All posts by nicholas

Access idrac6 java console in mac OS

I needed to access my aging Dell PowerEdge R610 iDRAC console on my shiny new 13″ Macbook Pro M1. Unfortunately just like in Linux I ran into the “Connection failed” problem described in this post.

It was actually pretty easy to do for Mac. I installed the latest java for Mac from Oracle’s website. Once installed, I needed to find the location of the Java home directory for my mac. I found this stackoverflow discussion which directed me to use the /usr/libexec/java_home command.

Armed with that command in a subshell I was able to get to the file I wanted to edit:

sudo vim "$(/usr/libexec/java_home)/lib/security/java.security"

Once there I removed RC4 from the

jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms

line. It worked! It was an easier process than on Linux or Windows.

Guacamole docker quick and easy

Apache Guacamole as an awesome HTML5 remote access gateway. Unfortunately it can be very frustrating to set up. They have docker images that are supposed to make the process easier, but I still ran into a lot of problems trying to get everything configured and linked.

Fortunately, a docker compose file exists to make Guacamole much easier to set up. Simply follow the instructions as laid out in the github readme:

  • Install docker & docker-compose
  • Clone their repository, run the initial prep script (for SSL keys & database initialization), and bring it up with docker-compose:
git clone "https://github.com/boschkundendienst/guacamole-docker-compose.git"
cd guacamole-docker-compose
sudo ./prepare.sh
sudo docker-compose up -d

Done! If you didn’t change anything in the docker-compose.yml file, you will have a new instance of Guacamole running on HTTPS port 8443 of your docker host. If you need to make changes (or if you forgot to run the prepare.sh file with sudo), you can run the reset.sh script which will destroy everything. You can then modify docker-compose.yml to suit your needs:

  • Whether to use nginx for HTTPS or just expose guacamole on port 8080 non-https (in case you already have a reverse proxy set up)
  • postgres password

Config files for each container are located within various folders in your guacamole-docker-compose folder. This can all be changed by editing the docker-compose.yml file.

Note this does configuration does not work with WOL, but as I do not use this feature I don’t mind.

Troubleshooting

docker ps will show running containers (docker ps -a shows all containers) If one is not running that should be, docker logs <container name> gives valuable insight as to why. In my case guacd was erroring out because I hadn’t initialized the database properly. Running the reset.sh script and starting over, this time running as sudo, did the trick.

Synchronize internet calendar to google calendar more frequently

Despite having my own e-mail server I still use Google Calendar for some things. I have an ICS file for the calendar for the Covid vaccination clinic I’m volunteering at. I ran into some frustrating sync problems when I tried to import it into my calendar. Google Calendar’s ICS sync process takes up to 12 hours, which was frustrating. I also had some mobile clients that wouldn’t even see the calendar imported from the ICS file.

I luckily found this post from Derek Antrican on stack exchange that outlines a script that you can configure to run at any given interval which will take all events in that ICS file and add/update/remove your calendar to match. It works beautifully. It’s a Google Apps script that you must copy into your own Google Scripts account to run.

First, go to the script here. Then go to Overview (i) and click “Make a Copy” in the top right (page icon.) Once the scripts are copied to your own script.google.com account, follow the instructions for configuring the script for your desired ICS URLs and other options, then click run.

My calendars are all synchronized and happy now.

Mount LVM partitions in FreeBSD

I’ve been playing around with helloSystem, an up and coming FreeBSD desktop environment that mirrors the MacOS experience quite well. Since it’s based in FreeBSD I’ve had to brush up on a few FreeBSD-isms that are distinctly different from Linux.

Since I’m dual booting this helloSystem BSD system alongside my Arch Linux install, I want to be able to access files on my Arch system from the BSD system. My Arch system uses LVM, which posed a challenge as LVM is a distinctly Linux thing.

