and I got the standard message below when trying to clear it:

~1 min read
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how-to

Monitoring OSX with Icinga / Nagios using NRPE

I have a fairly comprehensive Icinga monitoring platform monitoring my various linux hosts, but one area which has been lacking until now is the monitoring of the OSX Mavericks Mac Mini that I use for a home media center. Considering this is used by my family to watch TV/Movies, play music, and manage iPhoto, it’s arguably one of the most important hosts to monitor carefully. Of course, I could monitor its state (up or down) by pinging it from Icinga, but I wanted to know more than that. I’ve had issues in the past with running out of disk space on the host, and I’m all to familiar with the risks of 4-year-old hardware using spindled disks. This solution enables me to monitor the following on OSX with Icinga:

1 min read

Monitoring Veeam Backup and Replication 7 with Icinga / Nagios

We’ve recently deployed a Veeam Backup and Replication 7 platform, and needed to monitor the ongoing success of the backup / replication jobs. I identified a plugin which does most of what’s required, but seems to have 2 current shortcomings: 1. In-progress jobs trigger false warnings 2. Date calculation doesn’t always work, and produces false warnings

~1 min read

Convert (liberate) Audible AAC files to MP3

I was an Audible subscriber for over 2 years, and although I’m no longer active on a plan, I still have 50+ books that I’ve legitimately purchased. Each of them, however, is locked to my Audible username and password. I don’t tolerate DRM where possible, and I’ve done enough system reloads / iPod upgrades to be frustrated at the need to authorize my new devices, and de-authorize my old ones. (and get Audible to reset my devices, since it’s impossible to de-authorize a dead computer!)

1 min read

Convert a .BIN file to .TRX for OpenWRT / DD-WRT

I recently had reason to convert the latest DD-WRT firmware .bin file to .trx format, so that I could manually flash my WRT54GL. Not wanting to risk it, I first converted the .bin image with the following command:

~1 min read
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bookmarks

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howto

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project

WP-PHPList

The WP-PHPlist plugin integrates PHPList into your Wordpress blog, giving you all the mailing list power of PHPList, within the beautiful styling, theme, and widgets of your Wordpress theme.

3 min read

Bandersnatch - The Jabber Logger

Bandersnatch is tool to log Jabber instant messaging traffic, and to generate meaningful usage statistics. Bandersnatch is designed for a corporate intranet environment. It is designed for administrators who wish to monitor the use / abuse of their Jabber servers.

1 min read
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postmortem

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book

phpList 2 Email Campaign Manager

Tired of an e-mail BCC list that scrolls off the page, or fiddly and hard-to-manage bulk mailing systems? You need phpList – a high-powered, robust, feature-packed mailing system that will get out of your way and get the job done!

2 min read

JACJ Manual

In preparing an author bio (harder than it sounds!) for a PHPList book I’ve been authoring, I dug up this old copy of a JAJC (a win32 jabber client) manual I wrote in 2003, using Docbook XML.

~1 min read
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review

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lesson

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