Category Archives: Random Scribblings

Stickman costume /w LED pixel strips

In some way, it’s more that I’m dressing up as my house for halloween and that it just looks like a stick man… but more on that another time… i digress…

DIY stickman made with LED pixel strips!  Yay!

I had a roll of LED pixel strip left over from Christmas last year and have been looking for a use for it lately.  It’s a rather expensive bit of kit to cut up into pieces and use for something like this but it was left over anyway.  And turns out I mis-judged lengths (and made a few mistakes) and had to order another roll.  But crap, I couldn’t just buy the same expensive one so I got a cheaper one…but double crap… it turned out to have RGB in a different order (at full green or full blue the light up as opposites.  luckily red was the same) and they’re half as populated (30 LEDs per meter, instead of 60) so…I just had to put my perfectionism on hold…it’s just a costume!

Anyway, you can use just about any type of pixels strips to make this work I’ll just note here what I used and what I found handy.  Your mileage will definitely vary.

Parts:

Brain:
Arduino – I used a uno but any will work. (sparkfun)

LEDs:
(1) Pixel LED RGB Strip 60 LEDs/m 60 Pixels/m Waterproof Tube (16ft-6in/5 meter Roll) – 12v / INK1003 (WS2811 clone) (holidaycoro)
(2) Pixel RGB LED Strip 30 LEDs/m 10 Pixels/m Waterproof Tube (16ft-6in/5 meter Roll) – 12v / 2811 / BLACK PCB (holidaycoro)

Buttons:
(1) Some sort of small button (sparkfun)
(2) Fun “gameshow-like” button found on Ebay (ebay)

Power:
(1) USB for Arduino (Anker)
(2) 12v battery pack for lights (Amazon)

Odds n Ends:
Electrolytic Decoupling Capacitors – 1000uF/25V (sparkfun)
Solder Shrink Sleeves Wire Splices / 18 – 22 AWG Wire / Red (holidaycoro)
3pin Connector Male Female Cable Wire for WS2811 WS2812B LED Strip 10pcs (Vozop)
Saftey pins…lots and lots…
Velcro…lots..
~ 9″ hoop thingy from a hobby store

LED Strips
These lights are “smart” leds, meaning every single light is individually addressable in huge variations of red green and blue to produce….I don’t even know..how many colors.  They are quite fun.   For this I’m not doing any fancy animations, just solid colors.  You could do this REALLY cheap when using just dumb single color LEDs, but what fun would that be…..!


Power
The battery pack I used was nice because it already had the right size barrel plug on it for quick disconnecting and swapping.  I had wanted to use a rechargeable battery pack similar to the ones Anker makes but with a barrel plug on it that goes up to 12v but it didn’t have enough amperage.

LED strips come in either 6v and 12v. Also, some are 3 pin and 4 pin. Be sure you plan ahead all your parts.  Also, It’s best to separate the power for the Arduino from the strips for simplicity.  If you do it this way, be sure to connect the grounds together.

Also, to prevent the initial power surge from causing damage to the lights it’s best to wire in a capacitor, see that in the diagram.


Wiring
Yeah I’m not a great circuit designer…..

Pretty simple.  You just need a 470k resistor in line of the data from pin 6.  I wanted two different buttons to control the lights, so I wired up the one I could hold in my hand, and if that failed for some reason I could still hit the button on the board.


Using some of the parts I linked to above, I created some diy splitters  to simplify the connections between strands.

I planned out the sections something like this:

Code
The full code is here on github.  It’s really nothing special at all.   All it does is switch between a list of colors when the button is pressed.  I’m using the FastLED library with no animations, just solid colors.  Much could be improved here, but I just went for simplicity in this build.

Snippet:

I first thought it would be easier to use an off the shelf controller but the cheap $10 one I picked, while fun, was not ideal for this type of use.  But bonus, I learned the controller I got does indeed control pixels perfectly so I could use it for something else someday.

 

Would I would do different
If I was to do this again, I would use the cheap strips on black background for the whole thing for sure.  I got that second strip on sale for only $15!

 

Sources / Inspiration

coeleveld.com

Instructables

RGB Stickman

 

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HOWTO: Change Storage Policies for VSAN across entire clusters /w PowerCLI

I had a need recently to switch the applied storage policy across a ton of VMs, but I didn’t want to change the default policy that comes out of the box.   A tough proposition as I found no easy way to do it.  It took quite a bit of googling and trial and error but I came up with this two liner to get it done, so here you go world – go forth and policy change if you need such a thing.

The first line applies it to the VM object, then the next applies it to all the disks.  Easy peasy.

 

Technology found our new best friend.

Last night I built a robot that brought us to our new best friend. Meet Cash.

Cash

Before I explain this strange statement, first let’s back up.

Two weeks ago we found our beloved Maddie was stricken with a tumor on her spleen that ruptured.  I won’t dive into the heartbreaking details, but you can read about it here, here and here.

maddie_camping

To summarize: heartbroken.   That damn wonderful dog lived a great life and will never be replaced.  But we have found we’re a two dog family.  Enter the idea of visiting shelters….which is always fun..!

