Installing NUT on CentOS

Getting a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) has long been on my tech wish list, so that I could keep my network and logging server up and running during transient power outages. Fortunately, aside from a brief outage right after we bought our house three years ago, power has not been a problem, unlike when I lived in Uptown, with nearly monthly outages. Nevertheless, you never know when the power will go out, so a UPS is a good insurance policy.

So when I recently got the opportunity to pick up one for a steal, I took advantage. Like most UPS appliances, this one came with monitoring software to allow for managing the UPS, as well as safely shutting down a linked computer if the battery backup lost juice, but it was for Windows only. Since I wanted to attach this to my CentOS server, that would not do. Never fear, though, since there is a Linux application that fits the bill: NUT, or Network UPS Tools. Below, I talk about what I did to get it up and running on my server.

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mDNS Update

My last update on getting Bonjour/mDNS working on my network ended with “If it ain’t broke”… Sadly, the broke state cropped up at some point between then and now. Home sharing with the Apple TV was no longer working, and nothing had changed on my end to break it. Apple may have changed things on their end, breaking stuff, but regardless of the cause, my network wasn’t working right.

Fortunately, the fine people on the EdgeOS boards had already fixed this, amusingly enough even before my earlier attempts to get it working right. Instead of using mDNS reflector, using mDNS repeater apparently works much better. Specifically, following the instructions here fixed things nicely. Until the next time something breaks, that is…

Minnesota Tax Incidence 2015

The 2015 Minnesota Tax Incidence study is out. Since I last posted about this two years ago, not much has changed. Details below:

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Splunk Reporting: Port Scans

It’s been a while since I’ve done some Splunk work on my home network, but lately I’ve been thinking about port scans, specifically about reporting on port scans against my environment. I’m not terribly worried about people scanning my network since it is quite locked down, but why not check on it to see if anything interesting is going on? Before too long I had a new dashboard; details below the jump.

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Crypto 1

I’ve been taking my first MOOC via Coursera, Crypto 1, taught by Dan Boneh. I’ve just finished up the final, and it’s been a fantastic experience, something I’d recommend to anybody with an interest in the subject.

This course is more about theory that how to implement crypto in the real world, but the theory is very important and shows exactly what drives a lot of the implementation decisions that implementations make. A lot of people think that MOOCs are easy classes, and this one is certainly not: it’s a fairly technical course, full of things like number theory, but it it doesn’t require a deep mathematics background. It also doesn’t require any programming knowledge, but if you do code, there are a number of extra credit assignments where you can put what you learn into practice, doing cool things like breaking RSA. It’s programming-language agnostic, but the examples are all written in Python so I used this course to try to pick it up, and managed to complete all of the programming assignments.

Crypto 1 focuses on symmetric-key crypto and hashes, with some asymmetric thrown in at the end. There is a sequel to this course, Crypto 2, which focuses more on asymmetric-key crypto. I’ll take that one eventually. I’m also going to go through the Coursera catalog and see what other interesting things I can take. Sure, I don’t get official credit, but I love learning.

2014 Tax Incidence

Tax time is here, and that means it’s time to calculate our 2014 tax incidence below…

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Replacing Chef’s self-signed certificates

Having gotten my home network and logging to a point where I wanted it, my next project was going to be Chef. Life intervened before I got too much involved with Chef, but now that things are approaching a sense of normalcy, I’m trying to pick up where I left off. My ultimate goal is to set up my CentOS server as a Chef server, and control my virtual machines via Chef automation. One minor speed bump along the way was the web interface for Chef, which uses self-signed certificates and so gave me the annoying warning when accessing it. I fixed that problem by replacing the certs with my own, below the fold.

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Bonjour!: mDNS and iTunes Home Sharing on EdgeOS

Ever since I’ve set up my home network, Home Sharing hasn’t worked between our Apple TV and my desktop computer. It’s been a minor annoyance that I really didn’t look into before now, but I had some time yesterday to troubleshoot it and get it working just in time to watch Little Women, which Julia had just bought and downloaded from iTunes. Below is how I got it back up and running.

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I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately due to the birth of our daughter Sonja. As I’ve written about before, this pregnancy has been up and down, full of surprises. This continued when Sonja came much earlier than we were expecting, at 33½ weeks gestation. The good news is that she’s a fighter and she’s been doing great, and she should be coming home in the very near future. In the meantime, I’ve posted some photos in the photo section of her. Much, much more to come!

Photos from Camryn and Nathan’s Wedding

Last weekend I was an unofficial photographer for my sister Camryn’s wedding. I am nowhere close to being good enough to be a wedding photographer, and my hat is off to the official photographer (she is at Whispers of Light Photography in case you are looking for a wedding photographer). I’m just an amateur, although that does take some of the pressure off. Below are some of my favorite shots from the wedding. The complete gallery is here.

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