Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

It has now been 4 years since I started this darn site up.  Up to that point, I just sat on this domain and used it for the occasional test sites.  In these four years I’ve gone from occasionally posting to regularly posting to posting pretty much daily.  I’ve also gone from single to married to daddy.  🙂 I hope that some of you find my New Years resolution from December 2004 useful!

December 31st, 2008

Posted In: sites

VMX Extras is a little app available here.  VMX Extras allows you to edit the configuration files for each VMware Guest OS in a nice little GUI window.  This can help with formatting issues, etc.  
VMX Extras I

VMX Extras I

VMX Extras II

VMX Extras II

December 30th, 2008

Posted In: VMware

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Apple has posted a number of tutorial and how-to video’s from the Genius Bar.  You can access them here.

December 29th, 2008

Posted In: Mac OS X

Beau and I will be giving a talk at MacWorld on Friday. It will be all about Sandbox, the Mandatory Access Control facility from Apple. So if you’re going to be around then you should definitely check it out. Also, Zack will be giving one on Thursday at 1. His will be on recovering from laptop theft. Both talks will be in the security track of the MacIT portion of MacWorld.

December 28th, 2008

Posted In: Articles and Books, Mac Security, public speaking

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If you have a number of Cisco devices you’d like to monitor you might want to check out Fireplotter. Fireplotter is a visualization tool that shows open connections, traffic loads and other pertinent information about your Cisco deployment. The graphs are cute, but not as informative as some other tools that we’ve grown to know and love like MRTG, etc. But, what Fireplotter lacks in intensity it more than makes up for in ease of use and deployment. Also, you can use it in conjunction with other monitoring tools if you just want quick and real-time visual monitoring of bandwidth.


December 27th, 2008

Posted In: Network Infrastructure

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The 10.5.6 update for Mac OS X Server has been out for a little bit now (about a week and a half) and I was thinking it would be worthwhile to cover what the update is really useful for.  So here goes:
  1. Spotlight: Disable and re-enable spotlight on sharepoints to get the update, but basically it will make for faster searches for remote users.  Only works once it’s been disabled and re-enabled PER SHAREPOINT.
  2. Improves AFP performance.
  3. Resolves issues where NFS mounts may not export when a server is first booted.
  4. Password Server replication improved
  5. New NetInstall/NetRestore filters for newer hardware.
  6. NetInstall clears local KDC information.
  7. Introduces MD5 support for Podcast Producer as well as improved reliability for the connections of cameras to Podcast Producer.
  8. Fixes an issue with being able to eject a Promise RAID
  9. Fixes reliability issues with RAID Utility.
  10. Fixes an issue where Server Admin stops responding when propagating permissions.

