Category: Technology

On Cambridge Analytica

A friend of a friend said she doesn’t mind her personality profile being tracked so FB can suggest things she likes. Why does everyone think it is so bad when she’s stumbled upon many gems from web series, shopping sites, particular products that she highly enjoys. Well, I have two reasons.

Firstly, some people are making a tactical decision to trade personal information for access to technology platforms they enjoy. There are a handful of people I knew in Uni who I thought were wonderful people, but just lost track of over the years. And it’s nice to meet them. There are special-interest groups for vegans, 3d printers, sewists, soap makers, and chicken owners that provide a lot of useful information to me. As an informed decision to share some basic demographic information & whatever FB can glean from my random musings in exchange for communicating with old friends and interest-based communities … I *don’t* think it is a bad deal (or I would have an account). Heap-o people making something other than an informed tactical decision, though, isn’t exactly in my “good” column. And some third party having information about me because, although I have the platform ‘stuff’ disabled on my FB account, a friend downloaded an app … that contravenes my specifically selected privacy settings. And feels like a violation of my trust.

More generally, I don’t care for psyops tactics trying to separate me from my money (or, in this case, my vote serving my real interests). That’s what all these data analytics seem like to me. I opt out of interest based ads on my computer and cell phone. New companies come online and things I’ve thought about buying and decided against once again start stalking me across the Internet. And, yeah, I’ve discovered products that actually INTERESTED me (not always, advertising steaks to a vegetarian is a major profiling fail). But I don’t need, nor I particularly WANT, to spend more money on ‘stuff’. If I have an obvious need for something in my life, I either make something myself or research product options.

I’m not a huge fan of Pinterest for a similar reason – I have a large backlog of projects I want to make. I *really* don’t need an algorithm to look at my projects and suggest additional ones I may like. Yeah, I *do* like them. Until my time machine comes online, I’ve only got so many hours to spread out between family, work, friends, caped crusading, hobbies, research. And I’m quite adept at finding *new* projects when I’ve got some spare time or have a particular need.

I see interest based advertising – online, mailing, any source – the same way I think about toys in the cereal aisle at the supermarket. I don’t object to toys on principal. I object to placing them in a location my kid is going to see because young kids (the target demo, based on toys available) are prone to public screaming fits when they don’t get their way. And 2$ to avoid an unpleasant and stressful situation doesn’t seem too awful when you’re already tired and just want to GET HOME. When the yarn I already decided wasn’t worth it (or decided against the whole project) … being asked to continually reassess this decision is an attempt to reach me at a time when I’m less prone to make rational decisions.

So while “bad” isn’t the word I’d elect to use … it’s the same kind of underhanded as piping O2 into intentionally windowless casino to keep gamblers playing longer. Or maybe it is bad, because the other example I think of is chemically engineering cigarettes and processed food to be more addictive.

Fedora 26 => 27 & PHP

Since I like to discover major changes by upgrading my server and then realizing something doesn’t work (well “like” might be too strong a word … but I certainly do it) … I randomly upgraded to Fedora 27 without reading any documentation on changes. Aaaand we have PHP! Evidently mod_php has gone away and I’m going to have to figure out how to use FastCGI (php-fpm). Luckily there’s a quick way to switch back to mod_php in the interim:


LoadModule mpm_prefork_module modules/

# worker MPM: Multi-Processing Module implementing a hybrid
# multi-threaded multi-process web server
# See:
#LoadModule mpm_worker_module modules/

# event MPM: A variant of the worker MPM with the goal of consuming
# threads only for connections with active processing
# See:
#LoadModule mpm_event_module modules/


<IfModule !mod_php5.c>
<IfModule prefork.c>
LoadModule php7_module modules/

<IfModule !mod_php5.c>
<IfModule !prefork.c>
# ZTS module is not supported, so FPM is preferred
LoadModule php7_module modules/


Unable to ‘send as’ from Outlook With Exchange

I’ve had a confounding problem — we have sendmail magicing up millions of e-mail addresses for us, but occasionally we need to be able to send from one of these addresses too. I’ve got a web form that allows text-based messages (html or plain text), but I don’t want to figure out how to upload and attach images via a web form. Until I get around to updating the web form, I just set up a new Exchange mailbox and grant myself full access (which includes send as permission)

Except ever since we got always updating Office 2016, I’ve gotten nondelivery reports when I subsequently try to send from this new mailbox that claim I don’t have permission to send as the user in question. And I’ve verified my access three times. Even added explicit send-as in addition to full mailbox access.