IMG_6736

After a few misses, we found just how competitive adopting dogs is in Boulder.  Yes, competitive.

Forget cycling, running, and climbing – the most competitive sport in Boulder is trying to adopt a dog from the pound link

Dogs fly out of the Boulder Humane Society.  There was one Jen was interested in that was adopted within hours of her becoming available.  We heard of one from employees that was going HOME within 45 minutes of stepping into the adoptables area.   Seriously.

The employees say to just keep an eye on the website.  So that’s what we did for a bit.  We noticed it was updated frequently throughout the day.  But there was no way to be notified of new dogs.  Enter my light bulb moment.

I saw there was no RSS feed, and (of course) no API.  So I took a glance at the HTML source and saw it would be super easy to screen scrape.  Muahhaha…… this will be easy peasy!    With just a little bit of hacking last night I had a working system that scraped their webpage every 15 minutes, stored it in a local database, and sent us an email when a dog became available!  Ha! Leg up, take that one, Boulder animal people.  Dog adoption performance enhancing drugs.

In the morning I surmized that wasn’t nearly geeky enough.  I added functionality to email us when a dog appeared to be adopted (wasn’t listed any more).  And since email is SO year 2000s, I spun up a new twitter account and had it tweet and direct message us when a dog showed up and went home.  I dub thee: Dog(S)talker.  Get it?  Dog Stalker.  Dogs Talker.  I kill me…

Low and behold…while I was out with the kid on his bike and Jen working on an extension to the chicken coop, DING. DM from the new robot:

Snip20160403_15

Due to an unfortunate typo in the code it is missing the details of the dog but still….. the fucking thing worked… A quick click on the link showed it was a 1 year old, Australian Kelpie Mix, and about 45 pounds.  Check check and check all the boxes!  I yelled across the street: “JEN!”  to which I immediately heard the reply, “I’M GETTING READY TO GO [to the shelter]!”

15 minutes later I received this:

IMG_6740

So an absolute max of 30 minutes from the time she was posted to the website to one of us showing up to check her out.

Long story short, he’s perfect for us.  I’ll post the code to github soon.   Perhaps if this is useful to anyone else I can add others to the notifications.

Snip20160403_16

 

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How to send vCenter alarms to Slack

I’m spending some of my time in the new gig with my old sysadmin ops hat on.  We needed a quick easy way to keep an eye on alerts from a vSphere environment so….what else would be more fun than to funnel them to Slack?!  Easy peasy, even on the vCenter Appliance.  Let’s see how…

First you need to configure the integration on Slack.   In the channel you wish to see the alerts in, click the “Add a service integration” link.

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Now there is not any special integration with vSphere, we are going to be using a simple REST api to push the content.  Scroll down to “Incoming WebHooks”

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Now you need to approve the integration verifying the chat room and click the button:

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The outcome of this will be a long URL you will need for the script.

Now we need to get your script ready. Now remember this is on vCenter (windows OR appliance), not ESXi.  Much credit to this guy that created a simple script for Zabbix, as this is a hacked up version of it.   The key here is using the environment $VMWARE_ALARM_EVENTDESCRIPTION which I use because it’s short and simple.   If you want other types of data check out the documentation here.

Now you just simply need to hook this script up to the alarm in vSphere:

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Sweet.  Cool.  Let there be (kind of) chatops.

But, I hear you asking…   What if you want to apply this to all your alarms??   Also…. easy peasy.   I just whipped together some powercli and bam.

That line will apply this script action to ALL alarms in the vCenter you connect to.   It will apply this by default to the Yellow to Red action level.    For now I wanted this to trip on all four cases so I looked a little deeper and found this will do it:

Now if you are like me and you screw this up along the way, you may have to clear out the actions across the board.  This line will do that for you:

 

 

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A change…or pivot if you will…..

Pivotal_Logo_200I have been at VMware for 7 years (this week on the dot actually!).  That is a half a lifetime in IT Dog Years.  In that time I have done many different things, and been to many different places.  I saw (and at times helped (or tried to help) ) virtualization mature from a fringe lab thing that would never run production workloads efficiently and easily, to an established vendor that most people are using in some way.  Quite a ride!

Just after the July 4th holiday I will be (metaphorically, though not geographically) be walking a few blocks up the hill in Palo Alto from the VMware campus to a sister EMC Federation company, Pivotal.  I’ll be leaving the current Pre-Sales gig and getting my hands dirty directly in technology as a main focus.  I’m excited!

www.jaams.co

micro-services1-297x250I plan to continue the blogging weird and silly projects on here, though it will stray from a VMware focus to more broad devopsy topics in general.   Hence the slight change in name (mostly as a joke that I was told at GlueCon recently) – Josh as a (Micro) Service!  Kind of catchy don’t you think?

