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Thu, Mar 31, 2016 11:12 pm

Bash on Windows

Microsoft announced yesterday that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which is expected to be shipped this summer, will include support for the Bash shell commonly provided on Unix and Linux systems as well as with Apple OS X systems. Microsoft had previously provided software called Windows Services for Unix (SFU), which provided a Unix subsystem for Microsoft Windows systems, but discontinued that software.

Last year the Microsoft PowerShell Team announced that Microsoft was going to provide SSH server software, a staple for remote management of Unix and Linux systems and server software available by default with OS X. I would certainly be appreciative of having the same command line tools, such as AWK, grep, etc. available under a Bash shell on Linux systems on Microsoft Windows systems, also. And, since I usually install a third-party SSH server application, such as Bitvise SSH Server, Copssh, freeSSHd, PowerShell SSH Server for Windows, or SilverSHield, to be able to remotely connect to Microsoft Windows for command line troubleshooting, I'm hoping that will be available by some this year or next as well, though I'm not aware of the date it is expected to become available.


  1. Ubuntu’s bash and Linux command line coming to Windows 10
    By: Peter Bright
    Date: March 30, 2016
    Ars Technica
  2. Windows 10: /bin/bash-supporting “Anniversary Update” coming this summer
    By: Peter Bright
    Date: March 30, 2016
    Ars Technica
  3. Microsoft bringing SSH to Windows and PowerShell
    By: Peter Bright
    Date: June 2, 2015
    Ars Technica
  4. Windows Services for UNIX Version 3.0
    Microsoft TechNet
  5. Looking Forward: Microsoft Support for Secure Shell (SSH)
    By: PowerShell Team
    Date: June 3, 2015
    Windows PowerShell Blog

[/os/windows] permanent link

Wed, Mar 30, 2016 10:36 pm

802.1X Authentication on an OS X System

When I attempted to connect to a wireless network, after changing a password for authenticating with systems in use at a location, when I arrived at that location today with my MacBook Pro laptop, I found that instead of connecting to the wireless network at that location automatically, I was not able to establish a connection to the WiFi network. When I checked the Network settings under System Preferences, I found that for the Wi-Fi connection it was showing "Self-Assigned IP" with the message "Wi-Fi has the self-assigned IP address and will not be able to connect to the Internet. For that network, the laptop needs to authenticate with 802.1X to gain access to the network." But the status for 802.1X was stuck at "Authenticating." I was able to successfully authenticate after changing the "802.1X Password" for the wireless network through the Keychain Access utility.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x/802_1x] permanent link

Mon, Mar 28, 2016 10:34 pm

Summing the file sizes in a directory

If you wish to calculate a total size for all files in a directory on a Unix, Linux, or Mac system running Apple's OS X operating system, two ways to do so are by using the awk utility or with the Python programming language. E.g., ls -l example | awk '{sum +=$5} END {print sum}'. For a Python solution, you can use the program.

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix/commands] permanent link

Sun, Mar 27, 2016 9:02 pm

Setting the padding and border for a table with CSS

With HTML 4, you can stipulate that a border be placed around the cells in a table using the border parameter, e.g.: <table border="1">. However with HTML5, use of the "border=" attribute for putting a border around elements of a table has been deprecated as has setting the padding around elements in a table with cellpadding, e.g., <table border="1" cellpadding="3">. If you check your HTML code for adherence to the HTML 5 standard with the Nu Html Checker provided by the World Wide Web Consortium, you will see an warning displayed if you have used the border attribute and an error displayed for use of the cellpadding attribute. You can achieve an equivalent table display using Cascading Style Sheets, however, by adding a style section for the table and the th and td elements to set the border and setting cell padding in a style section or for each td and th element

[/network/web/html/css] permanent link

Fri, Mar 25, 2016 9:45 pm

Creating a registry entry to run a program at login

If you wish to have a program run whenever a user logs into the system, then you can add an entry to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run in the Windows Registry, assuming you are logged into the system as the user for which you wish to have the program run at logon at the time you add the entry to the registry, so that HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU), which applies to the currently logged in user, applies to that user's account.

