Sunday, January 29, 2017

Unattended Updates in Linux

Windows 10 forced updates is in the news and a senior CNET editor who
personally experienced the ordeal is encouraging others to share their
experience. I don't use Windows anymore. The last time I used MS Windows
Anything was around 2006. I switched to Linux in the desktop back in
2007 and I've been using Linux in servers before that. When I say use I
meant exclusively.

Not that I am against un-prompted updates, I do have automatic updates
turned on in my machines, desktops and servers. In Debian and Ubuntu
they call it unattended updates and as it is in the rest of Linux, I can
customize which packages are included or excluded. I can blacklist
certain packages not to update. It automatically checks for available
new versions of packages (software, apps) and I have it configured to
download and install them in the background. Yes in the background. It
is logged of course and an email sent out to my Gmail account. If
something fails to install I am also informed through email. None of my
work is interrupted.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Morgan And Arrival: Two Films To Review

What kind of race are we? Are we naturally war-like, violent or peaceful and friendly? The answer would vary, from history and race and geography. Are we a failed race because of our disunity? Or are we denying our nature and impulses for violence?

Morgan is a film about a machine-human hybrid produced by a corporate entity for profit to produce a superior soldier. It stars Kate Mara and Anya Taylor-Joy (whose performance in The Witch is also noteworthy) as laboratory produced human hybrids. The interactions of Anya's Morgan character and her scientists-guardians are the films plot driver. There is constant reference to Helsinki which is I guess what happened to another similar effort by the company which failed. Helsinki being a metaphor to civilian scientists losing their detachment from their subject, or Helsinki being a metaphor to hostages shifting their loyalty to their captors.

Kate Mara's Lee character is introduced as a corporate agent of judgment. She is also an agent of execution. Also I find the comparison between Lee and Morgan regarding their intellect, social skills and physical power very interesting. Which one should have survived their encounter? Do I agree with the film's depiction of the victor? I feel that is where the film fails. I was searching for my feelings one way or the other and there's none.

Arrival is the story of a language expert recruited by the government to solve the mystery of aliens coming to earth in 12 ships. All over the world governments employed their own experts to try and communicate with the aliens. Amy Adams' Louise is a single woman who teaches in the university when the aliens arrived. The film isn't linear and there is a purpose to it. Louise theorized that the alien language isn't linear too. So we have a race of aliens that somehow know the beginning and end and so act accordingly. Louise tried to make sense of the alien message and it is: that the aliens are here to help us because 3,000 years down the road they are going to ask humans for help.

Even if you know the start and end of your journey, it still needs some amount of faith to take the trip. Why believe the message? Did Louise even translate it properly? I'm sure the aliens believe their message because they made the trip. But why should we? Unless it is shown to us with personal proof, human beings do not believe. Humans will only believe what they can understand. We understand when we can see and touch it. Close and personal. I understand why a lot of people are seeing Jesus in this movie. :)

Cash Txns For The 5th Week

End of January 2017 is coming. Most taxes for the year current has been paid.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Income, Expense and Profit Summary 2016

Income, Expense and Profit Chart
From January 2016 to December 2016

The 2016 story is income goals were not realized.
There was vacancy throughout the year.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

An Unfortunate Series Of Events

First I got an email telling me of a fail event detected on my RAID
device. Then 12 minutes later a second email this time from SMART
monitoring complaining that one of my hard drives could not be opened.
There is a difference between a failed to open device and a failed
device situation.

So I verified these situations with the terminal. I verified the SMART
monitoring report.

#smartctl -a /dev/questionable-device

I verified the status of the RAID array.

#mdadm --detail /dev/md0

I have a degraded array, one device is removed and faulty. The device is
/dev/sdd. This is the 1TB hard
drive which is the oldest of the 4 I'm using.

I opened the black box. I pulled the SATA cables and examined them for
anything out of the ordinary. I put them back again. I opened the
terminal to check if I have access to the hard drives.

#smartctl -a /dev/all-the-drives

I added the faulty drive to the RAID array with:

#mdadm --manage --add /dev/md0 /dev/faulty-drive

I checked the status of the RAID array.

