May 30, 2014

How To Configure A Dell PowerConnect For SNTP Time Sync

At my day job we use some old Dell PowerConnect 5424 switches. For the most part they have been pretty stable switches and fairly easy to configure. Well the other night they had an issue where one or more VLANs just stopped passing traffic for a minute or two, and when I went to check the logs I noticed that the time and date were off by a few years.

I decided that if I was going to use the logs for troubleshooting that the date and time should be accurate. Before the switches were configured for local time, but that apparently is very unreliable. I decided to configure them to sync time with To do that I ssh'd into the switches and ran the following:
Switch(config)#sntp unicast client enable
Switch(config)#sntp unicast client enable
Switch(config)#sntp unicast client poll
Switch(config)#sntp anycast client enable
Switch(config)#sntp broadcast client enable
Switch(config)#sntp server poll
Switch(config)#clock source sntp
Switch#copy ru st
The IP address of points to After that configuration my time has been pretty accurate.

Now if I can only find out why the VLANs stopped talking...
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May 29, 2014

How to Launch a Social Enterprise - Get Support, Raise Money & Make a Difference

A social enterprise is an organization that operates like a business but with two notable exceptions: Its goal is to make improvements to human or environmental well-being, and instead of generating profits for shareholders, execs reinvest their profits in the business to further this social goal. A social enterprise can either be a for-profit or nonprofit organization, and according to 2012's Great Social Enterprise Census, there's a pretty even mix of the two types in the U.S. If you're thinking of launching a social enterprise, learn about the specific aspects of this type of business. We have five tips for aspiring entrepreneurs with a social conscience:

Focus on Your Mission

Don't slap the "social enterprise" label on your business because of its buzz-worthiness. Take the time to fully understand what it means. You aren't doing business as usual and then donating a percentage of the profits to a charitable cause—that's just corporate philanthropy. A true social enterprise adopts social and environmental initiatives as its primary mission, and then figures out how to contribute to those with a sustainable monetary enterprise.

Hire Flexible Staff With an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Hiring talent for a social enterprise is a tricky thing. You need to convince would-be employees to trust you, invest their time and leave potentially better-paying jobs to support your cause. Look for people who can bring creativity and innovation to the workplace. You'll likely get a mix of nonprofit workers with passion and corporate veterans tired of pursuing the almighty dollar. Hire employees who can come up with a creative approach to solving a business dilemma, and you'll get the best of both sectors.

Get Used to Fundraising

In your first year, it's likely you won't be raising millions of dollars for your cause, but you can begin building a large donor circle. Start with family and friends, because these connections could lead you to community-builders and philanthropists who would be excited about your venture. The challenge will be to find people who want to make an immediate impact and then effectively demonstrate how their dollars could have a measurable impact on your cause.
If you're looking to generate initial seed money, consider these options:
  • Take advantage of social investment funds to pool together various resources. A good place to start: The Nonprofit Finance Fund.
  • Some foundations provide seed-stage and growth-stage grants that don't need to be paid back. Two to try: The Skoll Foundation and Ashoka.
  • Sell future payments from an annuity or structured settlement for a lump sum of cash now. The industry leader: J.G. Wentworth.

Use the Media to Your Advantage

Positive media attention will help you gain support from potential donors, backers and community leaders. Don't try to launch a new business while developing media contacts and pitching story ideas at the same time. This is the time to hire a public relations pro.

Measure Your Impact

Learn how to articulate your successes to supporters, funders and the general public. Detail associated costs, number of lives impacted and accomplishments in a way that highlights your social enterprise as a smart investment. Using these measures will help retain and grow your investment pool.
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May 26, 2014

How To Embed A Simple MP3 Player in Your Blog Using HTML5 Instead of Flash

Last week I was on the Dr. Katherine Albrecht radio show talking about Linux. After the show was over I wanted to share that episode here on Bauer-Power using an MP3 of her show. In the past I would use some embedded Flash player to do that, but this time I couldn't find one.

Then I stumbled across a post from Blogger Buster showing how to add a simple player to your blog by just using HTML5 code!

The code I used was:
<audio controls>
<source src="url-of-audio-file" />
If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
I of course replaced url-of-audo-file with the actual URL of the mp3 I wanted to play. It worked perfectly! Here is what it looks like:

It is a great way to add an embedded player to your site without users needing any special plugins like Flash!

There are some additional tags you can use to make the player do different things. You can read more about it in Blogger Buster's post!
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May 23, 2014

Talking About Linux: My Interview on the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Startmail that caught the attention of Dr. Katherine Albrecht and her people. They liked it so much that they decided to ask me to come on her show. Well last night she had me on for the second hour of her show where she and I discussed Linux, as well as different ways you can secure your your home computer.

Here is the full hour I was on, check it out!

If you are not familiar with Dr. Albrecht or her show you can check out her website at She's also been featured on shows like Infowars and Coast to Coast.

Give it a listen! Let me know what you think in the comments!
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May 20, 2014

GP Error: The maximum number of users are logged into the system

The other day I had a request to modify a user's permissions in our instance of Microsoft Dynamics GP. One one user was logged on at the time, but for some reason when i tried to log in I received an error saying:

The maximum number of users are logged into the system

It reminded me of a similar error where a user would try to login, but would get an error  saying that the user was already logged into the system. The cause of this is because sometimes the database caches a user's session, and if they don't properly log out of GP their session will stay active.

To fix this I did the following from the Microsoft SQL back end to kill a session of a user who was no longer really active:
  • Log into Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
  • Select your GP database
  • Select New Query
  • Run the following query to get a list of sessions:
  • Run the following to delete the session of a user who is not currently active:
That's it! Be sure to change USERNAME with the actual username of the user whose session you need to kill.

