Garage storage actually working

Today was a good day spent in the garage. I spent some time batching out some components and making a jig for putting the holes in for the retention pins.


The nice thing about working with aluminium is that woodworking power tools will cut and grind it just fine. So my miter saw can make the cuts, and my small belt sander can clean up the edges.


I just had to use some blocks of wood to hold the 3/8" rod in place.


One of the more tedius things was marking out the location to drill the holes for the pins to drop in to secure the tool holder so it doesn't get bumped off the wall. So I made a jig using some scraps of plywood, some t-nuts, washers, and some short bolts.


This way I can stick a tool holder base into the jig, run the drill press down, flip the board over and run the drill press again, and I have both holes.


I made three of the wall mounting cleat boards, but have only put up two so far, each one is 4' long. The snow shovels on the left are actually double stacked because we can, that's how they hang at the store.


So far this appears to be working pretty well, now I just need to finish making the hangers and getting the rest of the tools up there. I also mounted this lower than the previous system. Our longest hanging tool is the push broom.

More garage storage and a push stick

Added a requested modification to the first hanger. There was a concern that with the wind blowing, they could still get knocked off the hanger, so I added a lip to the end.


The next piece that got some work done was one of the broom hangers, or anything that has a ring at the end of the stick.


I was originally going to use the aluminium rod as well for that, but decided to use some poplar with a bit of wood glue and a brad shot into the end to help hold in place.


Today I also decided to make a better push stick instead of using whatever random piece of wood happens to be in reach.

I used a leftover piece of deck board, ripped a 1.5" piece off of one edge, added a roundover to the cut off to make it more comfortable to grip. Cut a 22.5 degree angle off of one end of the leftover board, screwed the handle to it. Then I cut a small piece and screwed it below the handle to act as a catch. If the catch gets chewed up, I can unscrew it and put a new on on. The goal is to keep my hand well away from the blade, even if I do something dumb like have the blade all the way up while cutting something thin.


Prototype garage storage

Now that the weather has started to warm up, I'm getting back into the shop, err, I mean the garage, to make some sawdust.

Along with trying to get rid of things that I'm not using or we don't need, this year I want to redo the storage that we have for our shovels, rakes, and other yard tools. Several years ago we bought a "system" that used plastic panels screwed to the wall that uses metal S hooks to hold tools. This... mostly works. But there are many times when even just a strong wind will cause things to shift and at least in a couple of cases, fall down.

To correct this, I'm planning to put up french cleat hangers for each tool. This way each tool will be held securely, and if we get rid of something, we can remove that hanger, and if we get something new, I can make a new one.

I'm using 1/2" plywood for this project. This afternoon I created my prototype.


This short wall portion will be much longer to accomodate multiple tools. To the left you can see the plastic and S hook solution.


The "hanger" is just a piece of 2x4 that has a 10 degree slice off one side, this will probably be 15 degrees in the final version.


The handle of a shovel will slide right over that chunk of 2x4 and should be pretty stable. By being 1.5 inches off the wall, the shovel can hang "back" closer to the wall, since these things do not hang straight up and down.

You may be wondering about the holes in the panel...


These are 3/8" holes to hold some aluminium rod pieces that are a little over 1.25 inches long. These go in about 1/16" below the board at the top, and prevent the cleat from coming off of the wall. This way when taking the shovel off or hanging it up, it doesn't get knocked off the wall. The pins are snug, but can be removed to allow the cleat to move up and be taken off.


Now I just need to make a hanger for the tools that DON'T have wide handles, and I can make my new tool hangers.

I can't claim that this is totally an original idea of mine, I was inspired by several other people, including

Checking passwordsafe entries against

I wanted to check my current passwordsafe database passwords against the data at haveibeenpwned, however I don't like the idea of using the API or the webform to send all of my passwords to a 3rd party.

So I wrote a python script.

#!/usr/bin/env python

import hashlib
import pypwsafev3
from getpass import getpass
import argparse

def getArgs():
    p = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='PasswordSafe hashes')
    p.add_argument('-f', help='PasswordSafe database file')
    return p.parse_args()

def main():
    args = getArgs()

    pw = pypwsafev3.PWSafe3(args.f, getpass('PasswordSafe master:' ))

    with open('hashes.txt', 'w') as f:
        for i in pw.listall():
            f.write('{}, {}\n'.format(i[1], hashlib.sha1(str.encode(i[4])).hexdigest()))

if __name__ == '__main__':

This generates a text file named "hashes.txt" which contains the name of the password entry and the sha1 hash of the password. Then I could search the pwned-passwords-sha1-ordered-by-count-v5.txt file for them to see if any of them are in the list.

