That Fleming Gent Meets Leonidas

My long-running repository at ThatFlemingGent (or “Enlartenment” for those who haven’t caught up) is live and ready for use.

As releases have progressed the list I offer has become smaller, as many have been pulled into Fedora proper (either by me or other Fedora contributors), died upstream or just dropped due to lack of my/visitor interest

There’s only 58 packages this time – long gone are the old (pre-)Extras days when I had 140+ πŸ™‚

Highlights: well, there’s um… the GNOME Internode Applet![1]. yet another webserver in Hiawatha! (Think lighttpd with a security focus) – the AIM and MSN Python Jabber/XMPP Transports… A bunch of WordPress plugins (oh how I’m jonesing for a 2.7/2.8 package for F10!) and other small but useful tools, especially for random hackers and systems people.

There’s a couple of non-starters that I’m still working on – namely the Courier suite (authlib won’t build at the moment, I’m trying to work out why) and the MySQL-memcache UDF functions (memcached_functions_mysql in F9/F10). They’ll be added as soon as they build correctly.

Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line if you have a suggestion / problem πŸ™‚

[1] Internode is my ISP, one of the highest regarded in Australia and for good reason, they’re stable -and it’s owner/CEO Simon isn’t averse to being pranked either:

This is why I’m not a “webmaster”

In an effort to help my girlfriends website generate a bit of trafficΒ  – and some business for her πŸ™‚ – I’ve spent a bit of time (probably a little too much for a holidaying techie, but it’s a “love job”) trying to get my head around more indepth search engine optimisation and Google Analytics / Webmaster tools in particular.

In summary I still think a lot of it is voodoo πŸ˜€ .

Generating the sitemap etc. is easy, as is submitting it (except Yahoo, too many hoops, FIXME) but the resulting information can be just a tad opaque – bounce rates for example (mine seems high at over 70%, maybe because of the package downloads) plus GoogleBot’s view of my site seems rather different to mine (or what awstats tell me about visitors) – I suspect the poor old META tag doesn’t get the importance it did in times past, and this old curmudgeon is still in the tech-bubble era regarding search visibility.

But I’m learning again – there seems to be some positive results already and it’s another string to my bow.

An impressive practical use of Google Maps (and Twitter to get the word out) during the flooding here in Brisbane:

Google Map of the affected areas and road closures

Fortunately I’m in the inner city and a floor up in an apartment, so wasn’t affected, unlike far too many (including a close friend who arrived home from the pub to a flooded front lounge and no electricity πŸ™ )

I also attempted to split my IPv6 allocation (a mere /64) over 2 physical links – bad idea and an epic failure on my part. It was worth a shot I guess.

All of my revision controlled code has been switched from bzr to git – I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner – it’s been a breeze, and the learning curve hasn’t been steep at all – or perhaps my needs aren’t too complex? (I’ve been primarily a bzr/cvs/Subversion user). The “tailor” package from the main Fedora repository was also helpful – it’s not the easiest to use, but the results were excellent.

I’m converting my rather venerable Samba domain controller to an LDAP backend (it’s currently tdbsam and a pain to manage) – using Fedora Directory Server (ahem “389” now – admittedly good vendor-neutral branding there folks) has been fairly painless, barring my unfamiliarity regarding how it manages ACLs (or perhaps that’s just the management console not doing what I think it is)

Speaking of which – I’ve had a dreadful experience with LDAP management apps – both gq and lat crash on me badly and while I don’t mind phpldapadmin (and use it at work) it’s not particularly fast. I welcome suggestions for alternatives πŸ™‚

I’m currently hand-editing via ldapvi and feeling rather old-school.Β  A little Perl CGI app called “pluma” has piqued my interest – I’ll package it up if it turns out to be worthwhile.

A Poutpourri and the GFC.

It’s felt like a long week so far but I must admit I’m faring better than some – I’m looking over resumes for friends at the moment ( I think I’ve seen more skill matrices than shell prompts today!) who’ve lost work over the past few weeks due to the GFC – redundancies and in one case a business owner who took it as an opportunity to sell up and give his entire staff a week’s notice! If the financial crisis has left you out of work, keep your chin up and don’t lose hope.

