Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)

StormeRider's Aerie

Riding the Winds of Storm

Friends Only
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
I've set most of my posts to be friends only after various dramas. Occasionally I will do a public post if I want to cross-post it to Facebook.

Comment if you want to be added, and I'll let you know. At this point, I have the following filters:

  • General
  • Gaming
  • Politics
  • Sexuality
  • Religion
  • Health
  • Writing
  • Family Issues

I will add people to the General, Health, and Writing filters by default. Please let me know if you want to be added to any of the other filters.

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Git with an alternate SSH key…
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)

So I use both for my day job, and also for managing my private Git repos. (Since BB is free for personal private repo use, whereas GitHub charges for that…)

However, when I go to push to BitBucket for my personal use, I need to make sure that my SSH keys for work aren’t loaded. This has resulted in me doing things like “ssh-add -D” to wipe out all the keys in my ssh agent, then manually loading my personal key for git use. Then when I start work again, I have to reload my other keys. Rather annoying.

I came across a solution here: git admin: An alias for running git commands as a privileged SSH identity

However, it didn’t work for me. Took a bit to figure out why, but it came full circle back to the use of ssh-agent– even though I was properly specifying my SSH identity file, the keys from my ssh-agent were being seen first. All I had to do was to disable the use of ssh-agent inside of the script, like so:

set -e
set -u
ssh -i $SSH_KEYFILE $@

That did the trick for me. Hope that helps someone else out there as well!

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[Tech] Running the cacti cookbook under Ubuntu
Misc - Tux Penguin, Mood - Coding

So something I’ve been loving lately as I dive into the world of DevOps is the large community that Opscode has built up around Chef. While Puppet and Chef aim towards solving the same problem, and have many similarities in thought towards solutions (and many differences, of course), one of the swaying factors for many people like myself is the community. Puppet mostly gave me the tools to reinvent the wheel for my infrastructure; Chef gives me the tools to make a wheel and a shop full of free wheels already made. Sometimes you need to do a bit of work to make it fit, but sometimes you can just hook it up and go. That’s an invaluable thing in today’s fast paced IT world.

My “itch” to scratch of today was Cacti. I’ve been having some problems with the local Comcast connection, and the temperature has been rising here in the PNW, and as a result my mind has returned towards getting my local network monitoring set back up. And indeed, this is a great chance to set up a local testbed for Chef work unrelated to my day job. So I got Nagios and rsyslog bootstrapped with Chef here at home yesterday and worked on Cacti today.

(I got a little derailed when I found out that for some reason my Linux box’s swap partition had an incorrect entry in /etc/fstab. After fixing that, I got an error when trying to turn swap back on:
swapon: /dev/sda5: read swap header failed: Invalid argument
This article pointed me to the solution:
mkswap /dev/sda5; swapon -a
That recreated the swap header and then I was able to enable it and have a stable system again.)

There was already a cookbook for Cacti, but it looks like it was designed for Redhat package names and file paths. I spent some time stepping through things and making it work with Ubuntu. For the most part, it was a matter of taking some hard-coded settings, replacing them with attributes, and setting the default values for those attributes to be the same as the old hard-coded values. This allows me to then override them locally, and anyone else already using the cookbook will see no change. I did add a few platform-specific checks, for things like the Ubuntu package names.

In all likelihood, anyone running a Debian system can probably change the spots I added Ubuntu support and extend them for Debian support as well (since most of the core Ubuntu packages either come from or get merged upstream into Debian). However, I don’t have a Debian test environment yet, so I didn’t want to make assumptions. It’s on the list of things to get up and running in a VM… CentOS, Oracle Linux, and Debian.

Here’s the role that I ended up with, when all was said and done. In my case, this server is only available over the internal network, so I didn’t need SSL support.

  "name": "cacti-server",
  "description": "Role to configure Cacti server.",
  "json_class": "Chef::Role",
  "chef_type": "role",
  "default_attributes": {
  "override_attributes": {
    "cacti": {
      "user": "www-data",
      "group": "www-data",
      "cron_minute": "*",
      "apache2": {
        "conf_dir": "/etc/apache2/conf.d",
        "doc_root": "/var/www",
        "ssl": {
          "force": false,
          "enabled": false
  "run_list": [
  "env_run_lists": {

I sent over a pull request to get the changes merged in, but until then feel free to grab the cookbook from github (note that you’ll want the ubuntu branch). If you’re using Berkshelf, you can add this to your Berksfile:

cookbook 'cacti', github: 'stormerider/chef-cacti', branch: 'ubuntu'

I hope this helps someone else!

