New Bike Break In

With a new bike, I wanted to take a ride for several hours to check out the ergos and generally get a feel for how it rides so I can take care of any issues before the long distance ride in June (2 weeks, approximately 5,000 miles). I have a new helmet as well which was causing some issues on the way home from picking up the bike so I wanted to see if it was still an issue (break in period) or if I needed to make adjustments.

As a note, Jeanne and I have done quite a few rides on the Hayabusa including a multi-day ride to the Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Moab, and Telluride before returning to Longmont and a ride to Virginia, Indianapolis, Chicago and back. We’ve ridden in rain and a touch of snow and done some camping. I’ve also passed along knowledge of the trips I’ve taken in the past including issues that have occurred. This also includes explanations of why I ride in the rain or snow; mainly when on a trip, we may not have the luxury of waiting a few days for the snow to stop or wait for sunny days to travel. That’s why you practice and why you have different types of gear along. You can’t just roll up the windows on a bike 🙂

So Sunday Jeanne and I took a ride up to Laramie, across to Cheyenne, and back to Longmont. This was intended as noted to be a first multi hour test ride of the bike checking for ergos and whatnot.

The ride up 287 was a little windy and temps were 55F when we got to Ft Collins after the first hour. I had expected some winds having gone to Laramie in the past and a touch cooler weather so I transferred some of my colder weather gear into the trunk including my heated gloves and the wire.

Temps dropped steadily and the wind increased as we headed north on 287. Winds were gusting at greater than 50mph according to the signs. My helmet was being pulled off my head and we spent so much time leaned left against the wind, that most of the wear on the tires were on the left edges. And at one point I couldn’t get the C14 going faster than 65mph and I was losing speed slowly. At about 62mph or so, we came out of the funnel and to the plains approaching Tie Siding and picked up speed again. Temps dropped to 34F as we got to Laramie. My left hand was icy cold and the wind had been blowing up my left sleeve!

We were going to snag lunch but decided to continue on on 80. One guy at the gas station asked if we were going west on 80 because 80 was closed west bound due to snow!

As we got on 80 east, it started to sprinkle a little. We could see fog ahead and the electronic signs were warning of fog and high winds. Going up the pass, the road started getting a touch wetter and a little more sprinkling. We had been seeing more snow on the banks on the side of the road and in the surrounding hills. The mix of rain and snow (sleet) was increasing as we head up the mountain and approached the pass. One of the road side signs had some blown snow stuck on the left side and the temps were again falling. 34, 32, 30, 28, 26. This was more sleet and temps were about where I was looking for a turn around and going slower but then we went over the pass. Still 26 and foggy and still wet. I popped open my visor to clear some of the fog on the inside. But the rain slacked off. No rain and cold I’m good with. As we continued, I could see the road drying out but more snow falling.

The temps slowly rose. It was still pretty cold. Probably 40 or so as we got to 25 south. West bound at Cheyenne was also closed with a long line of stopped trucks and cars. Humorously, the tail wind had me seeing 68mpg on the lcd 🙂

Anyway, we pulled in at a Denny’s for lunch then fought the winds as we headed south which included trying to suck the helmet off of my head! There were a couple of places where the cross winds changed directions quickly which was pretty scary but ultimately we made it back with Jeanne starting to nod off behind me (the *tap* *tap* *tap* of her helmet hitting mine 🙂 ).

The helmet needs to be modified. It’s pressing far too hard on the jaw. Maybe it can be adjusted or shaved.

Still need a heel rest for me. Throttlemeister worked pretty well although it’s a bit tight so I may want to add a washer to it.

One thing to note. Folks talk about replacing the whale of an exhaust. When I replaced the ‘busa exhaust, I found the balance was off requiring me to press a bit harder on the right hand and subsequently pack a bit heavier on the left saddlebag. The C14 is well balanced now. I can take my hands off on a straight and it basically stays straight. On the ‘busa I need to lean left about half a butt cheek 🙂 So thought before replacing the exhaust.

I tend to change position especially when riding, laying down on the tank bag and putting my elbows on my knees. This works quite well on the Hayabusa. On the Transalp, the bars are pretty wide and high making it difficult to get my elbows down. I was able to try it on the C14. The bars are a little higher than the ‘busa but I could get down and get my elbow on my knees.

