Sunday, September 23, 2012

Google / Blogger custom domain fix

Google / Blogger custom domain fix

So long story short is to delete your custom domain, find a windows computer (or Virtual Machine), boot up Internet Explorer and re-add your custom domain to your profile. Seriously. It works.

No idea what's going on behind the scenes, however, if you're not an IE user and you try to set up a custom domain you're probably going to end up with something that looks like this: 

404 error. The requested URL / was not found on this server

(The google 404 page that says it can't find a URL "/")

Trust me. Go to IE, delete your custom domain settings, redo the settings in IE. 

Disclaimer: If your CNAME records are not properly set up then this fix won't work.

From Google's Web site on how to set up your CNAME records:


(the above values can be found in the directions for setting up your Blogger custom domain under "custom domain instructions")

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Microsoft SharePoint Basics

Microsoft SharePoint Basics

What this post is for:

This post is for people that would like to learn a thimble-full of knowledge about Microsoft SharePoint, it includes some basic vocabulary so as to provide a foundation for a basic conversation about main features.

The Main Features of Microsoft SharePoint

  1. Search
  2. Document Mangement
  3. Portal (website)
  4. Wiki's
  5. Task managment
  6. Workflows
  7. (Business Processes)
  8. (Business Intelligence)

SharePoint Basic Vocabulary

A Library is a collection of documents

A collection of rows of data, much like an online Excel sheet that is integrated into SharePoint

Application logic that corresponds to documents or lists on the SharePoint server

Application Logic
Application Logic is essentially taking a business process (like the creation and approval of a contract) and creating an automated process to guide that document through its life cycle. To continue with the contract example, application logic within a SharePoint workflow would handle the following:

  1. Creation of the Contract (most likely with a form that will collect the necessary information and automatically populate the contract document template.
  2. Validate the content.
  3. Pass the document to a reviewer - notify the reviewer that the document is ready for review and track their changes or comments on a document
  4. Publish the document on a SharePoint portal
  5. Keep an indexed copy of the contract for continuity purposes that can be easily searched through

Indexing / Indexed
Indexing means that a document has been parsed or crawled through by a service and optimized for search with that service. For example, with SharePoint, documents are indexed to make them easily and quickly searchable through the SharePoint search function. If a document is not indexed, it will not appear in search.

Intranet Portal
A SharePoint portal that is only accessible to people inside of the company / enterprise LAN.

Extranet (public) Portal
A SharePoint portal (homepage) that exposes data to visitors outside of the corporate/enterprise LAN.

Enterprise LAN
The Local Area Network (LAN) that encompasses and includes all internal company resources. LAN resources are those resources available to someone that is connected via network cable on-site (physically) at the company, connected to a company internal wireless network, or connected to a company VPN.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) this is a method of connecting to a LAN from an off-site location (from an external network). It often consists of a client (piece of software) that runs on the computer that you're connecting from and a server component that is public facing and also connected to your company LAN (that serves as a gateway between people on external networks and the internal company LAN).

SharePoint Workflows

SharePoint workflows can be (most easily) created through the use of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer.

SharePoint Links

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ventrilo behind a firewall

For some reason I don't think there has been a single person that has set up Vent behind a firewall, either that or they just haven't decided to write about it on any of the forums that I looked at.

Essentially Vent just needs to have outbound access to the server on the port you/your friends have the vent server listening on. Put this rule in your firewall and you will be granted with the message "the server is available, press connect" and/or "synchronizing". This is where I got stuck because according to the people at vent this is the only thing you need to do - anyway - I started monitoring all of my blocked connections and found out you also have to allow port 6100 outbound - this is evidently how vent connects to everyone else you're chatting with and syncs things up.

  1. allow outbound access to the vent server on the port it's listening on
  2. allow outbound access on port 6100
  3. profit
WP out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Skinny on LastPass

One of the people that I do odd-jobs and random tech consulting/work for asked me a question about Lastpass and I figured that I should post it up here for everyone to see.

