All posts by nicholas

Batch crop images with imagemagick

My scanner adds annoying borders on everything it scans. I wanted to find a way to fix this with the command line. Enter Imagemagick (thanks to this site for the help.)

I found one picture and selected the area I wanted to crop it from. I used IrfanView to tell me the dimensions of the desired crop, then passed that info onto the command line. I used a bash for loop to get the job done on the entire directory:

for file in *.jpg; do convert $file -crop 4907x6561+53+75 $file; done

It worked beautifully.

Find video files in bash

I wanted a quick way to search my files for video types. I found here a quick snippet on how to do so. I augmented it after finding out how to remove some info and make it case insensitive. Here is the result:

find FULL_FOLDER_PATH -type f | grep -E "\.webm$|\.flv$|\.vob$|\.ogg$|\.ogv$|\.drc$|\.gifv$|\.mng$|\.avi$|\.mov$|\.qt$|\.wmv$|\.yuv$|\.rm$|\.rmvb$|/.asf$|\.amv$|\.mp4$|\.m4v$|\.mp*$|\.m?v$|\.svi$|\.3gp$|\.flv$|\.f4v$" -iname|sed 's/^.*://g'|sort

Generate SuperMicro IPMI license

Thank-you, Peter Kleissner, for saving me from having to use my time machine to simply update my server’s BIOS:

Supermicro IPMI License Key (for updating BIOS) = HMAC-SHA1-96(INPUT: MAC address of BMC, SECRET KEY: 85 44 E3 B4 7E CA 58 F9 58 30 43 F8)

echo -n 'bmc-mac' | xxd -r -p | openssl dgst -sha1 -mac HMAC -macopt hexkey:8544E3B47ECA58F9583043F8 | awk '{print $2}' | cut -c 1-24

Upgrading AWX

AWX is the open source version of Ansible Tower. It’s a powerful tool, but unfortunately AWX has no in place upgrade capability. If you want to upgrade your AWX to the latest version it takes a bit of trickery (the easy way out being just to pay for Ansible Tower.)

Essentially to upgrade AWX you need to spin up a completely new instance and then migrate your data over to it. Fortunately there is a script out there that makes doing this a bit easier.

Below are my notes for how I upgraded my instance of AWX from version 1.0.6 to 2.1.0.

Create temporary AWX migration server

Spin up new server with ansible installed, then clone AWX

git clone 
cd awx 
git clone

Modify AWX install to expose 5432 externally:

edit installer/roles/local_docker/tasks/standalone.yml and add

      - "5432:5432" 

right above the when: pg_hostname is not defined or pg_hostname == '' line. Complete stanza looks like this:

- name: Activate postgres container
    name: postgres
    state: started
    restart_policy: unless-stopped
    image: "{{ postgresql_image }}"
      - "{{ postgres_data_dir }}:/var/lib/postgresql/data:Z"
      POSTGRES_USER: "{{ pg_username }}"
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: "{{ pg_password }}"
      POSTGRES_DB: "{{ pg_database }}"
      PGDATA: "/var/lib/postgresql/data/pgdata"
      - "5432:5432"
  when: pg_hostname is not defined or pg_hostname == ''
  register: postgres_container_activate

Make sure you have port 5432 open on your host-based firewall.

Install AWX on the new host. Verify you can log into the empty instance and that it’s the version you want to upgrade to.

Prepare original AWX server to send

Kill the AWX postgres container on the source machine, and re-run awx installer after modifying it to expose its postgres port as described above.

Install tower-cli (this can be on either source or destination servers)

sudo pip install ansible-tower-cli

Configure tower-cli

tower-cli config username SRC_AWX_USERNAME
towercli config password SRC_AWX_PASSWORD
towercli config host SRC_AWX_HOST

Make sure to use full ansible URL as accessed from a browser for both source and destination

Install awx-migrate:

git clone

Update awx-migrate/awx-migrate-wrapper with correct source and destination info

Run awx-migrate-wrapper. It will generate json files with your configuration.

Migrate database to temporary server

Modify tower-cli config, set host, username and password to that of the destination AWX instance

tower-cli config username DEST_AWX_USERNAME
towercli config password DEST_AWX_PASSWORD
towercli config host: DEST_AWX_HOST

Send JSON info to destination:

tower-cli send awx-data.json

You will now have a fresh new, updated AWX instance working, with imported database, on the destination host. Confirm you can log into it with the admin account you set it up with.

Prepare original AWX server to receive

Now, on the source, remove  the old AWX docker containers:

sudo docker rm -f postgres awx_task awx_web memcached rabbitmq

Move / delete the database folder the postgres docker container was using (as defined in awx installer inventory) in my case:


Remove and re-install AWX folder with a fresh git checkout

rm -rf awx
git clone
cd awx
git clone

Re-run the AWX installer to re-create a blank database on the source host, modify the new awx/installer/inventory as needed. Also modify installer/roles/local_docker/tasks/standalone.yml as outlined above.

cd awx/installer
sudo ansible-playbook -i inventory install.yml

Migrate from temporary AWX server back to source AWX server

Once a new, empty version of awx is running on the source host,  start the awx-migrate process in reverse to migrate the database on the destination instance back to the source. Modify awx-migrate-wrapper and tower-cli to switch src and destination (the destination has become the source and the source has become the destination)

Use awx-migrate-wrapper to generate  new ansible version json files (don’t confuse them with the old json files – best to delete / move all json files before running awx-migrate-wrapper)

Modify tower-cli to point to original AWX URL

Run tower-cli send awx-data.json

Once completed, log in as the admin account. Input LDAP BIND password under settings, then delete any imported LDAP users.


