Monthly Archives: March 2020

I cancelled my Amazon Prime subscription

I was using a lot Amazon. Sending parcels to my previous job offices, and now to Blizzard offices, so I subscribed to Amazon Prime. With COVID-19 virus we were sent to do Remote Work, and now with the lock down basically I’m 99.99% of the time at home.

I did a test to see how it works sending to home during the pandemic.

I choose two different items, I reviews the order, they were going to be delivered separately, one day of distance.

I choose two items that will fit in my mailbox, separated or together. One USB3 3mts male female and a Blu-ray movie.

My surprise comes when I go to the mailbox one day before and I see that I have a paper from an-post telling that they pass by to deliver my parcel, and they did not leave because it doesn’t fit the mailbox and they did not want to leave it a common space. For my surprise both Amazon parcels were grouped and sent before time. Maybe in a bigger box. But the mailman did not ring my door.

The paper tells me to get my parcel in the middle of the city, during the lock down. No way! I’m not going to risk my health and specially from elders, just to grab a cable and a movie.

I had the chance to request re-delivery to an Post, so I do. I fill all the info, I inform my phone number, email, I indicate which door to ring, and two days after as promised… a paper from an Post!.

They did not even rang my bell again.

I go to Amazon to cancel the order, but the process is only created for if you got the items.

Fuck it. I’m not going to order anything else to Amazon until that COVID-19 passes.

I don’t know if the postman just avoids people for fear to contagion or the process of an Post is awful and he didn’t get any information. But I’ll not buy anything even if I cannot buy in other places cause the lock down.

I was going to maintain my Amazon Prime subscription, even if I know that I’ll not use it much with the lock down, but makes no sense. Also:

  • I use Netflix and my Raspberry Pi 4, I was not using Amazon Prime Video.
  • I use Spotify, I was not using Amazon Prime Music.
  • I like to read in paper, not in eBook, so I was not using the eReader options.

A nice way to loss a customer.

Datacenters, D&R and coronavirus

I’ve been working for years within Data centers, with D&R strategies, and then in the middle of COVID-19, with huge demands on increments of bandwidth and compute, some DCs decided to do not allow in the Engineers of their customers.

As somebody that had my own Startup and CSP and had infrastructure in DCs and servers from customers in colocation, and has replaced Hw components at 1AM, replaced drives from broken RAIDs, and fixed systems so many times inside so many Datacenters across the world, I’m shocked about that.

I understand health reasons can be argued, but I still have Servers in Datacenters because we all believed they were the most safe place, prepared for disaster and recovery, with security, 24×7… and now, one realise that cannot enter to fix or upgrade the own machines.
Please note, still you can use the remote hands from the DC, although this is not a good idea many times, I’m not sure this will still be an available option when the lock down in those countries becomes more strict.

I’m wondering if DCs current model have any future at all.

I think most of the D&R strategies from now will be in the cloud, in different regions, with different providers, so companies can resist providers or governments letting them down.

Blocking some offending Ip’s easily with Ubuntu ufw

Ok, so we know that there are several ip’s that have attempted to hack the blog.

We know they try different urls looking for a exploit, or they try to hack a password by brute force…

We are using Amazon EC2 and the old infrastructure, not a VPC Network, so we cannot block a specific Ip to our Web Server.

In an article from 2015 I explained How to Stop a BitTorrent based DDoS attack, and was using iptables for that.

In this example I will show how to use ufw to block tow specific Ip’s, execute as root or with sudo:

ufw insert 1 deny from 89.35.39.60 to any
ufw insert 2 deny from 85.204.246.240 to any
ufw allow OpenSSH
ufw allow 22/tcp
ufw allow "Apache Full"
ufw enable
ufw status numbered

You can do ufw status numbered to see the status of ufw and the rules order.

root@ip-111-111-111-111:/home/ubuntu# ufw status numbered
Status: active
To Action From
-- ------ ----

[ 1] Anywhere DENY IN 89.35.39.60
[ 2] Anywhere DENY IN 85.204.246.240
[ 3] Apache Full ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 4] OpenSSH ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 5] 22/tcp ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 6] Apache Full (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
[ 7] OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
[ 8] 22/tcp (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
root@ip-111-111-111-111:/home/ubuntu#

If you need to delete a rule, use the number on the left and, just type:

sudo ufw delete 2
Quick Access to my selection Last Update: 2020-04-06 18:30 IST Unix epoch: ‭1586194224‬
Web ProgrammingOperations Engineering/DevOps/SREEngineeringMiscellaneous
Back End ProgrammingCommodity HardwareZFS

Making responsive WordPress Theme Twenty Twelve to support greater resolutions

This is the first article I write about FrontEnd in here, as this is very casual and trivial, and I wanted to specialize the blog in Extreme IT, going deep into knowledge and difficult questions. And in any case, more for BackEnd, Engineering, and Hardware and Operations.

But as it is something useful and myself didn’t found an answer when I googled it, I think is no bad to share it here. Nevertheless I’ll not make it appear in the front page to be loyal to my essence.

So I like Twenty Twelve WP Theme. It’s clear, that’s what I expect from a blog from an Engineer: easy to read. Maybe is to Spartan, but that’s grant.

The instructions to do like me:

  1. Make a copy of your original Twenty Twelve Theme in another directory, at the same level
  2. Edit the file /var/www/blog.carlesmateo.com/wp-content/themes/2021-blog-carlesmateo-com/style.css
  3. Add a new section like this

So I defined a new @media screen with min-width of 1800px.

Why 1800px and not 1920px like Full Hd?. Because Ubuntu use some width for the lateral bar.