The security added on by lastpass essentially falls into the area of user awareness/best practices. Security is provided on the basis that it is easier for a user to remember one password that meets recommended requirements (more than 14 characters including uppercase, lowercase, symbols and special characters) than for the users to manage a number of passwords for a number of services that meet these needs for complexity.

This will mostly serve to protect you from persons wishing to gain access to your accounts through what is commonly referred to as 'bruteforcing' you may already be familiar with it, but it essentially when someone either uses a dictionary/wordlist attack or a pure bruteforce to access your account(s). These people would have found your login name or username somewhere else on the internet and are trying remotely to gain access to your accounts.

Users that are already on your box can either MITM (Man in the Middle) your browser, install a keylogger or datamine your box to obtain your LastPass password, so in the case of malware (like the Zeus Bot Agent) or a virus on your computer, LastPass will gain you absolutely nothing. Once your computer is compromised it's game over.

My personal advice is to write down your passwords on a piece of paper that you keep on your person or to put all of your passwords into an encypted file or drive.

Once again, security is not nearly as complicated as most people think, follow these best practices to help protect your passwords, accounts and digitally stored personal data:

1. Use strong passwords EVERYWHERE (you can check your password strength here: )
2. Do not have a "passwords.txt" or "secret" file that can be easily accessed on your computer.
3. Keep your antivirus software up to date (both the software AND the signatures)
4. Harden your browser and don't visit sites you don't trust (install noscript, adblock plus, etc and don't allow scripts to run for advertisement sites or other untrusted sites)
5. Don't allow 3rd party cookies (unless you use gmail, in which case you'll have to allow 3rd party cookies from *

As a parting comment, I have heard of numerous penetration tests that have involved lastpass, and in every case the tester was able to gain control of the workstation and get all of the passwords.

The moral of the story is focus on securing your workstation and following security best practices.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Installing Dradis with MYSQL on Ubuntu 9.10 (and up)

So honestly I just wanted to write this down somewhere in case I should ever find myself wondering how to do this again. The whole installation process was a pain in the arse, mostly because of stupidity - my advice is that if you're the only one using it, install dradis with the default (sqlite).

If you need more than 10 people to access it at one time however, you're going to want to install it with mysql which means following these instructions.

1. setup and install a LAMP (don't forget to write down your mysql root password)
$ sudo tasksel install lamp-server

2. install additional dependencies for dradis
$ sudo apt-get install ruby1.9.1-dev
$ sudo apt-get install ruby irb rdoc libopenssl-ruby
$ sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient16-dev

3. ruby on rails/rake config
$ sudo gem install rake rubygems mysql

4. grab a copy of dradis:
$ wget

4. make sure your dradis database config (/dradis-2.5/server/config/database.yml) looks like this:

adapter: mysql
encoding: utf8
database: dradis
pool: 5
username: root
password: yourmagicalrootpassword
socket: /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock

5. create the dradis database in MYSQL:
$ mysql --user=USER --password=PASS
mysql> create database dradis;

6. go to the proper directory and populate the dradis DB and start the server:
$ cd /dradis/server
$ rake dradis:reset
$ ruby ./dradis/server/script/server -b

You should now be able to browse you dradis install at https://localhost:3004

Hope this helps/works for you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A little more about me...

Well it's been quite a while since I started this to basically serve as a repository for those crazy thoughts, ruminations and solutions to peculiar computer issues that nobody seems to have easy answers for.

One of my buddies posted a bunch of stuff online and I guess some of the stuff that I do for consulting these days should end up somewhere in the public domain - so here goes...stay tuned for a few updates here and there :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vacation Messages in a Postfix Era

Another joyous email activity is trying to configure vacation (a leftover from the days of sendmail) to work with Postfix. Here's what seems to work things out.

I. Download the latest version of Vacation and install it on your mail server (it's pretty much pre-compiled {just use a make install}.

II. Edit the .forward file in your user's directory so that it starts with user@host, i.e. , --> this is different than it was in sendmail where you just had a \user in that spot, i.e. , \guenter

If you just use \user then it will create a mail loop in postfix.

II. Configure the rest of the message like normal and it should work.

Viel Spass!