Filesystem Backup HQ to AWS S3 CIFS + Rclone

They say if you don’t own your data in 3 different places you don’t own it.
With my organization, we maintain a 6.5 TB filesystem on an IBM Storwize v3700, and the storage is hosted via fibre-channel
and a Windows Server 2012 R2 (that doubles as a domain-controller) -now- we want all of this (well not all, just important stuff) duplicated at an AWS S3 bucket.
At first I established a connection to the S3 bucket from another Windows box (EC2 instance) at AWS. Using the VPN tunnel we have to our HQ, I mapped a share from there to HQ that was linked to the S3 bucket using (TNTDrive??) and then from the HQ fileserver I tried stuff with robocopy, and then “Deltacopy”…
Enough nonsense.
I realized the way to go to get data from our local filesystem to S3 was via the AWS CLI. Furthermore, the AWS CLI installed on a linux utility server with access to the filesystem by way of CIFS, NOT from the Windows fileserver itself.
So, the utility server is set up with python-pip, and thusly with awscli with which I can do things like

aws s3 sync /media/'cifs-mountpoint' s3://bucket/Path

This can then be put into a crontab entry, along with any number of additional folder synchronizations.
And there you go, your sort of rsync over awscli. I’m also looking into rclone, which may simplify things even further, we’ll see.

Letsencrypt ssl Certificate HTTPS pfSense Webgui

I was just starting to settle in and get comfortable with the configuration of my shiny brand-new pfsense home firewall/gateway. In no time I had had enough of the ssl warning for the login page. I had already installed the acme package to facilitate getting Letsencrypt certs as needed.
At first I ran into trouble trying to get a cert for the login page. It kept failing. Webroot local folder wasn’t working for me so then I tried standalone HTTP server. Here, I felt I was on the right track but something was still off. Then it struck me. I had NAT rules enabled for my webserver that were messing with it since port 80 and port 443 are natted to those ports on the lan webserver, NOT the WAN interface! Disabled the NAT rules and tried it again and VOILA! One valid Letsencrypt cert for the pfSense webgui login-page!

New Firewall

pfSense What can I say? So much more to learn.
Up until now I had been using ClearOS as my home gateway/firewall solution. In contrast to pfSense, it now seems very…amateur-hour.
There seems to be so much to explore; it’s loaded with so many features it makes your head spin. Very impressive for an open-source, non-commercial firewall. I love the fact that it’s built on FreeBSD. I can SSH to it and do stuff with it there at that level, such as run tcpdump on the outside interface if I want. Or the inside interface. I can install packages. I did a

sudo pkg install htop

and it installed htop! I didn’t even know they had htop for BSD. Again, impressive. When I tried the same thing on OPNsense it didn’t work. Not that I’m suggesting that OPNsense is a lesser product – I’m sure there’s a valid reason installing htop on it that way didn’t work. I may give that pfSense spinoff another run at some point.

Here is the pfSense Dashboard

Sure the OPNsense webgui is a bit prettier. I may give it another go at some point. Playing with firewalls. What else should I be doing with my free time?

à bientôt


They’re Gone

In the morning, I awoke to the sound of unrest in the street. It seemed there were crowds of restless, angry people wandering, many of them walking down the middle of the avenue and across the lanes, disrupting traffic as they went. I could smell smoke. There were fires. Here and there, police sirens could be heard, the electronic scream a reminder of who was still in charge. Something, something unprecedented, was happening.
I launched my browser. No internet connection. OK. So my internet is down too. Hmmm. I checked for email on my phone. Nothing. No network. Outside, a siren, unlike any I had ever heard, began to wail. I was going to have to leave my apartment and go outside if I wanted to know more. I made my coffee, I got dressed. I didn’t even bother taking a shower. I guess I was afraid that I would miss something if I didn’t leave immediately.
Outside, groups of people wandered around. Disorderly, shouting. A police cruiser sped by. “what’s going on? what is happening?” I asked a group of four younger guys as I passed them on my way to the Max. “We don’t know. Nobody’s phone works.”
I continued on my way and again, my brief encounters with strangers produced the same results, people had no idea what was happening, other than nobody’s phone was working. The internet had DIED.
The siren had stopped. I arrived at the Max. Not surprisingly, it was closed, but a crowd was gathered in the parking lot. One got the sense that something awful had happened – was still happening. A lively debate raged between two individuals who speculated on the possible cause of it all.
“They’re hiding something from us!” Shouted a fat, goatee’d hipster type. “That’s just a conspiracy theory” countered the other, a boring looking academic, overly-dressed for the almost riotous mood of the crowd.
In the distance, what sounded like gunshots could be heard. Then an explosion. More police cruisers racing past.
Someone not far behind me told someone else “yeah it started about 2am.”
I would have been in bed sleeping by then. Someone had to know what was happening. I continued my trek to discover the truth. Everywhere was the same. Confusion. Not really much violence – there was the odd fight happening here and there given the number of angry people out and about, yet people generally weren’t angry at each other.

