Let’s Encrypt Everything – Setting up the Free, Automated CA

le-logo-lockonlyLet’s Encrypt is a free, public SSL certificate authority (CA) you can use to generate and automate SSL certificate renewal.  I co-manage Trystack.org, a free OpenStack sandbox for the general public and our Horizon SSL certificate came up for expiration so we moved to Let’s Encrypt.  Using EFF’s certbot it’s trivial to automate everything.  You can do the same for your own blog or website.

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Combat Unsolicited Sales with a Unique Office Voice Mail Recording

lumbergh_office_spaceOffice voice mail has become a graveyard for unwanted sales solicitations for things I don’t need.  People who need to reach me have many available methods.  I’ve decided to take some creative liberties with my voice mail recording and you should too, listen to it below for an example to spur your own unique recording! Continue reading

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Back to the Future: Converting a Server VM to Bare Metal

back2futureIt might seem like stepping back in time, but sometimes you start something with a VM and the desire for resources and usage skyrockets and you need to transplant it onto a bare metal server.  This was my situation with Plex Media Server.  I’ll walk you through using Clonezilla to get the job done. Continue reading

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How to Use Self-signed SSL Certificates for Plex Media Server

plexPlex is a fork of the Open Source Kodi (previously XBMC) project from 2008, the Plex Media Server has evolved into what amounts to a free,  personal Netflix + Spotify that lets you stream home content to devices or browsers with an optional subscription model for added features.  Here’s how to use your own self-signed SSL certificates to encrypt connection streams. Continue reading

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10 Must-have Firefox Addons for Privacy, Security and Utility

firefox-512-noshadowI have used every manner of web browser from lynx, Mosaic and Netscape builds to abusing curl commands and mostly prefer Firefox for the bulk of my daily desktop/laptop needs due to the strong plugin ecosystem.  Below you’ll find my top Firefox addons categorized between security/privacy and general utility. Continue reading

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Funcamp ET Legacy and Urban Terror Servers Upgraded

tuxfragRecently two fun, actively developed Open Source FPS game projects have had major updates: Enemy Territory: Legacy and Urban Terror.  Over the weekend I’ve upgraded the Funcamp ET:L (2.75) and UT (4.3.1) servers to the latest versions.  Setup instructions and more info below. Continue reading

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Quick and Dirty SSH Key Management with Python

Other-python-iconSometimes I need to quickly copy SSH keys to remote systems in a pinch.  I can do this with the Ansible authorized_key module but that’s not always available.  I might be on a random system and Ansible or external internet isn’t available and things need to be pushed out quickly.  Here’s a simple interactive tool to quickly push SSH keys to many hosts, may you never SSH for loop again. Continue reading

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Trystack and Browbeat at the OpenStack Summit

openstack_logoI recently gave two talks at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona on two upstream Open Source projects that I work on – Trystack and Browbeat.  Trystack is a large, public free OpenStack sandbox we run for the general public and Browbeat is a FOSS performance/scale testing tool for OpenStack.  Come check out my sessions or stay tuned for slides/video later. Continue reading

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Fun and Automation with Git Hooks

git-icon-blackGit is more than just an awesome, decentralized version control system (VCS) – it can also drive lots of useful automation by triggering actions to deploy infrastructure and services based on event and commit-based hooks.  You can drive a lot of complex automation with this functionality but I’m going to provide you with a simple example using a Git repo to push web content to a remote webserver. Continue reading

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Automate Infrastructure Docs with Python, WordPress and Foreman

Other-python-iconwordpress-icon-sm“It’s not done unless it’s documented,” says the wise Ops sage.  Frequently updated documentation is critical, it’s also one of the most neglected parts of technology.  Learn how we auto-generate server resource wiki data with Python, WordPress and Foreman. Continue reading

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Automate SuperMicro Server Provisioning or Die Trying

Supermicro_GreenC_NewLogo_WhiteBackground_SmallWe use Foreman for systems provisioning and recently received a large shipment of Supermicro for Ceph.  Out of the box they were a lot of trouble to get integrated/automated at the same level of our Dell gear but we managed, here’s our story. Continue reading

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How to Make Aubergine Risotto

cooking_iconYou seem to burn almost as many calories making risotto as you do eating it – there’s constant action required to keep things under control.  Don’t worry, it’s not too difficult and it’s a lot of fun.  We’re going to show you how to make a delicious vegetarian aubergine (eggplant) risotto that feeds two hungry people. Continue reading

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Switching from Mutt to Neomutt

mutt“All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less,” so says mutt author Michael Elkins.  This is true for me over the last 10years as mutt along with offlineimap and notmuch allowed me battle the unwieldy, barbarous deluge of mailing lists and emails.  Lately I’ve moved over to neomutt.  Based on upstream mutt, neomutt includes additional features, patches and active development. Continue reading

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The Workflow Optimizer Visits Engineering

lumberghThe Workflow Optimizer is part of a new sketch series about people who work as “professional workflow optimizers.”  Today the workflow optimizer visits the Engineering office to help a colleague out with his workflow. Continue reading

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Tmux for GNU Screen Refugees and Vim Users

tmuxI use GNU Screen on servers to manage working sessions and perform long-running or persistent tasks. Lately I’ve been using tmux locally on my work desktop/laptop, finding it better suited for most terminal activity.  Here’s how I set it up with a focus on familiarity with vim bindings, useful tweaks and common hotkeys. Continue reading

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