Ultimately a good test ride, both for the ride itself and in reminding us why we check out the weather and check our gear before leaving 🙂

Posted in Motorcycle Trips | Leave a comment

New Motorcycle Time

One of the more annoying things I’ve discovered over the years about using the Hayabusa as a Sport-Touring platform is the lack of dealer support when I’m on the road. Nothing like sitting in a shop and they only have Sport tires because “who would tour on a ‘busa??” or “we won’t change your tire because it’s a Suzuki” (both in Fairbanks after getting a flat in the boonies) or “we don’t carry a chain for your bike” when in Maine or “here’s an old cranky (and cracked) front tire since we don’t typically carry sport-touring tires” in Virginia. I love the hell out of the ‘busa but if there’s a problem on the road, you’d better be able to fix it yourself or be prepared to pay a few bucks. On the plus side, it’s only had a mechanical, leave me on the side of the road once (rectifier/regulator burned out in Boulder) so it’s pretty reliable mechanically.

So on the road support is one of the key issues for me in selecting the next bike. The other is a bike somewhat similar to what I have in speed, comfort, and handling. A few years ago, I took a new Concours out for a ride and was pleasantly surprised by the speed; not quite as fast as the ‘busa but pretty close, comfort; not quite as leaned forward but yes a sportier position than a standard or cruiser, and it handled pretty close to how my ‘busa handled. After the test ride, getting back on the ‘busa had me shaking my head 😀 “Nope, not getting rid of the ‘busa; still better” but now I have a passenger who has no interest in riding her own bike and really wants to go places and see things. So I need to think about something a touch friendlier for her. 🙂

I’ve been calling and checking in on the local dealers, both Kawasaki shops. The G-Force folks in Boulder had a blue 2013 Concours with 0 miles. It had been sitting in the warehouse for the past 3 years gathering dust. Jeanne and I stopped in last Thursday to check it out and were able to see it but since it was still in the warehouse, unable to actually ride it. The salesman was willing to get a new battery and give me a call when he got it out, no later than this past Saturday. At the local shop, we checked out the new C14 but it was higher that I really wanted to spend at $15k before all the rest of the bits (closer to $16k). They had a few older C14’s, 2008 and 2011 along with a couple of BMWs, a 2000 at $5k and a much newer bagger at $17k. Still floating around my price point.

At this point I started looking further, into Denver itself. The G-Force place in Lakewood had a 2015 FJR, no price though and the Fay Myers place had a 2013 Concours in Blue for $10k with the saddlebags and trunk already. Still no call by Saturday so we headed out on the ‘busa.

First G-Force for a test ride on the FJR. 2015 FJR, no price on the website. At the dealer, price was $15,000 which was right at my limit, meaning there would be several hundred bucks more if I couldn’t get a break downward. The sales guy put me on the bike but nothing about the controls. I tried to start it by hitting the emergency flashers (which are the same place as the starter on most bikes 🙂 ) and during the ride I asked if they had heated grips as the grips were pretty warm. He said “nope!” but the grips were pretty hot by the time we got back to the dealer 🙂 The ride itself was 5 minutes or 2 miles per the paperwork and escorted with me following the sales guy around the block. It took a minute or two to get used to how responsive it was, how quick. It just leaped ahead. Nice there. The bike felt small to me I guess was about the only complaint. Like I was on Rita’s old 250 again. Not scrunched up small but narrow with my knees sticking up a little feeling. Anyway, the ride around the block was okay. I was able to get a little speed and it was quick, no doubt.

Next up, Fay Myers for a test ride on the Councours. 2013 C14, price $9,999.00. 3,300 miles when I got done riding it. I’d chatted with some web bot on Friday to arrange a ride but they never called the dealer I guess. The sales guy had to carefully get it out of the back row and take it back to service to get the tires pumped up and checked and make sure it was in test ride shape. It has been sitting in the bay for 2 months (52 days). I asked if Jeanne could ride and he waved his hand, “no problem” and I asked if there was a time limit and the sales guy said, “nope, take it out for 30 minutes if you like”, he walked me through the controls real quick, most things in the normal place. There was a button on the other side of the left grip that I think adjusted the suspension, I didn’t quite get what he said with my helmet and earplugs in. I took the bike for a quick, non-passenger ride around the parking lot a few times to get used to it and then let Jeanne get on. We headed out and cruised up and down the side and main roads for 10 minutes before hitting the freeway up to the next exit to see how she felt at higher speeds. The bike doesn’t have as much get up and go as the FJR or my ‘busa but it does have speed once it winds up. I was able to get up to speed without a problem with Jeanne on the back and the mirrors were perfect for seeing all around me (the FJR mirrors were similar). I brought it back in without a problem.

