It is amazing how many small commitments and fragments of an online presence you can collect over years of being involved in different projects and user groups. I’ve ended up hosting planets, user group sites, submission forms (and other scripts), managing twitter announcement accounts, pushing tar balls (don’t ask) and running (and owning) more domains than I could ever really want or do anything useful with. After an initial audit of how difficult it’d be to move some of my public servers I’ve realised that something has to change. Read on →


I’m not exactly a demanding user of version control systems so I’ve not been heavily motivated to ditch my personal SVN repo (which I don’t use as much as I should) and plunge in to the shiny new distributed ones. However (and this is my excuse) I’ve recently wanted to put a handful of my own Nagios plugins under a public VCS. While we use a number of the checks at work I don’t necessarily want the local changes to be made immediately public so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to have a fiddle with git. Read on →


So, another full year of my life is over and done. As years go it’s not been the best one. Family troubles, time (and money, lots of money) spent dealing with lawyers and the passing of my grandfather, someone I saw nearly daily and often find myself thinking about, have all conspired to stop that annoying smile I often get. This post is a little more indulgent than usual but it’s my birthday and I’m full of cold caffine and napalmesque curry - so tough! Read on →

If you’ve tried to email me recently then you may have noticed that my mail server has been down a lot (or just that I’ve not responded). Over the last 10 days Unixdaemon.net was used as the reply-to and bounce addresses in a LOT of spam, not an uncommon form of a Joe Job but an annoying one one the less. The last couple of weeks have been manic and so, while it was a little drastic, the easiest way to prevent my inbox from flooding (and I mean flooding) was to turn my SMTP server off. Read on →


I’ve re-written bits of the category and archive Blosxom plugins to output CSS friendly markup. Which I’ve added some CSS to. The changes are mostly non-intrusive (and most of my traffic comes through RSS readers anyway) but if I’ve painfully broken anything for your browser of choice drop me a note.

Each year I put a small todo list up on Unixdaemon and see how many of the goals I can meet. The 2005⁄2006 Pragmatic Investment Plan is now closed so it’s time for a quick look back. First up we have the writing of articles. I’ll come to this in a separate post as I’m still not happy with what I want to say. Training courses are an easy one. I did two main courses and I can’t remember much from either of them. Read on →

I ended up writing a number of Unofficial Mycroft Searches for FireFox1 and Mozilla and now I’ve started to have a play with FireFox 2 Beta 1, one of the FireFox features I thought I’d investigate first is the new MozSearch search plugins. I’ve not dug too deeply yet (I’m on training so I’m playing in the breaks) but I have pulled a basic search together for UnixDaemon. If you’re running a FireFox2 Beta head over to the UnixDaemon.net main site and then click the downwards pointing arrow on the search box on the top right. Read on →

I’ve had a couple of people ask what I do with peoples emails addresses once they’ve sent me a request to sign-up/register. In an attempt to prove I’m not making millions with them (but if you know a way, I’m open… :)) I thought I’d document the reasons I ask for email addresses and what I do with them afterwards. The reasons I ask for them are pretty simple: so I can adjust the venue if we need somewhere with a bigger capacity. Read on →

I’m not going to be about much until May. The site’ll be pretty quiet and don’t expect much in the way of email or phone replies. Dean


2005 was a very mixed year for me, it had some memorable high spots and a couple of tear jerking moments. The year started off with me moving all my sites, email and everything else I put online from a shared machine to my own bytemark box after the shared host I was using got cracked through someones broken web app install. Digging through my backups and verifying nothing had been tampered with was a fun way to spend my hols. Read on →

After a pretty much technology free day at work I wanted to actually do something hands on before the day was over. After a flurry of reading and deleting of of blog posts it looked like the buzz word of the day was (still) Google Maps. So off I went. With the aid of the excellent Number::Phone and the not too bad Geo::Google, which can’t seem to handle Scottish towns, I put together a small script which displays the town a phone number is from using Google Maps. Read on →

I’ve finally gotten around to bringing my book reviews (mostly for London PM) in to my main site. You can now see my reviews on the book reviews page.

