All posts by nicholas

Clone AD Group Memberships with Powershell

I needed to do windoze administration today.  I dug my way into a hole and finally found my way out. Thanks to answers on Technet for the information I found a way to clone AD group membership from one group to another via powershell.

The command I settled on was the following (after creating the new group first)

Get-ADGroup -Identity "name_of_existing_group" -Properties MemberOf | foreach {$_.MemberOf} | foreach {add-ADGroupMember -Identity $_ -members "new_group_to_copy_memberOf_to" }

It grabs everything the group is a member of and transforms the output to a string array. It then takes that array and uses each item of it to add your new group as a member to everything the old group is a member of.

Modify network buffers in Linux using sysctl

After installing Netdata I kept getting alerts that packets were being dropped. After some research I read you can alleviate this by increasing your system’s networking buffer. You can accomplish this with sysctl.

If you run sysctl manually it will not survive a reboot. If you want persistence you simply add the sysctl command line to /etc/sysctl.conf. Thanks to Brennen Smith on serverfault for the info on my particular problem with UDP drops:

#as root:
echo "net.core.rmem_default=8388608" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
echo "net.core.rmem_max=16777216" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p

The above solved my udp problem but you can modify it to change any sysctl things you want to quickly configure and persist.

Rewrite HTTP host request with Varnish

I had a stubborn WordPress plugin that somehow was remembering the URL of the site it was installed on. It became a problem when I changed the site URL. Despite changing the URL everywhere I could think of, this particular plugin was calling CSS files for the URL of the original site. I did a search and replace in the site database and searched all files for any reference to that site but couldn’t find anything. I never did find the culprit. My workaround was to use varnish to rewrite the request before it hit the browser.

Thanks to this answer by Jorge Nerin on Stack Overflow, I found my answer on how to do this.

backend www {
  .host = "";
  .port = "http";

sub vcl_recv {
  if ( ~ "(?i)^(www.)?$") {
    set req.backend_hint = www;

In my case I had a default backend (no other backends configured) so my varnish config was simply adding these line in sub vcs_recv (varnish 4 syntax)

if ( ~ "(?i)^(www.)?$") {
     set req.backend_hint = default;

That did the trick!

Mount encfs folder on startup with systemd

A quick note on how to encrypt a folder with encfs and then mount it on boot via a systemd startup script. In my case the folder is located on a network drive and I wanted it to happen whether I was logged in or not.

Create encfs folder:

encfs <path to encrypted folder> <path to mount decrypted folder>

Follow the prompts to create the folder and set a password.

Next create a file which will contain your decryption password

echo "YOUR_PASSWORD" > /home/user/super_secret_password_location
chmod 700 /home/user/super_secret_password_location

Create a simple script to be called by systemd on startup using cat to pass your password over to encfs

cat super_secret_password_location | encfs -S path_to_encrypted_folder path_to_mount_decrypted_folder

Finally create a systemd unit to run your script on startup:

vim /etc/systemd/system/mount-encrypted.service
Description=Mount encrypted folder 

ExecStartPre=/bin/sleep 20 


Then enable the unit:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable mountt-encrypted.service

CPU Pinning in Proxmox

Proxmox uses qemu which doesn’t implement CPU pinning by itself. If you want to limit a guest VM’s operations to specific CPU cores on the host you need to use taskset. It was a bit confusing to figure out but fortunately I found this gist by ayufan which handles it beautifully.

Save the following into and edit VMID to the ID of the VM you wish to pin CPUs to. Make sure you have the “expect” package installed.


set -eo pipefail


cpu_tasks() {
	expect <<EOF | sed -n 's/^.* CPU .*thread_id=\(.*\)$/\1/p' | tr -d '\r' || true
spawn qm monitor $VMID
expect ">"
send "info cpus\r"
expect ">"


if [[ $VCPU_COUNT -eq 0 ]]; then
	echo "* No VCPUS for VM$VMID"
	exit 1

echo "* Detected ${#VCPUS[@]} assigned to VM$VMID..."
echo "* Resetting cpu shield..."

for CPU_INDEX in "${!VCPUS[@]}"
	echo "* Assigning $CPU_INDEX to $CPU_TASK..."
	taskset -pc "$CPU_INDEX" "$CPU_TASK"


Synergy hyperactive mouse in FPS games fix

I’ve been using Synergy to share my keyboard & mouse between my machine and my Windows gaming VM. A very annoying thing I’ve encountered is that in some games, first person shooters mainly, the mouse goes haywire. Barely touching the mouse causes the shooter to look / spin in circles hundreds of times.

I finally found a fix to this, thanks to this post

The solution is to modify the Synergy server configuration and check the box “Use Relative mouse moves” under Advanced server settings. Then, when in the game, hit scroll lock to lock your mouse to that screen. This fixed the hyperactive mouse issue for me!


Linux Samba shares using Kerberos / AD credentials

I had a hell of a time trying to figure out why after upgrading the CentOS Samba package the samba shares quit working. Every time someone tried to access the share, the smb service would crash. I had this system configured to use active directory credentials and it worked well for a time, but no longer.

After much digging I found my problem to be the lack of a krb5.keytab file. This is due to my using PowerBroker Open instead of kerberos for authentication.