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[Public] Reading this year...
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
So, I've been doing a lot of reading this year. I'm tracking my progress over on Goodreads, as part of the 2013 Reading Challenge. For those that haven't known me long, until sometime last year, I had actually gotten to the point that I had actually stopped reading completely. Between my eyeglasses prescription being horribly out of date, and my arthritis in my hands making it physically painful to hold a mass market book (nevermind the hardcover monstrosities that I love so dearly)... I just couldn't do it anymore.

Some lovely friends of ours from Romance Divas (a site that [personal profile] nonny and I help admin at) ended up sending us a Nook Color out of the blue as a thank you for all that we had done. I'd been considering getting one, but at the time I was still a contractor at Livemocha and dealing with insurance (and Drake *sigh*), so I didn't think I'd be able to afford it anytime soon.

It made a huge, huge difference in our lives. We rapidly prioritized getting [personal profile] nonny one of her own, so we didn't end up squabbling over them (which I'm ashamed to admit did happen initially. I was still on / recovering from the prednisone at the time, I believe).

This year I wanted to read even more, so I set a goal of 250 books. So far, I've gotten 158 down.. which sounds a bit more impressive than it actually is, as a bunch of those have been comics, novellas, and short stories. To give you a better idea, let me show you some graphs from Goodreads:

cut for imagesCollapse )

As you can see, there's a significant discrepancy. Lately I've actually been reading on an iPad 3 which I have on loan from my work, which is working out really nicely with the size and weight (and it can handle streaming video, where the Nook Color kind of choked on that). That's been a big bonus for getting into comics, because the added screen real-estate makes a big difference (especially on PDFs).

I've really been loving the BN store, it's really easy to pick books up at 2am without needing to leave the house. There have been a few incidents of "I dont remember buying $50 worth of books last night, but I was on Ambien", but not really many... and [personal profile] nonny's done the same thing once or twice, so I don't feel bad. The Seattle Public Library has an amazing digital selection as well (including of digital comics, too, which is all kinds of awesome!), and since I have a job in Seattle I have a card through there and the local Timberland library (which doesn't have nearly the same kind of selection, but occasionally comes in handy). I've ended up reading a LOT of books borrowed from SPL, and I'm really grateful for them.

And really? I owe the fact that I can still enjoy reading to some amazing friends who surprised me more than I will ever be able to thank them enough for.

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[Gaming] Xbox 360 recommendations?
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
So our housemate Grey (moonbeamdanser) has an Xbox360 downstairs, and I'm wondering what we should look into in terms of games. [personal profile] nonny and I are both prone to tendinitis, so games that require button mashing are not a good thing. The box is, last I knew, not connected to the network, but that's just a matter of digging up a long ethernet cable (it doesn't have a wifi receiver due to the cost, but the wired setup is viable at this point... it's just a matter of spoons to do it). We also don't have a current XBL subscription; we might pick one up if we find it useful.

Personally I like RPGs and adventure games. Multiplayer would be nice as well. We also have either Guitar Hero or RockBand, not sure which, but I think the guitar needs to be cleaned. Just not sure if I'm coordinated enough to do something like that. I don't believe that it has a Kinect bar.

Things with demos are a plus, so we can try them out and see if we like them. I know that Craigslist is a good source of cheap used games as well. I just haven't been sure what to look for in the first place.


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[Tech] Small, easy billing system for consultancy
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
So, something I do is that I provide web hosting / tech consulting on the side for some friends of mine. Most of them are free, but a few of them are paying clients. Most of the people who do pay do so on a yearly basis, and with my memory, that leads me to often forgetting to invoice them. One client usually pays around tax return time, and just recently had a tech issue that he reached out to me on, and while we were talking he asked if he'd paid this year or not (he hadn't). While looking up whether he had, I realized that there was a whole year that I missed from him, a few years back-- obviously longer than I would like to bring up at this point.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a simple, easy to use billing system that I could use for my small client base. I don't have the time or inclination to learn something like MS Money or Quickbooks or the like; I don't need anything nearly that complicated. Just something that can kick off on a monthly basis and send out invoices as needed. If I do it right, I can even have it do so for some of my free clients, with a discount applied; that way if they choose to toss me a donation towards hosting costs (as some have asked to do from time to time) they can, but they don't need to since the invoiced sum will be $0. Or one of the clients I have has offered to pay me, but I can't be their full-time on call person (my choice, spoons and all), but then I could invoice them when I do do things for them (updating WordPress and Invision Board mainly).

