Browse Author: Jeromy

Repurposing a Barracuda Web Filter 210

So on a recent trip to a remote office I ended up bringing back some old equipment that needs to be recycled. Sometimes this means we send it to a recycling center but often we end up reusing it ourselves. This time I brought back a Barracuda Web Filter 210 that we used for content filtering in that office. We’ve since moved to a virtualized version of Barracuda so we no longer needed this installed.

Barracuda 210

I have been wanting to play with linux router distributions like pfsense, untangle and endian but didn’t really want to waste a quad core computer for such a simple task. The Barracuda was a perfect match as the specs are an exact match for what I need.

If you can find one of these Barracuda devices on ebay and are wanting a small and very quite server, these are the perfect match. I’ve unplugged the case fan for now but even with it on the entire machine is barely audible from across the room.

Inside of case

Motherboard: ASUS AT3GC-I - Newegg
CPU: Intel Atom 330 64-bit dual core @ 1.6ghz w/ Hyperthreading
PCI: Custom Realtek 8139 10/100 dual port NIC, ports mounted on front of case

With the server back home and the software downloaded, I began the process of trying to get it to boot from USB. Barracuda has locked the BIOS down with a password locking out the undetermined. For those that are interested the BIOS password is BCNDK1. Once in the BIOS you’ll want to change the boot order to promote either the IDE drive for booting from CDROM or the most likely, the USB ports.

For pfSense the best method of installing via USB is from their own website. Follow these instructions and it’s pretty easy to get installed.

If you are looking for the best all free way to route and filter your traffic than pfSense is the way to go. The “best” way may not be the easiest so I’m currently looking and playing with other distributions such as Edian, Zentyal and Untangle. I’ll try to put together a comparison of my experiences with them all and post that here.

Google Voice Spam

Decided to check out my Spam and missed calls folder tonight and found some very odd voicemails. Both of these hit my spam folder which I’m very thankful for. This is one of the many reasons why I love using Google Voice for my main number.

This first one is very odd. Two different voices say “Hello, rate”.


This one is pretty funny. John is selling Dental Insurance, the ending is pretty funny.


My VPS Journey

Last year around this time my one year promo with Dreamhost was expiring and I didn’t feel like paying for a year of hosting up front. So I decided to shop around looking at shared hosting, reseller accounts and VPSs (Virtual Private Server). Much of the shared hosting I came across either were priced out of my range of comfort or had restrictions like single domain hosting and the like.

The idea of a VPS really intrigued my interest. In my day job I manage a decently sized multi-size VMware cluster with iSCSI SAN backend. I know how stable a setup like this is and what cost savings it offers. So I decided to get out and do a bit of research of what was out there.

The major platforms used by VPS providers are OpenVZ, KVM and Xen. There are a few providers that do offer VMware platforms but these are usually priced outside the range most users migrating from shared hosting deem reasonable.

Xen and VMware are bare metal platforms meaning they don’t require a traditional host operating system. OpenVZ and KVM differ in that they require Linux as the host operating system and as such do incur a bit more overhead. But for the role of low end VPSs they offer a great cost savings in software and licensing.

After some time spent googling around and forum hunting I came across Easy to use website that offers reviews from real users. I came across a great deal for a 512mb VPS in Dallas and decided to start the process of moving my three blogs over to it.

I’ve been using Debian since 2002 and Ubuntu since release 4. Since I needed to keep my ram usage down I decided to roll with a minimal Debian 6 x32 install. I also wanted to be able to hand the keys of managing stuff over to a friend so I decided to install a control panel. While the list of free CP software varies from year to year one of the more stable projects is Webmin. A plugin for Webmin called Virtualmin helps with the website hosting side of things.

So I had everything up in running a few hours after my account was activated and was really excited. I wanted to check the stability of the service though so I set it up to by monitored by Pingdom. One day it went offline and I figured it was just a technical glitch like a DoS attack or something. I decided to check the forums and found out that the company owned the datacenter a boat load of money and were more than likely shutting down.

This is when it slapped me in the face that I had forgot to setup a backup process. I had seen that little tab in Virtualmin that offers automatic backups even to an external server but I had just skipped past it. Well the datacenter finally got things back up so customers of this client could retrieve their data which was so awesome of them. Thanks again Rackspace!

I’m currently running two VPSs, one with and another with Both are pretty stable but I’ve gotta say the guys at BuyVM really love what they do and it shows, they are amazing.

So if you are tired of the limitations of shared hosting or just want to get your hands dirty try moving your site(s) to a VPS. And yes, I back it all up everyday offsite.

