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Banshee Music Player Unable To Find iPod

Banshee is the prefer music player for my Ubuntu installations because of it’s functional and effective interface, tested and confirmed to work with my IPod first generation on a older laptop I was surprised to find that Banshee was unaware of my IPod when connected to my desktop. After researching the Banshee installation on my laptop I noticed one package was missing on my desktop installation. Podsleuth was the missing package and it’s job is to “discover detailed information about Apple iPod’s”.

All I needed was to install podsleuth using the Synaptic Package Manager. Why was the package missing in the first place I have no idea, but I hope this helps if your Banshee install fails to recognize or see your iPod.

VMware Server or Player Fails To Start After Kernel Upgrade

VMWare Server / Player failing to start after a kernel upgrade is a common problem, specially in Ubuntu 8.04 which recently experienced a number of upgrades to the kernel. The solution to get VMWare Server / Player working again is an easy one just re-run the vmware-config-pl and press enter to choose the default options unless you want to change the configuration.

sudo vmware-config.pl

Remember this command, you will need it in the future.

Windows Mobile Makes Any Mobile Phone Revert 10 Years

“A phone represents part of your personality” some hobo told me the other day, well here is mine. In the beginning I wanted a phone with other (third party) software options Windows Mobile seem like the right choice, 5 months later I stopped buying 3rd party applications and just want it a phone. Then the Windows Mobile experience and performance made the rest of the time feel like I deserved some kind of mobile punishment. Remember “PALM” it was the same feeling. Some day a group of researchers will figure out how Microsoft approves a project for release. I bet some CrackBerry owner is making fun of me.

This piece of crap makes me feel bad about my personality

Face it

  • The interface sucks
  • The actual operating system under-performs
  • You get the whole Windows experience in your pocket

Don’t make the same mistake I made instead get a BlackBerry if you want to squeeze the most out of your time, but if you want a plain cool phone with a good amount of exiting features the iPhone is the answer. Sooner or later you will want a phone just a phone to make calls WM is not the option.

Take it from me a sucker
Luis Ventura

Little Brother By Cory Doctorow

Books come and go, some of the are under appreciated either because they happened to be published at the wrong time. Little brother by Corey Doctorow is not one of those books, with the current direction the administration in the US has taken the book comes at the right time. The similarities and sense of humor which can be spotted in the first pages make for a great combination.

Despite the book being Science Fiction it was clearly based on a “what if” the government receives power without questions, what if the citizens agrees, what if the constitution is ignored and what if the citizens them selves are willing to sell their freedom for an uninsured sense of safety.

Come up with your own conclusions!.

My copy of Little Brother

Major Retail Chains Failure To Implement Proper Physical And Basic Network Security Is Something Normal

Let’s come clean most of the major retail chains fail miserably to implement proper physical and basic network security. TJX is the shiny example and sometime ago it was confirmed thanks to an article from theregister.co.uk, the article highlights some of the obvious failures major retail chains face like leaving the servers running under administrative mode, no real physical segregation, and placing post-it notes with the passwords and user names in obvious places like under the monitor located next to the server.

The following articles explains in better deal the same flaws I witness while working for JC Penny.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/23/tjx_fires_whistleblower/

Security was so lax at the TJ Maxx outlet located in Lawrence, Kansas,
that employees were able to log onto company servers using blank
passwords, the fired employee, Nick Benson, told The Register. This
policy was in effect as recently as May 8, more than 18 months after
company officials learned a massive network breach had leaked the
details of more than 94 million customer credit cards.

I speak out of my own experience when I say that I witness the same thing while working for JC Penny (not for IT), the store has three servers running Windows 2003 under administrative privileges and one Cisco 1800 router. All the equipment was located in one room which happen to be the same room where the barcode scanners were located meaning a lot of people had access. Apparently the administrator account with no password was used in all server because the assistant store manager was expected to reboot the servers or perform some basic trouble shooting when calling technical support. If a determined person wanted to pull some data of the servers the best time was after 7 AM that’s when most on the employees had the remaining bar code scanners in their hands and had no reason to return to the room.

It’s been over two years but I remember the primary function for two of the servers.