After a rubbish first start (just two entries in four months) I decided to scrap my 2005⁄2006 Pragmatic Investment Plan and start again. Between insanity both professionally, I changed jobs, and in my personal life nothing seemed to be moving. And sometimes you just need to wipe the slate clean and start again. I kicked back off with the Linux Expo and FUDCon, both of which were excellent and will be covered in another post and by buying some more books. Read on →

Well Planet GLLUG has been running for a couple of days without any glitches, except for some, er, interesting, HTML running from one persons postings to another. I’ve also replaced some of the images with much better versions contributed from Simon Morris. Now some (maybe) interesting tidbits: 43.8% of the visitors to PlanetGLLUG are using Linux vs the 42.1% that are running Windows; it’s always nice to see people dogfooding. Even more surprising is that the most popular web browser used by the Windows viewers is… FireFox! Read on →

Back in August I added Google adwords to the IE Plugins page. If at all possible I plan to keep the site advert free but the IE Plugins, with the possible exception of my blogs atom feed, are the biggest bandwidth consumers by a fair way. This was my first foray in to the world of Google ads and I’ve picked up some very useful information. Firstly adding adverts, and viewing the reports, is incredibly easy. Read on →

As an experiment I’ve put together a simple AJAX(ish, it uses ‘|’ separated values) based search tool for finding words I’ve used in the title of my Blogpost. The beta version can be found on the Blog Title AJAX Search page. If you type in a couple of letters, such as ope, then it should (it’s case-insensitive) match anything with the word open in it for example. The results will then be shown as hyperlinks on the same page without forcing a refresh. Read on →

Last September I decided to put a basic 2004-2005 Pragmatic Investment Plan together to give me some goals and tasks to accomplish over the following 12 months. Eight months in (and after considering shorter PiPs) I’ve decided to mark last years as finished. While I’ve not completed every item on the list I’ve made a pretty good showing and I’m pretty happy that I could have finished on time. Halfway through the period covered by that PiP I changed job and my interests and areas of responsibility changed significantly; that’s why I ended up taking so long to finish some of the easier ones such as the book reviews. Read on →

I’ve added two more semi searches to my Mozilla/FireFox search page. First up we have a simple Google Maps (UK) search, I like Google maps and this puts it closer to my reach. Next up we have another phone number lookup from Dave Cantrell, this time for Ireland Phone Info. Note: both of these use existing images as I’m not really the arty type.

I’ve added another blosxom plugin to the site, this one is called google_highlight and does what you’d expect. It highlights any Google search terms that lead you here. I’ve had a play and it seems to work fine so I’ve added it to the live site. If you have any problems with it please let me know.

I’ve added a whois.sc search to the Mozilla Searches page. It works fine in FireFox or Mozilla but doesn’t work in the sidebar as it will typically return a single result. I’ve also added some Koder.com searches. The Koders.com website crawls and indexes source code from a number of different sites and projects. It then lets you run queries based upon keywords, specific languages and/or licenses, returning the code that matches. Read on →

Over in my Pragmatic Investment Plan I have two items under the topic of vanity. To put something on my site worth reading and to get my site into the first 100 results returned by google. Once my traffic hit a 100,000 unique (not obviously bots) visitors in under three months I considered the first one fulfilled. I’m now, and I realise how sad this is going to sound, very happy to report that at least for this very moment unixdaemon.net is in the top hundred results for the search phrase Dean; 99th to be exact. Read on →

Filepkg.sh is another one of those scripts borne of a personal itch. I’m spending a fair amount of time cleaning up both Redhat and Debian boxes which have custom software installed, some of it by hand and some via the package management system (we build the packages ourselves). One of the annoyances I’ve come across while determining which files are managed and which were left by us is that while both dpkg and rpm will tell you the package that owns a file, you need to provide the full path of the file you’re asking about to get the information out. Read on →

I’ve finally found the time to do make some updates to my 2004 - 2005 Pragmatic Investment Plan. I’ve posted links to some books reviews, added two technical conferences and listed some scripts that have been down-loaded a fair few times from my site (over 50 downloads was my requirement). While I’m not even half way through the PiP yet (and time’s a ticking!) I’ve started to think about the 2005-2006 version. Read on →

