Striving to make better use of time

Time. We’ve only got so much of it right? I found myself wondering about that recently when sat in an airport with my two kids. I’d just spent a week in Spain with them and had a pretty wonderful time all around and at the end of it I was definitely yearning for more. As we munched through a burger waiting for our gate to come up they were both stuck in their iPads. Fairly standard behaviour in this generation of young people and let’s face it, with me as an  inspiration it’s hardly surprising.
Read More

Transitioning from Windows to Mac

This is more of an introspective blog post than anything else. I’m really just noting down my thoughts on the entire process which has been interesting (to me) to say the least.

I first started using Windows when I was around eight years old with, of course, Windows 3.1. Up to that point I had only ever had experience with DOS systems (and that was mainly limited to ‘cd C:/Games’ and running .bat files to launch Test Drive II!). Windows at that stage of course was a heady mix of File Manager, Minesweeper and of course the old faithful MS-DOS Prompt. It felt like the future, and over the next 15-20 years I lived through each iteration of Windows like most people on the planet. Delighted by Windows 2000. Horrified by Millenium Edition. Main stayed on XP for longer than I care to admit. Avoided Vista. Loved 7. Disliked 8 (although 8.1 was marginally better). Whilst most recently I’ve come to the same conclusion as most technical people across the globe in that Windows 10 is … probably … the best and most well rounded Operating System for the masses that there has ever been. Probably. 🙂

Read More

OpenSSH 7 and ssh-dss keys

Quick one, because it’s the type of thing I tend to forget easily. I recently upgraded a VM of mine from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS. I mainly use the VM as an SSH Web Proxy for tunnelling traffic that I’d rather not originate from my machines IP, and also to get past some fairly arcane URL blocks. Ubuntu’s upgrade is quite neat in that it recognises you’re running the upgrade from a shell and splits the process out to a screen session for you lest you become disconnected for Reasons(tm).

That said, the upgrade went smoothly and without issue and my shell session remained connected and everything was fine for a few days.

Read More

Open Relay Hunter

Sounds dramatic doesn’t it?

Inevitably as part of working for any Internet Service Provider, you’re going to run up against people who are using servers but maybe aren’t quite paying attention. It’s a bit like driving up the M6. The vast majority of people are in their lanes, they indicate, they maneuver sensibly. Then … every few miles … yeah, you know the type. They wobble, they admire themselves in a mirror, and before you know it you’re sitting in a queue of traffic whilst the rest of the world tries to figure out how it happened.

It happens to the best of us and anyone who says their servers are completely secure are kidding themselves on. Each and every day new vulnerabilities and insecurities are coming to light and it’s as important as ever that you’re patching your servers and sniffing them for open ports. Unsecured (or worse, deliberately mis-configured) services running on servers are responsible for some of the most significant Internet slowdowns in recent history. They’re innocuous too. SMTP. Everyone sends email how can that be worrying? DNS. The Internet doesn’t really work without it, that can’t be dangerous? SSL. It’s specifically to keep us safe isn’t it!?

You’d think so huh? Wrong. Have a read at some of the more interesting stories:

Read More

Datacentre Trolley of Awesome™

It’s been two years since I posted something on this blog. That is fairly abysmal in itself but let’s not focus on the negative things. I’m back! Sort of! Probably. It’s been a roller coaster couple of years for me with lots of really fun and exciting things going on and a few not so fun. However. I’m not here to write about any of that! No. I’m here to write about something far more mundane …

The affectionately penned #DCTrolleyofAwesome on Twitter made it’s appearance a week or so ago but in reality this little side project has been bumbling around for a few months now in the background at iomart’s DC5 in Maidenhead. I’m writing this post to mainly consolidate my thoughts on the entire process but I’ve also had a few people reach out from Twitter asking to get a little more detail than just the photos which I was taking at the time. So here we go. Strap yourself in to be thoroughly bored 😉

Read More

Getting back in the saddle

It’s been a long time since I wrote here. Well over a year in fact.

After I completed 3 months of the Insanity exercise programme I realised quite quickly that I had perhaps over done it. My knees were in bits and it took literally months for the continual pain to fade. I’m disappointed in myself really that I let it slip but there you go. It happens.

