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 →

Technical conferences shouldn’t start before 10am. Although I’m no expert I’ve attended a lot and helped organise a few events and this has become one of my rules. Now let’s see if I can convince you with some of my ‘whys’. Firstly (and this is close to my heart) the stereotype of geeks working late at night isn’t without a touch of truth, a lot of us are night owls and cherish the opportunity to grab an extra hour or so in the morning. Read on →

I wrote the WebService::Yahoo::SpellingSuggestion perl module for one of my little side projects. It was easy to wrap, seemed to work fine when I did a few tests by hand and didn’t take very long to be CPANised; I’m trying to stay in good habits and treat all my internal modules as if they’d be released - I just skimp on the tests a bit. Which I know is bad. Unfortunately, while it was fine for the light testing, I wasn’t very happy with it once I started to use it for heavier loads. Read on →

I worked through the MS Technet Virtual Lab Express: Introduction to ISA 2006 Beta demo last night and while the product doesn’t really interest me (I couldn’t deploy a Microsoft firewall and keep a straight face) the lab itself was interesting. You enter an email address, download an ActiveX control and wait five minutes for the lab to prepare itself. You then connect, via something that looks like Terminal Services, to four machines. Read on →