Author Archive

iPhone app: London Bus

August 19th, 2009 Gael No comments

LondonBusFor people living in London, public transport is compulsory!

In other words, you cannot do anything without it. To find the best route, you can use TFL website but when you are on the go, or in the street, you want something that tells you how to get from wherever you are to your home, especially when it is 4 am and your only idea in mind is: “I want my bed!”.

And here comes London Bus and its different options:


You define where you want to go from (you can use “Locate Me”, Find a station or use your favorite) and where you want to go, when you want to leave and how, here you can choose between all the available transport in London.
Basically, it provides you with the same options as TFL except that this time you have everything  in your pocket!

Once you have launched the search, your  journey plans displays the several routes suggested, with departure time, when you will arrive and how long it  takes. It displays as well the different option to go from here to there.

Journey Plans London Bus


On top of that, you have a history. So it is easy to retrieve a journey you did a month ago without the need to fill in all the fields again.



Routes lets you select any bus route in London. Once selected, you will see all the bus stops on this route. And the option, I really enjoy, is the “Track Me” option that tells you exactly at which bus stop you are! I just love it.
The only thing I tried but did not really work is when I am on the bus, I never managed to have it updating my position quickly enough…

The other interesting bit of the routes is that you are able to see the timetables of the bus, use a bus stop as your “Plan

From” or “Plan To”, adding it to your “Favourites”.



You can define favourite bus stops, the one you are using the most often. It is only taking bus stops which is logical as the app is called “London Bus”.
I reckon that being able to save Tube stations as your favourites would have been a nice feature.


You can locate yourself. Once located, the app will give you all the bus stops around you. Once you have selected the one you want, you can:

Check where the bus stop is on google map, use it to plan your journey, define it as a favourite, check the timetable or having the route  details.

Using google map is great, especially when you are in a place you’ve never been. With this option, you can head directly towards the correct bus stop, saving you all the walking from bus stop to bus stop, in order to find the stop  “M”…

What to improve?

I would be happy to see the Track Me, tracking me when I am in the bus, that  would be cool, but it is not the main purpose of the app I reckon.

Or being able to add a tube station as a favourite.

App details

  • App Name: London Bus
  • Version tested: 1.2.1
  • Its author: Malcolm Barclay
  • Its price: £0.59
  • Update rate: the author is releasing updates on regular basis, which is a good thing considering you are paying for the app.

If you have this app, either you love it or hate it, share you experience!

Categories: A bit of this, iPhone Tags:

Just adding the digg button

August 18th, 2009 Gael No comments

I am using the “Digg This Button” plugin.

What are you using for Digg? I am interested to know!

Categories: A bit of this Tags:

Impressed by WordPress!

August 17th, 2009 Gael No comments

I have just finished migrating from Dot Clear to WordPress, following the advice of my friend Nat and I want to thank her! The latest version of WordPress is really nice!

First of all, I had some bad views about WordPress as I used to use it 3 years ago when I was in Cambodia. Back in those days, the admin panel was less user friendly.
I remember that adding themes or plug in was not a piece of cake, you had to log to the web server, download the theme or plug in, unzip it, adding it to the web interface, then activating it and configuring it. Whereas now, the search is included  in the admin panel, then you can preview it and install it by the click of the mouse!

How awesome is that?

On top of that, I find editing posts easier than it is in DotClear. There is more space to edit your post, and I prefer the look and feel of WordPress!

So Yes, this is great!

Categories: A bit of this Tags:

Just playing

August 16th, 2009 Gael No comments

I am moving from DotClear to WordPress, I am playing with modules and themes …

Categories: A bit of this Tags:

Fail2ban – Security tool

May 23rd, 2009 Gael No comments

A great tool to enhance your firewalling.

You probably all have a firewall such as IPTables on your server in order to restrict the access to some services like SSH, FTP or HTTP.

But what about the threat like scripts trying to enter your FTP with dumb login and password in order to access your server?

Would not it be nice to have a tool that read the secure log file, detect the failed attempts then adds a rule to your firewall for 5 minutes in order to ban all the traffic from this source?

This tool exists and is called Fail2Ban!

How Fail2Ban work?

Every time anyone tries to access your server through services like SSH or FTP, an entry is logged in the log files

In the background Fail2Ban is monitoring this log file and when it detects too many password failures, it adds a DROP rule in IPTables for a defined amount of time to reject that IP address. After the 10 minutes, the rule is removed from the firewall automatically. And on top of that, it sends an email to the operation team.

