A book about a debugging program is never going to be that exciting. At best it’ll be both comprehensive and concise, two things that don’t have to be mutually exclusive, at worst it’ll be a dull rehash of the perldoc. Which type is this one? The Perl Debugger Pocket Reference (PDRB) starts with some basic practises to help you avoid debugging (the usual use strict and use warnings) before walking through two very basic debugger sessions and then on to the bulk of the book, the command reference. Read on →

I’ve just uploaded the initial release of WWW::Shorten::Smallr to CPAN and it should be making its way through the mirrors right about now. The module itself is simple, it shrinks the given URL using the http://smallr.com/ web site. I wrote this for two reasons, firstly smallr is the official link shortener of one of the mailing lists I frequent and I wanted it available from the Vim Shortener I wrote. Secondly I wanted to have another play around with Module::Build. Read on →

A machine should run a defined set of ports, if any of them are not listening you’ve got a problem. If any others are open then you’ve potentially got an even bigger problem. The Check Open Ports Nagios Check accepts a list of IPv4 TCP and UDP ports and reports if any of the expected ones go away or any others are detected as listening. This also partially scratches one of my own itches, I’ve had a couple of daemons (MySQL in particular) start after a package upgrade without my knowing it. Read on →

One of the small developer blogs I host has a number of people linking to, and complaining about, the bugs present in different Free Software projects. After watching one of them open a text file, dig through the links, pull out the wrong one and eventually get the right URL I decided to write a small Blosxom plugin to make the process easier. The Bugzilla Tag Blosxom plugin lets you define shortcuts to a number of Bugzilla servers, and a default one, which you can then link to using the following syntax in your blosxom posts: <bug "redhat">117894</bug> <bug "mozilla">84752</bug> And the links look like this: 117894 84752 For full details have a look at the Bugzilla Tag Blosxom plugin source.

I’ve recently needed a way to see, via the Nagios web front end, which Debian machines need their packages updating. So I wrote the check_debian_updates.sh Nagios plugin. This is the initial release (which hasn’t been hit too hard yet) so be careful about deploying it anywhere but your testing environment for now. I’ve played with it in my small test environment and it seems to work so feel free to have a look at it. Read on →

Over at use.perl.org Ovid recently posted How to tell if Perl is installed on your computer , an entry that points to a shell script that must die. Go and read the script in the post, I’ll wait. Note: this isn’t his code and he’s blame free, he just found it and started waving it like a red flag so the anal shell scripters among us have something to moan about :) Firstly why use ksh? Read on →

The Register is one of the sites covering ESRs Linux / iPod-compatibility rant and he’s managed to confuse himself, other people and the issues. Once again. Firstly we have this request that the “community”, most of whom cringe when he starts talking, start compromising on closed source platforms and formats. Apparently the OpenSource movement hasn’t given up enough rights yet and he’d like us to back down and hand over a couple more. Read on →

And you should be too! YAPC::Europe 2006 is my first YAPC since 2001; when I stopped working as a Perl developer I started spending my cash and holiday time on more relevant conferences. Now I’m working in a heavily perl shop they’ve been gracious enough to pay for my attendance in Birmingham. Where they have curry. Lots of curry. And a Perl conference, but I should get my priorities right ;) There are a number of great talks in the schedule but I’m especially looking forward to Marty Pauley and Karen Pauley, who have a couple of talks each and are both excellent speakers - Marty is one of the most animate, likable speakers I’ve ever seen and Karen has a perspective on the IT industry that’s always worth listening to, Tim Bunce on DBI (THE horses mouth when it comes to DBI), Dave Cross talking about actual databases (you know, the ones with views, stored procedures and real replication) and a couple of SNMP talks which’ll be useful for work.

When designing internal firewalls and filtering policies PLEASE stop and think about ICMP Echo Request and ICMP Echo Reply (the ICMP types used by ping). If you turn these off you’re not really gaining any real security (especially on your internal network, and to be honest you want to think long and hard about what turning it off on the external facing machines gets you) and you’re making life much harder than it needs to be in the long run. Read on →

I use a LOT of FireFox extensions and in an attempt to slim my install down I disabled the less used ones so I could remove them in a week or so if I hadn’t needed them. The first stage was easy, right click the extensions in the Extensions menu and choose “disable”. I then carried on using FireFox as normal. I didn’t need the extensions removed immediately so I didn’t restart it. Read on →