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Attacks by ZmEu or w00tw00t robots

Who is ZmEu?

An image showing ZmeuThe name Zmeu (no capital E) is the name of a fantastic creature of Romania. There are so many stories that there isn't a clear understanding of what it is... but it is human like, can spit fire and wants to marry young women.

If you're wondering, it is generally a bad guy.

ZmEu Attack

Today, I noticed a lot of traffic on one of my servers. Looking into what was happening, I immediately found out that an attacker was looking for a loophole in that system. That attack was being performed from China.

Polylang messes up my canonical link on my website

I just created a new website and added a few plugins, one of which is Polylang. It generally works okay. Not what I really would like to have, but close enough for a Wordpress website.

Only, it has a horrible side effect:

I destroys the canonical URL which instead of appearing as expected appears with a "%pagename%" variable in it. This is because the module caches the results of a previous call and returns that cahed value instead of recomputing it. There isn't really a way for the filter at that low level to know what version should be returned, so it ends up returning the ...

Increasing the volume over 100% on Linux

I have been listening to many videos on YouTube, Facebook, etc. that have a really low volume. This is generally rather annoying since in the end I cannot hear a lot of the audio track.

There is actually a way to increase the volume over the normal 100% limit.

There are several features that offer such a feature, but the one that worked for me is a Volume Control application called pavucontrol.

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol
pavucontrol

It looks like various systems offer various ways to do that, but at least that one works for me under Linux in Ubuntu Unity.

Source: ...

Why would Windows 8 lose my WiFi connection all the time?

The laptop I use runs MS-Windows 8.1, because a few software I have only run on that platform... It uses the WiFi to connect to my LAN. This is how I access the Internet, too.

Only once in a while (very often, if you ask me!), my WiFi would go out. This started to happen more or less when I switched from AT&T to Comcast. I did not really see what could possibly be different and all my other computers would continue to work just fine, including those used with WiFi too.

Many people say that your WiFi is bad or that you should change your WiFi Router... Or maybe when the laptop goes ...

My Embedded YouTube Video Disappeared

Embedded videos from YouTube.com used to work just fine on my website.

Today, though, I just noticed that my video was not showing up on one of my pages. Looking into it, I found out that the problem was the protocol.

I'm not too sure whether it was my browser or YouTube,com (although I'm not too sure how YouTube.com would know...) but the fact is that the iframe source was using HTTP and the page I was viewing used HTTPS.

By editing the page and changing the YouTube.com video from HTTP to HTTPS resolved the issue. It is generally much better to always use encryption anyway.

Can I create an INDEX to accelerate a SELECT MIN(IF(...)) in MySQL?

I have a table with a few columns, two of which are integers, one of which can be NULL in which case the other integer is to be used in my query.

CREATE TABLE my_table (col1 INTEGER NOT NULL, col2 INTEGER);

If `col2` is NULL, then use `col1`. As is, there is how my query looks like:

SELECT MIN(IF(col2, col2, col1)) AS smallest FROM my_table LIMIT 1;

In other words, I need to get the row with the smallest integer, but if one column is NULL, I want to use the other column value.

On a very small sample, the query is still very fast, but the real version is not unlikely to have thousands ...

How to find fail2ban errors when logs/errors don't make it anywhere?

Today I noticed that my fail2ban wasn't running.

Looking into it, I could see that an error was happening on startup. This pretty much always mean that something's wrong in the configuration files.

sudo systemctl start fail2ban
Job for fail2ban.service failed because the control process exited with error code.
See "systemctl status fail2ban.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.

However, somehow, systemd would not show me the error with the status or checking the journal and it would not write anything to the /var/log/fail2ban.log file which stayed ...

Thunderbird is so slow... it's nearly unusable!?

I have been using Thunderbird for a long time and yet I still did not know about the Compact feature.

A while back, i would use my Local Folders to save Junk, Draft, and Sent emails. This is really fast by default. But at some point I had a problem and reverted to using the remote folders which worked.

The problem was that Thunderbird would tell me that my Local Folders were full even though looking at them they were clearly empty.

The way this works is really annoyingly bad:

1. it accepts emails in a file, like the good old days, it uses one file for any number of emails

2. it adds new ...

Why are hotmail.com emails blocked by postgrey even though it is whitelisted?

Lately, I received emails from a customer something like 12 hours later...

So I checked closer and could see that the email was from hotmail.com.

Great.

On the server, I edited my whitelist to see what was going on:

vim /etc/postgrey/whitelist_clients.local

Searching the list I could see hotmail.com, so why is it that it gets bounced with a 450 by Postgrey if it is whitelisted?

Looking closer at the logs left behind by Postgrey, I found this line:

Apr 23 06:33:34 m2osw postgrey[1742]: action=greylist,
      reason=new,
      client_name=<secret>.outlook.com,
      ...

SugarCRM Community Edition for Ubuntu 16.04 with PHP 7

As I wanted to use SugarCRM on my new server, I looked into the Community Edition and apparently the company is not willing to convert their code so it works under PHP 7.

So that would not work on a newer system because the code uses quite a few forbidden mechanism (wrong class definitions, old defunct functions...) and that prevents to even instal the system on your machine.

Now, I have looked closer into it and I am getting a version that works pretty darn well already. I still have some issues here and there, but I think you can already make use of that version. Except for one thing which ...

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