Playing With Drive Images

I purchased a copy of Windows 10 on a USB thumbdrive. I chose to have media to have (a) a backup and (b) not to have to bother with downloading a massive image. Primarily this copy of Windows will be used in VirtualBox for testing, using Power Shell, and other tedious system administrivia. First thing when it arrived is I used dd to make a full image of thumbdrive so I could tuck it away in a safe place.

Some Informix DATETIME/INTERVAL Tips

Determine the DATE of the first day of the current week.

(SELECT TODAY - (WEEKDAY(TODAY)) UNITS DAY FROM systables WHERE tabid=1)

Informix always treats Sunday as day 0 of the week. The WEEKDAY function returns the number of the day of the week as a value of 0 - 6 so subtracting the weekday from current day (TODAY) returns the DATE value of Sunday of the current week.

Cut-N-Paste Options Greyed Out In Excel

Yesterday I encountered a user who could not cut-and-paste in Microsoft Excel. The options to Cut, Copy, and Paste where disabled - aka 'greyed out' - in the menus. Seems like an odd condition.

Which Application?

Which application manages this type of file? How can I, by default, open files of type X with application Y? These questions float around in GNOME forums and mailing lists on a regular basis.

The answer is: gvfs-mime .

yum-config-manager --setopt=

It is common knowledge that on CentOS/RHEL hosts you can enable and disable defined reposities with the yum-config-manager. However it is also possible to use yum-config-manager tool to set any repository parameter using the setopt parameter.

dd REPORT!

dd is an underrated tool. What it lacks in user interface it makes up for with its swiss-army-knife number of purposes; from testing, to secure wiping, to backup and restore. But that user interface... it is bleak.

Stream Peekaboo With Python

The Python standard libary provides a reasonably adequate module for reading delimited data streams and there are modules available for reading everything from XLS and DIF documents to MARC data. One definiciency of many of these modules is the ability to gracefully deal with whack data; in the real world data is never clean, never correctly structured, and you are lucky if it is accurate even on the rare occasion that it is correctly encoded.

For example, when Python's CSV reader meets a garbled line in a file it throws an exception and stops, and you're done. And it does not report what record it could not parse, all you have is a traceback. Perhaps in the output you can look at the last record and guess that the error lies one record beyond that... maybe.

Fortunately most of these modules work with file-like objects. As long as the object they receive properly implements iteration they will work. Using this strength it is possible to implement a Peekaboo on the input stream which allows us to see what the current unit of work being currently processed is, or even to pre-mangle that chunk.

LINUX CA Certificate Deployment

Creating an in house signing [aka CA] certificate is a common practice; this allows you to generate free cerficates for internal use. For Windows hosts distributing this CA certificate to all the clients and relevant servers can be accomplished using Active Directory GPOs. Certificate management on LINUX hosts on the other hand has always been a swamp of tedium where the certificates often need to be configured into each client or service. Recent distributions have eased this process considerably by including a quasi-standardized set of scripts and certificate store locations.

Ghostscript Font Testing

Viewing fonts on a screen and printing fonts to a printer are two different paths. Printing on LINUX almost always involves Postscript - of which PDF is a subtype - and the primary engine for creating or modifying Postscript is the Ghostscript package. Given the display path and the print path it is important to verify that a custom or third-party font is correctly installed and is working in Ghostscript.

Overrides With SSSD

LINUX has long been plagued with a rather lousy identity management scheme. Beyond the limitations of POSIX's getent and related calls [which can be very inefficient] the attempts to stub in network-aware identity services such as LDAP have only piled onto the rough edges. NSCD attempted to work around performance problems via caching - and did not do very well. Then was NSLCD the next evolution of NSCD which was better, but still inflexible. Identity management in more complex networks is a tedious business and what administrators need more than anything else is flexibility.

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