The Doodle Pad

Farewell Tedious Toil, Hello Automation!

Things have been slow here in great part because maintaining static web pages is a drag. Oh, it's fun until someone loses an eye when there's only a few pages. After a certain point small changes mean updating too many pages and, oh gosh, web updates? ... I think it's time to do the laundry.

Time to lower the drag coefficient! I've been busy the last couple of months making some changes. You'll notice some small changes in the look, but the big ones are on the inside: Scripting!

Your web master is happy to report this site is now powered by PHP, MySQL and a few scripts written by yours truly.

Homestar Runner

Homestar Runner CollageBored? Looking for some serious silliness? Check out the Homestar Runner website at:

If you only look at one thing, make it Strong Bad's email. Strong Bad rules ... and knows it.

CISSP Study Group: CISSP in 12 Weeks

Article text was originally published as an e-mail on the (now defunct) Yahoo CISSPStudy_1 mailing list. It was a great list, sad to see it go. The picture and hyperlinks were added for this web page.

CISSP In 12 Weeks: A Study Group's Story
By Dale McGladdery, CISSP No. 26654
January 31, 2002

Last summer I decided now was the time to get my CISSP but I couldn't find a study group and didn't want to go it alone. There was excellent study material available but I couldn't find much on running my own study group. I did manage to put a group together and we've all joined the CISSP ranks. Here's how I did it. It's offered to those of you looking for ideas on running a study group.

I sent out an e-mail invitation via a local computer mailing list. It outlined the following:

  • One meeting per week
  • Meetings 1 1/2 to 2 hours long
  • Review one domain each meeting
  • No teaching or seminars; meetings are for review, questions and resource pooling
  • The target date of the exam

Continue reading CISSP Study Group: CISSP in 12 Weeks

The Savage Empire

Savage Empire PosterA new episode of classic Trek? Sort of. A pair of brothers, fans of classic Star Trek, decided to make their own episode. It took them seven years and they nailed it! Background story in their hometown press. Now it's available for viewing on the net:

The Savage Empire:

The U.S.S. Exeter, freshly recrewed and commanded by Capt. John Garrovick, is on a mission to save a ship infected with the deadly Canopus Plague. The Exeter must travel to the homeworld of Andorian Lt. B'fuselek to find the cure. But Andorian rebels have other plans . . . and so do the Klingons!

Morning Sun + Cool Cloud + North Shore Mountains

Looking out my balcony yesterday I saw ... well ... take a look. My cruddy little digital camera doesn't do it justice.

Morning Sun 1.jpg

Morning Sun 2.jpg

Morning Sun 3.jpg

Morning Sun 4.jpg

Morning Sun 5.jpg

Morning Sun 6.jpg

Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes

I've been doing work on other people's web sites and ignoring my own. It was time to tackle the double-D and rearrange a few bits and bytes. You'll notice the over-all look hasn't changed very much but the content arrangement has. I'm not calling it the final word, but I think it's closer to the site's goal.

Some of the site content hasn't made it into the new format. Most of it should make over eventually. There's some stuff I consider a failed experiment that will be left on the cutting room floor. If it's something you miss, let me know. It could make it back onto the site or I might simply pass it from my archive to yours.

Do You Blog?

Blogging, or web logs, are steadily entering the mainstream as a communications tool. I wrote an article about web logs for Write On!, the newsletter of the North Shore Writers' Association. It can be found here.

LDAP - Lightweight Protocol Does Heavy Lifting

VanLUG February 2002 Meeting Presentation
By Dale McGladdery
March 12, 2002

Luca Filipozzi shares his experience implementing LDAP

How do you manage user passwords and access control across Microsoft and Unix operating systems? If you're Luca Filipozzi, IT Manager at the UBC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, you use Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Filipozzi presented the why and how of his implementation at the Vancouver Linux User Group's February 2002 meeting.

The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department's old configuration used NIS and a home grown scheme to stage passwords between their Microsoft Windows and UNIX systems. Some of the problems with NIS included information raveling in clear text, a manual process for pushing NIS maps to target computers, and a problematic coupling between operating system security domains.

Filipozzi explored a number of possible solutions which included Kerberos, LDAP, and 3rd party software. Questions he considered included the software mix being supported, primary OS being used to administer the configuration and the kind of information being stored (for example, username/passwords, home directories, access control information). Kerberos offers single sign-on but requires Kerberos aware clients. Microsoft based management schemes require Microsoft domain controllers and other tight couplings. Ultimately he choose LDAP. Not necessarily because it was the best ultimate solution, though it might be, but because it was the bit fit for his environment.

The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is often mistaken for a database, it's not. It's a protocol for accessing a database in much the same way as ODBC/SQL is. Unlike SQL, LDAP supports a hierarchical branch view of the world, not a row/column view. It was originally designed to work with the X.500 directory standard but has moved beyond this. LDAP is database agnostic, sitting in front of any number of different entities. It's designed to transport arbitrary data as defined in schema. The schema is ugly but there's a lot of them designed, so the chances of having to make one yourself are fairly small. LDAP supports access control and automatic replication from a master server to slave servers.

LDAP can be used in a lot of different situations: serving data from a central address book, hosting configuration files for HTTP and SMTP, or providing a directory service for user accounts. It can require LDAP aware client programs but can also be implemented "behind the scenes" in a manner transparent to the clients. LDAP is supplanting NIS, NIS+ and Kerberos in many sites.

Continue reading LDAP - Lightweight Protocol Does Heavy Lifting

Surrey Surplus Safari

By Dale McGladdery
April 11, 2002

Warehousing & Asset Investment Recovery
Surrey, BC

It's Thursday and you've just arrived at the Warehousing and Asset Investment Recovery branch of the BC Ministry of Management Services in Surrey, are you:

  1. Still untangling your tongue after saying the name?
  2. No longer curious about what happens to PST withholders?
  3. Lost in the wilds of Surrey wondering if you'll get out alive?
  4. Looking for a potential bargain at a Government surplus sale?

That peculiar breed of inbred Vancouverite who considers crossing any bridge in their SUV an adventure might select number 3. The real answer is number 4, and there are some deals to be had.

Warehousing and Asset Investment Recovery looks after the disposal of "tangible assets which are surplus to government's needs." This currently includes Federal Crown assets as well. Nearly every Thursday the Surrey location has both a "cash 'n carry" sale and a closed bid auction from 10am to 2pm. In spite of the sale name they do take Visa, Mastercard and debit cards. Scheduled sales dates and items for the auction at the Surrey location are available at their web site.

Continue reading Surrey Surplus Safari

"ratpoison" Presentation at VanLUG

VanLUG January 2002 Meeting Presentation
By Dale McGladdery
January 21, 2002

"Kill the Rat!" was the unapologetic cry heard at the January VanLUG meeting. While most people refer to that pointing device by the keyboard as a "mouse", to Shawn Betts, Ryan Yeske and Jonathan Walther it's a rat; and they have just the thing to kill it: ratpoison. ratpoison is a window manager for people who don't want to take their hands off the keyboard.

Continue reading "ratpoison" Presentation at VanLUG

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