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Overdue Update [15 Apr 2006|03:38pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | busy ]

Hi All --

It's been a while since I wrote here and I hope everything has been working well for all of you. Since nothing of note has been happening in server-land, I haven't had anything to say. However, since there are some updates I'd like to make and I'll be moving soon I thought it was time for an update.

1 -- If you are running Gallery, please upgrade to the latest version (1.5.3), which can be found here. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, please let me know. There are exploits in the out of date version some people are running which allow someone to take control of the hosting machine.

2 -- I will be upgrading SquirrelMail on everyone's accounts. Please let me know if you start having any problems.

3-- I will be moving sometime in the next month and a half since my partner and I have purchased a condo. Hopefully there will only a brief interruption in service as the new place is about 10 blocks away.

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

14 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

[10 Apr 2005|01:22pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | busy ]

Ok, I owe this community a post. I owed it a few days ago, actually, but I've hardly had time to breathe, much less post.

I moved my server to Seattle. As I will be graduating from Simon's Rock in May, I don't feel comfortable having my server there anymore and so I asked kespernorth to take it back to Seattle with him.

The good news: the server is fine and mail is working.
The bad news: because of the setup Bjorn currently has, virtual domains are broken, meaning everything goes to the main domain I have the server configured for (mine). The good news about this is that if I can't figure out how to fix it, we can change Bjorn's setup. I promise you working web sites by tonight. They were already working after the changes I made last night and I just didn't notice. No other problems to report.

In the process of physically moving the server, I chose this time to change the DNS provider for all but jennyrhill's domain as hers is the only one I don't manage. For those of you who don't know what DNS is, it's like a phone book. When you type in a web site to your browser, your computer doesn't know which computer on the Internet to ask for the web site, it asks the Internet phone book of DNS and in order to have a domain name instead of an IP address point to your server you need to have DNS record. I don't maintain a server which does its own DNS at this time due to Simon's Rock's network setup so I used to pay the company which I registered domains through (DomainSite) an extra dollar a year per domain to do it for me. This means that whenever they go down, no one can reach any of our sites. So I changed to EveryDNS which will provide reliable DNS services for free (though it's strongly encouraged you donate and I will be doing so).

jennyrhill, you can either have me or you create a record for your site through EveryDNS or you can update your current DNS server to the new IP. It's 216.231.45.26.

Hopefully this move will mean more reliable and faster service for the rest of you and was designed to minimize the amount of downtime that would have resulted from driving my server out to Seattle. If any of you have any questions, feel free to comment or E-mail me.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Spam [15 Oct 2004|12:48pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | blah ]

So, remember when I said I'd set up spam filtering? It's still up and it's working fairly well for me. I made the filtering a bit stricter so less should be getting through, but spammers are pretty crafty so it's not perfect. I've been "teaching" the spam filter about the sort of E-mail I get so it knows what sorts of things all of the spam I get has in common which it may not have known about and what my "ham" (real E-mail) has in common so they'll be less false positives and negatives. Any feedback about if you're getting more or less spam would be appreciated.

What I'd like to do is set up your spam to automatically delete after two weeks. If anyone has any objections to this, speak now or revoke your right to be annoyed later.

You can view your spam folder by doing the following: 1. Log into your web mail. 2. Click on the "Folders" link in the top list of links right under the title bar. 3. In the bottom section called "Subscribe/Un-subscribe" click on INBOX.Spam and subscribe to that folder. 4. Refresh your folder list and it should be there. You can now use it like a normal folder.

2 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

Spam Teachings [27 Sep 2004|11:21am]

chemicallace
[ mood | accomplished ]

So, watching the spam filtering log in the past 24 hours has taught me a few things. First, I get about 20 times as much spam as everyone else on the server. Second, your spam is less "spammy" than mine in the sense that to a filter checking for key things spam has (mentions viagra, porn, Nigeria, times in the past, etc.) yours gets less hits. Looking at the spam you get, it's still definitely spam. I've lowered the required amount of hits from 5.0 to 3.0 and will be checking to make sure spam is getting caught and nothing else.

