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Huginn, the self-hosted, secure, automation tool for stuff

April 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Huginn’s author states it to be “a light-weight infrastructure for building data-gathering and data-reacting tasks for your everyday life. Think of it as an open source Yahoo! Pipes, IFTTT, or Zapier.”

I finally am hopping onto the “activity tracker” craze with a recent purchase of the Jawbone UP24 (waiting for the Basis to get better and awaiting Samsung’s Gear Fit), and would love to use the data to automate a workflow.

I saw If this then that (IFTTT) about a year ago, and thought that it was way too… well.. scary. I mean, to have my UP data stored on Jawbone’s servers is enough to make me shiver, but then to use a third third party to take my “private” UP data and dump it to a Google Doc (which would require IFTTT to have access to both of those things in a non-restrictive way) is just too much.

Luckily, tonight some good fellow posted Huginn to Hacker News. Looks like a great way to keep automated workflows private. And maybe, when I have the time, I can work on storing Jawbone data as I wish.

Did I mention that you can, of course, write your own Huginns agents?

My bleeding heart: Dear argus, I miss you.

April 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Since I started a new job, I’ve got a lot of stuff to master before I revisit implementing flow data.

With all the Heartbleed reaction craze, I noticed that some Snort defs were released the other day, and that means there are likely IOCs that can be found in historical flow data.

Carter looks like he’s going to start a write up shortly, so keep an eye on the mailing list.

Powershell: Very fast ping

April 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Citing a post, I’ve thrown together a powershell function that is a very fast ping.

It is a useful replacement for the test-connection cmdlet, who’s timeout is more than desirably long.

Congratulations to the Chocolatey team!

April 4, 2014 Leave a comment

It looks like MSFT will be including direct access to “Chocolatey repositories” in WMF v5 (Powershell v5). Congratulations to Rob Reynolds and the Chocolatey team!

Web Scraping: visual web scraping

April 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Portia is a new python based web scraping tool.

It looks pretty cool.

Tags: , ,

I [had] two invites to Atom, Github’s “hackable” editor

March 7, 2014 7 comments

I [had] two invites to Atom by github. If you want one, [too bad, you snoozed and lost].

Rolling Performance Monitor (perfmon) log files in Windows

March 7, 2014 Leave a comment

I wanted to monitor all processes’ read and write bytes/sec for a half hour within a given time span nightly, but I didn’t want to fill the disk up with old and useless log files.

It took me more than five seconds of searching to figure out how to “roll perfmon logs” or “delete old perfmon logs automatically.”

The way to do this is to utilize a Data Manager to manage your data collector set data.

Configuring a Data Manager to rotate perfmon log files:

1) Configure a data collector set, setting up the actions and tasks via perfmon.msc.

2) In the perfmon.msc tree, go to Reports\User Defined and you will see your Data Collector set there: right-click> properties.

3) On the Data Manager tab, you can configure various things, but for our purpose of retaining one “log file,” we will use Maximum Folders and set this to 1.

4) Check off “Apply policy before the data collector set starts” to have the policy… well… apply before the data collector starts. [refer to the below Manager Data in Windows Performance Monitor article for more info]

5) Click OK.

I will be testing this over the weekend, but it should work as it is.

Sources:

keybase.io invites [are gone]

February 27, 2014 16 comments

I [had] four keybase.io invites.

New Page: Port an Android APK to Blackberry QNX (10.2)

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Awaiting a Blackberry Z30 on Verizon, I looked into the possibility of porting Android APKs, specifically RedPhone and TextSecure.

I have written a page on a method: Port an Android APK to Blackberry QNX (10.2).

