Friday, October 29, 2010

Fedora 13 v.s Microsoft PPTP

After such a long time of not having PPTP functionality in linux to communicate with microsoft pptp (RARS) servers that we have at various clients, I finally dedicated a night to getting it up and working.

I can't help but wonder why none of this is default. I find it hard to imagine anybody in their right mind using PPTP unless they are in a windows environment to begin with.

Anyways lets cut to the chase. I am working primarily with the builtin gnome network manager tray icon. I want Network Manager to be able to connect.

I have the same error on my Fedora 12 machine. The Fedora 12 Machine was a bit more helpful with its error and alerted the user "Error could not connect to the vpn, invalid secrets". Fedora 13.. just said vpn connection failed. but I assumed it was the same problem.

Here is a snippet from my /var/log/messages
Oct 30 00:09:57 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:254]: Sent control packet type is 1 'Start-Control-Connection-Request'
Oct 30 00:09:57 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:754]: Received Start Control Connection Reply
Oct 30 00:09:57 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:788]: Client connection established.
Oct 30 00:09:58 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:254]: Sent control packet type is 7 'Outgoing-Call-Request'
Oct 30 00:09:58 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:873]: Received Outgoing Call Reply.
Oct 30 00:09:58 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:912]: Outgoing call established (call ID 0, peer's call ID 31573).
Oct 30 00:10:00 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_disp:pptp_ctrl.c:927]: Received Call Clear Request.
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pppd[3946]: LCP: timeout sending Config-Requests
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pppd[3946]: Connection terminated.
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN plugin failed: 1
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pppd[3946]: Modem hangup
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pptp[3948]: nm-pptp-service-3943 warn[decaps_hdlc:pptp_gre.c:204]: short read (-1): Input/output error
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pptp[3948]: nm-pptp-service-3943 warn[decaps_hdlc:pptp_gre.c:216]: pppd may have shutdown, see pppd log
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[callmgr_main:pptp_callmgr.c:235]: Closing connection (unhandled)
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[ctrlp_rep:pptp_ctrl.c:254]: Sent control packet type is 12 'Call-Clear-Request'
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pptp[3954]: nm-pptp-service-3943 log[call_callback:pptp_callmgr.c:79]: Closing connection (call state)
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite pppd[3946]: Exit.
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN plugin failed: 1
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN plugin failed: 1
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN plugin state changed: 6
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN plugin state change reason: 0
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: error disconnecting VPN: Could not process the request because no VPN connection was active.
Oct 30 00:10:31 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: Policy set 'Auto gateway' (wlan0) as default for IPv4 routing and DNS.
Oct 30 00:10:36 Wolfbite NetworkManager[3739]: VPN service 'pptp' disappeared

Its important to know that MS VPNs only like require mppe. go to the advanced settings window, and make sure only MSCHAPv2 is checked. uncheck the others (pap, chap, mschap, eap).

Open up /etc/ppp/options.pptp
make sure these lines are located within the file somewhere

take note of the line that says require-mppe. I had to manually write that one, but the others were there for me. They need to be there for this to work properly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In 10 months BC, Death Seemed Imminent

I was talking with a co-worker today, we'll call him Brian, about some software changes they were going to be requesting from another developer here at work. He made the comment, in all confidence, saying:
"That shouldn't take long at all to fix that."

My mind went in all different directions.

As Software Developers, we've all been in the situation of trying to explain all that goes into making a change to a piece of software to management & people outside the realm of development.  Sometimes the change is relatively easy, as far as coding goes....but other times it's much more involved. To them they make the request...forget about it, and magically it gets done.

Some companies have each of the steps of development separated into individual positions as described so eloquently in this blog written by Eric Lippert from Microsoft. However, not all companies can or (like my company) are willing to spend the extra cash to separate those roles, and as a result the responsibility of each step falls onto the shoulders of a single developer.

Now, bringing this back to my story...

Having a little knowledge of the system that was about to receive a change request...i knew that the change was far from simple...but only because of the implications it could have on other systems that make reference to that system. And the person who would be putting in the work, I knew, was unfamiliar with that system.

I retorted with a simple inquisition, asking what made him think it wouldn't take much time. It was then that he redeemed his previous comment of ignorance.
"Well back in The Dark Ages, before you came here...I'd assume It'd take much longer, or that I'd never get the change at all. But now we just have to  ask for it, and we can trust that you will work your magic and get it to us" 

Yes, I'm recognize that there was a little buttering up done in that statement (pandering your Programmers is always encouraged), but what deeply amused me was his referring to the time before my employment in this department, as "The Dark Ages".

"10 months BC (Before CloudyOne), there was contention amongst the people and plains were near desolate. Software was filled with bugs and errors. The buffer overflow threatened the very existence of the application, and workarounds could be found at every function. But there was hope....stories foretold of a man who would come and patch the...."

