Destruction by Forward Slash

I deployed a Raspberry Pi2 server at home to act as my Plex Media server and it has been working well for over a week now. I am also using it to learn more about server administration. Today, I realized that I had a lot of files in the Trash of my external hard drive connected to the Pi and decided to sort them out.

While doing the sorting, I intended to run this command

mv */*.* .

but instead, ran

mv /*/*.* /

as root user.

If you’re familiar with the Linux command line, you realize the epic mistake I made. I realized the problem a little too late though, and now my server is completely ruined. Gotta go back home and reprovision everything from scratch.

Guess I have to be more careful in the future. See what forward slash in the wrong places can cause!.

The time when lots of people were mad

These are a series of posts from my time working in the retail division of the Commercial department at a major Nigerian Telco.

I worked at a smaller “mini” shop for the majority of my time at the telco, and for a couple of months, we realized that our foot traffic, and as a result, revenue was on a constant decline. Something had to be done to bring more people into the door and get them to buy stuff.

The powers that be decided to send out an SMS blast to all the numbers within a specific geographical radius of the shop, informing them of the shop’s location, and that they can get lots of cool stuff there and have their issues resolved.

It all sounded nice until we actually got the SMS on our own phones. The message had been poorly worded, and could be interpreted to mean that customers can come to the shop and get a gift.

The SMS was sent over the weekend, and we all came to work the following monday to a crowd of people. More people than I had ever seen through all the months I worked at that shop. In that regard, the SMS worked I guess. What most definitely didn’t work was the reason why they were there. They all felt that they had won some sort of price and came to claim it.

When they were told the real meaning of the message, a lot of them did not take it well, to put it mildly. The next few hours were spent trying to placate a group of angry people who only seemed to get angrier, bolstered by the fact that they were part of a group. As the day went on though, the crowd slowly dissipated as I assume some of them had to go to work/ other more important engagements.

There was really nothing we could do other than continuous apologies, and eventually, even the most adamant of them left. Over the next couple of days, and indeed weeks, we had people coming with the SMS to request their prize, with some of them proceeding to flip out when told there wasn’t any. It wasn’t as bad as the first day though, and the intensity reduced as time went on.

It definitely an experience.

PSA: Say NO! to Facebook Apps

mmulshineI just though I should pop in quickly to note this on my blog (that nobody reads) as a PSA. Facebook Apps are possibly one of the most destructive forces in the universe today.
No, really!.
There is almost no upside to using them, yet people can’t seem to get enough of them. When you see an app that wants to tell you “Who is secretly in Love with you”, you know deep in your heart that its gonna be giving you some BS. Same thing goes for just about every other Facebook app out there.

In order to install a Facebook app on your account, you have to give it access to all sorts of information from your friends list to your profile, etc. You also give it access to post stuff on your behalf on your page. Most people don’t review all these permissions before installing those apps, and most of the time, they come back to bite you in the arse.

The developers of most of those apps couldn’t care less about “Who is your secret admirer”, and probably couldn’t figure that out anyway, based on the data available to them. What they are interested in though, is the ability to capture as much data about you as they possibily can (made much easier by all the access you’ve given them) and sell that to advertisers and other more sinister elements.

The more egregious of the bunch would then proceed to use your wall as a personal spam generator, posting all sort of click-bait, and sometimes obscene, articles that seem to have been posted by you. Suddenly, you might begin to notice your friends asking you about some suspicious looking links you’ve been posting recently.

At that point, most people will assume that they have been “hacked” and would proceed to changing their password (which of course does nothing to fix the issue), while forgetting that app they installed a year ago that claimed to show them “What you will look like in 60 years) but just figured out their race and showed a generic image of an old person instead.

If you are currently an avid installer of Facebook apps, all is not lost. Its pretty easy to figure out how to uninstall Facebook apps from your account with a quick google search.
Your time is much better spent actually interacting with people on social media, and your data/integrity is much safer for it.

The time when an Antivirus said no!

These are a series of posts from my time working in the retail division of the Commercial department at a major Nigerian Telco.

I was the guy that always got to troubleshoot issues regarding internet connection on laptops, phones or tablets. Most of the time, the problem was easy to determine. It usually revolved around configuration on installation of Internet services on the customer’s account. In the case of Windows 8 laptops, the older modems have outdated drivers and so do not function reliably. There are a few other issues that cause browsing issues on devices, but generally, after a few months, I had them all to a fine science.

So, I was indeed stumped when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a customer’s laptop one certain day. He had the newest modem, so it wasn’t a drivers issue. His line had all the necessary services installed on them (and I even reinstalled them just to be safe) so that wasn’t it either. The MiFi connected successfully; it just didn’t browse. No upload or download going on, despite the fact that the customer had just recharged a large amount of data on his line.

The modem worked on other devices though, so the problem was from the Laptop. I tried practically every trick I knew to troubleshoot it, and eventually decided that the problem must be from one of the installed software on the laptop. In cases like that, the likely culprit is the Antivirus software, in this case, Avast Antivirus. However, no customer would allow you to uninstall the Antivirus from his/her laptop, and I wouldn’t want to do so anyway.

Eventually, I had to go through thousands of options the Avast antivirus provides until I came across the “web shield” option. This option is supposed to make Avast act like a proxy and filter all packets to and from the internet, blocking malicious packets from coming though. Unfortunately, it was doing its job a bit too well and ended up blocking all packets instead of just the malicious ones.

Once “web shield” had been disabled, The internet immediately started working on the customer’s laptop and all was well with the world again.

I promptly sent an email to our “Geek Force” internal mailing list to inform everyone of the issue so they don’t have to go through what I did.

The time when everyone’s Internet went down

These are a series of posts from my time working in the retail division of the Commercial department at a major Nigerian Telco.

This particular incident started a few days before I was to go on leave. We had just began selling a new ZTE Mifi after not having any MiFi in stock for quite a while even though it’s a highly requested item. A couple of customers had come to complain that their Mifi wasn’t functioning, even though it did so after purchase.

I always dreaded issues like those because the most common outcome was that the data purchased had been exhausted, and no customer wants to hear that, especially if they had only been using the device for a couple of days. This usually led to lots of angry customers calling us names and sometimes even getting violent. Its all part of the job though, so I proceeded to checking this particular customer’s MiFi.

To my delight, I discovered that the data allocation was still almost intact. With that out of the way, I continued troubleshooting the issue, trying different SIM cards, different web browsers, disabling anti-virus, connecting the MiFi network to different devices from laptops to phones, etc. all to no avail.

At that point, I began getting frustrated and decided to call some colleagues at other centres to find out if they had encountered any such issue. I realised that they all had cases of customers complaining of similar issues, and the only common factor was that they had all purchased the new ZTE Mifi.

The device had been functioning just fine just a few days ago, so I knew it was not a factory defect. However, the same SIM that refused to work on the MiFi was working just fine when inserted into another device such as a USB modem. At that point, I just decided to try changing the DNS configuration and see what would happen.

Surprisingly, that worked. Once I changed the DNS settings on the laptop to Google DNS (8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4), I was able to access the internet again!. I was delighted and went ahead to change the DNS settings from the admin interface of the MiFi and sent the customer on his way.

I also informed my colleagues in other centres on what I did and they in turn made the changes for their clients.

Fast forward to a couple of days later, and I went on leave. As at my last day at work before the leave, the issue had still not been rectified. I was having to manually change the DNS config on every new MiFi I sold before handing it over to the customer.

I reasoned though, that someone must be aware of the issue, and it must have been fixed over the weekend before my leave began the following monday.

Unfortunately, that was not the case, and I had to put my colleagues in the office through on how to change the settings because customers kept coming back. Later that day though, I got a call from a colleague in Lagos who knew someone at the company that services the Telco’s Network, who was aware of the issue and wanted more information. I explained to him how I did the troubleshooting and narrowed down the problem and my stop-gap solution to it.

He assured me that they were aware of the issue and trying to figure out a way to fix it. I thanked him and went ahead with my leave and by the time I returned, it had been fixed.

Back to the Pi


piSince I’m on summer break now, I have more than enough time to go back to passion projects I have abandoned in the past. One of such projects is messing around with the Raspberry Pi.
I won an amazon gift card a few days back and used it to purchase a Raspberry Pi2 and some accessories.

With it, I installed Plex Media Server and configured all my media collection on it with a 1TB USB 3.0 hard drive I’ve had for quite a while. I can now stream my media collection from wherever I am on my phone, laptop or iPad.

I also intended on setting up the Pi as a file server for storage and backup, but it appears that might not be such a good idea. When playing media from the pi, there’s a lot of transcoding that goes on, and that could be quite CPU intensive. Adding yet another function for the device to do might be too much to handle.

Luckily, I still have one of my original Pi Model Bs lying dormant at the moment, and I intend on using that as the File/Backup server once I can get another external Hard Drive for it. In the mean time, I will set it up as a test server to implement cool linux server stuff and learn new things.

That’s what the summer is for after all isn’t it?

Right Left Confusion

2703B3B200000578-3012739-image-a-22_1427376204695I find it difficult telling my left from my right.

This has been an issue for as long as I can remember and I’ve had to develop means of overcoming it, and can now do so fairly successfully.
I am also Nigerian and grew up as part of a Yoruba family. Anyone that knows anything about the Yoruba people will tell you that we are big on one thing; respect.
The Yorubas value respect to an almost ridiculous extent. It’s not so much the thought of respecting your elders as the act of showing respect, whether you mean it or not.
There are many protocols and ways to show respect to different sets of people depending on their relationship to you. This ranges from special words to use when greeting them to postures to be taken during said greeting, etc. These words and postures differ based on several factors such as the person’s age, relationship to you, marital status, etc.
What does my issue with left and right have to do with being Yoruba you might ask? A lot actually.
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Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

the-martianThe Martian by Andy Weir is a Science fiction Novel that follows the events of a manned Mars mission called Ares 3. Things go wrong for the mission not long after they land on Mars and they have to abort, but in the process, the protagonist Mark Watney has an accident and is presumed dead. A series of circumstances occurred though that ensured that Mark didn’t actually die, however, by the time he regained consciousness, his colleagues had left the red planet, taking the ship with them. So, Mark found himself grounded on Mars, and had to find ways to survive, while devising a means of getting the attention of NASA, and ultimately, going back home.

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