Random knowledge VI.

25 January 2007

The actions of a systems cracker trying to get a foothold in someone's network by social engineering the people in the NOC and someone hunting for a job who is trying to get hold of a human being in the HR department somewhere in a company are not that different.

When writing Perl code, generally speaking the simplest code is what will do exactly what you need. If you overthink what you're working on, you won't get anywhere.. especially with the reverse operator.

Perl gives you enough rope to not only hang yourself but your entire family, too. Don't make it any more complex than it has to be.

The best programmes are not written.. they are grown one function at a time.

Toothpaste is good for cleaning silver.

Wet makes excellent skin lotion.

On a Debian GNU/Linux system, if you're trying to use the Galeon web-browser (and there's no reason you should not, it's really nice) and you can't access any SSL protected links (like Yahoo) because you get an error to the effect of "You must install the PSM package," you have to do just that:

root@debian-box:~ apt-get update
root@debian-box:~ apt-get install mozilla-psm

When playing Uplink by Introversion for Linux, disable anything and everything that hooks /dev/audio and /dev/dsp.. even ESD (Enlightened Sound Daemon). If you don't, Uplink won't start. Even if you use esddsp to mediate between the two, it won't work.

Using esdctl (ESD control) utility to disable ESD (esdctl off) will do the trick.

If they give you a flattering nickname at work, they like you.

When changing the IP address of a system running Redhat Linux Advanced Server you have to edit the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg- to make the changes stick. ifdown and ifup are used to deactivate and then reactivate the network interface, which also changes the IP address. Rebooting the server will also work but it's not the ideal solution (remember: "Running *nix means that reboots are for adding hardware.")

Spencer's Gifts, the bastion of modern kitsch culture in a mall near you, can have some surprisingly well built toys in stock. Try them before you scoff, you might just save yourself some money.

When attempting to use Redhat's kickstart utility to create a boot-it-and-forget-it system configuration (for mass-producing systems of a certain configuration) you have to boot your installation media (floppy or CD-ROM) with the following command for it to read the ks.cfg (Kickstart configuration) file:

linux ks=floppy

It's documented in the Redhat 9 manual, but good luck finding it in a hurry.

Debugging always sucks. There's no way around it. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.