• Offsite DR backup with VM

    Since migrating BackupPC to a VM I have not been doing off-site backups (since I have been working from home full-time). Today I had to visit the office to retrieve some essential adaptors for my work laptop, and while I was there I grabbed my off-site backups disks. Now I have done this, I need to figure out how to pass the device through to my VM in order to update the oldest backup (which has not been updated since December 2019!).

  • Migrating Omada controller to VM

    As part of my migration of core services off the router to VMs I am moving the Omada controller. I have already moved the SaltStack controller and Debian pre-seed web site, but as these were straight-forward migration of daemons and data I did not write any notes about the process.

  • Windows telnet client

    Windows 10 does not come with a telnet client (one of the commands I still have to drop into a WSL session for). Today I rectified that by enabling the optional feature.

  • Finding files with PowerShell

    From my May post, in which I started using PowerShell, I have been using it to do a search I would previously have used a Linux environment to use find for.

  • First Python pull request

    Yesterday I opened my first issue against Python, and enhancement for mailbox, an old part of the standard library, to support Path-like objects, a very new part of the standard library.

  • Migrate monitoring to VM

    Hot on the heals of migrating BackupPC from a bare-metal (router) system to a VM, the next set of services to migrate are my monitoring services. For this I run two seperate systems, Icinga2 and Munin. Icinga excels as monitoring and alerting to problems and faults as they happen, Munin provides resource monitoring and graphing that gives a better view of “what just happened to kill our performance?”(quoted from their website) and historic views of the same.

  • Migrate BackupPC to VM

    Now that I have deploying VMs sorted I am migrating the first service from my router onto a new VM, my BackupP server. This should be relatively straight forward as the server set-up is managed in SaltStack and the data resides on an iSCSI volume from my NAS, do configuration and “transfer” should be simple. Should be.

  • Building Debian VMs with debootstrap

    Following the awful time I had setting up a working preseed configuration for Debian installer I am exploring the alternative method of pre-building the disk image using debootstrap.

  • KVM setup

    Following on from tuesday’s post on setting up my first microserver, I am starting to set-up KVM and automate building virtual-machines in order to start migrating services off my router.

  • HP Microservers

    Over the weekend I bought and collected 2 8th generation HPE Microservers. The two I have bought have been upgraded to 16GB of ECC memory and have had their stock processors replaced with E3-1240 v2 processors. They also came with 10GbE cards fitted, although currently I have no infrastructure to make use of these.

  • Teams backgrounds

    To use your own custom backgrounds, drop the background file(s) in $Env:APPDATA\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads (PowerShell, %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads in cmd). They must be PNG files and will just show up in the list of backgrounds to choose from in the user interface.

  • Debian system updates

    I have automated monitoring (via Icinga2) of the update status of my various servers, all of which currently run Debian. To date I’ve been using cron to run a daily apt-get update, to my mind the obvious solution to “I need it to update daily”, which updates the local package cache and then the monitoring picks up whether there’s anything to update. While investigating a problem with another cron-job yesterday, I noticed messages from apt-daily and apt-daily-upgrade services and a quick Google revealed that there is a Debian way to do this.

  • PowerShell startup script

    Yesterday I wrote about getting started with PowerShell but in order to make certain things persist, such as aliases, they need to be created each time the shell starts in the “profile” start-up script.

  • Getting to grips with PowerShell

    Over the past 6-12 months I have started using a more Microsoft-y environment on Windows, both on my own laptop and work’s. It started with using the bundled Windows OpenSSH client, removing the need for me to launch a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) environment just to ssh to another system. I also been trying out Microsoft Terminal(yes, it is open source), which was released on Tuesday, and it is a really slick tool - a vast improvement on the old command-line windows and/or PuTTY. Yesterday I switched my default session from (WSL) Debian to PowerShell and have started using it as my main shell environment on Windows.

  • Adding bonded connection to Netgear ReadyNAS 214

    My Netgear ReadyNAS 214 has two Ethernet ports. It is used as a safe place to store my data as well has hosting an iSCSI target that all my backups are done to (with regular off-site copies made to mitigate against failure or physical damage/loss of the NAS) so some extra bandwidth would not hurt and the web user-interface provides the option to bond them. Since my managed switch also supports bonding, I have decided to do this.

