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CombatWombat Speaks

AVG, Firefox and Thunderbird in Advanced Proxy IPCOP Firewall

by cw  

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I have a client whose Internet usage suddenly went through the ceiling, right after moving to a new building, with new network, but the old computers. I couldn't track it down, and it remains a mystery, but I determined to stop the high unknown usage, and add extra security, with an IPCOP box.

IPCOP is a general purpose firewall/router/proxy that does an excellent job at removing stress for the Sysadmin. Using an old box (in this case AMD XP2500+, 512mb, 40GB, 2*PCI 10/100 NICs; but it will run very much older stuff) you can create a reliable network security device that would normally cost thousands for the same feature set. It has a web-based gui and this is only available on the internal network, for security.

I added Advanced Proxy and the Enhanced Proxy Log Viewer, in order to gauge and hopefully catch the cuplrit. When you are spending $1600/month on excess traffic, it is necessary !!!

Advanced Proxy is a modification to Squid Proxy. It enables simple or complex system management. I enabled Windows domain authentication, through the SAMBA server, and set the Proxy to non-transparent mode (opaque?).

Within the client systems I then need to adjust Firefox/IE/Thunderbird, to give them net access. In IE this is handled through the Internet Options, connection, Lan. In both Mozilla products you can adjust the settings in the file all.js, inside the program's directory/greprefs; search for proxy, set it up for the protocols required, the ports, and the proxy type (1). Don't forget to set it up for antivirus updates, etc.

Setting up AVG for this can be tricky, as it needs some additions to the ignored URLS in Advanced Proxy;

Also ensure that in AVG the username for the proxy authentication is correct format (hint: check your proxy log viewer in IPCopfor the usernames).

AVG proxy

Upgrading b2Evo from 1.9x to 2.4x

by cw  

Just been through the painful process of upgrading the blog engine as the title says. The skins are much easier to work with, but need to be redone. The transfer over of settings is less pleasant.

How we accomplished it: Using some spare space on your webserver, install B2evo version 2.40RC2 or later, into a new, fresh database. Check out how things work, how they are different in the skins and backend. Rebuild your custom skin in the new version, without bothering to add posts, just using the demo data. You are best not adding the new widgets just yet, but getting familiar with what they allow you to do.If you don't take this advice, and end up doing a lot of work in the widget area, then you will need to get familiar with hacking MySQL data to introduce the new data to your upgraded blog.

Hint: 21 3 Menu 4 core menu_link a:1:{s:9:"link_type";s:5:"login";}

The second number (field) is the blog number, which will be different to the old/upgraded blog.

Once you have finished perfecting this backup your old installation, both skins, files if customized, and mysql database(you may need your host's help to do this). Backup the database that's new. Backup the new skin(s) you have just made. Extract the b2evo file. Take the files from the blogs directory thus created (b2evolution/blogs/etc.) and put them into the root of your old b2evo system. Then fire up you firefox, and head to the normal site for your blog, adding admin.php to the end of it, eg

Then it should take you through the automated process of upgrading the database. Read carefully, and answer the questions wisely.

When finished test the blogs thoroughly - archives, categories, comments, etc.

We encountered a number of gotchas. The above stuff didn't work at all, so in the new backend "manage" for the blogs, logging in as admin, go to the URLs field for each blog, and choose the following: Use-param for everything except except Date-archive, which is "use extra path".

Also, copy the index.php and stub.php out of the new system into the directories of your old system if you have them separated as blogs for domain name resolution purposes. Modify the inserted files. The files both have a line looking like this: require_once __FILE__.'/conf/_config.php'; change it to be require_once '../conf/_config.php';

Change any blog-numbering in the stub file , eg $blog=5

I also add the following to my index.php, right after the closing ?>



<title>CombatWombat Speaks</title>

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">




That ensures that my Wombat favicon is used.


The issue with URLs being handled differently came down to the .htaccess file. Ensure you have just one for your blog, not added extras in each subdirectory.

Add the following to the end of your file:

# send all others to the core

RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-f

RewriteCond %{SCRIPT_FILENAME} !-d

RewriteRule .* /index.php [L]


Thanks to Yabba for this.

Magnetic Personality

by cw  

My wife has a magnetic personality, or so we have always joked. It's due to her uncanny knack of breaking any computer. One of the reasons we run exclusively linux is the superb logging and crash-recovery that it has. It is almost wife-proof, almost. Why am I telling you this? Because the Register is running a page about a boy with similar issues. The experts say "Nope, not possible!"

Yeah, right.

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