Archive for the 'Personal' Category


Determining Spam on Twitter

First written on Twitter:

@docsmooth: Signs of twitspam: bio is tinyurl; <100 updates, >200 following/ers;all updates “from twitfeed”, inc. link; no conversation. Check yourself!

I just went through my followers list on and thought I’d write a bit deeper on this subject.

Ways to determine a twitter spammer – higher scores are more likely spammers:

  • Bio link is tinyurl or or other URL shortener. There is *never* a reason to put this in your URL link on Twitter, unless you’re hiding the destination. +10 pts
  • you have more than 200 “friends” and less than 100 updates. +2 pts
  • you have a follower/following ratio below. .5 +2pts
  • Every single tweet has a link. +5 pts
  • Every single tweet is from TwitFeed. +5 pts
  • More than 2 tweets are from an unregistered API app. +8 pts
  • You have never @replied anyone. +1 pts

I generally block anyone above a “9″ score on this scale.

(cross-posted from my personal blog as well)


KDE 4 and TweetDeck – small issue (fixed)

I’ve been using TweetDeck as a Twitter client for a while now, and love it. I recently updated my main laptop from Kubuntu 8.04 to Kubuntu 9.04, and even though the ATI x1300 3d driver is broken, I’m finally getting all the little annoyances fixed up.

The biggest issue I had, though, was after the upgrade, TweetDeck was just showing a blank window, with only the “Tweet/All Friends/Replies/Direct Messages/Groups/Favorites” etc. buttons on the top. There are a lot of posts about how to run Adobe Air and TweetDeck on x64 Ubuntu, but this is a 32-bit machine, so those fixes weren’t working.

The fix is surprisingly simple: make sure kwallet is running with an open wallet. Full details in a nice concise post from Peter Upfold, here. One of his commenters mentioned an issue, but I believe it turned out to be a “no wallets were open” problem. Thanks Peter!


Status update for Rob – past 7 months

So, any regular readers might have noticed that the posts have been slow coming the past few months.  Hopefully you don’t think that the depth in those few posts has been lacking.  I’ve been struggling with how to report that I took a new full-time job in April.  Obviously, it’s not stopping me from writing, but has slowed me down a bit.

As you may remember, back in January I was invited to speak at Directory Experts’ Conference, 2008. If you weren’t there, I spoke about integrating 30+ Linux servers with a 2000-user Active Directory forest at one of the U.S.’s biggest home improvement providers. At the time, we had used Centrify DirectControl 4.0 to accomplish this integration, and they were the ones who invited me to speak at DEC.

As part of my preparations, I reached out to Quest Software to ask about Vintella, now renamed “Authentication Services”, and to Likewise Software, who sent me software and support contacts (at my request), so that I could learn Likewise Enterprise as well as I knew Centrify DirectControl. That was a very tall order for Likewise Software to fill, as I had spent the past 6 months learning DirectControl inside out.

After 4 weeks of building demonstration machines (with both products), capturing video in case the demos crashed (which they didn’t), and building a presentation and practicing it, DEC was upon us.  I gave two presentations, one specifically for Centrify on Monday, and the primary one on Wednesday.  At the end of both presentations, we recieved a lot of great questions which Centrify’s Director of Product Development helped answer.

At the end of the conference, Likewise offered me a job. After many discussions with them, my friends and family, and my customers, I decided to take the opportunity. This is not a decision I made to slight Centrify, who’s support of me through my time as a customer was amazing, and who’s assistance through the presentation was fabulous. It’s just one of those opportunities that comes along that I couldn’t pass up.

So for the past 6 months I’ve been the Project Manager for Deployments for Likewise Software. I’ve been on the road about 80% of the time, working with customers to install our software in their environments. Many of the posts I’ve made in that time have been in response to an issue we’ve seen or avoided at a customer of Likewise. I will continue to write these, and I’ll work on doing so at my old (2007) pace of about 3-4 posts a month, since they have been (according to my stats) useful to many people, which is the point of writing this blog.