I feel that between Bacula’s rotation and volume management keeping me on my toes (tip to the new – RTFM twice, then it makes perfect sense), slavery involving OpenLDAP and MySQL (I should consider Fedora Directory Server and DRBD for master-master replication, but first things first..) and Puppet configuration management (manna from heaven for an admin’s sanity especially if you have more than a handful of servers) I’ve achieved something so far this week. πŸ™‚

Regarding the latter package I’ll put up any useful facts/recipes I write up that work – you have my word. Reductivelabs have a number, but there’s a few omissions that I and perhaps some of you may find handy.

Building some Ruby gems has not been so successful, and if anyone has been successful in rebuilding RPMs of hpricot / json gems on Red Hat Enterprise Linux I’d be interested in your tale.

I’ve mitigated (fixed is the wrong word) my Koji issues, but not in the way I’d like. πŸ™ At least I have more informationΒ  to work with and things are running in the meantime.

Dan Walsh’s post on confining services through SELinux is definitely getting printed and stuck on my workmates’ noticeboard. I’ve seen a lot of instances where SELinux is switched off instead of thought through and used correctly, which is unfortunate so anything that encourages changes in that behaviour that is a plus :-). It’s not voodoo and it won’t eat your brane, so especially if you have services is sensitive / “wild side” areas the time taken to learn it will be well spent.

Now to sort out those WSGI socket AVC’s of mine… πŸ™‚

Crackberries, Earth Hour and Web 2.0 boredom

After having a good laugh at “crackberry” users and their addiction for what seemed like forever, I gave in and traded in my not-trusty-at-all Nokia Slide for a Blackberry Storm.

After playing with it for a while, I must say it’s not bad. Getting used to typing with it was a pain in the arse (protip: turn off smart type and flip it horizontally – you get QWERTY keyboard goodness) but it’s growing on me. The browser is decent too (using the BB one not Vodafone’s to avoid data usage) and I’ve added Alex King’s WordPress Mobile plugin, so mobile users will see something readable (I love the theme I have but it’s not good on tablets / smartphones)

Having my home email pushed to the handset is nice – I’m not a fan of webmail and it’s not always convenient to ssh in and fire up alpine in some places. The twitter app isn’t bad, nor is the MSN messenger one. I’ll need the SSH client though.

Oh, and Lazyweb: Any Cisco VPN or compatible clients out there? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m doing the decent thing and participating in Earth Hour and so is my site – the little bar at the top of my site? Check it out, especially if you’re a WordPress user.

We’ve all heard about the new Facebook layout: yeah, it sucks, looks like Twitter feeds etc. – these days I just can’t get into it at all, I guess being in technology I’m becoming less enthused with the idea of socialising online – I’d much prefer to be in a real pub or backyard / apartment balcony with friends than write on Walls and SuperPoke people.

I also wonder how I’m picking up a diverse range of Twitter followers – PUAs (Pick Up Artists for those not in the know), social media wonks (not you @lozz you’re a good friend whom I miss :-)) and fellow techies – but even BigPond and ABC Radio are following me. Am I more interesting than I credit myself with or are you just picking me out at random? πŸ™‚

Three little pre-Christmas requests.

Dear Lazyweb,

I’ve set up icecast as anΒ  IPV6-only experiment (the result of a half-drunken challenge from Mr Steven Lisson Esq.) and am streaming some Ogg Vorbis tracks off it with EZstream. Winamp and Totem Player (Linux/Gnome) work fine. Banshee (Gnome/Mono) and WMP however do not – WMP freezes and Banshee refuses to even start the stream. I can’t see why, even in the logs. Any ideas?

Dear Santa,

Please put lumps of coal in my office helpdesk operators’ stockings. They’ve been very naughty – they insult my intelligence, break things that work perfectly, don’t fix things that should and tell fibs about why things are down/unavailable/generally FUBAR. That’s bad, OK? It’s bad form to BS your systems admin I don’t want to LART them at this time of year, but if you don’t come through I will and it won’t be pretty.

Dear Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications (or soon to be “MiniTru”.)

You remember Harold Holt, right? Do you like to swim? Have you considered following his example about taking a good vigourous swim and not returning? I’ll even organize the Chinese submarine to come and pick you up this time, they like your filtering ideas after all, perhaps you’d be better off with them.

Don’t worry about sharks either. They don’t eat politicians – out of professional courtesy of course.