My First Donation to an Open Source Project

I am glad to say that I finally donated to an open source project today. I have been thinking about donating to various open source projects over the years and have never gotten around to donating. The lucky recipient is They made a pitch for money, they were part of the group I was considering donating to, and they caught me at the right time.  Good for them!

Portableapps is one of several open source products I use on a regular basis. I like programs that do not mess with the windows registry and portableapps has a whole bunch of programs that are minimally invasive. As an old IT guy I have re-installed my fair share of operating systems due to registry problems. I even installed portableapps on some servers I care for. If you are careful you can use one copy available to several computers by using a shared network drive. Most of the portableapps applications I install are applications I use occasionally. The one exception is the portableapps version of Google Chrome. I guess I started using the portable version in response to some Internet Explorer problems and never changed. One of the nicest features of portableapps is that it is easy to update your applications.This is one of the cleanest and nicest ways to keep your occasionally used programs up to date. Nice job John! notepad-plus » FindReplaceNewlineHowTo

Simple find/replace compared to Advanced search/replace.

Simple find/replace is found in the Edit menu. Its shortcut is control+H. Advanced find/replace is in the Plugins menu, in the TextFX Quick menu. Its shortcut is control+R. notepad-plus » FindReplaceNewlineHowTo

I finally researched an issue I was having with finding tab, new line, carriage return characters at the beginning of the line. I have an automated SQL procedure to create product data feeds in a tab delimited format. One of the symptoms of a soft SQL failure is that the line will wrap. This situation can be detected by looking for a first character that is either a tab, new line, or carriage return using the regex expression ^[\t\n\r]. . The simple find/replace does not find the problem lines while the Advanced version works as expected.

Picks and Pans for pfSense packages

Recently I installed the pfSense firewall and now I have started to check out some of the packages that make pfSense such an interesting firewall platform. Without going into too much detail here is my impressions on several packages.

  • NMAP – It kind of worked for me when I accessed it via the web server. It locked up the pfSense web server a couple of times. It worked fine for me via the command line and the Command page.
  • NTOP – I had not heard of this package before but I was impressed. It had lots of information about my network. Some of the information was actually useful. I am keeping tabs on my son’s Internet usage. With all of this info I kept expecting the computer utilization of pfSense to go through the roof. It did not. Whew!
  • SNORT – I did not get this package to work. It installs but the service does not start and it had problems downloading rules. I am guessing the rules issue might be related to the fact that the package was version 2.7 and the current rules are 2.8. I saw in a forum where several people were having problems running the package on pfSense. I manually uploaded a rule to see if I could start the package. It still did not start. Since I did not see any log messages, I decided it was not worth proceeding. It is hard to debug problems when you have logging turned off.
  • EXEC.php – This goes under the name of Command. It gives you the equivalent of a command prompt and it is for those of us who do not want to crank up SSH for every little thing. It is not a “package” and its disclaimer says it is not supported. However, it worked better for me than the supported packages. Go figure! I used it to verify that NMAP was working. It was a helpful tool to work with SNORT, too.
  • Internet Explorer – You need a SVG viewer plugin to view the traffic graph. I used Adobe’s version. The drop down navigation menu is quirky with IE. It opens and closes before you select an item. In IE the navigation menu is blocked by the traffic graph. I might try and fix this.

Installing Subversion? Just follow this 7 Steps « Lijin’s Localhost

Great post Lijin! Sometime ago I struggled to figure out how to install subversion on my WinXP box. The biggest difficulty I had was to understand what the folder layout for Windows box should look like. I ended up using svn1clicksetup to get a standard layout. Due to issues between Subversion and Apache 2.2, I avoided using Apache for Subversion. SVNService worked just fine for me. Recently Subversion has been supporting Apache 2.2. With a slightly modified version of Lijin’s instructions I modified my XAMPP installation to support accessing my existing repositories via Apache. Here are my steps:

  1. Install Apache HTTP server if not already installed. I prefer installing Apache via XAMPP.
  2. Install Subversion and let it update your Apache configuration. In my case I was updating to the latest version. Here is my file layout:
    1. Install directory – c:\Program Files\Subversion
    2. Repositories – c:\svnrepos
    3. Apache conf file – c:\Program Files\xampp\apache\conf\httpd.conf
  3. Since my repositories are not accessible from the network, I did not create a Users authentication file or Acesss – rights file. I can do this later if I need it.
  4. In the directory, "c:\Program Files\Subversion", create a etc directory and place another file called subversion.conf with the following data.
    <location repos>
      DAV svn  
      SVNPath C:/svnrepos  
  5. Add Include "C:/Program Files/Subversion/etc/subversion.conf" to the Apache conf file.
  6. Restart Apache and test the repository access.
    1. I cranked up my favorite browser and went to http://localhost/repos. I saw my project directories.
    2. I created a new directory in the My Documents folder and checked out one of my projects using TortoiseSVN and the http://localhost/repos/project1 URL. It worked.
    3. Next I created a test file and added it to repository. It worked, too.