New toy, the iPad2

So a few weeks ago I entered one of site surveys we all see and most of us just skim past. Take our survey to help improve our site and enter for a chance to win an iPad2! Yea right I thought but the website was one I really enjoy and I thought if nothing else my input might help them actually make the website better.

So a few weeks latter I’m at work talking to my office mate when I see an email from the admin of the site. I thought great, they picked the winner and were announcing it through email, skip. I decided to read the first of the email and noticed it was actually sent only to me, informing me that I had won their iPad2 from the survey drawing!

Anyways, I’ve had a Viewsonic G-Tablet for a few months and even have honeycomb on it. I really loved my HC tablet, the entire HC experience was a huge improvement for tablet users over Android 2.x.

I was actually planning on just loading my work apps on the iPad and not using it much. Well, two weeks later and I can’t put it down. I think the biggest plus over my G-Tablet is the screen size difference. The 9.7″ is a better format than the 10.1″. I didn’t think it would be but it’s easier to hold the iPad than the G-Tablet.

Another plus is the speed. I know I can’t compare a hacked HC to the iPad but the responsiveness overall is just so much better with the iPad.

My one problem where Android does get it right is app scaling. Android 2.x apps scale very well on HC. On the flip side the way Apple offers their 2X button for iPhone apps is a pain in the rear.

Always, just thought I’d share my thoughts after using both platforms for awhile.

Sent from my iPad :)

Cost and Feature Comparison of 2X Application Server vs Citrix XenApp 6

So I’ve been looking at replacing our aging Citrix Access Fundamentals installation with something newer. We have a legacy app that won’t run on Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Server 2008 because of some arcane or horrible design. So with it almost out the door it’s finally time to start evaluating a replacement solution. Hooray for new projects!

So I began by attempting to install the newest version of XenApp 6. I stumbled a few times because my eval licenses were for a different version then what I had downloaded, oops. Once I had everything setup and working it worked great, typical Citrix environment. It felt like though for all that we would use it for, it may be overkill so I began looking around at their competitors to see what had improved since the last time I looked around a few years ago.

This was my first true evaluation of two products to present to someone else. None of this was verified with the vendors but the bandwidth figures are not exact.

Product Citrix XenApp 6 2X Application Server Windows 2008 TS/RemoteApp
Bandwidth  Idle – 0kbitAverage – 10-30kbit

Max – set by policy

Idle – 0kbitAverage – 10-30kbit


Idle – 0kbitAverage – 10-30kbit


Protocol ICA RDP RDP
Server OS Requirement Windows Server 2008 R2 Windows Server2008/2003 Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows, Mac and Linux Yes Yes Yes
Tablet, Smartphone,Thin client support Yes Yes No
Single Sign On Yes – Platinum Yes No
Multiple Monitors Yes Yes Yes – Limited by OS
Universal Printer Yes Yes Yes
Universal Scanner Yes – 3rd Party Yes No
Application Filtering Yes – User, Group Yes – User, Group, IP Yes – User, Group
Resouce BasedLoad Balancing Yes – Advanced Yes – Advanced Yes – NLM
Web Portal Redundancy Yes Yes No
Per Seat $250 $123 $98
Total Cost to Implement $20,000 $9840 * $7840
Support Costs $2800 $940 $0


  • Licensing was calculated using a base number of 80 users using two terminal servers  (home/remote office). Included in all pricing is Terminal Server CALs.


My Tools & Equipment

I’ve been asked a few times recently what kind of equipment and software I use day to day. What better place then my sparsely populated blog!


T-Mobile G2X

Blackberry Torch

Viewsonic G-Tablet

Google CR-48

HP dv2000 w/ Windows 7 Ultimate & Ubuntu 10.10

HP Mini 311 – For sale! :)


Work Desktop:

HP dc7900 Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM

Windows 7 Enterprise

80GB internal, Maxtor External with 2x 640GB Drives

1 x 22″ Acer LCD + 1 x Acer 19″ (My awesome IT director loves Acer monitors, I’d rather use them as kindling)

Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse – grabbed it from the hardware pile

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard – This was my first time to use this for an extended amount of time and I love the split ergo design.

D-Link GB switch – another piece of hardware grabbed from the pile of leftovers



KeePass – I use this mostly for keeping track of SQL and Application passwords along with a bunch of URL’s with their auth info

LastPass – I’ve started to use this for most of the URL’s for both work and personal use, I’ve purchased the premium version for use on my phones and love it.

RD Tabs – I’ve tried just about every other RDP management tool out there but I settled into this one the best. I love the ability to use protocols other then RDP.

Office 2010 – I wouldn’t be allowed in the building if I wasn’t using this

Google Chrome/IE – I use Chrome for just about everything but IE still gets used for our corporate applications that were designed for IE7 and our Helpdesk.