Then over body .site section I set a max-width: 1800px that will do the trick for some browsers, and the rem value that will do the trick for Chrome.

Now the main section of the block can be correctly displayed using most of the space available.

Media Player in my Raspberry Pi 4

Just installed a media player in my Raspberry Pi 4

So I mentioned it was one of my pending tasks, to do while I’m confined here, at home, to help the Irish government to stop the quick spread of the coronavirus.

I’m happy that the situation in Ireland has stabilized, unlikely in Spain, where that historical lack of discipline and selfishness and super ego to believe Madrid the capital of the world, and so deciding not to close it for quarantine, will cause a lot of pain. I hope the closing of frontiers in Catalonia works.

Well, what I do you’re probably asking yourself, so I installed LibreELEC https://libreelec.tv/.

They have a very nice SD image writer for Linux, Mac and Windows, that will install the proper image on the micro-SD for your ARM device.

This Raspberry Pi 4 comes with Wifi integrated and a Gigabit Ethernet network port.

When I was in Barcelona, I had Kodi with Raspberry pi 2 and version 3.

This model v. 4 is much more cooler. I bought the 4GB version, and has 2xHDMI 4K.

So it is great to connect to any modern TV.

In Barcelona, I have Linux tower as NFS Server sharing my files with the Pi. Work good, even for the 100Mbit NIC of the version 3, but at that time I was only playing Full HD as the Pi didn’t supported greater resolution, and I only had that resolution on my displays too.

For now, I’m going to explore how is reading from a USB 3.0. Let’s see if it’s able to play smoothly.

The cool thing also is that I have SSH access, and so I can use the Pi for many more things. :)

I have my first update, I noticed that copying to that USB was not the best for me, as I tried to copy a .MKV file of 4.9GB and I encountered the limit of 4GB of FAT32. I could format the USB as ext4, but what I did is, SSH into the box, I see that I have two partitions on the SD for booting the Pi, the second one is a ext4 called storage. So I copied to the SD, through the network, using sftp the file I wanted.

The Gigabit connection was fast, but when the buffer fulled it started to show the real speed of the SD which is 15MB/s for writing.

Ext4 has no problem in holding a file 4.9GB so I’m watching my movie now. Will think about setting a NFS for the Pi as it will be very convenient. :)

I have an external, remote, keyboard logitech, but it happens that LibreELEC recognizes my Sony command, from the television. I don’t need the keyboard/mouse. Nice.

Here you can see my Raspberry Pi 4, connected to TV, in “combat mode”, naked, as PoC, before setting in its definitive place behind the TV.

Playing from the external USB 3.0 stick was also fluid, allowing 4K perfectly.

The only problem I has was when I was pushing movies to the USB through the network, and playing at the same time from the SD. It seems like the Raspberry reached its limits doing this and playing stuck frequently.

Remote working is here

So remote working is here.

After years in which many Engineers requested to the companies to be able to Remote Work, with most of answers No, now it happens that not only is good for the company, is the only way to ensure continuity of business, of many businesses.

One of my colleagues from Denmark, which government has shutdown the country by sending all the public servants to home, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, told me:

“Yes, remote working is here, but has been necessary the four horsemen of the apocalypse”

It is curious, how Remote Working has arrived, no thanks to that was obvious, but due to external emergencies. And I’m glad that my company was prepared for business continuity.

I’ll be staying home, working remotely, in order to contribute to non-spreading the virus, specially among old people. I’m perfectly healthy but that’s a use case, many people will not develop the symptoms and still be able to spread to others.

So I have some plans related to technology to do at home, including few improvements to the blog. What are your plans?.

Update: 2020-03-13 23:16 UTC I’m thinking in all those business which are forces to close, and all the employees that will not get a salary, or will be fired, or will get a salary and the business owner maybe ends in bankrupt as is paying the salaries and no income is being generated.

Update: 2020-03-19 10:58 UTC Some of my friends, even in Human Resources/Recruiting, are starting to remote work for first time. So here is some advice:

I would recommend to get an external monitor, at least 22″, so you neck is not forcing position looking low and your eyes don’t suffer, good light (don’t in dark), a nespresso can be a good friend in the morning, and to have your hands and arms aligned correctly so you don’t suffer from a bad position. Watch the position of the wrists, your arms should be comfortably at the same level than the table, similar in an L, and your eyes be aligned to the top of your monitor. Finally I would recommend to follow a routine, like if you were going to work, so dress like you would do. Don’t stay at home all day in pijamas! ;)

News for the blog, upwards and onwards

2020-03-06 Heya, I’m doing a set of improvements to the blog.

One, you can already see. I added a new section to the CSS @media, so now screens bigger than 1,800 px in width, will use that width for rendering the page. The original WordPress theme at 960x was too small for our current screens. I will add a new CSS @media for 4K screens promptly.

Other is about the organization of the content. I want to separate a bit the contents, now articles are sequential and is difficult to discover nice contents if they have 2 or more articles more recent, so I will group articles by content and provide a small index on the top page. Also I will provide more areas for Operations, SRE, where it will be easy to locate code, scripts, tricks… things that are useful to our day to day. I also want to make visible the articles about living in different cities, for IT Engineers, with useful tricks and tips. And keep the more complex and more interesting Engineering matters in the main page.

Updates

2020-03-13 15:49 Added SSL to the blog

With more delay I wanted, I bought a SSL certificate, configured Apache, and after few changes to the blog has been set. One very annoying is that WordPress linked the images statically pointing to http://blog.carlesmateo.com so I changed the latest article’s images to point to relative path so they will work nice with http or https.

My reflection is that everything negative can have its positive output. With this coronavirus thing, I decided to focus into improving things. And so I’m doing. :)