piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
first my new iomega external 2T drive conked. that's the second iomega drive that died way too soon, and i am not using these drives a lot; just for backups. needless to say, i won't be buying iomega anymore.

then my mac pro lost its video output. since we have high-end graphics cards just laying around the house, that didn't seem like a big problem. but with the new card (which is confirmed to be working) the mac didn't even boot. put the old card back in, nope, not booting either. i swtched everything to the mac mini, but that would'nt even turn on -- i had originally started using the mac pro because the mini was flakey. so the mac pro went to the shop. last time we used the shop, maybe 2 years ago, we got the machine back the next day. now we were told it could be as long as 10 days. macs are either getting very popular, or are breaking more. this is the only mac shop in town, so there's no alternative either.

not only are we lucky that we have high end graphics cards laying around, but we also have spare computers. no spare mac, no, but a spare PC dual-booting into win2000 and fedora. i don't care for fedora, and especially not v11, which screwed up the sound. debian is my favourite, but i figured this was a good time to try out ubuntu, which has been praised far and wide.

downloaded ubuntu, burnt it to CD, and tried it. looked clean and simple if a bit too kawaii with its large, colourful icons and all. it offered an install while leaving previous installations intact, so i started that process. during which it needed to resize the partitions on the drive so it could add itself on a new partition.

i usually repartition with partition magic, a reliable work horse which never once screwed anything up for me. but since symantec (bastards) killed it after buying the developer, powerquest, that option is running out now; it can't handle ext4 filesystems nor newer windows systems. so i let ubuntu handle the repartitioning.

bad idea. somewhere during the process the screen went a sickly bright green and ubuntu hung. and of course when i finally shut the machine off and tried to reboot fedora from disk, that wasn't possible (just into windows, which is on its own drive). the monitor remained green (i knew the monitor wasn't the problem since it still displayed normal colours when turned off and then on again).

rebooted ubuntu off the CD, but the monitor was still green and ubuntu hung.

i cursed a little.

then shut the machine off again, unplugged the power, unplugged the video cable and restarted, fortunately that reset everything and ubuntu came up in full colour. allright. finally i could get on with it.

it's ... i can see why a lot of people would praise it; it's quite simple, pretty, and user-friendly -- for people used to windows or to no computers at all. to somebody who knows linux, it's kinda "linux for dummies". i'm pretty much gonna change everything in the GUI because i find the unity desktop insipid; it stands in my way more than it facilitates what i want to do. and the file manager isn't much to write home about -- what is that, nautilus? anyone know of a GOOD file manager?

but first to see whether it can read hfs filesystems without too many gyrations.

but i am feeling good about not losing all my mojo during the obstacles, and keeping at it instead of retreating to my room to read escapist novels. and minecraft runs on it. ;)
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
with fireHOL, a language to express firewalling rules. it produces a stateful firewall. (it keeps track of the events in any particular sequence of interaction, which means it knows which packets are legitimate for any specific connection state, and can make intelligent decisions about which to keep and which to reject).

it is easy to write. it is even easy to read. look how damn easy it is:

    interface eth0 homelan
    policy accept
    
    interface eth1 internet
    protection strong
    server http accept
    server ssh accept src trusted.example.com
    client all accept
    
    router homelan2internet inface eth0 outface eth1
    masquerade
    route all accept

my actual firewall is of course more complicated, but it didn't take more than 30 minutes to learn the language and write out a scipt (fireHOL uses bash scripting). and it would have worked perfectly right away were not telus blocking standard bittorrent ports, the bastards. but at least that became obvious pretty much right away, while before using fireHOL i wasn't certain whether i was handling the forwarding of the bittorrent traffic correctly (as it turns out, i wasn't).

so now i am happy. i have a nice, new, clean firewall script that i actually understand backwards and forwards.

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piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2014

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