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    • Favorite 14 October 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by thj: Cool teardown video from Applied Science that reveals how analog era snapshot cameras printed the date on the film negative:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezME4_xMMnkWith the segmented digits, you'd think it's a tiny fluorescent display, but it's actually more interesting that that.
    • New note by bobjonkman 6 October 2019
      And now I've discovered your website, and I'll be rabbitholing for the rest of the afternoon... @mattskala
    • New note by bobjonkman 6 October 2019
      Terrible title, great article. I remember just enough from my Uni "Electricity and Magnetism" course that I could follow.
    • New note by bobjonkman 6 October 2019
      Moar info on #SynthFestival, plz!
    • Favorite 6 October 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by xj9: time to focus on the real issue at hand: end intellectual property, end copyright, end software licenses altogether: dedicate all of your work to the public domain.
    • New note by bobjonkman 30 September 2019
      Daily grind? Does that mean you get fresh !coffee every day?
    • New note by bobjonkman 4 September 2019
      They're made out of meat https://web.archive.org/web/20190501130711/http://www.terrybisson.com/theyre-made-out-of-meat-2/
    • Favorite 4 September 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by tom: we're all just markov bots made of meat
    • Favorite 4 September 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by o0karen0o: Free and open source software's all about the fact that no one and nothing is perfect. #reminder
    • Favorite 31 July 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by natecull: Dear everyone who is considering making a video of yourself talking rather than just writing the *exact same words* into a text file, a blog post or a PDF:Unless you're specifically targeting people who literally cannot read...Please don't.Sincerely, A Person Who Doesn't Have Literal Free Hours To Hear You Slooooowly […]

Archive for the 'System Administration' Category

#SysAdminDay Dinner, Friday 26 July 2019

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 8th July 2019

It’s settled! See you all at Star Wok in Bridgeport Plaza, Waterloo (Ontario). Map

I’ve got to blog more. In person I’ll talk your ear off about coffee, tech, or politics, but try to get me to write just a couple of paragraphs a year, and what you get is this blog. So, here’s this year’s paragraphs:

System Administrator Appreciation Day is Friday, 26 July 2019

SysAdmin logoOn the last Friday of July people around the world appreciate their System Administrators. SysAdmins get chocolate, or cake, or ice cream, and sometimes chocolate cake with ice cream!

But in some localities, people haven’t figured out SysAdmin Appreciation Day yet, so we SysAdmins have to show them how it’s done. And since they didn’t figure it out in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, we’ll have to show them again in 2019!

Inviting all SysAdmins, SysAdmin Spouses, Significant Others, Partners, Friends, Family, and even complete strangers!

We’ve been to Abe Erb a few times for SysAdminDay Dinner, but perhaps we’d like to find a new spot? Make your choice, and feel free to leave comments.

Where should we have our SysAdminDay Dinner on Friday, 26 July 2019? Add your own answer if you have a favourite spot!
VoteResults

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Posted in Events, System Administration | 4 Comments »

#SysAdminDay Dinner 2018 at Abe Erb in Kitchener

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 6th July 2018

Sorry, no pictures from this year’s SysAdminDay Dinner. But you can enjoy some from the previous years’ collection in the gallery.

SysAdminDay

SysAdminDay

Every year, the last Friday in July is System Administrator Appreciation Day, or SysAdminDay for short (SysAdmins are efficient — why waste syllables?)

System Administrators manage the networks, configure the servers, and make backups for their users. On System Administrator Appreciation Day those users have the opportunity to appreciate their System Administrators by gifting them with chocolate cake and ice cream. But just in case that doesn’t happen, the SysAdmins in Waterloo Region take themselves and their spouses, friends and relations to dinner. Remember how SysAdmins make backups?

Join us at the Abe Erb Brew Pub and Restaurant again this year on Friday, 27 July 2018 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm, meet with other SysAdmins, share funny PEBKAC stories, and have some dinner and a beverage.

