Category Archives: Uncategorized

LastPass update

As a disclaimer: I used to be a LastPass customer up until last year and have since cancelled my subscription and moved to 1Password where I became a certified partner. Some observations below are based on a hypothesis, mainly because LastPass has not provided the information.

Today LastPass provided some more insight in the breach or breaches they have encountered over the last 8 months. As many have seen the sheer fallout of the entire cybersecurity world was enormous, mainly on three fronts.

  • LastPass had observed previous security related issues and have not addressed them properly over the course of a many years
  • The first notice did appear to negated the significance of the breach and lack of details
  • The notice leaned towards LastPass not accepting responsibility if customer credentials were exposed because “best practices” were not followed.
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Troubleshooting Linux Storage 2023

As you may have seen, the first release of my book was published in late September, and I’ve received a great deal of positive feedback. To the ones who have provided me the constructive feedback, I am most grateful, and I’ll make sure these are addressed in the 2023 release.

One of the most asked questions was if I could expand on the Fibre-Channel and NVMeoFC side as that seems to be an area where many Linux administrators, who also deal with storage infrastructure management, have problems with. The main reason people asked is that I’ve been doing this for over 20 years so I must have some decent knowledge on this. They’ve followed my blog for a long time and would like to see the correlation of issues in a FC network and how this propagates onto the various layers of the operating system. Whether this is related to path management, IO issues, security, discovery or other problems that show up on Linux hosts, when it originates somewhere in the FC network it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the issue.

I would be very happy to expand on this and share the knowledge that I have and provide examples with problems and resolutions.


Even though I’ve worked with the most complex and expensive equipment out there, I do not have a $100K home-lab sitting in my study. Recent FC equipment is relatively expensive when compared to Ethernet and there is no such thing as a free-bee Wireshark that can do line-rate FC traffic capturing or injecting errors like we have with “tc qdisc” options. Host bus adapters, a 16G or newer switch that can talk NVMeoF and has FPIN capabilities would already need to have some recent chipset and software. The same thing goes for an FC array.

I’m currently in touch with some good friends in the industry to see what the options are and if are able to accommodate my request. I know from experience that there are hurdles and roadblocks in the form of financial or legal restrictions so I need to take things as they come. I’m grateful for any effort people take to help me out.

If there are past, current or future customers who have “spare/superfluous” equipment in this area and are able/willing to help I would be extremely pleased.

It looks like this post seems to have turned out as some begging exercise, but that is not the intention. I am really committed to provide the best information that I can give to my readers and hope that they are able to prevent, or resolve, storage related issues in a Linux environment as much as possible. Having the proper tools to do that is obviously a prerequisite to achieve that.

If you are able to help and want to get in touch to see what we can do, just email me or make an appointment via the contact page over here.

Kind regards,


The Optus data breach and why it was so simple.

OK, first off, “It wasn’t me !!!” Even though the title may indicate otherwise.

Just in case you’re not in Australia and have no idea what this is about. Optus is Australia’s second-largest Telco, with around 11 million subscribers. On September 22nd 2022 they suffered a major data breach where it was announced that PII (Personal Identifiable Information) data of almost all their customers was stolen. Now, we’re not talking about the phone number and the name, nooo, basically everything that is required to really disrupt someone’s life. This included names, addresses, date of birth, drivers-licence details, passport details, banking and payment information, other identity verifiers like Medicare numbers, and potentially other grade two1 or three details that would allow a person to accrue enough points for online or phone identity verification. Let me be clear here, NO OPTUS CUSTOMER IS SAFE FOR YEARS TO COME !!.

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Troubleshooting Linux Storage – My first book

When I asked a buddy of mine, who is a fairly prolific author, what his advice is when I asked him I wanted to write a book, he said “Don’t”. During the process I sometimes wished I’d taken that advice, but as it progressed and neared completion I did feel a real sense of satisfaction. Now, I’m not claiming to be an author and my style of writing is more along the same way I write my blog articles. Just down to earth without any fuss and simply trying to be a clear and concise as possible.