#cat /proc/mdstat

donato@desktop:~$ cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] [linear] [multipath] [raid0]
[raid1] [raid10]
md0 : active raid5 sdd[3] sdb1[0] sdc1[1]
1953260544 blocks super 1.2 level 5, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/2]
[=====>...............] recovery = 26.4% (257972512/976630272)
finish=104.2min speed=114919K/sec
bitmap: 6/8 pages [24KB], 65536KB chunk

unused devices: <none>

I guess this time it's for real. The RAID array is rebuilding itself.
Back to my monitoring station then.

Week's Goal

I have to find out if the property tax for the house is ready by Friday. I am sure that the 20th is the deadline for payment. I want to avoid penalties. I will call the Assessor's office today or tomorrow.

Required Apps ( A List)

Some required apps in my Android tablet and mobile phone are:

email app (default), messaging app (default), Chrome browser are on top
of the list.
Calendar app, To-do app,
Facebook, Twitter, Feedly and Keepass.
VLC for media player.
Dropbox and another cloud app in my case it's Megasync.

The default file manager always sucks so I download ES File Explorer.
Spotify, Skype (for some friends who aren't in Messenger), FBReader
(ebook) and a document

Copying Beethoven

I watched a Youtube clip of Copying Beethoven. It's the scene where the
master composer was performing Symphony #9 and was nearly totally deaf.
He had an assistant conducting behind the scene. Symphony #9, Ode to
Joy, one of the most loved among his works. I am inspired to listen for
the rest of the day to the classics.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Super Tux Kart - Tied

I think this is only the second time it happened to me. Tied in a race.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Today's Kernel Security Patch In Ubuntu

It happened in the early morning, at 5 AM, while I'm sleeping. Unattended-upgrades checks for updates. It ran and downloaded the patch along with the regular updates. It sent a mail to root which is sent to me, or my regular email.

So I know that the update manager ran and downloaded the packages. Installed it. But see the warning below the header! A reboot is required because the kernel is involved. To finish the kernel install I have to reboot the system.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Partition Considerations Do You Have When Installing Linux?

I prefer to have 3 partitions by default when I'm installing Linux. It's
usually a good idea to prepare the hard drives, partition it before hand
when installing your operating system. I prefer to have /boot, / (root)
and /home in separate partitions.

I have /boot so I can ensure that my system will boot at least into a
console if I needed to make some maintenance jobs to grub or to
/etc/fstab. With /boot I have some way of editing the system files.

Of course / is where the operating system files are.

I have /home to protect my files and to ensure I can make backups. If
you need to jump from a distro to another one, all that you have to do
is install it on / and then mount the existing /home to your
installation. A lot of new users are asking how to install a distro
without wiping out their data. Keep your data on a separate partition
and your /home (user data) becomes portable.

Some other partition schemes are available according to one's needs and
use cases. Some would like to have /var/log on a separate partition for
their servers. If you need to have a particular directory to have unique
permissions and to not permit executable perhaps you should consider
putting them in a separate partition.

Friday, January 6, 2017


Apticron is a computer program that runs on a Unix shell. What this means is it runs on a command-line interpreter. It runs once a day and generates a mail listing packages which are pending an upgrade. So this shell script tells you through email that your machine have pending upgrades. If you want to keep track of what packages were upgraded the last time Apticron ran, what packages were upgraded or not upgraded, the information is an email away from an system administrator.

Files are in /etc/apticron/apticron.conf and /etc/cron.d/apticron.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Wave8 Tablet From PLDTHome

I like Android Marshmallow a lot and I like that Wave8 does not add anything to it. It has the vanilla android. WV8-M HD+ has a quad core A17 processor, a 2 GB RAM and a 12 GB storage. I would like it more if it has at least 4 GB RAM for multi tasking. I have delay issues in launching apps. I have lags in click / swipe responses. The battery is fine.

The front camera is 2 MP and the back camera is 8 MP.  I have not used it extensively but so far it takes excellent pictures.

Additional: Postfix And Gmail Configuration In Ubuntu

I posted a how to the last time I talked about Postfix here.  I neglected to add that if you are using a firewall, which I highly recommend, then you should add an entry to your firewall rules regarding Postfix. I happen to use ufw as frontend for iptables. So just type:

#ufw allow Postfix

#ufw reload

Check your ufw status by typing:

#ufw status verbose

or #ufw status numbered

Happy New Year!  Cheers!