Overall, my Hayabusa is quick but the FJR is quicker with the C14 feeling a bit pokier.
The passenger pegs on the ‘busa are pegs. Both the FJR and C14 had heel rests for the passenger which Jeanne loved.
The ‘busa is certainly lower to the ground and the ergos are certainly forward. Both the FJR and C14 were tall. The FJR ergos were basically sit up and beg where the C14 was more forward which I preferred.
The ‘busa has my trunk which I could transfer to either the FJR or C14 if necessary. Likely there’s a standard Givi to FJR or C14 luggage rack mount somewhere. The C14 did already have a smaller Kawasaki blue and branded Givi trunk with the apparent tail light option, although not connected (or not there; maybe just reflectors).

Ignoring that the Fay Myers dealer was a lot more amenable about taking the bike out, the C14 was still the more appealing to me bike. After getting the VIN and Dealer information and passing it along to the Credit Union (preapproved loan), I received approval and notified the dealer. I paid the difference between the loan and total cost and the bike was mine. Thursday Jeanne and I drove down to Fay Myers to pick it up and ride it home.

Few observations from the ride and of course bits I picked up from reading the owner’s manual Thursday night.

I bought a new Shoei helmet at Fay Myers as since I had a new bike, I got a discount. I also bought a set of Frogg Toggs for Jeanne for the upcoming trip. The new helmet is much nicer than any other I’ve had but quite a bit more expensive that I’d anticipated. But I really did want a nicer helmet this time around. I will note that a new helmet and riding home in 2 hours of rush hour was extremely painful, especially around the jaw line. Just need to break it (or my jaw) in.

Ready to go, I put the spare helmet (I brought one just in case I didn’t get a new one) in the saddlebag. They tried to put the paperwork and a few other bits in the trunk but I couldn’t figure out how to secure it. I closed it but nothing I could do while at the dealer could secure it. Since I’m in the wind, I’m not too worried about something flying out. Heck, I left my Givi unlocked on the ‘busa riding through a heavy rain storm in Oklahoma with a bunch of gaming books and my laptop and nothing even got a raindrop. Still, I put the paperwork and stuff in the left saddlebag instead just in case. Once I got home, I removed it from the bike and brought it inside where I could examine it in better light and after a few minutes figured out how to secure it. The label does say “push” but it wasn’t real clear to my simple ‘busa mind 🙂 But pushing on the bottom of the catch had it pop over and secure the lid and it’s good now.

When riding her home, I was cycling through the LCD using the top button on the dash to check air pressure, temps, and other bits of information. Turns out there’s a little gray switch on the back of the left bar instrument cluster (see the bit next to the clutch reservoir in the first pic) that cycles through the display without having to take your hands off the bars.

There’s a ‘eco’ mode which leans out the mixture when just riding the slab. Default is off. There’s also a ‘twisty’/’slab’ mode for the brakes, default ‘twisty’ oddly enough.

The windscreen does lower (drops to basic when the key is turned off) and raise. At the top, it blocks the wind which is a bit uncomfortable if you’re used to the wind keeping you from full weight on your wrists. About 50% to 75% is good for me. And you can set the default height for when you turn on the bike.

I do need to chase down something for the pegs. It doesn’t have to be full floorboards though. I have heel rests I created for the ‘busa which work perfectly (just a couple pieces of slab steel bolted to the pegs). Even the next day, my arches were a bit sore. Same with getting a “throttlemeister” as I have it for the ‘busa and a taillight modulator. I think I have the ‘custom dynamics’ modulator (or something like that).

It’s interesting that many of the mods I did on the ‘busa to make it more of a touring bike are already on the C14.

