Entries posted in February 2005

Fear and Clothing .. in Edinburgh

Tuesday, 1 March 2005


I uploaded new versions of libnids and dsniff yesterday. The latter just because it depends upon the former and I wanted to bump up the version number of the library – new upstream release.

Looks like this election is going to be interesting, six candidates to choose from.

I’m glad that Branden chose to stand, although I refused to talk part in the pre-vote popularity contest.


Lots of snow around in Edinburgh at this time of year. The irritating kind of snow which falls overnight and makes it difficult to walk to work, then melts come lunchtime.

Thankfully I’ve got big boots and so my toes stay toasty warm and dry! Actually there hasn’t been too much snow in Edinburgh, so it’s not as bad as all that.

Oh and I just realised that Hannah Wallach’s blog contains a skyscape of Edinburgh. D’oh. I thought it looked familiar …


One of the advantages of wearing (predominently) skintight black jeans and boots that come up to your knees is that your feet stay dry pretty much all the time.

One of the drawbacks is that people can hear you walking across the office, so it’s very hard to suprise them.

I’m not sure if this is good or bad .. thump thump thump thump .. Oh, that’ll be Steve.

means I can’t catch them out .. or there’s the suspense of knowing that I’m coming to give the victim user enough time to fear the bofh..

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ngrep + exim4

Sunday, 27 February 2005


I tried pinging the maintainer of the ngrep package because the bugs page shows lots of things fixed by NMU’s which haven’t been closed for a couple of years.

Hopefully he’ll get back to me soon and we can look at doing some triage.


Another piece in the series ..Upgrading from Woody -> Sarge : Exim4. I didn’t cover as much as I’d like, but I figured I’d mentioned most of the highlights.

The next thing to do I guess is update the previous piece Handling mail for multiple domains with exim3 – doing this with exim4 seems very similar, but in the interest of completeness I should probably mention it.

Next up is Apache2.

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Thursday, 24 February 2005

Debian Voters

I should be back up to speed with Debian stuff by the weekend when I get a new machine running Sid.

I’m surprised by the names of people on the DraftBrandon wiki page – half of them I don’t recognise.

Sure there are some people who post to the lists and p.d.o enough for me to recognize them .. but surprising there are so many people lurking… Maybe it’s just me being dense?


Today I get my front chipped tooth fixed. Ouch.

I’ve had it patched up maybe three times in the past? Each time it lasts for a year or two then breaks off.

The dentist this time assures me that the high-tech stuff they use nowadays is going to make sure it will persist. I’m less convinced than I should be I guess, I guess half my scepticism comes from the two words “Bonding” and “Dentist” being used together – after all how many people bond with their dentist??

Health-wise I’m now diagnosed with both sleeping problems and Hyperthyroidism. Fun.

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Writing and Firewalls

Saturday, 19 February 2005


Upgrading from Woody -> Sarge : Part 2, smaller than the previous one because I wrote about 800 words about upgrading from Apache to Apache2, and then to Exim4 which seemed too much – I’ll save that for part three now.

Firewall GUIs

The Nokia Checkpoint firewall has a great user interface, a big list where you can insert new rules.

Imagine a Grid Control with columns for “Source”, “Destination”, “Protocol”, “Logging”, etc.

Shame there’s nothing like that for Linux that I’ve seen. I like their user interface for representing VPNs too – little meshes.

I imagine using GTK/QT you could easily mimic the user interface, and then generate a collection of IPTables rules. The hard part would be causing those rules to be uploaded to a remote machine. Having a GUI for the local machine would be useful – but being able to write bunches of rules for a group of machines would be more comparable to the Nokia.

Planet Debian <blockquote .

Is it just me or is the threading in p.d.o broken?

I’m sure I see pieces I’ve seen before at the top, with new entries added at the bottom for a particular day?

Maybe this is dependent on the local timezones which are exported by the various users blogs?


Remind me not to talk about sadism / BDSM again ..

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Woody installation with Qemu

Monday, 14 February 2005


New article written Upgrading from Woody -> Sarge: Part 1.

This just lays the foundation for testing an upgrade.

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Writing ..

Friday, 11 February 2005


I wrote a small piece on shutting down Debian machines after seeing a couple of people asking the question. Seems like basic knowledge, but I guess everybody starts somewhere.

I’m still waiting for the mysterious point where the number of members of the site is sufficient that I’m not the only one writing stuff. Still a fair bit of traffic seems to be coming there even if I have stopped finding the time to write once a day. The stats are interesting I’ve written 78 of the 88 available articles.

The next thing I had hoped to write would be on LVM, but I’ve not gotten round to finishing that yet.

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Scanners... Coding ... Jokes ...

Tuesday, 8 February 2005

Knock-Knock jokes

“Dot, dot …” “Who’s there?” “Your entire filesystem…”

A poor joke .. relating to people not filtering ”..” from URI requests. yeah, yeah. Sorry.


I feel like writing something in C++ again soon. Problem is I haven’t a clue what!

I guess that means I’m mostly happy with the software that I’m using at the moment … although my computer usage is down a lot at the moment, mostly because my primary machine “undecided” is currently disabled and I’ve got a replacement machine “mystery” sat on the floor of my office – it needs to be moved.

Security Scanners

Nessus is the best security scanner I’ve used for a long time, and it’s great that there are both X11 and Windows clients available for it.

The only thing that’s missing is a console version – so that I can script a scan of the LAN overnight from a headless box.

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Sleep Update / Memcached / Sarge Upgrades

Sunday, 6 February 2005


Well since I mentioned this a while back I figure an update isn’t too unreasonable.

Firstly I’ve had lots of blood tests, and other prodding and poking – The result? Nothing obvious wrong with me.

I went into hospital at the weekend so that I could sleep hooked up to some machine to measure the oxygen content in my blood throught my night of sleep – this will hopefully identify / rule out sleep apnea.

The results of the study should come back in a week or so ..


For the past week I’ve been having a lot of fun with memcached, a fast memory based cache of arbitary objects.

I wrote a simple introduction to memcached usage with perl, and had a lot of fun rewriting a couple of sites to use it.

The next job is probably to make the Debian administration website use it.


For a fun way to spend a few quiet hours I’ve been upgrading a bunch of UML instances from Woody -> Sarge.

This is in advance of my attempting to upgrade my main remote UML installation on bytemark’s network. (If you want to have a UML host they are a great company – and give discounts to Free Software Developers .. You can even give me a discount by referring to me when you joing up ;))

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