Howto make a bootable USB stick on OS X

Recently I updated my Windows PC (which I only use for gaming purpose of course) and managed to screw it. Once I did the planned restart it showed me “No operating system found”. Since I upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 via the update manager I also did not had a Windows 10 image available to recover the system.

Thanks that I still have my Mac, and I am even more thankful, that it understands most of the Unix/Linux commands. So to get back to my old life, I first downloaded the Windows 10 ISO image from the Microsoft Homepage [1].

Okay so we have an ISO image – how to we get it on an USB stick – a simple copy would not make it. Therefore the following steps are required.

1.) Identify your USB stick – you would not like to replace your data storage or your OS X system.

This I usually do via the mount command:

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ mount
/dev/disk1 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk2s1 on /Volumes/Data (exfat, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)
/dev/disk3s1 on /Volumes/ESD-USB (msdos, local, nodev, nosuid, noowners)

And here we go /dev/disk3s1 is the drive I was searching for. To be sure – double check it in the Finder App.

2.) Convert the .iso image to an .dmg image by using hdiutil

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ hdiutil convert -format UDRW -o Win10.dmg Downloads/Win10_1511_German_x64.iso
J_CCSA_X64FRE_DE-DE_DV5          (Apple_UDF : 0) lesen …
........................................................................................................
Dauer:  1m  2.901s
Geschwindigkeit: 61.0M Byte/s
Ersparnis: 0.0 %
created: /Users/jvr/Win10.dmg

The last sentence looks promising!

3.) Unmount the USB stick

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ diskutil umount /dev/disk3s1 
Volume ESD-USB on disk3s1 unmounted

4.) Write the image to your USB stick using dd command

This is the most critical part – so be sure that you write the image on the correct drive/stick. Just for your information: if stands for input file, of for output file and bs is the blocksize. The dd command basically copies block by block to the new drive.

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ sudo dd if=Win10.dmg of=/dev/disk3s1 bs=10m

5.) Unmount USB stick again

jvr-mac:~ jvr$ diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk3s1

And by now you should have a bootable USB stick to recover your system. Lets cross the fingers that everything will work out fine with the PC 🙂

[1] Microsoft, Windows 10 ISO Image

Aero Club Trip – Regio Emillia

Within my pilot training, I had the exceptional chance to join the Pilotenclub Wien [1] club-trip to Italy. It took place from the 4th to the 7th of July 2015. This was actually possible, since my pilot trainer joined and agreed to fly with me there.

Preparation

Everybody is thinking about flying as the freedom to go wherever you want – but actually it is not. Flying requires a lot of preparation, as you are not allowed to fly under any conditions and not everywhere you want. And the farther you go, the more preparation is required. In a nutshell the following major preparation task for the club trip had to be done:

  • Airspace Charts: Organise valid & up-to-date charts of Austrian, Slovenian and Italien Airspace.
  • Approach Charts: Printouts of valid approach charts including alternative airports. Also consider where you are able to get the proper fuel for your airplane.
  • Route planning: It is utmost importance to plan the routes in advance. Having that said it is also important to have alternative routes in case weather conditions on your initial route might not be good.
  • Checking the weather conditions (local and greater area)
  • Airplane & interiour preparation: We had an iPad as an supporting device – therefore we required and adopter to power it and alternatively a battery pack. Furthermore since we planned to go over open water, we had to take life jackets with us.
  • Personal luggage: since you will require some stuff for 3 days – but consider that you are not flying with an airliner, so your space is limited. Consider it on your weight and balance calculation.
  • Financials: You definitely need cash – not every airport/aerodrome offers the possibility to pay with credit card. Furthermore note that the fuel prices in Italy are quite high (around EUR 3,- per litre at the time).

Day 1: Bad Vöslau (LOAV) – Klagenfurt (LOWK) – Reggio Emilia (LIDE)

After a short general briefing with the colleagues, we went immediately to the plane, did the initial checks and went straight to the petrol station. After refilling and lining up, we finally started our trip. Within the first leg we started from Bad Vöslau and went through the Austrian Alps via Mariazell, Liezen, crossed the military control zone of Zeltweg and landed in Klagenfurt. Having perfect weather for this trip, we could enjoy a beautiful view crossing through the alps.

