Story draft. No title

The wind sieged the small town of Anchor, with all its might it battered the town throwing arrows of rain at its darkened streets. Tormented it howled in futile efforts against this bastion of man-kind. Thunder played amongst the borealis, highlighting red and green hues of colour with cracks of blue hidden within the clouds.

In this fine weather a figure hurried into town. Clad in a brown waterproof jacket she hurried along an old sandstone pavement, a single azure book held in an oversized jacked pocked pressed against her chest, plain looking; its dirty cover read no title or had any discernible markings,chilled she pulled the jacked closer, hugging her self as she ran through the rain.

As she hurried towards the hushed lights in the centre of the town she glanced back into the shadows of the forest from which she had made her way out of.The shadows looked back at her with crackling and unknown intelligence, yet nothing seemed to follow her into the light of the town, civilisation seemed to hold the black at bay. A ward against this final evil which had followed her, ever so present within the rough bush that engulfed much of the blue mountains region.

Panicking she trips over her own feet and stumbles,the book falls out of her front pocket as if with a life of its own. It opens and the wind swishes through the hand written pages turning them this way and that. grabbing the book she breaks into a hurried pace, always glancing back at the unknown behind her.

The wind pushes her as if trying to hurry her into the centre, an inhuman cackle pierces through its howl and feeds her movement with new haste,panting she makes it to the centre of the town, Glancing up at the clock tower briefly she races to a nearby pay phone.

She enters into the confessional booth sized compartment and clutches for the phone while digging for change. She pushes change into the mouth of the phone and is greeted by a dial tone she attacks the keypad on the phone, glancing out of the booth, only a slight howl of the wind to keep her company. The phone dials for an endless moment and a half asleep voice answers after some time “What is it?”

“It’s me Mick” the girl whispers. “Casey? where are you? I thought the cabin had no phones?” Mick said sleep still in his voice. “I am at Anchor.I need help”
“What happened? Anchor is ten kilometres from the cabin in thick bush!”
“Look I walked, I cant really explain right now I think I am in danger, can you pick me up?” Casey held back some tears but the stress had started to show in her voice.
”Sure Case, I can be there in about forty five minutes or so, there has been some sort of emergency declared at Mitburn so I not sure how good the roads will be, can you make it to the Cornerstone? I think they are still open”

“Ill try, please hurry, I have so much to tell you.” The phone cut off as the dollar fell into the coin repository in the phone.”Shit” she swore as she put the handset back onto the receiver. Casey took a deep breath and opened the door, the Storm fell about her and picked up her tangled hair as if greeting a long lost friend, she rushed out of the booth and back into the lonely night. crossing the road she passed one of the many alleys that made up Anchor’s old colonial streets, she stopped for a moment and peered into the blackness.

“Hello?” her voice was thrown at her by the wind, she took a step closer and gasped; it was black. Almost a shadow, swallowing Casey walked into the black and the outline became more familiar. a storm pipe hung loosely off the side of the building,

she sighed and pushed on. The cover from the alley wrapped with the sound of rain, a moment of peace from the weather was interrupted by the wind following causing the drain pipe to bang against the side of the building, reaching the other side of the building she was greeted by the pale yellow of streetlights, rain had died down some but the wind had still managed to keep pace, blowing rubbish and refuse all over the street. in the distance Casey could hear some rowdy band playing at her destination, the band piped with strange sound of violins and rock n roll, chimes of eastern style chords and low underlying thump of the bass could be heard.

On the lamp post a broacher proclaimed that ‘Titus’ would be playing tonight at the cornerstone, relaxing a little Casey slowed her pace and followed the music. Cars packed the streets and a strange surge of comfort came over her as she came closer to her goal, passing through another alley she stopped in front of The Cornerstone, one of the oldest buildings in Anchor, it had survived several fires and a riot in the late 1800s and had lost none of the charms bestowed upon it from colonial architecture the sandstone structure had stood the test of time and century old stained glass windows reverberated, barley containing the noise coming from within.

Casey stepped into the pub, two burley security guards, weathered the storm and eyed her as she walked passed them into the warmth. The lights were dimmed and the audience hung back each in their own little private corners chatting quietly, the violinist was playing a quiet piece while the drummer used his hands to play a constant background beat.

