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November 2006


At work we have just modifed the apple airport router to log to a syslog daemon on a linux machine. Now it fills the logfile with “Deauthenticated with station xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx (leaving network).
I wonder what this means? In Kismet the stations listed in the logfile show up as probe networks. So is somebody scanning for wifi networks here?

Some hours ago I had some server problems: A php script on a quite busy server was getting timeouts and thus the number of apache serer had reached the limit and no requests were served (as all servers where busy running the php script that was waiting for a timeout - great).
As the solution was quite obvious I first changed the php script and was hoping to see the number of apache servers going down. After some minutes of looking at the output of watch ‘ps ax|grep apache2|wc -l’ I realised that something was wrong. I still had hundreds of apache servers running and no new connections were accepted.
Killing apache was my next step, but after all processes had disappeared and I tried to restart apache an error showed up that it could not bind port 80 and 443. Why was that?
I checked with netstat –inet -n –listen to see that something was still listening to those ports. A little bit of google research gave a great tip: lsof is able to show not only open files but also open ports and which programs are keeping them open.
Running lsof -i|grep http and lsof -i|grep https showed that indeed several apache processes (that didn’t exist according to ps) where still listening and keeping the ports open.
Next thing I did was try to kill the connections. tcpkill was my choice for that. It is contained in the dsniff package and can kill tcp connection based on tcpdump rules.
Running tcpkill -i eth0 -9 port 80 or port 443 produced a lot of log messages but did not close the ports. At that point I was really considering a reboot ;-)
Finally I took another look at the output of lsof and realised that at the beginning of each line it said “sendmail”. Why should sendmail be listening on port 80? Especially as sendmail is not running as a service on that machine. The strange solution was that some error mails in my scripts had started sendmail processes and those processes did not finish. After killing all sendmail procs the hard way (killall -9 sendmail) closed the ports and a restart of apache was possible.
Now I just wonder why killing apache did not kill the sendmail processes that seemed to be child procs of apache?

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Quickonlinetips.com has a really good overview of Wordpress plugins that make the integration of Google Adsense easier. Besides the standard Adsense Deluxe I especially like the Adsense Injector. This plugin inserts adsense in random sizes on random positions in your posts and hopes to fight the much.feared banner-blindness.

read more | digg story

This weekend I wanted to use the “Blog this” feature on digg to write about some articles. Unfortunately whenever I submitted the post it kept telling me that the HTTP response had been something other than 200.
As I write all my posts with performancing for firefox I am pretty sure that the xml-rpc interface of my wordpress is working fine and so I wrote a mail to the digg support. And they did in fact respond several times though it was weekend.
In the end I did not change any settings (or at least they are now on a setting that I had used before and had now success with) but today I could post directly from digg.
So either there was something wrong on the digg end or the problem resolve magically right after I mailed the support team.

Wow, that is one though statement. The CEO of Universal music let us know that “These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it.” Great thing, they way the music industry handles the web and new technology keeps surprising me. But from now on, whenever I start iTunes to steal some more music from the iTunes store I will have a look for the label - I wouldn’t want to spend any more money on stealing music from Universal music.

read more | digg story

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