$ sed 's/ //g' hashes.txt | awk -F, '{print $2}' | grep -i -F -f - pwned-passwords-sha1-ordered-by-count-v5.txt

Borked Phone

For the last couple of days my phone has been kind of a pain to work with. I would use the keyboard to type something in, and either the entirely wrong letters would show up, or nothing at all. Last night I got around to grabbing an app off the Play Store to show where touch events were detected and then turned on the developer options that do pretty much the same thing.

I rebooted my phone, I rebooted my phone into safe mode, nothing helped.

This is a screenshot using the app I downloaded. I basically ran my finger all over the screen, and I noticed this area where nothing showed up.


So then I tried it with the developer options turned on.


That dead area makes my phone pretty much unusable. Thankfully my phone is still under warranty, and I'll be able to send it in and get a replacement. In the mean time I am charging up my Nexus 6 and will transfer my number back to it so that I have a working phone until the replacement arrives.

Am I me?

This is going to ramble a bit...

I was watching a youtube video, "Star Talk" with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Adam Savage, Matthew Liao, and Chuck Nice.

In the second segment, there was a discussion on uploading consciousness.

Every morning I wake up, and I'm me. I'm not somebody else. ... Maybe I'm not me, and I don't know it. Because in the act of becoming someone else, I am that other person. -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

I think that what we think of as "growing" as an individual, could also be expressed as evolving, of becoming another person.

My identity, the person that I was in the past, is not the same person that I am today. It is possible to look at the former me, and the present me, and see the progression, the journey. But I would not want to be that person again.

The previous versions of me were not as empathetic or sympathetic. The previous versions of me were judgmental, viewing the world through a narrow lens that was only my own perspective.

The current me, and I hope the future me, will continue to try to see the world through the eyes and experiences of others. Just because it hasn't happened to me, just because I have not experienced it, does not mean that it has not, or will not, happen to someone else.

Raspberry Pi running FreeBSD as a NAT and Samba server

The Four Lakes Amateur Radio Club has been using a Raspberry Pi 1B+ for a couple of years as our DHCP/Samba/NAT server for events like ARRL Field Day.

As I had a spare RPi 2 sitting around, I decided to see if I could use FreeBSD on that device instead, instead of Debian based Raspbian.

I am using the FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE image for the the OS, the instructions on the FreeBSD website were easy to use to get the image transferred to an SD card. Once we were booted up and running, using the ethernet port for network connectivity, I installed the wpa_supplicant package, I probably could have skipped this step and used the wpa_supplicant installation in the base system.

I had to update /boot/loader.conf


Additions to /etc/rc.conf

ifconfig_wlan0="WPA SYNCDHCP"

The ntp additions are due to the RPi not having a Real Time Clock, these settings force the RPi to update the time from network clocks at boot time.

Create the /usr/local/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf file

    pairwise=CCMP TKIP
    group=CCMP TKIP WEP104 WEP40

And then reboot to have all of the changes take effect.

Once we were up and running on WiFi, I reconfigured the ethernet port for a static IP by changing the configuration in /etc/rc.conf from



ifconfig_ue0="inet netmask"

Then I installed dnsmasq and samba.

pkg install dnsmasq
pkg install samba48




    workgroup = WORKGROUP
    server string = Samba Server Version %v
    netbios name = fpi
    wins support = yes
    security = user
    passdb backend = tdbsam
    map to guest = Bad User
    log file = /var/log/samba4/log.%m
    log level = 3

    comment = Field Day
    create mask = 0664
    directory mask = 0775
    force group = nobody
    force user = nobody
    guest ok = yes
    path = /home/fd
    read only = no

And added to /etc/rc.conf again


The directory where we will be sharing files from is /home/fd, so we need to create it and set permissions.

mkdir /home/fd
chown nobody:nobody /home/fd
chmod 775 /home/fd

Now for the NAT portion, since I used to run an OpenBSD firewall for my home network, I decided to use pf instead of ipfw.

So we need to make some more changes to /etc/rc.conf


And create /etc/pf.conf

localnet = $int_if:network
nat on $ext_if from $localnet to any -> ($ext_if)

Yes, there should probably be more rules here to restrict access and ports.

Now it's time for another reboot and everything should be working.

Blocking IPs for failed ssh logins to jails on FreeBSD

I recently got sslh working on my home FreeBSD server. What made this more complicated is that I wanted ssh to go to one jail and https to go to a different jail.

My jail host is, the target for ssh is, the target for https is The https jail runs a reverse nginx proxy to forward to various other jails and devices on my home network.

Something that I used to use on linux hosts was fail2ban to block the constant brute force ssh attempts against my system. This time around I decided to try something a little simpler. I found this wiki article describing how to use ipfw and a cron job to update a blocklist.

I had to configure ssh on listen on both 22 and 8022, if I tried to just use 22 I could not reach that jail from my local network.

Below are the pieces that make this all work.

