Wacky Weekends

It’s been an unusually quiet and relaxed weekend, but I’ve still been busy with some computer things. Planet HantsLUG went live this weekend, partly inspired by the Planet installations used by other LUGs and community projects like LUGRadio and partly by the recent talk on blogs and blogging given at a recent HantsLUG meeting. The blogs are not necessarily tech blogs (although I’m guessing there will be a fair amount of Linux related content) so I hope this will be another way for newbies and established members alike to get to know the HantsLUG community better. There are only 5 people with blogs being syndicated by Planet HantsLUG so far (including this one!), but hopefully those with existing blogs with RSS feeds will pipe up over the next few days. Who knows, some people may even be inspired to set up their own blog as a result!

I’ve also been getting the backup of the webserver working properly again, since the recent reinstall. Obviously root access via SSH is disabled on the webserver, but the backup needs to be run as root. The backup is an rsync to the file server on the network. There’s a page on SSH without passwords on the HantsLUG wiki which includes a link to this page detailing setting up SSH keys for single commands. Combined with the “forced-commands-only” option in sshd_config, along with a “from” statement in the SSH key on the webserver, this permits root logins from my LAN only for a particular command. The only thing that confused me for a bit (apart from the americanised spelling of “authorized_keys”) was the command that is run on the remote system during an rsync. Thankfully Google turned up this cached page which suggests a checking script as the target command for the SSH key:

#!/bin/sh

case “$SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND” in
*&*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
*(*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
*{*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
*;*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
*
echo “Rejected”
;;
*`*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
rsync –server*)
$SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND
;;
*)
echo “Rejected”
;;
esac

This seemed to do the trick, and the backup now seems to be running OK.

In other news, I purchased a new central locking remote for the car this week, the existing one only working very intermittently now. (A common occurance it seems for remotes of this age.) This set me back about £35. I asked the guy from the Vauxhall spares desk where I purchased it if it needed to be set up for use with the car, and was told that I just needed to follow the instructions in the car manual. When I tried to do this later that day, surprise, surprise, it didn’t work. Some lengthy searching on the ‘net didn’t turn up anything definite, but most of the posts seemed to agree that new remotes need their identifier entering in the vehicle before they can be synchronised (which is the procedure that the manual details). So, I headed back to the dealership and explained what I had been told the day before and that this wasn’t working. The guy went off to ask some other people and came back with the answer that, yes, it needed to be set up for use with the car. He then just looked blankly at me. I asked if this could be done. He said that they were just parts, and this was a service problem. I pointed to the other desk in the lobby and asked if they could do it. He said no, they were MasterFit, not service. Fortunately the guy at the desk overheard and said that they might be able to do it for me, and asked various questions about the car. After a couple of minutes with their car computer handset thing and £25 lighter, I had a working remote. The Master Fit guys were very helpful, if a little on the pricey side for the time it took them, but I’m still annoyed at a) being given incorrect information by the parts desk even though I specifically asked them whether it needed setting up to talk to the car and b) not getting an apology for this duff information and my wasted time.

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