LOAV_LOWK

The landing in LOWK was quite interesting. After the touchdown I indented to roll until the end of the runway to go back over the taxiway – but there is no taxiway! So my trainer looked at me and asked me what I want to do? Ops! So backtrack and exiting the runway as I should. After refuling and a short wheater briefing, we got back to the plane and started the second leg of the day-trip Klagenfurt(LOWK) to Regio Emilia (LIDE). We actually needed to speed up, since the forecast was not that promising, while the current timeslot still looked acceptable.

LOWK_LIDE

We followed the route through the Val Canale (in German: Kanaltal), and when crossing the border to Italy we tried to contact Padova Information on 124,150. Unfortunately, due to the high mountains between us, we have not been able to get in contact until we exited the Val Canale. From there the controller routed us by following the river down to Lignano. There we followed the cost line until Chioggia in 1500ft. From there we then took a direct line to Reggio Emila (LIDE).

After doing some paperwork we checked in in the hotel and had a short rest before we meet up with our colleagues for a debriefing in the town with fine Italian cuisine and wine. Coming back to the hotel, I think I already felt asleep before I touched the mattress.

Day 2: Regio Emilia (LIDE) – Isola d’Elba (LIRJ) – Regio Emilia (LIDE)

The second day started with perfect weather – actually too perfect. With 35 degrees in the morning hours, the check procedures with a closed cockpit and life jackets are not joyful. At this point you wanted to wish that those planes would have a air condition. Going through the tuscany mountains we headed to the Firenze VOR, which actually turned out not to be working. From there we then followed the route to the coast and the crossed over to the island Elba. The approach on Elba was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. The mixture of the perfect weather, the dark blue of the sea and the runway directly on the edge of the island was so amazing.

Screenshot at Nov. 07 12-07-15

When going back we took a different route. Departing Elba we headed to the main land and followed the cost line, shortly after Pisa, where we then took a direct back to Reggio Emila. The advantage of this route was basically that we did not had to climb too much.

Screenshot at Nov. 07 12-27-05

Day 3:  Reggio Emilia (LIDE) – Reggio Emilia (LIDE), Reggio Emilia (LIDE) – Lido (LIDO) – Reggio Emilia (LIDE)

On the 3rd day the initial plan was to fly from Reggio Emila to Trento. We basically went in formation flight up to “Gardasee” when the weather condition turned bad. We decided that it was far to misty to continue the flight to Trendo and therefore returned to LIDE. After landing we checked the weather and decided to go alternatively to Lido, which is next to Venice.

Screenshot at Nov. 07 12-09-07As like the trip from the first day, we never climbed more than 1500ft. The advantage there is actually that you get a quite good view on the landscape, while the disadvantage is that you don’t enjoy a change of temperature. After landing in LIDO, we took a walk-around through the city, enjoyed some snacks and a coffee before heading back to the aerodrome.

One the way back – which was basically the same route we noticed some technical issues with the VOR navigation on the Aquila A211. Basically whenever the button for radio communication is pressed – the VOR signalled to be out of order. Releasing the talk-button, activated the VOR navigation again.

On the aerodrome of Reggio Emila we’ve seen that a jet plane was prepared to do some aerobatic training. So we stood at the fence of the aerodrome watching out for the start of the machine. Our presence was actually noticed by a colleague from the local flying club, which invited us for a espresso. While enjoying one of those perfect espressos, he showed us the planes of the club and we had a nice chat about – guess what – flying. And here a joke which he told us: “If you know how to navigate you get a good pilot, if you don’t know how to navigate you go aerobatic!”.

The evening, we spend at the restaurant at the aerodrome. From the outside it did not look that inviting, but inside we had an really delicious dinner. For started we had like 10-15 different kind of Ravioli and Tortellini, which was followed by some nice steaks.

Day 4: Reggio Emilia (LIDE)  – Portoroz (LJPE) – Bad Vöslau (LOAV)

Time passes so fast – we are already settled for the trip back home. After checking out we went to the aerodrome to get ready for the flight back home. Good that we already refilled on the day before – so we did not had any waiting time. For the return we planned to go over Portoroz back to Bad Vöslau. So the first part of the trip looked as follows.

