Automate feedback in eBay

Being lazy/efficient, I decided to script the feedback for all the junk I bought from eBay.  The following three lines will give the best feedback for all items listed in the feedback page, then you can just hit submit.  This can be entered, e.g., in Chrome developer tools console (F12, top right tab).

jQuery("input[id*='comment']").val("Great. Thanks. ")

The comment could be changed to something more descriptive.  Then I just checked through them and hit the “Leave Feedback” button.

PowerShell – Delete all directories with a given name recursively


It turns out to be a bit of a pain to delete all the directories/folders with a certain name.  This’ll do it.

Get-ChildItem C:\path\to\start\directory -Include search1,search2 -Recurse -force | Remove-Item -Recurse -Force

It just gets all the child items in a directory recursively and then removes them.  The -Recurse parameter on the Remove-Item is so that the entire directory and its contents are removed.  search1 and search2 are the the names it is looking for – more or less could be included.

Network configuration for CentOS minimal on VMware Workstation

This was a pain.

As I didn’t want to hang around too long, I downloaded the minimal ISO for CentOS.  I attempted to create a VM, but this failed when VMware tools were installing:

Installing VMware Tools, please wait...
mount: special device /dev/hda does not exist
mount: block device /dev/sr0 is write-protected, mounting read only
/etc/rc5.d/S99local: line 25: eject: command not found
/etc/rc5.d/S99local: line 25: eject: command not found

I had to create a new VM without an OS, then mount the ISO as the CD drive, reboot and install that way.

Then I had to somehow configure the network.  I couldn’t install VMware tools because perl wasn’t installed, so I don’t know if that might have fixed it.

I ended up editing /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0, and I had to use VI because I couldn’t install nano…  An issue I had was that I didn’t know what the gateway was – I had NAT networking setup in VMware workstation.  There’s a handy tool to find out bundled with VMware Workstation.  It also works with VMware player, but doesn’t come with it.  I found it here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmnetcfg.exe

I selected the NAT network, then NAT settings, and this shows the gateway:

Virtual Network Editor

My /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 ended as this:


The device, MAC and a few others were already set.  The DNS entires I have used are Google’s DNS servers.  The IP address I chose was a free one (all apart from .1 should be free, I think) on the network – select the DHCP settings for the network in the Virtual Network Editor to see the address range.  I also updated the file /etc/sysconfig/network to this:


That file didn’t need the gateway, as I read elsewhere.  I then restarted the network:

service network restart

I was then able to connect to the internet and install perl and then VMware tools.  It all turned out to be a complete waste of time, but ah well.

Vmware Workstation->VM (to the right of File, Edit, View)->Install VMware Tools…

yum install perl
mkdir /mnt/cdrom
mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
cd /tmp
tar -xzf /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-<version>.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib
[hit enter a lot to accept all the defaults]

Debugging LDAP with Wireshark

It turns out that LDAP is encrypted using Kerberos.  Wireshark can decrypt these frames.

LDAP Error

I’m on Windows, so I had to install 32bit Wireshark (64 bit doesn’t have Kerberos decryption).  You then need to generate a keytab file.  ktpass is installed on windows server 2012 (or it was on mine at least, earlier versions may require the support tools).  The following command will create the keytab file (the user I used was the user that was communicating with the LDAP server for the communication I was trying to debug).

ktpass /princ [email protected] /pass user-password /crypto RC4-HMAC-NT /ptype KRB5_NT_PRINCIPAL /out

You can then open the capture in Wireshark and go to Edit->preferences->Expand protocols on the left->select KRB5.  Then select your keytab file, and tick the ‘Try to decrypt Kerberos blobs’ check box.  Then all your encrypted frames should be decrypted.  If it doesn’t work, there are no error messages, it just doesn’t do anything.

I initially tried creating the keytab using ktutil on centos (from the krb5-workstation package).  This didn’t work.

Update last modified date to current date for all items in a directory using powershell

The title says it all.  It’s incredibly simple:

gci | %{$_.LastWriteTime = date}

gci is shorthand for Get-ChildItem, and % is shorthand for ForEach-Object.  $_ refers to the current element being iterated over.  Date returns the current date (and time).

The script therefore gets all items (in the context of the current directory) and updates the LastWriteTime for them all to the current date.  Sorted.

Unable to send files to local drive – Access denied

Having just spent several hours trying to work out why I couldn’t copy files from the machine I was accessing through Citrix Receiver, I thought I’d share.