Installing Subversion? Just follow this 7 Steps « Lijin’s Localhost

Favorite KeePass Trick

Keepass is a neat password management program but the documentation is not clear on how to set up an entry so that it will work use the same username and password with multiple web pages. As an example with the following entry, KeePass will autotype the username and password on the login screens for Yahoo, Flickr, and Office live.

Auto-Type-Window: Sign In to Yahoo*
Auto-Type-Window-1: Yahoo! Mail*
Auto-Type-Window-2: Connect to*

FileZilla Portable 3.0.6 Released

Filezilla logoFileZilla Portable 3.0.6 has been released. FileZilla Portable is the popular FileZilla FTP client packaged as a portable app, so you can take your ftp client, server list and settings with you. This new release updates FileZilla to the latest version, works with Notepad++ Portable and other portable editors when moving between PCs, has an improved installer and launcher and assists users with updating their settings from FileZilla 2. It’s packaged in Format for easy use from any portable device and integration with the Suite. And it’s open source and completely free.
Read on for more details…

read more

FileZilla Portable 3.0.6 Released
John T. Haller
Mon, 11 Feb 2008 18:21:08 GMT

I updated FileZilla yesterday. I was using version 2. I manually fixed my site profiles since it did not import the entries I had for the default local and remote directories. Everything is working and it looks great!

Truecrypt 5.0

We are pleased to announce that TrueCrypt 5.0 has been released. Among the new features are the ability to encrypt a system partition or entire system drive (i.e. a drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication, pipelined operations increasing read/write speed by up to 100%, Mac OS X version, graphical interface for the Linux version…

Article about Truecrypt 5.0 at
More info about Truecrypt can be found at their web site,
Wed, 06 Feb 2008 19:38:13 GMT

I did not have any problems with the previous version. I has been rock solid for me. One of the new features is the capability to encrypt a system partition/drive (i.e. a partition/drive where Windows is installed) with pre-boot authentication. Like BitLocker that is included with some versions of Vista, this feature can greatly reduce the liability to a business stemming from a lost or stolen computer. This new feature along with some promised speed improvements make this update pretty interesting.

Nimble Method: Garbage Collection is Why Ruby on Rails is Slow: Patches to Improve Performance 5x; Memory Profiling


  • The News: Ruby on Rails performance is dominated by garbage collection. We present a set of patches to greatly improve Rails performance and show how to profile memory usage to get further performance gains.

  • What’s at Stake: Rails is slow for many uses and did not lend itself well to optimization. Significant performance gains could only be achieved at application level at large development cost.

  • The Upside:

    • 5x potential performance gains;
    • easy way to identify whether GC is a bottleneck;
    • deterministic process to fix memory bottlenecks;
    • set of canned patches to solve the biggest problems;
    • you can help

Nimble Method: Garbage Collection is Why Ruby on Rails is Slow: Patches to Improve Performance 5x; Memory Profiling
Sat, 02 Feb 2008 05:30:00 GMT

Okay, a couple of weeks ago I installed Ruby so that I could run Metasploit. Installing Ruby was a challenge since I needed to install several dependencies so that I could install RubyGems. Fortunately Simon had the answer. When I cranked up the GUI version of Metasploit, the GUI seemed slow and the console messages showed Ruby to be busier than I thought it should be. I hadn’t asked it do anything yet.  Maybe this will help! Then again maybe if I upgrade to the latest version of Metasploit(3.1) will help.

KeePassX – The Official KeePassX Homepage

KeePassX – The Official KeePassX Homepage

KeePassX saves many different information e.g. user names, passwords, urls, attachmets and comments in one single database.

Yesterday I got around to installing KeePassX on my Centos server. The rpm version worked fine but I had to manually create a menu item. For fun I downloaded the new versions of the KeePassX icon. For a very brief time I thought about compiling KeePassX from source code but it looks like I will have to do a lot of work. It uses the QT library and Qmake. I would prefer if I could set it up in Eclipse but that looks complicated.

KeePassX is a port of KeePass and it read the KeePass database on my USB stick without a problem. It maintains the same look and feel as the original program so that is a big advantage on the learning curve for me. KeePassX has everything I use except for the global auto-type hot key and the plugins.