One way you can add a new entry in the registry for a program to run when the user logs in is to use the regedit program that comes with the Windows operating system and which is normally found in the C:\Windows directory.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/registry] permanent link

Thu, Mar 24, 2016 11:29 pm

Displaying a Wi-Fi password under OS X

If you need to know a saved wireless network password on a system running Apple's OS X operating system, e.g. a MacBook Pro, you can do find that information using the Keychain Access program found in Applications/Utilities. To find the information using that utility, open it, then click on Edit then Find and search for the SSID for the wireless router or click on Passwords under Category in the left pane of the window and look for it in the list you will see. You can then double-click on a relevant entry to see the password/key. Alternatively, you can use the command line security program with the find-generic-password option to display the password.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Mar 23, 2016 10:34 pm

Excluding multiple patterns with grep

If you wish to exclude lines containing a specified pattern when using the grep command on a Unix, Linux, or OS X system, you can do so using the -v or --invert-match. option.

-v, --invert-match
       Invert the sense of matching, to select non-matching lines.  (-v
       is specified by POSIX.)

E.g., suppose I have a file names.txt containing the following names:

$ cat names.txt
John Smith
Paul McCartney
Bob Jones
Allen Smith
Greg Smith
Bob Smith
Carl Smith
John Doe

If I want to view all lines except for those containing "Allen", I can use grep -v "Allen" names.txt. But what if I want to exclude more than one pattern, e.g. any line containing "Allen" or "Bob". I could pipe the output of one grep command to another grep command with grep -v "Allen" names.txt | grep -v "Bob". Or you can perform a logical disjunction using the "pipe" character, i.e., "|", aka a "vertical bar".

$ grep -v "Allen\|Bob" names.txt
John Smith
Paul McCartney
Greg Smith
Carl Smith
John Doe

In the above example, I am instructing grep to ignore any lines containing either Allen or Bob in the line. Because the pipe character has another meaning to the Bash shell, i.e., it is used by the shell to "pipe" the output of one command to another with the output of the first command becoming the input of the second, its meaning must be "escaped" to be processed by grep as a logical disjunction symbol. That is done by preceding the character with a backslash, which is an escape character.

[/os/unix/commands] permanent link

Tue, Mar 22, 2016 11:27 pm

Blosxom - Magic number checking on storable file failed

When I attempted to access blog postings on this site where I use Blosxom for the blog, I saw the message below:

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator at to inform them of the time this error occurred, and the actions you performed just before this error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

I was able to access webpages that were not blog postings. When I checked the site's error log file, I saw many entries similar to the following indicating that others were experiencing the same problem when accessing the site:

[Tue Mar 22 11:43:12.276013 2016] [cgi:error] [pid 24979] [client
52035] AH01215: Magic number checking on storable file failed at /usr/lib64/perl
5/vendor_perl/ line 381, <DATA> line 32, at /home/jdoe/public_html/su
pport/blog/plugins/calendar line 322.

I use a Blosxom calendar plugin, so I checked line 322 in the calendar plugin file and found the following code:

    if (!Storable->can('lock_retrieve')) {
        debug(1, "cache disabled, Storable::lock_retrieve not available");
        $use_caching = 0;
        return 0;
    $cache = (-r $cachefile ? Storable::lock_retrieve($cachefile) : undef);

The line starting with "$cache" is line 322. I checked the cache file for the plugin which is under the plugins/state directory for the blog software and saw it was zero bytes in length.

# ls -al /home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache
-rw-r--r--. 1 apache apache 0 Mar 22 11:42 /home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache

So I deleted the file; it will be recreated automatically when the blog is accessed after it is deleted.

# rm /home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache
rm: remove regular empty file ‘/home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache’? y

Deletion of the .calendar.cache file fixed the problem. When I refreshed the page in my browser for a blog posting from years ago I had been attempting to view I could then see it and access other blog postings as well. I also saw the file had been recreated.