To get it to work I needed to load a couple modules (thanks to the FreeBSD forums for help)

  • fuse
  • geom_linux_lvm

You can do this at runtime by using the kldload command

kldload fuse
kldload /boot/kernel/geom_linux_lvm.ko

To make the kernel module loading survive a reboot, add them to /boot/loader.conf

geom_linux_lvm_load="YES"
fuse_load="YES"

You can now scan your BSD system for LVM partitions:

geom linux_lvm list

The LVM partitions are listed under /dev/linux_lvm. The last step is to mount them with FUSE:

fuse-ext2 -o rw+ /dev/linux_lvm/NAME_OF_LVM_PARTITION /mnt/DESIRED_MOUNT_FOLDER

rw+ indicates a read/write mount.

CReate a local yum repository

I had a need to copy some specific RPM files locally to my machine, but have the general YUM database recognize them (not using yum localinstall.) I found this lovely howto that explains how to do it.

In my case, I created a folder for one RPM I wanted in the local yum repository. I then installed the createrepo package, used it on my new directory containing my RPMs, then added a repository file pointing to the new local repository.

mkdir yumlocal
cp <DESIRED RPM FILES> yumlocal
yum install createrepo
cd yumlocal
createrepo .

The last piece was to create a yum repo file local.repo

[local]
name=CentOS-$releasever - local packages for $basearch
baseurl=file:///path/to/yumlocal/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0
protect=1

That was it! Now I could use yum install <NAME OF PACKAGE IN LOCAL REPO FILE> and it works!

Transcribe audio with Google Cloud speech-to-text api

I had a few audio files of an interview done with a late relative that I wanted to have Google transcribe for me. I wanted to supply an audio file and have it spit out the results. There are many ways to do this but I went with using the Google Cloud Platfrom speech-to-text API.

First I signed up for a GCP free trial via https://cloud.google.com/speech-to-text/ For my usage, it will remain free as 0-60 minutes of transcription per month is not charged: https://cloud.google.com/speech-to-text/pricing

Next, I needed to create GCP storage bucket as audio more than 10 minutes long cannot reliably be transcribed via the “uploading local file” option. I did this following the documentation at https://cloud.google.com/storage/docs/creating-buckets which walks you through going to their storage browser and creating a new bucket. From that screen I uploaded my audio files (FLAC in my case.)

Then I needed to create API credentials to use. I did this by going speech API console’s credentials tab and creating a service account, then saving the key to my working directory on my local computer.

Also on said computer I installed google-cloud-sdk (on Arch Linux in my case, it was as simple as yay -S google-cloud-sdk)

With service account json file downloaded & google-cloud-sdk installed I exported the GCP service account credentials into my BASH environment like so

export GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=NAME_OF_SERVICE_ACCOUNT_KEYFILE_DOWNLADED_EARLIER.json 

I created .json files following the format outlined in command line usage outlined in the quickstart documentation. I tweaked to add a line “model”: “video” to get the API to use the premium Video recognition set (as it was more accurate for this type of recording.) This is what my JSON file looked like:

{
  "config": {
      "encoding":"FLAC",
      "sampleRateHertz": 16000,
      "languageCode": "en-US",
      "enableWordTimeOffsets": false,
      "model": "video"

  },
  "audio": {
      "uri":"gs://googlestorarge-bucket-name/family-memories.flac"
  }
}

I then used CURL to send the transcription request to Google. This was my command:

curl -s -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer "$(gcloud auth application-default print-access-token) https://speech.googleapis.com/v1/speech:longrunningrecognize -d @JSON_FILE_CREATED_ABOVE.json

If all goes well you will get something like this in response:

{
  "name": "4663803355627080910"
}

You can check the status of the transcription, which usually takes half the length of the audio file to do, by running this command:

curl -H "Authorization: Bearer "$(gcloud auth application-default print-access-token) -H "Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8" "https://speech.googleapis.com/v1/operations/ID_NUMBER_ACQUIRED_ABOVE"

You will either get a percent progress, or if it’s done, the output of the transcription.

