Wednesday, 20 August 2014

OS X Mavericks: Using Apple's hidden Wi-Fi Diagnostics tool

From Jonny Evans at Computerworld: -

A really useful article on using the Wireless Diagnostics tool, built into Mac OS X.

Weirdness with DNS

So I've not yet got the bottom of this one, but I do have a work-around.

I'm trying to register my Linux box with our internal Red Hat Network server, using the rhn_register command.

Whilst trying to validate that I could connect to the server, I tried this command: -

--2014-08-20 13:34:18--
Resolving failed: Temporary failure in name resolution.
wget: unable to resolve host address ""

or: -

--2014-08-20 13:37:41--
Resolving failed: Temporary failure in name resolution.
wget: unable to resolve host address ""

However, I was able to ping the box: -

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=128 time=589 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=128 time=544 ms
--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 2 received, 33% packet loss, time 2175ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 544.718/567.256/589.795/22.551 ms

from both the Linux guest and the Mac host: -

PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=48 time=562.601 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=48 time=789.634 ms
--- ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 2 packets received, 33.3% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 562.601/676.118/789.634/113.516 ms

Interestingly, whilst the Mac host is using my home broadband router as a DNS server: -

cat /etc/resolv.conf

# Mac OS X Notice
# This file is not used by the host name and address resolution
# or the DNS query routing mechanisms used by most processes on
# this Mac OS X system.
# This file is automatically generated.
domain home

the Linux guest is using the Mac host: -

cat /etc/resolv.conf

# Generated by NetworkManager
domain localdomain
search localdomain

The solution ?

I added the host to my /etc/hosts file: -


Now it works .....

Why ?

I do not know.

I'm assuming that VMware is somehow blocking things, but I'm not quite sure .....

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Running SpinRite inside DOS wrapped inside VirtualBox wrapped inside Ubuntu

So I'm using Steve Gibson's SpinRite hard-drive maintenance utility to check the health of the Maxtor 6YI60M0 drive that I use to boot Orac up - running Ubuntu 14.04, of course.

The quirk is that SpinRite is a good ole fashioned DOS application, that I downloaded from as an ISO image. I then built a VirtualBox VM, booting from the ISO, with an attached virtual disk that points at the Maxtor disk ( /dev/sdb ) upon which Ubuntu is installed.

So I have a DOS application running inside VirtualBox running inside Ubuntu .... checking the health of the disk upon which Ubuntu is installed.

Confused ?

I am but this blog post certainly helped guide me down this twisty, turny path, all alike

How to Increase the VMWare Boot Screen Delay

Something for which I had a requirement today: -

If you've wanted to try out a bootable CD or USB flash drive in a virtual machine environment, you've probably noticed that VMWare's offerings make it difficult to change the boot device. We'll show you how to change these options.

In essence, the author talks one through adding a setting to the .VMX configuration file, which adds a delay to the boot of a VM, providing access to the BIOS screen and function keys.

Which is nice .....

Friday, 15 August 2014

"Sixty ways to leave your lover" - or, in this case, sixty ways to remove CR from a file using vi

So I had a need to remove the ^M character from a text file, created using Notepad, in vi.

Last time around, I simply paged through the file ( it was ~20 lines long ) and removed the character by hand.

This time, for a longer file, I thought "Surely there's a better way?" and turned to Google.

Guess what, there are MANY ways to do this.

Here's a few: -

Sometimes DOS files end up on unix systems without being converted. Files will then have those nasty ^M character at the line ending, which prevents some applications to work properly.

The reason for is is DOS to use CRLF (carriage return + line feed) for line endings while unix uses LF (line feed) only.

If only few files need to be changed, vi/vim is the tool of choice.

After opening up the file, enter command mode to run this macro:


To get the ^M do not actually enter it as is. Insert it by typing the CTRL-V CTRL-M sequence instead.


You could also do the following from the command line:

strings oldfile>>newfile

Not as eloquent, but does the job.

For me, I used the strings method for one file and, for the other, I used a third approach: -

vi filename.txt
:1,$ s/^M//g

The trick, as pointed out above, is that you need to actually press CTRL-V CTRL-M to get the ^M sequence; you can't simply type ^ and then M :-)


Thursday, 14 August 2014

What is this Orac of which I speak ?

I've blogged in the past about one of my home PCs, known as Orac, for reasons which will, I hope become, apparent.
Orac doesn't get enough use, partly because my life as a software rodeo star means that I'm on the road more than off, and partly because I normally end up doing most of what I want on my MacBook.

