Munich Marathon 2013

For the first time, I will participate to a marathon on October 13th and in order to make things matter, I will run it for a charity.

I am member of Round Table 50 München,a service club for young men aged 40 and younger. All “tables” in Germany contribute to a so-called “National Service Project”, which this year is dedicated to the renovation of an abandoned open-air pool to transform it into an adventure camp for underprivileged children and teenagers in Kaub.

This video introduces the project and shows the first renovation works:

See http://www.rtjugendcamp.blogspot.de/

Please go to http://www.hmarcy.com/munich-marathon-2013/ in order to spend money !

Taking my privacy back

In the light of the recent revelations about the large-scale spying activities of the NSA (and others, including European agencies), I will be changing my behavior to make the most of my right to keep my privacy intact. I am not stupid enough to believe that this will protect me completely from intruders, companies and government agencies alike, but I want to make use of my right to do whatever I want to do without being suspected or spied on. So I will gradually undertake the following steps:
use Tor for as much traffic as possible, including web and email. This includes not only my home desktop, but my work laptop as well as my Android mobile phone. The Tor project can help you protect your privacy. The connection is slower, but that is a small price to pay. It takes a couple of minutes to install  see https://www.torproject.org/ Having already started to use it, I noticed how Google and Microsoft services hate to see you somehow anonymous, asking at every connection if you are the legitimate user of the account.
run my own mail server. I will gradually leave GMail, which -granted- is a fantastic service, for something like email at hmarcy dot com. Gmail is way to intrusive for me and giving my or someone else’s data to the NSA does not play in Google’s favor either.
replace Google analytics with Piwik. As I do not want to be spied on, I do not want you to be spied on when you visit my website. I started an OpenShift application with Piwik to monitor my website to not give your data away to Google through Google Analytics
remove +1 buttons. I actually installed a WordPress plugin on this website to share my articles on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. I removed it because these buttons will help these service to track your browsing behavior and that is just not right.
run my own calendar application. I will stop using Google Calendar and take an open-source replacement for it on my server.
use jabber. Using Jabber alone will not help protect my privacy, but I trust the jabber.org people much more than Google with their Hangouts. Feel free to add me herve at jabber  dot de. See http://www.jabber.org/
use Ixquick as search engine.
use the browser extensions Ghostery and adblock
use OSMand instead of Google Maps on my Android mobile phone (look for “osmand” on Google Play Store). It is a GPLv3 application !

EX436 Red Hat Enterprise Storage Management

On my way to earn the Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA) certification, I successfully passed the EX436, one of the certificates of expertise required to get the RHCA.

This certification is mainly about three things :
– storage management (iSCSI, LVM, multipathing, udev rules)
– Red Hat Cluster Suite
– Red Hat Storage

The full list of objectives is available on Red Hat’s website.

I did not take the course RH436 that prepares to the certification, so I guess that anyone can do it that way too. What do you need to pass this certification ? As usual with Red Hat, this certificate of expertise is based on hands-on tasks to realize, so there is no way to get this certification by just thinking you know about the technology. This presentation from Thomas Cameron, a Red Hatter, at the Red Hat Summit 2011 is a good start to get to know the technology. If you can do everything he does during the presentation, you are on a good way to get the certification 😉

If you do not have a system running on RHEL with a subscription, a CentOS server or virtual machine will do it too to sharpen your skills on the High-Availability Add-on of RHEL, on the Resilient Storage Add-on of RHEL and on Red Hat Storage.

Of course, a virtual environment is a good idea, for example to create multiple networks (such as application, cluster heartbeat, storage1 and storage2) that way you can train on multipathing with iSCSI targets.

Finally, in order to train on Red Hat Storage, downloading the packages from the community website might not be a too bad idea, as the community version of Gluster is not too different from the enterprise version used in Red Hat Storage (although that might change in the future).

All in all, this certification was not too difficult, although I still learned a lot by training for it ! Next certificate of expertise in sight : the EX442 Red Hat Enterprise Performance Tuning Expertise which is, from what I heard from my colleagues, much more challenging. I am looking forward to taking that one !

CyanogenMod installed on my Galaxy SII using Fedora

As I am on vacation with some time to kill, I decided to free my Samsung Galaxy SII from all the Samsung crapware and install an open-source version (GPLv2 and Apache 2 licenses) of Android on it : CyanogenMod. Here is how I did it, using Fedora 17 only.

I do not take any responsibility for what you do with your device. YMMV with your Android version and hardware model. This kind of operations voids the warranty of your smartphone and may damage it irreversibly. (But, hey, it’s fun 🙂 )

First, let’s compile and install the tool that will help us to root our Android mobile phone “Heimdall”. We start by installing the development tools and needed libraries.

# yum -y install “Development Tools”
# yum -y install libusb1-devel

Then we compile and install the actual program

$ git clone git://github.com/Benjamin-Dobell/Heimdall.git
$ cd Heimdall/libpit
$ ./autogen.sh
$./configure
$ make
$ cd ../heimdall
$ ./autogen.sh
$ ./configure
$ make
# make install

After that, we download the tool that will root our Android phone: ClockworkMod Recovery, our CyanogenMod operating system as well as Google Apps.

$ wget http://cmw.22aaf3.com/c1/recovery/recovery-clockwork-5.5.0.4-galaxys2.tar
$ md5sum recovery-clockwork-5.5.0.4-galaxys2.tar
364315cb9a499d50638d05b93bb44422  recovery-clockwork-5.5.0.4-galaxys2.tar

$ wget http://download.cyanogenmod.com/get/jenkins/4627/cm-9.0.0-RC2-galaxys2.zip
$ md5sum cm-9.0.0-RC2-galaxys2.zip
ee62fd69d305d8af79e65cd7c8bdd459  cm-9.0.0-RC2-galaxys2.zip

$ wget http://goo.im/gapps/gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip
$ md5sum gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip
7c524e1e078164f681e0aa6753180b2c  gapps-ics-20120429-signed.zip

We then extract the following file

$ tar -xvf recovery-clockwork-5.5.0.4-galaxys2.tar

The extracted file is a kernel image called “zImage” that we will boot on later on

Put the CyanogenMod as well as the GoogleApps in the root directory of your SD card, then, let’s get rid of the Samsungoid ! This is also the right moment to backup your data and configuration, in case anything goes wrong.

Power off the Samsung Galaxy S II and connect the microUSB to the computer but not to the Samsung Galaxy S II.
Boot the Samsung Galaxy S II into download mode by holding down Home & Volume Down & Power while connecting the microUSB to it.
Change the directory back to where the previously extracted zImage file is and execute the following command

# heimdall flash –kernel zImage

A blue transfer bar will appear on the phone showing the kernel being transferred. But, unlike CyanogenMod’s documentation mentionned, my Galaxy SII did not reboot automatically. I tried to boot it by pressing on the power button on the right side, but it did not work. The only thing that worked was starting the phone by pressing on Home & Volume Up & Power at the same time, until the ClockworkMod Recovery booted.

In ClockworkMod Recovery, select the following options

“Wipe data/factory reset” then “Wipe cache partition”
“Install zip from sdcard” -> “Choose zip from sdcard” and choose first CyanogenMod and redo the operation for the Google Apps zip file

Once the installation has finished, select “Go Back” to get back to the main menu, and select “Reboot system now” and CyanogenMod should boot as it did for me.

So far, the user experience is much better and my phone is way faster than it used to be. The process was not as straightforward as I described it here and I had a couple of “interesting” moments when the Galaxy did not boot as expected, but I hope it will make your switch to a freer operating system smoother.