Thursday, July 17, 2014

If you can RTFM, we WANT YOU!

So yesterday I was tasked to take care of putting up a job description for a devops engineer in our team. This is what I came up, and to my surprise, even non-techies enjoyed it:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Easy way to confirm that Centos is patched against Heartbleed

This post should have been posted earlier, but here it is anyway... If you run a Centos box you'll notice that packages are not updated as regular as other distros like Ubuntu. However since the Heartbleed vulnerability is pretty sick, the developers at Centos issued a patch. A simple yum update openssl should fix it. To confirm:
╭─james@darktech  ~ 
╰─$ for i in `seq 1 4`; do ssh root@tech-qa0$i "rpm -q --changelog openssl | grep CVE-2014-0160"; done                       255 ↵

- fix CVE-2014-0160 - information disclosure in TLS heartbeat extension
- fix CVE-2014-0160 - information disclosure in TLS heartbeat extension
- fix CVE-2014-0160 - information disclosure in TLS heartbeat extension
- fix CVE-2014-0160 - information disclosure in TLS heartbeat extension

The Internet of Things

Today I stumbled across a concept which although not new to me, never realized it was called like that  - The Internet of Things.
In a seminal 2009 article for the RFID Journal, "That 'Internet of Things' Thing", Ashton made the following assessment:
Today computers—and, therefore, the Internet—are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings—by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture, or scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet ... leave out the most numerous and important routers of all - people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. And that's a big deal. We're physical, and so is our environment ... You can't eat bits, burn them to stay warm or put them in your gas tank. Ideas and information are important, but things matter much more. Yet today's information technology is so dependent on data originated by people that our computers know more about ideas than things. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.[21]
—Kevin Ashton, 'That 'Internet of Things' Thing', RFID Journal, July 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Compiling FontForge2 on Centos 6

As devops engineer I get often challenged by PHP developers to install cutting edge (almost bleeding!) packages against a conservative and stable distro like Centos. Recently I was asked to install grunt-webfont on one of the deployment servers which runs on Centos 6.

This npm package requires FontForge 2 which is not available on the base repo of Centos 6 (the current one is very to 2009!). Looking for prebuilt RPMs proved difficult, if not pointless so I decided to take a shot in compiling from sources. Since compiling FontForge 2 on Linux is a royal pain in the ass, I hope that this document will save you some time (read hours!):

Install these packages with yum:

$ sudo yum install libtool libtool-ltdl libtool-ltdl-devel libuninameslist-devel libXt-devel xorg-x11-proto-devel gettext pango-devel cairo-devel freetype-devel libxml2 libxml2-devel ibpng libpng-devel giflib-devel giflib libjpeg-turbo-devel libjpeg-turbo libtiff-devel libtiff libspiro-devel libspiro cairo

Install autoconf 2.69 from rpm:
$ wget

$ sudo yum localinstall autoconf-2.69-12.2.noarch.rpm

Install the iPython module:
$ pip2.7 install ipython

Install bdwgc:
$git clone

$ push bdwgc

$ git clone

$ pushd libatomic_ops && ./configure

$ make && sudo make install

$ popd

$ ./ && ./configure

$ make && sudo make install

$ popd

Install FontForge 2:
$git clone

$ pushd && ./bootstrap

$ ./configure

$ make && sudo make install

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hedonism (Skunk Anansie) - Bass Cover

What a hiatus!

So for those who just follow my blog you might have wondered what I have been up to. Let's face it, my last blog post was published last April, almost nine months ago. Many things happened and I think it's best to summarize them as follows:

1. I am back in Malta! Yes I missed this tiny island so much.
2. I am working in a new company, as a Senior DevOps engineer.
3. I joined a new heavy metal band, we are still in the process of finding a singer but I think we are almost there!
4. I started taking photography more seriously and now I have my own flickr account! I think photography was a long dormant passion inside me!

I have so much stuff to share with you in this blog, mostly IT, photography and music related, so I'll that in future posts.

Peace and stay tuned!