Tom Liston wrote up an excellent (and scary!) analysis of what happens to an unpatched machine when it goes to a less than reputable site. The full details, part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4 are well worth a read. You’ll be stunned at how much shite comes down from a single executable that the user never even gets a choice whether to run. 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 →

I’ve just finished re-reading Using SANs and NAS from O’Reilly. It’s aged really well, provides an excellent introduction to the common terms, principles and usages. Well worth a read (and quite cheap these days). You can now find the Using SANs and NAS book review on my main site or over at London PM.

Author: W. Curtis Preston ISBN: 0596001533 Publisher: O’Reilly While storage capacity has grown (almost as fast as the amount of data we want to store!) our ability to manage and backup critical resources has been lagging behind, and is only just emerging from the dark ages. Although a couple of 250GB hard drives and a DVD burner may be an adequate solution for a home user, a company with large databases, shared file servers, remote home directories and tight data recovery windows needs something more; this book presents the two best options. Read on →

I’ve just finished reading Using SANs and NAS by O’Reilly, in short it’s a great book for picking up the basic principles behind both SANs, NAS and using fibre channel to connect them together. The book doesn’t really delve in to the technical details which means it’s aged pretty well. Taking its place I have Cisco Routers for the Desperate which provides an quick and easy way to get up to speed on the basics of using Cisco routers. Read on →

I’ve spent a lot of time today installing Debian boxes and testing build documents. After using both the old and new installers (Sarge installer RC2) I’ve come to a bundle of conclusions. The new installer hides a lot of the complexity from most users (use expert mode to get it back). It has a better screen for per-partition options (although it does make you do each one on a separate screen) and it flows a lot better. Read on →

Version control rocks, it allows you to roll back anything you’re working on to a previous version and remove all the late night weirdness you can’t remember adding. While it’s hard to beat the power of the CVS command line interface or the easy of use of TortoiseCVS there is a third option: CVSWeb. Written and maintained by FreeBSD people, CVSWeb provides an easy to use, web-based, interface to your CVS repositories. Read on →

I’ve made a couple of posts about the yellow fade technique but now I’ve got a script to one-up it. The people over at Axentric (Adam Michela) have put together a Fade Anything Technique that does pretty much what you expect from its name. The Fade Anything Technique demo is pretty impressive and the code is both readable and clean. For now it’s my winner in this little competition.

As I mentioned before I was heavily involved in putting this meeting together. And it seemed to go pretty well! We had three speakers but we had to shuffle the order around a bit, one was a little late and one was having technical problems. With very little time for preparation Pete Ryland stepped up and drew in the crowd. There were actually a couple of people from Ubuntu (and the Debian UK mailing list) which added a fair amount of clue to the audiences questions. Read on →