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My life and times.

This is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Unattended Ubuntu installs, part 2

In my initial post about unattended Ubuntu installs, I made the less-automated choice of hacking at the Ubuntu installation ISO and baking my preseed configuration right into the ISO. This proved to be incredibly inefficient and prevented a lot of the customization and quick-spin-up potential of what I interested in. In other words, if I wanted to spin up five identical VMs differing only by their hostname, was I really expected to bake five custom ISO’s whose preseed file only differed by their specification of the hostname?

Look ma', no hands with Ubuntu installs.

In my day job, it’s all about automation. Automate what is repeatable, and move on to more interesting and not-yet-automated tasks. For a while, I’ve run a KVM/libvirt setup at home, running various iterations and distributions of Linux, OpenBSD and FreeBSD for various pet projects. Going through each distribution’s install procedure was getting old, requiring me to input the same parameters, set up the same users and passwords, over and over again.

i3wm, i3bar, and rhythmbox

I was interested in customizing my i3wm setup a bit more, and wanted to display the current song playing in Rhythmbox while running the i3wm window manager. It turned out to be just a few lines of configuration to my i3bar config. First, I grabbed a copy of the Python wrapper around i3bar, wrapper.py. This wrapper merely takes the output of a command, wraps it in compliant JSON, and returns in a way that i3bar uses it generate its output.

FreeBSD on the desk, another try

After several years of mindlessly running Ubuntu on the desktop, I am attempting to dive (back) into running FreeBSD on the desktop. Considering that the majority of applications I use on the desktop are a browser (Firefox/Chrome), an ssh terminal, and Rhythmbox, how hard could this be? Some of the hurdles Given I still wanted to keep Ubuntu around and not redefine my default setup, I kept Grub2 as my bootloader on the MBR.

Wireless, now with more 802.11's...

With nothing else to do around here tonight while the whole state is shut down thanks to a blizzard, I should catch up on some blog posts. On my list of home network upgrades for the past several months was the wireless. As my wife and I add to our collection of smart phones, laptops, tablets, and wireless streaming devices (I am looking at you EOL Logitech Revue with Google TV) the amount of latency and available bandwidth started to show signs of strain.

California 2012, thricely.

Condensed version of trip #3 to California. San Diego Sushi Ota: Sake and sushi with Mozilla folks. For the quality of the sushi (incredible), the price (reasonable) blew me away. Tajima: Ramen! The spicy miso ramen here lives up to its name, be prepared. Fish Market Cucina Urbana: Serious Italian, and a wine list to match. Funky interior too. Davanti Enoteca: Good tripe dish San Francisco State Bird Provisions: Dim sum delivery, California style.

Nagios and Git hooks, a redux

A while back I blogged about how I hooked up Nagios and Git to run the Nagios preflight checks before restarting with a new checkin’s worth of configs. But the more I looked at how it all fit together, the more I knew it could be improved. A sed hack, expecting a certain pattern in the nagios.cfg? Bad bad bad. Most of the improvement revolves around Nagios’s ability to reference relative paths for its config files.

Remind Me: Damage done in San Francisco in six days

I am lucky enough to have a sister living out in San Francisco, and to be able to work out of our offices there. Below is a hit list of the places I ate at and visited in the span of six days. My stomach has finally recovered. Wineries (Sonoma County): Preston Vineyards: https://www.prestonvineyards.com/com Unti Vineyards: http://www.untivineyards.com/ Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves: http://www.bellawinery.com/ Truett Hurst Vineyards: http://www.truetthurst.com/ Dry Creek General Store: http://drycreekgeneralstore1881.

The Internet is slow. Is the Internet down?

We have all heard the same questions at one point in our careers, “Is the Internet down?” or “Getting to X site is slow.” You scramble to a browser to see if Google, ESPN or the NY Times websites are up. Then you fire up traceroute. In some cases, the pages might load slowly, in other cases not at all. These two situations are often downstream fallout of two connectivity issues: latency and packet loss.

A home network overengineered: dhcpd, tsig keys, ddns

I started to write this post, explaining how I upgraded my home network setup with a dhcpd server, multiple dns servers communicating securely via tsig keys along with dynamic dns, but the post became unwieldy and would have been thousands of words. Instead, I’ll post some links and gotcha’s and hints on how to make it work a lot easier. Links scoured and re-read in the process: Securing zone tranfers with TSIG Bind Security: Transaction Signatures (TSIG) Configuration Security Zone Transfers With Bind 9 Hints: