I have lost the install CD of my Novatel Merlin U740, an older PCMCIA UMTS card. As a consequence I got no “Mobilink Connection Manager” after installing Windows 7 on my notebook. Fortunately I found this guide by Novatel Wireless which explains how to connect using only on-board tools in Windows Vista, by setting up a dial-up connection. It still works in Windows 7. The important part is to set the APN as part of the driver’s initialization string.
The telephone number you have to set is
*99#, which should be provider-independent.
The following settings are for yesss.at only:
Remember to set the APN as part of the driver’s connection string in Window’s “Device Manager” as described in the PDF.
Again, for yesss.at this is:
For this to work properly, the SIM must not have a PIN set, as otherwise the SIM will be locked and the dialer cannot dial out. For me this is ok, as it is a pre-paid card which can hardly be abused if it gets stolen, but your situation might be different, so please consider the security implications. (I suspect that it should be possible to unlock the SIM card somehow using the
AT+CPIN=1234 command, but I did not research how to separate several initialization strings, as it did not work immediately.)
The solution works quite well for me, even under Windows 7. Disadvantage is that there is no way to tell the signal strength and exact mode of operation (despite the color-coded status led on the Merlin U740).
For some unknown reason, Microsoft decided that only the “Ultimate” version of Windows Vista ships with the telnet client installed by default. It can, however, be easily installed on all the other versions as well.
- Open the Control Panel
- Select “Programs”
- Select “Turn Windows features on or off”
- Scroll through the list, select “Telnet client”
- Press OK
- Wait (for surprisingly long)
That’s it, voila, the telnet client is now installed on your Windows Vista Non-Ultimate.
udev renames you network interfaces
Sometimes udev renames your devices. This happened to me when upgrading a server, eth0 suddenly became eth1 and vice-versa. Of course, this broke nearly all firewall scripts on the server… There is a nice explanation how to get udev to name your devices the way you want.
Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows Server 2003
When installing Visual Studio Service Pack 1 under Windows Server 2003, it might fail because it cannot verify the signature. You should take time and visit the link provided in the error message, because it will take you to a hotfix that will correct the problem.
(via Mark Caroll’s Blog)
VMWare Server on Ubuntu 8.04
A nice tutorial for getting free VMWare Server 1.0.5 running on Ubuntu 8.04.
As I definitely should post more on my blog, I now try to start a new series: “Nice to know”. It will be a collection of interesting things I consider memorable but which don’t deserve their own blog-post.
Tricke allows you to limit bandwith for processes that do not support bandwith limitation out-of-the-box. It works by preloading and simulating the socket API. You use it as a wrapper when starting the process, like trickle -d 80 someapp.
You can use it to limit rsync speed for instance (thanks to http://www.yak.net/fqa/404.html): rsync -auvPe “trickle -d 80 ssh” user@host:/src/ /dst/
VMWare Tools and Kernel 2.6.24
VMWare Tools out of the box do not install on kernel 2.6.24 (as used in Ubuntu 8.04 for instance). A possible solution is described here. It is based on using the open-source version of the VMWare tools (open-vm-tools).
Test-driven development has proven to increase quality of software in many cases. I believe that the same principle should be applied to network management. From time to time, I am occupied in managing quite large and distributed networks, consisting of many different network segments, routers, servers, etc.
Primary tool in managing any network is using monitoring software which tells you if everything is alright or if you should worry. For various reasons I have become a huge fan of Nagios for monitoring networks I am responsible for, especially for the simple extensibility by writing your own check scripts (plugins).
While working through some issues in a network, I suddenly decided to try an approach I spontaneously called “test-driven network management”¹. The steps are easy (and are a one-to-one translation of agile software-development principles):
- Write a Nagios test which checks for the requested/required feature.
- This test will fail.
- Implement a solution satisfying the test.
The same advantages of automated testing (better: unit testing) in software development also apply to the network management tasks:
- The test documents what you want to achieve in a quite formal way.
- You will (almost) immediately know when your solution breaks other requirements (if tests exist for them).
- As networks tend to be even more fragile then software, you have to monitor whatever you implemented anyways 🙂
Whenever possible, I try to add a test (or tweak an existing one) for any trouble-ticket / feature request I come around. In my experience, customer satisfaction tends to increase, because you start noticing problems before they do and you also implement measures to prevent the same problems to occur over and over again.
¹ I am quite sure there is another technical term for it, as I am quite sure I am not inventing anything new here… If you know how this is called by others, please tell me in the comments.
[tags]development, network, sysadmin, network management, test-driven development, nagios[/tags]
Recently I featured Mozy, a tool for automated online backup on Windows and Mac. I finally got round to using a different solution: JungleDisk, a WebDAV frontend for Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3).
What I really like about the software and the company is that they don’t claim that their data will be safe forever at their location. They confess it is possible for a company to vanish. In order to prevent you from being locked out they have outsourced the storage to Amazon, which provides cheap storage on a “pay what you need” basis.
JungleDisk provides encryption of the documents using AES and only you can decrypt them. To be on the safe side you’ll always be able to retrieve your data, they have released parts of the code covering filename-mangling and encryption under GPL.
