Update August 21, 2018

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated anything.  Here’s what I’ve been up to.


I’ve migrated away from Windows 10 to Linux.  My PC is running Linux Mint 19, I picked it mostly because of it’s easy to use GUI and that it’s one of the more popular distros as the moment.


I have had some trouble getting my ovirt cluster up and running, but yesterday my NAS came in so I have a place to put the 4 3TB hard drives I have lying around.  I think there’s an issue with the latest version of ovirt (4.2) and the latest version of Centos (7.5) because it kept skipping the “Storage Configuration” option.  The only way I was able to get it to ask for the storage was with the following command:

hosted-engine --deploy --noansible


I think the next step is to get a replacement for the Google products I use, of which there are a lot.  I thought about running a VM of Next Cloud on my ovirt cluster, but that would mean that I need to always keep one of the boxes on, so I think I’ll just run it inside my main computer as a VM and use the cluster for other testing options, etc.  Getting Next Cloud up and running will probably be my next project, after that I can migrate my stuff out of Google and onto my own servers.


That brings me to my next thing I worked on.  I have a Nexus 6 that’s been collecting dust and running an old ROM from a few years ago.  I wiped it and installed the latest version of Lineage OS, which as of right now is 15.1 which makes my old phone running Android 8.1.0.  Pretty sweet for a 4+ year old phone I think.  The battery has some wear, and I haven’t moved the SIM card over so I’m not using it for phones and calls yet, but a lot of the typical stuff I do during the day I’m now using my Nexus 6 for.  I’ve also chosen to not install Gapps, so no google at all on this phone, which means I’m using apps from the F-Droid store, Aptoide and APKpure.  If there’s a (reasonably good) option for an app that’s open source, I’ve picked that over other options.


I was playing with virt-manager at work since there is a box with 128GB RAM and 48 cores just sitting there.  I’d never messed with virt-manager before, but it seemed pretty straightforward.


The first thing I ran into though was getting ssh to tunnel X11 traffic properly.  It ‘just worked’ when I connected to one Xen server, but not two others.  After playing with a few different programs and talking with the main sys admin, I installed MobaXterm and still had the same issue.  Turns out, changing the display offset fixed it.  I would use the command:

export DISPLAY=[my ip]:0.0

This would just work on one box, but I looked at this article here and then changed my display offset to 1 and did the command a little different:

export DISPLAY=[my ip]:1.0

And it worked!  Here’s what made it click with MobaXterm


Other than that,I was given an old laptop to use, but I can’t get the wifi to work on it so I might bag that idea since I can’t find an extra wifi USB adapter and I don’t have an extra switch to bring to work to use Ethernet.  This laptop is so I can use the Burp Suite application/pen testing software to test our application.

Python update

I’ve been continuing in Python since the last post.   From what I can recall at the moment is it’s mostly been about functions and passing arguments and things like that.  Pretty straightforward, but they did do an example of how to say a word in pig-latin and I extended that to include a whole sentence and then split it on the whitespace.


Doing the security part of my job has been pretty dull so far – a lot of it is because I don’t know where things are at and when I reach out to my counterpart he doesn’t reply very quickly.  It’s alright, I just have to take it at his pace.  I also got logins to a Xen server we have, 128GB ram and 12TB of space.  I haven’t done anything with it yet, but I probably will over the next few days.


Totally not related, and I think he’s a little too conspiracy like for me, but seeing Alex Jones get banned from basically the internet kinda scared me a little bit.  Yesterday I was explaining to my mom how to use my Google Fi phone when she goes to Europe next month and how I don’t really care if it’s broken perse, but its the google account on it that I’m risking.  Those two things made me realize I think I need to start migrating off of Google and paying for secure email provider, using NextCloud to backup my stuff and more open source software.  It’s been on my mind for a while and first I need to figure out how to untangle myself from all of it before I jump in.

Continuing Python

So I’ve been continuing python, a lot of what I’ve done so far has been pretty basic and I remember the gist of it from a few years ago and other programming languages that are similar.  It’s gone over data types, logic if/then, getting input, lists and things like that.  It is pretty exciting to learn new things and see how they fit together.


I’ve thought about how to get an ovirt cluster back up here and I’ll need to buy a switch and a couple extra network cables.  I could use the old 100 Mbps one I have or a giant Cisco one, but neither of those options sounds good for the space I am in right now.  I’ve also looked at Xen server and I don’t have any experience with it, but the place I am at now uses it so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get familiar with it.  Doing so might push back getting a cluster online since I would need to learn it as I go vs setting up an ovirt cluster in a few hours (after a few hours of installing the OS, updates, etc).  So I have those options to mull over.  I thought I had written a post on this last night, but I guess I didn’t save it.

August 1, 2018

I’ve been spending a lot of times on LinkedIn recently and on article in particular stood out to me: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/plagued-employee-turnover-heres-why-youre-losing-new-hires-gregg/


It’s made me think about recently switching jobs and the reasons why I left my old company after 6 months.  Two big reasons were the second items in the list – I didn’t have clarity of goals and responsibilities and I didn’t really have an orientation.  After a month or two when the newness wore off, I realized I could be in a bit of a pickle, but I started learning things in the spare time I had during the day (lots of it), getting better at virtualization and Linux and learning lots of cool things with AWS.


Now I’m working as a System Administrator/Security Analyst for Northrop Grumman.  This wasn’t really planned to happen so fast or at all.  A lot of the calls I got were people acknowledging I had experience in XYZ with one company and asked if I’d like to do XZY at another company.  Um, no thanks.  I wanted something that was a step up, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted – because honestly, I’m not even sure of that myself.


The newness of the job is still there, so it’s too early to make a call if it’s good or not so I’ll just take it in good faith for now.  Technically, I’m employed with STG since it’s contract to hire and the other day I found out that they offer $30 a month reimbursement for courses on places like udemy.com and the like, so I took advantage of that as soon as I could.  I purchased two courses, one on Python and the other on Ethical Hacking.  I skimmed through both and want to get into the Ethical Hacking, but when I thought about it, I realized it would be best if I set up a ovirt lab and then I thought about all that it would involve and it’s Wednesday and I don’t want to start it right now, maybe a weekend type project.


So I’m going to start the Python course (https://www.udemy.com/complete-python-bootcamp/learn/v4/overview) for now.  I think it’ll be easier and I can upload work to github and do some of it at work during downtime, of which there’s been a quite a bit because the person who I’m replacing is a few days from retiring, the sys admin has been out of town and my boss was on vacation and broke his ankle/leg.  Kind of a perfect storm of events to happen to the new guy I guess haha.