Fun-Day Friday – Ramblings

This is going to be short and sweet. I’ve been busy getting ready for a big event in our household, and thus I shorted myself on time to publish this. I apologize for that.

I’ll treat this as a week in review and go over some of the cool things that happened.

1) Michael W. Lucas has released his new “Mastery” book, PAM Mastery. PAM is one of those rare dark arts that most Unix SysAdmins prefer to meddle with as little as possible for fear of summoning a maentwrog or something. This book sheds some really bright light on how to tackle the appropriate incantations so you don’t do something that bites your head off in the end.

2) I’ve made some progress on troubleshooting one of the more recent modules released on the LAN Turtle. A new version of that module has already been released, so I get to start all over with testing it to see if it fixed any of the issues I was having. I’ll do that testing this weekend.

3) Guild Wars 2 released the second episode of the Living Story season 3. GW2 is one of a very small handful of computer games I still play these days. The content thus far is pretty good. I was hoping ArenaNet would put in a petrified wood node, but maybe it’ll come later.

4) My WiFi Pineappling book came in the mail. I’ll go through it, and do a review when I cover the Hak5 WiFi Pineapple NANO later down the road.

5) My wife bought me a present today. Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, and she brought home a skull on a stand. I’ll take it to work and start decorating my cube for the holiday soon. It should go nicely with the skulls chain I hang every year.

What are your favorite games, holidays, or other activities and events? Share in the comments!

Fun-Day Friday – Not So Fun

A couple of weeks ago, a fellow HAM in the local Amateur Radio Club had a mishap with his Elecraft KX3 and PX3 rig setup. It was a nice day, weather wise, so he called an impromptu “Hamming In The Park.” This is where a bunch of us grab our portable capable rigs, head to one of the parks in town, set up, and operate in the (usually sunny) outdoors.

He let the smoke out of his KX3, and here’s the story:

http://ae5nw.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=54&limitstart=25

I personally am a huge fan of Elecraft. I own the KX3 (radio,) the PX3 (waterfall display and control,) and the KXPA100 (amplifier.) I use the KX3 on the amp at the house to get up to 110W of power (comparable to most non-amp HF rigs on the market.) It’s a sweet rig, but cheap is not part of its description. I’ll definitely be taking his experience to heart and making sure my setup doesn’t connect power until everything else is hooked up moving forward.

Fun-Day Friday

Fridays will be “Fun-Day Friday,” at least for a while. I’ll talk about non-unix non-security stuff on this day, and today’s topic will be about one of my hobbies: Amateur Radio.

I’ve been a licensed HAM since November of 2008. In my initial test, I passed both my Technician and my General class exams, but failed the Extra when it was offered. I didn’t really expect to pass that one, but it gave me a pretty good idea of what kind of material was on it. I waited a few years before taking my Extra class exam again, because I wanted some time to get to know the hobby better before diving in that deep. I passed my Extra in 2012. On my to-do list is to get my Volunteer Examiner, but I keep getting life interruptions when I sit down to take it. It’s an open book, online test, so there’s no reason for me to not have it yet other than procrastination and interruptions in general. I’ll get it eventually.

In the grand scheme of things, I’ve enjoyed the hobby thus far. I don’t operate as much as other members of the local county club, and I get teased for this incessantly, but I enjoy the times I do operate, and that’s what matters.

HAM radio has a broad offering of ways to enjoy the hobby, so if you haven’t looked into it, you should. Some people enjoy rag chew on HF, others like to chase points in contests, and another set prefer to operate in only one mode or another, such as CW (morse code) or digital only modes where voice isn’t even carried.

The latest trend in our local club is DMR (digital mobile radio,) and the club just purchased a new DMR capable repeater for the locals to use. I picked up a new HT radio for the occasion, so I’ll probably cover a review on that next week. HAM radio will be one of the topics I bring up frequently on Fridays, but I’ll also cover some of my many other hobbies, such as knife throwing, playing music, book reviews, movie reviews, and so on. I eventually plan to spin these off onto their own blog space, but for now, I’ll share them here. Only on Fridays. You’ve now been forewarned.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any hobbies you love, post in the comments!

Welcome to the Lab

Welcome to the Lab.

On this site, I will share Unix tips and tricks for writing clean bash/ksh/posix shell code, sed, awk, perl, and other command line power tools.

I’ll show code snippets and examples for dealing with specific shell coding situations, such as input validation, cleaning up your work space, setting locks on files, multiplexing tasks using tmux and/or dsh, and a plethora of other day to day Unix Sysadmin tasks.

We will also explore developing best practices for hardening systems together.  You will be able to follow my journey through setting up a home lab using a mix of virtual machines and single board computers.  I’ll share links to the hardware I’m testing on so you can follow along and try the same set up if you like.

I’ll discuss general security topics, such as BCDR, Incident Response, and Governance documentation.

I’ll also share a small slice of related hobbies such as Amateur Radio.

Comments from the community are always welcome.

Get your popcorn at the door, sit back, and enjoy the show.