Casey slumped over to a chair next to a roaring fire and warmed herself while she listened to the band play. She glanced over the inside of the pub, it was a large structure, some three stories, portraits almost as old as the building were littered around the walls as well as well as antiquated ads for old beers, the bar itself was made out of a local wood, gnarled and etched with graffiti from bands that had long ago played at the venue, the slight smell of tobacco, years old beer and hot chips lingered. An old man stood behind the bar, filling up a pint for a customer. He glancers over at Casey and yells at a near by waitress for service

In The Mouth Of Madness

So new year has happened. the world did not end, zombies did not crawl out of their graves and terrorise the world. I found myself picking out an old friend from book shelf; Brian Lumley’s ‘The Burrowers Beneath’. This tale of terror visits H.P Lovecraft’s vision of horror where vast god like beings sleep within the depths of the Earth waiting for the right time to take back what is theirs and destroy humanity (or at least drive it insane)  One of the first books I ever read of Lovecraft was called Dagon, the first few lines spoke of a man who was writing his last words before he his demise, for an instant I thought that it was truly that the man writing down in these pages was his last words. The style and prose forever changed my views on modern literature and set the benchmark for storytelling.

Having found little time in the last two years to read any fiction it was pure pleasure to pick a book up just for the sake of reading, only having some spare short moments to read I managed to finished ‘The Burrowers Beneath’ over the span of a week, although I have the rest of the series available I am tempted to go back and read some actual Lovecraft books. I have also dusted off some of my old (and most cherished) horror movies and watched a few of them. These stories have have made me think back to younger times and also to think back on writing. So in the previous weekend I started thinking of a new short story and came up with a few ideas for a dreadful tale, The setting for this tale is in the fictional town of Anchor set within the Blue Mountains of Australia, some of the Lovecraftian themes will be central to the area. I hope to post more details but it is still early and I am researching. I leave you know with a quote from Mary Shelley ‘ I busied myself to think of a story, —a story to rival those which had excited us to this task. One which would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and awaken thrilling horror—one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.’

Setting up the windows side of opennms monitoring with WMI

At work we use opennms monitoring (http://www.opennms.org/) to monitor the vast amounts of infrastructure that we have to take care of, generally the system works fairly well, however SNMP for windows based systems is lacking unless you use a third party snmp plugin, unfortunately the documentation for ONMS is very lacking on how to actually set up a reasonably secure user credentials and GPO practices for domain based wmi monitoring.

This document assumes that you have some basic knowledge of windows systems.

 

—update—

I have found several issues with this system, I will update this document when my examinations have been complete, I suggest that you test this out on your test systems before you deploy it, this may not work on clustered hyper-v systems and systems with IIS (maybe) ill update  as more information comes up.

–update–

Install WMI SNMP provider

To install the SNMP Provider

  1. Open Server Manager and go to features
  2. Select Add Features
  3. Select SNMP Services (SNMP Service, SNMP WMI Provider)
  4. Follow Prompts.

Group membership, security policy assignments and permissions

1. Create domain user (wmiuser)

2. Create a group (wmigroup)

3. Place wmiuser into this newly-created group.

4. Put the newly created wmigroup into the following domain groups:

  • Performance Log Users
  • Distributed COM Users
  • Certificate Service DCOM Access
  • Performance Monitor Users

5.: Run one of the following three Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, I recommend creating a new GPO specifically for this, assign wmigroup and domain computers to the access rights of the policy

  • the Local Security Policy snap-in (secpol.msc) for member servers, or
  • the Default Domain Security Policy snap-in (dompol.msc) if you wish to configure these settings domain-wide as a GPO, or
  • the Default Domain Controller Security Settings snap-in (dcpol.msc) if you wish to assign the rights only on domain controllers.

6. Once the snap-in is started, expand Security Settings, then Local Policies, and finally User Rights Assignment.

7. Assign your new group at least the following rights:

  • Act as part of the operating system
  • Log on as a service
  • Replace a process level token

8. Exit the Policy Settings utility.

Distributed Component Object Model rights assignments

Now, you must configure DCOM security for  wmigroup.

1. Run Component Services by selecting Start -> Administrative Tools -> Component Services.

2. Once there, expand Console Root, then Computers, and finally My Computer. Right-click on My Computer and select Properties…

3. In the window that appears, click on the COM Security tab.

4. Under Access Permissions, click Edit Limits.

5. Review that the Distributed COM Users group has all items checked under Allow.

6. (optional) Add the wmi group to this list and ensure that they have full Allow access as well.

Note: This step is not required, since the wmi group is a member of Distributed COM Users.

7. Once you’ve reviewed the presence of Distributed COM Users, or added the wmi group, click OK to save your changes and be returned back to the COM Security tab.

8. Now, under “Launch and Activation Permissions”, click Edit Limits.

9. Like with the “Access Permissions” window, you are presented with a list of groups and permissions. You need to make sure that the Distributed COM Users group has all items checked under Allow.

10. (optional) Add the wmi group here, and assign full Allow access.

Note: This step is not required, since the wmi group is already a member of Distributed COM Users.

11. Click OK to save your changes.

12. Exit the Component Services utility.

WMI namespace security assignments

Next, set WMI namespace security so that the wmi group has access to WMI objects.

1. From the Start menu, select Run…, and in the window that opens, type in wmimgmt.msc in the “Open:” field and click OK.