  • updating broadband PPPoE configuration

    For a very long time I have been running my own Linux-based routers as gateways to the internet. The configuration was setup a very long time ago and it has not been revisited, other than to update logins etc., since. I discovered today that there is now a kernel-mode PPPoE module (since 2.4, from what I can gather) that I have missed the arrival of and a more performant driver for it. As I was monitoring the route due to line-speed problems, I noted that I could see the process pppoe appear in top hovering around the 12% CPU mark and wondered if that was expected or not. Googling this lead to these changes.

  • Dockerised salt-ssh

    For some systems that I have user accounts on but do not administer, I use Salt SSH (agent-less salt minion) to manage the common user-local files that are managed on the systems I do administer on these systems. I have previously made notes about it.

  • Upgrading PS3 hard disk

    As I mentioned yesterday, I was planning to replacing the hard disk drive in my PS3™ with a larger SSD I had laying around my desk.

  • Dell XPS 13 (9370) Thunderbolt & eGPU

    This post is just pulling together notes I have made whilst researching eGPUs with this laptop. I currently use a Razer Core X Chroma™ with it, which works very well except for issues with USB-disconnects but this seems to be a general problem with USB devices and Windows 7 onwards.

  • Formatting FAT32 on Windows 10

    In order to backup my PS3™, in preparation for replacing the hard disk drive with a larger SSD I have laying around my desk, I needed a FAT32 formatted USB disk. Windows 10 will only allow disks larger than 32GB to be formatted as exFAT (or NTFS), which the PS3™ does not support.

  • Keysigning party post-party signing

    On 1st & 2nd February I was fortunate to attend FOSDEM 2020 in at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels. While I was there I took part in the event’s keysigning party and now need to sign the keys I verified (only 8 days before the deadline of 30th April!).

  • Rawlplug UNO sizes technical data

    Rawlplug’s UNO range are currently my favourite wall plug, reliable and I’m yet to have any problems with the installation of one. I struggle to find this information, particularly supported screw sizes, when I want to refer to it to here it is:

  • Return of the WAPs

    Setting up the final piece of the new network puzzle, the wireless access points…

  • The VLANs Strike Back

    Continuing from yesterday’s work on my new network kit, today I’m starting with configuring the new switch.

  • A New Switch

    This post documents the re-introduction of VLANs to our home network, removed in 2018 to solve problems with 4-year old WAP and power-line adapters their replacement means we can move back to more secure and flexible networking set-up.

  • More forced subtitles in DVDs and BluRays

    Following my last post I’ve been going through my DVD collection and fixing the forced subtitles for the films that have them.

  • (sort-of-but-not-really-)forced subtitles in DVDs and BluRays

    As part of an on-going project to convert my DVD and BluRay collection to a hard-disk based media collection (mainly to save shelf-space and having to keep swapping disks) I’ve encountered a disk that has so-called “forced subtitles” to subtitle some foreign language speech into the viewers native language.

  • Dell XPS 13 SSD upgrade

    In July I replaced my Lenovo ThinkPad x240 with a Dell XPS 13 9370 I impulse bought from the reduced section of John Lewis. Last week I finally got around to installing the new SSD I bought in a Black Friday deal on-line.

  • Backups with BackupPC and offsite DR backup - automation

    Shortly before this time last year I revolutionised my backup infrastructure. This year I finally got around to scripting updating the off-site version.

  • Time Machine backup to network share

    I had been using my own external hard disk for backing up my work computer, however (despite being 256GB) Time Machine kept complaining it didn't have enough space. Fortunately I also have access to a 3TB network share at work, so here's how I changed my Mac to backup to there instead.

  • Testing React Native with Jest

    I've started a Mobile App at work using React Native. Obviously this needs testing. This post is about getting started on that process.