I’ve finally discovered why I get this false error. The ‘from’ in Outlook allows free-form text which then may or may not resolve against an Exchange mailbox. And based on the permissions of the mailbox (or the lack of permissions of the non-resolved mailbox), it may or may not work. So I don’t have permission to send from newmailbox@ourdomain.ccTLD, I do have permission to send from the Exchange mailbox that happens to have that as its primary SMTP address. Sigh!.

When you use offline mode / cached Exchange mode, and an offline address list, the SMTP address doesn’t resolve out to that mailbox. And Exchange quite properly reports an error. To get the whole thing to work (assuming “wait until tomorrow” isn’t a good answer):

First, the offline address needs to be updated (either wait or hit the powershell management console on the server)

Update-OfflineAddressBook -Identity "Default Offline Address Book"

Secondly, Outlook needs to retrieve the updated address book. Within the Outlook client, use send/receive to update the address lists. Then you can send as the mailbox to which you have perfectly configured access.

WordPress Pages With Custom Info (SEO-type stuff)

I happened across a business who wanted to create several hundred unique WordPress pages so a long list of cities would have a “customized” page offering the service in that area. Makes sense, especially as an SEO endeavor since I search for ‘service city state’ fairly often when it is something I specifically want to obtain locally. Thing is, they were looking to pay someone to duplicate the post & manually edit each duplicate to use the individual locations. There’s a much easier way – the wp_insert_post function. Now it requires that you be able to execute PHP code either from the server’s command line (i.e. it’s your OS) or upload custom code (can be a WordPress plug-in, but it is easier if the code can be installed next to WordPress and called from its URL).

You need a variable for the template text – I wanted to include the location information in both the page title and page content, so I have a title variable as well. Include in the text some string that would never appear in your template (here, I used VARCSZ for variable containing city, state, and zip). Iterate through an array of locations and use str_replace to insert the individual locations into the title and content. Then create the page. Voila, 350 pages posted in a few minutes.

To create a single-column page (although different types of pages can be created by altering the $strContent variable):


$strTitle = 'Service Offered In VARCSZ';
$strContent = '<section id="builder-section-text_11" class="builder-section-first builder-section builder-section-text builder-section-last builder-text-columns-1" style="background-size: cover; background-repeat: no-repeat;background-position: center center;">
     <div class="builder-section-content">
     <div class="builder-text-row">
     <div class="builder-text-column builder-text-column-1" id="builder-section-text_11-column-1">
     <div class="builder-text-content">
     <p><b>Service Offered In VARCSZ</b></p>
     <p>And here is where we provide some information about the service we are offering, why you want this service, and what we do that is super awesome. </P>
     <p><b>More about our service in VARCSZ</b></p>
     <p>Info about our company and the service we provide in VARCSZ</p>
     <p><b>Call NOW for our service in VARCSZ</b></p>
     <p>For this service in VARCSZ, call us.</p>
     <p><b>Call 800-555-1212</b></p>

