Monthly Archives: May 2006

Xsan

Xsan Admin slow to respond?

It’s probably a naming or DNS issue…  As a temp test, create a hosts file with all the systems in it.  If it works fine then try and isolate that DNS issue…

Mac OS X Mac Security Ubuntu Unix

openssl and Signatures

A checksum can be used to determine if a file has been tampered with at a later date.  To run a checksum use the following command:

openssl dgst -HASHTYPE path_to_file

HASHTYPE would then be md2, md4, md5, mdc2, rmd160, sha or sha1.  Let’s go ahead and do a checksum of our smb.conf file:

openssl dgst -md5 /var/db/smb.conf

You should then see output similar to the following:

MD5(/var/db/smb.conf)= e4b58a63c6682b298aeca3ad40734c1e

MD5(/var/db/smb.conf)= e4b58a63c6682b298aeca3ad40734c1e

sites

The Hidden Google

I originally posted this at http://www.318.com/TechJournal

Google is a key tool for just about every Web user these days, and it remains the most popular web search engine in use today. But many of Google’s coolest features often get overlooked. Here are some of Three18’s favorite Google tools:

Google Toolbar (toolbar.google.com): Windows users can save themselves the step of navigating to Google’s homepage by adding the Google Toolbar to their Internet Explorer browser. In addition to fast access to web searches, you also get a history of your most recent searches, bars indicating relevance of your searches, and links to other Google resources. But its most welcome bonus is its built-in, intelligent Pop-up blocker.

Google Desktop (desktop.google.com): Ever wish you could just Google your entire computer to find that long lost document or e-mail message? Well, now you can with Google Desktop. It installs Google’s powerful search engine capabilities into your PC, so you can instantly search your entire hard drive for e-mails, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, IM chats, and even cached web pages you’ve visited. It’s currently only available for PC, but Google has announced plans to build a version for Mac OS X.

Google Local (local.google.com): Confine your search to your neighborhood (or any other location in North America for that matter). It’s a simple matter of entering your search terms and a location, be it an address, a ZIP code, or a City/State combination. You’ll get not only your list of search results in the standard Google format, but you’ll get a map of the results as well.

Froogle (froogle.google.com): Shopping for the best price is easy with Froogle. Just tell it what you’re looking for, and it searches a seemingly infinite number of online retailers. Sort your results by price, or within a price range, or by category (this comes in handy if you’re doing a brand search such as Sony, Apple, or Craftsman). A great tool for bargain hunter’s shopping during the holidays!

Google News (news.google.com): The ultimate fix for news junkies. Browse and search over 4,500 online news publications from all over the world. Then combine it with Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts) to give yourself customized news alerts in your e-mail inbox as often as you want: either as they happen, once a day, or once a week.

Google Directory (directory.google.com): Billed as “the largest human-edited directory on the web”, the Google Directory leverages the deep database of the Open Directory Project (dmoz.org) and the powerful Google search engine. You can browse categories or just run a search. Either way, your results are going to be based on categories and information that is organized by human beings, not crawlers, spiders, or bots (which can be easily fooled into incorrectly boosting the relevance of web pages).

GMail (gmail.google.com): Google’s long-anticipated (and hotly sought-after) free e-mail service is still in limited Beta test mode, but those users lucky enough to score a GMail account have been wowed by the results: over a gigabyte of mail storage, all instantly searchable with Google’s familiar search engine technology. Keep an eye on Three18’s newsletter for updates on when Gmail goes “live” for use by the general public.

These are just some of the tools Google has available right now. They’re all free, powerful, and unlike anything else on the web. Google is currently in a dramatic growth phase, with numerous projects and technologies in the works. And the great thing is, you can test them out as they’re developed. Go to Google Labs (labs.google.com) to see what they’re working on now.