However, my New Year's Resolution ( dated 14 August 2014 ) is that I am going to do MUCH MUCH MORE with my various pieces of home PC equipment, including: -

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Apple Mac Mini
  • ~8 year old Thinkpad R50e
  • Humax PVR
  • Synology DS440 NAS
So, as I type, I'm upgrading Orac to the latest Ubuntu Trusty Tahr, and also backing up my MacBook to the Synology, via Ethernet of course.

Now what's the reason for this sudden (re)interest in my home technology ?

Well, partly, it's the fault of Stephen Tiberius Gibson Esq, who is the expert witness on the excellent SecurityNow podcast ( on iTunes ).

More to come .....

IBM HTTP Server and WebSphere Application Server - Plugging in to one another

Note to self - if you see exceptions such as this: - 

[14/08/14 13:20:48:671 BST] 00000169 SystemOut     O PLGC0005I: Plug-in configuration file = /opt/ibm/WebSphereProfiles/Dmgr01/config/cells/PCCell1/nodes/AppSrv01Node/servers/webserver1/plugin-cfg.xml
[14/08/14 13:20:48:672 BST] 00000169 SystemOut     O PLGC0052I: Plug-in configuration file generation is complete for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.
[14/08/14 13:20:56:029 BST] 0000014c SystemOut     O PLGC0062I: The plug-in configuration file is propagated from /opt/ibm/WebSphereProfiles/Dmgr01/config/cells/PCCell1/nodes/AppSrv01Node/servers/webserver1/plugin-cfg.xml to /opt/ibm/WebSphere/Plugins/config/webserver1/plugin-cfg.xml on the Web server computer.
[14/08/14 13:20:56:030 BST] 0000014c SystemOut     O PLGC0048I: The propagation of the plug-in configuration file is complete for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.
[14/08/14 13:20:56:030 BST] 0000014c SystemOut     O PLGC0063E: The propagation of the plug-in configuration file from /opt/ibm/WebSphereProfiles/Dmgr01/config/cells/PCCell1/nodes/AppSrv01Node/servers/webserver1/plugin-cfg.xml to /opt/ibm/WebSphere/Plugins/config/webserver1/plugin-cfg.xml on the Web server computer failed.
[14/08/14 13:20:56:030 BST] 0000014c SystemOut     O PLGC0049E: The propagation of the plug-in configuration file failed for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.

 [14/08/14 13:27:49:141 BST] 0000014d SystemOut     O PLGC0064I: The plug-in keyring file is propagated from /opt/ibm/WebSphereProfiles/Dmgr01/config/cells/PCCell1/nodes/AppSrv01Node/servers/webserver1/plugin-key.kdb to /opt/ibm/WebSphere/Plugins/config/webserver1/plugin-key.kdb on the Web server computer.
[14/08/14 13:27:49:141 BST] 0000014d SystemOut     O PLGC0069I: The propagation of the plug-in keyring is complete for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.
[14/08/14 13:27:49:142 BST] 0000014d SystemOut     O PLGC0065E: The propagation of plug-in keyring file from /opt/ibm/WebSphereProfiles/Dmgr01/config/cells/PCCell1/nodes/AppSrv01Node/servers/webserver1/plugin-key.kdb to /opt/ibm/WebSphere/Plugins/config/webserver1/plugin-key.kdb on the Web server computer failed.
[14/08/14 13:27:49:142 BST] 0000014d SystemOut     O PLGC0070E: The propagation of the plug-in keyring has failed for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.
[14/08/14 13:27:49:158 BST] 0000014d MBeanHelper   E   Could not invoke an operation on object: WebSphere:name=PluginCfgGenerator,process=dmgr,platform=common,node=dmgr,version=,type=PluginCfgGenerator,mbeanIdentifier=PluginCfgGenerator,cell=PCCell1,spec=1.0 because of an mbean exception: PLGC0070E: The propagation of the plug-in keyring has failed for the Web server. PCCell1.AppSrv01Node.webserver1.

check that the Node Agent is running.

In the WAS 8.5 world, the remote management of IHS is undertaken by the Node Agent, rather than the IHS Admin Server Instance ( adminctl etc. ).

This, of course, assumes that WAS and IHS are tightly coupled, which may go against the suggested WAS security hardening routines such as: -

Bottom line, check your non-functional requirements, including security, when deciding whether IHS/Plugin should be tightly wired to the WAS cell / Deployment Manager.