Planet HantsLUG

April 18, 2015

Steve Kemp

skx-www upgraded to jessie

Today I upgraded my main web-host to the Jessie release of Debian GNU/Linux.

I performed the upgraded by changing wheezy to jessie in the sources.list file, then ran:

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

For some reason this didn't upgrade my kernel, which remained the 3.2.x version. That failed to boot, due to some udev/systemd issues (lots of "waiting for job: udev /dev/vda", etc, etc). To fix this I logged into my KVM-host, chrooted into the disk image (which I mounted via the use of kpartx), and installed the 3.16.x kernel, before rebooting into that.

All my websites seemed to be OK, but I made some changes regardless. (This was mostly for "neatness", using Debian packages instead of gems, and installing the attic package rather than keeping the source-install I'd made to /opt/attic.)

The only surprise was the significant upgrade of the Net::DNS perl-module. Nothing that a few minutes work didn't fix.

Now that I've upgraded the SSL-issue I had with redirections is no longer present. So it was a worthwhile thing to do.

April 18, 2015 12:00 AM

April 14, 2015

Steve Kemp

Subject - Verb Agreement

There's pretty much no way that I can describe the act of cutting a live, 240V mains-voltage, wire in half with a pair of scissors which doesn't make me look like an idiot.

Yet yesterday evening that is exactly what I did.

There were mitigating circumstances, but trying to explain them would make little sense unless you could see the scene.

In conclusion: I'm alive, although I almost wasn't.

My scissors? They have a hole in them.

April 14, 2015 12:00 AM

April 11, 2015

Philip Stubbs

DIY USB OTG Cable

Suddenly decided that I needed a USB OTG cable. Rather than wait for one in the post, i decided to make one from spare cables found in my box of bits.
Initially I thought that it would be a simple case of just cutting the cables and reconnecting a USB connector from a phone lead to a female USB socket. Unfortunately that is not the case.
The USB cable has four wires, but the micro USB plug has five contacts. The unused contact needs to connected to ground to make the OTG cable. The plug on the cable I used does not have a connection for the  extra pin, so I needed to rip it apart and blob a lump of solder on two pins. The body of the plug has a wall between each pin, so I rammed a small screwdriver in there to allow the soldered pins to fit.





I then reassembled the plug, and continued with the connecting the wires together. This was an easy case of , red to red, black to black, green to green and white to white. A piece of heat shrink covers the mess.
Now to use it. It allows me to plug a keyboard into my Nexus tablet. If I plug a mouse in, a pointer pops up. All of a sudden using the tablet feels like using a real computer. I am typing this with a keyboard on my lap down the garden with my tablet.
The real motivation for the cable was to allow me to use my phone to adjust the settings on my MultiWii based control board of my Quadcopter. For that, it seems even better than MultiWiiConf, and certainly a lot more convenient when out flying.

by Philip Stubbs (noreply@blogger.com) at April 11, 2015 06:31 PM

Steve Kemp

Some things get moved, some things get doubled in size.

Relocation

We're about three months away from relocating from Edinburgh to Newcastle and some of the immediate panic has worn off.

We've sold our sofa, our spare sofa, etc, etc. We've bought a used dining-table, chairs, and a small sofa, etc. We need to populate the second-bedroom as an actual bedroom, do some painting, & etc, but things are slowly getting done.

I've registered myself as a landlord with the city council, so that I can rent the flat out without getting into trouble, and I'm in the process of discussing the income possabilities with a couple of agencies.

We're still unsure of precisely which hospital, from the many choices, in Newcastle my wife will be stationed at. That's frustrating because she could be in the city proper, or outside it. So we need to know before we can find a place to rent there.

Anyway moving? It'll be annoying, but we're making progress. Plus, how hard can it be?

VLAN Expansion

I previously had a /28 assigned for my own use, now I've doubled that to a /27 which gives me the ability to create more virtual machines and run some SSL on some websites.

Using SNI I've actually got the ability to run SSL almost all sites. So I configured myself as a CA and generated a bunch of certificates for myself. (Annoyingly few tutorials on running a CA mentioned SNI so it took a few attempts to get the SAN working. But once I got the hang of it it was simple enough.)

So if you have my certificate authority file installed you can browse many, many of my interesting websites over SSL.

SSL

I run a number of servers behind a reverse-proxy. At the moment the back-end is lighttpd. Now that I have SSL setup the incoming requests hit the proxy, get routed to lighttpd and all is well. Mostly.

However redirections break. A request for:

  • https://lumail.org/docs

Gets rewritten to:

  • http://lumail.org/docs/

That is because lighttpd generates the redirection and it only sees the HTTP connection. It seems there is mod_extforward which should allow the server to be aware of the SSL - but it doesn't do so in a useful fashion.

So right now most of my sites are SSL-enabled, but sometimes they'll flip to naked and unprotected. Annoying.

I don't yet have a solution..

April 11, 2015 12:00 AM