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Month: October 2011

Online Community for Airsoft on Oahu

When I joined the Airsoft Hawaii group on Facebook, I had high hopes: people were posting about different events on the island, who was going where, and the like. Then, the administrators started cracking down. This page is only for “our” events, they said.

So, I’ve decided that something needs to be done. The simple answer would be to create another Facebook group, but my opinion of Facebook has declined greatly in the last few months and I’d prefer to avoid the platform. I also own the domain AirsoftOahu.com, which I feel is the best name for this community anyway. So, I’m currently seeking the back-end software to power the project.

My goals for the next 10 days are:

  • select a content management system (CMS) to power the site,
  • define and implement a forum structure,
  • define a content structure,
  • and begin working on the site’s design

Currently, the site is running on my personal server, but will be moved off to a bigger, more powerful machine when its actually being used.

 

Goodbye Apple Airport

After years of using an Apple Airport Extreme as my home router, I’ve decided that I need something different. As an early 802.11n device, it lacks many of the features available in newer routers, such as advanced dual-band features, guest networks (not so advanced, but sadly lacking on the AE), and the like.

The top-of-the-line routers from Cisco/Linksys and Netgear look promising, although their >$150 price point hurts my wallet just thinking of them. They offer some nice features on top of standard router faire:

  • Netgear’s box features both printer and drive ports, easily turning your desktop printer into a workgroup machine and let’s you share media over the network.
  • Linksys’ box includes a built in UPnP server and a single USB port.

Unfortunately, my printer has a built in Ethernet port and my home server is serving up my media via UPnP much faster than an attached drive would. What it’s coming down to is network performance and price.

I’ll be doing some performance research (the findings of which I’ll post here) and will make my decision before the end of the month.

Of course, if you’re interested, I’ll be putting my old router up on eBay. So, if you want a solid router with easy Mac/iPad/iPhone integration and a USB port for a printer or drive, you should check that out.

Team Chief’s Toolkit, Part II: Hacking Your Equipment

Okay, “hacking” may be a bit overboard for what I’m talking about here, but between the recent policies from General Dynamics and the ineptitude of the team you may be replacing, I might not be that far off.

In Part II of the Team Chief’s Toolkit, I’ll give a few recommendations for modifying your equipment and provide a few useful tips for dealing with TPE equipment.

Modify Your Switches

Any remote switch you may have (that is, a switch not mounted inside your stacks) should be locked down and hardened.

  • Enable service password-encryption. This will prevent your VTY and console passwords from being displayed in clear text inside your config.
  • Enable SSH version 2 and disable telnet. Cisco has a nice article on how this is done.
  • Enable port security. For each non-trunk port, there should only be two MAC addresses: the IP phone and the computer attached to it. Port security is not needed on trunk ports, but ensure that nonnegotiate is set to prevent VLAN hijacking and only allow the voice, data, and management VLANs across.
  • Avoid using SNMP version 2c or earlier. Use 3 if your NETOPS will allow it.

Migrating Company Website

Although I’ve moved my blog from my previous webhost to my own server, I’m still working on getting my company’s website moved over.

I’m actually redesigning the site, as my focus has moved from small- and medium-businesses to small-businesses and individuals. The way things are here on Oahu, anything bigger than a small-business is a subsidiary of a large company with its own IT department or has its own “IT guy” anyway. Not that I’ll turn down work from a medium-business, but frankly the individuals turn out to be more profitable.

Wanna Get Rid of Spam? Try This

Create a filter which checks the body of email messages for the word “unsubscribe.” Then, have that filter either delete those messages or move them to your spam folder. Think about it. It’ll work.

New Site

Hi!

I’ve moved my blog to a new domain and server. The old posts have been migrated for historical purposes, but that’s about it.

Problems with Using an Xbox360 as an HTPC

My Windows Home Server box is now hosting all of my digital media, so I figured I’d test out its ability to work with my Xbox. The method of accessing it is significantly easier than streaming your media from a PC running Windows Media Center: you go about it the same way you would access video files off a thumb drive plugged into the 360.

My only problem is this: my HD movie files (.mkv) and certain other videos will not play because the Xbox doesn’t have the codecs to support them. I figured this would be an issue, but as my digital media library becomes more HD-centric, I’m going to need another solution.

I’m seriously looking into building a few dedicated HTPCs that run XBMC, a media center application that not only will play everything I want it to (except Netflix in the Live version), but looks great and is easy enough for my wife to use and enjoy. The end-state for the HTPCs would definitely be having one connected to each TV in the house, but I think a single test machine will have to be the first step in selling the wife on the idea.