Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Get your bugles ready - it's Taps for WInamp

Now before you say anything, I know Winamp isn't native to Linux (and yes, you can run it under Wine), but like most Linux users our there, you've probably had to run either a dual boot or dual systems with Windows boxen at some point.  Back in the 90's I did just that.  I spent many hours listening to tunes served up off of a Slackware box to my desktop using Winamp.  Granted, I haven't used Winamp in years, but I was still sad to read today that it's going the way of the dodo.  Apparently AOL (yes, they are still around, too!) managed to foul something else up and drove them into the ground.  I think the only positive thing that AOL will ever be remembered for was their endless supply of free floppy disks and beer coasters.

After 15 years of llama-whipping, AOL shuts down Winamp for good

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What happened to the SourceForge that we used to know?

One can't mention open source software and not think of SourceForge, the once de facto haven for almost any major FOSS project.  There are others that have sprung up over time and lured developers away whether due to better features or the lack of an ever increasing onslaught of ads, but SF has still managed to survive.  Now there is another nail in the slowly creaking coffin  - bundled "crapware."  Take a look at this article from The Register.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mounting SMB shares with spaces in the name

I had a situation pop up recently where I needed to mount an SMB (CIFS) share from a WIndows server on an Ubuntu based machine via the fstab, but hit a small snag - spaces in the share name.  Why in the name of all that is good Windows admins insist on doing this is beyond me, but I did find a good blog post on how to deal with it without involving ammunition.

fstab mounting cifs shares with spaces in the name

Simple character substitution... nice!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On the subject of DDoS...

I suppose it's the theme for the day.  Another really cool discovery I made recently is the Digital Attack Map:

It pretty much speaks for itself.  I'll put a permanent link to this handy page in the Resources section.

Google rolls out Project Shield DDoS attack mitigation service

I noticed on Engadget the other day that Google has rolled out a new service named Project Shield which is aimed at small static websites targeted by DDoS attacks.  This is a pretty cool gesture for those who have something to say but may very well fall victim to attackers who want to silence them.  Take a look at the article for more info.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Duplicate output with Tee

Quite frequently I'll run across a previously unknown gem that keeps my head from getting too big.  It doesn't matter how long you've been doing this type of work, there are things that everyone can learn.  I had a situation the other day where I needed to direct the output from a process to both a file and std out.  Now there are several ways one can accomplish this, whether with named pipes or a bit of creative redirects.  I did a bit of research and found that there is a tool just for such an occasion - tee.

Think of a T-fitting used in plumbing and you get the idea.  By piping output to tee, you can still get the output via std out but also send it to a file.  It's a standard *nix command, so check out the man page for more info.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How to edit multiple files automatically with vim

From time to time I may have a slew of files that I need to make bulk changes to but don't want to edit each one by hand.  A quick and easy way to do this is by using vim's -c option.  For those of you who are thinking "what about sed?" just hold on to your seat.  The sed command is also a favorite of mine, but the mood just struck me today to talk about vim.

Almost everyone who uses Unix or Linux agrees that vim (or vi for the super-hardcore folks) is the editor of choice.  Pico and nano are for sissies.  Emacs, you say?  I believe the old joke goes "Emacs is a great operating system but lacks a good editor."  I give you a +1 if you get the joke.  Kidding aside, let me get to the point of the post.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Noah must have forgotten these

Still cleaning today.  The Windows admin found these and left them on my desk.  As the WAN guy said, "you never know when you'll have to break out some 10base-T or coax!"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Unix beard?

Cleaning my desk today and found a Dilbert cartoon that a co-worker had left for me some months ago.  Probably a statement as to the ridiculous beard and handlebar mustache that I was growing at the time, but funny nonetheless.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BuzzFeed "features" Backtrack Linux 5 in article detailing Jigsaw exploit

There is an interesting article on BuzzFeed today about spear-phishing Jigsaw via a Ruby based exploit.  While it doesn't specifically name Backtrack, all of the screenshots feature it prominently.

Image courtesy of BuzzFeed

At first glance, one might assume that Backtrack is the demon-spawn tool of the nefarious Chinese or Russian hacker, hunched over their laptop in some dimly lit, musty room.  Backtrack can be used that way, but it is actually recognized as one of the most well-known pen-testing and forensics suites out there today.  You can look at it in the same way that one would look at a hammer - you can choose to use it as a useful tool or a murder weapon.  Backtrack Linux is the same way.  If you need a tool to determine where your vulnerabilities are, then give it a try.

You can find the article here:  The Simple Tool That Allows Anyone To Be A Hacker

Backtrack Linux is available at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A good job is hard to find

I know we have a lot of folks looking for work here in the US, but apparently things are really bad in Bangladesh.  A co-worker forwarded a copy of a cover letter received by a friend of his back home in Bangladesh and it is nothing less than hilarious.

I suppose the take away from this is to always consult the obituaries along with job postings when looking for work. - Great free off-site monitoring

Picture this - your ISP just went down, taking your web sites with it.  Not to worry!  You have monitoring in place on your network to let you know when one of your servers or sites is offline, but...

Your monitoring solution sends its notifications via the very same internet connection.

How will you ever know that your sites are down?  If you have the resources you can set up monitoring from an external source as well, but what if that's not an option?  If this scenario keeps you awake at night, then perhaps you should look into allows you to monitor not only HTTP and HTTPS, but other services such as FTP, SSH and MySQL.  The service is easy to setup and the free version offers many options.  Here is the dialog that you get when creating a new monitor:

Several options are available and the interface is very easy to understand.  In addition to external monitoring,  you can also install agents on hosts to report back to on various system attributes.   I haven't tried this option, but I am sure that there are those who might find this useful.

Monitoring intervals for the free version are 30 minutes, but more frequent checks as well as increased monitoring sources are available for a charge.  With the free version you also get a weekly email report giving you a summary of uptime and SLA's.

I use in conjunction with Opsview so that if my ISP circuit goes down I still have a failsafe.  Between the two, it makes a pretty complete monitoring setup.

Monday, August 19, 2013

NetApp stats in Splunk

I just recently found a great new app for Splunk - the Splunk App for NetApp ONTAP.  If you only have a small NetApp environment, trying to get quick and easy historical stats couldn't be easier.  NetApp does provide the OnCommand suite which gives reporting, but to be completely honest, for small environments I just don't think it's worth it.  OnCommand is large, bloated, cumbersome to deploy and, well, crap.  

The Splunk App for NetApp Ontap deploys in minutes and easy to set up.  You get great insight into your environment right out of the box, and did I mention that it's free?  Yes, free!  Like so many other great apps out there for Splunk, it is community developed and supported.  It's well worth your time to check it out.  If you have the slighted bit of experience with Splunk, then you'll find that it is very simple to write custom reports using the app and extract virtually any kind of capturable data from your NetApp filers.  Needless to say, my OnCommand install is about to get nuked!

Monday, August 12, 2013

How many does it take?

So, we're moving old equipment today and this just struck me as a bit funny:

How many IT guys does it take to install a shelf in a rack?

"Four.  Three plus some idiot to take the picture," as my boss replied.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Opsview review (finally)

Well folks, after an extremely extended period of silence I'm going to try and get back to keeping this blog updated.  As promised, here are my thoughts on Opsview.

I've been a fan of Nagios for a long time, but as anyone who has used it knows, it can be a pain to maintain in it's basic form and is ugly to boot.  This is where Opsview comes into play.  It is a very well thought out and implemented iteration of Nagios that addresses many complaints that I have with the plain vanilla package.