Then, it happened.
Suddenly, and almost throughout, there was tumultuous sound of thousands of smartphone notifications, of many varieties calling out in unison. The effect was amazing, all these people, apart from those who didn’t already have their phones in their hands, pulling theirs out of pockets or purses. I checked mine. I had a single text message. “STAY CALM”.
“What the F***?!”
I could tell by the reaction of a girl nearby that she had received a message much like mine. “Stay calm?” I asked her. She nodded. Everyone had simultaneously received this message. Who sent it? What could it mean? After a minute or so, my phone rang. So did everyone’s.
I looked with nervous anticipation at my screen which simply said “incoming message”. I answered it. I pressed the phone to my ear. What I heard next was the voice of the President of the United States of America. Here is what he said.

“Citizens of the world. Good morning. It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you today of the events of the last 6 hours. it was just after Midnight, Eastern-time, that my joint Chiefs of Staff informed me of the imminent attack. I was briefed that within the hour events would take place in the Middle-East that would plunge our entire planet into the deadliest, and most fiery, final World-war. We had to act, decisively, without hesitation, and immediately, to prevent the further billions of deaths that would have occurred had we waited.
“For this reason, on the advice of Secretary of Defence Mattis as well as that of other military commanders of our Naval, Air and other armed forces, I authorised a full and total nuclear attack on the Russian Federation. All Russian military, nuclear and aerospace capabilities have been swiftly annihilated. Our superior cyber-intelligence and electronic espionage capabilities also allowed for the immediate location and termination of all Russian nuclear-class submarine and ICBM-launch assets. Moscow has been struck with no less than 200 megatons of hydrogen-bomb hell-fire. Every other city in the Russian Federation, with a population of 10,000 people or more, has been hit and is no more. Russia is gone folks.
“Furthermore, Iran is gone. They have met with the same fate. And also Syria. And Turkey. North Korea too. Gone. Good riddance. Today, terrorists the World over learned not to mess with America.
America is great.
“Today a new chapter of peace begins in the World, a peace where America decides things. Today, America is great again.

The President continued to yammer on, and many around me continued to listen. I couldn’t. I hung up. I felt sick. I had always thought that the Russians would have more than put up a fight if it ever came down to it. I never dreamed, ever, that it would come to this. I walked off. Best just go home. The tears began to stream down my face, but I did my best to hide them, just as I passed others who cheered, morons, idiots who didn’t have enough brains to understand geopolitics but just enough appetite for drama and a lust for the pain of others. I hurried on. From time to time I caught glimpses of other faces, shocked, one or two here and there, few and far between the grins of the wicked and foolish. The evil. For what had just happened was truly evil. I imagined a civilisation, suddenly wiped away, banished to the waste-bin of history. History is written by the victors. I staggered home in disbelief.

To be continued…

FFmpeg .wav to mp3 & ogg

Check out this command using ffmpeg:

for f in *.{wav,WAV}; do ffmpeg -i "$f" -c:a libmp3lame -q:a 2 "${f%.*}.mp3" -c:a libvorbis -q:a 4 "${f%.*}.ogg"; done

If you have a folder with a bunch of wav files and want to convert them to mp3 and ogg.
If you only want mp3’s you can just

for f in *.{wav,WAV}; do ffmpeg -i "$f" -c:a libmp3lame -q:a 2 "${f%.*}.mp3"; done

Compose Key on KDE Plasma

The work it can take sometime to get your accent characters working properly… The French language is somewhat cursed – a terrible way to view things – but typing accents can be infuriating on a standard English(American layout) keyboard. That’s where the compose key comes in. A key on the keyboard can be assigned to be the compose key so that you can type things like ‘à’, or ‘ç’ or ‘É’ and any other possible combinations of letters and accents your heart desires.

Upon recently switching to Fedora 26 with KDE Plasma from Linux Mint 18.2 with KDE Plasma, I discovered that assigning the the compose key was a bit more difficult. For one thing, pressing the left-Win (left-Meta) key was actually launching the Application launcher

This just wouldn’t do.

