• I had to adjust the default mail on a Moodle system that I switched from one domain to another. I changed it last in August of 2015 and apparently forgot how it worked. So today I am going to mention that forensic sysadmin work, or finding configuration files is a real challenge.

    Yes, I have made copies of all of the configuration files and ended them in a TLA of my initials and yet when I ran locate I forgot or chose not to run updatedb and well, it isn’t in cron anymore as I rarely search for anything and it uses less power to not catalog repeatedly.

    Having not found anything appropriate with my initials, although the file was actually there, I proceeded to work for hours on every single configuration setting in Moodle as well as every Moodle post on email I could stomach.

    Nagging in the back of my mind was the fact that this year I eliminated ALL of the cruft on Moodle by simply starting it from scratch and as I kept a record of every change I made, I thought I could find it. I kept focusing on the OAuth configuration as I was using GMail.

    Just before shutting the server off for the year, truly, I stopped to think through the architecture and realized I had to be using native Linux mail, that I always choose Postfix and a quick search indicated I was configured to use GMail’s less secure method of authenticated SMTP. I made the changes and everything worked great.

    I held up this post to decide on how to explain what to do correctly. I had hoped for inspiration about documentation, or flow charting processes. The issue is that I simply don’t perform the same amount of sysadmin work I used to, which was enormous, so recalling all the bits and pieces and troubleshooting it, was more work than expected.

    I am glad I did it, it reactivated a confidence in my skills and an awareness of troubleshooting steps and an entire plethora of interconnected systems that I would have forgotten about otherwise.

  • Out of all the places I write, this is the easiest blog. I keep it focused on technical information that I have derived / learned and it operates as kind of a set of notes for me to look back into the stuff that I do. As time has gone by, I have done less System Administration, choosing instead to focus on creating space in my life to breathe and exist that isn’t so related to work. I think that I kept wondering about all the time I spent becoming a “guru”, not in the public sense of the word, more like a uber nerd in an area and then passing on all the knowledge in minutes that I had spent hours learning. I am sure there is a balance in all things and there is here as well.

    Then I had complaints about writing in other locations, that I merely was representing what others already had and it rankled me as what I had stated was that I was presenting my curated take on the world. And of course, I need practice in writing. Last year I wrote 23 times and this year just 20 so far. This is such a change from a few years ago when I wrote almost daily or so it seemed to me. But I find I journal every day now and I want to expand and practice developing a style of communication by writing.

    I intend to edit and learn by doing it. Today is not that day. Today is a day to simply cruise through and put the words down on paper and see what happens with me.

    The Block editor in WordPress has changed quite a great deal and I am not sure I am expert at all in it. And I don’t even know if this is the most effective way to write as it isn’t the tool I used so long ago.

    dist://ed the Mozilla Blog posted an article on the Firefox Secret Tips that I have had open in my browser since it came out. I believe I kept hoping that I would learn them all. That isn’t me. I teach and preach that you should take a list and note what you already do and pick one thing you think you could integrate into daily practice for some reason: it intrigues you, speeds up your work, is fun, a diversion, and just do that one thing and then close the article. Don’t bookmark it with a promise to learn all the things. Do one! And then move on. The list will come back in some form from the Universe at large and you can pick another item. But lists come faster than days themselves and none are worth total mastery.

    What then is this blog, in addition to the notes on a SysAdmin issue or a piece of software I have used, it is a Commonplace Journal. As such, both the advice and the article fit.

    n.b. Don’t paste a link directly into wordpress :)

    On the list

    1. I use it
    2. Back to this one in a minute
    3. Screenshots, well, I used it when it first came out but I haven’t added the screenshot button in and I do like to annotate mine, so I am still using Awesome
    4. I forget how to reopen a closed tab all the time and this list didn’t help
    5. Pocket. NO
    6. Yes
    7. I did find it just before this list and removed my old AddOn Color Picker as I like fewer AddOns.

    I just used the List Block and clearly don’t have it working to my satisfaction. Can’t figure out how to do the Copy and Paste. No, I am not about to get distracted. I know it will come up again and today I learned it was there. Sometime soon I will read about it and master it.

    The item on the list I picked was #2: Search for a needle in a tabstack. What I am finding super helpful is the idea of using an asterisk to search through my bookmarks. That has already integrated itself into my daily practice. Whether searching through the open tabs becomes useful I don’t know.

    I learned one thing. It has made me slightly more productive and quicker and getting through my days. For now, that is enough. And writing, well, I am getting started at that as well.

  • Things I learned this week:


    1. Open Settings > System > Storage, and then click on Apps & Features.
    2. Under the Sort By dropdown, select Install Date.
    3. Go through and remove anything you don’t need. If an app is unfamiliar, search for it online to see if it’s something you need or if you can safely get rid of it. You can also search for it on Should I Remove It? (though we recommend skipping the Should I Remove It? application and just searching for the software’s name on the site).

    This originated from Wirecutter’s post on 7 Steps to Tidying Your Digital Life

    My favorite advice is to do one step and see what happens when you move forward.

    Disclaimer: I did a couple of items.

    Where did the Tidy Up vector lead? I learned how to actually delete other temp files on the same Storage Settings page and that would have been enough except that led me to notice an unchecked box labeled “Downloads Folder” and I wondered, when do I ever clean that out, and so I did a pretty good chunk and it reminded me that this process is one I used to do more frequently and like writing, just escaped me and now I turn back to it :)

  • I have been trying to configure my Netgear R6400, the DHCP scope and reservations, to setup my home network with some fixed addresses for my pihole and what not. And all I have been getting for quite a long time, is that frustrating error.

    Netgear previously told me to wait for a new firmware update and that was an update or two ago and it never fixed it. And a great deal of the fixes such as remove yourself from assignment as the DNS server simply didn’t work for me.

    Recently I updated to V1.0.1.62_1.0.41 and when I tried to update the configuration I received this message. Again. So I decided to try three different changes from the first Google search returns. The second one, simply click the setting under Internet Setup for DNS to “Get Automatically from ISP”, let it reboot, make all your DHCP assignments and scope changes and then set it back worked absolutely great.


  • Why this fools me like it does is because every time I fix it I think I will remember it, and I don’t. Windows 10 will find the printer and add it and then the text is white and all the background is black. This is from all software and applications.

    The fix is to download the correct software from Brother and it is a pain unless you download the entire setup and package.

    Problem solved.