Welcome, SSL!

It’s been long overdue… techslaves.org is now SSL-enabled (and the default) thanks to Dreamhost‘s super-simple support for Let’s Encrypt!

For ages, I rebelled against the Certificate Authority trust model, which I perceive as a racket. Let’s Encrypt essentially plays the same game, but with slightly different rules.

I believe privacy is important. It’s not everything, but it’s important. Encryption is a tool that attempts to implement digital privacy, with varying degrees of success. Algorithms can and often do have flaws and crypto is hard. Really hard. Or so I’m told. Or the encryption is circumvented instead, which appears far more common. Even so, this here is about the best we’ve ever had it. Let’s Encrypt provides anyyone with the means to enable modern SSL without monetary cost or painful renewal processes.

1 Year of WordPress

It’s coming up on one year since migrating techslaves.org from the failed community driven SMF/TinyPortal site to the unoriginal WordPress powered sysadmin focused blog you see today. The jury is out on whether this incarnation  is failed as well but the parameters for failure are more loosely defined for a random blog than for a community. Without a community, there is no community. For this iteration of techslaves.org to be the same kind of failure the community version was, I would have to be getting negative page views.

As far as WordPress is concerned, it’s much better for the new found purposes of techslaves.org than TinyPortal. Not that TP (hehe, TP) is bad or anything. It’s just not as slick for blog/article publication. WordPress allows me to spend less time formatting articles than TinyPortal did. That, I damn well enjoy. I also spend less time futzing about with the CSS in WordPress because this free theme (Clean Home) is clean and simple: my favourite web design elements. Another significant benefit of WordPress is SEO. I’m not an SEO expert, but the number of views from search engines is definitely up.

The downside to this one way expression is that I barely receive feedback. What I do here isn’t of importance or enough interest to anyone whom actually finds the place, so they probably aren’t going to leave comments. I’m no Tom Limoncelli, Matt Simmons, sysadmin1138 or storagebod and thusly, I don’t share their common trait of regular readers. All that adds up to what feels like me lecturing, yelling, asking questions and ranting into a giant empty space. Sure, it feels good but it’s also strangely egotistical and self serving. Hey, maybe that’s how it’s supposed to feel to be a geek with a blog. Heh.

During the year, I produced about 41 original posts. That’s less than 3.5 per month. And some of the posts are just random things, not even substantial. Output definitely too low, but hell, that’s the story of every web presence I’ve ever had.

Happy WordPress anniversary, techslaves.org! It’s been a fun year.

wxPython is Kicking my Ass!

Let me preface by saying that I’m not a programmer nor software developer nor anything of the sorts. I’m a sysadmin with scripting skills to solve automation problems, for the most part. I took all the C++ classes in High School but I never pursued software development as a serious academic interest or career. I know “about” software development and it’s practices but I don’t feel that I have any particularly interesting skills in the field.

Now that I want to write a site-specific GUI-based LDAP management tool as referenced in a previous post, I’m jumping back into software development a little bit. I’ve decided to use wxPython for a few reasons. We already use it within our group, we have in-house expertise in the form of an actual developer and the GUI-builder tools seem to work best with wxPython (wxGlade was producing bad wxPerl code, go figure).

Let me also say that I’ve never been a big python guy. I’m really a perl kind of dude, so this learning a new object oriented API while learning python at the same time is a challenge… but I’m making progress! Basically, wxPython seriously kicked my ass for about 3 days but now I’m gaining speed and things are moving faster than I expected. Python and wxPython are starting to make more sense and behave.

So far I have a frame with menubar, statusbar and a three-tabbed notebook with a grid on each tab of the notebook. The program is able to connect to an LDAP server (with TLS) and query the directory for all the users, groups and autofs information and then display that information in the grid… and that’s about it so far. I need to build in new user, group and autofs functionality as well as basic editing of existing entries (in place editing with wx.Grid looks really nice but I haven’t tried it yet!).

Although my ass has been kicked for the last few days, I’m actually feeling pretty optimistic about it now.

Hopefully I can share the kludge code at some point, though it will never be easily transportable to different environments since I’m not building this to be the end-all-be-all LDAP user/group/autofs management tool, just one tailored for our environment.