Screenshot at Nov. 07 12-10-21

The approach to Portoroz was actually quite interesting, since we had to land from the land side. This is tricky since there are quite high hills, which requires to decent fast, while trying to gain not too much speed. Short break, refuelling and go for the second leg, which went through Slovenia to the border of Austria. The first thing you notice when you are coming from Italy to Slovenia is the radio communication. While most of the time the radio was so busy in Italy, I’ve been able to talk to the controller in Slovenia.

Screenshot at Nov. 07 12-15-24

Shortly before the final landing in LOAV, the circuit breaker for the radio communication got activated. While I thought I might have said something wrong on the radio, my trainer immediately noticed the problem and fixed it by putting back the circuit breaker after a short break.

After the landing and the parking of the plane, we cleaned it and went back to the office where we did the final paperwork. I guess both of us has been to exhausted to talk too much about the trip. Especially for me it took some time to process  the experiences of the trip. Altogether it was a really amazing experience and once again proofs that it was the right decision to go for the pilot licence. It was really great to had the chance to do this trip within my training, to go there with my trainer and to meet and chat with the colleagues from the club happy to share their experiences. Whenever there is the chance again and I am able to join, I would definitely go again.

Lessons learned

There are a few lessons learned that I take from this grandiose trip:

  • Don’t be afraid of radio communication: While in Austria the radio communication is quite understandable and not that busy, Italy was challenging. Take the courage to do such a trip – it helps to get rid of anger.
  • If you plan to do a long trip, you definitely need a buddy: While flying in an more-or-less unknown territory you will need a buddy taking over the radio communication and navigation. Far too often we have been routed other than initially planned.
  • Don’t panic: Whenever a technical issue occurs – don’t panic. Think first then react!
  • Prepare yourself: For myself I noticed that is utmost importance to prepare properly. Especially when it comes to the approach charts.
  • Flying is a sport: Going there, having a lot of food and drinks – I noticed when I’ve been back in Austria that I lost 2kg.

Once again thanks to the organisation and especially to my trainer. A few pictures of the trip can be found under [2].

[1] Pilotenclub Wien

[2] Pilotenclub Wien, Clubausflug Italien

Private Pilot Licence – Final Exam

Time has passed quickly. Not a year ago I started with theoretical and practical training for the Private Pilot Licence – and a few weeks ago I finally finished.

So what has happened after the theoretical exam [1]. A lot – In a nutshell:

  • Finish solo cross country flights
  • Language Proficiency Check
  • Progress Check D
  • Final Exam
  • Bureaucracy

So first of all I had to finish my cross-country flights to ensure that I fulfilled the criteria for the Progress Check D. While doing the triangular flight between Bad Vöslau (LOAV), Krems (LOAG) and Punitz (LOGG), it did my further cross country flights to:

  • Spitzerberg (LOAS)
  • Stockerau (LOAU)
  • Seitenstätten (LOLT)

Doing my Radio Check in English language, does not automatically allow you to do the radio communication in foreign countries. This requires an additional Language Proficiency Check. This is basically done under the audience of an examiner on the computer. This include basic english conversation talk, as well as technical terms and radio communication in english. Depending on your skills you might reach a level up to 6 (which is more or less native speaker). This is automatically forwarded to the Austro Control and once you pick up your licence, the language proficiency level is noted in your licence.

So having the according hours and the language test – I was ready for the Progress Check D. I did the check flight to Krems (LOAG), whereby we did some emergency practices in between. Overall no big issue, except that we had wind with over 40 knots, which was quite a experience on the landing in Bad Vöslau.

Having all together and after doing some paper-work I was ready for the final exam. After a short briefing I filed a flight plan to Stockerau through the Control Zone Vienna. Basically the flight was starting in Bad Vöslau – entering the Control Zone Vienna over Sector Sierra. Once the controller of Wien Schwechat approved it, we crossed the landing field of Wien Schwechat and went further along the Danube through Vienna until Klosterneuburg. There we have been handed back to Wien Information and continued the flight to Stockerau. The exact route was as follows:

Pruefung1

Short break in Stockerau, and then we went back to Bad Vöslau over Klosterneuburg and Wienerwald See. In betwenn we did all kind of emergency procedures.

Pruefung1

On the landing we did a flapless and a signal landing. After overall 2hours it was done. Handshake and I really felt released!