Hello Slashdot people! I’ve just had a review published on slashdot and I’m sort of expecting this server to have some problems so please bear with me… Also a small disclaimer, I did get a free review copy of the book early (thanks to the very nice Pragmatic Programmers) but this didn’t earn any favouritism. In my defence I point to Building Linux Clusters. Most of my reviews are positive because I simply can’t be bothered to read and review bad books. Read on →

When I moved from my shared server to the small UML box that this site now calls home I copied a lot of my logs over. I’ve never really done any in-depth viewing of my log files but after finding a new toy to play with (more about that in a separate post) I decided to have a little nose around. It seems that in between October 1st 2004 and December 31st 2004 (a total of 92 days including Christmas Day and New Years Eve) www.unixdaemon.net, the main page, not the blog, was visited by 50,974 ‘unique visitors’. Read on →

It seems that my migration wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped, my local postfix install was bouncing half my mail addresses… Not quite what I was hoping for! If you’ve sent me anything over the weekend (Jan 21st to 23rd) then please send it again as I probably haven’t received it due to both the changes and my cock-up. On a happier note the O’Reilly Postfix book is pretty good, it’s helped me out today, and I’ll probably end up coming back to it when I actually put the real fix in rather than the hack I’m using now.

I’ve written a short Perl script that, when run locally with your credentials, will retrieve all your del.icio.us bookmarks and attempt to verify if they still exist or not. The Delicious Link Checker is written in simple Perl and should be quite easy to customise. I’ve added a (now deprecated) Delicious Link Checker home page that contains the notes, the next batch of TODO tasks and other miscellaneous bits of information.


I’ve added a short Perl script called linksinfo to the miniprojects page. When invoked with an absolute URL it will parse through the HTML and pull out links. The text in each href tag will then be displayed. If you use a ‘-l’ then it will also display the target of the link. Why?: This is the first of a couple of scripts I’m writing to help maintain certain meta-data about a website I’m responsible for.

I’ve added a new script to the Unixdaemon Miniprojects Page. This short chunk of shell and awk, imaginatively named Find Duplicate Filenames, does exactly what you’d expect. It scans the mounted file systems and prints a list of files and the number of times each name (with the path part stripped) was found.

Using the very excellent Blosxom Google Site Search plugin I’ve added a Google search box to the left hand column. The search itself will only return results for the blog.unixdaemon.net and www.unixdaemon.net domains (assuming the “Search Unixdaemon.net” option is selected). This is a new addition so there may be a few teething problems for the first few days.

Way back on the second of September I wrote a blog entry informing everyone that I’d be turning off Unixdaemon Packetstorm Security feeds in favour of people using the Official Feeds. Well the time has come. The HTML on their site has changed again, breaking my script, so now is as good a time as any to stop the feeds. I’ll be putting up a 301 at some point today. Thank you for using the feeds and I hope they proved useful.

I’ve actually been receiving a fair bit of mail about my IE plugins recently, a couple of very nice people sent me thank you mails for the BugMeNot plugin (which is amazingly popular!), I had a couple of requests to port some of the ‘View In XXX’ plugins to an IE based browser called Maxthon, which I’ve done, and I had a request to add one for using the online Lynx viewer. Read on →

For the last year or so I’ve been offering access to a set of RSS feeds for Packetstorm Security, these feeds scrape the latest exploits, files and other similar web-pages. While they were originally for my own benefit they became quite popular and they have a good few hundred people watching them. Unfortunately due to the fact the data is screen scraped from the HTML the feeds have proven to be an annoyance to me whenever the site changed its layout, which wasn’t often enough for me to ditch them but it was often enough to lose me a couple of Friday nights, firstly I’d like to say thanks to all the people that emailed me letting me know they liked them and wanted them fixed and working. Read on →

The Unixdaemon site is undergoing some design changes as and when i get time. Surprisingly its gone from being a short set of links pointing to a few bits to code to something that actually gets unique visitors every day; and its not just my mum! On the left of the home page I’ve added a small set of navigation links and while working through the CSS i thought I’d try adding access keys. Read on →