Copying files from a remote machine to a local drive in Citrix Receiver results in a dialog titled “Destination Folder Access Denied”. The message reads “You need permission to perform this action”. This is frustrating, as it’s the only way I could get files back to my local machine, and only affected me, not my colleagues. I suspect I selected deny when a prompt appeared some time ago and also checked don’t ask again…

Navigate to the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Citrix\ICA Client\Client Selective Trust\

There are several UID type strings. One has ‘IcaAuthorizationDecision’ appended to it, and a subkey FileSecurityPermission. Mine was this:


Change the value of the (Default) REG_SZ to 2. Sorted. The possible values are these:
0 = No Access
1 = Read Only Access
2 = Full Access
3 = Prompt User for Access

MS SQL 2012 Fails to install – installation never goes past installing setup files

Whilst attempting to get some software to communicate with MS SQL Server 2012, I decided to try reinstalling SQL.  I removed all the SQL components in add/remove programs and attempted a reinstall.  The installer got part way and then just gave up.

After some Googling, I found that the SQL installer leaves log files in %temp% (SqlSetup.log and SqlSetup_1.log).  SqlSetup_1.log had the following lines:

07/29/2013 12:44:41.033 Error: Failed to launch process
07/29/2013 12:44:41.033 Error: Failed to launch local ScenarioEngine.exe: 0x80070003

Nothing on the net seemed to have a solution (or I need to improve my Google skills).  I found one post about VS2010 problems which seemed vaguely related and decided to remove all the visual studio components to see if that sorted things.  It did.

A dialog from the installer and a more helpful error message would have been nice.

Finding out what is using IO on linux with older kernels

I’ve been wandering around the internet for hours looking for something to show which process is doing all the IO on my system, and that will run on my centos 5.3.  It has a kernel which just missed out on per process IO accounting (in /proc/PID/io) and so, most tools (iotop, etc) will not work.

Something like this:

iostat -x -m -d sdk 1

will show how much io is being used on the device (in this case sdk), but not per process.

This, in CentOS, will show some nice IO stats, but again not per process:


In later releases of CentOS, this will apparently show per process IO:

dstat -s --top-io --top-bio

I finally came accross this blog, and it worked!  However, there is a bug in the perl script which a user has reported via a comment.  I confirmed this, for my system at least, but the comments on the blog seem to have broken.  Here is a copy of the script which works for DIRTY counts:

#!/usr/bin/env perl
# This program is part of Aspersa (


=head1 NAME

iodump - Compute per-PID I/O stats for Linux when iotop/pidstat/iopp are not available.


Prepare the system:

  dmesg -c
  /etc/init.d/klogd stop
  echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump

Start the reporting:

  while true; do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump

Stop the system from dumping these messages:

  echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump
  /etc/init.d/klogd start

=head1 AUTHOR

Baron Schwartz


use strict;
use warnings FATAL => 'all';
use English qw(-no_match_vars);
use sigtrap qw(handler finish untrapped normal-signals);

my %tasks;

my $oktorun = 1;
my $line;
while ( $oktorun && (defined ($line = <>)) ) {
   my ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device );
   ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device )
      = $line =~ m/(\S+)\((\d+)\): (READ|WRITE) block (\d+) on (\S+)/;
   if ( !$task ) {
      ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device )
         = $line =~ m/(\S+)\((\d+)\): (dirtied) inode (\d+) \(.*?\) on (\S+)/;
   if ( $task ) {
      my $s = $tasks{$pid} ||= { pid => $pid, task => $task };
      ++$s->{lc $activity};

printf("%-15s %10s %10s %10s %10s %10s %s\n",
foreach my $task (
   reverse sort { $a->{activity} <=> $b->{activity} } values %tasks
) {
   printf("%-15s %10d %10d %10d %10d %10d %s\n",
      $task->{task}, $task->{pid},
      ($task->{'activity'}  || 0),
      ($task->{'read'}      || 0),
      ($task->{'write'}     || 0),
      ($task->{'dirtied'}     || 0),
      join(', ', keys %{$task->{devices}}));

sub finish {
   my ( $signal ) = @_;
   if ( $oktorun ) {
      print STDERR "# Caught SIG$signal.\n";
      $oktorun = 0;
   else {
      print STDERR "# Exiting on SIG$signal.\n";

Save it as ‘iodump’.  The header of the script tells you how to run it.  You have to turn on kernel messages about IO:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump

and then you can run it like this:

while true; do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump

Don’t forget to turn off the IO logs once you’ve finished:

echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump

I like to run it in watch a separate window (e.g. in screen):

watch -tn 1 'i=0; while (( ++i < 5 )); do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump'

This will keep an updated view of the output, updating every 5 seconds.