# ls -al /home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache
-rw-r--r--. 1 apache apache 94578 Mar 22 21:54 /home/jdoe/public_html/support/blog/plugins/state/.calendar.cache

[/network/web/blogging/blosxom] permanent link

Sun, Mar 20, 2016 11:08 pm

Saving a song from an Internet source with VLC on a MAC

After installing the VLC media player on a Mac OS X system, if you wish to save a song that you have been listening to from one of the Internet sources it lists, such as Jamendo Selections, you can do so through its Streaming/Exporting Wizard. The wizard will give you the option to save the song in a number of file formats, e.g. Ogg, for a song, to the hard drive of the Mac or an external device attached to it.

[More Info ]

[/os/os-x/software/vlc] permanent link

Sat, Mar 19, 2016 10:51 pm

Determining which program is listening on a port under Windows

If you want to know which application is listening on a particular network port on a Microsoft Windows system, e.g., port 80, the port used for HTTP connections to a web server, you can obtain that information from a command line interface (CLI) by obtaining a command prompt and using the netstat and tasklist commands which are provided with the operating system; you do not need to install any additional software, though there are programs that will allow you to view that information from a graphical user interface (GUI).

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/network] permanent link

Fri, Mar 18, 2016 3:38 pm

Using a SOCKS proxy server from an OS X system

If you wish to connect to a Socket Secure (SOCKS) proxy server from a system running Apple's OS X operating system, you can do so through the Network option from System Preferences by clicking on the Advanced button, then selecting the Proxies tab and then checking the check box next to SOCKS Proxy and providing the relevant values or you can use the networksetup command to configure SOCKS proxy server support from a command line interface (CLI), e.g. a Terminal window.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, Mar 17, 2016 9:53 pm

Determine the currently connected Wi-Fi network from the command line on OS X

If you need to determine the currently connected WiFi network from a command line interface (CLI), aka a shell prompt, on an Apple OS X system, e.g., a MacBook Pro laptop, you can do so by opening a Terminal window (the application is in /Applications/Utilities) and issuing the command networksetup -getairportnetwork wifi_device where wifi_device is the port used for wireless connections on the system. You can determine the hardware port used for Wi-Fi connectivity on the system by issuing the command networksetup -listallhardwareports and then piping its output into the grep command looking for Wi-Fi in the output and when it is found displaying that line and the two lines after it. E.g., in the example below, en0 is the relevant device interface for wireless connections and the SSID for the currently connected Wi-Fi network is "Hogwarts".

$ networksetup -listallhardwareports | grep -A 1 "Wi-Fi"
Hardware Port: Wi-Fi
Device: en0
$ networksetup -getairportnetwork en0
Current Wi-Fi Network: Hogwarts

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Mar 16, 2016 10:40 pm

Extracting numbers from a text string with grep

The grep command-line utility found on Unix, Linux, and OS X systems can be used to extract strings from files or other data input to the command. As an example of extracting digits from a string, suppose I have the following text that contains a version number between <string> and </string>:


I only want to see the 14.6.0, so I can use the grep command with the -o option to specify I ony want the text that matches a specified pattern displayed. The pattern I can use is '[0-9.]\+'.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Mon, Mar 14, 2016 10:39 pm

Correcting an issue with the touchpad not working under Ubuntu 12.04

When I booted an eMachines 250-1162 netbook running Ubuntu 12.04 today, I was able to tab between fields on a webpage, but the touchpad was not working - I could not move the mouse pointer. I hit the Ctrl-Alt-F2 keys simultaneously to obtain a console window where I entered the following command:
$ gksudo modprobe -r psmouse

(gksudo:2607): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

I then switched back to the graphical user interface (GUI) console by hitting Ctrl-Alt-F7. I was then able to move the mouse pointer using the touchpad.