You don’t have to be a SysAdmin to come to the SysAdminDay Dinner — Everybody’s welcome! SysAdmins-In-Training, Retired SysAdmins, even people just curious to know what an array of SysAdmins looks like.

See you at the SysAdminDay Dinner!

What: System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner
When: Friday, 27 July 2018 starting at 6:00pm iCal
Where: Abe Erb Restaurant at The Tannery
Location: 151 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Leave a comment to let me know if you’re coming, so I can make a reservation at Abe Erb.

–Bob.

The Whole Gang (almost)

The Whole Gang (almost) — SysAdminDay Dinner, 28 July 2017

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Posted in Events, System Administration | 6 Comments »

Pictures of #SysAdminDay Dinner 2017 at @Abe_Erb

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 4th August 2017

The last Friday in July is System Administrator Appreciation Day, and SysAdmins from Kitchener-Waterloo went to the Abe Erb Restaurant and Brewery for dinner.

Abe Erb Brewing Company

Abe Erb Brewing Company

The Whole Gang (almost)

The Whole Gang (almost)

Infinite Beer

Infinite Beer

Having a laugh

Having a laugh

Beer Valves

Beer Valves

Jean and Laurel

Jean and Laurel

Beer Console

Beer Console

Beer Admin

Beer Admin

More SysAdmins

More SysAdmins

Beer Vat

Beer Vat

Empties

Empties

Ooh, The Shiny!

Ooh, The Shiny!

Something is funny

Something is funny

Acidulated Malt

Acidulated Malt

A beer thing

A beer thing

Tech Talk

Tech Talk

Wild Goose

Wild Goose

Such shiny things!

Such shiny things!

Having dinner

Having dinner

In The Brewery

In The Brewery

Twilight

Twilight

SysAdminDay

SysAdminDay

There are more pictures in the SysAdminDay gallery.

Pictures taken at the System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner at the Abe Erb Restaurant and Brewery on Friday, 28 July 2017.

Pictures by Laurel L. Russwurm, used under a CC-BYCC BY 4.0 license.

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Planning #SysAdminDay Dinner

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 28th June 2017

It’s a go! Reservations made for Friday, 28 July 2017 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at Abe Erb’s at 151 Charles St, Kitchener Map.

Abe Erb’s is popular too, they’re so busy on a Friday that dinner orders are taken at 7:00pm. But I suspect they don’t mind us staying longer and enjoying their beverages…

System Administrators at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, 29 July 2016

System Administrators at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, 29 July 2016

The year is rapidly closing in on System Administrator Appreciation Day, held every year on the last Friday of July, the 28th this year. In the Kitchener-Waterloo area that means System Administrators appreciate each other with a SysAdmin Day Dinner.

Egg Roll King

Egg Roll King Restaurant

Unfortunately, my favourite restaurant Egg Roll King is doing extremely well. So well that Tony, the Egg Roll King himself, is too busy to have dine-in customers on Fridays and Saturdays.

So, unless we want to sit on the sidewalk eating take-out, we have to find a new venue.

Let’s use this poll to figure out attendance as well as venue. On Monday, 24 July 2017 at noon I’ll count the total number of responses, then make a reservation at the most popular choice. Vote early, vote often, vote for your family members and friends!

Remember, SysAdminDay Dinner is for SysAdmins, their partners, children, friends, and anyone else who appreciates SysAdmins!

Where should we have the Systems Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner? (Fri, 28 Jul 2017, 6pm-9pm)
Choose

If you add a new venue, leave a comment to say why you like that place.

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Posted in System Administration | 3 Comments »

#SysAdminDay 2016 Pictures

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 30th July 2016

For the fourth year, System Administrator Appreciation Day is celebrated by the SysAdmins of Kitchener-Waterloo going out for dinner, once again at the Egg Roll King Restaurant.