Operating system doesn't matter; I have Windows, Mac, and Linux available to me. Something web based or designed to run in the background (ie, not relying on me to remember to run it) on a scheduled basis would be preferable. If it can hook into Paypal to actually send the invoices, even better, since that's how I take payments.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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[Coding] Using my version of htop-osx
Misc - Tux Penguin, Mood - Coding
I've been futzing with htop-osx in my spare time to add support for CPU temperature monitoring and fan speed... these are things I like to know when I'm using a laptop, and I figured other folks here might as well. If you use homebrew, just do: brew edit htop-osx and paste in the values from and then brew install htop-osx (or if you already have it installed, brew upgrade htop-osx).

Otherwise, you can clone the fork from and build it manually. Once you've done so, run htop and hit F2 to enter setup, navigate over to Available Meters, and add them to whichever column you want (left or right). I normally make htop suid anyways to be able to get full process details, so I'm not sure if that's required to probe the SMC keys for temperature/fan speed, but it's possible.

(Most folks will only have one fan; the newer MacBook Pros and the 27" iMacs only do, I believe the Airs as well. Older MBPs have two, like the loaner I used when getting my MBP repaired. Some Mac Pros-- the desktops pre-iMac integration-- have up to 4 fans. The code currently only displays 3 of them, the 4th being the PSU fan.)

Cut for screenshotCollapse )

Image also on FB, so let me know if there are issues with it as well.

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[Public] Duke, the cuddle!cat
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
In more cute news, Duke has really taken to being a cuddle cat with me. Most of the cats, if you put your arm around them (or worse, over them), they freak out or at least squirm away and zoom off. Him? He just shifts around until he gets comfortable, and starts motor-purring. I've taken to pulling one of my pillows down and putting it at an angle to the others so he can curl up on part of it while I rest my head against the part that angles against the other pillows, and nuzzle into his fur while he purrs away.

He also seems to like it if he has one of his paws over my arm as it's around him, so it usually ends up with my arm underneath his belly and between his front legs. Often with his head resting on my arm or hand. So precious to feel him plop his head down on me, and feel his breath against my skin.

I've taken to bringing him to bed when I go to try and sleep, and he's gotten so used to it that he often comes in when he hears the sleep music on the iPod and the AC turned on, jumping up on the bed and purring away.

I was reading on my iPad the other day (it looks like I'm sleeping in the picture, but just how tired I've been with this migraine and the angle the shot was taken and where I was looking) and cuddling him, and [personal profile] nonny came in and managed to grab a picture of him and me using the new Droid 4 that I got from work. Tossing under a cut since it's a large picture:

cut for size, but cute cuddle cat beneathCollapse )

Let me know if you can't see it because Facebook makes you log in or something strange; I linked to their CDN so I think it should be fine even if you're logged out but I'm not 100% sure.

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[Health] Argle bargle
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
So I found out why my neuro wasn't getting back to me... they were, the Asterisk (trixbox) phone system just wasn't emailing me the voicemails. Doh! Apparently when I set it up I used an old account that hasn't been active in 3 years but Comcast only pruned it out of their system somewhat recently-ish. Yeah... so much confusion entailed. Fixed that, now I'm going to add a Nagios monitor to actually *test* email delivery + reception on an automated basis, so I get notified if it gets fucked up again.

So, regarding the neuro... I have my appointment for Botox rescheduled (yes, it is a migraine treatment, because migraines are vasculomuscular spasms, and Botox helps freeze the muscles... that's my layperson understanding, at least). They also called in a 3 day course of prednisone to break the current 5-day migraine I've been dealing with. They said if I don't see an improvement after day 2 to call them and they'll go from there to see if I need to go to the ER or whatnot.

I have to say, I'm scared as hell to take the prednisone. I know the effect it had on my mind when I was on it for a year, and while I know that a 3 day course is not likely to have the same kind of effect (and certainly not the same extent, given how it gradually altered my personality)... I don't want to become that person again. EVER. It turned me into a raging asshole, nitpicking over everything, always needing to be right, dismissing everyone else, and turning all of my ASD symptoms/triggers up to beyond max.

While that helped make me realize (*after the fact*) what those problems are and how to cope with them better... I do NOT WANT TO BE LIKE THAT AGAIN. It nearly cost me my marriage with [personal profile] nonny. The only way I'm taking those pills is if she thinks it's the best thing, and I'm sure as hell not doing anything longer than three days. I don't trust it, and I don't trust myself not to become my evil!asshole self again while under the influence of it.

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[Public] Dreamwidth folks
Personal - Jasmeralia and Veraldis (WoW)
I'm going to prune folks whom are on my DreamWidth reading list and on my LiveJournal list. I'd really rather pay more attention to DW than LJ (especially with the tumblr-flist on the horizon), so if you're wondering why you've suddenly been unfriended, that's the reason why. I'm not pruning anyone else (that hasn't deleted their accounts, at least) this go around.


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