Tuesday, December 11, 2007

[Netlantis] RANX

I'm working on a new Netlantis project right now, called RANX.

The project is based on an AS Ranking code and concept from PhD Mickael Meulle from France Telecom R&D.

You can read his presentation at NANOG 40 by clicking here.

More infos later...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

[Thoughts] Hand's fix0red...

It should look like this under X-rays now...

Question is... does it beep at the airport ? :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

[Thoughts] Audiophile PC

I've decided to get myself a new home-built silent and "green" (as in energy-efficient) PC...

My needs were :
- pro optical audio output
- 3 video output (for my dual-screen + my HDTV)
- totally silent !
- less than 1000 euros

It works really nice, so here's my recipe :
Asus M2A-VM HDMI Micro-ATX Motherboard (0 dB)
Asus EAH2400PRO HTP 256M graphic adapter (0 dB)
CPU AMD X2 BE-2300 AM2 (45 Watts : the most energy-efficient Desktop CPU available)
DDR2 RAM Crucial 2 x 1G PC6400 800MHz
Seasonic S12II-380 Power Supply 380 Watts (Active PFC, very silent and 85%+ efficiency)
PC case ANTEC SOLO (expensive but good against noise)
Noctua NH-U12F CPU cooler (6 dB)
Noctua NF-S12-1200 case fan (6 dB)
DVD burner PIONEER DVR IDE (Pioneer SATA + AHCI = won't work well)
PRO audio adapter E-MU 0404 PCI
SATA HHDD (Hybrid HardDisk) Samsung 2.5" HM08HHI 80G (one platter = better against noise) 5400rpm 8M cache + 256M Flash (good if vista really uses it...)
Corsair Voyager GT 4 GB (entirely used by readyboost)

With AMD Cool&Quiet active, the CPU runs at 23° Celsius, the GPUs at 33°, the motherboard at 42° and the PC is really silent.

The total price is 750 euros all tax included (in France).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

[Thoughts] My Photoshop secret tip for underwater photography post-prod

The photo as taken with my now very old (but still working) Powershot A70 in its underwater case ($100 on ebay) :

Blurry and lacking some colors, isn't it ?

This is the photoshoped result.



So you are in Photoshop and you opened your photo (it's called Background by default).

1 - Duplicate current layer (Background)
2 - Auto Levels
3 - Brightness/Contrast : Brightness +50
4 - Duplicate Background
5 - Move current layer to layer 2 (at the top)
6 - Auto Color
7 - Opacity 80%

If the result is too flashy you can play with the Opacity of the two first layers.

Of course you can make this an action script.


[Thoughts] Br0ken!

A pedestrian crossed the street and had me fell from my bicycle.

The result is a broken right hand scaphoid bone...

Believe me, it hurts...

More infos about the scaphoid fracture.

I also broke the radius, but this is less of a problem...

I'll get better brakes and tires for my bicycle :)

Btw, the bike ain't broke, it's a decathlon (cocorico).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

[Thoughts] From Eudora to Penelope

Saturday was migration day... from Eudora 7 to Eudora 8 (aka Thunderbird + Penelope extension (made by Eudora developers)).

I have to say this wasn't the nicest migration ever...
First, my Outbox was lost during the conversion (~1 GByte of emails) for an unknown reason and I had to re-import it manually with a converter written in Python.

Then, I have to say Penelope is quite far from Eudora at the moment.
There are some nice features, like an huge speed improvement compared to Eudora 7, but all the GUI is crap compared to the existing Eudora 7.

The nice thing is there are tons of add-ons for Thunderbird which will make it look more like Eudora... and some will make it better for specific tasks or parts.

Here's my add-on list with notations :

+ = nice idea but buggy or incomplete implementation
++ = nice
+++ = really useful and well implemented
++++ = should be included into thunderbird

Dictionary Switcher / to switch between French and English : +++
Header Scroll Extension / to limit the size of the full headers panel : ++++
Maximize Message Pane / to open new messages inside thunderbird's main window : + (not quite as cool as Eudora 7 was)
No New Window on Double Click / to avoid the opening of new windows when you double-click on a folder : + (double-click should take us to that folder)
Penelope / Eudora 8 : +
Quote Colors : to colour threads in e-mails : + (nice but sometimes buggy)
Show Address : to show sender and destination e-mails : +++

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

[Thoughts] Back from Greece

Nice holidays in a small Greek island...

(view from our house)

Some photos... HERE

Sunday, July 29, 2007

[Netlantis] Routing Table Geoanalysis

Today is the official launch of my latest (and newest) project, the Routing Table Geoanalysis.

In fact, while I was working on the ASGEO project I received an invitation to participate to a visualization competition, NetSci07, with my (now old) rootzmap project... which I did (though I did not win :)).

This is when came to me the idea of creating Geoanalysis posters... and the Netlantis Routing Table Geoanalysis project was born. Of course, this will be part of the Netlantis project (when it's back), so every peer will have its own RTG poster available for download every month.

ps: Note that the rootzmap project will also be available from Netlantis so peers will be available to generate their own map (which is going to make nice t-shirts for your-favorite-NOG meeting) :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

[SYSCTL] Cable Bandwidth Upgrade

No need to say that it works better than before (4Mb/s - 256Kb/s).

Yumm, since October, upload has been upgraded to 1Mb/s...