You may want to remove the exposed postgres database ports. Simply undo the changes you made in awx/installer/roles/local_docker/tasks/standalone.yml to remove the Ports part of the first play, then remove your postgres container and re-install AWX with install.yml

Also remember to delete the JSON files generated with awx-migrate as they contain all your credentials in plaintext.



Export multiple resolutions in Lightroom

I needed to one-click export multiple resolutions of pictures from Lightroom. Unfortunately there isn’t any kind of plugin available to do this. Fortunately I was able to find this guide on how to get an applescript script to do it for me (Mac only, sadly.)

The trick is to write a few bits of applescript and save it as an application. Then when exporting the pictures in lightroom, make sure the word “fullsize” is in the filename, and configure lightroom to run your applescript after export.

I tweaked the script a bit to move the full size version to a different folder, then open Finder to the folder that the other resolutions were created in (thanks to this site for the guidance)

Here is my script below. It works!

on open of myFiles
	set newSizes to {5000}
	repeat with aFile in myFiles
		set filePath to aFile's POSIX path
		set bPath to (do shell script "dirname " & quoted form of filePath)
		tell application "System Events" to set fileName to aFile's name
		repeat with newSize in newSizes
			do shell script "sips " & quoted form of aFile's POSIX path & " -Z " & newSize & " --out " & quoted form of (bPath & "/" & rename(fileName, newSize) as text)
		end repeat
		do shell script "mv " & quoted form of aFile's POSIX path & " /path/to/folder/for/fullres/images"
	end repeat
	do shell script "open /path/to/folder/of/resized/images"
end open

on rename(fName, fSize)
	do shell script "sed 's/fullsize/" & fSize & "/' <<< " & quoted form of fName
end rename

Configure ACLs in Linux

I came across a need to make files in a folder inherit certain permissions no matter who creates them. Thanks to Stack Overflow for help in figuring this out.
You first set a sticky bit for the parent folder, then use the setfacl command to set the ACL:
chmod g+s -R <folder>
setfacl -d -m "g:<group name>:<permissions>" -R <directory>
Grants all members of group testgrouprw read,write, and directory permissions to /var/www/html/wordpress:
setfacl -d -m "g:testgrouprw:rwX" -R /var/www/html/wordpress/

Rotate videos for WordPress using ffmpeg

WordPress has an extremely annoying issue with reading EXIF data when posting photos and videos. There is a plugin to fix rotated pictures, but I couldn’t find one for rotated videos. If you happen to upload a video from your phone that was shot in portait orientation, it will likely upload to wordpress in landscape orientation (sideways.) Very annoying.

My fix to this is to re-encode the video so it is at the proper orientation before uploading to wordpress. Thanks to this site for the information – ffmpeg does this automatically for you. So the syntax is simple:



LDAP nested group membership query

I have a lot of applications at work which do not support Active Directory but instead rely on LDAP queries for granting user access. A problem we have is much of our access is granted to a security group (known as a ROLE) and users are granted to that single security group to get access to things. This allows easier access granting to new hires / transfers. The problem is it makes LDAP queries much more difficult. Things are further complicated by the fact that sometimes users are directly granted access to resources instead of going through their ROLE security group.

Nested LDAP group search

I spent a lot of time researching LDAP nested group queries. I now have a functional way of doing semi-nested LDAP group searches. The scenario: a user could be directly added to a security group granting access to a resource, or could be a member of a security group which has access to the resource. I want the LDAP group search string to account for both. I accomplish this by combining these two queries:

Nested group membership query

Search groups beginning with the name ROLE for a specific member, then return what that ROLE group has access to


Individually added group query

Search for all groups a specified member is a member of


I combine these two queries by separating them out with an OR operator (|)

Combined query

Return the group membership of the user in question, as well as the group membership of the group beginning with the name ROLE that the user is a member of


It has three main parts:

  • Begin with an or operator (|
  • Have a new group with an AND operator (&
    • This requires everything in this query to be true
  • Make a second group with an AND operator

This works for our organization because ROLE groups are not nested within themselves and each user can only have one ROLE group assigned to them.

This combined query allows me to not have to “flatten” security groups for LDAP-bound applications. It makes me so happy.

This was made possible by a flurry of stack overflow posts:

Active Directory / LDAP integration with WordPress

I struggled for a while to get WordPress to use Active Directory credentials on CentOS 7. Below is how I finally got it to work.

First, install necessary packages:

sudo yum -y install openldap-clients php-ldap

If you use self-signed certificate for ldaps, you’ll need to modify /etc/openldap/ldap.conf

PORT 636

With the above settings you can test your ldap string with ldapsearch

ldapsearch -x -D "<BIND USERNAME>" -b "<BASE_DN>" -H ldaps://<LDAP_SERVER_HOSTNAME> -W sAMAccountName=<USER_TO_QUERY>

Once ldapsearch works properly, install your AD integration plugin.  I use AuthLDAP by Andreas Heigl

I struggled with which LDAP strings and filters to use. This is what finally got everything working with our Active Directory environment:




User-ID Attribute: sAMAccountName

Second Name Attributesn


Group-Separator:  _

Group-Filter: (&(objectClass=user)(sAMAccountName=%s)(memberOf=*))

Role – group mapping

I had to change Group-Separator to _ above, because in Role – group mapping for active directory, you must put the FQDN, which includes commas. Put an underscore separated list of FQDNS for each of these fields you want.