$strArrayOfLocations = array('Abington, PA 19001', 'Ambler, PA 19002', 'Ardmore, PA 19003', 'Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004', 'Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006', 'Bristol, PA 19007', 'Broomall, PA 19008', 'Bryn Athyn, PA 19009', 'Bryn Mawr, PA 19010', 'Cheltenham, PA 19012', 'Chester, PA 19013', 'Aston, PA 19014', 'Brookhaven, PA 19015', 'Chester, PA 19016', 'Chester Heights, PA 19017', 'Clifton Heights, PA 19018', 'Philadelphia, PA 19019', 'Bensalem, PA 19020', 'Croydon, PA 19021', 'Crum Lynne, PA 19022', 'Darby, PA 19023', 'Dresher, PA 19025', 'Drexel Hill, PA 19026', 'Elkins Park, PA 19027', 'Edgemont, PA 19028', 'Essington, PA 19029', 'Fairless Hills, PA 19030', 'Flourtown, PA 19031', 'Folcroft, PA 19032', 'Folsom, PA 19033', 'Fort Washington, PA 19034', 'Gladwyne, PA 19035', 'Glenolden, PA 19036', 'Glen Riddle, PA 19037', 'Glenside, PA 19038', 'Gradyville, PA 19039', 'Hatboro, PA 19040', 'Haverford, PA 19041', 'Holmes, PA 19043', 'Horsham, PA 19044', 'Jenkintown, PA 19046', 'Langhorne, PA 19047', 'Fort Washington, PA 19048', 'Fort Washington, PA 19049', 'Lansdowne, PA 19050', 'Lenni, PA 19052', 'Feasterville, PA 19053', 'Levittown, PA 19054', 'Levittown, PA 19055', 'Levittown, PA 19056', 'Levittown, PA 19057', 'Levittown, PA 19058', 'Garnet Valley, PA 19060', 'Marcus Hook, PA 19061', 'Media, PA 19063', 'Springfield, PA 19064', 'Media, PA 19065', 'Merion Station, PA 19066', 'Morrisville, PA 19067', 'Morton, PA 19070', 'Narberth, PA 19072', 'Newtown Square, PA 19073', 'Norwood, PA 19074', 'Oreland, PA 19075', 'Prospect Park, PA 19076', 'Ridley Park, PA 19078', 'Sharon Hill, PA 19079', 'Wayne, PA 19080', 'Swarthmore, PA 19081', 'Upper Darby, PA 19082', 'Havertown, PA 19083', 'Villanova, PA 19085', 'Wallingford, PA 19086', 'Wayne, PA 19087', 'Radnor, PA 19088', 'Radnor, PA 19089', 'Willow Grove, PA 19090', 'Media , PA 19091', 'Philadelphia , PA 19092', 'Philadelphia , PA 19093', 'Woodlyn, PA 19094', 'Wyncote, PA 19095', 'Wynnewood, PA 19096', 'Holmes , PA 19098', 'Philadelphia , PA 19099', 'Philadelphia, PA 19101', 'Philadelphia, PA 19102', 'Philadelphia, PA 19103', 'Philadelphia, PA 19104', 'Philadelphia, PA 19105', 'Philadelphia, PA 19106', 'Philadelphia, PA 19107', 'Philadelphia, PA 19108', 'Philadelphia, PA 19109', 'Philadelphia, PA 19110', 'Philadelphia, PA 19111', 'Philadelphia, PA 19112', 'Philadelphia, PA 19113', 'Philadelphia, PA 19114', 'Philadelphia, PA 19115', 'Philadelphia, PA 19116', 'Philadelphia, PA 19118', 'Philadelphia, PA 19119', 'Philadelphia, PA 19120', 'Philadelphia, PA 19121', 'Philadelphia, PA 19122', 'Philadelphia, PA 19123', 'Philadelphia, PA 19124', 'Philadelphia, PA 19125', 'Philadelphia, PA 19126', 'Philadelphia, PA 19127', 'Philadelphia, PA 19128', 'Philadelphia, PA 19129', 'Philadelphia, PA 19130', 'Philadelphia, PA 19131', 'Philadelphia, PA 19132', 'Philadelphia, PA 19133', 'Philadelphia, PA 19134', 'Philadelphia, PA 19135', 'Philadelphia, PA 19136', 'Philadelphia, PA 19137', 'Philadelphia, PA 19138', 'Philadelphia, PA 19139', 'Philadelphia, PA 19140', 'Philadelphia, PA 19141', 'Philadelphia, PA 19142', 'Philadelphia, PA 19143', 'Philadelphia, PA 19144', 'Philadelphia, PA 19145', 'Philadelphia, PA 19146', 'Philadelphia, PA 19147', 'Philadelphia, PA 19148', 'Philadelphia, PA 19149', 'Philadelphia, PA 19150', 'Philadelphia, PA 19151', 'Philadelphia, PA 19152', 'Philadelphia, PA 19153', 'Philadelphia, PA 19154', 'Philadelphia, PA 19155', 'Philadelphia, PA 19160', 'Philadelphia, PA 19161', 'Philadelphia, PA 19162', 'Philadelphia, PA 19170', 'Philadelphia, PA 19171', 'Philadelphia, PA 19172', 'Philadelphia, PA 19173', 'Philadelphia, PA 19175', 'Philadelphia, PA 19176', 'Philadelphia, PA 19177', 'Philadelphia, PA 19178', 'Philadelphia, PA 19179', 'Philadelphia, PA 19181', 'Philadelphia, PA 19182', 'Philadelphia, PA 19183', 'Philadelphia, PA 19184', 'Philadelphia, PA 19185', 'Philadelphia, PA 19187', 'Philadelphia, PA 19188', 'Philadelphia, PA 19190', 'Philadelphia, PA 19191', 'Philadelphia, PA 19192', 'Philadelphia, PA 19193', 'Philadelphia , PA 19194', 'Philadelphia , PA 19195', 'Philadelphia, PA 19196', 'Philadelphia, PA 19197', 'Philadelphia , PA 19244', 'Philadelphia , PA 19255', 'Paoli, PA 19301', 'Atglen, PA 19310', 'Avondale, PA 19311', 'Berwyn, PA 19312', 'Brandamore, PA 19316', 'Chadds Ford, PA 19317', 'Chatham, PA 19318', 'Cheyney, PA 19319', 'Coatesville, PA 19320', 'Cochranville, PA 19330', 'Concordville, PA 19331', 'Devon, PA 19333', 'Downingtown, PA 19335', 'Concordville , PA 19339', 'Concordville , PA 19340', 'Exton, PA 19341', 'Glen Mills, PA 19342', 'Glenmoore, PA 19343', 'Honey Brook, PA 19344', 'Immaculata, PA 19345', 'Kelton, PA 19346', 'Kemblesville, PA 19347', 'Kennett Square, PA 19348', 'Landenberg, PA 19350', 'Lewisville, PA 19351', 'Lincoln University, PA 19352', 'Lionville, PA 19353', 'Lyndell, PA 19354', 'Malvern, PA 19355', 'Mendenhall, PA 19357', 'Modena, PA 19358', 'New London, PA 19360', 'Nottingham, PA 19362', 'Oxford, PA 19363', 'Parkesburg, PA 19365', 'Pocopson, PA 19366', 'Pomeroy, PA 19367', 'Sadsburyville, PA 19369', 'Suplee, PA 19371', 'Thorndale, PA 19372', 'Thornton, PA 19373', 'Toughkenamon, PA 19374', 'Unionville, PA 19375', 'Wagontown, PA 19376', 'West Chester, PA 19380', 'West Chester, PA 19381', 'West Chester, PA 19382', 'West Chester, PA 19383', 'West Chester, PA 19388', 'West Grove, PA 19390', 'Westtown, PA 19395', 'Southeastern, PA 19397', 'Southeastern, PA 19398', 'Southeastern, PA 19399', 'Norristown, PA 19401', 'Norristown, PA 19403', 'Norristown, PA 19404', 'Bridgeport, PA 19405', 'King Of Prussia, PA 19406', 'Audubon, PA 19407', 'Eagleville, PA 19408', 'Fairview Village, PA 19409', 'Eagleville , PA 19415', 'Arcola, PA 19420', 'Birchrunville, PA 19421', 'Blue Bell, PA 19422', 'Cedars, PA 19423', 'Blue Bell , PA 19424', 'Chester Springs, PA 19425', 'Collegeville, PA 19426', 'Conshohocken, PA 19428', 'Conshohocken , PA 19429', 'Creamery, PA 19430', 'Devault, PA 19432', 'Frederick, PA 19435', 'Gwynedd, PA 19436', 'Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437', 'Harleysville, PA 19438', 'Hatfield, PA 19440', 'Harleysville , PA 19441', 'Kimberton, PA 19442', 'Kulpsville, PA 19443', 'Lafayette Hill, PA 19444', 'Lansdale, PA 19446', 'Lederach, PA 19450', 'Mainland, PA 19451', 'Mont Clare, PA 19453', 'North Wales, PA 19454', 'North Wales , PA 19455', 'Oaks, PA 19456', 'Parker Ford, PA 19457', 'Phoenixville, PA 19460', 'Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462', 'Pottstown, PA 19464', 'Pottstown, PA 19465', 'Royersford, PA 19468', 'Saint Peters, PA 19470', 'Sassamansville, PA 19472', 'Schwenksville, PA 19473', 'Skippack, PA 19474', 'Spring City, PA 19475', 'Spring House, PA 19477', 'Spring Mount, PA 19478', 'Uwchland, PA 19480', 'Valley Forge, PA 19481', 'Valley Forge, PA 19482', 'Valley Forge , PA 19483', 'Valley Forge, PA 19484', 'Valley Forge, PA 19485', 'West Point, PA 19486', 'King Of Prussia, PA 19487', 'Norristown, PA 19488', 'Norristown, PA 19489', 'Worcester, PA 19490', 'Zieglerville, PA 19492', 'Valley Forge , PA 19493', 'Valley Forge , PA 19494', 'Valley Forge , PA 19495', 'Valley Forge , PA 19496', 'Adamstown, PA 19501', 'Bally, PA 19503', 'Barto, PA 19504', 'Bechtelsville, PA 19505', 'Bernville, PA 19506', 'Bethel, PA 19507', 'Birdsboro, PA 19508', 'Blandon, PA 19510', 'Bowers, PA 19511', 'Boyertown, PA 19512', 'Centerport, PA 19516', 'Douglassville, PA 19518', 'Earlville, PA 19519', 'Elverson, PA 19520', 'Fleetwood, PA 19522', 'Geigertown, PA 19523', 'Gilbertsville, PA 19525', 'Hamburg, PA 19526', 'Kempton, PA 19529', 'Kutztown, PA 19530', 'Leesport, PA 19533', 'Lenhartsville, PA 19534', 'Limekiln, PA 19535', 'Lyon Station, PA 19536', 'Maxatawny, PA 19538', 'Mertztown, PA 19539', 'Mohnton, PA 19540', 'Mohrsville, PA 19541', 'Monocacy Station, PA 19542', 'Morgantown, PA 19543', 'Mount Aetna, PA 19544', 'New Berlinville, PA 19545', 'Oley, PA 19547', 'Pine Forge, PA 19548', 'Port Clinton, PA 19549', 'Rehrersburg, PA 19550', 'Robesonia, PA 19551', 'Shartlesville, PA 19554', 'Shoemakersville, PA 19555', 'Strausstown, PA 19559', 'Temple, PA 19560', 'Topton, PA 19562', 'Virginville, PA 19564', 'Wernersville, PA 19565', 'Womelsdorf, PA 19567', 'Reading, PA 19601', 'Reading, PA 19602', 'Reading, PA 19603', 'Reading, PA 19604', 'Reading, PA 19605', 'Reading, PA 19606', 'Reading, PA 19607', 'Reading, PA 19608', 'Reading, PA 19609', 'Reading, PA 19610', 'Reading, PA 19611', 'Reading, PA 19612', 'Reading, PA 19640');

