Feb 19 2015

And I’m officially old and broken.

MRI of Disk Extrusion
See that little finger of vertebral disk sticking out and pushing on the nerves near my spinal cord?
As noted:

It’s not supposed to do that. 🙁

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Jan 25 2013

nmcli is wicked

You don't need alttext here, this image is lame filler!

Remember how happy we were when finally got clicky with nm-applet?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been wishing, hoping and waiting (not helping or coding of course!) a long time for a useable command line client for network-manager. cnetworkmanager came and went without anyone actually trying it, and then nmcli showed up.

nmcli syntax is a little less than intuitive, and if you’re like me it took you a while to notice that the problem you were having with it was not in fact that you couldn’t figure out the syntax, it was that it would not do the thing you were trying to get it to do!
Well eventually anyway. As it turned out it; would do 2 out of 3. That is you could:
bring up or down networks that network-manager already knew about:
nmcli con down id NetworkImDoneWith
nmcli con up id MyAwesomeNetwork
In the process of figureing that one out, we all learned to list nm’s known networks:
nmcli con list
Which does’nt count as one of the three, because while it’s kind of nostalgic to see an SSID you connected to in 2009 on that work trip to Illinois, until you’re wrestling with nmcli you’d never want to do this, it’s the equivalent opening nm-connection-editor and opining over each tab.

But oh boy were you excited that day at the coffee shop when you were practicing running your whole system from a framebuffer on tty1, and discovered that nmcli could list the _new_ networks available:
nmcli dev wifi


If it can list them surely we can connect to them!

Alas, it was not to be. After plugging through all the syntactic options for nmcli and it’s dev,nm,con subcommands you gave up and hit ctrl+alt+f7 logged into to X and clickyclickyclickied on “aztec cafe” so easy and so defeating.

You knew someday you would not suffer so.

That time is now!

The nmcli that comes with network-manager 0.9.6 ( is already in debian experimental) includes the all new “wifi connect” command:

$ nmcli dev help
Usage: nmcli dev { COMMAND | help }

COMMAND := { status | list | disconnect | wifi }

list [iface ]
disconnect iface [–nowait] [–timeout ]
wifi [list [iface ] [bssid ]]
wifi connect <(B)SSID> [password ] [wep-key-type key|phrase] [iface ] [bssid ][name ][–private] [–nowait] [–timeout ]

That mess translates into, You can now finally attach to a new network:
“Hmm are there are any networks here?”
nmcli dev wifi
'JoesHouse' 00:30:DE:AD:BE:EF Infrastructure 2412 MHz 54 MB/s 67 WPA WPA2 no

“Sweet, oh wait it’s wpa, ‘Hey Joe what’s your wifi password?, Cool thanks'”
nmcli dev wifi connect JoesHouse password correcthorsebatterystaple

Effing finally. 😀

( /me is accepting wagers on whether someone mentions pkexec in the comments)

Dec 17 2012

Season’s Greetings from our Network Operation Genter!

Holiday NOG

Holiday N.O.G.

Sep 6 2012

Sam’s Axiom:

If you are editing /etc/hosts
You’re breaking something.

Nov 12 2010

Ham-fisted vyatta configuration backups with Rancid.

Router mark

Rancid “Really Awesome New ConfIg Differ” is a very cool little suite of scripts that monitor the configurations on routers or other devices and keeps them in a version control system. If you admin more than a few such devices I highly recommend it. Not only is it a lifesaver to have the configs backed up and diffed automatically, but it can be fun to abuse some of the internals like the “clogin” script to push out changes or the like.

Rancid is full of very good expect scripts that know how to get all kinds of info from Cisco routers and a slew of other devices.

But I wanted to use it the same way with my vyatta routers too. I had great hopes of writing excellent expect scripts to do it, there was just one problem. I don’t know how to do that 😐

Fortunately in addition to the preconfigured device types, someone figured out that rancid can also be set up with a “wrapper” device where you can just throw in any ugly script and it will point it at your device and throw whatever comes back into CVS just like it was one of the carefully parsed and sanitized configs.

The proof-of-concept code for that was a perl script called vpn3k written by Michael Stefaniuc at Red Hat, that could scp configs for Altera’s VPN 3000 concentrators. So I hacked it up a little bit to grab a couple snmp strings and then scp over the written config. That’s pretty sub-optimal since you only get the saved config, not the running config. Also Mr. Stefaniuc warns that the script may eat babies. But it works, and I don’t have to set up seperate cronjobs or CVS and the like. It all gets taken care of by rancid just like the non-free routers.


Is the actual wrapper code that sits in $RANCID_HOME/bin in lieu of a good expect script and calls the perl script:


Which you copy to $RANCID_HOME/share/wrapper/vyatta (note the name change) where it will make a new device type of wrapper.vyatta available for you to use in your router.db file:


You do have to set up scp to work unattended also. I recommend you do it with authorized_keys, though the other rancid scripts can store plain text passwords (for telnet!) in the .cloginrc file, so you can be just as insecure as you’d like.

Aug 17 2010

The other 200 shoes drop.


I told you there would be more, Turns out it’s 175 more:


She cracks me up, we saw her taking dozens or hundreds of photos of the thermal features with no people or context in them. I was sure they would be amateurish at best. But instead she wound up getting tons of gorgeous little still lifes like that one. The girl sure has an eye for composition and color.

Aug 11 2010

some yellowstone pics.


So you may know we took an _amazing_ (if miserable) trip to Yellowstone National Park this summer.

The kids had saved up and bought their own first cameras, so they are the official documenters.

Owen has gotten his set posted already so check ’em out:

I’m sure Binty’s will be following shortly.

May 19 2010



Snickers has passed away.
See our goodbyes here…

Apr 30 2010

A bad day for old favorites.

OE logo

R.I.P. Over Easy Cafe

Thursday was the last day for Over Easy Cafe. Practically breaks my heart.

And then the trusty old breadbox breaks down too!

Not a great day. 🙁

Apr 1 2010

Changing Tack

Well struggling with silly ideas like freedom and autonomy have taken up a really significant amount of my time and mental energy over the last few years.

Today inspired by some wise words from one of my ettiquette coaches,

I’ve decided to take a little different direction with my “online presence” such as it is.

This will be the last post from my autonomously hosted website. In the future if you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to please visit my new website:


I’m also on twitter, and foursqualor.com ( The second most popular site on the internet!)

So if you also have no concerns about who owns and controls your personal data”>concerns about who owns and controls your personal data, I encourage you to join me in using whichever thing that’s a lot like the World Wide Web but is less powerful has some php doodads, and includes spying for free, that is popular this year.

BTW, does anyone have a gmail invite I could get? Thanks.