I have the service manual on order and need to have a second FOB configured for piece of mind. I’ve also ordered Canyon Bars with highway pegs and sent an email to a guy in Florida who was recommended as he had a replacement, better tuned, ECU for the bike. $300 though so we’ll have to see on that one.

Riding it to work Friday and it was pretty responsive. It might have been just that I had a passenger during the test ride that the C14 felt a little poky. We’ll see as the weeks progress.

Two week trip in June. That’ll be the real break in 🙂

Posted in Motorcycles | 1 Comment

Givi Trunk

A few years ago I snapped the orange Givi key off in the lock when storing lunch in the Givi 45L topcase. At the time, I broke out the big screwdriver and pried it open. I delayed because a bungee cord holds it in without an issue. Last year I followed up with Givi and they were super helpful. No replacement keys but you can get a replacement barrel and key set.

I bought the set and then tried to remove the assembly. There’s a screw on the inside but no dice. It wouldn’t come off. I screwed it back on thinking there was a safety bit on the inside so it must be unlocked first. I was on the lookout for a locksmith but they pretty much weren’t in the office, out helping folks get in their cars or rekeying houses.

I can remove the topcase by unscrewing the locking block on the base plate. Tonight I thought I’d try some super glue to reattach the broken key with the bit stuck in the barrel that broke off. Nope. Tried a small screwdriver too but no dice.

I realized there were four screws underneath that holds the mechanism that mounts to the base. Unscrew these four and it comes apart, bits everywhere. But the bit with the barrel also came off. Remove the locking washer, the barrel, and the seat, and put in the new bits.

Assembly

This is heavily curse inducing.

There’s a plate that slides into a couple of grooves and is screwed in with the screw inside the case. Took a bit of study and a lot of cursing to get it figured out, in place, and screwed down.

The bottom is worsethough. A metal sliding plate with two heavy springs to keep it locked to the base. Plus a small spring and washer behind the orange push button on a peg. The washer is right on the end of the pin. Plus the positioning requires some fancy tool or something to maintain pressure as it’s assembled.

I’d seemingly get it in place but it was at an angle and I couldn’t close the locking mechanism. The plate on the top piece was a bit bent so I thought I might have to straighten it. Then I tried it without the spring and washer and realized there are two more bits of grooved plastic the bottom piece fits into.

Eventually, with all the cursing (but nothing thrown), I simply left out the spring and washer. I got it reassembled and the two inner springs push the Push button back out without issue and it mounts fine.

It’s back in place, locked, bungee in the case. Key on my key ring with the other Givi key for the C14. I blacked in the ‘busa Givi key so I knew which was which.

Posted in Maintenance, Motorcycles | Leave a comment

Computer Comparison

My old computer, built in 2008 and upgraded a couple of times:

Case: Antec 900 ATX Ultimate Gamer PC Case
Power Supply: Corsair 750W CMPSU-750TX
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R
CPU: Intel Core 2 Dual Processor E8500, LGA775 Pkg 3.16 GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 1333 MHz FSB, 45mm
CPU Fan: Zalman Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler CNPS9700 LED
Memory: G.SKILL 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) (16GB)
Video: EVGA 02G-P3-1469-KR GeForce GTX 560 Superclocked Video Card – 2GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0 (x16), 2x Dual-Link DVI-I, Mini-HDMI, DirectX 11, Dual-Slot, SLI Ready, Overclocked (x2)
Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3750640AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s (x3)
Hard Disk: Seagate 2TB Internal Desktop Hard Drive- 3.5″ Form Factor, SATA III 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache (x2)
Sound Card: Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeGamer SB073A
Speakers: Logitech X-540
DVD: Sony DRU-V200S-BR DVD+/-R 20x
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade
Monitor: Acer G235H (x4)
Keyboard: IBM Model M (1989)
Mouse: Logitech Trackman Wheel

Over the years I replaced the original ATI Radeon video cards with the nVidia due to shitty drivers and replaced the 8G of OCZ RAM with 16 G of RAM. I added a 4th Acer monitor and the 2TB drives.

New Computer:

Computer Case: Thermaltake LEVEL 10 GT, White
Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Hero
CPU: Intel 4 Core i7-6700K
CPU Cooler: Corsair H90 (Hydro 90; Water based cooler)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series DDR4 PC2666 (4x8G: 32GB)
Video: MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G (2x)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO (500GB SSD)
Storage: Seagate 2TB Internal Desktop Hard Drive- 3.5″ Form Factor, SATA III 6 Gb/s, 64 MB Cache (x2)
Monitor: Wasabi Mango UHD430 Real 4K HDMI 2.0 SE 43″ LG AH-IPS Panel UHD 3840×2160 Displayport 1.2 43-Inch 10Bit Monitor
Monitor: Acer G235H (2x)
Keyboard: IBM Model M (1989)
Mouse: Logitech Wireless Trackball M570
WebCam: Logitech WebCam Pro 9000
Speakers: Logitech X-540
OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Blu-Ray: LG Black Blu-ray Disc Drive SATA Model UH12NS30

Starcraft II runs pretty well. There’s a touch of lagging. I may try SLI just for S&G 🙂

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New Gaming Rig Time Again

My old one is almost 8 years old and is apparently feeling its age. Recent Windows Reliability Tool runs show several unknown hardware errors causing problems with my using the system with some of the apps I use.

I popped out for a look around and found a few options but over on PCGamer there was a pre-configured rig ready to go. The video card was quite a bit overpowered for my purposes but otherwise it would be a nice quick machine.

Component type Recommended component NewEgg Price Amazon Price TigerDirect Price MicroCenter
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K $379.99 $374.95 $352.99 $349.99
Motherboard Asus Maximum VIII Hero $219.99 $235 $234.99 $288.99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws V Series DDR4 2666 (32GB) $174.99 $107.74 Nope Nope
Graphics card MSI GTX 970 Ti Gaming 4G $334.99 $234.99 $263.99 $244.99
Graphics card MSI GTX 970 Ti Gaming 4G $334.99 $234.99 $263.99 $244.99
Power supply EVGA Supernova 850 watt G2 80 Plus Gold $123.03 $119.99 $142.99 $174.99
Storage Samsung 850 EVO (500GB) $149.99 $149.99 $169.99 $154.99
CPU cooler Corsair H90 $64.99 $89.99 None None
Disc drive LG Blu-ray reader $58.99 $45.29 None None
Case Thermaltake LEVEL 10 GT $199.99 $202.85 $208.99 None
Totals
Posted in Computers | 1 Comment

Red Hat 6 Satellite Training

Just notes from the training I’m attending this week.

First off the Installation and User’s guides will help you if you’ve done it before. There are extra bits that I’m getting in the class that’s really helping me visualize how to initially set up the site.

Installation and Configuration chapters are pretty clear. Couple of notes.

1. Don’t try to sync all the repos you need at one time. It’ll overwhelm the server. I had to rebuild mine after it totally went insane and someone in the class mentioned that as a problem on his side as well.

2. Satellite isn’t initially configured as a kickstart site. You can do it but it’s a configuration you need to do to get to that point.

3. Satellite has a single copy of each RPM. So RHEL 6 Server is the full installation of 6.0. The RHEL 6.1 repo is just the differences between the core installation and 6.1. Same on up to 6.7.

4. I can create a manifest for each Organization. So Ops can have a manifest for the Ops managed systems and Lab can have a manifest (managed by Satellite of course) for their systems.

5. Propose: Each Product is a Host Collection. Host Collections are systems with similar attributes such as OS versions. Since we have to get a BU to approve updates, having a HC for a product lets us update the product.

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Making a Gaming Table

Years and years ago (1989 ish), I had an idea for a gaming table. I had a Toshiba 1100+ which was a very small laptop with a 23 or so line text screen. I’d been programming and was looking at using NETBIOS as a method of chatting with others who might have laptops as a Dungeon Master. The table would have 5 spots for laptops to slide in and the gaming surface itself. In this way notes could be passed without others noticing and the game could be managed without much trouble.

For years since then I’ve checked out various ideas for tables like a taller surface with an underlying cubby-hole setup that included PVC pipe to roll notes to others and tables using old drafting hardware to raise the table itself and smaller board game oriented tables and even tables that look like poker tables.