11221406_1039595196059659_8050521968957326708_n

A few days later I went with all papers, my flight log, my radio check licence and my medical to Austro Control to request the private pilot licence. And after 2 days, it arrived via mail. Yes!! The shocking part – the handout of the licence was quite expensive (around 580 EUR). But at this point you don’t want to turn back.

And what now? Flying, flying and flying to get experience. Beginning of next year I consider an introduction to a 4 seater – but I will keep you updated.

[1] jvr.at, Private Pilot Licence – Theoretical Exam

Private Pilot Licence – Theoretical Exam

After finishing all the classroom training and the subject related test after each session, you are basically allowed to do the theoretical exam after a overall pre-test in your flight school.The theoretical part is basically separated from the practical, wherby it should be noted that you need to have the theoretical exam, befor going to the final practical exam.

Anyway after finishing all the classroom training, I’ve let some time pass to focus on the practical training. Fast progressing I noticed that I should follow up on the theoretical exam, as I was not interested to wait for my final practical exam, because I forgot about the other part.

Having the scripts and presentation provided by Aircademy [1], I thought it would be a good idea to buy and use their exam trainer. In the beginning the tool was a bit confusing – it requires pop-ups to be enabled, and don’t offer something like an overall exam mode. This means basically that you can do a test for each subject area separatley. From the look and feel it is more or less from the early 2000 years. Anyway – there is a big advantage with this tool: it is basically the same piece of software used for the theoretical exam at the Austro Control GmbH [2].

While you are able to download 75% of the official questions from the Austro Control GmbH Homepage [3], 25% of additional questions will be added on the exam itself. Having in mind that you need 75% correct in each subject, this sounds quite easy, but it should not be unterestimated. Especially since I have seen a few people on the exam, which have failed in some subjects. Also keep in mind that for each of the subjects you have 20min time-slot. Once this time has passed, the subject is closed – with all possible open questions.

Ok, so from the proceedure: once you get in contact with Austro Control GmbH via [2], they will assign you a date/time for your exam. You are allowed to take your navigation maps with you, a ruler and the aviation calculator. Also take some empty papers and and a pen – it might be helpful.

On the day of the exam you will be picked up on the entrance of Austro Control GmbH and guided to the examination room. Once you take place you will get a short introduction. Important to notice is that between each subject, you can take a break – but definitley not in between.

The subjects are as follows:

  • 10 – Airlaw
  • 20 – Human Performance
  • 30 – Meteorology
  • 50 – Principles of Flight
  • 60 – Operational Procedures
  • 70 – Flight Performance and Planing
  • 80 – Aircraft General Knowledge
  • 90 – Navigation

Overall it took me around 3 hours to finish the exam. Immediatly after a short break you will get back the results. It should be noted that if you are not able to pass in one subject, your whole exam does not have to be redone. Only those subjects, which you have not passed.

Once you have done the exam and feeling relieved from the burdon, you will get the invoice from Austro Control GmbH within the next few days. For those who are interested – I paid EUR 116,40.

Happy Landings!

[1] Aircedemy – Learning at a higher level

[2] Austro Control GmbH, Pilot Licences

[3] Austro Control GmbH, PPL Exam Questions

Private Pilot Licence – Radio Check

While progressing on my practical trainings, I also managed to do my radio-check. In Austria it is mandatory to do a radio check, which is held by an official government institution. It is differentiated between:

  • AFZ – Allgemeines Funkzeugnis
  • EFZ – Eingeschränktes Funkzeugnis
  • BFZ – Binnen Funkzeugnis

From what I understood, the Austrian BFZ is similar to the German BFZ I, while the Austrian EFZ is like the German BFZ II. Anyway, in regards to the test, it is split up into a theoretical part and a practical part. While doing the exam together with 4 more people, it starts with the practical part.

The practical part consists of:

  • Practical radio communication: The examiner is sitting in a separate room and goes through a whole flight with start, cruise and landing. Depending on the type of classification, the content might vary from “German only” to “German/English mixed” and “German/English with IFR topics”.
  • Translation exercise, for those who are doing the AFZ or the EFZ

After the practical part everybody has to leave to room, so that the examiners can consolidate internally. If you are able to pass the first section you are allowed to enter the room again to do the theoretical exam.