System Administrators at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, 29 July 2016

System Administrators at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, 29 July 2016

An Array of System Administrators: Bob Jonkman, Laurel Russwurm, Kiwi Ssennyonjo, Jean Smith, Jeff Smith, Brian Bentley, Leo Pepitas, Barbara Izma, Steve Izma, Sean Howard, and Marc Paré at the Egg Roll King Restaurant for System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner on 29 July 2016.

Willem Jonkman

Willem Jonkman

Willem Jonkman, photographer of SysAdmins

Sean Howard and Marc Paré discuss SysAdmin stuff

Sean Howard and Marc Paré

Sean Howard and Marc Paré

Jeff Smith, Brian Bentley, Leo Pepitas, Barbara Izma and Steve Izma watching a demonstration by Kiwi Ssennyonjo at the Egg Roll King Restaurant for System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner on 29 July 2016.

Jeff Smith, Brian Bentley, Leo Pepitas, Barbara Izma and Steve Izma watching a demonstration by Kiwi Ssennyonjo at the Egg Roll King Restaurant for System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner on 29 July 2016.

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System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner — 29 July 2016

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 13th July 2016

SysAdmin logo

It’s July again, and System Administrator Appreciation Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in July. Although the SysAdminDay website indicates that SysAdmins are the happy recipients of cake and ice cream, for the last few years SysAdmins in Kitchener-Waterloo have been celebrating SysAdminDay by taking themselves to dinner, along with spouses, friends, and co-workers.

This year we’re teaming up with the Kitchener-Waterloo VoIP Users Group. While KWVoIP meetings are usually scheduled for the fourth Thursday in July, this month we’re combining the KWVoIP meeting with SysAdminDay. There’s an overlap between the KWVoiP members and SysAdmins — VoIP systems need administration too! As a bonus, we’ll get a presentation from Brian Bentley about his roaming experiments in the U.S.

Tony, the Egg Roll King himself, is a versatile host. Not only are the egg rolls and spring rolls the best in KW, there are vegetarian meals available, and ERK has some of the best fried chicken, fish & chips, and poutine in town! Friday nights are busy at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, so leave a comment to let me know you’re coming and I can make a reservation.

Date: Friday, 29 July 2016 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Egg Roll King Restaurant, 85 Courtland Avenue East, Kitchener, Ontario Map
iCalendar: kwvoip-2016-07-29.ics

KWVoIP Topic: Brian Bentley – Roaming Profile Experiments

Brian Bentley has returned from a short trip to the United States. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to present last month, so he’s catching up this month.

In order to stay in touch telephonically, Brian used Roam Mobility for Data services. He tested Fongo (Canadian number) and TextNow (US number) for VoIP services. While in the US he tried to sign up for a Google Voice number. What worked? What was cheapest? Was it worth the bother? Come to dinner to hear Brian’s answers.

Cheese Wontons and Sweet and Sour sauce

Cheese Wontons for dessert!

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Posted in System Administration | 4 Comments »

System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner, 31 July 2015

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 14th July 2015

Oh look! Pictures!
Oh look! More pictures in the gallery!

And the winner is: Chen’s Buffet! Reservations have been made; see you there on Friday, 31 July 2015 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Chen’s Buffet Map
50 Weber Street North,
Waterloo, Ontario

+1-519-208-5688

System Administrator Appreciation DaySysAdmin logo falls on the last Friday of July every year, and is allegedly celebrated by users gifting their SysAdmins chocolate cake and ice cream. Hands up, those of you who have actually experienced that? Hmmm? I thought so…

Nobody appreciates System Administrators more than other System Administrators, so for the last few years I’ve hosted a Systems Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner in Kitchener-Waterloo. Last year we went to LaiLai’s, and previously we’ve gone to Egg Roll King.

