If you are like me, you are notified of both email and syslog errors from your Linux hosts. If you aren’t, you don’t know what’s wrong with your computers. But if you are, you sometimes have to deal with noise, like this totally useless message:

This is caused by a logrotate definition using “compress” without “delaycompress”. The error message is especially unhelpful because it doesn’t contain the filename causing the problem, due to the way logrotate invokes gzip as a pipeline.

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time again! $happy $holidays, everyone! We have a special card just for you:

http://www.tolaris.com/xmas/xmas2015.php

After years of fun with the “madlib”-style card, we tried something very different this year!

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In late 2005, my wife and I were living in Sulimaniya, Iraq. As I was preparing for bed one night, I decided to play a prank on her. Shaving the beard from my goatee to leave only a filthy little mustache, I slid next to her in bed.

molestache1

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Advanced Ping with Cacti

I use an advanced ping template with Cacti to monitor ICMP latency. Advanced Ping is based on a template originally found on the Cacti forums, but modified to look more like Smoke Ping. My thanks go to my colleague at Talia, Enno, for making it look beautiful as well as functional.

Advanced_Ping

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Merry Christmas!

It’s that time again! Merry Christmas, everyone! We have a special card just for you:

http://www.tolaris.com/xmas/xmas2014.php

(In case you miss it the first time, try reloading or clicking the button.)

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One limitation of Mikrotik‘s DNS and DHCP implementations is that you cannot easily sync hostnames from DHCP requests into DNS. This is a standard feature of many routers. On OpenWRT routers (which use dnsmasq), if a PC called “pc1” requests an IP address, any other PC can then “ping pc1”. Fortunately, we can script this behaviour on Mikrotik.

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APT, the package manager for Debian/Ubuntu has had the ability to use a proxy for many years. However, proxy support is tricky. Suppose you have a proxy at your work, but not at your home? When you take your laptop home, APT won’t be able to update.

Enter apt-find-proxy, my tool to do just that.

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I have removed support from Ubuntu 13.10 “Saucy Salamander” / Linux Mint 16 “Petra” from my repository. As these releases are no longer supported, you should upgrade immediately.

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I’m joining Google!

I am very excited to announce that I’m joining Google as a Site Reliability Manager at the London (Victoria) office. I start in late November 2014. I don’t yet know what projects I’ll be working on, but I can’t wait to find out.

I’ve been at Talia a long time. I’ve done some cool stuff, worked with great people, and been to very unusual places. But all things must end, and it is time for a change. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues at Talia, and I wish you all the best.

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My company, Talia, provides hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services to our customers. A typical use is a software-based PBX such as Asterisk on our virtual machine hosting cluster (or as the kids say, our “cloud”). We use the same for our own corporate PBX.

In the past month, we’ve experienced two fraudulent attacks costing a few hundred USD each. We have measures to detect and prevent such things, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about how these attacks occurred.

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