The theoretical exam (for the EFZ) consists of 3 parts:

  • Law (Recht)
  • Technical (Technik)
  • Special Provision (Sonderbestimmungen)

Each of those parts is consisting of 3-4 questions in a multiple-choice format. Overall 75% have to be correct. After being able to manage the question, in the end you will receive your certificate directly there.

 

MacOS Yosemite: Apps still in Launchpad after removal

Recently I have removed some apps from my Macbook Air, as I’ve noticed that is definitely not a gaming PC. In concrete I am talking about Steam, the Gaming Platform and two games. Neither the Mac Book Air is designed for games, nor the small SSD can handle too much data.

So what I did was the following:

  • I removed the Games from Steam
  • I pulled Steam into the Trash
  • Empty the trash

After doing this I noticed that the games and the Steam app still appears on the launchpad.

Following some research on the internet, I have tried to reset my launchpad with the following commands following Nick Man [1]:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true; killall Dock

But actually when I did this, the “ghost” apps still existed. In addition to that the whole order of my apps – grouping them over years to make it personally usable for me – has been vanished. Apple has now rearanged my apps in their order. Big Dislike!

Also the remove and rebuild of the Dock as described in [2] with the following command did not work out:

rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db; killall Dock

After some time, when I got used to the “ghost apps”, I ended up in a Finder folder, where suddenly the “ghost apps” showed up.

Screenshot at März 25 17-04-00

And believe it or not – removing them from this folder, I finally got rid of my “ghost apps”. So two things I have learned from this lesson:

  • There are user-specific applications existing in ~/Applications
  • Sometimes the solution for a problem is easier than expected.

[1] Nickmanderfield.com, Ultimative Guide to Fixing and Resetting OSX Yosemite LaunchPad 

[2] macissues.com, Reset LaunchPad to fix persistent empty folder bug 

Back online after disaster recovery

Recently I tried to upgrade my Ubuntu server from 10.04 to 14.04 – but I ended up in a big chaos. My my case chaos is defined by a non-working server, where actually most of the standard Linux commands has gone, and an upgrade/downgrade was not possible anymore. After long back and forth, I decided to completely re-install my server.

The re-installation was actually quite straight-forward, but the data-recovery was big pain. Especially when you have not made any backup. So first of all, which services has been affected:

  • Apache webserver (I actually hosted 2 sites on my server)
  • Mailserver
  • Limesurvey, an online survey tool
  • Ajaxterm, a remote shell log-in via the webbrowser
  • Seafile, an open source cloud storage solution

First of all, what  I did after I noticed that there was no way out for an re-installation was to set-up a new server in parallel. Since I did not had any kind of working environment left on the old server, I’ve booted a recovery file-system, which mounted my broken system in the /repair directory. From there I’ve copied the entire content of my broken server, to my new machine into a temporary /migration directory. Due to the fact that those two servers has been set next to each other, the copy process was quite fast.

The set-up of the new Apache server, was quite straight forward. I copied the whole directory structure of /var/www and afterwards started the migration of the Database. This part has been actually more tricky since I forgot my root password, and I was missing the MySQL binaries on my old server. But in the end worked out fine as well. So what I did was the following:

  1. Set-up a Ubuntu within an virtual machine
  2. Installed an MySQL Database
  3. Shutdown the MySQL Database
  4. Copied the mysql data-directury (/var/lib/mysql/ )
  5. Started the mysql Database following the guidline to reset the admin password [1]
  6. Dumped & Imported the SQL as described in [2]

The mailserver was working by default. Actually since I am not that keen on my old mails, I did not think about migrating this data. For the Limesurvey, I basically have migrated the data via the MySQL database copy, but since I am not using it anymore, I didn’t install it. The same goes for the Ajaxterm, but if – I would take my own documentation to set it up [3].

The Seafile server keeps bugging me. I managed copy the data directory, but after an start my server runs out of memory, with some fancy fastcgi errors. So for this point I have to do investigate a bit to find a solution. Anyway no data is lost, and I am on the way to fully recover from my upgrade-sickness.