echo "<ul>\n";
foreach($strArrayOfLocations as $strLocation){
     $strSEOTitle = str_replace(VARCSZ,$strLocation,$strTitle);
     $strSEOContent = str_replace(VARCSZ,$strLocation,$strContent);

     $postObject = array();
     $postObject['post_title'] = $strSEOTitle;
     $postObject['post_content'] = $strSEOContent;
     $postObject['post_status'] = 'publish';
     $postObject['post_author'] = 1;
     $postObject['post_type'] = 'page';
     $postObject['post_category'] = array(0);
     $iPostID = wp_insert_post( $postObject);
     echo "<li>$iPostID created for $strLocation</li>\n";
echo "</ul>\n";

Now if you wanted to get really fancy … add some code to list all of the city/state/zip combos for the country (or subset there-of). And for the other attributes you can set on a post, see

WebLogic LDAP Authentication

Configuring an LDAP Authentication provider in WebLogic (version 11g used in this documentation)

  • In configuring LDAP authentication, I add a new authentication provider but continue to use the local provider for the system account under which WebLogic is launched. Partially because I don’t really use WebLogic (there’s an Oracle app with its own management site that runs within WebLogic – very small number of users, so our configuration is in no way optimized), but partially because using a network-sourced system account can prevent your WebLogic instance from launching. If your config isn’t right, or if the network is down, or a firewall gets in the way, or the LDAP server is down …. Your WebLogic fails to launch because its system ID is not validated.

WebLogic Configuration

Lock & Edit the site so we can make changes. On the left-hand pane, scroll down & find Security Realms

Go into your realm, select the “providers” tab. Supply a name for the provider (I included “LDAP” in the name to ensure it was clear which provider this was – may even want to specify something like “CompanyXLDAPAuthProvider”)

Select type “LDAPAuthenticator” for generic LDAP (I was using Sun DSEE, and moved to Oracle OUD without changing the authenticator type). Click OK to create.

Change the control flag on your default authenticator. Click the hyperlink for the default provider. On the “Common” tab, change the “Control Flag” to “SUFFICIENT” and save.

Click the hyperlink for the newly created provider. On the “Common” tab, change the “Control Flag” to “SUFFICIENT” and save.

Select the “Provider specific” tab.


Host:     <your LDAP server>

Port:      636

Principal:             <Your system account, provided when you request access to the LDAP directory>

Credentials:        <Your system account password>

Confirm Credentials:       <same as credentials>

SSLEnabled:        Check this box (for testing purposes, i.e. if you are unable to connect with these instructions as provided, you can set the port to 389 and not check this box to help with troubleshooting the problem. But production authentication needs to be done over SSL)


User Base DN:    <get this from your LDAP admin. Ours is “ou=people,o=CompanyX”)

All User Filter:    (&(objectClass=inetOrgPerson))

For applications with a single group restricting valid users, you can use the filter: (&(objectClass=inetOrgPerson)(isMemberOf=cn=GroupNameHere,ou=groups,o=CompanyX))

Users from name filter:  (&(uid=%u)(objectClass=inetOrgPerson))

User Search Type:                           subtree (onelevel may be fine, but verify with your LDAP administrator)

User Name Attribute:                     uid

User Object Class:                           inetOrgPerson

Use Retrieved User Name as Principal – I didn’t select this, don’t really know what it does


Group Base DN:               <another one to get from your LDAP admin. Ours is “ou=groups,o=CompanyX”>

All Groups Filter:              (&(objectClass=groupOfUniqueNames))

If your group names all have the same prefix, you could limit “all” groups to just your groups with a filter like (&(objectClass=groupOfUniqueNames)(cn=MyApp*))

Group from name filter: (&(cn=%g)(objectclass=groupofuniquenames))

Group search scope:                      subtree (again, onelevel may be fine)

Group membership searching:    <We select ‘limited’ because there are no nested groups in the LDAP directories. If you need to resolve nested group memberships, this and the next value will be different>

Max group membership search level:      0

Ignore duplicate membership:     Doesn’t really matter as we don’t have duplicates. I left this unchecked.

Static groups

Static group Attribute name:       cn

Static group Object Class:             groupOfUniqueNames

Static Member DN Attribute:       uniqueMember

Static Group DNs from Member filter:     (&(uniquemember=%M)(objectclass=groupofuniquenames))

Dynamic Groups              this section is left blank/defaults as we don’t use dynamic groups


Connection Pool Size:     Ideal value dependent on your anticipated application load – default of 6 is a good place to start.

Connect timeout:             Default is 0. I don’t know if this is something particular to WebLogic, but I generally use a 15 or 30 second timeout. If the server hasn’t responded in that period, it is not going to respond and there’s no need to hang the thread waiting.

Connection Retry Limit: Default is 1, this should be sufficient but if you see a lot of connection errors, either increase the connect timeout or increase this retry limit

Parallel Connect Delay:  0 (default) is fine

Result time limit:              0 (default) is OK. On my the LDAP server, there is no time limit for searches. Since WebLogic is making very simple searches, you could put a limit in here to retry any search that takes abnormally long

Keep Alive Enabled:         Please do not enable keep alive unless you have a specific need for it. Bringing up a new session uses slightly more time/resources on your app server than re-using an existing connection but that keep alive is a LOT of extra “hey, I’m still here” pings against the LDAP servers

Follow Referrals:              Un-check this box unless your LDAP admin tells you referrals are in use and should be followed.

Bind Anonymously on referrals:  Leave unchecked if you are not following referrals. If referrals are used and followed – ask the LDAP admin how to bind

Propagate cause for logon exception:      I check this box because I *want* the ugly LDAP error code that explains why the logon failed (49 == bad user/password pair; 19 == account locked out). But no *need* to check the box

Cache Related Settings:  This is something that would require more knowledge of WebLogic than I have 😊

If you enable caching, you may not see changes for whatever delta-time is the cache duration. So, the defaults of enabling cache & retaining it for 60 seconds wouldn’t really create a problem. If you set the cache duration to one day (a silly setting to make the problem cache can create clear) …. If I logged into your application at 2PM, did a whole bunch of work, went home, came back the next morning & saw my “your password is about to expire” warning … so go out to the password portal and change my password. Reboot, get logged back into my computer …. and try to access your application, I will get told my password is invalid. I could try again, even type what I *know* is my password into notepad & paste it into your app … still not able to log on. My old password, were I to try it, would work … but otherwise I’d have to wait until after 2PM before my new password would work.

Group membership changes could be a problem too – with the same 24 hour cache, if I am a valid user of your application who signs in at 2PM today, but my job function changes tomorrow morning & my access is revoked … I will still have application access until the cache expires. I am not sure if WebLogic does negative caching – basically if I am *not* a user, try to sign in and cannot because I lack the group membership & get an access request approved *really quickly* to become a group member, I may still be unable to access the application until the “Lisa is not a member of group XYZ” cache expires. If WebLogic does not do negative caching, then this scenario is not an issue.

So you might be able to lower utilization on your app server & my LDAP server by enabling cache (if your app, for instance, re-auths the object **each time the user changes pages** or something, then caching would be good). If you are just checking authentication and authorization on logon … probably not going to do much to lower utilization. But certainly keep the cache TTL low (like minutes, not days).

GUID Attribute:  nsUniqueID

Establishing The SSL Trust

For encryption to be negotiated with the LDAP servers, you need to have a keystore that includes the public keys from the CA used to sign the LDAP server cert. Obtain the base 64 encoded public keys either from the PKI admin or the LDAP admin. Place these file(s) on your server – I use the /tmp/ directory since they are no longer needed after import.

From the domain structure section, select: Environment=>Servers and select your server. On the “Configuration” tab, click the keystores sub-tab. If you are not already using a custom trust, you need to change they keystore type to use a custom trust (and specify a filename in a path to which the WebLogic account has access – keystore type is JKS and the password is whatever you are going to make the keystore password). If you *are* already using a custom trust, just record the file name of the custom trust keystore.

Use keytool to import the CA keys to the file specified in the custom trust. The following examples use a root and signing CA from my company, the CA chain which signs our LDAP SSL certs.

./keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias WIN-ROOT -file /tmp/WIN-ROOT-CA.b64 -keystore /path/to/the/TrustFile.jks -keypass YourKeystorePassword -storepass YourKeystorePassword

./keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias WIN-WEB -file /tmp/WIN-WEB-CA.b64 -keystore /path/to/the/TrustFile.jks -keypass YourKeystorePassword -storepass YourKeystorePassword

*** Under advanced, I had to check off “Use JSSE SSL” for SSL to work. Without that checked off, I got the following error in the log:

####<Feb 23, 2018 10:11:36 AM EST> <Notice> <Security> <> <AdminServer> <[ACTIVE] ExecuteThread: ’12’ for queue: ‘weblogic.kernel.Default (self-tuning)’> <<WLS Kernel>> <> <58b1979606d98df5:292a2ff6:161c336d0ba:-8000-0000000000000007> <1519398696289> <BEA-090898> <Ignoring the trusted CA certificate “CN=WIN-WEB-CA,DC=CompanyX,DC=com”. The loading of the trusted certificate list raised a certificate parsing exception PKIX: Unsupported OID in the AlgorithmIdentifier object: 1.2.840.113549.1.1.11.>

####<Feb 23, 2018 10:11:36 AM EST> <Notice> <Security> <> <AdminServer> <[ACTIVE] ExecuteThread: ’12’ for queue: ‘weblogic.kernel.Default (self-tuning)’> <<WLS Kernel>> <> <58b1979606d98df5:292a2ff6:161c336d0ba:-8000-0000000000000007> <1519398696289> <BEA-090898> <Ignoring the trusted CA certificate “CN=WIN-Root-CA”. The loading of the trusted certificate list raised a certificate parsing exception PKIX: Unsupported OID in the AlgorithmIdentifier object: 1.2.840.113549.1.1.11.>

An alternate solution would be to update your WebLogic instance – there are supposedly patches, but not sure which rev and it wasn’t worth trial-and-erroring WebLogic patches for my one WebLogic instance with a dozen users.

Whew, now save those changes. Activate changes & you will probably need to restart your WebLogic service to have the changes go into effect. You can go into the roles & add LDAP groups as — specifically, I added our LDAP group’s CN to the administrators WebLogic role.

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) Relying Party Trust Cert Expiry

At work, we received a critical ticket for an application that was unable to authenticate to ADFS. Nothing globally wrong – other applications are authenticating. A long call later, we discovered that the app’s certificate has expired. Why would the application not monitor their certificate expiry dates?? That’s an excellent question, but not one over which I have any control.

can monitor their certs on our side. So I wrote a quick powershell script to grab certificates from the relying party trusts and alerts us if any certs will be expiring in the next 30 days. It has to run on the ADFS server – I’d love to get it moved to the automation server in the future. I expect get-adfsrelyingpartytrust returns disabled agreements. I want to filter out disabled agreements.

Git Pull Requests

I have finally run through the process of submitting a pull request to suggest changes to a Git repository. Do the normal ‘stuff’ either to make a new project or to clone an existing project to your computer. Create a new branch and check out that branch.

C:\ljr\git>git clone

Cloning into ‘SampleProject’…

remote: Counting objects: 4, done.

remote: Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.

remote: Total 4 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 0

Unpacking objects: 100% (4/4), done.

C:\ljr\git>cd SampleProject

C:\ljr\git\SampleProject>git branch newEdits

C:\ljr\git\SampleProject>git checkout newEdits

Switched to branch ‘newEdits’

Make some changes and commit them to your branch

C:\ljr\git\SampleProject>git add

C:\ljr\git\SampleProject>git commit -m “Added hello world script”

C:\ljr\git\SampleProject>git push origin newEdits

Counting objects: 3, done.

Delta compression using up to 4 threads.

Compressing objects: 100% (3/3), done.

Writing objects: 100% (3/3), 408 bytes | 408.00 KiB/s, done.

Total 3 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0)


 * [new branch]      newEdits -> newEdits

On the GitHub site, click the “new pull request” button. Since you select the two branches within the pull request, it doesn’t seem to matter which branch’s “Pull request” tab you select.

Select the source branch and the one with your changes. Verify you can merge the branches (otherwise you’ve got a problem and need to resolve conflicts). Review the changes, then click “Create pull request”

Here’s another place for comments – comments on the pull request, not the commit comments. Click “Create pull request”.

Click “Create pull request” and you’ve got one! Now what do we do with it (i.e. if you’re the repository owner and receive a pull request). If you check the “Pull request” tab on your project, you should see one now.

Click on it to explore the changes that have been made – the “Commits” tab will have the commits, and the “Files changed” tab will show you the specific changes that have been made.