  1. Resetting the mouse in Ubuntu
    Date: August 1, 2015
    MoonPoint Support

[/os/unix/linux/ubuntu] permanent link

Sun, Mar 13, 2016 10:26 pm

hostname options not working

On a CentOS 7 Linux system, I could issue the command hostname and see the name for the system displayed.
# hostname

Yet, if I tried entering any option for the command, I received the error message "Name or service not known".

# hostname -a
hostname: Name or service not known
# hostname -i
hostname: Name or service not known
# hostname -f
hostname: Name or service not known
# hostname --fqdn
hostname: Name or service not known

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix/linux/centos] permanent link

Sat, Mar 12, 2016 5:24 pm

Determining the username under which PHP is running

I wanted to determine the user name under which PHP was running for a WordPress blog on a hosting site. To do so, I placed a PHP script, whoami_here.php, in the home folder for the WordPress installation and then accessed the webpage for that script via a browser, e.g.

There are a variety of methods you can use to check on which account PHP is running under, e.g., <?php passthru("whoami"); ?>, though some methods may not work on some systems.

[ More Info ]

[/languages/php] permanent link

Fri, Mar 11, 2016 10:37 pm

Microsoft Excel quit unexpectedly

Microsoft® Excel® for Mac 2011 (Version 14.6.0) crashed and when it reopened it crashed again. When it reopened, I saw the message "Microsoft Excel quit unexpectedly. Click Reopen to open the application again. Click Report to see more detailed information and send a report to Apple."

Microsoft Excel quit unexpectedly

I was able to stop it from continually crashing by choosing not to reopen all of the spreadsheets that had previously been opened. When it displayed the message "This workbook contains macros. Do you want to disable macros before opening the file?", I chose "Do Not Open" for some of the workbooks that previously had been open.

Workbook contains macros

I was then able to successfully open the application and continue working on other workbooks that had been open in Excel.

I checked for the crash logs related to the problem in ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReport. I saw two crash reports for today, March 11, 2016.

$ ls ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/
Google Chrome_2016-02-24-131912_GSSLA15122293.crash
Microsoft Excel_2016-03-11-114210_GSSLA15122293.crash
Microsoft Excel_2016-03-11-141557_GSSLA15122293.crash
PGP Engine_2016-02-22-212124_GSSLA15122293.crash

When I checked both Excel crash reports, I found that the cause was logged as a stack overflow. I looked for the line that immediately follows the "Application Specific Information:" line in the files, which is why I used the -A 1 argument to the grep command.

GSSLA15122293:/ johndoe1$ grep -A 1 "Application Specific Information:" ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/Microsoft\ Excel_*.crash | grep -v "Application"
/Users/johndoe1/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/Microsoft Excel_2016-03-11-114210_GSSLA15122293.crash-[20077] stack overflow
/Users/johndoe1/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/Microsoft Excel_2016-03-11-141557_GSSLA15122293.crash-[23349] stack overflow

[/software/office] permanent link

Thu, Mar 10, 2016 10:55 pm

Adobe Flash vulnerability security updates released on March 10, 2016

Adobe has released an emergency update for its Flash media player which contains fixes for about two dozen critical vulnerabilities. Adobe defines a critical vulnerability as "A vulnerability, which, if exploited would allow malicious native-code to execute, potentially without a user being aware. Adobe Security Bulletin ASP16-08 lists the following Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) addressed in the new release:


[ More Info ]

[/network/web/browser] permanent link

Wed, Mar 09, 2016 10:37 pm

Viewing or setting a time server under OS X

If you need to determine what Network Time Protocol (NTP) server is being used on an Apple OS X system from a command line interface (CLI), aka a shell prompt, you can use the systemsetup command with the -getnetworktimeserver option.
$ sudo systemsetup -getnetworktimeserver
Network Time Server:

If you wish to set the time server you can use the -setnetworktimeserver command, e.g.:

$ sudo systemsetup -setnetworktimeserver

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Mon, Mar 07, 2016 10:48 pm

Determining the modules which are loaded in Apache

The Apache HTTP server software supports many features via compiled modules which extend the core functionality of the web server software. Modules support various authentication methods, URL rewriting, proxying, etc. You can check on what modules are loaded using the command httpd -t -D DUMP_MODULES or with PHP using apache_get_modules().

