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Tue, Feb 21, 2017 11:21 pm

Dovecot not responding

A user reported that she wasn't receiving any email. When I logged into the mail servers, which runs Dovecot for POP3/POP3S and used Telnet to connect to port 110, the well-known port for POP3, I didn't get any response after I entered the user command, so I exited to the telnet prompt with Ctrl-].

$ telnet 110
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
user nell
telnet> quit
Connection closed.

I logged into the root account and checked today's and yesterday's maillog files for any references to Dovecot or POP3 issues, but saw none.

# grep -i dovecot /var/log/maillog
# grep -i dovecot /var/log/maillog.1
# grep -i pop3 /var/log/maillog.1
# grep -i pop3 /var/log/maillog

[ More Info ]

[/network/email/dovecot] permanent link

Tue, Feb 21, 2017 9:09 pm

Viewing the list of IP address ranges for AmazonAWS

If you need to create firewall rules for outgoing connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS) addresses, you can obtain a complete listing of the IP address ranges that Amazon uses in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format from AWS IP Ranges Are Now Available in JSON Format - the download URL for the file is

I downloaded the IP address range file from using cURL, which is present on Apple OS X/macOS systems and is available for Linux and many other operating systems, including Microsoft Windows - see Releases and Downloads.

$ curl -o ip-ranges.json
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100   99k  100   99k    0     0   191k      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  191k

The following Python script can be used to extract just the Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) address blocks, i.e., the ip_prefix information from the JSON data stored in the ip-ranges.json file downloaded from the Amazon website and display it.

import json

data = json.load(open('ip-ranges.json'))
for d in data["prefixes"]:
    print d["ip_prefix"]

[ More Info ]

[/languages/python] permanent link

Mon, Feb 20, 2017 10:43 pm

Determining the last system image backup time for a Windows 10 system

I backed up a Windows 10 system to an external USB disk drive using the backup utility that comes with the operating system that can be run by right-clicking on the Windows Start button then choosing Control Panel then Backup and Restore (Windows 7), which is found beneath System and Security, and then choosing Create a system image. If you create a system in that manner and then later wish to know the date and time you backed up the system without reattaching the drive you used, you can do so from a command prompt window with administrator privileges by using the wbadmin get versions command as shown below:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>wbadmin get versions
wbadmin 1.0 - Backup command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2013 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Backup time: 2/19/2017 8:31 PM
Backup target: 1394/USB Disk labeled Seagate Backup Plus Drive(E:)
Version identifier: 02/20/2017-01:31
Can recover: Volume(s), File(s), Application(s), Bare Metal Recovery, System State
Snapshot ID: {d4a62a80-ac6f-4aba-8886-6ba570c1284a}


Once you have the version identifier(s), you can use it to view the details regarding what volumes were backed up on the system to the external USB drive using a command in the form wbadmin get items -version:version_id.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/utilities/backup] permanent link

Sun, Feb 19, 2017 10:45 pm

Deleting a hidden file from a command prompt on a Windows system

The del command can be used at a command prompt on a Microsoft Windows system to delete files. But, if you try to delete a file using that command without specifically specifying that you wish to apply the command to a hidden file, you will receive a message stating windows could not find the file. To delete a hidden file, you need to use the /ah parameter before the file name as shown below.
C:\Users\enzo\Documents>dir /ah *.swp
 Volume in drive C is Windows
 Volume Serial Number is B688-ED25

 Directory of C:\Users\enzo\Documents

02/18/2017  12:51 PM            12,288 .system.html.swp
               1 File(s)         12,288 bytes
               0 Dir(s)  1,954,264,215,552 bytes free

C:\Users\enzo\Documents>del .system.html.swp
Could Not Find C:\Users\enzo\Documents\.system.html.swp

C:\Users\enzo\Documents>del /ah .system.html.swp


The syntax for the del command is shown below:

C:\>del /?
Deletes one or more files.

DEL [/P] [/F] [/S] [/Q] [/A[[:]attributes]] names
ERASE [/P] [/F] [/S] [/Q] [/A[[:]attributes]] names

  names         Specifies a list of one or more files or directories.
                Wildcards may be used to delete multiple files. If a
                directory is specified, all files within the directory
                will be deleted.

  /P            Prompts for confirmation before deleting each file.
  /F            Force deleting of read-only files.
  /S            Delete specified files from all subdirectories.
  /Q            Quiet mode, do not ask if ok to delete on global wildcard
  /A            Selects files to delete based on attributes
  attributes    R  Read-only files            S  System files
                H  Hidden files               A  Files ready for archiving
                I  Not content indexed Files  L  Reparse Points
                -  Prefix meaning not

If Command Extensions are enabled DEL and ERASE change as follows:

The display semantics of the /S switch are reversed in that it shows
you only the files that are deleted, not the ones it could not find.