[1] mysql.com, How to reset the root password

[2] Digitalocean.com, How to migrate an MySQL Database between two servers

[3] jvr.at, Ajaxterm – ssh access via web browser

Block SSH Brute Force Attacks

I already advised in one of my previous post [1] to disable the root log-in on your Linux host. Neither the less, sometimes – somebody will try to attack you with an SSH Brute Force Attack. For those who are not familiar with brute force attacks, these are attacks, where all possible passwords are tested [2]. Starting from single digit passwords going to an undefined length you can imagine how much possibilities you will have to try. Therefore brute-force – and you can imagine that this will consume network bandwith on one side, but also processor load.

So as suggested in [1], set the root password according to modern standards and definitley turn off your ssh root log-in. Neither the less at a certain point somebody will try to perform a SSH brute force attack.

An indication for a ssh brute force attack is definitley if you find something like that in your /var/log/auth.log:

Feb 17 05:57:26 lvps5-35-244-75 CRON[30441]: pam_unix(cron:session): session closed for user root
Feb 17 05:58:12 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17899]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:58:14 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17899]: Failed password for root from 115.239.228.15 port 39623 ssh2
Feb 17 05:58:19 lvps5-35-244-75 last message repeated 2 times
Feb 17 05:58:21 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17899]: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:58:33 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17901]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:58:35 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17901]: Failed password for root from 115.239.228.15 port 40071 ssh2
Feb 17 05:58:41 lvps5-35-244-75 last message repeated 2 times
Feb 17 05:58:43 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17901]: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:58:45 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17906]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:58:47 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17906]: Failed password for root from 115.239.228.15 port 52315 ssh2
Feb 17 05:58:56 lvps5-35-244-75 last message repeated 2 times
Feb 17 05:58:58 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17906]: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:59:01 lvps5-35-244-75 CRON[17913]: pam_unix(cron:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)
Feb 17 05:59:01 lvps5-35-244-75 CRON[17913]: pam_unix(cron:session): session closed for user root
Feb 17 05:59:02 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17911]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:59:04 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17911]: Failed password for root from 115.239.228.15 port 42931 ssh2
Feb 17 05:59:09 lvps5-35-244-75 last message repeated 2 times
Feb 17 05:59:11 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17911]: PAM 2 more authentication failures; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:59:21 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17916]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser= rhost=115.239.228.15 user=root
Feb 17 05:59:23 lvps5-35-244-75 sshd[17916]: Failed password for root from 115.239.228.15 port 42738 ssh2 

So, what to do? Panic? No!

The solution is easy-cheesy: use iptables to slow down the flow of request. The idea is to drop any ssh connection coming from a single source which is trying to attempt 4 times in a minute. This can be done via the following command:

iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --set
iptables -I INPUT -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --update --seconds 60 --hitcount 4 -j DROP

If you watch your /var/log/auth.log, you will notice that the amount of connection attempts will decrease. So time to relax and having a cup of tee.

Please note that those rules are active until your next reboot. Actually I prefer to check out the rules first, before applying them permanently. If you are sure and you like to apply them permenently, please follow the official Ubuntu Howto [3].

Have a save day!

 

[1] jvr.at, Basic Security for Linux hosts

[2] Wikipedia, Brute Force Attach

[3] Ubuntu.com, iptables Howto

Windows 10 – Tech Preview – Test

Before I go into the details of my testing report, I have to say honestly that I personally do not like Windows that much. I am a friend of Unix-like derivates, where you easily can trace log files, enter some magic commands and where a reboot is seldom needed. Neither the less I am open minded and I am looking forwards for positive surprises.

In advance I additionally would like to note that the below described testing results might only scrach on the surface of Windows 10, but at least it should give you some first impresssions.

Installation

Having a virtual Windows 7 on my MacOS X, I decided to give it a try to upgrade to Windows 10 based upon the announcement of a free upgrade for the first year. After I read some advices from Techradar [1] I signed up on the Windows Insider Program [2]. From there you will be able to download a small executable – the installer. Installer and small you might think? After executing the installer, the upgrade was basically provided as an Windows update, which to be honest, I see very comfortable.

Since I installed it on a virtual machine, the disk space was limited. So within the installation process Windows told me that I need additional 5GB disk space. Shutting down the virtual machine, reconfiguring the disk space, rebooting and restarting the update process was not an issue. Unfortunately after a few minutes Windows told me that I need additional 8GB. Finding Nr. 1: Windows still has some problems with basis disk space calculation.

