Jabbering about Python

I am getting more and more into the idea of using XMPP for sending messages.  XMPP (also known as jabber) is a very open protocol.  Anyone can throw up a server, and by publishing a few DNS records, your server can interact with any other XMPP server out there (that is open).  For a popular example, anyone can throw up their server with their domain and send messages to someone using Google Chat.

I have a customer that has their domain email hosted by Google apps for domains, which also means that each person has Google Talk, which is based off of XMPP.  For a monitoring scenario, I decided I'd rather have alerts go to an installed Google Talk client instead of to their email.  This would make alerts more noticeable, but less intrusive to their Inbox.  Google would also tie all their messages together (chat and email) for searching later. So my idea was to have monitoring server send the email alert to a local user, and have it piped through a program that would send the XMPP alert.  In the future, perhaps an XMPP bot could also accept commands to control the monitoring system.

I wanted to create a program called "" which would accept either standard input, or a command line argument, and send a message to a pre-defined list of recipients.

Expanding a raw image file

On one of my customer's devices, the backup software requires that the backups go to a separate partition (or drive).  However, the customer only has one raid array and the bulk of the space is in /home.   To work around this limitation, I created a raw image file called backup.img, which gets mounted as /backup.   After the software performs its local backup, I use duplicity to backup /backup remotely to a backup server at my location (with encryption).

Learning Python

I am reasonably familiar with Perl and PHP languages.  Recently though, I have taken it upon myself to learn Python.  I've played with Python a few times, and it seems to be very powerful with lots of useful functionality under the hood.

We have moved!

Starting around Memorial Day, we have been busy working on moving our office to our new location in Bedford, PA.  We have now completed that move and wanted to let everyone know our new address.

Securing Apache2

A client wanted to make files available available to the web browser from within their LAN and a handful of static IPs without requiring any sort of username or password.  This is the web equivalent of a shared, read only folder.  This is no big issue, you can create an .htaccess file like so:

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