JungleDisk is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. As said, they provide a WebDAV frontend so any WebDAV client can interact with it. It also features a local cache to prevent needing to download a file on every access. There is also an automated backup routine.
Costs are reasonably. At the time of writing, JungleDisk costs 20 US-$ once, with promised life-long updates and patches. All you need to pay for is Amazon fees for your usage, which are at 0.15$/GB/month, 0.10$/GB inbound traffic, and 0.18$/GB outbound traffic. You see, you can store lots of data for around 10$ per month.
One big minus-side of this is that Amazon’s data-centers are very slow from Europe, I was able to achieve around 700-800kbit/s (90-100kB/s) from our office connection. On the pro-side, due to the caching and background transfer, you don’t notice that the transfers are so slow, unless you need to download something. As I am using it for automated backup, I hope to never have to download anything.
So if you are searching for an offsite backup solution, you should definitely consider JungleDisk.
I just discovered Mozy (via TechChrunch), a service for automating the backup process by automatically storing all your data encrypted on their server for backup purposes. It is a Windows software that automates the backup process and provides secure online storage. According to the specification you can either use their encryption key or provide your own public key for the encryption.
Mozy comes in two flavors, a version for home-users which they call MozyHome (4.95$/month for unlimited storage) and a service for businesses, called MozyPro, which bills 3.95$ per computer, but also 0.50$/GB per month. I think the service would definitely be interesting but the storage costs seem to high for me. There is also “MozyHome Free” which provides you with free 2GB of backup storage. Maybe the recent purchase by EMC Corporation will change the pricing list (honestly, I don’t think so…)?
The idea of storing my confident data or even corporate data on remote servers not under my control is a little bit frightening, but in case you are able to believe they have not built a master-key in the software, it might be a nice option for offsite backups which definitely everybody should use. Maybe one should give the “MozyHome Free” a test-drive… Too bad there is no Linux version available.
If I can convince myself to try out the “MozyHome Free” I will write another report here.
I recently started using Git, the version control system now used for developing the Linux Kernel. While there is no native support for Windows at the moment, you can install it using cygwin. While this works reasonably well in Windows XP, I got into severe troubles when trying the same in Windows Vista.
First, I ran into troubles installing cygwin. I figured out, that it seems to work well if you run both the installer and bash in “Windows XP SP2 compatibility mode”. I needed to adjust the file system permissions of the cygwin folder to give me write permissions, though. (Note: you have to manually install the TK-libs if you want the GUI elements of git to work.)
But Git kept failing with “access denied” messages when trying to commit from command line. The failure message said it was denied access to
git-update-index. I soon found out this is due to the “User Account Control” (UAC) default behavior of auto-detecting installers and prompting if you want to execute them with raised privileges. You can see if this is the case by running
git-update-index manually from bash; if you get the UAC confirmation dialog you have this problem. It seems the substring “update” triggers this behavior. As the
git-update-index is launched by
git commit, it won’t display the confirmation dialog of Vista, so the execution will be denied.
There are two possible workarounds:
bash with administrative privileges (not recommended!)
- Disable the auto-detection of installers by UAC.
I used the latter way. You can disable the auto-detection by following these instructions. Brief summary:
- Open the Local Security Policies
- Disable “User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation”
- Reboot (the security policy will not be updated before!)
It should work now. You can confirm this by running
git-update-index manually again. If you do not get the UAC confirmation dialog now, it worked. Try
git commit now, and verify it is working. Of course, you will from now on have to right-click and “Run as Administrator” every installer you want to install, as most installers will require administrative privileges.
Update 2007-08-22: Reader EGarcia posted an interesting comment below: using the Microsoft Manifest Tool you can add an according manifest to the git-update-index.exe and git-update-ref.exe
Update 2009-02-12: Reader Kevin Broadey points out the best solution so far: create a seperate .manifest file for the affected files. He has provided an example for git-update.exe.manifest.
I have several computers, one at the office (Windows Vista), one at home (Gentoo Linux), and one notebook (Windows XP). On most of them I want to share a common set of files, including letters and other documents, but also Miranda. This time I am going to tell you how I keep my shared data in sync using Unison, PuTTY, and OpenSSH, using a dedicated server as central hub.
(Note: this is a rather advisory level HOWTO, not a step-by-step, command-by-command tutorial. It might give you some ideas nevertheless.)
Continue reading “Sharing and Synchronizing Data Across Multiple Computers”
I am using cryptsetup LUKS for storing encrypted office data on my USB memory stick (just in case I lose it). I recently installed Ubuntu 7.04 on one of my machines and wanted to open the encrypted partition using cryptsetup luksOpen, which failed with a rather strange
Unable to make device node for ‘temporary-cryptsetup-32733’
While searching around the net I found a lot of people asking the same question but hardly any answer, until I finally read this article
on the Ubuntu forum.
The solution to the whole problem is rather simple:
sudo mkdir /dev/.static/dev/mapper
With a little bit more verbose error message of cryptsetup I might have figured this out myself…