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/server/apache] permanent link

Sun, Mar 06, 2016 9:55 pm

Viewing and setting the host name on a Linux or OS X system

To view the host name for a Linux or OS X system you are logged into, you can use the uname command with the -n option. On a Linux system, you can also use --nodename in lieu of -n, but --nodename won't work on OS X. If the host name has not been set, you will see localhost.localdomain displayed.
$ uname --nodename

You can also use the hostname command on a Linux or OS X system to show or set the host name. To show the host name, issue the command without any parameters

$ hostname

On some versions of Linux, e.g., CentOS and Ubuntu, you can also view the host name using the sysctl command; it won't work on OS X, however.

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix] permanent link

Sat, Mar 05, 2016 10:15 pm

PowerShell get-process cmdlet

On a Microsoft Windows system, you can obtain a list of all processes that are currently running from a command line interface (CLI) using the Windows PowerShell cmdlet get-process. To see all running processes, obtain a PowerShell prompt and type get-process.

PS C:\> get-process

Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
-------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
    100       9     1472        848    71    14.06  41452 adb
1018385      17     3028       1008    99 5,303.64 101076 AdobeARM
     79       7     1200       1336    44           56112 armsvc
    127      10     7956       9444    37   101.42 120812 audiodg
   9244     279   233224      22368  1019            1916 avp
   1334      72    51656       3436   263 1,856.22  11692 avp
    427      34    18864      11000  1510            1984 certsrv
    321      29    52752      71604   501     3.73   6524 chrome
    249      25    44344       9356   290   801.09   7820 chrome
<text snipped>
    268      20     4876      11112    60          121708 w3wp
    227      21   618252      31084   688            5428 wbengine
     84       8      892        324    41             656 wininit
    181      10     2432       2752    58             684 winlogon
    364      44    13596      17920   153 2,894.47 102896 WinSCP
   1672      20     9228      18008    81           52428 WmiPrvSE
   4884      20    16476       8936    61            3252 WSSBackup

PS C:\>

The column values are as follows:

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/PowerShell] permanent link

Fri, Mar 04, 2016 9:37 pm

Workday function

Sometimes you may need to determine the number of work days from one date to another in a Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Apache OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet. E.g., you may need to exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from a calculation. All three spreadsheet programs provide a WORKDAY function that you can use to calculate dates based on business work days rather than just the total number of days from a start date. For Microsoft Excel on both Microsoft Windows and OS X and Google Sheets, the syntax for the WORKDAY function is as follows:

WORKDAY(start_date, num_days, [holidays])

For OpenOffice Calc, you need to separate the parameters with a semicolon rather than a colon. I.e.:

WORKDAY(Start_date; num_days; [holidays])

If you separate the parameters with a comma in Calc, it will display Err:508.

"Holidays" is enclosed in brackets to indicate it is an optional parameter, you would not actually include the brackets if you specified holidays.

The arguments to the function have the following meaning:

E.g., I need to determine the date when work requests that should be completed within 5 business days after approval should be completed. I can display the required implementation date for each request in a worksheet by using the formula =WORKDAY(cell,5) where cell holds the approval date. E.g., if the approval date is in cell A2, I can set the formula for the required implemenation date to be WORKDAY(A2,5) for Excel or Google Sheets or WORKDAY(A2;5) for Apache OpenOffice Calc.

If there was no date in cell A2, Excel will display January 6, 1900 in the cell holding the implemenation date, e.g. 1/6/00, if the date format is D/M/YY (day/month/2-digit year), but OpenOffice Calc and Google Sheets will display January 5, 1900. Microsoft Excel stores dates as sequential serial numbers so they can be used in calculations and, by default, uses January 1, 1900 as serial number 1. If you have a date field containing January 1, 2008 that is equivalent to 39,448, which you would see if you put that day in a cell formatted to hold a date then changed the format to be a number. January 1, 2016 is 42,370. January 1, 2008 is 39,448 days after January 1, 1900 and January 1, 2016 is 42,370 days after that date.