Last but not least, as the script that launched the attack cannot access the service on your server as it is banned, it moves to another server. Basically an easier target to attack.

This tool is written in python, by a French guy:

Installation and configuration

The installation is really simple as Fail2Ban is part of the rpmforge repository.

yum install fail2ban

Then, you need to update the configuration The configuration file is located here: /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf

In this file, you will find several settings, the most important options are:

ignoreip: you have to specify the IP from your network that fail2ban will never ban as they are part of the trusted network.

bantime: how long you want the attacker to be banned

Then you will define the rule that inspect the log file.


enabled  = true
filter   = sshd
action   = iptables[name=SSH, port=ssh, protocol=tcp]
# logpath  = /var/log/messages
logpath = /var/log/secure
maxretry = 5

Some comments about those configuration options.

  • ssh-iptables defines the beginning of a configuration block. The rule will be named: fail2ban-SSH
  • enabled defines if the rule will be loaded when Fail2Ban starts
  • filter: that is the search filter for the secure log file
  • action: it defines the action to take if a condition is true.
  • logpath: it defines the log file to read in order to ban attackers
  • maxretry: it defines the number of time an attacker fails to enter the system.

Once you are done with the configuration, you can start the service

/etc/init.d/iptables start

And add it to the service which start when the server boots.

chkconfig fail2ban on

Now you are all done, you have a server configured to block SSH attempts and it will survive a reboot as it will start automatically. I am really interesting in reading your feed back about the article. So do not hesitate to leave a comment.

Categories: IT, Work Tags: , ,

Rebuild a RAID5 array on CentOS 5.2 with mdadm

December 8th, 2008 Gael No comments

My RAID 5 array on a CentOS 5.2 machine just crashed due to a faulty disk so I had to rebuild the array manually. I first thought it would have been the worse time in my life as I do not like too much messing around with my hardware but finally it went pretty smoothly.
So here is how I did to rebuild the RAID, just follow those steps…

First of all you have to look at the problem on md2:

[root@bacchus ~]# cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid1] [raid6] [raid5] [raid4]
md0 : active raid1 hdb1[1] hda1[0]
      152512 blocks [2/2] [UU]
md2 : active raid5 sda1[0] sdb1[1]
      625137152 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/2] [UU_]
md1 : active raid1 hdb2[1] hda2[0]
      117065536 blocks [2/2] [UU]

The faulty device was located on hdc, and on the partition hdc1. So first of all, you have to recreate the partition with the Linux raid autodetect type and write the changes to this partition:

[root@bacchus ~]# fdisk /dev/sdc
Command (m for help): n
Command action
   e   extended
   p   primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-38913, default 1):
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-38913, default 38913):
Using default value 38913

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sdc: 320.0 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc1               1       38913   312568641   83  Linux

Command (m for help): t
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): fd
Changed system type of partition 1 to fd (Linux raid autodetect)

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sdc: 320.0 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdc1               1       38913   312568641   fd  Linux raid autodetect
Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.
[root@bacchus ~]#

Once the partition is created, you have to add the partition to the RAID array with the following command line:

mdadm /dev/md2 -a /dev/sdc1

Once this is done, you just have to monitor the rebuild from time to time with this command:

[gael@bacchus ~]$ cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid1] [raid6] [raid5] [raid4]
md0 : active raid1 hdb1[1] hda1[0]
      152512 blocks [2/2] [UU]

md2 : active raid5 sdc1[3] sda1[0] sdb1[1]
      625137152 blocks level 5, 64k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/2] [UU_]
      [========>............]  recovery = 43.9% (137368104/312568576) finish=85.7min speed=34061K/sec

md1 : active raid1 hdb2[1] hda2[0]
      117065536 blocks [2/2] [UU]

unused devices:

Et voila!, now you just have to wait for you RAID partition to be rebuilt and then you will be an happy bunny :)

Categories: IT Tags: , ,

The funny video of the day!

October 7th, 2008 Gael No comments
Categories: A bit of this Tags:

Good bye Multimap … Welcome MS …

April 23rd, 2008 Gael No comments

Today, it was the day when the Multimap network went down …

And MS migrates us to corpnet… They gave us new laptop and new bags. Well the laptop has great specs but it is too heavy and the bottom line, I think it is crap.

But the bags are really nice! These are courier bags – Timbuk2 – and really nice! Imagine a crumpler but nicer!

So the laptop is not so nice but the bag is!

We had nice cards with our face on it to access the office as MS loves security …

And that’s pretty much it!

Categories: IT, Work Tags: , , ,