Archive for the 'Public Service Announcement' Category

Oh Nos! My Wireless Stopped Working!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

I just had something a little scary happen, so I thought I’d share it in case anyone else hits this problem.

I’m in Portland for OSCON and suddenly the wireless networking on my laptop stopped working. The wireless status showed as “off” but it wouldn’t turn on. I’m running Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) and no interfaces were showing up.

Now, one thing I like about open source is I always tend to learn something when trying to solve a problem. A quick search on my phone introduced me to the “rfkill” command:

# rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
	Soft blocked: no
	Hard blocked: yes

For some reason, the interface was “Hard blocked”. I then figured out what must have happened.

I was trying to bring up a shell to diagnose another issue. On Linux this tends to be ALT+CTL+Fx where the function key chosen is the virtual terminal you want (i.e. F1 for the first one, F2 for the second, etc.). On my normal keyboard, which is an old Apple keyboard, the function keys default to softkeys and you have to hold down the Fn key to actually trigger F1, F2, etc.

This is not the case with my laptop, so when I hit Fn+F2 it turned on “airplane mode”. This was causing the hard block.

I hit it again:

# rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
	Soft blocked: yes
	Hard blocked: no
1: hci0: Bluetooth
	Soft blocked: no
	Hard blocked: no

And then turned off the soft block:

orcrist interfaces.d # rfkill unblock 0

And it fixed my issue:

orcrist interfaces.d # rfkill list
0: phy0: Wireless LAN
	Soft blocked: no
	Hard blocked: no
1: hci0: Bluetooth
	Soft blocked: no
	Hard blocked: no

It would have really sucked to be on the road and have some serious software issue to repair with no network access, so I was extremely relieved to figure this out.

2014 Dev Jam – Day 4

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

First let me interrupt this blog post with a special announcement. A rather onerous security bug was discovered in OpenNMS that would allow any authenticated user to access pretty much any file on the system.

We felt it was bad enough to actually create a fix in the 1.10 branch as well as in the current stable, 1.12, so please consider upgrading at the earliest possibility.

Hat tip to Martin Laercher for reporting it.

Wednesday marked the halfway point in the week, and everyone seems to be in a good groove. With everyone able to work together in person, a lot of nifty things are getting done, including an upgrade to the latest version of Drools Expert.

The integration of OpenNMS with Drools allows for very powerful alarm correlation, and by migrating to Drools 6.0.1 it just got more powerful.

Wednesday also marked the day of the Twins game. For the past two years we’ve taken everyone to the Twins ballpark to watch a major league baseball game. It’s a beatiful place for baseball:

although they usually stuck us in far right field. Also, for the last two games the Twins played the Royals, and lost both times.

This year they put us in far left field:

and the Twins faced the Brewers. Since Milwaukee is close to Minneapolis there were a lot of Brewers fans in the stands, but the home team pulled it out for the win.

We got our name on the big board, too, which was cool, and Jeff was quick enough to catch a picture.

Mail to hotmail.com accounts being blocked

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Just a heads up that I found out today that mail from our mail server is being rejected by hotmail.com mail servers.

One of my mail users was sending a message to a friend and it bounced with:

host mx4.hotmail.com[65.55.92.184] said: 550 SC-001
(SNT0-MC4-F38) Unfortunately, messages from 64.34.199.116 weren’t sent.
Please contact your Internet service provider since part of their network
is on our block list. You can also refer your provider to
http://mail.live.com/mail/troubleshooting.aspx#errors. (in reply to MAIL
FROM command)

So I dutifully contacted our ISP for the mail server, ServerBeach, as well as hotmail. The ServerBeach folks (awesome as always) replied in minutes and said that the IP is not on any other blacklist, so I had to deal directly with hotmail. I got a reply from hotmail that the issue couldn’t be automatically mitigated, so I had to fill out another questionnaire on-line, and I assume I’ll have to wait a couple of days for it to be addressed.

The funny part is that I looked through our logs, and we’ve tried to send exactly five e-mail messages today to hotmail addresses. Two were to the legitimate address that started this whole process, and three were to addresses like:

TanguyKirkpatrick847@hotmail.com
UliYule1780@hotmail.com
FeStoddard952@hotmail.com

which appear to be spammers trying to register on our wiki. The wiki replies and requires an additional action in order to register, and I assume it is this mail traffic that is causing the problem. Note that all of our mailing lists are handled by Sourceforge so this only affects mail from the wiki, project members and employees of OpenNMS.

I think it is pretty ironic that the reason my mail server is being blocked by hotmail is that spammers from hotmail are trying to register on our wiki.

Update: Surprise – I got a rather quick reply from hotmail:

My name is Amrita and I work with the Hotmail Deliverability Support Team.