[/os/windows/commands] permanent link

Sat, Feb 18, 2017 3:30 pm

Changing the host name for a Windows system from a command prompt

There are a variety of ways you can determine the system name for a Windows computer from a command line interface (CLI), such as a command prompt or PowerShell prompt window. But what if you wish to rename the computer from a command line interface? You can obtain a command prompt and then use a Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) command in the form shown below where oldname is the curent name of the system and newname is the new name you wish to assign to the system.

wmic computersystem where caption='oldname' rename newname

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/commands/wmic] permanent link

Fri, Feb 17, 2017 10:55 pm

Email to Text Message

If you would like to be notified of a system event by a SMS messsage, i.e., a text message, or otherwise have a need to send information from a computer to a phone by a text message, you can use a text to email capability provided by some phone service providers. To send a text message via email to a Verizon user, you can use the Verizon phone number for the person followed by - don't put any dots nor dashes in the phone number, just the digits of the phone number. E.g., if the person's phone number is 555-765-4321, you would send the message to If the person uses Sprint for phone and text messaging service, you would append to the 10-digit phone number, i.e., If the user has AT&T for his/her phone service, you can text the user by appending to the number, e.g. For T-Mobile, you can append to the phone number.

[ More Info ]

[/network/email] permanent link

Tue, Feb 14, 2017 11:14 pm

Determining S.M.A.R.T disk drive status from a command prompt

Many hard disk drives have a Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) capability. On a Microsoft Windows system, you can use a utility such as SpeedFan to query the S.M.A.R.T, or SMART, information for a drive. You can also check the status of a drive using a Windows Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) command by issuing the command wmic diskdrive get status at a command prompt, though you won't get the same level of detail. But if you have multiple drives in or atached to the system, you will need to use an additional parameter to identify which status applies to which drive. You could include the size and/or model, e.g.:

C:\Users\Lila>wmic diskdrive get status, size, model
Model                                   Size           Status
Seagate Backup+  Desk SCSI Disk Device  5000970240000  OK
Seagate Backup+ Desk USB Device         4000776192000  OK
Generic- Compact Flash USB Device                      OK
Generic- SD/MMC USB Device                             OK
Generic- MS/MS-Pro USB Device                          OK
WD My Book 1140 USB Device              2000363420160  OK
Generic- SM/xD-Picture USB Device                      OK
WDC WD4003FZEX-00Z4SA0 ATA Device       4000784417280  OK


[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/commands/wmic] permanent link

Sun, Feb 12, 2017 5:44 pm

Configuring Windows 7 to hibernate on low UPS battery power

If you have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to provide battery backup for a Microsoft Windows system in the event of a power outage, you may want to change the default setting for the action that Windows takes when the battery charge is nearing depletion. The default setting is to put the system in sleep mode where the system saves the memory state to disk and stops most activities on the system, so that the system is using very little power. But, if the battery charge becomes totally depleted, if a system is in sleep mode when that happens, you will lose any unsaved work. You can reconfigure Windows to hibernate the system, instead. When the system goes into hibernation, the contents of memory are saved to disk in such a way that when the system is rebooted, you will be back to the state it was in before it was hibernated, so you haven't lost unsaved work, such as open documents in a word processor, etc.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/win7] permanent link

Sat, Feb 11, 2017 10:27 pm

Using Python to query an SQLite database and return a count of records

I have an SQLite database that I use to track work requests on my MacBook Pro running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6) . Every week I need to determine the number of change requests I've reviewed and approved in the last week. I have been running SQL commands from a text file using sqlite3, but I wanted to start using a Python script, instead, since I want to everntually perform some additional queries as well and display the results as a web page. Initially, I had some problems displaying the record count, but found I could use cursor.fetchone() to display the count. The script I currently have consists of the following code:


import sqlite3
conn = sqlite3.connect('/Users/jasmith1/Documents/Work/CRQ/CRQ.db')
cursor = conn.cursor()

sql = 'SELECT COUNT(*) FROM Tasks WHERE Approved >= date(CURRENT_DATE,"-7 day")'
result = cursor.fetchone()
numApproved = result[0]
print numApproved

The first step I need to take is to import the sqlite3 module for use in Python. I then need to create a connection object for the database which I assign to conn. After that I need to create a cursor instance that I will use to execute an SQL statement. I assign the SQL statement to the variable sql (the name is arbitrary) and then execute the statement with cursor.execute(sql). The variable result is then assigned the results of cursor.fechone(). If I printed the contents of the result variable, I would see (5,), if the count was 5, since the result is a tuple with one element, but I want to see just the number, so I set numApproved to be result[0]. Instead of setting numApproved to result[0] and printing numApproved, I could skip a step and use the following two lines after sursor.execute(sql):

(numApproved,) = cursor.fetchone()
print numApproved

If I make the script excecutable with chmod 755 and then run the script, I will then see just the number of reccords approved within the last week:

$ chmod 755
$ ./


  1. sqlite3 — DB-API 2.0 interface for SQLite databases
    Python documentation

[/languages/python] permanent link

Fri, Feb 10, 2017 10:37 pm

Attempting to kill unkillable processes

When I tried to update WireShark on a Windows 10 system to version 2.2.4, I saw the message "Wireshark or one of its associated programs is running. Please close it first."

Wireshark or one of its associated programs is running

I had to forcibly terminate two Wireshark processes with the Windows Task Manager prior to that message appearing in order to proceed with the upgrade, since I had seen a message that the installation could not proceed with Wireshark running, yet those instances of Wireshark wouldn't close when I tried to close them normally; one of the two was due to my trying a second time to start Wireshark when there was a long delay before it appeared.

I ran the Windows Task Manager with administrator privileges by typing Task Manager in the Cortana "Ask me anything" field and then right-clicking on Task Manager when it was returned in the search results. I saw Dumpcap, which is a process Wireshark and TShark run to perform packet capture, listed in the process list, so clicked on it to select it and then clicked on the End Task button, but that didn't actually terminate the process.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/processes] permanent link

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