Tuesday, January 28, 2014

thinking about it ops: paying dues

There are some familiar dues when you take shortcuts in IT. I'll try to add to them as time passes.

1) not patching, not being on top of patching

lots of vulnerabilities show up when performing it sec scans
no knowledge of acceptable downtime when you need to patch
increased risk to new viruses and exploits
if you are under a time constraint to patch, you made the list much longer than if you were actively patching

2) not documenting, or not documenting properly

if something you own goes down when on vacation, expect to be called
when time passes, expect to spend time relearning what was done
no one else can learn and assist unless you dedicate a lot of time to tribal knowledge

3) not training others

you either will never stop owning a platform, or still be called once you have moved to another position
when considering who to promote from a team, the fierce owner will be less likely to be promoted, since there is no one to fill the gap

4) not managing the server lifecycle

no one knows when the server was bought, by who, for what
any specific info regarding the server is lost with time
unclear who manages or who it's downtime affects
unclear what needs to be backed up, what can be deleted when space is filled
unclear what servers and services it affects if decomissioned
no trail on how the server and it's data was disposed

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Broadcom Corporation BCM4352 802.11ac and kmod-wl has inconsistent or slow internet with channel 11 wifi

This was a weird one. Every device in my house was ok with my AP broadcasting over channel 11, but fedora 20 with BCM4352, installed using "yum install kmod-wl" from the rpmfusion repositories, had very erratic behaviour.

Someone in a forum had asked a person with a similar problem to show what channel they were using, and it made me check my home settings. I tested and was able to connect satisfactorily to another wifi network, which was on channel 01. I switched my AP's radio from channel 11 to channel 1, and it's been working perfectly now.

A command to display what channel is being used is

$ iwlist wlp3s0 freq
wlp3s0    26 channels in total; available frequencies :
          Channel 01 : 2.412 GHz
          Channel 02 : 2.417 GHz
          Channel 03 : 2.422 GHz
          Channel 04 : 2.427 GHz
          Channel 05 : 2.432 GHz
          Channel 06 : 2.437 GHz
          Channel 07 : 2.442 GHz
          Channel 08 : 2.447 GHz
          Channel 09 : 2.452 GHz
          Channel 10 : 2.457 GHz
          Channel 11 : 2.462 GHz
          Channel 12 : 2.467 GHz
          Channel 13 : 2.472 GHz
          Channel 14 : 2.484 GHz
          Channel 36 : 5.18 GHz
          Channel 38 : 5.19 GHz
          Channel 40 : 5.2 GHz
          Channel 42 : 5.21 GHz
          Channel 44 : 5.22 GHz
          Channel 46 : 5.23 GHz
          Channel 48 : 5.24 GHz
          Channel 149 : 5.745 GHz
          Channel 153 : 5.765 GHz
          Channel 157 : 5.785 GHz
          Channel 161 : 5.805 GHz
          Channel 165 : 5.825 GHz
          Current Frequency:2.412 GHz (Channel 1)

where wlp3s0 is your interface. you can use tab to fill it in, or get the name from ifconfig

Thursday, January 9, 2014

remote desktop from linux (accessing Windows machines via RDP with Remmina)

Fedora 20 is one of the easiest to use, most integrated distributions I've experienced. It was quite a surprise for me to find that establishing a simple RDP session would be a bit of work.

In a fresh installation, in software / utilities, you see a program called "Remote Desktop Viewer". Sure enough, RDP is listed as a protocol for connection. However, when you try using it, nothing happens. Turns out if you google around, this program does not support RDP currently.

There have been previous programs that support this, such as rDesktop and tsclient. However, googling a bit more will tell you that what all the cool kids use now is Remmina with freeRDP.

So how do I install this program? well, with a "yum install remmina" of course! And it installs, but... you only SSH and SFTP connections.

Turns out you must also install the rdp plugins. This is achieved with a "yum install remmina-plugins-rdp". But nothing happens on the client. Maybe I should close it and re-open it? Wow, it still doesn't display anything!

This post saved my life when I was about to fork into who knows what procedure to get this working. It explains Remmina doesn't quit when you close it... so basically you have to kill the process for it to load the plugins (if you did it in the same order I did)


To see running programs (such as dropbox) in the tray, move your mouse to the bottom right corner (and do it kind of fast).

So, the better way of installing this RDP client is

yum install remmina-plugins-rdp 

as it will install remmina as a requirement and load the RDP plugin correctly the first time you run it.

Hope it helps someone :) it's a good solution so far and offers quite a few options.

gftp in fedora 20 is as winscp in windows

Winscp is a really easy to use scp client but it's for windows only. The closest i have found in fedora 20 is a program called gFTP.

yum install gftp

before you can actually do an scp connection, go to FTP, Preferences, SSH tab

where it says "ssh prog name" type ssh in lower case

and that's it - make sure you specify the right port, username, password, and SSH2 in the dropdown. press enter and you should get the familiar "add ssh key" prompt.

Here are some topics which I want to learn and include in this blog

windows AD
simple website design
google app engine
google adsense and it's variants

more to come, but that is the idea :)