Friday, February 06, 2009

9 Cool Geek Tips

9 Cool Geek Tips I Just Can't Function Without

There are more list out there today then Sushi bars in California. Things like Top 10 Best Hacking Tools or Top 10 Ways to take down Super Mutants in Fallout 3. I have wrote many of these type of list myself and certainly have read even more. In the world of networking, many times the answer to a problem is, "It Depends" For me, list help shorten that, dreaded it depends answer. And truthfully, if I can use a obscure tip to solve a problem, my alpha geek score goes up +24. When I sat down to write this blog, I thought I would write about tips I use so often, that they are stored in NVRAM and called from the buffer easily. This is not a list based upon a weighted value but just stuff I have picked up along the way to make my IT life easier and increase my fishing time.

Tip 00x01: My lab is in my basement. Many times I need to send out a SMS but my cell phone has no connectivity in this hole and yes I am too lazy to walk upstairs. No problem! I just send an SMS via my email account. Lets say I need to send an SMS to someone on Sprint. On the TO: line I type thier phone number and the provider domain name: 1235551212@messaging.sprintpcs.com
How cool is that! Here is a list of providers I use all the time:
- Sprint: <10>@messaging.sprintpcs.com
- Nextel: <10>@messaging.nextel.com
- AT&T: <10>@txt.att.net
- U.S. Cell: <10>@email.uscc.net
- Verizon: <10>@vtext.com

Tip 00x02: Vista Auto Tuning sucks. I only have a few Vista machines I use in my lab, but it is clear real fast that the auto tuning feature makes the Internet connection slow down big time. I tune it off with the CLI command:
- "netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled"
Verify it is off with the CLI command:
- "netsh interface tcp show global" check for the line that reads, "Receive Window Auto-Tuning Level" and make sure it says disabled.

Tip 00x03: Here in my lab, I am rebuilding images all the time. A little Linux trick I learned at a user group meeting was to make sure I have /home in a separate partition. This simple but powerful trick allows me to reinstall the system or even change the entire distro without losing my data and personal settings. Just keep the "/home" partition intact and reinstall whatever I need to on "/".

Tip 00x04: Making directory trees in with one command. I was taught this trick by a scripting genius here at Cisco. This how I used to make directory trees in Linux:
$ mkdir tmp
$ cd tmp
/tmp $ mkdir a
/tmp $ cd a
/tmp/a $ mkdir b
/tmp/a $ cd b
/tmp/a/b/ $ mkdir c
/tmp/a/b/ $ cd c
/tmp/a/b/c $
Whole lotta typin' going on there. How about increasing your geek status and do this same thing with a small tweak...add the -p.
$ mkdir -p tmp/a/b/c
The BEST part of this is, now I can script out complex directory trees with a command like this:
$ mkdir -p project/{lib/ext,bin,src,doc/{html,info,pdf},demo/stat/a}

Tip 00x05: Seems like every time I boot up my Mac, I have another iTunes update waiting for me. One of the features I miss in iTunes 6 was the master playlist. All of the songs in my entire library were in one list. This great when I am outside mowing the yard and just want a ton of tunage. Here is a simple way to get that list back. Shutdown iTunes, Go to the terminal app and enter:
$ defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-library-playlist -bool TRUE
$ defaults write com.apple.iTunes hide-library-playlist -bool FALSE
Now open iTunes and there it is!

Tip 00x06: Finding resources with StumbleUpon. Stumble is a great tool for finding info on the Internet/Deep Web that interest you. Different then algorithm based engines like Google, A9, Yahoo, etc...StumbleUpon is people powered by is user groups and is more of a web harvester. I have found many great security sites simply by stumbling across them. http://www.stumbleupon.com/ [1]

Tip 00x07: Simplify your Snort signature writing time with Nebula. I run Honeypots here in my lab and other places to gather info on various attacks. The problem is correlation. I started using the program Nebula to do a first pass at writing my Snort sigs. I run it as a daemon and it takes the output from Honeytrap and spits out a sig in seconds! Works great and is a real time saver. Take a look at: http://nebula.mwcollect.org/ [2]

Tip 00x08: Heading into a boring meeting? Nothing like a shot of humor to pick you and go ya going. Here are a few on my favs:
http://www.safenow.org/ [3]
http://diy.despair.com/motivator.php [4]
http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-technology.html [5]
http://www.break.com [6]
http://www.boreme.com/ [7]
http://www.theonion.com [8]
http://www.icn.tv/ [9]

Tip 00x09: Default passwords. Many times, folks just leave the default password on gear and never change it. But there is so much gear out there plus all of the OEM partnerships between vendors how do you keep track it all? Kiss it simple: http://artofhacking.com/etc/passwd.htm [10]

Only nine tips?? What gives Jimmy Ray? The 10th tip is something we should always be sharing with each other. I am hoping that you will share your 10th tip on this blog! Do you have a timesaver, shortcut or just something cool?

Jimmy Ray Purser


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