VMWare Update Manager Fails

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I received a fairly generic error when running VMWARE Update Manager against some hosts:

No real useful information. The actual log is available on the VCSA 6.5 at: /var/log/vmware/vmware-updatemgr/vum-server/vmware-vum-server-log4cpp.log

In my case it was as simple as the DNS being set incorrectly on the ESXi hosts due to some networking changes:

[2017-10-10 01:40:04:334 'VciScanTask.ScanTask{44}' 140420998207232 INFO]  [vciTaskBase, 1362] VciTask { id: ScanTask{44}, type: com.vmware.vcIntegrity.ScanTask }: Setting VC task state to: error
[2017-10-10 01:54:19:765 'HostUpdateDepotManager' 140421651932928 ERROR]  [scanHost20, 371] result for host: vm07.redacted.lan (entity: host-188) shows error :
<error errorClass="MetadataDownloadError">
  <errorDesc>Failed to download metadata.</errorDesc>
  <msg>('http://vcenter.redacted.lan:9084/vum/repository/hostupdate/csco/csco-VEM-5.5.0-metadata.zip', '/tmp/tmp6q7F56', '[Errno 4] IOError: &lt;urlopen error [Errno -2] Name or service not known&gt;')</msg>

Other threads that might be related:


Resetting the VMWare Update Manager Database: https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2147284

MassMine: Datamining Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Wikipedia

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MassMine allows you to easily datamine Twitter, Google, Wikipedia, and soon Facebook for data. Pretty cool! From the official site:

MassMine is a social media mining and archiving application that simplifies the process of collecting and managing large amounts of data across multiple sources. It is designed with the researcher in mind, providing a flexible framework for tackling individualized research needs. MassMine is designed to run both on personal computers and dedicated servers/clusters. MassMine handles credential authorizations, rate limiting, data acquisition & archiving, as well as customized data export and analysis.



Microsoft Wildcard DNS Entries

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Here is some data I have accumulated on creating wildcard DNS entries in Microsoft DNS:


  • Setting Up Wildcard DNS and Wildcard SSL – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc750429.aspx
  • Explanation of DNS Wildcards – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/193844
  • Wildcard DNS and SSL setup: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/840687


Enter DNS entry in Windows Server 2003
Click Start, click Control Panel, click Administrative Tools,and then click DNS.
On the Action menu, click Connect to DNS Server.
In Connect to DNS Server, click The following computer.
Type the DNS computer name with the wildcard:*.stsbeta.iponet.net.
Select the Connect to the specified computer now check box, andthen click OK.

Enter DNS entry in Windows 2000 Server
In the DNS administration tool, create a child domain"*" under stsbeta.iponet.net
In the "*" domain, create an entry with an empty node name and IP address 65.54.319.336. You will getwarning that the node name is empty. You can ignore thiswarning.

Wildcard DNS via Command Line:

dnscmd servername /recordadd zonename * A IPAddress
dnscmd servername /recordadd zonename * CNAME IPAddress


Quickly renaming multiple file extensions with bash

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I needed to quickly rename a bunch of file extensions in a directory. This one liner made quick work of it:

for old in *.JPG; do cp $old `basename $old .JPG`.jpg; done

basename, when given a file name and a extension spits out something like this:

user@server$ basename derp.txt .txt

Which we then use to append the proper extension (.jpg) in the example and done.

Graphite – Scalable realtime graphing suite

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Graphite is a highly scalable real-time graphing system. As a user, you write an application that collects numeric time-series data that you are interested in graphing, and send it to Graphite’s processing backend, carbon, which stores the data in Graphite’s specialized database. The data can then be visualized through graphite’s web interfaces.


Hardware Dev – Logic Analyzer & Bus Pirate

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I think I wrote about the bus pirate some time ago.

A logic analyzer is a device that lets you watch digital signals in your electronics project. You can watch them real-time or log the data for later perusal. Unlike an oscilloscope, its not good for measuring analog signals – but also unlike an oscilloscope, you can track 8 signals at time! So its a good complementary tool. This logic analyzer plugs into a computer and has easy to use, cross-platform software. This makes it small, portable and inexpensive. If you ever have to to debug SPI, i2c, serial, CAN, 1-wire, Manchester, biphase or other digital protocols, this tool is essential!


BusPirate: adafruit.com/products/237

Updating OpenWRT packages on a USB stick

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With opkg.conf configured with a usb destination I can install packages with:

opkg -dest usb install <<package>>

But sometimes, because files are not where the system expects the packages will not run once installed. A simple way to fix this is to run the following command after installing something to USB:

echo "Making the etc files, libs and bins happy..."

ln -s /mnt/usb/etc/* /etc/
ln -s /mnt/usb/usr/lib/* /usr/lib/
ln -s /mnt/usb/usr/bin/* /usr/bin/
ln -s /mnt/usb/usr/sbin/* /usr/sbin/
ln -s /mnt/usb/usr/share/* /usr/share/

echo "Done... errors saying the file already exists are fine..."

I made it a quick script so I can just run it to sync everything up.

Flashing OpenWRT without a GUI

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I have successfully completed my custom firmware build and have cross compiled it. I now have bin files ready for flashing. Since I did not opt to select the LuCi web interface that is packaged with OpenWRT, I deemed it wise to research my other options for reflashing the firmware, since once I flash my custom image, there will be no web interface available to reflash again thru.

Two methods — TFTP and JTAG.
TFTP is the way to go as there is a tiny TFTP server built right into the devices boot loader. This means that I can recover from most hosed flashes. The other option is to populate the empty JTAG pins on the board with a header and go at it that way, although this should only be needed in a worst case scenario.

Before flashing via TFTP, I need to make sure that the nvram variables are set correctly to allow the boot loader to pause searching for the TFTP server for long enough. This is done by:

nvram set boot_wait=on
nvram set boot_time=10
nvram commit && reboot

Source: wiki.openwrt.org/toh/linksys/wrt54g#inst…

Once the bootloader has been configured to wait fo rthe TFTP server, we can proceed witht he standard OpenWRT TFTP flashing instructions: wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/generic.flash…

Quantum Random Number Generator Available Publicly

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Reliable and unbiased random numbers are needed for a range of applications spanning from numerical modeling to cryptographic communications. While there are algorithms that can generate pseudo random numbers, they can never be perfectly random nor indeterministic.

Researchers at the ANU are generating true random numbers from a physical quantum source. We do this by splitting a beam of light into two beams and then measuring the power in each beam. Because light is quantised, the light intensity in each beam fluctuates about the mean. Those fluctuations, due ultimately to the quantum vacuum, can be converted into a source of random numbers. Every number is randomly generated in real time and cannot be predicted beforehand. So if you need some really random numbers, use the link below!


New BBWin Client from SquidWorks

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Well, I was happy with just editing config files, but the folks over at SquidWorks made it even easier for my non uber-tekkie colleagues to update BBWin configs:

The BBWin GUI was developed due to a need to make updating and setting up a managed system for monitoring easier for techs. As I am a old Linux guy using a text editor to configure the BBWin.cfg file was common place. When I had to teach others to, not only edit but troubleshoot the files when mistakes were made. That became a task in and of its self. BBWin GUI makes easy work of installing the latest BBWin application, setting for the first time or updating and active system. This app even saves you having to open up notepad first as a admin in Windows 2008 servers before editing and saving the BBWin.cfg file.