Friday, July 6, 2007

[SYSCTL] Installing VMXnet on Debian Etch (4.0)

# Getting the right packages if using a netinst (with a 2.6.18-4-686 kernel)
apt-get install linux-kernel-headers linux-headers-2.6.18-4-686 make psmisc gcc

# Creating a symlink so that the vmware script finds everything easily
cd /usr/src && ln -s linux-headers-2.6.18-4-686 linux

# Installing VMWare Tools (no SSH, console only)
(Answer "no" to the vmhgfs question, so that you won't build it (it's useless in most cases))

# the vmxnet module is compiled...

# Now we're doing what they are telling us to do...
/etc/init.d/networking stop
rmmod pcnet32
rmmod vmxnet
depmod -a
modprobe vmxnet
Don't /etc/init.d/networking start ... it's useless

# And this is what they are not telling us to do :
Stop the VMWare...
Edit "Other Linux 2.6.x kernel.vmx" (or whatever .vmx you have) :
Add the following line under ethernet0.present = "TRUE" :
ethernet0.virtualDev = "vmxnet"

Reboot the Linux, lspci and lsmod will show you no pcnet32 device, only the vmxnet one.


Friday, June 8, 2007

[Thoughts] New sound system @ sysctl labs

I just finished my sound system upgrade, which consisted in getting the new Samson Rubicon 10" sub (mid-end studio monitoring equipment) and two beautiful and really great speakers from Monitor Audio, the RS6.

Here's the whole system :

Even though it's still being running in, it already sounds good and the "Rosenut" RS6' suits better my interior which has red & black for theme.

If you're interested by this setup, here's the components list :
- 1 x Toslink splitter from Velleman (hugh! ... though it's only a switch :))
- 1 x Inter-M (Inkel) R150 Plus
- 1 x Behringer ULTRAMACH PRO SRC 2496
- 1 x Samson Rubicon R10S
- 2 x Monitor Audio Silver RS6
...and it's total price is good for the quality (~1800 euros).

Don't hesitate to give your thoughts on possible improvements to this system :)

The sub + the RS6 replace my Tannoy MX2M's mounted on Atacama Nexus 7 stands, which offered me hours of pleasure and have been sold to a good friend (which tells how much I appreciated these :) ).

Monday, May 28, 2007

[Thoughts] Signal Spam

First spam sent to Signal Spam...

Well it seems to go in the database, and the site is really fast, which probably means they haven't yet been affected by the slashdot syndrome.

I'm surprised how "geeky" (as opposed to user-friendly) the website looks...

I've read an interesting post about the technical details behind the project :

Surprisingly, it's MySQL based, we'll see if the database works well after a few million emails sent... My experience says after 20 Million entries or 40 Gb of data, MySQL on a single server tends to be "less usable" :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

[Netlantis] ASGEO coming soon...

I've just finished the Netlantis routing table geoanalysis poster project :

Poster for AS 13237 (printer-friendly) :

Poster for AS 6730 (screen-friendly) :

Netlantis is now sponsored by MaxMind... they have great (commercial) databases for IP geolocation which are now used for the Poster project and the ASGEO project.

... and since I've finished coding this project, I have time to work on ASGEO.

Expect it to be ready for production by the end of the year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

[SYSCTL] The right way to publish a proxy auto-config file (proxy.pac)

If you don't know what's a proxy.pac file, you can read this wikipedia entry.

I like proxy.pac files, they allow flexible and efficient proxy configuration in any browser. (I find the WPAD "trick" very ugly... so I've never advised my customers to implement it.)

OK, so you have this proxy.pac file which has to be downloaded from a web server... though if you have a redundant proxy architecture which is based on appliance hardware, with no embedded HTTP server to serve your proxy.pac file, you are introducing a big SPOF in your design. The proxy.pac file needs to be accessible anytime and that won't be accomplished with a single webserver providing it since it will be less reliable than your cluster of proxy servers.

Should you invest in a cheap load balancer and two web servers ? (the rich man's way)
Should you setup a cluster of WRT54G with DRBD and Heartbeat ? (the poor man's way)
Should you revert to using static proxy configuration and exception in the browsers ? (the ugly way)

If your network has an Active Directory or some DFS shares (or alike) [that's 100% of my customers], what you can do is to place your proxy.pac file on this share and use it in your browser so there's no need for a HTTP server cluster.

I'll let the DFS guys figure how to implement it based on the following example :
1 - On a Domain Controller create a folder in your SYSVOL folder like : %SystemRoot%\Sysvol\Sysvol\domain_name\Proxy ;
2 - Put your proxy.pac file in this folder and set proper permissions on it (so only admins can modify it) ;
3 - Modify the script that auto-mounts your network drives to get a new one for the share \\domaine_name\Sysvol\domain_name\Proxy (for example P:) ;
4 - Deploy the proxy.pac with AD (or similar) with the following URL : file://P:\proxy.pac (in fact you can also use file://\\domaine_name\Sysvol\domain_name\Proxy\proxy.pac but I find this a bit ugly :) )

It works like a charm...

Enjoy :)

[SYSCTL] My first post

OK so here's my blog.

I'm Philippe Bourcier, living in Paris, France where I work as a IT security consultant.

I will post here some geek stuff, some HOW TO's about IT, IT security and Network.

IT and IT security related entries will have [SYSCTL] in their title.
Network related entries will have [Netlantis] in theirs.
Other more personal things might be called [Thoughts].

My personal website is