(   )
                          (    )
                           (    )
                          (    )
                            )  )
                           (  (                  /\
                            (_)                 /  \  /\
                    ________[_]________      /\/    \/  \
           /\      /\        ______    \    /   /\/\  /\/\
          /  \    //_\       \    /\    \  /\/\/    \/    \
   /\    / /\/\  //___\       \__/  \    \/
  /  \  /\/    \//_____\       \ |[]|     \
 /\/\/\/       //_______\       \|__|      \
/      \      /XXXXXXXXXX\                  \
        \    /_I_II  I__I_\__________________\
               I_I|  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I_II  I__I_____[]_|_[]_____I
               I II__I  I     XXXXXXX     I
            ~~~~~"   "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tue, 12 Jun 2012

Unsubscribe Me Madness

For some reason I was getting marketing email from Barnes & Noble, several times per day. I must have inadvertently missed a checkbox labeled 'spam me' during my last online purchase. Anyway, I finally followed the 'unsubscribe' link and dutifully selected that I no longer wished to receive ANY email. This is the response I got after submission:

Your request to [Modify / Unsubscribe] your email has been successful. Please note that this change will take effect within 10 business days.

10 business days? Really (not even 10 days - 10 BUSINESS days)? So flipping a database flag in my user account takes up to two weeks? Must be a very inefficient database. Funny how when you make a purchase, they charge your credit card within seconds. I would love to see this message instead after buying something online:

Your purchase has been successful. Please note that you will see this purchase charged to your credit card within 10 business days.

posted at: 11:30 | path: / | permalink | email, opt-out, spam, wtf

Sun, 18 Mar 2012

WTF is Tracker and Why is it Using All of My Memory?

Recently, I updated by Debian testing XFCE desktop. Nothing unusual there, I've been using Debian for many years and after the gnome3 disaster, have pretty much settled on XFCE. This update brought in a surprise, however. My desktop with 3GB of RAM was sluggish, and 'top' showed I was using all my RAM *and* 500MB of swap. Hmmm...

slugmax@foo:~$ ps ax -o rss,user,command | sort -nr | head -n 10 1445784 slugmax /usr/lib/tracker/tracker-miner-fs ...

What. The. Fuck. I'd never heard of 'tracker-miner-fs' before, yet here it was soaking up half my RAM. I look to see where this thing is starting.

slugmax@foo:~$ ack-grep -a tracker /etc/ /etc/xdg/autostart/tracker-store.desktop 24:Name[sl]=Shramba tracker 53:Exec=/usr/lib/tracker/tracker-store 64:X-GNOME-Bugzilla-Product=tracker /etc/xdg/autostart/tracker-miner-fs.desktop 50:Exec=/usr/lib/tracker/tracker-miner-fs ...

So a bloated Gnome utility is being started by my XFCE session manager? Sure enough, checking the XFCE settings reveals the desktop search tool tracker has been set to autostart at login. Here are the packages installed, probably brought in as a "dependency", since I had given Gnome3 a try.

root@foo:/etc/xdg/autostart# dpkg -l | grep tracker ii libtracker-client-0.8-0 metadata database, indexer and search tool - library ii libtracker-extract-0.12-0 tracker extractor library ii libtracker-miner-0.12-0 tracker data miner library ii libtracker-sparql-0.12-0 metadata database, indexer and search tool - library ii tracker metadata database, indexer and search tool ii tracker-extract metadata database, indexer and search tool - metadata extractors ii tracker-gui metadata database, indexer and search tool - GNOME frontends ii tracker-miner-evolution metadata database, indexer and search tool - evolution plugin ii tracker-miner-fs metadata database, indexer and search tool - filesystem indexer ii tracker-utils metadata database, indexer and search tool - commandline tools ...

