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Risharde's Blog

Juniper vs Checkpoint Vs Fortigate

For the techies at heart, found a nice comparison table which seems to be recently added (2013) of some popular hardware firewalls

http://www.ebrahma.com/2013/03/comparison-juniper-srx1400-vs-checkpoint-...

It seems the fortigate is in a different league altogether so aside from that device, I'm wondering which one really is better between the Juniper and the Checkpoint. In terms of ease of set up, I'd assume is the Juniper because it has a built in GUI to manage it but as you can see, it can handle only about half the amount of sessions as a checkpoint. I don't want to talk at the top of my head but I think for me, I'd make an intelligent guess that the checkpoint would be more valuable in the long run against concurrent attacks if it can handle twice the amount of sessions than the Juniper. On the downside, it doesn't come with a built in GUI so it means you'll have to use an external app. In any event, this can also be seen as an upside since it might be less likely to be attacked via the GUI and/or be less vulnerable to 0-day exploits.

Installing APC Beta for PHP 5.4.x

Okay so I've tried testing the stable version of apc and it gives segmentation errors with PHP 5.4.x branch and it seems there's an APC beta version out on PECL. I searched the internet and realized it was really hard to find the command to install the beta version so I'm posting it here in hope that it helps others

Firstly, if you built your own php, you should got your php's bin directory and type
./pecl install apc-beta

Of course, if everything goes well, it should compile and you'll need to add the 'extension=apc.so' to your php.ini file. The file for me is located in your php's lib directory. If the file does not exist, you can create it there (if you compiled php from source like I did).

REMEMBER, you may need to restart your apache or other webserver and also phpfpm if your setup is like mine
ALSO, I noticed that with APC installed and in use, more memory was used up. Like about 150 MBs extra.
Good luck!

CinemaTT released for Android

I am pleased to announce the immediate release of CinemaTT. CinemaTT is a straight forward app to access the latest movie information, trailers and show time schedules in cinemas throughout Trinidad and Tobago. It really isn't complicated. Just select the cinema you'd like to see what movies are showing and the app will give you the show times plus the option to watch the trailer for the specific movie ;)

Download it on Google Play Store FOR FREE!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rrp.cinematt

Works on Froyo 2.2.x up to the latest Android version as well as Google TV Supported!

Desalination plant maintenance may affect around 75% of the country

Is it just me or does anyone else believe that we should probably have a backup system for catastrophic events. I heard on the news that the shutdown of the desalination plant for 9 days to do maintenance on it - in Trinidad would affect nearly 75% of the country... I think we really need to have another plant on backup or another system to shed the load. Water is one of the most important ingredients to sustain life and I don't think the country is serious enough about the problems that might be faced during a catastrophic event. Worse of all, I just have a feeling that there's going to be water woes during the 9 day shutdown. Tank systems generally only supply water for about 3-4 days so my logic is telling me that there's going to be some issues here.

How to install Memcached on CentOS 5

Okay so since I don't particularly like to assume the trust of installing 3rd party yum repositories, I install most new software packages by compiling from source as previously mentioned. This undoubtedly makes it more difficult than using the yum command but I think its a sacrifice with respect to trust and security.

So this is how I do the install for Memcached (I have not tested the pecl install memcached as yet.. this is just to get memcached cache server installed). Also, this is for 32-bit.

INSTALL LIBEVENT FIRST
wget -t 10 https://github.com/downloads/libevent/libevent/libevent-2.0.21-stable.ta...
tar -xvf libevent-2.0.21-stable.tar.gz
cd libevent-2.0.21-stable
./configure
make && make install

THEN INSTALL MEMCACHE
wget -t 10 http://memcached.googlecode.com/files/memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
tar -xvf memcached-1.4.15.tar.gz
cd memcached-1.4.15
./configure --enable-threads --with-libevent=/usr/local
make && make install

NICE, IF ALL GOES WELL, YOU HAVE MEMCACHED INSTALLED BUT NOT RUNNING.
TO RUN MEMCACHE, I USE:
memcached -d -u nobody -m 64 -p 11211 127.0.0.1

Notice at the top the -m 64 which tells memcache to use 64MB of memory. You can increase this depending on your RAM needs.

Good luck!

UWI - Resetting your password and a little common sense...

Why is it that UWI's Grade System and the IT department require users to come in to show id to get their passwords reset? My brother has to drive up from south today just to reset his password. Instead, there should be a security question and / or something that can be verified over the phone to get the password reset such as national ID, passport number or drivers permit number. UWI really makes me wonder sometimes.

VAT Exclusive nonesense...

I see many companies especially telecom companies like TSTT using this VAT Exclusive pricing. Why all the nonesense? Calculate the effective price and give people a straight forward way of knowing what they are paying upfront. If I wanted to know the price without VAT, I would calculate it since this is less important. Imagine going in to pay your bill and pay the VAT Exclusive price, I doubt TSTT would appreciate that.