It took a bit longer than firstly anticipated as my previous employer had some issues with me writing such a book as well as the fact that I got diagnosed with some nasty disease I had to conquer, but here we are. I could finally press the “Publish” button.

So what is it about. As the subject says, Troubleshooting Linux Storage.

In my career as a support engineer, I’ve seen many issues popping up in a variety of circumstances at customers’ sites, ranging from very small to very large multinationals. A common factor has been that in many occasions there was confusion of what was actually happening and where any of the problems originated from. Now, I’m far from claiming I’m an expert at any layer of the Linux IO stack, but as I’ve been doing both storage and Linux for a fairly long time, I have a pretty good understanding of where to look when things go wrong, how to identify them and how to resolve them.

In the book, I’ve tried to capture a lot of what I know, and I hope it will help system administrators in diagnosing problems, resolving them and based on these experiences, prevent this from happening again.

Is it a complete bible of everything that can go wrong? I think there would not be enough trees in the world to provide the paper to print it on, nor would you be able to lift the book physically. Even just a Kindle version would seriously be stretching the storage capacity of the device. As always, you have to make decisions on what is useful to write and the necessity to refer to other sources. Most of the things in the book are of a practical nature around the troubleshooting art. It does contain a fair amount of links to other sources where needed.

As this is my first attempt of ever doing such a thing, I did not really want to go via one of the large publishing houses like o’Reilly or Starch Press. Maybe in the future that changes. That also means that from a publishing perspective this has been a one-man job, and you could encounter some irregularities that I may not have captured. When I do these will be corrected asap.

The book can be purchased via Amazon.

[amazon template=iframe image2&asin=B0BFX744GY]

It is also now available in digital format via Leanpub

I welcome any feedback, good or bad, and appreciate suggestions, so I can improve the book in future versions and help more Linux system administrators.

Kind regards


Marshall Stanmore Multiroom smartspeaker. A review

Marshal Stanmore

About two months ago I received my new shiny Marshall Stanmore multiroom smartspeaker. I’ve been dubbing between this one  and a Sonos for a long time but when i read that Sonos were planning to build software that basically bricks your system just because “It was old” I decided to get a Marshall.

Now, this is not 100% a Marshall system as the Swedish company Zound has basically licensed the brand name and logo and build these speakers. I guess Marshall themselves stay on the professional line with their high end amplifiers and speakers.


As soon as I unboxed the speaker and started to read the installation manual I already regretted the puchase. The first thing it says is to install the Google Home app on your iPhone or Android. Huh, say what??? Why the hell would I need Google Home to get a speaker to work. What happened with simply interfacing over Bluetooth or maybe even USB. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of the, so called, cloud providers that put a microphone in my house nor do I want them to know what equipment I have. Unfortunately there was no other option to get this thing to work and have it started talking against my home router. As soon that was done I immediately de-installed Google Home from my iPhone and installed the Marshall app so I could get some tunes out of the speaker.

The App

App installed and the disappointment became even bigger. Zound is apparently not a company that deals a lot with HID’s (Human Interface Devices) which basically means their app is a maze of different screens which you have to flick back and forth and up and down to configure, select, play, stop and do all the other stuff you would normally expect to be available in a far more condensed format. For example why do I need to flick an entire screen to get a volume bar and be able to adjust that and not as a standard slider on the screen that shows which songs/stations are played. The same goes for the 7 preset stations, why couldn’t this have been displayed on one screen with a play/stop button besides each of them.

Network setup and Home Automation

Another thing that annoys the hell out of me is that the discovery of the speaker is apparently done via some ethernet L2 broadcast protocol. That basically means that if you have your speaker connected to, lets say, your media network and your phone to another you will not be able to connect the app to your speaker unless you flick back and forth on your wifi networks. It also means that the app to speaker configuration over routed networks does not work and I almost assume that if you have more speakers you will not be able to have them in multiroom configuration if they need to cross wifi/ip subnet networks. Major pain in the behind. There are so many options available like mDNS, DNS service records, UPNP etc etc….. but no these are not the ones they opted for. 🙁

Also the internet radio stations need to be configured via an external party called Frontier Nuvola Smart Radio. Why can’t this be configured locally as a simple few settings on a ESP8266 or ESP32 chip and have this dynamically distributed over the network.