I’ve done some wood working in the past and a few years ago I snagged a joiner. This is a small cutter that creates a 2″ or so half-oval cut into the side of a board. You’d use it along with the 2″ biscuit to better connect two pieces of flat board together. In my case, in testing this process, I snagged 6 1″x6″x6′ long pine boards and joined them together. I created an ‘X’ base out of plywood. In order to get it upstairs, I had to quickly trim the corners but I ended up with a 6’x5′ table top. The ‘X’ didn’t work very well so I cut the two pieces in half and created a square base about 3’x3′. Under the table I screwed in a 2″ rim about 4″ in from the edge and another 2″ rim for the 3’x3′ base to sit on. You’d then screw the base to the top. Eventually I used some glue and black felted the top plus some left over red paint to paint the base and underside. It’s not too bad in general. Reasonably spacious for my Role Playing purposes. Space on one side for me and all my gear. Space on the other side for a large wet-erase mat and a little space around the edge for people’s stuff.

Recently I was hanging out at my Friendly Local Gaming Store, Atomic Goblin Games in Longmont Colorado, and he had picked up a small 3’x3′ board game demo table. On two sides it had a trough for bits and in the center of each trough, a round holder for a dice cup or drink. This finally gave me an idea for building a table and it was time. I whipped out a paper and drew up my idea with the trough in mind. Using hard woods (which might get expensive), I designed a trough. You can see the side view in the picture below. I wanted a place where you could put a clipboard and it’d be supported at an angle. Hence the route on the top left and the attachment and route on the right outside of the trough. It would hold a 3″x5″ or so piece of wood and you could prop your clipboard into the outside route and lean it on the wood on the right outside. In the center would be 1/4″ strips of plywood which would hold a sliding tray (on the right). The tray could be for dice or pencils or miniatures. The trough itself would be a lower level, same idea though. Pencils, minis, a bunch of dice.

(See here for the rest of the plans.)

One of the bigger ideas was to make it modular. With carrying the big table top downstairs, I didn’t want it to be so large and heavy I couldn’t move it without help, but I did want it to be at least as big as the current table. So modular. It’ll be a base 3’x3′ table that will be attached to other tables to make a 6’x6′ gaming table or since it was modular, a 3’x3′, 3’x6′, 3’x9′, or even 3’x12′ if you put all the tables in a line. Each trough will fit a side of the table. With 8 troughs, you’d have a 6’x6′ table with 8 stations, 2 on each side.

I also wanted it to be taller or shorter. Since it’s modular, I can make the table legs any height. My first run was the height of a kitchen counter or bar. This way you can comfortably sit on a bar stool or stand and play (I prefer standing myself). But later I can create table height legs, or even floor height where you can sit on the floor and game.

I had some ideas for the clipboard support panels as well. I can make them out of nicer wood or even dry erase material and you can write on it for others to see (like your game name, race, things folks would normally see). I also plan cup holders made of oak which attach to the troughs.

Begin!

Posted in Game Table, Woodworking | Leave a comment

Building a Gaming Table

Once the plans were drawn, I started gathering wood from Home Depot. I checked out the available hard woods and went with Poplar. Partly because of the expense and partly because of the color (a mild green). I picked up an Oak board for the Cup Holders and the plywood sheets for the table tops.

The garage is a bit wet, it is December and there’s snow outside. The garage is a touch cold (as in, I can see my breath at times).

I started getting the gear out of the various places I stashed it. The router table from under the window, the miter saw from on top of the table saw, the stand from next to the router table. Just getting stuff out and ready to use. Then start measuring and cutting until all the Poplar has been cut to the proper size.

Posted in Game Table, Woodworking | Leave a comment

Using firewalld for Routing and Firewall

One of the teams at work replaced a group of old, end of life Dell hardware and contacted me (among others) to see if I wanted it. Sure!

System: Dell R710 (Rack Mounted server). Was used as the DMZ Virtualization system.

2 10,000 RPM 146 Gig Drives RAID 1 mirrored.
4 7,200 RPM 750 Gig Drives RAID 5 mirrored

2 8 Core 2.67 GHz CPUs

192 Gigabytes of RAM

Four on board Ethernet ports. Four on a PCI card. Two 10 Gig ports on a PCI card. Two HBA (Fiber) PCI cards.

iDRAC (remote console access).

I determined to use it as a replacement for my existing ancient system running Ubuntu. I’ll be installing CentOS 7 which will let me play with some of the newer tools, important in my line of work.

