• SHOCKER: Vagrant base box using RPMs

    I’ve been using some of the base boxes available from http://www.vagrantbox.es/ as a starting point for lots of Vagrant VMs recently, but came unstuck when the version of puppet in use on the base box was substantially different from our production environment (2.7 v 2.6.8 in our production environment). (I was working on alt_gem, an alternate package provider for maintaining gems outside the RVM in use by puppet) At first I thought it would be simple enough to downgrade puppet on one of my Vagrant VMs, but then I discovered that nearly all of the CentOS/Red Hat vagrant boxes install ruby & puppet from tarballs, which is balls frankly, shouldn’t we be using packages for everything?
  • Faking Production – database access

    One of our services has been around for a while, a realy long time. It used to get developed in production, there is an awful lot of work involved in making the app self-contained, to where it could be brought up in a VM and run without access to production or some kinds of fake supporting environment. There’s lots of stuff hard coded in the app (like database server names/ip etc), and indeed, and there’s a lot of code designed to handle inaccessible database servers in some kind of graceful manor.
  • The New Toolbox

    In days gone by, any computer guy worth his salt had a collection of boot floppies, 5.25″ & 3.5″, containing a mix of MS-DOS, DR-DOS, Toms Root Boot & Norton tools. These days passed and the next set of essentials was boot cd-r, containing BartPE, RIPLinux, Knoppix etc. People quickly switched to carrying these tools USB sticks, smaller, easier to change, great when the dodgy PC you were trying to breathe life into supported USB booting.
  • WRR DNS with PowerDNS

    I had an interesting challenge in work recently, we have 3 data centres running our applications, currently the RR DNS system does what it’s supposed to, spreads the data round each of the 3 DCs evenly. This works fine when all of your data centres have a similar capacity. But ours don’t. This causes problem when your load/traffic gets to the point where one of the DCs can’t cope. Now, there are many expensive and complicated solutions to this, this how ever isn’t one of them, it’s quite simple, has it’s weaknesses, but as you’ll see it’s also quite elegant.
  • jBPM Community Day

    Friday 6th June 2008 was the first jBPM Community Day, held in the Guinness Store House in Dublin, this is practically on my doorstep, and as we’ve been looking at jBPM for some pilots recently, I couldn’t not go. The speakers on the day were Tom Baeyens, Joram Barrez, Paul Browne and Koen Aers. It was great to hear that jBPM is being used in all sort of environments, in some very large projects and most of all the direction of the project from the project leaders.
  • ssh-vulnkey

    There’s a flaw in ssh-vulnkey, it doesn’t always show you the name of the file with an offending blacklisted key in it. Here’s a couple of ways round this: For a small machine, inspect the files by hand: strace ssh-vulnkey -a 2>&1 | grep ^stat64| grep -v NOENT| cut -d” -f 2| sort | uniq | xargs vi Or, a little longer, using ssh-vulnkey to find all relevant keys & reprocess them displaying the filename & then the result of the ssh-vulnkey for the individual file:
  • Exchange to ICS

    I found this post Ryan Hadley a few days ago, which I got working with a little bit of time, I noticed that Thunderbird was displaying all-days events oddly, so I checked the VEVENT info being generated & tweaked to work correctly with Thunderbird/Lightening. I also dropped in the URL of the event in OWA & fixed it for situations where there are public & private names for the OWA/Exchange instance, handy when you want to go and amend an entry etc.
  • The definitive guide to Apache, Subversion & AD LDAP on Debian

    After struggling for ages with different guides on ldap, Apache & Subversion, I found the following guide, and everything just worked after following it. Kudos to Sander. You can read the article in full here. Here’s the: http://www.jejik.com/articles/2007/06/apache_and_subversion_authentication_with_microsoft_active_directory/
  • Making Thunderbird more Mutt like

    I used to be a big mutt fan, but with the growing amount of HTML mail I recieve, it became too much of a chore, combined with the fact that IMAP offline support is a bit kludgy (I’ve used both isync & offlineimap) I abandoned mutt some time ago and move to Thunderbird. Thunderbird has better offline IMAP support, but it’s very mouse driven, but there are some handy extensions that can make it easier to use from the keyboard.