Music Free Tech

I’ve been working in IT since the late 1990s and have been a full time systems administrator since 2000. In this blog, you will find a number of things. First, I’ve documented a few things that I’ve learned over the years. Second, this is a place for me to blog about various tech related things.

Importing iCal Into Org-mode

Date: 03 June 2014

Categories: ical, emacs, org-mode

I’ve been using emacs and org-mode for some time to manage my tasks. Org-mode has a great feature which shows and agenda view which includes upcoming scheduled items and deadlines. One of the things that was missing was the ability to view my calendar (which is in Google Calendar) in the agenda. There are a couple of ways of dealing the syncing the calendar data. One of the ways I tried was org-caldav.

Cluster SSH with tmux

Date: 24 September 2013

Categories: tmux

I was working today and, as I glanced at #lopsa, I saw this little gem. 13:50 <geekosaur> tmux has a broadcast-to-all-terminals thing Wait, what?! I had to check it out. It turns out that tmux has a window option called synchronize-panes which lets you “Duplicate input to any pane to all other panes in the same window.” I’ve been using cluster ssh to occasionally log into a bunch of my boxes at once and run the same command on all of them at the same time.

Switching to a Standing Desk

Date: 20 May 2013

Categories: work environment

System administrators have a fairly sedentary job. With the exception of occasionally racking or unracking servers, we’re pretty much desk bound. I’m certainly no exception. Several months ago, I noticed that sitting all day was starting to cause me pain in the backs of my thighs. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of pain, especially while I’m working. The pain would, eventually, drive me from my chair.

Emacs and tmux

Date: 16 October 2012

Categories: emacs, tmux

Hello. My name is PerlStalker and I’m an emacs user. I love emacs and use it for nearly everything but there are a few things it’s not good at. (“Like editing,” I hear all you warped vi users cry.) Among them, and most important to me, are window management and terminals. Let’s start with terminals. I use eshell from time to time to do quick and dirty things on the command line but I always run into weird things that don’t work like I expect.

Managing /etc/hosts With Puppet

Date: 28 August 2012

Categories: puppet, augeas

So, here’s the situation. I have a stack of VM servers running KVM and libvirt. The hosts need to connect to a SAN for ISO storage and, potentially, VM disks. The problem is that the VM running DNS may not be up yet when the host starts. That’s a problem since I’m referencing the san by it’s host name rather than the IP address. Yes, I could change all of my configs to use the IP instead but host names are a lot easier to deal with, most of the time.
We started our deployment of System Center Configuration Manager 2012 last week and I ran into an interesting problem. One of the first apps I rolled out to test with was Strawberry Perl. I grabbed the 64-bit MSI and ran through the Create Application wizard and added the MSI to the deployment types. One quick deployment later and ConfigMgr was happily installing perl on my servers. … Most of my servers.

gPodder and EMMS

Date: 28 March 2012

Categories: emacs, gpodder, emms

I use gPodder to pull podcasts for all my listening pleasure at work. I had been using gnome-mplayer to listen to them but after a recent re-install, gnome-mplayer started to hanging every when I pause the playback. Gmplayer works fine so I know that mplayer, by itself, is not the problem but that doesn’t have a systray icon to make it easy to click and pause playback. Since I’m so frequently using emacs, I thought to myself “I wonder if I can do this in emacs?

IkiWiki and Org-mode

Date: 25 March 2012

Categories: ikiwiki, emacs, org-mode

I love emacs. I practically live in emacs at work. One of my favorite features is org-mode. At its simplest, org-mode is simply a markup language similar to wiki-text or markdown. When you get into it more, the real power of scheduling and task management comes out. In my case, it’s the only system that’s I’ve been able to use to stay organized. I’ve been so happy with org-mode that I start to looking into using for this blog.


Date: 25 March 2012

Categories: meta

I’ve been a busy PerlStalker this week. As you may have noticed, this site has changed somewhat. I’ve recently decided to drop Drupal and switch to IkiWiki. Drupal has been good to me but it’s really too heavy for my little blog. I have no use for most of the features that Drupal provides and it’s not worth it to me to keep it up-to-date. IkiWiki has a couple of really nice things going for it.

Setting the Default Monospace font in XFCE

Date: 19 December 2011

Categories: fonts, xfce

I use XFCE4 on my box at work because it’s lightweight and still provides the features I want. I wanted to change the default font so that emacs used the font I wanted without having to change my .emacs file. Unfortunately, XFCE4 only lets you set system default but not the monospace font. Fortunately, XFCE4 uses fontconfig. All you need to do is edit $HOME/.fonts.conf and add this little XML snippet.