Garry’s Bit Patterns: TortoiseSVN and Visual Studio Integration – Visual Studio 2008

Finally, I am getting around to an update to the TortoiseSVN Visual Studio Integration. The catalyst for this is the release of Visual Studio 2008 (formally codename Orcas) Beta 2, and making sure I can still play with Subversion through the IDE.

Garry’s Bit Patterns: TortoiseSVN and Visual Studio Integration – Visual Studio 2008

Adding some TortoiseSVN integration is pretty simple using Garry’s settings file. I used the SubversionMenuToolbarContextsVS2008.vssettings file. – Appupdater


Appupdater provides advanced functionality to Windows, similar to apt-get or yum on Linux. It automates the process of installing and maintaining up to date versions of programs. It is fully customizable for use in a corporate environment. – Appupdater

I have been playing with this program this week. It looks promising for those of us who use open source programs On Windows PCs and like to stay up to date. I think I have found a few problems. The GUI version looks a little raw so I opted to use the command line version(0.8.1).

  1. I have Autoit, Notepad++, Synctoy, and Winmerge on my PC. Appupdater says it supports these applications but it did not find them during the update process.
  2. My first “upgrade” recommended upgrading QuickTime, Flash Player, and Powerpoint Viewer. I let it install all three updates. The QuickTime installation installed some shortcuts but it did not install the program. When I clicked on the shortcuts it told me QuickTime was not installed. I ran the QuickTime update from the cache and it is working now.
  3. The Flash player update installed the player but not the ActiveX component. I found this out when I went to the Adobe site to confirm the installation. I ran the ActiveX update from cache.
  4. I get a downloading versions.xml warning during the update process. I guess this is normal since this is a warning and everything else works.
  5. When I perform the list process, I get duplicate program entries for Java, Windows Media Player, and Windows Messenger. I guess I am a little surprised that Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger are on the list since I think they are supported by Windows Update.

Update on GroundWork Open Source Installation

I do have a problem putting things down. Yesterday I wrote a post about updating to the latest version of GroundWork Monitor Open Source and the problem I had with resolving three service checks, local_mysql_database_nopw, local_process_gw_feeders, and local_process_snmptt. Today I fixed them and here’s what I did:

  1. To resolve the local_mysql_database_nopw alert I went to Nagios resource macro, USER6, and made its value null. This service check uses the value of USER6 as the mysql password. The mysql password is not set in the vmware appliance version so the correct answer is null.
  2. To resolve the local_process_gw_feeders alert I fixed the so that it would find the included files. Then I ran the perl file in the background. My final fix was to modify the run script in feeder-nagios-status folder to start up the when the service is started. I think this is right place changed the service check parameters to allow 1 to 3 processes to be running. The eventlog process is a Pro feature.
  3. To resolve the local_process_snmptt alert I installed net-snmp and snmptt. Then I modified the parameters for this service check for this host so that it was happy with 2 to 3 services running.

The GroundWork server has been running for a couple of hours without alerts. Yea!

GroundWork Monitor Open Source


GroundWork Monitor Open Source 5.1

A complete availability monitoring solution that ensures IT infrastructure uptime while identifying issues before they become real problems. Unifies best-of-breed open source tools – Nagios, Nmap, SNMP TT, PHP, Apache, MySQL and more — through PHP/AJAX-based components and an integrated user interface to deliver the extensible functionality you require.

GroundWork Monitor Open Source

I finally got around to migrating my old version of GroundWork to the newest version, 5.1. GroundWork is a nice repackaging of Nagios and the 5.1 version includes some basic graphing in the free version via RRD. The paid support version has more sophisticated graphing and reporting and does a better job of interfacing with SNMP. I use the VM appliance since I am using this package to monitor a few web sites. It sends me an email when it sees a problem.

I was planning to write this post after I fixed three alerts, local_mysql_database_nopw, local_process_gw_feeders, and local_process_snmptt, on the local Linux server but I am going to turn these alerts off instead. I found the problems with the feeders(missing perl library) and snmptt was not installed but my fixes did not seem to hold. The system is running fine.

NotePad++ – Load config.xml failed

Recently I noticed an error when starting NotePad++, “Load config.xml failed”. NotePad++ proceeded to work with a slightly different skin but this error was annoying. The problem started well after my latest version upgrade so I am not sure what triggered the problem. I have been successful running the latest version of Notepad++ so I was pretty sure this problem would go away when they issued the next version. Today I finally got annoyed enough to fix the problem. The config.xml file in the Application Data folder for my profile had a zero length. I copied over a config.xml from the NotePad++ directory under Programs Files. This post in the sourceforge forum says about the same thing,