Home wifi–upgrade needed?

I’ve been running a set of ASUS wifi routers for a few years – RT-AC66U and RT-AC68U – and using the custom firmware via AsusWRTMerlin https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about

The RT-AC66U has moved out of support – so no new firmware or security updates. The dilemma is what to do next?

Run old RT-AC66U units until they fail – i.e. do nothing.

Update old RT-AC66U units to RT-AC68Us and have a consistent set of routers – i.e. standardise on an older hardware platform.

Update all ASUS routers to something newer and current.

I’m tending toward the former right now – running IPsec, firewall and all of the other pieces seems to be pretty ok for now. In terms of attack surface and ease of access there are softer networks just next door. Not the best answer in my security head – but I’ll keep reviewing prices and hardware.

Genealogy and Family Tree notes

During early 2019 I started researching my family tree.

This post is a series of ongoing notes and updates on various tools, websites and resources I have found useful.

Subscription sites



(UK subscriptions) Useful to cross reference the two different transcriptions for the same events. Typos and interpretations are different. Also Ancestry has a different range of records to Find My Past.

1939 Register is incredibly useful for tracking the locations of 20th Century people – and has mostly accurate dates of birth. Also great for tracking forward looking marriages (changes in unmarried name) and even ending location post marriage in some cases based on NHS location codes.

England Registration Districts mapping (1850 is not 2019!)


Notes: To understand the historical boundaries between e.g. Essex, Middlesex and the overlay of Registration Districts.

Azure, Ubuntu, Minecraft

A quick morning updating the Minecraft server that’s there for private play for the boy.

Ubuntu updates on Azure are actually painless. Minecraft jar update took a few moments.

Happy, patched and back to letting the boy play with his friends.

There are some cool Minecraft 1.13 world seeds here btw https://mine.guide/tutorials/best-seeds-for-minecraft-1-13/

Let’s Encrypt, ACME and SLES – with some Azure and CloudFlare in the mix.

A work in progress. Some notes.

  • Certbot does not run on SLES 12 (GA, SPx)
  • Dehydrated script works well
  • Documentation is patchy

So far:

Dehydrated, install RPM from http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/opensuse/distribution/leap/42.3/repo/oss/suse/noarch/dehydrated-0.4.0-1.1.noarch.rpm

To document:

  • How, what, when
  • Setting up cron for renewal
  • Email for renewals
  • Logging


Dehydrated: a bash client for Let’s Encrypt


SLES 12 Service Pack upgrades on Azure

I’ve been bitten multiple times with the SLES service pack upgrade routine – with Red Carpet Enterprise (ouch – that’s a long time ago) and all of the various permutations of update tooling since.

Happy to say that SLES 12 SP1 to SLES 12 SP3 was zero fuss, fast and efficient. Less than five minutes per server on Azure and around 30 seconds of planned outage.

Good job SUSE team!

WordPress pingback ddos

Woke up to a whole pile of uptime alarms flagging that various websites were not “up” and responding. Azure, Jetpack, Cloudflare – something was clearly wrong.

As you can see from the Apache access logs – hundreds of thousands of hits per minute from the same IP address range – 185.188.204.x

Easy fix to create a deny rule in Azure to block this. I don’t think CloudFlare was touching it.

Office 365 and postfix – revisited

Since I wrote this post (a long, long time ago) – Office 365 now adds support for creating a trusted connector between your Linux/postfix environment and Office 365.

Much, much easier than before.


So as a reminder for me next time:

  • certificate
  • SASL for username/password
  • Postfix main.cf settings
  • Set up Office 365 connector and trusted IP end point

Tumble Dryer

Sometimes life is not about technology.

Tumble dryer stopped heating – so take it apart, realise thermal fuse is blown. Clean all of the dust and lint out – reassemble – it works for a few minutes.

Repeat and rinse. This time replace thermal fuse, thermostat and heating element. Same again.

Third time run the vent pipe cleaner up the pipe – and there’s a birds nest in the vent pipe. Desiccated dead bird and all.

Moral of the story – tumble dryer problems – always clean and clean the vent just to be extra sure.