That leads me to the next let-down. The web interface is basically just there for some basic stuff like updating firmware and some wifi settings. Why this can’t be a full fledged interface that also allows you configure all the rest is beyond me. There are a gazillion web-based audio players out there and to just have a fully fitted web interface to be able to configure the box is basically a major flaw. My free Kodi system has many awesome interfaces so why can’t this sitting in a commercial box as well. Major let-down.

As I’m pretty much into Home Automation I dug around in the manuals to see if there is an API that would allow tools like HomeAssistant and others talk to the speaker in the same way Sonos, Sony and lost of others (see here: do. This is also not the case and you’re stuck with the iPhone or Android app. So in addition to a $500 speaker you also have to fork out $600+ phone to be able to use it.

Streaming Music services

Spotify Premium……. (full stop). When the Spotify app is opened it will not let you select the speaker as an output. (yes, yes, there are workarounds but its basically utter nonsense that it won’t allow you to do that with a basic account. You still have to listen to the same nagging ads whether these come out a phone, headphone or smart-speaker shouldn’t matter…)

How do I turn it off??


This had me and my missus a bit confused from the start. It turns out that the “selector” button needs to be pushed to pause the playback. It would’ve been handy if there was a simple play&stop symbol under that button

Is there anything good????

Yes, the sound it produces is pretty awesome and the base, treble and volume settings allow for darn good amount of airwaves to leave the speaker. In addition to that I like the looks of a Marshall brand so it sits great on my benchtop.

Would that justify the purchase of a fairly pricey smart-speaker. I would certainly have second thoughts knowing what I know now. After Sonos CEO Patrick Spence withdrew the “bricking” plans in his blogpost (see here) I would for sure re-evaluate the options and most likely select one of their speakers.

If you still decide to buy one here an amazon referal:

[amazon template=iframe image2&asin=B07HPS9XJR]

PS. if anyone from Zound or Marshall reads this and has questions don’t hesitate to contact me. Happy to help out.

Brocade Network Advisor (BNA) is End-of-Life

So the final nail is in the coffin. Brocade Network Advisor is being put to rest. The juggling of Java code to the ever expanding demand of functions, features and other capabilities was no longer sustainable. Oracle starting to charge for Java would’ve made the decision even easier.

The replacement is SANNav (No I don’t get into the same discussion VMWare has with which character should be capitalized or not. :-))

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Popcorn Time is the Napster of the current age

Opening up the Australian news homepage I stumbled across this article

Illegal Netflix-style Popcorn Time could lead to trouble for users

Since I like movies and watch them via my Australian FOXTel movie package my curiosity was triggered. It turns out the PopcornTime program is a collector of torrent links and combines the links found on torrent site into a easy to use interface. Contacting a movie database with collateral also provides the postersheets and some additional movie info.

Let me be perfectly clear. I pay for movies as I think the people who make them deserve a earning. I’m not talking about the massively overpaid actors, directors and producers but more about the rest of the folks who pop-up on the credit-roll at the end.

Seeing this app reminds me of the exact same situation the entire music industry was in 15 years ago. Apps like Napster, eMule, eDonkey and Kazaa did fulfil what the music industry did not see. The digitalisation of music allowed people to get songs on any computer or mp3 player they wanted but the problem was this: it was frigging impossible to obtain the music legally in digital format so people could take this with them on these devices. It took people like Steve Jobs to shake up that music industry and tell them to get their heads out of their ass and work with the IT folks to make this distribution platform happen so everyone could obtain all music in a very simple way on almost any device, globally and instantly without restrictions. The result: Welcome iTunes. The followup of the mp3 (or whatever format you like) distribution method is now streaming music. Options like RDIO, Spotify and more recently Apple Music plus others make it even simpler to listen to you favourite artist but now also make it possible to tap into a content pool of more then 20 million songs with a click of a button without having to download it first on your device or require you to have a 15 TB diskdrive to store your songs.