ExInsight – Nice tool for taking a look at Exchange and seeing what is happening.

Synergy+/InputDirector – I’m not using this right now but it has come in handy many times.

Fireplotter – This tool is cheap (~$250) and is worth every penny. Able to connect to all of our ASA’s and break down bandwidth usage based on port and other variables.

FileZilla – Free and good, can’t beat it.

VirtualBox – I’ve come to rely on this for testing software and GPO settings out on XP and even some OSX testing in a crunch.

DameWare NT Utilities – This one group of tools has saved me countless hours of headaches over the years when managing Active Directory and users workstations.

Putty – Hands down the best free SSH/Telnet utility out there.

Solarwinds TFTP Server – Ya know, cause it works.

ImgBurn – Great lightweight utility for burning ISO files and such.

MagicDisc – Simple freeware tool for mounting ISO and IMG files

Google Voice + Asterisk = Sweet VoIP Lovin!

While I’ve had a Google Voice (GV) account since their Grandcentral beginnings, I never really began using it full time until I received my Tmobile G1. I decided to use it full on and never again have to send out another “Here is my new number” txt/email.

So when my friend Ben mentioned a new (to me) product called Incredible PBX that is built on Asterisk and said it used GV as it’s voice trunk instead of SIP/IAX my interest was peaked. While their website confused the snot out of me, I finally was able to get everything running in a virtual machine using Oracle VirtualBox. Below is the process and if I miss anything or you have questions please feel free to let me know. (I’ve since reinstalled on a older laptop with a dead screen that was crying for a use.)

So to get started head on over to and select the Downloads tab. Under this tab you will see a list of all the available downloads. Select the newest ISO release to download (as of this writing it is

I won’t go through the process of setting up a virtual machine since if you’re reading this I’m sure you know how to. The only snag I had in Virtual Box was I had to enable IO APIC in order for the ISO to boot properly.

Begin Installation:

Just press Enter unless you know you need/want something different.

Most of the settings are pretty generic during the setup of CentOS. Region, keyboard and root password. Take a break and get something to drink, this will take a few minutes.

If you are installing this in a VM be sure to remove the ISO before rebooting. If you forget then just shut it down, remove the ISO and power back up.

Once it finishes booting up you will see the below screen. Select PIAF-Purple and select OK


This will being the process of installing everything from the Internet for the most part(Google Voice integration is separate.).

While this is installing go ahead and register a new Google Voice account. It is recommended to create a new Gmail account with a random name because of the way Gtalk takes over voice calls when logged into Gmail.

Login to your new account and we need to change some settings.
First you will need to setup a real phone. I used my wife’s cell phone just be sure to turn off direct voicemail access and turn off any call forwarding to this phone unless you want to keep it enabled (not recommended).
Under change these settings to the below settings:

  • Call Screening – Off
  • Caller ID (Incoming) – Display Caller’s Number
  • Caller ID (Outgoing) – Don’t Change Anything
  • Do Not Disturb – OFF

Once you are done installing PIAF-Purple and registering your Google Voice account there are a few more steps to be completed from the command line.

Running The Incredible PBX Installer. Log into your server as root and issue the following commands to download and run The Incredible PBX installer:
cd /root
chmod +x incrediblepbx18.x

passwd-master will setup all of the passwords on the system to be used when logging into the various web applications.

Now login to your server by going to http://serverip and open FreePBX Administration.
You will need to setup X-Lite on your computer unless you already have a VoIP phone or ATA/analog phone. There are already extensions setup and getting your password is pretty easy. Under the Extensions tab is a list

of all the extensions already setup, 701-715.
Your password is listed under secret. You will need this to register any device with the server. In X-Lite go to Softphone -> Account Settings and replace the highlighted options with your own.

After you press OK your client should register with the server. If there is an error check and double check your password. If that doesn’t clear things up try rebooting the server before starting over. This seemed to clear things up for me more than once.

Once this is complete try a test call! I call a local number for time/temp to get a feel for the voice quality. If you’d like to try it then phone number is 15802346100.

I’ve been able to place/receive calls over Sipdroid on my G1 and MyTouch3g, X-Lite Softphone and using Ekiga from my Ubuntu laptop over my Hamachi VPN while at work.

The WAF is always a goal for me so I bought a Linksys SPA1001 from Ebay and combined with a VTech from Amazon she has been very please and so have I.

Well if you’ve got this far thanks for reading. It was a blast getting back to Asterisk and seeing how far they’ve come since the last time I messed around with it back in 2003 is just amazing.

Links & Credits

EDIT: Thanks to floodbar for letting me know that I forgot to include the steps for installing the IncrediblePBX part and setting up the passwords, thanks man!

%d bloggers like this: