Problems uploading / downloading large files with Fortigate firewalls

We've been working through a problem recently where largish uploads of files would reliably fail - but not in the way you'd expect. A typical course of events would be:

  • Client uploads file via SSH, SFTP or FTP
  • Upload might drop out a couple of times during the process, but resume OK - or might not have any dropouts
  • Upload finishes. Client & server confirm checksum of uploaded file - it doesn't match, so then retries the upload again
  • Repeat ad infinitum.

Our particular problem was with Storage Craft Image Manager uploading images to a remote server.

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How to fix printing to local printer via CORD - HP Color Laserjet 8500 driver not found

Connecting to an RDP / Terminal Server from a Mac can be a little hit and miss. This is because the RDP protocol keeps changing, and Microsoft don't update the Mac client to keep abreast of this.

Using CORD makes this significantly easier: http://cord.sourceforge.net .

This will allow you to connect easily, and forward local printers etc.

CORD will use the "HP Colour Laserjet 8500 PS" as the generic driver to pass through to the server however. This driver is not available for Windows Server 2008 R2, so you need to engage in a little trickery.

-         Install a universal HP PS driver (search for Colour Laserjet 4350n Postscript driver) - found here

-         Create a custom printer redirect mapping file and a couple of registry settings. Good Microsoft Article on how to do this found here

Example File contents: c:\windows\inf\ntprintsubs.inf

 ;NTPRINTSUBS.INF

;Printer mapping file for client-side to server-side drivers

[Printers]
"HP Color LaserJet 8500 PS" = "HP Universal Printing PS"
"HP Color LaserJet CP4520 Series" = "HP Universal Printing PS"


You need to put this in c:\windows\inf and create the two registry keys described in this article: (these are the values I used)

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\Wds\rdpwd
    Create new REG_SZ key #1: PrinterMappingINFName
    Value: c:\windows\inf\ntprintsubs.inf

    Create new REG_SZ key #2: PrinterMappingINFSection
    Value: Printers

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Preventing Shadow Protect from running over a dialup VPN link

If you're using ShadowProtect and connect via VPN whilst remote back to the office then ShadowProtect may attempt to do a backup over the VPN link. Backups occur using the CIFS protocol which is very unfriendly with WAN links, and will result in extraordinarily high transfers (both upload and download).

Similarly, if you are in your regular office, and you connect to a VPN you should disable ShadowProtect, because it might end up being routed back to your own network via the VPN tunnel. This will occur if the backup target is in a different subnet than the computer Shadow Protect is running on. Not advisable at all!

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Creating a route automatically when a VPN tunnel is established in Windows 7

Note: you will need to understand subnets and routing to use this article

If you create a VPN tunnel in Windows 7 and need to have subsidiary routes created once this tunnel is created, then one way of doing this is by creating a scheduled task that fires when this connection is made. For example:

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Handling ShadowProtect and file systems with high-delta

ShadowProtect is an awesome tool, but one of it's weaknesses is that it does not allow you to specify exclusions during the backup process. So if you know that a particular directory is going to generate a lot of files that you don't need during the day, then right now you still have to back this up.

Common reaons for not wanting / needing to backup include:

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Troubleshooting Shadow Protect and Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager

If you're using Shadow Protect and Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager, then you've probably run into the issue that SEP generates several Gb per day in diffs, none of which are required for backups. Worse, it ends up costing you more in storage, and if you're trying to synchronise your backups offsite using Image Manager FTP or ShadowStream then good luck - trying to keep up with 10Gb per day of deltas just for the Antivirus component alone over imperfect ADSL just doesn't work.


So, how do you deal with this?

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Linking Confluence to SBS Active Directory and filtering by groups... how to actually make it work

We recently migrated our internal Knowledge Base to Confluence. Part of the process involved linking Confluence to Active Directory... one directory to rule them all... one directory to bind them... Anyway. Doing the basic connectivity part is easy - simply following the prompts should successfully link your new Confluence instance to AD, BUT what you'll find is that you return too many users, which with Confluence can have a relatively disproproportionate cost impact. The Confluence examples don't work, and neither does the MS doco.

You won't experience this issue if:

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Making Joomla Update work behind a proxy Update: :Collection: Could not open http://update.joomla.org/core/list.xml

If you have Joomla installed behind a proxy (like squid, for example) then you will not be able to use the Joomla Update feature - found under Extension Manager / Updates. When you do you'll get errors like:

Update: :Collection: Could not open http://update.joomla.org/core/list.xml

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Creating a customised conditional feedback email in Request Tracker when a ticket is resolved

This article assumes that you're running, and familiar with administering Request Tracker. The notes are accurate for 3.8.7, and it may differ for other versions. Hopefully it'll get you a long way to solving it though, and the RT user lists are pretty good - http://lists.bestpractical.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/rt-users.

Something we've wanted to do for a long time is get RT to send an email to requestors based upon the value of custom fields. In our case we want to send an email to the requestor if the following are all true:

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Sharing Exchange 2003 folders when the user doesn't have Outlook

Scenario:

  • User #1 wants to share calendar in Outlook / Exchange with user #2.
  • User #1 does not have Outlook. User #2 does.

 

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Allowing RWW on SBS 2003 & Windows 7 to play nicely - group policy / adm template howto

If you're trying to RWW to a Windows 7 PC that is joined to an SBS 2003 domain, you may be seeing a popup error along the lines of " vbscript +"an internal error has occurred". In this scenario, RWW portal doesn't allow you to connect, but you can RDP successfully from your PC directly to the target PC in question.

Assuming that you've covered off firewall issues (you are allowing TCP 4125 to both the SBS box and the Win7 client, right?), then your next place to look at is the authentication level required by the target PC. To do this (on the target PC):

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Meet the two newest members of our team

We're pleased to welcome the two newest members of our team - responsible for security and social events.

 

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File Synchronisation with Unison

As a web developer, one of my code tasks is to deploy a website to a live environment. This boils down to copying lots of files in lots folders from my development environment (a Windows 7 computer) to a live environment (could be Linux or Windows). To give you an idea of what "lots" can be, a typical Magento installation without any customisations, themes or 3rd party components weighs in at around 10,000 file across 3,500 folders.

I also like to propagate changes from a live environment back to my dev environment (or at the very least be aware of such changes so they don't sneak up on me in a dark alley).

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Implementing a workflow in Magento

Last week we completed and went live with a client's revamped website. The site was based on Mangento, but has a big twist to it: users needed to follow specific workflow.

The usual Magento workflow looks something like this:

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Windows cannot complete the password change error 0x800708c5

 

A client called saying that she believed that someone has access her computer and changed her password as she was unable to log in. As a precaution we attempted to reset the password, but when trying to do so from within Active Directory Users & Computers it returned the error "Windows cannot complete the password change error 0x800708c5".

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Speed test: 2.5" Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid SSD vs Hitachi SATA HDD

 I've been feeling the slow pinch on my laptop recently, and decided to upgrad to the hybrid SSD drives to see how much they improved things. The short answer is quite a bit - it's dramatically improved some things. The results from my own testing of my laptop are detailed below. I tested by cloning my old harddrive to the new Seagate drive - Hitachi HTS723232L9A360 (320G SATA2 3Gbs 7200rpm) to Seagate Momentus XT 320Gb 7200rpm…

Some numbers (these are taken using a stopwatch, me typing to login etc so this is obviously highly unscientific, but still interesting). Times are in seconds.

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Security 101 - Use Minimum Permissions

At Far Edge we've been working with a client who had a compromised website (not because of our software). He'd been blacklisted for sending spam among other things. After our sys-admin guys had tidied up the server itself, I was asked to take a look through the web application source code for security problems.

3 presented themselves.

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Security 101 - Unsanitised User Input

At Far Edge we've been working with a client who had a compromised website (not because of our software). He'd been blacklisted for sending spam among other things. After our sys-admin guys had tidied up the server itself, I was asked to take a look through the web application source code for security problems.

3 presented themselves.

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Security 101 - 3rd Party Components

At Far Edge we've been working with a client who had a compromised website (not because of our software). He'd been blacklisted for sending spam among other things. After our sys-admin guys had tidied up the server itself, I was asked to take a look through the web application source code for security problems.

3 presented themselves.

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Magento: First Impressions

Magento is a (if not the) open source shopping cart web-app out there. I've been developing a couple of different custom solutions based on it over the last few months, so here are my first impressions of Magento.

A short preface: you tend to notice things which get in your way or you've been used to and suddenly aren't available when you try a new platform. I've come from developing .NET ASP MVC sites, so some of the following gripes are closely related to that transition.

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