The amount of pirated music dropped with a staggering 98% and record companies as well as artists, although somewhat reluctant to Apple’s distribution slice of their revenue, agreed this was the new age.

A similar thing happened in the book-stores. Nobody wanted to carry around 20 kilo’s of paper on their holidays and thus companies like Adobe, Amazon and Barnes&Noble all quickly jumped on the e-reader bandwagon and the majority of books are now sold in epub or kindle format at a very attractive price.

Another example is the telco business. These companies also wanted to hold on to their hardware business where everyone could see the phone itself morphed into a small handheld computer of which the telco’s had no clue of. Only after releasing the bundling of consumer hardware with their core-business they could see the benefits.

Roll forward to 2015 and compare the movie to the music industry in the late 90’s, early 2000’s . The big Hollywood studios and production companies like Sony, Warner Brothers and more still stubbornly hold on to their distribution methods in cinema’s and tightly control the release dates in the different regions around the world. They first tried this with DVD region coding but as soon as these were hacked and bypassed by de-css they started screaming and spent billions of dollars on law suits which mostly led to a counter-culture of more piracy with even more advanced discovery and distribution methodologies and a huge fan-base of tools like Popcorn Time and a massive support for sites like The Pirate Bay. Integration with network based anonymizers like TOR and I2P made it even make more difficult, legally complex and extremely expensive for the studios to pay for investigations, law-suits and combat sites who link to copyrighted content. They won’t be able to hold this up despite the massive war-chest they have to try and do so. The internationalisation and legal differences in conjunction with different privacy laws make it next to impossible to combat piracy.

The internet has made distribution of movies fairly simple. Companies like Hulu, Netflix and now Amazon Prime make it possible to push content directly into your smart-tv with a click of a button. The problem is still this: why do people in Europe and Australia have to wait 6 months for new releases while paying the same or even more for their subscription. Why is it that content in the US can be provided in super-hd and Dolby surround sound and others have to do with mediocre content quality? Why do some releases get published in some countries and not others?

This is the reason why movie piracy is still alive. Consumers around the world now live in a global digitised world where artificial entertainment borders do not exist. It takes some plain common sense to see and acknowledge this.Trying to fight is via legal matters will only make it worse and at some stage you will see your profits being souped up by lawyers.

An entire sub-industry on piracy analytics has been erected and more money is being spent on trying to figure out how to combat piracy. Let me be clear: you can’t. There is a saying that is “If you can’t beat them, join them“. If you remove the incentive for piracy it will die by itself. The more money you spend on the battle ground the more inventive your counterparts will become. It will never be totally eradicated but you are able to let it go to go almost dormant.

I would like to call on  all studio executives and production companies to finally acknowledge this and redirect your legal budget to more innovative solutions so nobody has any incentive to use tools like Popcorn Time and simply can sit in front of their Super-HD tv with Dolby surround sound and enjoy the same content as their fellow subscribers around the world.

You may argue that many cinema’s will need to close but isn’t that already the same now. People don’t want to pay $30 to just watch a movie, they want to pay that for the total experience. If I don’t want/require that experience but I have no other means of seeing it didn’t you just give me an incentive to download it illegally? If I would only need to pay for the movie itself to see on my home screen, wouldn’t you have made more money already?

And, as Steve Jobs use to say, “One more thing“. Make sure the same content is available on all platforms in the same way both quality and quantity wise. The method of distribution is simply a a follow-up procedure determined by the distribution market where price, application design, simplicity and some other factors will play their roll. Focus on creating great movies and let the distribution be done by the market. It worked for music, books and even the phone business. I’m 100% sure it will also work for you.



The way Formula 1 needs to change (and quick)

Ok, I have to admit, I’ve been criticizing the F1 circus for a while now and for good reason. Ever since my father took me to a race in Zeltweg, Austria (yes the current A1 Ring before it was shortened) in 1978 I’ve been following the F1 seasons very closely. It has always been exciting because drivers were allowed to race until their teeth fell out and this happened during the entire season with all teams and on all tracks.