After addition additional 15 GB the installation was actually quite smooth without any major incident. One side comment: prepare to spend some time – in my case the overall time for the upgrade was around 1h.

First boot, suprisingly you will get the option to boot either Windows 10 or to switch back to the previous version.  Finding Nr. 2: This option really makes sense, even if I am not sure yet if the rollback would work without issues.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 10-17-55

As you can see in the screenshot I have been honoured with a German version of Windows 10. Finally starting the Windows Tech Preview, the operating system actually starts up quite fast. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of task running in the background which made the system a bit bumpy in the first minutes.

Look & feel

The first view on the desktop and the launcher actually looks quite cleaned up. New to me are the Windows tiles, which are omnipresent in the Windows Phones and within Windows 8. Since I have not been using Windows 8 and I am not a fan of Windows Phones, therefore this is quite new to me.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 16-13-29

Nice to see that you can simply change to a full-screen mode, by clicking on the minimize/maximize button on the top right corner.

Screenshot_9

Opening the Explorer, a new icon-set can be noticed immediatley.

Screenshot_6

A new thing – at least in the Windows world – is also the notification center.

Screenshot_2

Finding Nr. 3: Cleaned up Desktop and Windows Menu.

Update

Used to former versions and a bit sceptical in regards to security – my first thought was: Update! So hit the Windows key and enter “Update” as quick as you can – and somewhere on the result list, it gives you the System Update Menu. Unfortunatley, felt 100 trials resulted into the same dissatisfying error message.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 09-43-11

Ok, might also be that the update function is not yet activated – I remember some of those issues, when I tested Mac OS Yosemite as well. So let’s check the store if updates might be applied over this way. And – see it yourself.

Screenshot at Feb. 02 09-42-34

Yeah – we all have bad days! At least somebody at Microsoft have some humor – this adds a plus. On the other side, this error messages are not really responsive to me – not given me any hint how to fix this.

Finding Nr. 4: Windows Update is broken or at least the error messages could be less cryptic! A side note on this topic – I also installed Windows 10 Tech Preview on another PC, and there, magically, the update did work. So it might be a glitch in the Matrix.

The Internet Explorer

Just to crosscheck I started the Internet Explorer if there is not connectivity issue. Bang – the new Internet Explorer “Spartan” is not yet there. So Windows 10 comes with the Internet Explorer 11. Neither the less IE 10 is fast and responsive.  Within the screenshot you can see IE 11 on the left side, while Goolge Chrome on the right side.

Comparison IE Spartan & Google Chrome

I’ve tested a few websites, and I have to say that IE 11 seems to be on most websites a bit faster. Furthermore the scrolling seems to be smoother than on Chrome. So lets wait and see what “Spartan” will bring.  Therefore my Finding Nr. 5: Lets wait for IE Spartan.

The PDF Reader

Browsing a bit around through the application landscape, I noticed that Windows 10 comes with an own pdf reader called “Reader”. Since pdfs are used for everything and everyday, I compared the pdf reader with the standard Adobe Reader XI. Comparing those two, the first thing I’ve noticed is that the font in the build in reader seems to be a bit blurry compared to the Adobe Reader. Zooming in, I still felt drunk somehow. Neither the less the application looks cleaned-up and fast. Finding Nr. 6: The Reader, a good start, but still a way to go to make it “human” readable.

Screenshot_7Screenshot_8

 System Tools

The task manager, the tool you fire up whenever you have troubles. A stucked application, that you want to kill, a laggy application, which might pull all your ressources – for all of those the task manager will help you.

Screenshot_11Screenshot_12

Suprisingly the old friend got a remake – and it’s nice. Finding Nr. 7: Windows did a good remake of the task manager. 

Within the system tools you can also find Windows Control Panel, which comes in the classic look.

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A bit strange to me, as there is also the “new” Settings menu, which offers most of the functions shown in the Windows Control Panel – but not all of them (e.g. de-installation of programs).

Screenshot_14

From my point of view Microsoft should have integrated the full functionality of the Windows Control Panel into the “Settings” – but this might come up (let’s cross the fingers). Now you’ll have to guess where to find the function you need, which results for me into Finding Nr. 8: Finish what you have started: Splitting up the system settings into two applications (Windows Control Panel and Settings) is not a solution.

