Splunk >, gets IT right

I recently ran across this ridiculously cool software package called “Splunk >”. If you work in an IT department and want to centralize your viewing of log files for Solaris, Linux, BSD, and Windows, Splunk> is the way to go. I manage several FreeBSD servers at my work and viewing log files gets time consuming and cumbersome at best. Splunk> indexes all log files from your designated hosts and gives you a nice web front end that is clean looking and functional for viewing those log files.

Splunk> is expensive for the professional version, but because I have only half a dozen BSD boxes and an equal number of Windows boxes, the free version suits my environment just fine. The maximum indexing for the free version is 500 MB/day –That’s a lot of log files! In less than an hour I had splunk up and running on one of my higher-end BSD boxes. Yes, you will need a beast of a machine to run Splunk >. They state a minimum of 1x 1.4 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, but recommend 2x 2.8 GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM and 1.5 x the maximum amount of log files for disk space.

I have two servers that are getting logs indexed by Splunk > and so far, so good. My next step is to add the Windows boxes and get those piped into Splunk > as well. One interface for viewing all log files, Splunk > just made my life a lot easier!

Windows Vista Review

After reading about Windows Vista for the last two years, I finally decided to check it out in the latest beta release. After a 3.2 GB download (luckily I have 3MB DSL), I burned it to dvd and fired up one of my test boxes. At first blush, I was impressed with the installer as it only immediately asked me for the activation key and how I would like to format my drive. The installer looks much cleaner than those of past M$ OS’s however, the GUI reminded me of any number of Linux distro’s. [Read more…]

How to Install and Use a Digital Certificate for Sending Encrypted Email

The following is text from a document I wrote for folks at work to setup digital certificates in Outlook. This also works in Outlook Express, but we all know the caveats with OE. By default, email is sent in plain text and anyone with a sniffer can view the content of an email. The purpose of using digital certificates is to ensure “unreadability” of email on the wire. The nice thing about using certificates is only the desired recipient can read the email (when you encrypt) however, the drawback of the initial setup for both sender and recipient can be daunting for the non-technically inclined… [Read more…]

Clean up port configure options

Ever run across this one? You install a port that prompts you for configuration options and it fails. You run a “make distclean” or “make deinstall” hoping to get rid of the options you chose or hoping to be prompted again during the install, but you don’t get prompted again.

Simply type “make rmconfig”  and reinstall the port to get the option window during your next install

User Profile Move for XP or 2K

The following two procedures allow you to move local user profiles from one domain to another on the same machine. For example, lets say you are running Win2k or WinXP on your workstation which is attached to an old NT (or win2k or 03) domain. The new domain is created and you need to migrate your machine to the new domain but want to keep all of your favorites, email and desktop settings intact. [Read more…]

Open Source XGL trumps Windows Vista glass UI

I am just your average geek that likes to test what is up and coming for operating systems and such. A friend told me about XGL and so I thought I would check it out. I hopped on to google and found a video of XGL in action. I was absolutely blown away at what I saw. A 3-dimensional desktop in the form of a cube which could spin, rotate, and create some really bizarre effects with running programs. The video did no justice and so I began an attempt to install XGL and Compiz on my Gentoo box. After multiple failed attempts I turned back to google to see if I could find the right code to set this alice-in-wonderland UI up on another box. What I found was an awesoeme LiveCD from Christopher Smart with XGL and compiz completely prebuilt. You can find it at kororaa.org and I highly recommend checking it out. You won’t be disappointed. [Read more…]

What I love about UNIX

At work I run a mixture of Server03 with AD and FreeBSD. For network monitoring/alerting I use a combination of nagios and cacti but on two different servers. Since I work for a school district and money was (and still is) an issue when I arrived there in 2004, I set up the nagios system on a spare x86 PC. I did the same for cacti but then moved it to a box that was donated to us recently. In an effort to consolidate multiple systems into the one donated box (a Dell PE2450), I rebuilt nagios and upgraded it to version 2. [Read more…]