You could just comment and close the pull request (if, for instance, there was a reason you had not implemented the project that way and do not wish to incorporate the changes into your master branch). Assuming you do wish to incorporate the code, there are a couple of ways you can merge the new code into your base branch. The default is generally a good, or read the doc at

Select the appropriate merge type and click the big green button. You have an opportunity to edit the commit message at this point, or just click “Confirm merge”

Voila, it is merged in. You can write some comment to close out the pull request.

There is a notification that the request was completed and the branch can be deleted.

And the project no longer has any open pull requests (you can remove the “is open” filter and see the request again).

And finally, someone should delete the branch. Is that the person who created the branch? Is that the person who maintains the repository? No idea! I’d delete my own, to keep things tidy … but I wouldn’t be offended if the maintainer deleted it either.


Drone Army

Over the weekend, when it was negative five degrees, our neighbor’s power went out in the middle of the night. Some trees along the line grew into the power lines and had been abrading the line for some time, and a handful of arborists had to come out and try to trim the tree back. In the dark. At negative five degrees. Not the most fun job I could imagine, and the ironic this is it was the same team that had been out in the summer to clear trees along a stretch of the power lines a bit farther down.

The problem, it seems, is that it’s terribly time consuming to have arborists walking along the line to see where things actually need to be cut. Instead they just hit every section once per unit time. Sometimes that’s a quick couple branches snipped in a hardwood grove. Sometimes that’s serious maintenance in softwood groves. And sometimes delta-time is too long for, say, our line of pine trees. And sometimes the team doesn’t do a particularly good job of trimming the trees.

Made me wonder about having drones fly along the line – you’d still need someone to drive out, and I’d recharge the batteries in the van/truck so they’d be ready to go when I got to the next site. A single person flying a drone over a stretch of power lines could generate more realistic work orders for the arborists – skip the bits that didn’t grow much, realize these pine trees are endangering the lines before you had to call out a crew on Sunday night. They could also run through the same line post-maintenance and verify the work was done well.

Home Security Drone

We’ve conceptualized home security drones for some time with autonomous programming that instructs the drones to return to a charging station when their batteries become depleted. Feed the video back to a platform that knows what the area should look like and alert on abnormalities.

The idea of a drone patrol is interesting to me because optimizing the ‘random walk’ algorithm to best suit the implementation is challenging. The algorithm would need to be modified to account for areas that other drones recently visited and allow weighting for ease of ingress (i.e. it’s not likely someone will scale a cliff wall to infiltrate your property. A lot of ‘intrusions’ will come through the driveway). Bonus points for a speaker system that would have the drone direct visitors to the appropriate entrance (please follow me to the front door) — a personal desire because delivery people seem to believe both our garage and our kitchen patio are the front door.

This is a great security solution when it’s unique, but were the idea to be widely adopted … it would suck as a home security implementation. Why? Drones with video feeds sound like a great way to deter trespassing. But drones have practical limitations. Home break-ins would be performed during storms. Or heavy snowfall. Or …

What if the drone charging base has wheels – during adverse weather, the drone can convert itself into an autonomous land vehicle. I’d probably include an additional battery in the base as the wheeled vehicle traversing land would use more energy. And there would be places a wheeled vehicle could not travel. The converted drone would be able to cover some of the property, and generally the area closest to the structures could be traversed.

Spectre & Meltdown

The academic whitepapers for both of these vulnerabilities can be found at — or El Reg’s article and their other article provide a good summary for those not included to slog through technical nuances. There’s a lot of talk about chip manufacturer’s stock drops and vendor patches … but I don’t see anyone asking how bad this is on hosted platforms. Can I sign up for a free Azure trial and start accessing data on your instance? Even if they isolate free trial accounts (and accounts given to students through University relationships), is a potential trove of data worth a few hundred bucks to a hacker? Companies run web storefronts that process credit card info, so there’s potentially profit to be made. Hell, is the data worth a few million to some state-sponsored entity or someone getting into industrial espionage? I’m really curious if MS uses the same Azure farms for their hosted Exchange and SharePoint services.

While Meltdown has patches (not such a big deal if you’re use cases are GPU intensive games, but does a company want a 30% performance hit on business process servers, automated build and testing machines, data mining servers?), Spectre patches turn IT security into TSA regulations. We can make a patch to mitigate the last exploit that occurred. Great for everyone else, but doesn’t help anyone who experienced that last exploit. Or the people about to get hit with the next exploit.

I wonder if Azure and AWS are going to give customers a 5-30% discount after they apply the performance reducing patch? If I agreed to pay x$ for y processing capacity, now they’re supplying 0.87y … why wouldn’t I pay 0.87x$?