Some things never change

…and in the end – I’ve noticed that some things never change: the notepad and the disk utility.

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Furthermore was is making me mad since Windows 7, but might need an improvement, is the Snipping Tool. Colleagues, a keyboard-shortcut would be really benficary. Have a look at Lightshot [3], which from my point of view is the best of all screenshot tools (And in addition: there is also a Mac Version).

Finding Nr. 9: Some things never change, even if the need a makeover or some additional features.

Summary

I have to say that Microsoft did a really good job so far. To be honest I expected far less. Neither the less it has to be said that still there is a far way to go. My decision is that I will continue using Windows 10 on my virtual machine as well as on my private Gaming PC. Needless to say I still prefer Linux and MacOS, as from my point of view they are more stable, technologically more advance and from the usability still in the lead.

Finding Nr. 10: I do not see a reason for a downgrade and therefore I will continue testing Windows 10.

References

[1 ]Techradar, Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview? Here’s 10 things you should know

[2] Windows Insider Program

[3] Lightshot

Private Pilot Licence – 1st Progress Check

Some time has passed again – and actually, I managed to do some practical lessons. Basically I have been on vacation during Christmas, but on the 22nd I’ve been back to Vienna for some radio training. The good thing was that I have been able to combine it with some practical training.

Due to a lot of gusts, we have been doing some circuit training with the DV20. If you like to know more in regards to the circuit training, there is a quite good description on www.ppl-flight-training.com [1]. We managed to perform overall 6 landings. While getting closer to the ground during the landing, the conditions have been quite fine – but after taking off again, it got quite bumpy. In the end I’ve been happy that I didn’t have any lunch before. Neither the less it was a great experience and I enjoyed it.

Relaxed I’ve gone back to Styria and enjoyed the Christmas days. At Christmas I was surprised by my girlfriend with a superb flight bag – the Brightline B07 [2].

2015-01-04 10.16.40

I’ll have to say that this model is really great. It offers enough storage space for all your stuff (incl. the headset) and has some clever features. E.g. it is easily extendable and can be adopted according to your requirements. A small, but definitely notable feature for me is the sunglass compartment on the top.

Back in January, the weather was on my side, and I managed to take flight training on the 3th of January. It was my first flight with the Aquila A211 [3], which is a much more modern and comfortable airplane. In comparison to the Diamond Katana DV20, the plane is much more sensitive in the steering. Additionally, the nose is a bit higher, which results at beginner pilots into a constant decent if you try to hold the plane in a way to see the horizon. Furthermore, every half an hour you should switch the tank from one wing to another, since the two tanks in the wings are separated. But overall, the comfort, the modern equipment (e.g. glass cockpit) and the feeling definitely makes the plane much more simpatico to me than the DV20.

So we first flew around the area of Neunkirchen [4], where we did some basic turn maneuvers. Then we decided to head in direction Krems/Langenlois – LOAG [5]. On the way there I made the enclosed two pictures.

2015-01-03 12.33.022015-01-03 12.32.57

After the landing, I’ve paid the landing fees and within minutes we have been back in the air again. Flying back we once again did some basic turn maneuvers in the area of Neunkirchen, before we landed again in LOAV [6].

Going forward, I’ve had enough hours – and most important the ok from my flight trainer to do my first progress check. Intentionally planned on the 4th – I finally did the progess check  on the 6th of January, as once again the weather has forced us to reschedule. For the progess check, the following parts have been checked:

  • Flight Preparation
  • All kind of Ceck-Procedures, Check-Lists (e.g. Pre-Flight, Start, Take-off, Landing, …)
  • Taxi Check
  • Emergency Briefing
  • Take-off / Rotation Speed
  • Turn maneuvers (with holding height and speed)
  • Descend and climb with constant speed and leveling off
  • Power settings
  • Emergency procedures
  • Approach

It seems that I did everything right so far – therefore I got an ok to process to the second block, which is focused on Start- and Landing. Looking forward for my next training.

Happy flight & Cheers!

 

[1] www.ppl-flight-training.com, Circuit Briefing

[2] Brightline Bags, B07 Flight

[3] Wikipedia.org, Aquila A211

[4] Wikipedia.de, Neunkirchen

[5] LOAG, Airfield Krems/Langenlois

[6] LOAV, Airfield Bad Vöslau