All posts filed under “Work

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Using pass in teams

Introduction

Pass is the standard password manager for Unix systems. It follows the Unix philosophy.

Pass saves passwords in text files and encrypts them using a gpg key. The folder structure containing the encrypted files is the pass store. Sharing a pass store without handing over the gpg key requires a gpg key exchange. Git is integrated into the pass cli and is used as version control system.

This document is a guideline for users which require access to a shared pass store and is also a documentation of how to set up a shared pass store. The first part elaborates the process of creating a shared pass store and the second part shows how collaboration from the perspective of a user looks like.
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Profiling Ansible roles and tasks

Performance is critical when deploying an environment with Ansible. By default Ansible does not tell how much time elapsed for specific role or task. However, this information would be critical to identify inefficient tasks. Luckily Ansible offers an interface for callback plugins. With the help of a callback plugin one can hook into the role or task execution call. In this post I’ll show you how to configure the callback plugins for profiling roles and tasks. It is quite easy.
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Working with Ansible – Cleanup tasks

My current project is heavily based on Ansible. We use Ansible to deploy into different environments and domains. The configuration has become quite complex. That is why we need to cleanup a server from time to time. Especially when one has to upgrade services on a server and requires to get rid of the old services first. In this post I would like to show you, how we define and run Ansible cleanup tasks in our project.
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Update Windows Subsystem for Linux

Today I learned that certain Ubuntu package versions are bound to the release version of Ubuntu. For example the only available version of the password store tool pass for Ubuntu LTS 14.04 (trusty) is 1.4.2-3. If you need a newer version you have to update Ubuntu first. Usually this no big deal, however, if you work with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) it is a big deal. The WSL release is bound to the Windows version. In result to update a package you have to update your Windows first.
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Setup SSH on Windows 10

I have started a new job and as usual had to set up a new computer. Using Windows in a Unix environment seems like a bad choice at first. However, Microsoft has changed strategy and embraced the Unix world with projects such as Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) or Windows SQL Server support for Linux. In result you can install bash with WSL and use the native ssh client. But there is also another way. If you install Git for Windows a ssh binary is shipped as well. This binary and other tools such as ssh-keygen are not available from the command line by default. I want show you how to fix this, setup a keypair and start using ssh in a Windows environment.
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Create a soft wallet and transfer your Ether coins from an exchange

Intrigued by the title you might ask your self: What is the reason to store ether in a software wallet? Well, If you have cryptocoins on an exchange platform there is always the risk of the account getting hacked or the platform goes offline (see MtGox). Exchange platforms for cryptocoins are not as regulated and institutionalized as banks and trading centers are. The risk is in favor of the provider. To assert full control of your coins aka your money it is recommended to store them in a wallet.
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Forward Windows event log entries to syslog server

Syslog is the defacto standard for sending log messages in an IP network. Instead of pulling log messages from a remote computer as you would do it in a windows environment, the log files are sent by remote computers to a central log repository. This way of managing log files has become the standard for Linux / Unix environments. As our IT systems tends to become hybrids, the questions arises how it possible to send syslog messages from a windows computer. In this post I will present you a simple approach.
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PowerShell – Logging in CMTrace format

CMTrace is probably the first choice for a log viewer in a Microsoft environment. When working with System Center Configuration Manager there aren’t any alternatives available. In a recent scenario I had to write log files in the CMtrace format. There are already many cmdlets available to do so, however, most of them did not work well or were overengineered. There I’ve taken a look at the CMTrace format specs and wrote a PowerShell function to create compatible log files.
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Configuration Manager – Configure requirement rules for deployment types with PowerShell

Configuration Manager applications can be equipped with powerful requirement rules. For example an application must be installed only if there is enough disk space on the target device or only if the device is the users primary device. The second example is an important requirement rule when working with user device affinity. Configuring this kind of rule is done in a few seconds using the management console. However, scripting the rule with PowerShell is much more difficult. As of today the cmdlets provided by Microsoft for automating Configuration Manager assets do not support building requirement rules for deployment types. But as always there is a workaround. In my case I’ve decided to create an application template containing all requirement rules and copy specific rules from there to other applications.
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SCCM 1702 increase client log size and retention

With additional steps in an image deployment task sequence the log files will grow quite big. By default the Configuration Manager client keeps a log history of 0 and a size limit of 2 MB for each log file. In result you’ll find yourself missing important details when trying to debug a failed operating system deployment. At some point the log files will be cut off. In order to increase the log size and retention, parameters must be configured in two places.
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