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Scott Nolan
27 October 2016 @ 08:04 am
Microsoft announced a new desktop computer yesterday, and I confess I usually am in the habit of ignoring Microsoft announcements because they typically offer nothing I am interested in; but yesterday's announcement is stunning and ground breaking. The new Surface Studio is the first Microsoft product I actually want since Photosynth launched in 2008...

Microsoft Surface Studio

It's quite expensive, but it is so ground-breaking and such a polished design that I can see it changing the industry and the way we do desktop computing over time as competitors implement some of the features. This is the sort of innovation usually developed by Apple.

Very impressive.
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Scott Nolan
24 October 2016 @ 03:26 pm
So apparently the new Firefox update (49.0.2) overwrites your cert8.db file - for many people that does not matter; but if you have a lot of self-signed certs and internal to your company certificates to trust this is a catastrophe unless you backed up your cert8.db or can get another from your corporate IT folks.

On a Mac it is located in ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/__your_profile__/cert8.db
Backup that file before you update to 49.0.2
 
 
Scott Nolan
My employer has chosen to use DataDog for some of it's monitoring, and I have been having a really hard time getting simple process monitoring to work reliably. Turns out that the process.yaml file syntax used by DataDog agents is very dependent on Python language psutil calls, and there is quite a difference between single quotes (used in Datadog's examples) and double quotes (needed for searching for running processes where the unique string is in the middle of a very long line).

Datadog's Process check is documented pretty well at Process check and the simple checks are easy and work right away. Checking for a running httpd process or nginx process is trivial using the example, and the PID check works, though I am not sure how useful it is as pretty much no one uses static PID assignment. What the examples need to include are an effective fuzzy search to pull the existence of a specific instance of a Node.js or Java Servlet out of many possible running processes. The simple name search for 'java' is not very helpful - as I have as many as a dozen separate Java servers running on a host. Likewise a simple name search for 'node' is useless as I have as many as thirty node.js servers running at a time... I spent far too many hours trying to get the exact name match to work until I discovered that the switch to double quotes and the use of the exact_match: False boolean operator make this fairly reliable... given that running node and java are so common, why doesn't DataDog include examples of that?

Here are mine, /etc/dd-agent/conf.d/process.yaml contents:

init_config:
instances:
name: cassandra
search_string: ["java -ea -javaagent:/usr/share/dse/cassandra/lib/jamm-0.2.5.jar"]
exact_match: False
ignore_denied_access: True

name: nodejs.mu.fuzzyblink
search_string: ["node /full/path/to/nodejs/bin/mu/fuzzyblink.js"]
exact_match: False
ignore_denied_access: True


Run service datadog-agent restart ; sleep 8 ; service datadog-agent info to reset you datadog agent and verify the syntax of your process.yaml file.

Now you can set up a process monitor alert through your DataDog cloud account and look for process:cassandra and process:nodejs.mu.fuzzyblink metrics coming in from the agent. The double quotes are the key.
 
 
Scott Nolan
17 October 2016 @ 09:56 am
Ford Focus, DCT transmission anomalies explained, and some useful information for 3rd generation Ford Focus owners/drivers.

We've been reading loads of useful information and tips at: http://www.focusfanatics.com/

In particular - this posting makes a a LOT of sense:

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/mk3-focus/415994-ford-powershift-dct-transmission-info-use-guide-new-owners-look-here.html
 
 
Scott Nolan
12 October 2016 @ 06:16 pm
This is absolutely brilliantly written and worded; and expresses exactly my feelings on the current election and self-destruction of the Republican party... I confess I never know if I should cheer on that self-destruction, or lament the loss of a reasonable and rational counterpoint to the Democratic party, which does need a healthy check against it often.

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2016/10/12/scalzi-trump
 
 
 
Scott Nolan
23 July 2016 @ 08:30 am
"Trumpster fire" - John Gruber knocks it out of the park again with my favorite phrase of the week when he compares the Republican National Convention to a "Trumpster fire" - awesomely apt description.

http://daringfireball.net/linked/2016/07/21/nba-north-carolina

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=trumpster%20fire
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Scott Nolan
This is nauseating...

https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/67367/upgradegate-microsofts-upgrade-deceptions-undermining-windows-10

I was annoyed by Apple's pushy iOS 9.3.2 upgrade pressure; but this is way beyond anything Apple has done so far...
 
 
Current Mood: annoyed
Current Music: Agnes Obel
 
 
Scott Nolan
We live in amazing times indeed where planetary shipping can be visualized like this...

https://www.shipmap.org/
 
 
Scott Nolan
16 March 2016 @ 09:33 pm
I have been tinkering with a nifty little RaspberryPi clone made by Lemaker and called BananaPi (basically a RaspberryPi model B with 1 gigabyte memory, eSATA connector, and gigabit ethernet). It's the size of a deck of playing cards in it's clear acrylic case, and runs CentOS 7 Linux server operating system.

I have it running ntpd, named (DNS BIND), httpd, MariaDB, PHP, and MediaWiki. I'll probably put other things on it soon. Like any server, it should be monitored; so I was delighted to find an ARM based Splunk Forwarder at https://splunkbase.splunk.com/app/1611

Now my logs and events are getting shipped to my Splunk indexer and I can monitor and graph anything that logs on the BananaPi.
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Scott Nolan
Steven Levy has an excellent article about the current attempt to squash privacy and encryption by the FBI and why this all sounds so familiar, it's because we already had this battle before, twice, in the 1990s... and both times wisdom prevailed. Will it prevail again?

https://backchannel.com/why-are-we-fighting-the-crypto-wars-again-b5310a423295

Remember the dreaded "Clipper" chip and everyone worrying about Net Nannies with the Gores at the helm? Hell, our entire electronic commerce system only works because of public key cryptography. If agencies are allowed back doors into that, then there ultimately is no way to trust electronic financial transactions at all.

Excellent reading, and thank you Apple for fighting the good fight for the rest of us.