Note that I have not tested if RedPhone and/or TextSecure are running perfectly. I am concerned by the following during APK verification:

(res/drawable/redphone_icon.png) icon too small:impact=2
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-feature: android.hardware.bluetooth:impact=2
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-feature: android.hardware.telephony:required minimal OS version=10.0.6:impact=2
(AndroidManifest.xml) targetSdkVersion: 14 is higher than 10:required minimal OS version=10.2:impact=1
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-permission: com.google.android.c2dm.permission.RECEIVE:required minimal OS version=10.0.9:impact=2
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-permission: DISABLE_KEYGUARD:impact=4
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-permission: CALL_PRIVILEGED:impact=1
(AndroidManifest.xml) uses-permission: MODIFY_PHONE_STATE:impact=4
(AndroidManifest.xml) native-code: armeabi:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/IncomingRinger.java:155) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$shouldVibrate:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/IncomingRinger.java:67) uses method: android.media.MediaPlayer$setAudioStreamType:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/OutgoingRinger.java:148) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$setBluetoothScoOn:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/OutgoingRinger.java:147) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$startBluetoothSco:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/OutgoingRinger.java:89) uses method: android.media.MediaPlayer$setAudioStreamType:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/PacketLossConcealer.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.audio.PacketLossConcealer uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/PacketLossConcealer.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.audio.PacketLossConcealer uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/PacketLossConcealer.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.audio.PacketLossConcealer uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/PacketLossConcealer.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.audio.PacketLossConcealer uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/audio/PacketLossConcealer.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.audio.PacketLossConcealer uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/util/AudioUtils.java:45) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$isBluetoothScoOn:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/util/AudioUtils.java:17) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$setBluetoothScoOn:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/util/AudioUtils.java:30) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$setBluetoothScoOn:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/util/AudioUtils.java:29) uses method: android.media.AudioManager$startBluetoothSco:impact=1
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/codec/SpeexCodec.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.codec.SpeexCodec uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/codec/SpeexCodec.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.codec.SpeexCodec uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/codec/SpeexCodec.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.codec.SpeexCodec uses NATIVE access:impact=5
(org/thoughtcrime/redphone/codec/SpeexCodec.java) class: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.codec.SpeexCodec uses NATIVE access:impact=5
Missing PUSH configuration file: org.thoughtcrime.redphone.cfg :impact=3
Summary: [5]=10; [4]=2; [3]=1; [2]=4; [1]=11;
Impact Legend: [5]=Severe; [4]=High /context; [3]=Medium /context; [2]=Medium-low /context; [1]=Minor;

Specifically, the “Severe” issues, and there being no Speex support on Blackberry. Neither works as of right now.

Interviewing tips…

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve been considering whether or not to create a post with interviewing tips. My concerns mostly lay with the idea that my new co-workers will think that I’ve gamed them by creating some scheme, some strategy, but I have not (really). These questions and processes were built mostly by me, although I’ve also received some general guides from a few recruiters.

Listen, don’t speak, and maintain your cool head:
I blather on and on usually, I can digress like crazy, and I lose my train of thought regularly. My main focus was to simply not speak. Shutting your mouth can avoid digging a hole too deep to escape from. It also allows you time to gather valuable info you can pivot off of and use later in your responses and thank you email (we’ll get to that later, you classless IT person).

I went on an interview where I was asked to describe some things I’d do to maintain and improve their systems when I joined. I gave a thorough answer, including outlining several products I would use, and how I would use them; then the following situation arose:

  • “So… now that you’ve listed the things you see yourself doing when you join us, what else would you do?”
  • “okay… what else?”
  • “Thanks… what else?”
  • “You’re doing okay… what else?”

This situation is geared to gauge how you perform under pressure. Looking back, it became clear that I don’t like this style of management, so I consider it a dodged bullet (red flag). By the way, I freaked out. Lesson learned. You can handle this easily by saying something like “I’d continue to be proactive in seeking solutions to challenges that come to the surface as well as continue to seek improvements for existing challenges.”

