Archive for September, 2011

Prey Project, ping and Cygwin

Posted in Computing, Personal Computing on September 10th, 2011 by Jeff – Be the first to comment

File this with the obscure issue department…

The Prey Project looked like a nice system for tracking stolen devices and has gotten a lot of good press recently. I decided to try it out. After getting everything setup and working I noticed a lot of Cygwin bash shells running the ping command. The commands accumulated eventually degrading system performance which is when I noticed.

Prey has a partial UNIX environment (MingW) contained in it and consists of shell scripts wrapping a number of UNIX utilities compiled for Windows. I say partial because it doesn’t include the “ping” command which is a dependency for the software. And the shell scripts apparently don’t take into account the potential for a user having other UNIX-like environments installed (Cygwin also has a bash shell and the ping command but there are others as well.) So what was happening is that script (pull) naively looks at what operating system it is installed on and for a ping command and issue what it believes are the correct command line arguments. For Windows it’s this:

ping -n 1

This doesn’t work because Cygwin’s ping.exe doesn’t have a “-n” switch. But for some reason doesn’t fail when it encounters an invalid option. Rather, it tried to ping the IP address This doesn’t work, of course, but the ping command tries forever thus respawning new instances of the bash shell and ping until it kills your computer.

Anyway, I hard coded a change to the script on my system and filed a bug with the Prey developers.

I also submitted an email to the Cygwin mailing list describing the Cygwin ping issue.

Quick-n-dirty git getting started guide

Posted in Software Development on September 7th, 2011 by Jeff – Be the first to comment

As a git neophyte I approve of this post:

UPDATE: I also found this helpful site:

Lighting a fire under WordPress

Posted in Infrastructure Management on September 5th, 2011 by Jeff – Be the first to comment

Since I moved my personal web site from Roller to WordPress a couple of years ago, my web site had been a dog. After reading an article about a PHP-based web site configured to support 9 millions hits per day, and knowing through experience that my site should be significantly faster, I decided it was time to light a fire under WordPress.

(Note that I’ve included gists at the bottom of the article with the important configuration files.)
read more »