Blog Posts

Sometimes, you should just cheat!

31 July, 2020

A software consultancy promoting cheating? How scandalous. Do bear with me though. Recently I had occasion to repurpose a machine for use as an integration environment. This is basically where a bunch of software that works in concert will be put, so that the team can verify that, "Yes, it does in fact, work together." These kinds of environments…

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Peak enterprise security: when IT succeeds by making development fail

25 February, 2020

I have had the pleasure of working on a variety projects the past few years. Recent projects have involved creating React-based user interfaces. In the beginning this was exciting. Very exciting indeed. React! Typescript! Components! MobX! Live reloading! Unit tests (Jest)! Yes, there was some convincing the other developers of the benefits of unit…

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Recreating raster images as SVGs: part 2

23 May, 2019

When last we spoke we had just finished discussing the merits of delivering assets as SVGs instead of PNGs, or other raster formats. We found that SVGs offered greater file size savings and compressibility while simultaneously offering superior image quality. We also saw that we could optimize SVGs to save on file size even more. So how does one…

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Recreating raster images as SVGs: part 1

06 May, 2019

Sometimes we do things for our clients and they have no idea what a huge benefit it is. We love doing things like this at ORB IT Solutions because, even though we don't get credit for it, it elevates a final product to the next level. I'm going to share one of these techniques with you today, and hope it blows your mind 🤯. The technique is…

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Homebrew Dynamic DNS with the Linode API

18 September, 2017

Over the years I've set up a variety of private cloud services. In addition to gaining expertise in these services for clients who would rather rely on their own infrastructure, it's also made me less dependent on web company services which could (and have) disappeared at inconvenient times. This desire for virtual independence has led me to set up…

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Troubleshooting Piwik database errors.

30 August, 2017

Do you know what's not fun? Troubleshooting database errors. Imagine you've set up piwik on a client's server. You have everything installed, configured, and running. You're testing out various features, you know, to make sure they work as advertised before handing off to the client. Not required, but it's that little extra icing on top that makes…

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Piwik installer has PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size exhausted (tried to allocate 20480 bytes) in core/FrontController.php

30 August, 2017

For three nights I struggled with trying to figure out why I could not get Piwik's web analytics software to load it's installation page successfully. I was attempting to migrate it from a FreeBSD 10 server to a FreeBSD 11 jail and nothing, nothing I did was working. I kept on getting the following two errors in my php logs: This message seemed to…

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Running dovecot and opensmtpd inside a jail

14 June, 2017

This is is going to be short and sweet. If you are running opensmtpd or dovecot inside FreeBSD jails you may need specific changes for this configuration, depending on your jail setup. For dovecot I had to add listen = * to the config. For opensmtpd I needed to have listen on localhost port <portnumber> instead of listen on lo0 port <portnumber…

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Solution for fatal error in dovecot configuration file

14 June, 2017

While setting up a mail server, I ran into a curious issue which I have documented below for posterity. After modifying the dovecot configuration and attempting to start the dovecot service I received the following error: The error is not actually in the file 10-mail.conf at at all. As it turns out I caused this problem when I edited the file /etc…

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git show: my hero

30 May, 2017

This post is about a git learning I had some time ago. The codebase that I was hired to work on had diverged from the main branch at some point in the past (months earlier). A few months into the project I took on the responsibility of merging the diverged branches together. It took me a really long time (hours) to finish, but all seemed to go well…

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Fix Ghost init script not starting automatically in FreeBSD jail

05 May, 2017

We've been redoing the infrastructure for some web servers we manage—migrating from Ubuntu 12.04 to FreeBSD 11. we've shared the reasons for that elsewhere. Today we wanted to document an issue we ran into when setting up the Ghost blogging platform inside a FreeBSD Jail. We wanted Ghost to start automatically after bootup; to do this we needed to…

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Globbing in ZSH doesn't work with scp

18 September, 2015

Since switching to z shell (zsh) we've run into a variety of issues with globbing and other features not working the way we were used to with bash. This post is about resolving another of those issues. For example, while trying to scp some cachegrind files from a remote box the following error was encountered: Basically scp is telling us we were…

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Git Troubleshooting

18 January, 2015

I've had the fortune of being an early adopter for Git as a version control system. A part of this early adoption involves getting bleeding edge software to work alongside older, more decrepit software. Such was the case when using git as my subversion (svn) client. During my trials with getting git to work as an SVN client (via the git-svn command…

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Avoid tar: Removing leading `/' from member names message in backup scripts

11 October, 2014

I recently figured out how to get rid of an annoying message that came from the tar backup program that I'd like to share. I have servers that I've set up to do hosting for some clients. Since they're actually paying for this service I also perform regular backups. This would be pretty annoying to do manually every day so I have a cron job run the…

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Creative Juices: Part 1

08 October, 2012

True story: I used to draw comic books. Stick figure comic books mind you, but I was proud of them nonetheless. I was prouder still of the stories these comics would tell. However, despite dabbling in comic book creation, I never considered myself a creative person. I personally felt that ideas were just too hard to come by to warrant any…

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