December 26th, 2008

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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Well, it’s that time of the year that I need to do a little spring cleaning of the ‘ole site.  So I figured I’d post how to upgrade WordPress.  It’s pretty straight forward.  But before getting started back up your install.  This includes the files and the database.  First off, the files.  For that just back up the root of your Apache home directory.  If you’re on a shared host this is often the public_html or www folder.  If you’re on a Mac Server this might be /Library/WebServer/Documents.  If you’ve customized your css and themes, etc you will most certainly want to triple-check that you’ve gotten your wp-content folder. Once you’ve got the flat files, it’s time to grab the database.  Assuming you’re using MySQL, the following command will grab a snapshot of the database: mysqldump -u admin -p ‘MYSUPERSECRETPASSWORD’ -h localhost wpkryptedblog > ~/kryptedbak.sql In the above command you’re going to switch out the data following the data following the -u option with the username of your MySQL instance and the -p with the password (assuming your password isn’t MYSUPERSECRETPASSWORD as that might just be silly – which means I should probably change mine).  Anyway, the data following the -h option is the server that MySQL is running on.  In most cases the MySQL server will not be allowing traffic from any IP other than localhost and so you’ll likely need to run this on the host itself.  In the case of a Mac or Linux box this is very easy provided you have a terminal to do so.  In the case of many servers where you don’t have a command line they’ll likely give you a button in an application like CPanel to do all of what we’re doing here, thus you can skip this step.  Anyway, following the address of the server is the name of the database.  If you don’t know what the name of your database is then you’ll need to figure that out before moving on.  Next, the greater than (>) in the command is telling the command to output everything in that database and write it to whatever file is indicated on the other side of the >.  So we’re basically loggin into the MySQL daemon using mysqldump and writing the contents of the entire database into a file called (in this case) kryptedbak.sql that we can then use to load back into MySQL at a later date if/when we need to. Now copy all the flat data files and MySQL databases to your machine, just to be safe.  Now read through the rest of the instructions before taking any more steps to make sure that a) you qualify and b) you feel comfortable doing the upgrade.  Now that we’re done backing everything up, let’s upgrade.  First we’re going to grab the latest copy of WordPress.  Do so by using this command: wget -O There will now be a file called in your previous working directory, likely your home folder (~).  Now unzip it using this command: unzip Now you’re ready to remove all the old crap from the older install that you no longer need.  cd (changed directory) to the root of your WordPress folder/web root and run the following: rm -rf wp-admin Then run: rm -rf wp-includes Now copy the new stuff in there (don’t cd out of that directory btw – or if you do change the . in the following command to the path of that folder): cp -avr ~/wordpress/* . Now for the moment of truth, open a web browser and go to: Obviously, change the in the above command to whatever your domain or IP address happens to be.  At this point, you’ll be looking at the WordPress upgrade page and believe it or not, WordPress will be happy to do all the heavy lifting for you.  When it’s done, log into your administration panel and if your admin icons are all on the left hand side of the screen then your upgrade is a success.  Now open your site and make sure that the theme is compatible with 2.7.  If so you’re good.  However, all of your plug-ins will be disabled.  So one-by-one go through and re-enable/activate them.  Once activated test your page and verify that things load up properly.  If one doesn’t work check out the forum for that plug-in and make sure it’s compatible (not all are).  Once you’re done, you’re done.   Now, in some cases (especially with apps like c-panel, which would use Fantastico for the entire process), you’ll likely want to do all of this through your portal.  If you aren’t sure, check with your web host prior to doing any of this.  Also, if you have a mission critical site, I’d recommend doing this in a sandbox before going live with it.  That way you can test everything.  The MySQL dump will be just as good as a production database in that case and you’ll be able to test all your extensions to WordPress prior to attempting to go live.

December 25th, 2008

Posted In: sites, WordPress

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That’s it. Merry Christmas.
Christmas WordPress Theme

December 24th, 2008

Posted In: sites

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I first came across this thing a few MacWorld’s ago. It was impressive then in terms of how densely packed the chassis was with drives and that the form factor was something so similar to the Apple form factor I was worried about potential legal action. But no legal action came and they’re still doing their thing. The SATABeast, from Nexsan is as impressive in raw disk space girthyness as it is diminutive in comparable size.  42TB in a 4U chassis.  That’s 10.5TB per unit of rackspace.  The AutoMAID software allows you to cut down BTU and power requirements by spinning down drives that aren’t in use. This isn’t to say that you’d want to in a scenario where all the drives need to be ready to read and write data all the time, as in Xsan, but then the unit hasn’t been certified for Xsan support, so that more than likely won’t be a factor. Clearly I’ll be looking for an announcement from them at the upcoming MacWorld and stopping by their booth, if only to listen to all those drive pays spinning harmoniously in unison. Due to latency issues I’m not a huge proponent of putting raw online Xsan storage on one of these, but they do make really good (especially for their price point) archival storage and near-line storage. Nexsan also has a product called the Edge that I hope to get a glimpse of soon, which offers iSCSI storage up to 84TB. Since I’m pretty keen on using iSCSI and Fibre Channel for housing VMs these days this might just prove to have the density for file servers while also having the price point that can allow for full-on consolidation of various systems. I look forward to seeing what these guys turn out next. While they don’t have the blessing that Apple has given Promise, Nexsan’s products do require a second look nonetheless.

December 23rd, 2008

Posted In: Xsan

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In recognition of the massive quantities of snow in my back yard at the moment I have installed Let It Snow. Props to Aen Tan for making it easy. Also, installed Cumulus, that cute tag cloud app I’ve been seeing all over the place. I hate to keep up with the Joneses (WP-style) but really, it’s nicely done… Have’ta scroll a little down past the graphics in the right nav bar. But it’s there… OpenID has also been integrated to allow for commenting.  I realize I’ve never really allowed comments.  But if you have an OpenID account I think it’s OK…  Also, there are two different themes that auto-redirect based on mobile devices.  One specifically for the iPhone and another specifically for Windows Mobile, Google phones and Blackberry.  Hope you enjoy.

December 22nd, 2008

Posted In: Articles and Books, sites

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