First I right-clicked on the little Fedora icon and selected ‘Application Launcher Settings’. Under Keyboard shortcuts I cleared it out to ‘None’.

Next I opened System Settings and navigated to Input Devices>Keyboard>Advanced.

From here, I expanded ‘Key to choose the 3rd level’ and selected ‘Right Win’ to perform that function. Then, under ‘Position of Compose key’ I picked ‘Left Win’.

This now allows me to create a ‘é’ for instance by pressing the Left Win key, then the ‘e’ followed by the quote key (between colon/semi-colon and Enter).

Fedora 26 KDE Edition

Currently installing Fedora 26 KDE Edition on my work-from-home Lenovo Thinkpad W530. This is a big leap for me! I’ve been on Mint for a long time and the Debian way it pretty much ingrained. Let’s see how it goes!
Well the Anaconda Installer has completed and is telling me that things worked out. It’s saying that

“Go ahead and reboot to start using it!”

Let’s see what happens.


I set up a new KVM-QEMU hypervisor on an unused Alienware laptop from work. Until I can get my hands on a machine with more oompf I have this – it’s a Pentium i7 with 32 GB of RAM. 512GB SSD too …
So anyway I’ve had a mail and web server running on Virtualbox on my work-from-home workstation for quite some time (ironically it had been converted to vdi from raw that was running on a previous KVM hypervisor) and now it was time to send this vm back to KVM.
Converting the image back turned out to be much easier than I thought it would have been.

qemu-img convert -f vdi -O qcow2 vm.vdi vm.qcow2

was all it took. I then set up the vm as a new using an imported image. Voila!
(this site is hosted on that vm btw)

What are things? C’est quand bientôt?

What is soon? When is tomorrow?
Can we go to the park?
Can I take off my shoes?
Are you stronger than a lion dad?
Are you tougher than a dragon?
Carry me up dad!
Carry me!
On your shoulders! carry me up papa!

“ok mais tu peut pas me tirer les cheveux ni me couvrir les yeux!”

Are we going home now dad?
Can we go to the park after supper?
Can we go for a bike ride?
Can you fight a bear in the bush dad?
Can you take on a robber dad?
Buy me a candyegg dad!
Bring me!
To the moon! On a journey papa! Continue reading “What are things? C’est quand bientôt?”

Beren and Lúthien

Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s posthumously published (edited by his now very advanced-in-years son, Christopher) Beren and Lúthien, brings me to ancient places I haven’t been to for ages, secret woodland paths and caves by rivers and cascades – it’s also a retelling of the legends of peoples, love, war and heroism.


Beren turns out the be a wild and noble-man, driven from hiding in the wilderness with his kinfolk by the Evil-One. Alone, lost, hungry, he stumbles into elf-country and encounters the princess of the woodland elves; smitten by the saintly vision and her singing voice he compares her to the Nightingale ‘Tinuviel’ … who in turn feels joy at now being chased through the woods by this charming swarthy brute. A love story ensues as the young man ties his fate to that of the woodland fairy; in exchange for her hand in marriage the elf king demands a silmaril from Morgoth’s crown, surely a death-sentence to anyone tasked with the quest.
Beren is captured by the Evil-One’s cat(Sauron) while attempting to enter the Dark Fortress. After failing to rouse interest in rescuing Beren, Lúthien takes it upon herself to free Beren from the cats. She manages to befriend a giant mythical dog who gets the cat and rescues her mountain-man. She then uses her enchantress-cloak to get into the palace and put the lullabies on the Evil-One and all his court. While all are asleep, Beren and Lúthien make off with one of the silmarils! Only to be intercepted by a giant wolf who bites off Beren’s hand, still clutching the jewel. He almost dies, they return empty-handed(?!) and so a war begins of the Orc armies unleashed on Beleriand. After a quick recovery, Beren and his companions slay the wolf, retrieve the silmaril and defeat the orc armies. He dies.
Lúthien Tinuviel works some final magic and descends alive down into Mandos Hall (Hades) to resurrect her beloved Beren from the dead. The Reaper allows their return to the world of the living, but on condition that Lúthien give up her elvish near-immortality and join her man in mortal life.

In this book Christopher Tolkien brilliantly pieces together the journey of his father’s creation of a mythology all his own. Legends and mythologies go through metamorphoses and the origins of ancient languages of people in another world are revealed.