Oh wouldn't that be great to have a comic novel written to symbolically explain of your day to day changes? Maybe an idea for  the future.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quotes from the Coders 2010-10-11

Cirrus Says:
"Ugh i hate testing programs with this guy, it pops up a box saying what he entered was incorrect and he just sits there..for like 15 seconds!
I mean we're supposed to be testing something and what is he even doing? "
Jose Says:
"What do you think? He is Thread Dot Sleeping"

Cirrus Says:
"That's what she said"
Jose Says:
"And who is this she you speak of?"
Cirrus Says:
"Some random girl i picked up on the corner"
Jose Says:
Cirrus Says:
"Oops, i meant to say 'your mom'"
Prestige Says:
"common typo"
Cirrus Says:
"Yeah..sorry, my intellisense was screwed up!"

Any developer that has to deal directly with the End User of a piece of software that's being used can relate to this next one...

After receiving an email where a Manager from our Customer Service department is claiming that all orders of a specific type are charging the customer double shipping...i looked through her "proof" and observed a few things. I noticed that in her screenshots, the shipping was accurately being calculated and added, but there was a similarity between all of the orders. My response?
"All of these customers that have order totals more than what you expected are from our state. Therefore they are charged sales tax, as shown in the pictures that you provided me."

The email she sent was pretty lengthy, and knowing how quickly she types...i wonder how much time she wasted of her day just to email me something she could have seen on her own if she'd only open her eyes. The only problem i found was between the chair and the keyboard!

World-Changing Awesome Aside, How Will The Self-Driving Google Car Make Money?

Graph of typical Operating System placement on...Image via Wikipedia

Working for Google has to be cool enough of a job...but imagine being the brilliant mind(s) that's engineering the software that's pushing that technology?

I think it's every Software Engineer's dream to be working on a project of that magnitude, and know you're pushing the envelope with every keystroke. If it's not yours...get out of the way and make room for the rest of us, because i know it's mine!

I imagine sitting in a car that is every surface inside of it has the ability to produce an image. You may not need to pay attention to the road anymore, but you can't help but pay attention to the ads flashing all around you. Maybe not the best image for someone with a headache, but it would presumably be similar to all the billboards around you when you drive!

I believe that, if the software was designed to follow local traffic laws, law enforcement agencies would strongly appose live implementation of this software. If everyone could be verified as following traffic laws, how would they make their money?

Maybe they could sell ad-space on their windshields :) Or maybe at the beginning and end of reading someone their Miranda Rights, they can give a short audio advertisement.
"Call 1-800-BAIL-YOU Now! You Ring, We Spring!"
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Google Code-in: School’s Out, Code’s In!

Are you a blossoming developer between the ages of 13 & 18?

Google's latest open-source contest/project, Google Code-In, encourages those young and bright-minded individuals in Jr. High, High School, or some other Pre-University educational institution to participate for a chance at earning some cash (up to $500) and a chance to be 1 of 10 grand prize winners that receive a trip to Google's California Headquarters to be given an award in Google's very own award's ceremony!

The best part is, if you participate and complete tasks required to qualify for being a grand prize winner, you are guaranteed a T-Shirt and cash prize of up to $500! (depending upon your level of involvement, and assuming your tasks meet their requirements)

To participate, or for more details, go to the link below!
Google Code-in: School’s Out, Code’s In! - Google Open Source Blog

**P.s. I apologize for calling you developers a girly word like "blossoming", i couldn't help myself :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

School of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, didn't get the full recognition he deserved after donating 100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system. I have only one reason, the Mayor of Newark referred to Mark by the wrong name, Mark Zuckerman.

So how do you go about coming back from referring tom someone by the wrong name? Any guy who's called his girlfriend an ex-girlfriend's name will tell you that there is NO coming back! I, however, beg to differ (on both accounts really, but i'll only be explaining my proposal for the Zuckerberg situation).

Since alot of parents already treat the schooling system like a "free" babysitter, why not give the teachers better tools to keep the kids, who don't want to learn, busy? To makeup for calling Mark the wrong name, the Newark schools can give students uncapped access to Facebook! Okay okay, so not the best argument.
But wait! There's more!

So once facebook is widely accepted in the classroom of Newark schools, why not integrate it into the grading system? School Events? Student Body Elections?

Lets face it, the Newark Public School system's website is very ugly.

The color choices, the layout, the fonts...are all very displeasing to the eyes. And with it's non-interactive, "reference book"-like, approach to displaying their data....Facebook would be a welcome upgrade!

I'm sure my first notification in my mockup would instigate some anger in the child mental health activists. They'd complain that knowing how poorly they're doing in relation to their peers would cause them "mental anguish". I think it would help seperate the lazy cop-out ridden group from the hard-workers. Those who would end up going somewhere in life, would see it as competition and rise to the occasion.

I was browsing through the Facebook Apps Directory...and found a lack of school-based apps. Which means, developers, there's little competition! So...get coding!

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