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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 127.0.0.1 110
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to 127.0.0.1.
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 https://ip-ranges.amazonaws.com/ip-ranges.json

I downloaded the IP address range file from https://ip-ranges.amazonaws.com/ip-ranges.json 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 https://ip-ranges.amazonaws.com/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.

#!/usr/bin/python
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}


C:\WINDOWS\system32>

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

C:\Users\enzo\Documents>

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.

C:\>

[/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 @vtext.com - 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 5557654321@vtext.com. If the person uses Sprint for phone and text messaging service, you would append @messaging.sprintpcs.com to the 10-digit phone number, i.e., 5557654321@messaging.sprintpcs.com. If the user has AT&T for his/her phone service, you can text the user by appending @txt.att.net to the number, e.g. 5557654321@txt.att.net. For T-Mobile, you can append @tmomail.net 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


C:\Users\Lila>

[ 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:

#!/usr/bin/python

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")'
cursor.execute(sql)
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 weeklyApprovalCount.py
$ ./weeklyApprovalCount.py
5

References:

  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

Thu, Feb 09, 2017 10:51 pm

Installing MySQL on OS X El Capitan

The steps below can be taken to install the MySQL relational database management system software on an Apple OS X/macOS system. The steps were taken for MySQL version 5.7.17 on a MacBook Pro laptop running OS X El Capitan, but should be similar, if not exactly the same for other versions of MySQL and on other versions of OS X.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Wed, Feb 08, 2017 8:41 pm

Running SQL commands from a text file using sqlite3

Every week I need to determine the number of tasks I reviewed and approved in the prior week. I track the tasks in a database on my MacBook Pro laptop using the SQLite utility that is part of the OS X operating system - see Using SQLite. I have a database named "CRQ" that contains a table named "Tasks". The schema for the table is shown below; approval dates are stored as integers; SQLite does not have a storage class specifically for dates, instead, the built-in Date And Time Functions of SQLite are capable of storing dates and times as TEXT, REAL, or INTEGER values1.

$ sqlite3 ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/CRQ.db
SQLite version 3.8.10.2 2015-05-20 18:17:19
Enter ".help" for usage hints.
sqlite> .schema Tasks
CREATE TABLE "Tasks" (
`CRQ`	TEXT NOT NULL,
`Task`	TEXT NOT NULL,
`URL`	TEXT,
`Received`	INTEGER,
`Reviewed`	INTEGER,
`Approved`	INTEGER,
`Notes`	TEXT,
`Summary`	TEXT
);
sqlite> .exit
$

I can open the database and manually type the command to count the records with an approval date on or after a date I specify using an SQL command like the one below:

$ sqlite3 ~/Documents/Work/CRQ/CRQ.db
SQLite version 3.8.10.2 2015-05-20 18:17:19
Enter ".help" for usage hints.
sqlite> SELECT COUNT(*) FROM Tasks WHERE Approved >= '2017-02-01';
11
sqlite>

[ More Info ]

[/software/database/sqlite] permanent link

Tue, Feb 07, 2017 9:43 pm

Attachments not visible in Outlook 2016

I recently received an update from Microsoft® Office 2011 on my MacBook Pro laptop to Microsoft Office 2016. Included with that update was the 2016 version of Microsoft Outlook for Mac, though if I click on Outlook from Outlook's menu bar and then select About Outlook, I see the following version information (image):

Version 15.27 (161010)
Product ID: 03109-000-000001
License: Volume License

One annoying issue I've encountered is that I don't see a way to view attachments sent with some messages within Outlook. I can see a paperclip icon to the right of the sender's name in the left pane of the outlook window, which indicates the message has been received with an attachment, but in the right pane where the contents of the window is displayed, there is no indication that the message has an attachment. And, if I double-click on the message to open it in a separate window there is no indication the message has an attachment. The only way I've found to easily gain access to the attachment is to view the message in Outlook Web App in a web browser. In its right pane, I see a "To:" line followed by a "CC:" line and then an "Attachments:" line with the name of the attachment shown. I can click on the attachment name to open of save it.

In Outlook 2016, if I right-click on the first message where I observed this problem and choose View Source, I see the following in the header lines, which indicates the message does indeed have an attachment:

Accept-Language: en-US
Content-Language: en-US
X-MS-Has-Attach: yes

[ More Info ]

[/network/email/clients/outlook/2016] permanent link

Mon, Feb 06, 2017 10:59 pm

Using Python scripts with Apache on OS X El Capitan

If you've got the Apache web server software working under OS X El Capitan, but want to use Python scripts with Apache, the following steps will allow you to run Python scripts from a cgi-bin directory.