  • Upgrading Debian systems

    Based on notes from my old wiki, refreshed as I remotely upgraded our home router from Debian 9 (stretch) to Debian 10 (buster).
  • HTML linter

    Trying to debug a missing close paragraph tag somewhere in a 300 line web page, I came across Tidy which helped with it's -e flag to report errors and warnings.

  • Secure sudo with Google Authenticator

    A little while ago, I "secured" root access on my GNU/Linux1 systems by stopping using the root password and migrating to sudo. I also setup Google Authenticator for it.

  • Changing Active Directory password on non-bound Mac

    To change an Microsoft Active Directory password on your (non-bound) Mac:

    $ kinit working_username@AD.DOMAIN
    $ kpasswd username_to_change@AD.DOMAIN

  • Docker images and introspecting them

    I've been playing around with different ways to get graphical applications working in Docker and in the process creates some large images.

  • Docker part 2

    After my previous post, on installing Docker, I needed to setup my first container. I choose to set-up a container for Firefox, first, as that required me to get a graphical application that also needed sound working.

  • Graphical Glitches on Lenovo ThinkPad X240 on resume

    For a while (possiblyprobably since I installed it) I've had weird graphical glitches on resuming my laptop from deep sleep. Until now I'd settled for rebooting it to fix it but I went on the hunt for a better solution.

  • Making video indexes with FFmpeg

    I'm working on digitising some of my DVD collection at the moment, which means creating some pretty large files. Trying to view these over the network to discover what they are is pretty tedious (lots of buffering!), so I've been working on dumping an "index" image file that will helpfully give me enough information to determine what it is without actually loading/playing the file.

  • Installing Docker on Debian

    I've been using virtual machines (via VirtualBox) for Linux-based testing and development for sometime but I've been persuaded that it's high-time I joined everyone else and started using containerisation.

  • More blog automation - introducing Jekyll environments

    Further to my earlier post on automating deployment of my blog I found a small flaw with my method and have decided to fix it.

  • Unmarking Debian packages as manually installed

    I sometimes manually install a Debian package, whilst trying to figure out dependencies for something else, and then discover I should have installed a different "parent" package that will pull it in.

  • Automating deployment of Blog with Gitea and Webhook

    Using webhook to automate deployment of this Blog via Gitea on push.

  • New Blog ( me?)

    So, I've started a new blog. It think this is my 3rd or 4th Blog, although it's the first new one in over 13 years, since I switched to Wordpress in April 2006.

  • Icinga2

    These notes are a bit rough because they have been copied more-or-less directly from my old wiki that was just for my own consumption. They are from when I finally set-up icinga at home. Note that the configuration has moved on substantially since these notes were written, however as it is in a git repository I have to date made any more notes or blog posts about it.

  • Backups with at-rest encryption, BackupPC, iSCSI and offsite DR backup

    For many, many years (at least since 2008) I’ve been using BackupPC to provide backups of my machines, at home and in the cloud. I recently replaces my NAS with one that has a larger capacity (as part of a project to turn my DVD collection into something more convenient to browse and watch) and that NAS has iSCSI support so I moved my backup solution from a USB attached disk to an iSCSI target and introduced off-site replication of the backup pool for DR purposes.

  • Salt SSH

    salt-ssh provides a way to run salt remotely without it being installed on the destination system. ​ This means, for example, that I can use it to manage my user’s dotfiles on the BlueBEAR HPC cluster.

  • Masterless Salt Minion

    A master-less Salt minion can be used to manage a standalone machine (e.g. my work Linux desktop) or bootstrap any master-controlled minion (or even the master itself) as the salt states will take over management of the minion’s configuration and reconfigure it appropriately on first run.

  • Salt

    Salt is a remote execution and configuration management tool that I have been using to manage the many Linux servers and desktops I have. Its state system also replaces some of my notes as a self-documenting machine-readable description of how each item is configured.

  • TP-Link TL-SG3210 JetStream 8-Port Gigabit L2 Managed Switch

    I have one TP-LINK TL-SG3210 JetStream 8-Port Gigabit L2 Managed Switch with 2 SFP Slots. Initially I had to connect via serial cable as it defaults to a static ip address of which conflicts.

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