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My life and times.

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

From 0 to an OpenBSD install, with no hands and a custom disk layout

No one likes to do repetitive OS installs. You know the kind, where you are just clicking through a bunch of prompts for username, password, and partitioning scheme as fast as you can to quickly get to the point where you can get some work done. This scenario happens to me every time OpenBSD releases a new errata. As my OS of choice for firewalls/routers, I use a fresh OS install as the baseline for building a -stable branch of install set files.

All the bits, from anywhere.

Problem Statement: While OpenVPN has served me well over the past few years both for site-to-site and road-warrior style VPN connections, it always bugged me that I had to hack a config file, juggle certificates, and use a custom client that isn’t part of the base OS to bring up the links. My Android phone has a built-in L2TP/IPSec VPN client. My Macbook Pro OS X 10.9 laptop has both an IPSec and L2TP VPN client GUI wrapped around racoon.

Family Tech Support: Vacation Edition

This was an epic visit home, tech-wise. Just so I don’t forget, and can hold it over my folks’ head for a while: Upgraded two five-year-old Linksys E2000 AP’s to Netgear r6250’s. Those old ones were just not reaching the entire length of the house anymore. Upgraded the firewall/router from OpenBSD 5.5-stable to OpenBSD 5.6-stable. It just so happens I’m home every six months to stay relatively close to the most-recent errata.

Third time's a charm? Gitolite, Git, Nagios, and a bunch of hooks

I was hoping with my past posts on this topic, I would have enough examples to just copy-and-paste along to configure my Gitolite+Nagios monitoring setup. Not so true. It looked like there were semi-colon’s missing in my past examples. After looking at the huge number of changes in Gitolite, I had to re-do everything. Not to mention I always wanted a better way to manage the hooks as opposed to editing them directly on the host.

Stack it up: KVM, VLANs, Network Bridges, Linux/OpenBSD

I’ve had some free time and a desire to break stuff on my network at home. I wanted to fix my home network’s topology to more correctly split up my wired (DHCP), wireless (DHCP) and server (statically-configured) subnets. At a high level, I had to create a server subnet, create vlan’s on my layer-3 switch for each of those pervious subnets, then I had to move the network interfaces on my VM host around to only connect to the networks I wanted it to (wired and server).

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, 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.