Monday, February 27, 2012

Install Postfix Before Compiling Nagios Plugins

In the course of trying to get Nagios Plugins compiled, I learned something. After compiling the plugins, I discovered Postfix (or Sendmail for that matter) was not installed on the server, so I ran yum to install it. When I tested the check_mailq for Nagios (as the nagios user), I ran into this error:

ERROR: is not executable by (uid 1002:gid(1002 1002))

or if the check is manually run by root:

ERROR: is not executable by (uid 0:gid(0 10 6 4 3 2 1 0))

Bunches of searching online only found posts about this error for qmail. When one breaks open the source code for check_mailq, it appears to be a path error. It boiled down to if Postfix is not installed when you compile the Nagios Plugins, it doesn't find the path for the Perl script. Since Posfix was now installed, I just needed to recompile the Nagios Plugins. Poof, check_mailq now works.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lets Fix America By Enouraging More Debt

A few weeks ago, my wife started getting bunches of CTI credit card offers in the mail. Like almost one a day. Looks like our opt-out time I signed us up for years ago has expired. So I searched on Google and found the FTC website that talks about what one can do which points OptOutPrescreen.com.

Good news, it looks like one can now permanently opt-out of getting pre-approved offers of credit and insurance. However it looks like lobbyists who work for these companies convinced lawmakers that instead of an easy permanent opt-out online, you have to snail mail a signed form, I'm assuming because that takes extra time and people are generally lazy.

I hate debt, particularly needless debt. The economy is in the can largely because of debt, and needless credit cards are a bad way to get people sucked into it. I encourage anyone reading this to take the time to permanently opt-out of credit card mail offers by taking the extra 5 minutes needed to snail mail in the request.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Comcast XFinity Is Made Of Complete Fail

So my wife and I have been debating our current TV situation. We've had Comcast for a while, but reached the end of our promotional time and started paying full price. We have their digital starter package, and with the increased fees, started to consider what we are paying for.

Despite having 80+ channels, there is hardly anything on worth watching. On a daily basis, we'll run through the channels in the guide, and it's just crap. Upon further consideration, we could only name around 10 channels that we like and the rest would could care less about. One channel I would like to have is BBC America so I can watch Doctor Who, but that would require upgrading the cable package, paying more, and having even more channels with nothing worth watching. We started questioning why we are even paying for cable in the first place.

The so-called On Demand isn't much better. Three out of the last four times we've gone to use the "Catch Up" feature to watch the latest The Big Bang Theory, the feed is choppy and jumpy and you miss half the dialog. And when an episode is released onto Catch Up is a total guessing game. I've seen it there they day after the episode aired, and I've also seen it over a week later after another new episode has aired.

And how long an episode is on Catch Up is a guessing game too. Many months ago I went to go check out the new SyFy show Alphas. On Catch Up, episodes 2, 4 and 5 were available. So even if episode 1 had somehow "expired", you're telling me episode 3 expired before episode 2? Epic fail all around.

Thousands of movies and TVs shows On Demand my behind. Star Trek has made 11 movies and 5 TV series coming to a total of 726 episodes. Not a single one is available On Demand. Why should I pay for this when I can pay a fifth of the cost and get them all and a ton more on Netflix?

About the same time our price went up, the cable box was appearing to have issues. So Comcast said to go down the road to their center and get a "new" one. So I did. The box they gave me was 10 times the size of the original and obviously refurbished. I also asked if I could get a box with HDMI out. Yes I could. For 10 dollars more a month. Total fail.

We started exploring some other options. We played with an antenna a friend loaned me to test, and that didn't work. We also looked into getting an Apple TV box. Still undecided.

I called Comcast today to get a quote for internet and basic cable. Of course, since I was thinking of downgrading, all of a sudden prices when way down. Well for 6 months. Then they go back up. OR, if I agree to a one year contract, the low price is for a year. Oddly, when I first signed up for Comcast, the installer was bragging how Comcast didn't require contracts and how great it was. Guess it's not so great anymore.

Finally, since I was on a roll, I called their technical support. The cable box we used to have had the TV channel in the top right corner when you went to the guide, and it appeared to be disabled in the new one, so I called to ask how to turn it back on. The tech told me were to go in the menu, oh but wait, that menu option was not there. Hold for a minute. Then came back told me to do the same thing again. Uh, no, the menu item he wanted me to go to is not there. Hold again, wait now I've been transfered.

By some miracle, I finally got someone who know what they were doing. In 30 seconds, she was able to tell me the good news. The "new" box my local Comcast customer service office down the road gave me was to replace my old one was actually an much older model that was not capable of having the channel picture displayed on the guide. Again, my replacement cable box was OLDER than the box it replaced.

There you have it, Comcast's customer loyalty program not being very loyal.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Toilet Repair Fail

Just a heads up for those working on home improvements this summer. I have a toilet that needed the insides replaced. I picked up a Fluidmaster 400AKR "Universal" repair kit from Home Depot (arguably my first mistake). I've replaced the insides of a toilet tank before. It's not rocket science. I tried 4 times to get everything to seal properly, but the flush valve kept developing a slow leak. Then I started searching for reviews on the product and found the manufacturer is pretty much a seller of cheap crappy parts. I'm off to take this back to Home Depot. Frankly I'm thinking of swearing off Home Depot all together. A lot of what I've gotten there as been complete garbage and items from local stores like Dirks Plumbing and J and J Garden Center seem to never have any problems.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moving On, Again

In January, I got a job offer with iTransact. I enjoyed my time with NexOne, they were a great company to work for, and I worked with some talented people. However I was itching for something more. I've wanted to learn and use technology that was not available to me such as Puppet, Nagios, and Cobbler. I saw so much potential to make the systems I worked on be amazing, but was not allowed to make it happen. So I decided I needed to be someplace where I can do that, and I was able to find it. And to make it even better, I get to have full control over my laptop, and it boots in less that 30 seconds.