Have you experienced this problem? Did this solve your issue? Let us know in the comments!
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May 19, 2014

The Correct File Permissions For Wordpress in Ubuntu

At my company we use Wordpress as a pretty front-end to our custom home-grown applications. The reason we do this is so that the Marketing team can easily update the website without the need of a developer.

We run Wordpress ourselves using Ubuntu Linux, and I ofter hear people complain that there is a message in the admin dashboard that says stuff like "Please make sure your .htaccess file is writable" or if someone wants to add a plugin, they are prompted for FTP information.

To fix all of that I just set the correct permissions in the directory where our Wordpress files are located. Let's say we keep them in /var/www, to set the correct permissions you would run:
sudo chmod 744 /var/www/ -R
Then you would make sure the Apache2 user had ownership by running:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www
If you have an FTP user account that you like to use that needs write access to to your Worpress installation files, then these permissions won't work. What you will need to do is add your user to the www-data group by running:
sudo useradd -g www-data username
Then you will want to modify the permissions like you did above, but this time we will also give full access to the www-data group by changing 744 to 774:
 sudo chmod 774 /var/www/ -R
That's it! Now your users will be able to install plugins, perform Wordpress upgrades etc. without any issues, and if you use FTP users, they will be able to make the necessary edits they need!
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May 16, 2014

Old Laptop Before and After

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I inherited my brother's old HP Pavilion laptop. The thing is pretty old. It only has 2GB of RAM and a Pentium 4 Proc. I figured it would be perfect for a first computer for my five year old son. I also figured that Xubuntu would probably run pretty good on it.

I decided to wipe the hard drive and put Xubuntu 8.04 on it. This morning though I made the change official with one of my free Powered By Ubuntu stickers!

Here is the before and after:

It looks way better now without that awful Windows sticker doesn't it?
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May 15, 2014

Where To Get Old Repositories For Older Versions of Ubuntu

The other day I inherited my brother's old HP Pavilion zd7000a laptop. It only has 2GB of RAM and an Intel Pentium 4 processor. Pretty damned old, and not worth a whole lot anymore. I thought it would make the perfect first computer for my son, so I decided to put Xubuntu on it for him.

At first I tried to instal the latest version of Xubuntu, but because of the old hardware it just wasn't jiving. I decided to download Xubuntu 8.04 and install that instead. The problem is that since Ubuntu ends support for their older versions, the original repositories don't work anymore so you can't install anything from repositories.

There is a way around that though, and here is what it is:
  • Edit /etc/apt/sources.list with your favorite text editor
    sudo mousepad /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Replace with
  • Save the file, then update your repository cache
    sudo apt-get update
  • Done
On my system I believe I had to change and Double check your sources.list file.

After that I was able to upgrade all software to the latest possible version, as well as install certain programs!
[Via SU]
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May 14, 2014

How To Upgrade OpenSSL to 1.0.1g To Guard Against Heartbleed in Ubuntu

So you have an older version of Ubuntu Server that is running some web server or application that uses OpenSSL. You are vulnerable to The Heartbleed Bug and simply running apt-get upgrade isn't doing the trick. What do you do?

Well, if you are running an Apache web server you can be Heartbleed free by simply switching over to GnuTLS. If you are using something else like Dovecot or Postfix that doesn't work with GnuTLS then you have to bite the bullet and upgrade your version of OpenSSL. Sadly on older versions of Ubuntu, the latest version of OpenSSL (1.0.1g) won't be available in the repositories. You will have to upgrade from source.

Here's how you do it:
  • Download the source package
  • Extract the archive
    tar -xzvf openssl-1.0.1g.tar.gz
  • Change into the package directory
    cd openssl-1.0.1g
  • Run the following to compile and install
    sudo ./config && sudo make && sudo make install
  • Replace the old binary file via symlink
    sudo ln -sf /usr/local/ssl/bin/openssl `which openssl`
  • Done!
Now if you run openssl version it should return the following:

openssl version
OpenSSL 1.0.1g 7 Apr 2014

Congrats! You're patched!
[Via AskUbuntu]
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May 13, 2014

Speed Up Downloads With This Alternative Download Manager

The other day for work I had to download an update for a component in one of our custom applications, and the file was almost 2GB in size. The company recommended downloading it with a download manager with resume capabilities. It's been a while since I've thought about download managers. I haven't really used one since the dial-up days.

Anyway, I went hunting for a good one to use, and I found it. It's a free and open source one called Free Download Manager (FDM).

From their page:
What is Free Download Manager? It is a powerful, easy-to-use and absolutely free download accelerator and manager. Moreover, FDM is 100% safe, open-source software distributed under GPL license. 
They offer the following features:
  • Increase your download speed and resume broken downloads 
    FDM accelerates downloads by splitting files into sections and then downloading them simultaneously. As a result download speed increases up to 600%, or even more! FDM can also resume broken downloads so you needn`t start downloading from the beginning after casual interruption.
  • HTTP/FTP/BitTorrent support 
    FDM lets you download files and whole web sites from any remote server via HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. You can also download files using BitTorrent protocol.
  • Enjoy safer and more rewarding downloading
    You can read what other community members say about the file you are going to download, and also leave your own opinion about the file you downloaded. In this way FDM users are always warned against useless or malicious files.
  • GNU General Public License
    Free download manager is now open-source software released under GNU GPL.
Here is a screen shot of it downloading Bauer-Puntu Linux from my FTP server:

When I was downloading the update for my company the built in browser download manager said the download was going to take four hours! Ouch! Using Free Download Manager it only took an hour. Not bad!

Do you use a download manager? If it isn't FDM, which one do you use? Why do you like it? Let us know in the comments!
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