I installed CentOS 7 and also upgraded the firmware of the system and drives. After a week or so of research, I got my firewall and router configuration working.

In the examples below, I run the command twice. The second time with the –permanent option. That’s because –permanent doesn’t activate the command but it does make it available on reboot or when reloading the firewall (firewall-cmd –reload). I ran them twice when I was working on the system in order to test my work. You can just run the –permanent commands and at the end, run the firewall-cmd –reload command to configure your firewall.

I have 3 Interfaces on my system:

em1 – Zone: external – Need to Enable Masquerading
em2 – Zone: internal
em3 – Zone: dmz – This is for wireless access

To enable routing, set the ipv4 forwarding in the kernel. Normally in /etc/sysctl.conf, in CentOS 7 it’s in a slightly different location:

/etc/sysctl.d/99-forwarding.conf
net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

Set Masquerading:

firewall-cmd –zone=external –masquerade
firewall-cmd –zone=external –masquerade –permanent

The default zone is public. I changed it to be internal.

firewall-cmd –set-default-zone=internal
firewall-cmd –set-default-zone=internal –permanent

Then change the interface zones. All interfaces are in the internal zone by default.

firewall-cmd –change-interface=em1 –zone=external
firewall-cmd –change-interface=em1 –zone=external –permanent
firewall-cmd –change-interface=em3 –zone=dmz
firewall-cmd –change-interface=em3 –zone=dmz –permanent

One of the problems discovered is the permanent setting doesn’t actually save the interface/zone info across network up/down. So a reboot will put all three interfaces into the default zone. There are two solutions:

Set the desired ZONE=[external|internal|dmz] variable in the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-em[123] files.

Use the Network Manager to set it:

nmcli conn modify em1 connection.zone external
nmcli conn modify em3 connection.zone dmz

Both the external and dmz zones have the ssh service enabled by default. I removed ssh from both zones.

firewall-cmd –remove-service=ssh –zone=external
firewall-cmd –remove-service=ssh –zone=external –permanent
firewall-cmd –remove-service=ssh –zone=dmz
firewall-cmd –remove-service=ssh –zone=dmz –permanent

I rebooted the system after I was done of course (standard sysadmin stuff 🙂 ) and that’s how I discovered the interfaces weren’t being saved. Note that I didn’t add masquerade to the wireless interface. That’s because the wireless one is simply running through my wifi hotspot to the server and out to the ‘net. Same as this laptop right now 🙂

I ran a test through grc.com (Gibson Research’s Shield’s Up tool). The system isn’t quite the same with the above rules. You can ping the system which I had disabled on the old box and it’s answering to a few queries but no services are running. So there’s some tweaking to get done. But the server is up and everything works.

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Recover root Password

There are multiple methods of changing root’s password. Some of us old timers just boot a bootable system disk, fsck the root file system, mount it, and edit etc/shadow. This may not work correctly with a system configured using SELinux.

In this quickie, I’m talking about Red Hat 7.

Boot the system. At the grub2 menu, hit e to go into edit mode.

On the kernel line, remove the rhgb and quiet keywords. You should do this anyway on a server so you can see the system messages as it boots. Helps to know that a system is running fsck or some crazy DBA has set up an Oracle script to prompt for an answer (ask me how I know).

At the end of the line (Ctrl + e), add rd.break enforcing=0.

Press Ctrl + x to continue booting.

Once it’s done, you’ll be at a prompt. Remount the root file system as read-write. mount -o remount,rw /sysroot

Change the mounted root file system to be a jail. chroot /sysroot. You’ll have a normal prompt.

Run the passwd command to set root’s password.

You’ll need to rescan the drive for SELinux. touch /.autorelabel.

Remount the file system as read only. This flushes any memory to ensure all writes have completed. mount -o remount,ro /

Exit out of the chroot jail. exit

Exit out of emergency mode and continue booting. Depending on the size of the system it can take several minutes. exit

You’ll need restore the context of the /etc/shadow file. restorecon /etc/shadow

Check the current SELinux status. getenforce

If you’re out of enforcing mode, set it. setenforce 1

Check the status once again. getenforce

And done. Reset root’s password once the system is back up and ready to use.

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