Have three questions that show you’re seriously interested:

  • “What direction do you see technology moving in the company?” This gives you an idea of how each person you speak with actually uses and “sees” tech.
  • “What major pain points do you have?” “What did the last dude not do for you that you wish he had?” This will assist you with how to phrase and focus your responses to questions as well as your thank you Email.
  • “What will my first three months be like?” This shows the interviewer you’re interested in reducing your risk, which means you’re attacking the situation with “maturity” and seriousness.

I was extremely surprised that a systems manager at a very successful company responded to the last question with “you’ve stumped me… I’ve never had anyone ask this before…” and he proceeded to not answer. After he couldn’t answer this question, it became clear that he didn’t read my resume. These are both red flags. I ended the interview; offer me all the money, all the exposure and knowledge… if there is risk I will fail because you can’t manage your team, because you don’t care enough to manage your team, I’m outta here!

Have several STARs ready:
A STAR is a simple: Create a bullet point list that covers the following four aspects of a project or thing you’ve done: situation, task, action, resolution. I’d suggest having four ready, and if you can, focus on your latest position. Okay, have at least two ready and be ready to fill a lot of time with them.

After my wife told me about STAR, I had a phone interview with an HR rep, she literally said “so explain a situation that you assessed, tasks you completed, and the eventual solution…” quoted nearly word for word.

If you can, practice.
Luckily I had my wife present while I was prepping. She did me a favor, threw on her suit jacket and dissected my resume at the kitchen table (throwing on her scary professional woman voice and shaking my hand when I entered the room). She’s not in IT so she avoided a majority of technical fire throwing, but it worked out. Okay… fine… her first job was with an IT recruiter, but it was when she was like 16.
Find a friend, sibling, or that neighbor you hear throwing out the garbage to sit down and grill you. I’d suggest buying the neighbor a six pack or bottle of wine, as they would really be best, since you don’t know them. “Hi, can you review my resume with me for like a half hour? I have beer and wine,” I’m sure that will work well. Try it.

Write a thank you:

  • Don’t be classless. Write a thank you email. It’ll take five minutes of your time.

Pivot off of information you gathered during your recon phase (aka interview), particularly from the answers to the questions you’ve asked. Knowing the situation, distill relevant things into two sentences. Let’s say theoretically, you speak to the COO who says “this last guy was always late,” use the actual words “dependable” and “reliable” in your Thank You. [this did not happen to me]

Don’t be an idiot:

  • Yes, don’t be an idiot.
  • Think about what you’re physically doing (the observer: “This version of the observer is a portion of consciousness that metaphorically looks over the shoulder of the individual and helps to inform them of their actions and the reasons for them.”). I mean, you’re not sales, but don’t slump, and smile, even if it hurts you. Physically mirror your interviewer.
  • Don’t be cocky, everyone will hate you.
  • Don’t lie.

Are you not dependable or reliable? Don’t say so. If you say so, then your actions prove otherwise, people will begin to second guess you and that’s bad. If you suck as a paid employee, then continue to suck (get paid less or fired) or change your work ethic (and get paid more and not fired).

Think about who you’re speaking with:

  • Systems Manager is probably looking for: pragmatic, functional, technical.
  • COO is probably looking for: big picture, functional, execution driven.
  • HR rep is probably looking for: verification you’re not a sociopathic cave dweller (unless that’s what they’re looking for), vibe, cultural fit, not an idiot (may have some basic questions).
  • CEO/owner/partner: looking for pragmatism, I read an article that said CEOs like to “have conversations with candidates [because they lack the technical knowledge to grill you].”

Relax:
All of these are techniques that should do one primary thing: reduce your nervousness.

You either are or are not able to do the job. The fundamental issue is expressing your skills correctly (whether they be technical or human).

Get emotionally and mentally ready:
You should want to reach right outside of your comfort zone, and if your new employer wants someone who is a master of everything they have, then you will not grow; and they will not help you grow. This is a red flag.

An employer who focuses on the potential of their human capital is where you want to be. You don’t need them. They (should) need you [but don't be cocky].

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