SysAdminDay is on Friday, 31 July 2015, just over two weeks away. Where would you like to go this year? Potential venues must offer vegetarian fare, and be physically accessible. Leave suggestions in the comments or send me e-mail, then next week we can vote. If there’s more than one candidate on the list we’ll rank choices from 3 points (most favoured) to 1 point (least favoured), and I’ll add them up, post the results here, and we’ll all meet for dinner.

SysAdminDay Dinner is open to everyone, whether you’re a System Administrator, a SysAdmin Student, or a former SysAdmin who’s been lured to the dark side. And also their friends, family, and end-users. OK, maybe not the end-users. Unless they’re friends or family.

See you on 31 July!
–Bob.

Proposed Venues

Venue Votes
Star Wok 1.5
Lancaster Smokehouse 1
Chen’s Buffet (Bridgeport Plaza, Weber & Bridgeport) 5.5
A smattering of local sysadmins

A smattering of local sysadmins

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Posted in System Administration | 8 Comments »

Pictures: SysAdminDay Dinner 2014

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 28th July 2014

SysAdmin logoThe System Administrators of Kitchener-Waterloo got together for dinner on System Administrator Appreciation Day:

A smattering of local sysadmins

A smattering of local sysadmins

Two System Administrators, Laurel and John

Systems Administrators discuss Android Systems Administration

Chinese Restaurant Bills

The Bills

More pictures in the gallery

Pictures by Laurel L. Russwurm from Waterloo Region is Awesome and by Bob Jonkman, used under a CC-BYCC BY 4.0 license.

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System Administrator Appreciation Day Dinner, 2014 Edition

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 15th July 2014

Pictures of SysAdminDay Dinner 2014 are up!

New Venue!

The Lai Lai Chinese Restaurant, 175 West Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Sysadminus WindowservusHi Everybodeee! Every year, the last Friday in July is System Administrator Appreciation Day. A SysAdmin is the person who keeps your servers serving, your network working, and your backups, um, backed up. Most people only deal with their SysAdmin when things go wrong, but on the last Friday in July they shower their SysAdmins with gifts, chocolate cake and ice cream.

If you’re a SysAdmin, aspire to be one, are friends with or married to one, or just want to see what SysAdmins look like, come to this special Ubuntu Hour and celebrate with us.

Sysadminus Windowservus

Sysadminus Windowservus

Sysadminus Emailservus

Sysadminus Emailservus

Sysadminus Databasus

Sysadminus Databasus

Sysadminus Linuxservus

Sysadminus Linuxservus


What SysAdmins look like


Usually, we celebrate SysAdminDay in Kitchener-Waterloo with Egg Rolls and Guy Ding at the Egg Roll King Restaurant, but this year Tony and his family will be on vacation so we have to find another venue. I’ve received some good suggestions already; let me know of any others in the comments.

CrankyOldBugger writes:

I know of a perfect place in St. Jacobs (Harvest Moon), seating-wise, but
no wi-fi.

What about the Williams at University Plaza? I’m just tossing out names
here…

This might be a bit out of the ordinary, but maybe we could use my house in
St. Jacobs. If it’s nice out, we could have a pool party. The pizza joint
around the corner is makes good stuff. Just a thought….

Tim Laurence suggests:

If Chinese food is in order I am a big fan of Lia Lia.

Otherwise we could grab some space at the Rum Runner. Their rooms are just
perfect for groups.

Nathan Fish offers:

Kam Yin is an excellent Chinese restaurant, family-run I believe. They don’t have a party room, though. How many are we expecting?

I don’t know, Nathan… So, Everybodeee, please register for the SysAdminDay Ubuntu Hour in Kitchener-Waterloo event on the Ubuntu LoCo Team Portal, or let me know you’re coming in the comments.

–Bob.

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Posted in Events, System Administration | 5 Comments »

Recovering from a WordPress hack

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 29th October 2013

WordPress logo cleaved by axe

WordPress Hacked!

Last Friday I was finally getting around to upgrading the WordPress installations on the SOBAC server from v3.6 to v3.6.1. Surprise! WordPress v3.7 had just been released the night before!