My /usr/local/etc/sslh.conf

# This is a basic configuration file that should provide
# sensible values for "standard" setup.

verbose: false;
foreground: false;
inetd: false;
numeric: false;
transparent: true;
timeout: 2;
user: "root";
pidfile: "/var/run/";

# Change hostname with your external address name.
        { host: ""; port: "443"; }

        { name: "ssh"; service: "ssh"; host: ""; port: "8022"; fork: true;},
        { name: "ssl"; host: ""; port: "443"; log_level: 0; }

My /etc/ipfw/sslh.rules


ipfw add 20000 fwd,443 log tcp from 443 to any out
ipfw add 30000 fwd,443 log tcp from 8022 to any out

My /root/


# based on
# Copyright (c) 2004,2005 RPTN.Net,
# Copyright (c) 2005,
# Copyright (c) 2006 Bob (kba at
# You may use this code under the GPL, version 2 or newer.
# Updates for IPF by
# Copyright (c) 2018 Matt Okeson-Harlow,
# 2018-04-29

# changed rule number to 10000 to not impact sslh rules at 20000
# exclude 172.27.1 as that is the home network
# exclude remote hosts that I control
# lowered the count to 3 from 5
# use find to locate auth.log.*.bz2 files modified in the last 2 days


# exclude local network, yoda and leia

# log the current rules before we clear them
ipfw show ${RULE} | logger -p local0.notice -t sshd-fwscan

# clear the current rules
if ipfw show | awk '{print $1}' | grep -q ${RULE} ; then
    ipfw delete ${RULE}

# This catches repeated attempts for both legal and illegal users
# No check for duplicate entries is performed, since the rule
# has been deleted.

(find ${LOGDIR} -mmin -$((60*24*2)) -name "auth.log.*.bz2" -exec bzcat {} \;; cat ${LOGDIR}/auth.log) |
awk '/sshd/ && (/Invalid user/ || /authentication error/) {try[$(NF)]++}
END {for (h in try) if (try[h] > 3) print h}' | egrep -v ${EXCLUDE} |
while read ip
        ipfw -q add ${RULE} deny tcp from $ip to any in

I added the following to my /etc/crontab

# sshd-fwscan to block failed logins
*/10    *   *   *   *   root    /root/

A Silver Lining?

A recurring theme of late has been that our hopes for institutions that many of us thought where "too big" to dismantle, may have been misplaced.

  • The Department of Education
  • The Environmental Protection Agency
  • The Federal Communications Commission
  • The Justice Department

I fear that we will soon find out just how vulnerable many of us are as these institutions are gutted, or even, possibly, abolished.

The idealist in me wishes for a world were libertarian ideas and practices result in better products and services, without sacrificing our health, environment or future generations.

But time and time again we have seen what happens when those in a position of power or authority do what is in their best interests, and it is seldom good.

Which brings me to a possible silver lining.

Maybe if people see the destruction and chaos that some of these decisions will bring, they will look back and realize that they can't blame the Other for the trials and tribulations, they will have to recognize that they brought this upon not just themselves, but all of us.

Maybe we will see those that are not governed only by their own self interest or greed step up and do The Right Thing for others.

Maybe we will see local and state officials do more to protect the people they serve than our federal government is doing.

Maybe we will see a massive amount of financial support from individuals to make up for the federal funding that is no longer going to be enough.

Maybe we will see people give money to teachers so that the children in our schools have enough supplies without forcing the teacher to spend their own money.

Maybe we will see police officers welcome review of policies and wistleblowers exposing unethical or corrupt behavior.

Maybe we will come out of this better off.

I hope so, but I fear that it may take so long that I will never live to see it. I hope that my nieces and nephews can see it. I hope that we turn this around before they are required to be the solution.

I hope that they live to see us being kinder to one another.

I hope that the sky is still blue, that the trees still grow, that the water is clean.

I hope that I never lose hope.

Dust off and nuke it from orbit...

I'm in the process, hopefully ongoing, of tossing out stuff that I don't need/want anymore. IF I can make it through my office, I then have to do the same thing in the garage. Too many "Maybe one day..." projects have stacked up.

Projects that I will never get to if I don't get things cleaned up.

Projects that I don't know that I even want to continue with.

I need a place to put my lab rack for learning Cisco gear/software. I've used their products for years, but I have never done anything to formally learn about how it works. It's all just been picked up as I worked on solutions to problems.

I need to cut down on the number of computers I am trying to maintain at home. Too many old laptops that aren't really worth maintaining. I think I should bite the bullet and get just the hardware that I actually need to get things done. Get rid of the rest.

I need to be able to get on the amateur radio bands without it being a major production ( to get the desk that I use for that ).

I need to be able to work on some programming projects. Projects that will help me learn python better, which is a current goal. Projects that will automate and streamline things that are done manually now.

So many of the things I want to do have been stopped or stalled by not wanting to deal with the hassle of actually getting to them.