That means, no changes here compared to last year, but I will have a wider variety of topics, and I’ll likely start mentioning our software specifically. I want it to be clear it’s not advertising, but just the state of what I’m working with. Again, Centrify makes a great product, and I was very happy to have chosen it for my needs at my previous employer.  However, I’ve chosen to move forward with this open source company (Likewise Software) for the next stage of my career, and will continue to write about software and integration with a view towards open source software.

Thanks for continuing to read!

Robert Auch


DEC 2008 – Day 3 recap

Dean Wells started out Day 3 of DEC 2008 with a recap of the Dean and Joe show. He finished up the demo of “how exactly the FSMO role works” which was amazingly detailed and deep. He also explained more about AdminSDHolder and showed off several of Joe Richard’s tools. They also showed some info about how to read deep into the DIT itself that I found really interesting. Yes, I’ve now dumped my test network’s AD database and read it with their tools.

Don Jones had the next session, but I had to skip out on it to prepare for my session. I did hear some great feedback, but was disappointed, since his was one of the sessions I was most looking forward to prior to the conference start.

I spoke at 11am about how to integrate Linux/Unix systems with Active Directory. Download the deck here. It was a great experience, and the bit of feedback I’ve heard so far has been really positive.  It sounds like several attendees have moved their integration projects forward with information I presented, so I think it was successful.

After lunch, the Microsoft Windows and Active Directory product teams had a chalk talk about what’s next with AD where they solicited a LOT of suggestions from the attendees.  I was surprised by the number of people who are using “Prune and Graft” techniques for domain migrations.  Microsoft was very clear, however: do not EVER prune and graft domains.

And I’ll leave it at that.  In all, in was a great experience, and I learned so much.  I’m going to go back again!


DEC 2008 – Day 1 recap

I spent a large portion of this week at DEC 2008. I mentioned previously that I’d be presenting as well. Now that I’ve had a couple of days back to catch up with work and home, I wanted to recap the amazing experience, and share a few bits of info that I learned as well.

Sunday March 2nd was only registration and the reception for me. I just used the brief time downtown to meet with the Centrify and Likewise teams who worked so hard over the previous month to help me prepare my presentation for Wednesday. I met a bunch of great new contacts as well – not a conversation passed that I didn’t learn something new.

Monday the 3rd included Gil Kirkpatrick’s discussion on AD administrators vs. software developers, Jerry Camel and Brad Turner’s overview of proper architecture for ILM “2″, how Microsoft is using Windows Server 2008 (Brian Puhl), an amazingly indepth look into AD with Dean Wells and Joe Richards, and a discussion about how Centrify DirectControl works (in Centrify’s vendor track).

Gil Kirkpatrick covered things like mistakes that developers often make because they’re taught how to write well-constructed SQL queries, but not well-constructed LDAP queries. He discussed at great length 11 tips to help ensure that directory-integrated software performs as it should, without killing domain controller performance. The most interesting part, however, was his suggestions on how to talk with software developers so that both halves of the IT team can create a well-rounded product.

After lunch, Brian Puhl with Microsoft IT spoke at length about the rollout of Windows Server 2008 within Microsoft. He talked about the problems they encountered running a release candidate OS, and how their rollout process works, from the test domain to the “pre-production” forest of 5000 real users, to the “real” production forest. That they’re able to run in 2008 Forest mode already is impressive to me. The discussion of using RODCs (Read Only Domain Controllers) in DMZs and remote offices was also very cool.

Dean Wells and Joe Richards – if you ever get a chance to see them speak, take it. Not only do they know things about AD that nobody in the audience knew (and the attendees at DEC are *smart*), but they present really well – personality, humor, and great new info. They covered things like exactly what AdminSDHolder does, and how precisely the Infrastructure Master role works (down to the changes inside the DIT itself). They also had a few things to say about the Second City itself.

I spoke in Centrify’s vendor track about their DirectControl product. We had a decent turnout, considering it was a vendor-specific talk. Likewise Software, NetPro software, and OptimalIDM threw some pretty great parties after hours. It was interesting meeting people like Mark Foust, Mike Dube, and Stuart Kwan from Microsoft, Manny Vellon from Likewise Software, David McNeely from Centrify, and John Serban from WaMu, and talking to them about work and other things.

I’ll follow up on Days 2 and 3, including my presentation, in the next few posts.

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