I’ll spare you all the pontificating on merits of focusing on one thick technology stack made up of all kinds of mashed together bits being a monolithic focus, and now for the future breaking it down into singular focus areas and doing each of them well……I don’t know… This joke might not work entirely, but I get a good laugh out of it anyway.

Onward!

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Helen Keller

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week.” – Tracy Jordan

“It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” – Steve Jobs

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vCenter alarms for VSAN not included out of the box

Snip20150309_7I have been testing VSAN in my whitebox hosts of my home lab lately, as I consider migrating off the smattering of Synology and other datastores.  My first mistake was using a spinning drive that apparently was already bad as I quickly got some permanent device loss errors after spinning up some VMs.  I was concerned why I never got any actual VSAN alarms, and just randomly stumbled on the reason why via Reddit.

Turns out, vCenter does not contain any VSAN alarms that map to VOBs.   This KB shows how to add a few of them, but Mister VSAN Rawlinson Rivera’s blog post shows a longer list that appears pretty comprehensive and also includes a bit of powershell code to add the alarms for a specific cluster.  I could not get the code to copy/paste from the blog without characters getting all screwy so it took quite some time to clean up.   Here on my git repo is a version of it that works as is.

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How to modify a boot2docker .ISO for Docker Machine

I have been doing quite a bit of work with VMware vSphere + Docker + Machine lately.  I helped build a Hands On Lab for the recent VMware Partner Exchange conference with it.  I can’t promise, but it looks like it might be available publicly.  If you have access – it’s named HOL-SDC-1430.  It has been a difficult process as we’re in such alpha territory.  Things sometimes work, sometimes they don’t, and then they change a rev later..

Snip20150212_9An example of this is three specific items needed in a boot2docker image that is used as the docker host VM.  We need VMware tools (or open vm tools), some networking updates, and in my case the change to docker settings to allow pulling from an insecure local registry.

VMware’s Cloud Native Apps R&D has forked the main boot2docker repo and done the tools work and networking work (probably among others too) but I had to dive in and figure out how to edit it further to allow for a new docker option.  I really can’t claim to be an authoritative source on the docker and boot2docker side of things here but the googles failed me on a single location for all this information so here you go!

1) First you have to clone from a specific branch of VMware’s Cloud Native Apps git repo.  ovt stands for open vm tools.  See the diff’s here.

2) I found a Dockerfile is what is used to customize the iso.  How it works is the container is built from the file, and a number of other dependencies in the sub directories but is written to print out the iso data when run.  Pretty clever whoever first came up with this method.    So to do my hard-coding-not-best-practice-but-solves-my-needs I edit the Dockerfile as follows by removing the dependency on the b2d version, and just pull the latest Docker.   1.5 came out this week and I was wanting to pick up those updates.

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3) I also needed to use a local repository without certificates since I am building lab environments, so I added a new config variable for $DOCKER_REG to make it easier to update later.

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4) Now the rest is just following the b2d documentation.  Build the container with:

5) And write out the ISO with:

One thing that hung me up for a bit was machine doesn’t do any checksum on the ISO you tell it to use.   If machine sees the image already exists it WILL NOT overwrite it on the target datastore, so remember to delete it and let it upload the new one.  Very important.

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Local Docker Registry Update

It appears since I last wrote about creating a local and persistent Docker registry on CentOS they changed the default behavior to force secure communication.   In basic environments like I use and build in a lab, SSL is just a headache best left alone.

Doing docker push now with docker version 1.3.2 I get the error:

The best solution I found was to add this option to /etc/sysconfig/docker like the following [1] [2]

Restart Docker, and then all is well in Docker push land once again.

 

 

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vCAC Remote Console remote privilege escalation

LINK TO VMware Advisory VMSA-2014-0013

LINK to CVE-2014-8373

If you have a vCAC (or the new name vRealize Automation, vRA) system on an untrusted network you should read up on this. (Or in truth, one could argue if you have it all in a production environment….).

VMware vCloud Automation Center has a remote privilege escalation vulnerability. This issue may allow an authenticated vCAC user to obtain administrative access to vCenter Server.

To be clear, this is not a broad virtual machine remove console (VMRC) issue, but how it is implemented in vCAC/vRA.  vSphere is not affected, vCD is not affected.   vRA 6.2 is not affected as “connect using VMRC” is disabled.  The workaround for the older versions is to disable this method.

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Suggested reading: DZone’s Guide to Enterprise Integration

Snip20141117_8Previously I posted about DZone’s Guide to Continuous Delivery (which is excellent), and now I have been reading their guide on Enterprise Integration.   I highly suggest checking it out.   I really geek out on the trends of SOA and microservices.   The idea of “dumb pipes and smart endpoints” is intriguing to me (which to be fair I guess they are crediting this post as their source).   Also I find it fascinating how the same companies keep coming up as the example case, like Netflix, Etsy, Soundcloud etc.   I would hate to be one of their competitors…

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