But why was this enabled in XFCE, by default and with no warning? A bit of searching showed some other guy wondering the same thing about his KDE desktop. So lemme get this straight, a bloated Gnome desktop search utility (reminds me of the last bloated desktop search utility from Gnome, called "beagle") is being started with my XFCE desktop session? I stopped using Gnome to get away from these ridiculous, un-customizable and unusable utilities meant for the unwashed masses. GNU findutils and pdfgrep work just fine for me, thanks. Mutt lets me search my email in a myriad of ways. So next time at least ask me if I want this thing.

posted at: 20:36 | path: / | permalink | bloat, debian, desktop search, linux, memory, tracker, wtf

Fri, 17 Feb 2012

WTF: Ubuntu, Debian and Gnome

After my rant on Ubuntu a few years ago it actually improved quite a bit. You still had loads of mysterious processes running, but at least they advanced things to the point of not slowing the desktop down (or maybe hardware just caught up), all the while keeping the same basic interface. I suppose they had gone just too long without messing things up, so in comes Unity (or Gnome3 if you are running the current Debian testing default desktop), and things are back to slow, clunky and unusable. At least for me - I tried it and abandoned it after a few days. Worse, the interface is radically changed, with no fallback. But hey, it looks good!

I can't complain too much, at least Ubuntu has Xubuntu, and Debian, well Debian just needs a minimal install, then you can add x-windows and your desktop of choice. It's still disappointing, however, that the default desktop in both is so broken.

posted at: 15:53 | path: / | permalink | debian, epic fail, gnome, gnome3, ubuntu, unity, wtf

Sun, 22 May 2011

Remote Access

I setup VNC access to a desktop for a client recently, which they promptly b0rked by replacing their router and with it all the firewall/port forwarding settings - without telling me. In trying to get access to try and fix it, I explained how I would first need the IP address for the new router. I received this helpful email in response:

I think we were able to set up remote desktop.  I have the following
info. Let me know if this works.

IP Address bob-24f763ed307
Ext/Int Port 3389 for Remote Desktop

posted at: 20:03 | path: / | permalink | sysadmin, wtf

Wed, 06 Apr 2011

Using Old OSes On Servers

Of all the linux distros or BSD's to choose from, I would say Fedora ranks at the bottom for me as far as production server use. It's really meant as a testing OS, to test new ideas before they get incorporated into RHEL. While there are issues with any old operating system as far as community or vendor support, Fedora releases in particular have a very short lifespan (Fedora Legacy, which had been providing support for old Fedora releases, was shut down in 2007). I mention this because I have a client that contacts me every few months for help with some intractable server issue. From just a security perspective, this is scary, FC5 was released in 2006:

[root@www log]# uname -a Linux hostname 2.6.9-023stab051.3-enterprise #1 SMP Wed Nov 4 19:28:06 MSK 2009 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux [root@www log]# cat /etc/redhat-release Fedora Core release 5 (Bordeaux)

posted at: 16:39 | path: / | permalink | sysadmin, wtf

Tue, 16 Nov 2010

Highly Annoying Habits of Non-Geeks

Posted without comment, annoying habits of the non-geek:

posted at: 16:10 | path: / | permalink | annoyances, geek, humor, wtf

Mon, 02 Aug 2010

This Server is a Tad Overloaded...

A server I do development work on...yikes:

15:32:42 up 259 days, 19:17, 72 users, load average: 300.82, 272.70, 190.05

posted at: 21:24 | path: / | permalink | sysadmin, wtf

Thu, 07 May 2009

Scary Code Department

What could possibly go wrong with this snippet of PHP code from a web-based CMS? Ignore the lack of error checking...

function publish_page($ID) { $page = $this->render($ID); $path = $this->div_path($page[1]); $file = $path.$page[2]; # Write file $handle = fopen($file, "w"); fwrite($handle, $page[0]); fclose($handle); chmod($file, 0666); $user = $this->auth->user; $this->db->q("update pages set published=now(), user='$user' where id='$ID'"); return "$page[3] published...<br>"; }

Yup, it's a well-behaved CMS that publishes your files and makes them world-writable.

posted at: 10:11 | path: / | permalink | badcode, php, wtf