I'll also ask about how to be able to read this box through a mail client and not a text editor as I've been doing, so you can see results.

Next up, after I work on biophysics: SSL.

1 E-mail| E-mail the Sysadmin

Spam [26 Sep 2004|11:27am]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

Ok, so I *think* I have spam filtering working.

I've tested it and I'm still getting personal E-mail and this E-mail is being evaluated by SpamAssassin and marked as not spam. I'm directing all actual spam to a mail box called "Spam" that should be appearing in web mail, but it's not. I'm going to keep tinkering with this, so if you're not getting mail you think you should be please let me know. It shouldn't be lost, but just in this folder I can't figure out yet.

Also, if you notice getting less spam as of now, please let me know. Any feedback on changes to your mail would be appreciated.

I'll keep everyone updated.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Web Stats [25 Sep 2004|01:29pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

New nifty feature #1: Web Statistics

For a sample of what they look like, you can see DancingFreya.com's stats here.

If you're interested in having me set this up for you, comment.

8 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

New Server! [22 Sep 2004|09:04pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | blah ]

So, I'm almost finished setting up the new server. For about the next 24 hours, please do not make changes to your files. If you do, comment here letting me know so I can move the new file to the new server. I will have gallery set up in advance as well as web mail with the option to update your passwords. I will be moving your home directories and your web directories, since it's not possible for you to have files anywhere else. The last thing I will be moving is your E-mail, so there will be no lost mail.

Hopefully, sometime tomorrow night/Friday morning when I'm finished with all of this, I'll E-mail you all new passwords. I then expect you to change those passwords to something you haven't used before and I'll give directions for this.

Features I will be adding within the next few days (provided they decide to behave):
- Web Page Statistics
- Spam Filtering
- Secure Web Mail

If you have requests for anything else, let me know. While my laptop is about to be sent off and not working, I get E-mail directly on the server and can deal with your requests there. When I switch over, if you notice anything not working, let me know and I'll get back to you on it. Does anyone here actually use their domain address on a regualr basis (besides me)? If not, why?

When I find a digital camera, I'll take pictures. For the record, it's one of these in the blue color.

Anyway, I'm on one of the library computers so I better get going. Hopefully the change over will go smoothly :-)

5 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

No, I don't want to delete... [09 Sep 2004|06:30pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | blah ]

So, I think I owe this community an update.

The other night I was trying to be useful and install a web log analyzer program. I got frustrated and was deleting the director it was in and starting over, by typing "rm -rf /usr/local/awstats" rm is delete (remove), -r means recursive so it will remove the directory contents and the contents of the directories in them (so on and so fourth), and -f forces it to do this as it complains when deleting directories with stuff in them. Somehow, a space found its way in there so what I typed was really, "rm -rf /usr /local/awstats" and it did exactly as I told it to: it started deleting /usr. First it ate /usr/bin and then it ate /usr/sbin before I realized the command was taking too long to just be deleting one small directory and stopped it.

So, what's in those directories? Imagine if you deleted all of the "Program Files" directory under Windows. All programs that aren't part of the base system were deleted. No one's personal files are there. In fact, no one except me should even be able to touch /usr for the most part. You can read/execute programs there, but only I have write access. Some programs, such as apache (the web server) and postfix (the mail agent) are still running in memory. They only work because they are loaded into memory and I never stopped them. Others (like Pine) work because they weren't in /usr/bin. I've restored some programs that are essential like ssh, scp, etc., but restoring the hundreds of little things I use to keep the server running optimally is a huge pain. I'd basically have to reinstall the system to do it well.

So here's what I'm going to do. For now, all of your mail should be getting there. You can check it using Pine (web mail shouldn't work, but I'll poke at it a bit to see if it's a quick fix). Your web pages should be just fine, including gallery. I will back up everything in your home directories and in your web page directories. Next weekend, in exchange for finally cleaning my room, my father is going to give me a very very fast (think 2-4 times faster than the current server) brand new mini-computer. I will probably put my 200 GB drive in it, reinstall the OS, restore your files and accounts, contact you with new passwords (since changing such things is good) and you will change them to new ones, and life will go on better than before.