Success! It took some time to figure out but was still much better than manually transcribing the audio by hand.

Sideload Zwift on NVIDIA Shield

I recently got a Tacx Neo 2 smart trainer for my bike and was eager to use it on my big screen TV with Zwift. Unfortunately, despite the Nvidia Shield being a more that capable Android device, Zwift does not show up in the Google play store. I didn’t want to stream Zwift from my PC because a) the Windows app is annoying and doesn’t go full screen (title bar at the top) and b) my PC is located upstairs and the bluetooth doesn’t appear to reach from the trainer to the PC.

My solution to this was to sideload the Zwift app onto my Nvidia shield. It wasn’t as straightforward as most sideloading due to how Zwift is configured: it has an APK file, and an OBB file. The APK is small and is the application itself, the OBB file is all the map data (it’s large – over 600 MB)

Fortunately, a new Android format called xapk exists, and is an archive of both in one package. This was the process I used to successfully get my Zwift on my Nvidia Shield:

  1. Download Zwift xapk file from apkpure: https://apkpure.com/zwift/com.zwift.zwiftgame
    I had to use a download manager (I used XDM) because downloading in the browser kept failing.
  2. Copy XAPK to USB, plug USB into the shield
  3. Install a file explorer app on the shield via the play store (I used FX file explorer)
  4. Use the file explorer app to open the xapk file as an archive (Archive Explorer)
  5. Click on APK and install it by selecting to open with Android installer (grant access to when prompted)


  6. Copy the Android/obb/com.zwift.zwiftgame folder to home / Android / obb






  7. Access Zwift by going to settings / Apps / See all apps and scroll to the bottom







    1. Optional: Install sideload app from the play store, launch Zwift from that app instead

The shield remote doesn’t appear to control anything within the app. Plug in a mouse so you can swipe away the first run tutorial screens (hold left click and drag to the left.) Optional: plug in a keyboard while you’re at it so you can log in faster.

Success! My trainer showed up in the pairing screen and everything works! You can even have your own music playing in the background, with a caveat: if you ever switch apps away from Zwift, it will reset back to the login screen because the Shield doesn’t appear to have enough memory to keep Zwift running when switching another app to the foreground. If you want your shield to play music, start the music first, then switch to Zwift. Once you’re in Zwift, you can’t switch away to any other app without losing your progress.

send test syslog messages with nc

I needed to send some test packets over UDP to make sure connectivity was working. I found this site which outlined how to do it really well

nc -u <IP/hostname> <port>

Then on the next line you can send test messages, then hit CTRL+D when done. In my case I wanted to test sending syslog data, so I did nc -u <hostname> 514, then wrote test messages. the -u specifies UDP and 514 is the syslog port. I was then able to confirm on the other end the message was received. Handy.

Move git subdirectory into new repo

I had a need to take a folder in one git repository and create a whole new git repository with it, preserving history for all files inside. My desire to keep git history made the process a bit more complicated than simply copying the directory into a new git repository.

First, create a new folder on the git server. I’m all command line, no GUI yet, so I need to make it a bare repository. (Thanks to geeksforgeeks on how to to do this)

#On the main git "server"
mkdir <reponame>.git
cd <reponame>.git
git init --bare

Now, on the desktop (not the git server) clone a copy of the repository with your desired folder into a new directory, remove the git origin server, then strip out everything except that directory (thanks to gbayer.com for the info)

#On the desktop
git clone <initial git repository url> <new_directory_name>
cd <new_directory_name>
git remote rm origin
git filter-branch --subdirectory-filter <directory_to_keep_history_of> -- --all

Lastly, (still on the desktop in the new repository directory) create a new origin with the path of the new repo you created above

#On the desktop, inside new_directory_name
git remote add origin <server>:<path_to_new_repo_folder>
git push --set-upstream origin master