Read More

Insanity … The End. Or is it?

I’ve mulled over this post for a few days in my head. No cheesy pictures or straplines. I”ve not been quite sure how to write it up or indeed draw a line under one of the most dramatic periods in my life. As corny as that may sound it’s undeniable at this stage. I never expected to be where I am now.

The final few weeks

At time of writing my last post, I had around two and a bit weeks to go. Those were without a doubt two of the most physically draining and demanding weeks I’ve ever experienced. I dropped a further two kilograms between writing Day 47 and completing the workout schedule. I finished on 87.9 kilograms. Total weight loss? 11.9 kilograms. A little under two stone. By this stage people who didn’t know I was doing this were asking me if I was feeling OK or if I had been dieting. I can’t lie, I struggled to contain my delight on more than one occasion.

I’ve gone from a pot bellied weakling to … well … a still ever so slightly pot bellied weakling who can hold his own weight for around 5 seconds and can do 12-15 pushups without stopping. I couldn’t do 3 without falling in a heap before.

I’ve had to buy new jeans, t-shirts, work shirts … the whole lot. Around 4 inches off my waist, half an inch off my neck, 3 inches off my thighs.  To paraphrase the multi-billion dollar fruit shaped monster …

This Changed Everything.

Read More

Insanity Day 47: Master Yoga or was it Yoda?

Day 47 in the Big Insanity House.

Weight loss is continuing and I’m also experiencing some rather fun side effects. Amongst them are what I can only describe as “crunchy” knees. I’ve read a fair bit now about the knee, associated joints, tendons, cartilage and ligaments which support it. I’m fairly sure this is relatively normal for someone who has been overweight and my knees haven’t coped with the additional weight terribly well. Combining it with high intensive cardio exercise is effectively a recipe for pain. It’s incredibly short term pain, and is more uncomfortable really. The additional benefits are well and truly worth the hurt. Once they warm up a bit, it’s all good.

That said, doctors, soon.

Read More

Insanity Day 38: Hearts on Fire (FREE bonus Rocky IV Montage!)

I shit you not. This is how I’ve felt for the past 3 days. Training to fight Ivan God Damn Drago.

Three days into Month Two and my calves, quads, shoulder and upper arm muscles are stiff as … well a stiff thing. I’ll leave the rest of that up to your imagination! I had spent the “Recovery Week” trying really hard not to think about month two, I had read lots and indeed plenty of people had told me that the difficulty ramped up significantly. I was desperately hoping they were wrong … they were right. The best way I can describe it, is to go back to Day 1 and multiply that feeling of “oh holy fuck what am I doing” by about 10.

That said, at the end of today when I did the “Max Cardio Conditioning” I could start to feel my body reacting. The aches went away as the muscles warmed up and I found myself really pushing into it. So much so that a large bump on the floor had me thinking the front door had gone. A groan from the good lady told me otherwise and I went back to slaughtering myself!

Read More

OpenDNS, YouTube & Parental Controls

Don’t look now, but there appears to be a post on this blog of a mildy technical nature! I know. I was surprised too.

The Internet is a truly wonderful place for children. There are games they can play, videos they can learn from and a plethora of other things that can excite and maintain their interest. I’m 28 years old and have been online since I was around 13, back in the heady days of Dial Up Pay Per Minute and Napster (the less said about the £600 BT Phone Bill for one month the better …). As I was growing up I seen things on the Internet I had never seen before, some of it was a little less than savoury. You can imagine. Thinking back on it now, it was awesome probably a bad thing.

As a ‘growed-up‘ parent, I’m relatively relaxed about the Internet. I work for an ISP. I spend upwards of 70% of my free time in front of a computer. I have no less than 10 Internet connected devices in my home at any one time. I fully understand the Internet and the beast that it can be. Which is why, it came as a bit of a surprise when I had such serious issues with one of it’s core members. YouTube. Not YouTube in itself, but some of the content on there and how difficult it was to stop little eyes and ears seeing and hearing things which are just not appropriate.

Read More