Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in 2018!
technology, networking, virtualization and IP telephony
Let’s everyone be honest here… working in Information Technology requires certain skills. Probably the most important skill set is what I’d call your ‘Google-Fu‘. Your ability to efficiently search Google using various keywords to find useful information on the problem or issue confronting you. I often find some of the better written but least ranks articles by removing the manufacturer from the search results. Here’s an example if I wanted to exclude any results from the domain cisco.com, I would append the following to the Google search, “-site:cisco.com”. This would show me all search results except for anything from the Cisco website.
Cisco ASA- Basic LDAP Authentication by Dan – It’s been a while since I configured a Cisco ASA to authenticate VPN users against a Microsoft Windows Active Directory Domain Controller. If you Google ‘Cisco ASA Active Directory Authentication’ you’ll get hundreds of links and articles. I choose to scroll down a bit in the list and chose the link from IN THE WORKS – A tech apprenticeship. Thankfully Dan’s article from 2016 was straight forward and easy to follow. The trick was in reusing the DefaultWEBVPNGroup tunnel-group so users don’t need to select from multiple tunnel-groups in the client.
Authenticate to vCenter from Active Directory credentials by Romain Serre – A customer wanted to authenticate with vSphere using his Active Directory credentials. In this specific case the client was using the vCSA (vCenter Server Appliance) and not a typical Windows Server running vCenter. I initially ran into some DNS issues, thankfully the CLI error gave me the hint I needed as the web UI error was pretty basic.
How to Configure NTP Server on Windows Server 2016 by Stefan – A client was having some significant clock drift issues with one of their servers. I recalled the command was w32tm but could recall exactly what the commands were to enable NTP. Stefan has an easy to follow post. Stefan, I’m not a big fan of ad banners placed in the middle of the content and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Unfortunately the wife’s computer recently died so I gave her my desktop (swapping SSDs and hard drives) and went about putting together a new desktop for myself from the following purchases;
I decided to stay with Intel for now and passed on AMD Ryzen and Threadripper. I also decided that I’d be more than happy with an Intel Core i7 series processor, no need to look at the recently released Intel Core i9 processors. I did decide that the old Antec P180 case needed to be put into the scrap pile so I ordered a Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB case. Since I swapped the SSDs and hard drives I ran into the dreaded Windows activation issue since the original product keys were OEM versions. I didn’t want to go through the time and effort of re-installing Windows 10 so I purchased 2 retail copies of Windows 10 Professional and applied those product keys. While the hardware supports overclocking, I’ll probably run it at stock until I need more performance or I find the time to start testing the overclocking potential of the hardware.
Now I need to spend sometime finding a replacement for Crashplan. Any recommendations?
Over the holidays I decided it was time to upgrade the home theater equipment in my basement. At the center of my old setup was a Hitachi 51SWX20B 51″ rear projection TV that I purchased back in 2003. Unfortunately it only has 2 DVI ports and one of them failed about 5 years ago. I purchased the Samsung 65″ LED Smart 4K Ultra HD TV (UN65KS8000FXZA) from Best Buy along with a Whalen Furniture 3-in-1 Console furniture set. I didn’t want to go through the headache of hanging the TV on the wall and still needed somewhere to put all the audio/video equipment including the Onkyo TX-SR600 A/V Receiver, Verizon FiOS HDTV tuner and new Samsung BD-J6300 Blu-Ray player that I picked up from Amazon. I chose the BD-J6300 because it had a digital TOSLINK output and supported Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The Whalen furniture took about 90 minutes to assemble all total, the instructions were good the piece looks pretty good.
Overall I’m happy with the TV, and really happy with the Whalen furniture. The Smart TV functionality includes Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and HBO Now along with a built in web browser.
Perhaps I’ll get a chance to replace the Onkyo TX-SR600 over the next few years.
Over the holidays I spent sometime perusing the log files on my server and found several interesting problems. One of those interesting issues dealt with the traditional cron job I had setup running wp-cron.php every 15 minutes on this blog. It seems I neglected to adapt the cron job when I enabled both SSL and SNI on this website. I previously had the following running in cron every 15 minutes;
*/15 * * * * wget http://blog.michaelfmcnamara.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron > /dev/null 2>&1
There are a few issues with this… wget was not following the redirect from HTTP to HTTPS after I forced HTTPS/SSL as the default for all traffic. And since I was using multiple virtual hosts behind a single IP address I was relying on SNI and the HTML headers to determine which virtual host the request should be delivered to.
Here’s what I’m running today in my cron;
*/15 * * * * curl --header 'Host: blog.michaelfmcnamara.com' https://blog.michaelfmcnamara.com/wp-cron.php?doing_wp_cron=true > /dev/null 2>&1
If you are forcing all traffic to SSL you might want to check any old links you have lying around and if you are using SNI you’ll definitely need to attach the proper host headers to the HTTP request.