adventures in electronics, infosec and life

The Way Companies Should Handle Promotional Email

Thank you Atmel

I got this email from Atmel yesterday. This is the first time a company has ever emailed me to let me know that they would stop sending me promotional emails if I didn’t respond. This is way all companies should do this. It’s not like Atmel sends me a ton of email anyway, maybe one a month at most. I’m so impressed with being treated like a human that I’ll go ahead and click that YES link to ensure I keep getting info from them.

Hosting Apex Domain in S3 Without Route 53

For many years, I’ve eschewed using www for my website. I’ve always redirected requests for www.duksta.org to duksta.org. Now that I’ve moved to S3, I’ve had to change that stance as you can’t have a CNAME record for your apex domain and the ANAME record is an ugly hack that’s not RFC compliant. I could sign up for Route 53 DNS service, but I don’t really need the global redundancy that Route 53 provides, nor do I want to pay for DNS service. Yeah, I’m cheap like that.

Instead of using S3’s recently released apex domain support, I’m instead putting my site behind CloudFlare. In CloudFlare, I have configured a Page Rule to redirect all requests from duksta.org/* to www.duksta.org/$1. Since I maintained my site structure in the move to Octopress/Jekyll, this has the added bonus of redirecting anyone’s old bookmarks to the right place.

CloudFlare Page Rule Config

Yes, I’m not truly hosting my apex domain in S3 like this, but rather redirecting it to www with CloudFlare, but it gets the job done for what I need.

duksta.org Has Moved to S3 Website Hosting

After many years of being a member of the Hellyeah! family, we’ve recently been given notice that the rack in which our server has been hosted is being retired at the end of March. The guys who run the rack just can’t justify the $900/month it costs to run the rack anymore. It’s been a good run and it’s been nice having a dedicated server in a low latency data center for years, but it’s also been a hassle at times. As Emory put it so well in his email to us all about the rack closure:

These days virtualization of systems and remote management has made racking our own equipment not only exceptionally costly (by the kindness of others we have largely been immune to these costs) but inconvenient as well since we aren’t young nerds with all the time in the world for hobbies and fixing computers in the middle of the night.

Emory Lundberg

Since I update this blog so infrequently, I’ve always been a fan of statically generated site content. I’ve run Moveable Type for the last ten years and it’s done quite well for me. As an information security professional, I was always worried about vulnerabilities in MT, of which there have been a few, but not so many as in WordPress. With this move into S3, I removed the last bit of attack surface for this site. I’m now using Octopress to generate the site content and jekyll-s3 to push it into S3.

So, it’s done now. Fairly painless. The hardest part was editing all my old posts that I imported from MT to standardize the random collection of paths where my post images lived.

Drobo to the Rescue

drobo.png A little shy of four years ago, I picked up a second generation USB/Firewire Drobo to be the repository for all our household media. I already had a pair of 750GB drives, so I picked up a pair of the new at the time 1TB drives from Seagate. I put it all together for a net capacity of 2.2TB and it’s worked flawlessly ever since.

This past weekend, I noticed that Drobo was flashing all sorts of unhappy blinkenlights at me. I could still access my data, but it was telling me that one of the 1TB drives had failed. So, I ran down to Fry’s and picked up two new 2TB drives. I replaced the bad drive with one of the new ones and let it do its thing. 48 hours later, RAID redundancy was restored to the array and all was well.

I just slotted in the other 2TB drive in place of one of the 750GB drives, which will up my net storage capacity to 3.6TB. I’ll also replace the one remaining 750GB drive with the 1TB drive that I’ll get from Seagate because the one that failed was still under warranty. This all worked out to my advantage, as I was starting to hit 85% full on the 2.2TB I had. Now with the upgrade to 3.6TB, I’ve got 40% free space.

A lot of my geek friends give me crap for buying a Drobo and not building some Linux RAID box instead. I work hard at work. I don’t want to have to play sysadmin when I get home. I want my home gear to “Just Work”, which is exactly what Drobo does for me.