I’m starting to realise that the custom agencies of the world take one look at me as I pass through and assume that I’m possibly the worlds most naive and optimistic smuggler. It seems to be the combination of being (sorta) young, travelling light, and alone, to a country for only a couple of days that triggers every flag they’ve got. I can imagine the conversation “He’s only got one bag.” “Come on, he’s too obvious…” “It’s as if he tempting us… Sod it, get the gloves.” I travel light because I travel a lot, and I’ve learned exactly what I do and don’t need. Read on →

And now to one of my pet annoyances… Change Control is a formal process used to ensure a product, service or process is only modified in line with the identified necessary change. – Wikipedia - change control Revision control (also known as version control, source control or (source) code management (SCM)) is the management of multiple revisions of the same unit of information. – Wikipedia - revision control As you can tell from the different definitions these two terms do not mean the same thing. Read on →

I like del.icio.us and I’ve been using it for a long while now, but what used to be one of the more handy features, the ability to subscribe to a tag, like ‘ruby’ or ‘linux’, has gradually become less useful as more and more people find old links or repost the same link. Again. And again. And, well, you get the idea. So I wrote the del.icio.us de.dup.er script, a small perl cgi that sits between you and del.icio.us and weeds out any duplicate links. 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 →

So now I’ve Announced PkgWatcher people are actually starting to use it, the optimistic curs! The first question’s already come in and it’s one I can actually answer: how do you extend it to work on other operating systems? It’s actually pretty easy, first you need to make an addition in installed_packages. This function works out which OS you’re running on and returns the respective subroutine that understands your package manager. Read on →

When it comes to servers, some packages should be everywhere, some should be banned and there are always the edge cases - be it a build host that requires GCC or a webserver that needs a full complement of packaged perl modules. While a decent system imaging or ad-hoc change system will help keep the discrepancies down nothing beats a system level check that verifies your assumptions. And PgkWatcher is that check. Read on →

Why don’t we have a .bank or .bank.country_code TLD that’s regulated by the same people that regulate the banks themselves? Most countries, with the notable exception of the US (which has multiple National regulators and a second tier of State ones), have a single body regulating all the banks so why not use their established trust metrics (you must be at least this tall to be a bank) to determine who can have a .bank domain? Read on →

Cisco Routers for the Desperate (No Starch Press): If you’ve tech savvy but Cisco challenged then this books for you. It’s not a one stop shop but it covers almost everything you need to get started. We’ve just bought an office copy so I can have mine back. 8⁄10 – Cisco Routers for the Desperate book review Using Moodle (O’Reilly): Don’t bother, read the online docs or the application help pages instead, they contain pretty much the same amount of information.

Author: Michael Lucas ISBN: 1593270496 Publisher: No Starch Press There is a special place on my shelves for slender books that are focused on a single topic, offer practical advice, are pragmatic in their coverage and engagingly written. “Cisco Routers for the Desperate” (CRftD) meets all four criteria. Most sysadmins inherit a couple of Cisco routers and treat them as (forest green) black boxes. We don’t need to touch them very often and when we do the lack of familiarity makes the experience one of dread. Read on →