  • POS (this one always called my attention)
  • File server
  • CRM or SCM (can’t remember)

Back then I was shocked after witnessing the lack of security, my teacher always pointed out that security involved more than just configuring a firewall but also physical and keeping the equipment away from the water lines at any cost.

Maybe I was a kid flooded with curiosity meaning.

  • Wireshark and Nmap just for fun
  • Scanned for all network devices and ports in use
  • Maybe the internal network was exposed
  • Maybe the filtering rules used on the routers were exposed and maybe I found those rules to be weaker than the ones I created when taking my first CCNA class
  • Maybe the possibilities for installing keyloggers in the kiosk and servers existed

I am no in a position to judge Nick Benson decision to post what he knew but I used to be in the same position he was, the only difference is that I was never part of IT for the company. My job was to be a simple replenisher for the merchandise and a minor at the time. The information he posted provides no concrete way for a cracker to cause further damage all he did was to exposed the already weak procedures in place. Let me say that in the end no lesson will be learned and your personal data will remain vulnerable because of the stupid decisions made by a few uninformed executives. The company was safe with me because I never had the intention of causing trouble instead I learned from their mistake which I hope to prevent in the future.

Who needs to bypass a corporate firewall or create elaborate social engineering tricks when all it takes is getting a job at a company that pays 8.20 an hour and work from the inside.

Install VMware Server 1.0.6 On Ubuntu 8.04

Update – If your version of VMWare server fails to start after a regular kernel upgrade you have to re-run the vmware-config.pl.

VMware Server 1.0.6 will not work out of the box with Ubuntu 8.04, in this how-to I will use the normal installation procedure but with a few tweaks at the end to make it work with Ubuntu 8.04.

Download VMware server, I prefer to download the tar.gz for Linux or you can use wget.

wget -c http://download3.vmware.com/software/vmserver/VMware-server-1.0.6-91891.tar.gz

Then request your serial number by completing the form, the serial number is required during the installation.

http://register.vmware.com/content/registration.html

Install the development tools needed to complete the installation.

sudo aptitude install build-essential linux-kernel-devel linux-headers-generic xinetd

Untar the archive, the version may vary.

tar xf VMware-server-1.0.6-91891.tar.gz

Move in to the recently created directory named “vmware-server-distrib”.

cd vmware-server-distrib

Use sudo to invoke the installer and complete the installation like always.

sudo ./vmware-install.pl

Now if you try to run VMware Server it will either give you error messages or not start all, the solution is to bring in the cairo libraries and gcc redirect by means of a simlink.

sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/gcc/i486-linux-gnu/4.2.3/libgcc_s.so /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libgcc_s.so.1/libgcc_s.so.1

sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/libpng12.so.0 /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libpng12.so.0/libpng12.so.0

Now VMware Server should be able to start without a problem, if it helps you let me know.

Note*
After moving from VMware Player to VMware Server I noticed the following error when trying to run some of my virtual machines.

Unable to add virtual machine “/home/ls354/VM/xp/Clone of Windows XP Home Edition.VMX” to the inventory: Configuration file was created by a VMware product with more features than this version

I will have a fix in my next post, which is http://linhost.info/?p=92

Ubuntu Locales Warning Fix

For some reason I kept getting a “localed failed” warning which can be annoying, the solution was to manually generate the locales with sudo.

Example of a warning

Iwant@cheesecake:~$ perl: warning: Setting locale failed.

perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:

LANGUAGE = (unset),

LC_ALL = (unset),

LANG = “en_US.UTF-8”

are supported and installed on your system.

perl: warning: Falling back to the standard locale (“C”).

Solution to the problem

sudo locale-gen en_US

sudo locale-gen en_US.UTF-8

VMware Converter Reconfiguration

When it comes to desktop virtualization my first options is always VMware but using it is a like a roller coaster ride due to broken or unsupported changes, but the amount of features and tools available make the ride worth it.

“The best solution is not always the friendly one or in the form of open source”

Previously I was a user of VMware Player because it only had one function which is to play virtual machines, but after a while I noticed some limitations which prompted the change to VMware Server 1.0.6. The changed created some issues with some of the previously created virtual machines on VMware Workstation, under VMware Player no virtual machine ever refused run VMware Server was a different story and return the following error.