The solution was to add this line to my samba config:

kerberos method = system keytab

That one bit made all the difference. My current samba config is as follows with no more crashing:

     security = ADS
     passdb backend = tdbsam
     realm = DOMAIN
     encrypt passwords = yes
     lanman auth = no
     ntlm auth = no
     kerberos method = system keytab
     obey pam restrictions = yes
     winbind enum users = yes
     winbind enum groups = yes

Fix USB bluetooth in KDE Plasma on CentOS 7

I spent too many hours trying to figure this stupid thing out.. but FINALLY! I have my bluetooth headset working in CentOS 7 with the KDE 4 Plasma environment. Read on if you dare…

First, you must configure dbus to allow your user to use the bluetooth dongle. Add the following above the closing /busconfig tag.  Be sure to replace USERNAME with your user account:

sudo nano /etc/dbus-1/system.d/bluetooth.conf
  <policy user="USERNAME">
    <allow send_destination="org.bluez"/>
    <allow send_interface="org.bluez.Agent1"/>
    <allow send_interface="org.bluez.GattCharacteristic1"/>
    <allow send_interface="org.bluez.GattDescriptor1"/>
    <allow send_interface="org.freedesktop.DBus.ObjectManager"/>
    <allow send_interface="org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties"/>

Remove and re-plug the adapter in.

Next, follow Arch Linux’s excellent guide on how to pair a bluetooth device using bluetoothctl

[bluetooth]# power on
[bluetooth]# agent on
[bluetooth]# default-agent
[bluetooth]# scan on

Now make sure that your headset is in pairing mode. It should be discovered shortly. For example,

[NEW] Device 00:1D:43:6D:03:26 Lasmex LBT10

shows a device that calls itself “Lasmex LBT10” and has MAC address “00:1D:43:6D:03:26”. We will now use that MAC address to initiate the pairing:

[bluetooth]# pair 00:1D:43:6D:03:26

After pairing, you also need to explicitly connect the device (every time?):

[bluetooth]# connect 00:1D:43:6D:03:26

If you’re getting a connection error org.bluez.Error.Failed retry by killing existing PulseAudio daemon first:

$ pulseaudio -k
[bluetooth]# connect 00:1D:43:6D:03:26

Finally, configure pulseaudio to automatically switch all audio to your headset by adding the following line to the bottom of /etc/pulse/

nano /etc/pulse/

# automatically switch to newly-connected devices
load-module module-switch-on-connect

Update 7/27: I rebooted my machine and lost my bluetooth, to my dismay. I discovered that my user needs to be a member of the audio group. Since I’m in an active directory environment I think the local audio group got removed at reboot. So, to restore it, as root I had to run this:

usermod -aG audio <user>

After doing that, to prevent logging out and back in again, you can do the following:


Once that’s done all the bluetoothctl commands worked again.

Backup and restore docker container configurations

I came across a need to start afresh with my docker setup. I didn’t want to re-create all the port and volume mappings for my various containers. Fortunately I found a way around this by using docker-autocompose to create .yml files with all my settings and docker-compose to restore them to my new docker host.


Docker-autocompose source:

git clone
cd docker-autocompose
docker build -t red5d/docker-autocompose .

With docker-autocompose created you can then use it to create .yml files for each of your running containers by utilizing a simple BASH for loop:

for image in $(docker ps --format '{{.Names}}'); do docker run -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock red5d/docker-autocompose $image > $image.yml; done



To restore, install and use docker-compose:

sudo curl -L$(uname -s)-$(uname -m) -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose

Next we use another simple for loop to go through each .yml file and import them into Docker. The sed piece escapes any $ characters in the .yml files so they will import properly.

for file in *.yml; do sed 's/\$/\$\$/g' -i $file;
docker-compose -f $file up --force-recreate -d; done

You can safely ignore the warnings about orphans.

That’s it!


ERROR: Invalid interpolation format for “environment” option in service “Transmission”: “PS1=$(whoami)@$(hostname):$(pwd)$ “

This is due to .yml files which contain unescaped $ characters.

Escape any $ with another $ using sed

sed 's/\$/\$\$/g' -i <filename>.yml

ERROR: The Compose file ‘./MariaDB.yml’ is invalid because:
MariaDB.user contains an invalid type, it should be a string

My MariaDB docker .yml file had a user: environment variable that was a number, which docker compose interpreted as a number instead of a string. I had to modify that particular .yml file and add quotes around the value that I had for the User environment variable.

Sabrent USB AU-MMSA microphone not working in Windows 10

I recently installed Windows 10 for my gaming VM and discovered that my microphone was no longer working. All the drivers were properly installed and sound worked fine, but there was nothing coming from the microphone.

My gaming VM uses a Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter model  AU-MMSA passed through for sound. This was most perplexing because it worked in other OSes, but not Windows 10.

After much digging I finally found this youtube video which outlined the problem: Microphone permissions to the system. The hybrid that Windows 10 is between Store apps / permissions and regular desktop apps reminds me of Windows ME. An unholy union.. terrible.

At any rate, the fix is to grant the system permission to use its own microphone, un-granting it first if necessary.

Go to Start / Settings (little gear icon in bottom left) then search for Microphone Privacy Settings. Click the big Change button beneath “Microphone access for this device is on”  at the top of that screen. Change the toggle to “off”, then change it back to “on” again. This fixed my microphone.