Something has changed. Creating a boredom to cost ratio there is simply no other sport in the world that lacks such an enormous amount of excitement as this media and money show. For almost two decades now ever since Michael Schumacher started his world-championship sequence with Ferrari there simply has not been any moment that I would highlight as a a racing year that rocked. The sport has been regulated to death in the sense that today you might as well remove the driver and let a 12 years old use some playstation controls and drive the car from the sideline. For years the discussion has been in how to make the sport more competitive and attractive but all the current regulations and adjustments have been to no avail. The reason is simple, in these two decades there always has been a team that had one or more advantages on their cars. As mentioned we saw this with Ferrari, Button had a good stint in 2009 with Ross Brawn’s team, RedBull lead the charts with Vettel for 4 years and for the past two years it seems Mercedes fires up their engines and simply drive to finish without ever being challenged. The regulations being put on engineers, factories, drivers, team personnel and everything related has created such a tremendous amount of boredom in the sport that for the first time since 1978 I stopped following F1 on TV and simply checked the results on a random sports website. It is simply a waste of time spending a weekend seeing these 22 drivers in a long single line driving from start to finish almost in the same line-up as they’d started. I’m still flabbergasted why Hamilton or Rosberg are still so excited when they’ve “won” a race. To me it doesn’t look like winning at all but merely driving an X amount of laps and getting to the finish. How can you be so excited when no-one has challenged you, no other driver has put you to the test and the only victory surfaced is the car did not fail from a technical issue. How can you call yourself “World-Champion” when only one other person came close in making it somewhat difficult for you? It would be like Germany calling themselves Soccer “World-Champion” if they only played Argentina and the rest of the contenders where some countries who never made it to the finals.

Here the stats from last year: (thanks to

Number of wins in 2014

11 Lewis Hamilton 2014
5 Nico Rosberg 2014
3 Daniel Ricciardo 2014

This year to-date

5 Lewis Hamilton 2015
3 Nico Rosberg 2015
1 Sebastian Vettel 2015

Now tell me why I should get excited about this?

There is only one way to get it back and that is to put the driver back in the seat instead of the on-board computer.

Get rid of ALL technology, no sensor feedback during the race, no traction control, no (K)ERS, no ESP, no nothing. Let the driver read the pit-signs again instead of making a “phone-call” to the pit-wall to nag about which position he’s in or “some vibration in the left front side”. Get over it, race and shut up. Make tires that last 50% of the race so everyone needs at least one pitstop, remove fuel consumption restrictions and most of all:

Have a maximum top speed of <X> KM/h which all teams can achieve.

(you fill in the X). This will achieve that all cars have the same baseline and it comes back to the skill of the driver to get the car to the finish in the fastest possible way plus being able to dodge his co-racers who are as quick as he is. To put a cherry on the cake remove about half the people involved in a pitstop. These days you can hardly see the car anymore when it comes in to change its boots. 3 on each wheel, front and back jack-man, lollypop-man, two safety guys and you get around 17 people mucking around with the iron-horse. Limit that to a max of 9 (1 at each wheel, two on the jack, lollypop-man and two with a fire-extinguisher and you’re done. This creates more excitement during the pitstops because the skills of the mechanics are tested in a somewhat broader fashion than removing and adding a wheel-nut. I’d rather see someone struggling with a tire and bring some tension in a race than to only blink my eyes and see the car gone again. No fun.

The motto of Formula 1 should once more be : “Lets race until blood drips out of your eyes” instead of turning some knobs on a computer.

As long as I see no movement on the stats-boards I won’t be tuning in again. I like to see racing, not a long line of some computerised and beefed up lawnmowers driving around for two hours.

C’mon Bernie. Turn the sport into what is used to be so I won’t have to buy nail-clippers again.



P.S. This weekend young and talented F1 driver Jules Bianchi died from the consequences of his accident last year at Suzuka, Japan. My condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. It is a shame that the long stint of non-fatal incidents since the death of Ayrton Senna has been broken again. Lets hope Jules will be the last one.