Unable to add virtual machine “/home/ls354/VM/xp/Clone of Windows XP Home Edition.VMX” to the inventory: Configuration file was created by a VMware product with more features than this version.

Basically VMware Server has a problem with the configuration file created by VMware Workstation, after searching around one of the proposed solutions proposed was to make manual changes to the configuration file except that I had mixed results and not enough good results to justify the changes.

Then I remember that VMware offers a little know option called VMware Converter at no cost which among many things has the capabilities to convert a machine from bare metal to virtual, change the amount of NIC’s, and most important of all reconfigure virtual machines for specific VMware product like ESX or VMware Server. I will guarantee you that VMware Converter solves the “Unable to add virtual machine” problem, however there is one catch the software is only available for Windows and the bare metal transition only works for Windows lucky me I dual boot into Windows XP which happens to be my secondary operating system.

Reconfiguring an existing virtual machine

Requirements

  • A Windows box.
  • Enough storage for the end result modified vm.

Convertion

  • Start VMware Converter and click on “Import Machine”.
  • Click Next and select “Standalone virtual machine, backup or disk image”.
  • Browse and find your previously created machine.
  • Select “Import all disks and maintain size”.
  • Now choose “VMware standalone virtual machine”, did you notice that “VMware Server” is an option.
  • Give your virtual machine a name and location for the end result, the options below will determined the version because I work with VMware Server 1.0.6 I picked the option in the middle “Workstation 5.x, VMware Server 1.x, Player 1.x”.
  • Now we want to select on “Create a full clone” otherwise changes made in the original virtual machine may render the new machine unusable, the “Disk Space Allocation” option is up to you.
  • I said you could make changes to the machine, if you want to now is your chance I choose not to. Last warning before the process starts.
  • VMware Converter will start to import and make the appropriate changes, my virtual machine is only 15GB in size which took 15 minutes to convert.

Now just open your brand new re-configured virtual machine with VMware Server. The whole conversion process is very easy and straight forward, if you chose the correct setting like the version of VMware Server you use errors like “unable to add virtual machine” problem will disappear.

Keep Up To Date Your Linux Server With Cron

Everyday tasks for any administrator includes keeping the various networking equipment up to date which is a repetitive process consuming unnecessary amounts of time. This simple crontab will check for updates everyday in my case I have an Ubuntu server.

First let’s become root in order to edit the crontab.

sudo crontab -e

Cron can very easy to set up, here is my automatic update / upgrade example.

MAILTO=”admin@linhost.info”

# Check for updates at 6:30 everyday
30 18 * * * apt-get -qq update && apt-get -qq –simulate upgrade

Let me explain that the “MAILTO” line will send an email only if an upgrade becomes available, the server will check for updates and upgrades at 6:30. If you don’t have a mail server I recommend installing Postfix for outgoing email only.

If you run Ubuntu 6.06 LTS you won’t get many emails.

How To Install TrueCrypt On Ubuntu 8.04

TrueCrypt is one of the best solution for file encryption in general and is open source. The team in charge of TrueCrypt released TrueCrypt for Linux with a GUI for easy use, previously the only way to use it was via CLI. If have used TrueCrypt for Windows you might notice that some of the features are missing in Linux, some of them are

  • No whole disk encryption
  • Hidden TrueCrypt volume

The move to make TrueCrypt cross platform brings the ability of mounting a TrueCrypt volume between platforms with out any major limitations. I am currently using Ubuntu 8.04, at the time of the tutorial version 5.1a was available

wget http://www.truecrypt.org/downloads/truecrypt-5.1a-ubuntu-x86.tar.gz

tar zxvf truecrypt-5.1a-ubuntu-x86.tar.gz

cd truecrypt-5.1a/

sudo dpkg -i truecrypt_5.1a-0_i386.deb

TrueCrypt is now installed, open the terminal or ALT-F2 and type “truecrypt”.

If you want to create a launcher for easy access go to:

Right click in a blank area of your desktop > choose “Create Launcher” > for name use “TrueCrypt” and for command use “truecrypt” > Click “OK”

The installation should work with most distributions, if you have any question just ask me.