Why do Google Sheets and Apache OpenOffice Calc show January 5, 1900 as the calculated date when there is no date in the start_date field while Microsot Excel displays January 6, 1900? Long before Microsoft became a dominant player in the spreadsheet market, Lotus 1-2-3 from Lotus Development Corporation was a dominant spreadsheet in the personal computer market. There was a bug in Lotus 1-2-3 due to the developers assuming that the year 1900 was a leap year; it was not. When Microsoft released Excel they had to compete with Lotus 1-2-3, the then dominant spreadsheet for personal computers, so Microsoft needed to ensure that spreadsheets created in Lotus 1-2-3 returned the same results in Excel, so for compatibility retained the incorrect assumption regarding the year 1900 - see the Microsoft article Excel incorrectly assumes that the year 1900 is a leap year and Excel Date Conversion (Days from 1900) regarding making an allowance for that incorrect assumption. Google Sheets and Apache OpenOffice Calc did not retain that incorrect assumption regarding the year 1900 and so you will see January 5 used in certain calculations in those spreadsheets where January 6, 1900 is used by Exel, which is why sometims you may get differing results for date calculations between those spreadsheet programs.

If an argument to the workday function is not a valid date, e.g., 2/30/16 for February 30, 2016, which is not a valid date, you will see #VALUE! displayed by the function in all three spreadsheets. In all three spreadsheets, if days is not an integer, the number is truncated to an integer value. E.g., if you used the formula =WORKDAY(A2,5.7) you would get the same result as entering WORKDAY(A2,5).

[/os/windows/office/excel] permanent link

Thu, Mar 03, 2016 10:02 pm

Downloading a web page with Python using command line parameters

If you wish to download a web page with a Python script, you can imput the urllib2 module into a Python script as explained at Downloading a web page with Python. I've modified the script posted there to allow the webpage URL and output file name to be specified as command line arguments to the script:


# download_page
# download a webpage to a specified file. The script takes two parameters:
# the URL of the page to download and a file name to be used to hold
# the downloaded web page.

import urllib2, sys

except IndexError:
   print "Error - URL missing! Usage: ./ download_page_url outfile"
   url = sys.argv[1]

except IndexError:
   print "Error - missing output file name! Usage: ./ download_page_url outfile"
   outfile = sys.argv[2]

page = urllib2.urlopen(url)
source =

downloadFile = open(outfile, 'w')

The sys module is imported to check the command line arguments using sys.argv[x], where x. is the number specifying the argument; sys.argv[0] is always the name of the script itself, in this case, so sys.argv[1] should be the URL of the webpage to be saved and sys.argv[2] the file name for the output file. The file name can contain a location for the output file, e.g., mydir/somepage.html. If a directory is specified with the file name, the script doesn't check to ensure the directory exists and will exit with a Python "No such file or directory" error message should that error occur. If no directory path is included with the file name, the directory from which the script is run will be used to store the downloaded webpage.

The script will print error messages if the URL and output file name are omitted from the command line. It can be run using python ./ or ./, if for the latter option you have first changed the file permissions on the program to mark it as executable, e.g., with chmod 755

[/languages/python] permanent link

Tue, Mar 01, 2016 11:08 pm


My wife informed me this morning that someone had commented on a site she visits regularly that Google is now providing a kid-friendly version of its search engine, Kiddle. I hadn't heard of the site and when I checked I found that the site isn't owned or operated by Google, but, instead, was developed by someone else based on the Google Custom Search capability, i.e., it relies on Google's search engine, but with its own custom filters to eliminate results that may be unsuitable for young children.

[ More Info ]

[/network/web/search] permanent link

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