Now, if there's anything other than web mail broken for the next week, let me know and I'll restore that as well. Web and mail will continue to work with only a few minute break when I change the IP address from the old machine to the new (hopefully). Aside from web mail being broken, this shouldn't affect you. I just want to keep you in the know.

Oh, and I'll try to take pictures of the cute and shiny new machine.

1 E-mail| E-mail the Sysadmin

Outage [04 Sep 2004|04:14pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | annoyed ]

For those of your whose domains I manage personally through DomainSite.com, I'd like to let you know that as far as I can tell everything of theirs is down right now.

On the up side, I discovered this while finishing my apache-ssl installation, so when sites come back up SSL should be working. Hopefully this will be sooner rather than later because if they stay down long they're going to lose customers like crazy.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Upgrades and Security [03 Sep 2004|02:34pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

I'm upgrading SquirrelMail to the latest stable version (1.4.3a) from the currently running version (1.4.2), and I'd like to know useful people find it and if they're interested in plugins and/or customizing SquirrelMail for their domain.

You can find a list of plugins here.

I'd also like to note that I plan to move all web mail to be SSL only for security reasons and urge everyone after I do to change passwords. I'm not a believer in forcing people to change passwords every 2 minutes or making you have 16 character passwords as I think this makes people more likely to just write their password down, making it completely insecure. Various suggestions for good password practices can be found here. Once everything is on SSL, I'll add the ability to change passwords via the web.

I'd also like to urge people to consider generating a PGP key. If you don't know much about PGP, there's a good write up about it here. Even if no one is interested in impersonating you via E-mail or braking into your files, you'll feel that much safer (and geekier). There is a SquirrelMail plugin available for using it which I can install and I can also walk you through generating and signing your key (and setting it up to be used in pine).

And now, the poll:

Poll #345134 Upgrade Fun

I don't have SquirrelMail installed for my domain, but I'd like it installed.

Yes.
0(0.0%)
No.
1(100.0%)
What's SquirrelMail?
0(0.0%)

I'd like the following plugins installed on my SquirrelMail installation.

I'd like to talk to you about customizing the appearance of SquirrelMail past the color themes it lets me do.

Yes.
1(50.0%)
No.
1(50.0%)

I'm interested in using PGP and would like to have you walk me through creating and managing a key.

Yes.
1(50.0%)
No.
1(50.0%)
2 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

Pine [15 Aug 2004|04:32pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | accomplished ]

I've upgraded Pine to Pine 4.61 with the Maildir patch.

If you notice any problems, please let me know and I'll poke at it and see if they have fixes for them or move back to Pine 4.58. I do know that it's slower opening your inbox and this is probably due to using a different Maildir patch than I have used in the past, which probably works differently. I'll keep my eye out for another version which will hopefully be better and try building Pine 4.61 again with different options.

E-mail the Sysadmin

PHP [03 Jun 2004|02:23pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | accomplished ]

Gallery and web mail should be up and running again thanks to fixing PHP. If you encounter any problems, let me know.

I'll try to be better about posting in here. It's handy for my own reference as well as letting everyone know what's going on.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Updates and Upgrades [03 Jun 2004|09:16am]

chemicallace
[ mood | awake ]

So I fail. It seems that sometime during finals, unbeknownst to me as I don't use web mail, Apache upgraded in such a way that PHp no longer worked with it and things like Gallery and Web Mail stopped working. (Correct me if I'm wrong or if you haven't been having trouble.) Nothing has been lost or the like, it's just been unaccessible from the web. I apologize as I've been traveling an unable to poke at it much, but it will be fixed by the end of the week at the latest. Mea culpa.