2. Once there, right-click on WMI Control (Local) and click Properties.

3. Click on the Security tab.

4. Click on the Security button at the bottom right of the window. This action edits the security settings for the Root WMI namespace.

5. You’ll now see a window that has the security settings for WMI on this machine. Click Advanced…

6. You’ll now see the Advanced security settings for this WMI namespace. Add the wmi group to the list, and give at least the following “Allow” permissions:

  • Execute Methods
  • Enable Account
  • Remote Enable
  • Read Security

Note: Make sure that these permissions apply to this namespace and all the namespaces under it. Do that by selecting This namespace and subnamespaces in the dropdown box above the permissions list window.

7. Click OK to save the new permissions.

8. Then, click OK again to exit out of the Advanced Security Settings.

9. Click OK a third time to exit the security properties.

please note that changes to the user will usually require a server reboot before these settings take effect.

WMI related Firewall ports for Opennms

The following ports should be opened if there are any firewalls between your monitoring system and your servers

DCOM Dynamic Range (5000-5100)

HTTP

MS-RPC-EPM (135)

Rdesktop  (3389)

SMB  (139 and 445)

Configuration of default port usage via GPO with Registry key

For added security of not having to deal with a dynamic range of ports that WMI use, you can limit it with this registry file, I recommend deploying this via GPO to ensure that all your servers have the same settings.

To set the default ports for all the servers via gpo a registry key file needs to be imported to all the machines

example file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftRpcInternet]

“PortsInternetAvailable”=”Y”

“UseInternetPorts”=”Y”

“Ports”=hex(7):35,00,30,00,30,00,30,00,2d,00,35,00,31,00,30,00,30,00,00,00,00,

00,00,00

this registry key will set default ports as per MS article 217351

the KB recommends that a min of 100 ports above 5000 should be set for use, this registry key will set ports 5000-5100 for use on the systems.

to manually import this copy above lines into a .reg file and execute, for windows core create the file and run regedit /s blah.reg.

Hope this helps.

One more week..

So one more week to go and ill be having a jam session with my mates, I hope all this practice I have done will pay off. I know that at the very least it will a heap of fun.

 

So far we have all agreed to learn two songs (covers) Heaven and Hell, by Black Sabbath (DIO) and Anarchy in the UK (Sex Pistols) Both songs are quite fun, we are still missing a drummer however and it will be a little difficult because of this, but I am sure we will have a lot of fun.

 

 

Ray Bradbury has passed away

http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/06/06/1455234/ray-bradbury-has-died

This is a very sad time, when I read 451 ithad a deep impact on me, what sort of a society would burn books, when will it be a social norm for having a team who can pump your stomach 24/7, we have people today trying to legitimize drug use.  We don’t have any fun parks where people can go to break things and be as violent as they can be. But I am sure that it’s only a matter of time.

 

 

 

 

Music Practice

So over the last week, I have kept to it and have practiced my bass guitar for at least twenty minutes a night. I have seen some minor improvement but more of a wall with with the only way to climb it is hard work and diligence.

an example of a typical study routine:

  1. Warm up (basic fretwork doodling) — more on this later
  2. Scales (concentrate on a type of scale don’t go to fast work on perfection not speed)
  3. Arpeggio (again not to fast, keep up a normal pace and focus on fretwork and the tones)
  4. Song -pick a song that you enjoy and practice it in parts, work on the chorus until you can play it perfectly then move on. make sure you listen to the song and take your time with it, breaking it down into parts makes it easier to see the big picture and it is not as daunting, make sure you take note of the timing, listen to the drums and try to get a feel when and why the guitarists do flourishes in their music.

Tonights practice

Things have went well. I spent thirty minutes practicing two C arpeggio positions and I also ran through a part of the song I am having trouble with (heaven and hell by black sabbath) hopefully I can do at least the same tomorrow, going to work out a schedule with a cool program I found, I’ll try to post the schedule as soon as I can

Learning Music

So I have been playing my Bass guitar on and off now for a couple of years, it has been one of the most enjoyable things I have ever picked up. I have to say almost an addiction, however besides from learning a new songs and making some random noises on it, I really do not have any sort of musical training behind me, over the next couple of months I plan to change this and perhaps blog about it. What I hope to achieve:

  • Sight read musical notation
  • Learn basic scales and arpeggio technique for chords
  • Repair and maintain my bass guitars
  • Write my own music and improvisations
  • Ear training

I have started working on the scales and arpeggio’s for now, and I have seen a very bung up Squire pbass for sale at a local pawn shop which is going cheap. So I am thinking of purchasing that and pulling it apart to see how it works.

 

Ill keep this updated with progress and perhaps some music theory, hopefully I can become a better musician and post some stuff up for the world to listen to.