WordPress upgrades are famous for their ease of installation. Surprise! After upgrading the first installation most of the plugins were missing, and the theme was broken. A quick look at a directory listing showed that the plugins and themes were still installed. A quick look with a text editor showed some peculiar PHP code at the top of every .php file in the plugins folders. Surprise! This WordPress installation had been hacked! Fortunately, of the five instances of WordPress on this server, only two appeared to be affected. This Blog Is Not For Reading was not one of them.

Each .php file started with something like this:

<?php $zend_framework="\x63\162\x65(…)\x6e"; 
@error_reporting(0); 
zend_framework("", "\x7d\7(…)

Injected, obfuscated PHP code at the top of every .php file, referencing the zend_framework

Searching the Internet for “wordpress plugin invalid header zend_framework” I found a reference that makes me think this may have been possible because of a flaw in an earlier version of the WordPress code that handles comments. Most likely one of the comment fields (user name, e-mail, web address or the comment text itself) wasn’t properly sanitized, and allowed some kind of code injection (probably PHP injection, not a MySQL injection; the contents of the databases appeared to be untouched).

From the backups of the server it appeared that the breach occurred in or before August — either just before the release of WordPress 3.6 on 1 August 2013 or just before the release of WordPress 3.6.1 on 11 September 2013. If I had not been slack in upgrading to WP v3.6.1 then this breach might have been identified much sooner.

The upgrade to WordPress identified the modified files because the injected code preceded (and corrupted) the WP headers, and so WP v3.7 disabled any affected plugins and themes.

The Fix Is In

I renamed the directory containing the WordPress code, installed a fresh copy of WP3.7, cleaned and copied the wp-config.php and .htaccess files, uploaded a small image to create the wp-content/uploads hierarchy, then copied the upload folder (which didn’t contain any .php files), and then re-installed and re-configured the themes and plugins directly from the WordPress site.

Aside from the additional PHP code, there didn’t appear to be any other damage to the system. So I used the original wp-config.php (but cleaned, and with the “Authentication Unique Keys and Salts” section refreshed), and the new installation just used the existing databases. If there’s any malcode in the databases then that could re-infect the system, so I’m keeping an eye on it.

I have no idea what the malcode was intended to do. It didn’t corrupt the databases or anything else, but it’s possible it was acting as a keylogger or phoning home some other way. If I feel inclined I might try to de-obfuscate the injected code, but right now I don’t really feel like doing forensics.

Someone suggested using AppArmor to make the WordPress directories read-only. I’m not sure that locking down the WP directory is a good idea. The big new feature in WordPress 3.7 is its automatic update feature. If the WordPress directories are locked down then future security updates won’t be applied automatically. If there is an exploit and WordPress issues a new release to fix it, then a locked-down site will experience a delay in upgrading until the SysAdmin notices and upgrades manually (which is what used to happen before v3.7, but it seems a bad idea to delay upgrades when that’s no longer necessary). Also, the plugin and themes directories would be locked down, and they still require fairly frequent manual upgrades.

I sent the users on the affected sites this message:

While doing upgrades on WordPress yesterday I saw that your blog had been hacked sometime during or before August. I’ve fixed it (re-installed the code, copied your media library, re-installed themes and plugins). I don’t think any damage was done beyond the insertion of malicious code in some of the WordPress files. I don’t know what the action of that code was intended to be, but you should change your WordPress password just in case the bad guys captured it. You can change your password on the “Users, Your Profile page” once you’ve logged in.

After spending some time on Saturday fixing the two hacked WordPress sites I’m a little paranoid, and making sure to implement updates quickly. But a little paranoia is good — it’ll ensure I won’t become complacent again.

–Bob.

WordPress Hacks by Rafael Poveda is used under a CC BY-NC-SACreative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike — CC BY-NC-SA license.

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