Due to unexpected funds, I'm getting a new box for Freya. Something along the lines of a Shuttle which will be much faster, have 200 GB of storage and twice as much RAM. It will also be tiny and since I'm getting it in Seattle it will live there, which means no limits on how much can be uploaded and downloaded (within reason) save for speeds. I'll have the box within the next couple weeks and instead of just copying everything over I'm going to do a clean install and make sure only the necessary things are installed and only copy over what's being used. Nothing will be deleted without explicit permission, just if it's not going to be used I'm going to archive it so it's taking up less space.

Does anyone actually read this? I've checked to see which domains are still pointing to Freya and it would be nice to make sure they're still being used and the like before moving everything and recreating accounts. I'd also like to know who I need to give new IP information to. Please comment, if even just to say you're alive and listening.

2 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

Upgrades [11 Feb 2004|03:25pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | blah ]

Apologies for the brief downtime yesterday.

Freya is now using a 750 MHz AMD processor with 512 MB RAM instead of a 333 MHz Celeron processor with 384 MB RAM. Hopefully the more than doubling in speed and increase memory will show.

She is also using the latest 2.6.2 kernel. I thought about staying with the older 2.4 kernels, but this newer revision is a major improvement.

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Kernel Update [19 Jan 2004|03:07pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | calm ]

Freya has been upgraded to the 2.4.24 kernel. I'm also looking into moving her to another machine, financially permitting. If anything comes of it I will post here before moving ahead with any changes.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Configuration Changes [11 Jan 2004|05:17pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

Postfix, the mail program, has been reconfigured for better mail management today.

In the past any mail sent to your user name at any domain hosted on Freya was sent to you. In addition any mail sent to aliases you requested was sent to you. All other mail should have been returned to sender. Now, any mail sent to your domain will go to you. You can request certain usernames go to other users or be forwarded to different E-mail accounts as well.

If you notice any oddities please let me know.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Maintainance and Things for the New Year [31 Dec 2003|02:02pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

I've noticed a lot of people's domains are now hosted elsewhere or no longer exist and for them I've taken the content of their websites and put them in /var/www/DOMAINNAME.tar.bz2. If I've done this mistakenly, you can fix this yourself or let me know and I can unzip and restore them.

I've added support for PGP/GPG.

When school resumes at the end of January, Freya will be upgraded to be faster and more stable and I'll be moving to the 2.4.23 linux kernel. I can't do anything about the school's network problems but anything server intensive should be faster. I may also completely reinstall at this time in which case details will be posted here. This shouldn't mean anything will change for you except for the better and everything will be backed up and saved but if there are things you don't want or you not longer use the server I won't re-create your account.

If you don't know how to do it yourself, I can do this for you: SquirrelMail and Gallery have been updated and in some cases security holes fixed. If you're using the former and can't upgrade yourself please let me know.

Requests and feedback welcome as always.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Pine Upgrade [12 Oct 2003|06:20pm]

chemicallace
[ mood | productive ]

Pine has been upgraded from version 4.56 with maildir support to version 4.58 with maildir support.

SquirrelMail upgrades up next. Requests for new features and such are welcome.

E-mail the Sysadmin

Um... [02 Jun 2003|08:16am]

chemicallace
[ mood | awake ]

Ok, so I need to apologize. I've been really slacking with the server lately and when web mail broke for some reason I couldn't figure out how to fix it for a while. Web mail should be working now and pine will be broken for a little bit while the mail system is upgraded. Your mail isn't lost, you're just going to have to use web mail and not pine to check it.

So, yeah... I'm sorry I suck and haven't been keeping everyone updated. I'm in France now so I'm a bit behind. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to E-mail me. This summer I'll be looking into doing some major hardware upgrades so things will be faster and happier and I promise I'll keep you posted.

3 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

Gallery [30 Dec 2002|08:10pm]

chemicallace
I kept hearing about this nifty image manager called Gallery and I finally set it up on my domain. You can see it and the pictures I have up so far here.

Anyway, if you would like me to set it up for you please let me know. If you'd like to try to set it up yourself, see the Gallery home page for details.
2 E-mails| E-mail the Sysadmin

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