notes technical technology blog linux mac



  • 25 Jun 2020 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.

  • 28 May 2020 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.

  • 28 May 2020 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.

  • 26 May 2020 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.

  • 25 May 2020 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.

  • 23 May 2020 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.

  • 22 May 2020 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.

  • 21 May 2020 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.

  • 09 May 2020 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.

  • 08 May 2020 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.

  • 20 Apr 2020 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:

  • 26 Dec 2019 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.

  • 24 Dec 2019 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.

  • 16 Dec 2018 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.

  • 27 Jul 2018 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.

  • 25 Jun 2018 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.

  • 27 Aug 2015 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.