Pure Win – Monitoring Comcast’s Failures

So this is the greatest thing I have read in ages; for those too lazy to click a person having lots of problems with Comcast took it upon themselves to create a python script that ran a speed test and if certain conditions were met would send a tweet to Comcast complaining about not getting what they paid for.  Unfortunately there are lots of people getting paid to fellate Comcast and they flocked to the r/technology thread on Reddit to remind OP that he should be grateful for paying a pile of cash for “up to 150 Mbit” like he is somehow blessed to have the absolute worst company in the US as his ISP.  Naturally I grabbed the code and set it up on my development box to run every 15 minutes so hopefully in like a week or so I can generate a fancy graph to see just how bad Comcast is boning me on my already high monthly bill.

Strange copy behavior?

So a friend hit me up today to let me know he had updated a sqlite database that we use in a project and I could go ahead and copy it over to my home directory to update things with.  Login to the box, sudo to root and cop the file with full paths and something bizarre happened, the file which he had ownership of changed over to my user level account.  Immediately he suggested that it might be the -a flag in an alias, however my alias was simply set to use -i so I deleted the file from my home directory and tried the copy again.  As far as I can tell this shouldn’t actually be happening because I didn’t specify the -a flag and the user moving the file is root, so if anything root should have ownership of the file once it hits the directory.  I doubt this is any kind of nefarious or exploitable situation but it does seem strange because I remember forgetting to chown files in the past after moving them as root and things not working until I went back and corrected the ownership of the files

Troubleshooting Script

I have been planning to try to convince a friend to take up Linux in place of her aging Windows 8.1 system since its been officially put out to pasture by Microsoft so I started thinking about supporting said system since my friend is not exactly a Linux guru.  This of course lead me to think about a very handy script I use at work that does a whole bunch of things like check database settings, look for necessary running processes and look at system loads of our software to determine if there are any easy fixes before getting into logs and headaches.  Naturally I cannot share this script because its work related (and I didn’t write it either) but it made me decide to make a version of my own that I can show off.  Currently the script resembles a rather ugly gnome of some type in that it is short and VERY ugly but I figured I would toss it out so I can test a few other things like my nifty social share buttons that are about as basic as you can get without setting foot inside a HS Chemistry classroom.


The long term goal for this script is to make it collect a whole load of system data, run some basic checks like pinging Google, and probably a few other things like making sure vital things like crontab haven’t been somehow deleted.  Probably will also make it verify that my ssh key is still active within the system so that if I have to I can remote into said system and might consider some sort of reverse ssh invocation as well if I really want to get fancy with the script.  If it saves me even 10 minutes when trying to fix the system that I haven’t even setup yet then my past hour or so messing with it and remembering all the things I’ve forgotten about scripting in the past few months was well worth it, plus it gets me back to actually posting something here for a change.

Extended Regex and Bash variables

So it seems that lots of people have posted about how to use regex when invoking sed, however they forget that most of the good things are restricted to extended regular expressions, so here is a quick illustration of how to get extended regex and bash variables in the same line for sed.

The important part is that -r, which lets you use extended regex. Also by enclosing the pattern in double quotes instead of single you can use system variables which makes this very handy for doing replacements on incorrect config files that automation might have mangled.

Find RHN contract number on a live system

This only really works on systems utilizing subscription manager, but it works and its handy

[root@server1 ~]# subscription-manager list --consumed

Consumed Product Subscriptions

ProductName: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
ContractNumber: 1458961
SerialNumber: 171286550006020205
Active: True
Begins: 2009-01-01
Expires: 2011-12-31

Imgur Album to PDF

So you just found that awesome recipe on imgur, or a slick DIY wifi antenna that you want to make? Then this script is the ticket for you, it grabs an entire album and makes a handy pdf out if it complete with terrible formatting and half-assed image resizing .  It will need imgurpython, PIL, reportlab, requests and shutil along with some patience to build with pip and resolving dependencies.

Also if you are so inclined this is hosted at Gitlab as a Snippet

Making script logs clean

There are a lot of ways to clean up script logs either using macros in vim, sed one-liners or probably stand alone tools but I’ve found the easiest way is a simple function and alias within bash.

Add the following to your .bashrc file

source the .bashrc and now you can execute $ script_clean scriptlog.log and it will output scriptlog.log-processed so its nice and clean without all those pesky control characters.

Inspiration: http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/view/2318/fix-a-typescript-file-created-by-the-script-program-to-remove-control-characters