Your IP (64.34.199.116) was blocked by Hotmail because Hotmail customers have reported email from this IP as unwanted. I have conducted an investigation into the emails originating from your IP space and have implemented mitigation for your deliverability problem. This process may take 24 – 48 hours to replicate completely throughout our system.

Digger and the Hugo Awards

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Okay, no OpenNMS or open source content today, but since most free software geeks also like fantasy and science fiction literature I figure this might be of interest to the three people who read this blog.

One of the highest honors a writer of this genre can receive is a Hugo Award. They are given out every year by the World Science Fiction Society at their annual convention. This year I learned that anyone attending the convention can vote for the Hugo Award winners. I thought it was something like the Academy Awards where only other people in the business could vote. I was wrong. Better yet, I learned that by becoming a supporting member, anyone can vote even without attending the convention.

How great is that?

This is important to me, since a friend of mine, Ursula Vernon, has had her graphic novel series Digger nominated in the “Best Graphic Story” category. I think it would be awesome if someone who lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina, won a Hugo Award. Plus, her work is pretty fantastic on its own. And if Patrick Rothfuss can pimp out his editor, I can pimp out my friend.

Before I lose more readers with another “TL;DR” post, I just want to encourage anyone with a love of science fiction and fantasy to sign up as a supporting member and to vote. It’s US$50, but you get digital copies of most of the nominated work (DRM-free, and no, don’t ask me for a copy). If you bought just the “Best Novel” nominees it would be way more than fifty bucks, and you get exposed to amazing shorter work that rarely finds a market.

I always like to be an informed voter, so I am making a dedicated effort to read all of the nominees. Well, except for “Best Graphic Story” since my mind’s made up on that one. (Well, and Betsy Wollheim for “Best Editor – Long Form” since I trust Patrick’s judgement)

Digger is about a wombat. Wombats are marsupials native to Australia that dig extensive tunnel systems. The story starts out with our heroine digging (as wombats are wont to do) but she gets lost and emerges in a world both like and unlike her own. In an attempt to find her way back home, she enlists the help of a talking statue of the god Ganesh, unintentionally partners with a childlike shadow being (who gets her out of a couple of tight places involving hyenas) and listens to the prophecies of an oracular slug.

Cool huh?

The comics are available online, but I plan to buy the printed volumes. I am rationing them, one a month (I just ordered Volume 2 from Amazon). Check them out and then remember to vote! I also want to point out that the other nominees involve teams of people – Ursula both writes and illustrates her work – so that should be worth some extra consideration.

As far as the other Hugo Award categories, I’m working my way through the “Best Novel” nominees. The one to beat will be George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons which is the fifth book in the Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series. I pre-ordered this and read it the day it came out and I wasn’t disappointed, so while it is a bit cliché it has my vote at the moment.

I just finished Embassytown by China Miéville last night. I enjoyed Kraken, but didn’t like this one as much. It starts off a lot like Stephenson’s Anathem, with a lot of linguistics that don’t make a lot of sense until you just plow through it for fifty pages or so. Unlike Anathem it is much more a book focused on the link between language and thought. Like pizza, when Miéville is good he’s really good and when he’s bad he’s still pretty good, I did enjoy the book and read the second half pretty much in one sitting, but if I am honest with myself I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as A Dance with Dragons.

Tonight I start Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I’ve never read anything by him but perhaps since he has two middle initials he can give Martin a run for the money. (grin)

UPDATE: Leviathan Wakes is awesome. At the moment it is my choice for the Hugo Award. I read it as non-stop as I could.

In part it was due to the writing style. “James S. A. Corey” is the pen name of a pair of authors, one who worked for George R. R. Martin. There is Martin DNA all over this book. It starts off with a rather brutal and shocking scene, but then they don’t return to it for several hundred pages. Every chapter is written from the point of view of one of the two main characters (although in third person) and most end in cliff hangers which makes you want to read the next one.

I ordered Caliban’s War, the second book in the series, halfway through this one.

Although this may make me sound a little like Harlan Ellison who, in his dotage, seems to be claiming to have written every science fiction story, I find myself making comparisons between any modern space opera that involves genetic mutation with Donaldson’s Gap series, Leviathan brings enough uniqueness and style to the genre that I’m certain I’ll devour the series.

OpenNMS and the Leap Second Bug

Monday, July 9th, 2012

While this may be pretty old news for most, but I figured I’d post something about it anyway.

At midnight the morning of July 1st, an extra second was added to “official time” in order to keep clock in sync with the Earth’s rotation. This had a negative impact on certain machines, especially Linux machines running Java.

Since most OpenNMS installs are on Linux machines and it is written in Java, this could negatively impact OpenNMS performance.

We had one support ticket opened that was caused by this problem. In this case, OpenNMS was being run as a VM guest and it was the host machine that needed to be rebooted in order to clear the problem. The symptoms involved the CPU being pegged at 100% and OpenNMS never starting.