BlakJak's blog

Today at #NetHui I attended a discussion on Disaster Recovery.
Ham radio got a brief mention.
Then later the same day, I get referred to this:

Never underestimate the value that ham radio can bring to communications 'when all else fails'.

Yes i'm still here. I know i'm not really an active Blogger at the moment (my rants have landed more on Facebook and Twitter than anything else) but I am still alive, and still very, very busy.

PS: Linux Conf 2015 was awesome. You might spy me on http://lca2015.linux.org.au/about/our_team which will give you an idea of what I got up to. At some point I might even write about it....

Sorry, couple more glitches with the server today. Really need to get on to migrating onto the new hardware I have running in parellel...

However I did find this useful stuff today :-)

Force Reboot :
#echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
#echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger
If you want to force shutdown machine try this.
#echo 1 > /proc/sys/kernel/sysrq
#echo o > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Remove comments as required. :)

Sorry for the DNS glitch mid-afternoon folks. The good folks at Domainmonger with whom blakjak.net is registered, hid their 'glue' concept within their over-dumbed-down UI so well I didn't find it until necessity forced it, when the only one of my nameservers with current Glue records disappeared for planned downtime (hosted by a friend).

Sorted now. So sorry. #muttermutter

G'day folks.
Tomorrow my main blakjak.net server will be taking a small road-trip to a new home.
This involves an IP address change and some downtime as it moves between locations and is racked up and powered on, etc.
I expect the downtime to be approximately 1200-1330hrs tomorrow (Friday), perhaps shorter.

Sorry for any inconvenience; plenty of measures have been put in place to mitigate operational impacts.

Yay for Google promptly finding me this link - clearly i'm not the only one who found it ridiculous that there was this new menu item at the top of every right-click in windows explorer, for a menu item id never use!

The gist:

Regedit
Navigate to
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Directory\Background\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\ACE
Edit the default value for that entry
insert several dashes (ala '----' into the front of the key value)

Change takes effect immediately.

Whew!

It's been a long time since I blogged. However this one seemed appropriate.

(For my facebook friends, this paraphases my recent status update)

Today marked my first day in my new job at ICONZ. Unfortunately, SMX had to disestablish my role there and I was in effect, made redundant.

Being made redundant when you're the sole breadwinner for a household is a very stressful event - not one I ever imagined i'd go through. We were faced with a very short period of time in which either I had to find work, or we had to completely turn our lives upside down. Liz (my wife) had the option to take a job offer but this was not our preference, as we have built our lives around Liz being at home with the kids, and me being out at work. Flipping that upside-down would not have been good for any of us for a whole raft of reasons I won't go into.

I was deliberately a little bit cagey in terms of 'announcing' my situation - a deliberate attempt to be considerate to SMX and to my friends and colleagues there, as my situation was in a state of flux for much of the time between the situation being explained, the final decision being made - and then my notice period (which was abbreviated).

I don't begrudge those still there, I recognise the reasons for the disestablishment of my role and to be honest, I was already considering my options as I had concluded that I wasn't happy with the way the position had evolved in my time there. Of course, having a bombshell dropped on me at relatively short notice isn't the same as being able to find a new opportunity and put in notice in the usual fashion!

The support offered by the family and friends who were fully aware of the situation, was immense and I must register my gratitude - in particular those who made useful suggestions, referred me to firms with vacancies, to useful recruiting agents and such.

(Quietly raging at the slip of the fingers that caused me to have to write this blog twice!!!)

Several weeks ago i received my (first ever) summons to attend Jury Service. I happen to relish the fact I live in a civil society where the right to trial-by-jury-of-peers is entrenched, and innocent-until-proven-guilty is the same. So I was actually quite excited by the prospect.

(My employer, slightly less so, but they're good enough to pay wages to staff who are on Jury Service. some don't!)

I didn't have a reasonable reason to seek to be excused from Jury service. Several people I observed when I turned up at court did, one for family (kid-related) reasons, and a few more due to being language-challenged (strong english is required). So I plowed on.

The night before - so, last Sunday - @vaughndavis tweeted a blog entry by @simonemccallum - about her recent Jury Service experience. Simone: Thanks heaps for your timely blog entry (and tweet) - it gave me some useful perspective on the eve of my service!

So after turning up at the appointed time - metal detector and x-ray machines ala airport-security part-in-parcel - I queued up with the other 100+ called jurors to get checked off and then sit in the Juror Assembly room.

Eventually (by the way, a good book and a smartphone are your best friend at these things!) a short DVD is played to introduce the court process, and the players (judge, registrar, clerk, lawyers, defendent, witnesses, jurors). After this the balloting begins; 35 panel-candidates at a time are drawn randomly for each selection.

If you're a Kiwi you'd have to have been hiding under a rock to have missed the fact that Xtra's email service has been under siege lately.

In February, a significant number of xtra.co.nz email addresses - hosted by Yahoo in Sydney - were compromised. It appears that an organised botnet was able to access the mailboxes of many thousand subscribers, and use those mailboxes to generate spam emails (pointing at malicious web content) to email addresses found in those mailboxes - pulled from address books, sent items or similar.

The root cause has not been publicly announced by Yahoo, as far as I know, but I recall reading about a Cross Site Scripting issue involving Wordpress that sounds plausible in some respects. That said, I know that several of the accounts compromised (including one of mine!) have not been used in a long time - or at least, hadn't been, until this issue came to light... which makes one wonder how long this has been parked, waiting - or whether there is some _other_ vulnerability at work.

Anycase, there was a public outcry, and lots of 'change your password' advice being given out to account holders, and the rest of us got to suffer under a deluge of spam originating from Yahoo's servers - let's make it clear, it's not just the account holders that've suffered here, it's the folks they've corresponded with! - and in the aftermath Telecom had to announce a review of their email arrangement with Yahoo (to whom xtra.co.nz email has been outsourced for some years). NBR has a good article with the background, and their public announcement to stay with Yahoo on the grounds of a promise from Yahoo to 'do better'.

A little note to advise that the server was down for a few hours this morning - actually wound up with a complete failure of either the PSU or mainboard. Hard disks were moved into a new chassis and the machine was brought back before midday. Sorry for any inconvenience!

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