First, ensure that the hash sign (#) is removed from the LoadModule cgi_module libexec/apache2/mod_cgi.so in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf. If you need to remove the hash/pound sign, restart Apache after modifying the file, which you can do with sudo apachectl restart. You will also need to use the sudo command to edit the file, if you edit it with a text editor such as GNU nano or vi.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x/apache] permanent link

Sun, Feb 05, 2017 10:51 pm

Using Perl with Apache under OS X El Capitan

If you've got Apache running on your Mac OS X system and want to be able to display the output of Perl programs, you need to remove the hash sign (#) from the following line in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf.

#LoadModule cgi_module libexec/apache2/mod_cgi.so

You will neeed to edit the file with a text editor, such as the TextEdit app found in the Applications directory, or GNU nano or vi. And you will need to run the editor with root, i.e., administrator privileges by using the sudo command in order to be able to save modifications to the file. E.g.:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x/apache] permanent link

Sat, Feb 04, 2017 10:44 pm

PHP for Apache on OS X El Capitan

If you are running an Apache web server under OS X El Capitan and want to use PHP with Apache, you will need to take some additional steps after you've got Apache running on OS X/macOS. Once you've got Apache working on the system, you can create a .php file, e.g. phptest.php and have the page displayed by your browser if you visit the page, but PHP code within the page won't be executed. E.g., suppose the phptest.php page contains the following code:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<title>PHP Test</title>
</head>

<body>

<h2>A test page</h2>

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

</body>
</html>

If I visit the page using a browser, the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) code on the page will be displayed, e.g. the "A test page" heading will be displayed, but the information that the phpinfo() command would display regarding the PHP settings for a system on which PHP is working won't be displayed. You could also try a simple PHP echo command, e.g. <?php echo "This is the output from a PHP echo command."; ?>, but the output from that command would not be displayed, either.

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x/apache] permanent link

Fri, Feb 03, 2017 10:54 pm

Running an Apache web server under OS X El Capitan

Apple's OS X/macOS operating system (OS) comes with the Apache webserver software, which I decided to enable on my MacBook Pro laptop running OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.6 on the laptop.

The Apache web server software isn't running by default and you can no longer enable it through the Sharing option under System Preferences as in some earlier versions of OS X, but you can start it from a command line interface (CLI) by opening a Terminal window (Terminal is found in the Applications/Utilities folder), with the command sudo apachectl start. Once you start the software, you will see the system is listening on the well-known port for Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) connections, port 80, by using the netstat command.

$ sudo apachectl start
Password:
$ netstat -a | grep http | grep LISTEN
tcp46      0      0  *.http                 *.*                    LISTEN     
$

[ More Info ]

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, Feb 02, 2017 10:04 pm

UltraVNC not responding to connection attempts

A user reported he was unable to connect to a Microsoft Windows 8 system functioning as a VNC server using UltraVNC. The remote vncviewer program was reporting "Failed to connect to server !" I logged into the system and verified that the system was listening on the registered port for VNC, port 5900 using the netstat command.
C:\Users\Collen>netstat -a | find "5900"
  TCP    0.0.0.0:5900           Speleologist:0         LISTENING

C:\Users\Collen>

I used windump, a free packet capture tool for Microsoft Windows systems, similar to the tcpdump tool found on OS X/macOS and Linux systems, to verify that the system was seeing the incoming connections to network port 5900.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/remote-control/vnc/ultravnc] permanent link

Wed, Feb 01, 2017 10:42 pm

Allowing the untrusted interface on a Juniper SRX router/firewall to be pinged

If you wish to allow the untrust interface, which is usually the Internet-facing interface on a Juniper Networks SRX router/firewall running the Junos operating system, to be pinged from external systems, you can use the command set security zone security-zone untrust interface ge-0/0/0.0 host-inbound-traffic system-services ping after placing the device in configuration mode with the configure command, presuming, of course, that the untrust interface is ge-0/0/0.0. If it is some other port on the router, substitute that port identifier, instead.

root@Alder> configure
Entering configuration mode

[edit]
root@Alder# set security zone security-zone untrust interface ge-0/0/0.0 host-inbound-traffic system-services ping

[edit]
root@Alder# commit
commit complete

[edit]
root@Alder#

Afer committing the configuration, you should be able to successfully ping the IP address of the untrusted, i.e., Internet side of the device.

[/security/firewalls/SRX] permanent link

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