Mac Security public speaking

Mac OS X Server: LayerOne Presentation on Mac OS X Server Security

Below is the presentation I gave at the LayerOne Security conference in May of 2006 in Pasadena, CA.  Topic was Mac OS X Server Security.

mac_server_security-layerone-charles_edge

On the Road

On the Road: Flying

Ever since 9-11, the airlines have gone to hell.  Maybe it was actually before that.  But flying just isn’t fun any more…

Network Infrastructure On the Road

Packet 8

I originally posted this at http://www.318.com/TechJournal

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology used to transmit voice conversations over data (computer) networks using the Internet. The data network can be T-1, DSL, Cable Modems or any other high-speed Internet (broadband) connection.

In the past few years, Vonage took the country by storm, offering low cost unlimited long distance using VoIP. For most residential users, Vonage is perfect. Vonage is easy to setup and use and has all of the features a standard phone would have for a fraction of the cost for most people. ViaTalk, Sun Rocket, ITP, Lingo, SpeakEasy and TalkTimes.net are all competitors to Vonage, but while some of these are cheaper than Vonage, few are better for a residential making Vonage the preferred choice.

One Vonage competitor that has risen above the rest due to its ability to help Small Businesses is Packet8.

Packet8 takes VoIP a step further; from the home and into the workplace. Their Virtual Office offers unlimited calls to the US and Canada, unlimited worldwide calls within the network, a unique inbound telephone number, auto-attendant routing and online switchboard viewing for $42.48 per month. Each virtual extension is $10.49 per month and each virtual number (other numbers that can be used to reach your organization) is $5.49 per month. The cost is more than that of a service like Vonage, but the commercial features available to Packet8 systems are also much greater. The big thing that Packet8 offers with the Virtual Office and switchboard are 3-digit dialing and other traditional PBX features.

The pricing is fairly straight forward, and numbers can be ported from existing services. An example of the pricing for a typical office with 5 people on a Packet8 plan might be:

5 lines $212.40/month
Switchboard $19.99/month
Total (no fax service included) $231.40/month

Telephone service can be obtained below 64 kilobits per second but audio quality may be adversely affected. Each active voice line uses approximately 23 kilobits per second of total data throughput, upstream and downstream. Typically, no firewall configuration is needed and all of the administration of the system occurs using the easily understanding web portal. The best part is, users do not need to buy an expensive PBX or VoIP telephone server.

The Virtual Attendant can be a great call routing technique for managing an office where users are mostly out of the office. The Virtual Attendant can route calls that come in through one phone number to wired or mobile phones and other Virtual Office extensions, regardless of geographic location. Virtual Attendant can be used in conjunction with a Virtual Office Service Plan. This service is $14.99 for unlimited minutes.

Packet8 also offers Video Phones so that when you are on the road you can connect your phone into the network of a hotel or remote office and stay in touch. The quality and versatility of the Video Phones is unparalleled for the price. The units are affordable, compared to many other solutions and there are no rules against taking the phones or Video Phones to foreign countries as there are with Vonage.

For more information on the many VoIP services that may be available to your business, please contact Three18, Inc. at 310-581-9500 or via email at sales@318.com

Mac OS X Xsan

Resetting an Xserve RAID Controller

To reset RAID Controllers on an Xserve RAID:

  1. Reset the NVRAM to return the XRAID to factory default settings by holding down the reset button on the back of the controller for 5 seconds and then releasing the button. If you need to reset both controllers, you should reset the lower controller first and then reset the upper controller.
  2. The Xserve RAID will now have the name Xserve-RAID and an automatic IP address. The location and contact information are also reset. The settings for drives, drive cache, prefetch and other array based information will not be reset.

If you only want to reset the password of an Xserve RAID you can hold down the reset button on the controller for about a second. This will change the settings back to public and private.

Xsan

Xsan: Backing up the Configuration

cvgather is a tool that can be used to “gather” up all the relevant information (cfg files, etc) on your Xsan and back them up to a specified location.  Any time you will be fussing around with the SAN, etc. then you should run this first.  Additionally the copy of the config files can provide you with an escape clause with regard to certain issues that could cause the volume to get destroyed so I would have a copy of all your info on a location other than the SAN at all times anyway.  This isn’t to say that cvgather will actually back the SAN itself up.  It very specifically does not back up your data.