OS Support for Android products vs Apple products

Depending on the brand of your android product, you may be in for a world of disappointment. While I am not extremely knowledgable about Apple products I believe there might be similarities. Generally, you buy the new brand spanking hot of the market device with OS version 1.0 (just an example) only to find that the year later, there's a new product under the brand and now the OS is version 2.0... and you have to buy the new device to get the new OS.

This is currently my problem with Android... well its not really Android but the manufacturers but shouldn't Google do something about this? Like perhaps stipulate that the Android versions should be upgraded for the next X years (2 years or maybe 3 years) before it becomes obsolete???

I'm just thinking that to the consumer, its a fairly raw deal... and its somewhat wasteful from a technology standpoint because most devices can handle os upgrades for at least 2-3 years without dropping in performance...

It's just a thought, you don't have to agree with me on this one

5 hours of downtime (ouch!)

I've experienced about 5 hours of downtime and already posted a support ticket to my server provider. From what I gather, they've been updating their servers due to a zero-day exploit that was recently discovered in RHEL which probably streamed down to CENTOS. I ended up having to boot my server back after noticing it was down. Unfortunately, I was AFK (away from keyboard) for most of the day today so I didn't even know it was down. Good news is that I don't have any customers so the only loss was maybe the search engines updating from fresh data on the website. I'm still rebuilding the journal and haven't got around to rebuilding productions and probably won't do that until after June 30th.

Still, I'm sorry for the downtime, when I expand the rCloud, these things will be a thing of the past. I haven't really been focusing on rCloud development due to time constraints (from the more recent tasks ahead). Once I complete these tasks, I'll attempt to devote myself to rCloud and high availability again. Particularly database clustering.

Upgraded to CENTOS 6 - 64bit

Finally made the switch to CENTOS 6 - 64 BIT
Many of you might be wondering what's the difference between 32-bit an 64-bit operating systems. It all boils down to how values are stored in 32-bit versus 64-bit. For example, on a 32-bit machine, the number 1 might be represented as 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000001. I put spaces in between so its easier to read but in total: 32 numbers (which must be either 1 or 0 since its in bit format). So a 64-bit representation might then be 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000001 (64-bit format). Now this also corresponds to memory addressing and this is why 64-bit machines have a much higher memory addressing limit compared to 32-bit machines. As far as I can tell, a 32-bit OS can use up to 4GB of RAM properly while a 64-bit can use alot more than 4 GB (even more than 8GB). This also means that files for databases can be much larger than 2GB in size if you're on a 64-bit machine and thus is the major reason why companies and IT have been moving over to 64-bit architecture.

Foods that cause heartburn at night

If you suffer from heart burn at night, you should avoid the following foods in particular in the evening time

- Milk
- Spicy food and/or pepper
- Acidic foods such as dhal coupled with pepper
- Too much water (not from experience but what I've heard from others)
- Juice

Home remedies (everyone is different but its worth a try)
- Commercial over the counter Antacids (such as local Dica seems to be more effective than tums)
- Probiotics
- Yogurt

Virtualization in Windows

There are a few ways you can do virtualization in Windows. Firstly, for those of you who don't know about virtualization, I'll try to clarify what I mean by this. Virtualization is essentially the running of one or more "virtual" machines within a host operating system. For example, this article is specific towards running a Virtual Machine within Windows. Think of it as booting into your windows desktop, clicking an icon and then seeing a Window that shows you another computer booting. The Window that shows you another computer booting is doing this by "virtualization". Essentially, it involves additional software to be installed on your Windows based operating system which emulates a computer within Windows.

Firstly, you have to get the virtualization software running in Windows. This is actually very easy. There are many products available such as VMWARE Workstation (I believe there is a free trial but overall, this is software costs money) or a free alternative is Virtualbox which you can get via http://www.virtualbox.org. The VirtualBox project is an open source project sponsored by Oracle. So thank you to Oracle.

When you have finished downloading and installed the Virtualization software. You must create a new Virtual Machine. You'll also want to get a free operating system such as CentOS which is downloadable for free on the internet (http://www.centos.org). Download the .ISO files if you can. Once downloaded, make sure to point your virtual machine to boot from the ISO. This will allow you to boot the CENTOS operating system installer and follow the instructions on the screen.

Flow / Columbus Communications doubles bandwidth for free this Christmas!

Yes! As the title rightly says! The kind folks at FLOW / Columbus Communications had doubled residential bandwidth for FREE this Christmas (2013). Prior to this, a 5 megabit connection was priced at $199.99 but now, you'll get a 10 megabit connection for this price. I definitely appreciate this up in bandwidth and this shows that Flow seems to be leading the pack with respect to internet future here in Trinidad and Tobago!

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