It’s 1.00am, Was talking to Martin (who’s back in manchester) about some crazy network security stuff.
I had just put the phone down and sat back down at my PC when my desk, monitors and chair were rocked by something. As I looked out of the window to see what the hell it was.. Martin called me and said ‘Dude! There’s just been an earthquake!’

That’s damn impressive if it was felt 250 miles apart!

OCUK forum already has hundreds of posts (Does no-one sleep anymore 😉 )


Pwnt by an artic

Hi all,

Thought I would write a quick post for those that don’t know,
On wed night while heading back north for the rest of my week off, an articulated lorry changed lanes into the side of me, and span my car off and over into the hard shoulder, on it’s side.

I dont think I can say anymore or give exact details until the police have finished their investigation, but apart from neck/back pain and stitches down my right arm, i’m fine.

Sadly, the truck driver did not stop, and no-one got the registration number, so depending on what the insurance company say, I could be without a car for quite a while.

Anyway, Thanks to everyone that stopped on the M1, and the ambulance team/doctors at Watford A+E.


Replacement VM Server

OK. This is the first in a number of ‘update posts’ covering what I have been upto in the past few months.

A while ago (Jan 4th I think) While searching for a new server to replace my Dell poweredge (huge, heavy, and pretty slow) for something with a little more horsepower, I noticed a server on E-bay, that was going for stupidly cheap, with not long to go.

In the description of the auction, it said the system would not boot, and powered itself down within 5seconds of startup with what was basically fan error. I pulled up the specs/hardware docs for the server and decided at worst it would be a broken fan module, and at the following specs, it would be worth taking the risk of 100 quid (would usually go for at least 500).


  • 1U compaq server
  • Redundant hot swappable PSU’s (2)
  • 2x 2.8Ghz Intel Xeon CPU’s
  • 2 x36GB Ultra320 Hot swappable SCSI Drives
  • Hardware Raid for scsi drives
  • Integrated LOM (remote on/off/IP KVM console)
  • 2X inbuilt gigabit ethernet ports
  • 1X quad port intel/pro PCI-X

I Won the server (bidding via a friend as I was in the pub at the time 😉 ) for 113 quid, and the next day (sunday) embarked on driving through central london to pick it up. (which although slow moving, was actually nice to familiarize myself with driving into the capital / where things are 🙂 )

Picked the server up and drove home (1.30 hrs each way I think) I got it home, plugged it in (loud!!) and yup, the error message was still there.
But all of the fans I could see were spinning, so I tried to reset the error, or mask the error in the bios / LOM.. No luck.

Next I took the fan module out that the system was complaining about (PSU / System board fan modules at LHS of unit) and tried turning each of the six fans (3×2 configuration) manually… One was stuck!

Looked inside it.. and there was a tiny bit of muck/wood chip/plasterboard/something wedged between the fan blade and the outside casing of the fan. Removed it with pliers… and put the fan module back in..

System instantly booted, right into RHEL5. Fast as foobar!

At this point, as you can imagine, I was damn chuffed, and proceeded to put Vmware on it (as this is going to replace my old Vmware server, for running a few basic vm’s (more later))

Anyway… Before we proceed, Pictures!new VM Serverultra230

Not bad for 113 cashmonies!

Anyway, The next task was going to be moving all my virtual machines off the old VMserver onto this one (and then take the old one offline) However, As I am using different versions of Vmware.. That didn’t turn out to work.

So I used this as an opportunity to move the VM’s away from gentoo and do a full re-install of the services from scratch.
I wanted to move them away from gentoo for two reasons:

  • Keeping 6 gentoo boxes upto date (including desktops/servers) / error free was taking up way to much of my time, especially since they were only running things like DHCP / DNS / Hellanzb
  • I wanted to give my new Solaris skills a try (and I would have felt bad NOT using solaris, as it rocks 😛 but that’s for another ramble)

My old VM server had the following:

  • DHCP/DNS – Gentoo 2007.1 VM, running dhcpd and maradns
  • HellaNzb – Gentoo 2007.1 VM, running hellanzb for usenet and IRCD for an internal IRC server
  • Centos4 – Running a test Scalix Mail install

I also had other servers (Old desktops) for:

  • Trixbox (asterisk and freepbx) VOIP PBX server – Headless Desktop, 512Mb/ram, 40Gb IDE HDD, 1Ghz Athlon CPU
  • Old compaq server, Dual 500Mhz Xeons, 1GB ECC Ram, 36Gb Scsi disk. Running pfsense for house firewall.

So, I slowly started to install new VM’s on the new server to replace these old systems. I have now ended up with the following:

  • Solaris snv_78 – running Bind 9 and solaris dhcp server (bind rocks! it’s not complicated at all, as some people make out)
  • Pfsense – 2 NIC’s from the server provided exclusively to this vm, allowing me to virtualise the house Firewall, keeping it separate from the internal network.
  • Ubuntu 7.10 Server- a ‘general server’ vm, for testing bits of stuff out on (chose this OS due to the ‘hands off maintenance’ and the power/speed and ease of apt-get. this runs internal webpages and also HellaNZB and IRCD
  • Trixbox (centos5) – Installed the newest version of trixbox onto a VM (even though it says it dosnt get on with virtualisation) and it works fine (NTPD was needed to adjust for clock skew… but you should be running this anyway) We were having some stutter problems in calls, but this seems to be Martin’s IAX softphone (zoiper, used to be idefisk.. and now sucks soooo many balls!)
  • Centos5 – This runs Scalix mail services, which I will eventually use as my main mail system (currently using it for the amazing web interface and calDav calender stuff for centralised todo lists / calendars) (Installer for community edition is now completely pain free)

The new server has taken on these tasks without a problem, and it’s also interesting to see how many resources are used by each of these OS’s at idle. (Centos looses, hands down!.. solaris and ubuntu (without gui’s) Pwn!.. 50 – 300mhz, and around 100-200mb ram for solaris (less for ubuntu))

Old server has now been taken offline, and will be flogging it so that I dont have to move it when i move house!

Here are the systems made redundant by this new system and the new server in it’s place:


After such a geeky post… is anyone up for a Saturday afternoon pint or twelve?

Sploits :P

I know I still need to write up a load of technical stuff I have been working on;
But just a quick post for anyone that hasnt heard about [LINK FIXED] THIS

A pretty nasty Linux privilege exploit coving kernels upto ” Linux kernel 2.6.24 -rc5″

Users should patch / upgrade. And if you can’t.. At least disable shell logins for anyone other than yourself ;P