Daily Archives: September 21, 2009

Barnes & Noble Book Club – how many people is this really good for?

I went to Barnes & Noble over lunch with Mooney to order up some books for my Masterful Leadership class;  look for my thoughts on these books in some upcoming posts.  They will probably be pretty good, the professor evidently loves them and he seems like a pretty awesome guy.

What I didn’t realize was that since my order was over $25 (none of my books were in stock, of course) that shipping was free to my house and I would likely get the books sooner because there wouldn’t be the business of receiving them and notification to go through at the store.  That was a pretty nice surprise.

When I took my receipt up front to pay for the books, of course they asked me if I wanted to become a member as I would save a whopping $10 on this purchase. Mildly interested, I remembered turning this down before so I asked if there were any charges to join. $25 per year was the response from the perky cashier. Given I don’t buy books very often, I declined. They must make money on most people who join, why else would they even have the club? It just becomes mildly annoying when they ask about it every time you buy something. I suppose it is just part of their job…


Laminate flooring is down, but not done…

Kristin and I made it to the last row of flooring right now, where we unfortunately ended up about half an inch long.   This means we have to take 1/2″ off about 6′ worth of flooring.  Luckily, D. Meier has a table saw we can use for this.  With any luck, that will make this adjustment rather trivial.

From there we need to work on the threshold and that is going to take some special massaging. The little pieces of wood that are on the interior of the door frame that help the door seal up are too close to the floor on the one side.  We’ll see what I can get done with the dremel, hopefully it is rather painless.  I have no idea how we would go about taking that wood off so that we could cut it in  a more traditional manner.

At least we are a lot closer now than we were Saturday afternoon.  Another plus was the acquisition of a power miter which should prove to be handy in the future…


Password complexity and MOTD in ESX 3

Continuing the quest to install ESX 3.02, it came about that we need to enable some password security.  There is a couple things to do here, the first being to run the command “esxcfg-auth” – this command will bring up the list of commands available which include setting how long the password is valid, how often the password can be changed and when the warning will appear that the password for a given account is going to expire.

The meat of the password security is setting the password complexity rules setup.  I found that using the –usepamqc=values worked well.  Here is the verbose language:

Enables the use of the pam_passwdqc PAM module for password com-
plexity checking. It can be configured by passing a 6 value tuple
as the value. The tuple is formed from the following information:
– minimum length of a single character class password
– minimum length of a password that has characters from 2
character classes
– minimum number of words in a passphrase
– minimum length of a password that has characters from 3
character classes
– minimum length of a password that has characters from 4
character classes
This does not fully expose the abilities of this powerful PAM
module. See the pam_passwdqc man page for more information on how
to use this PAM module to enforce password rules on the user’s
If you pass a value of -1 for any of the six tuple values,
that is understood as disable this option. An example of a tuple
is “8 -1 -1 -1 8 4”.

That worked well (with some different values of course.)  The last number, not described above is the number of times a character can appear in the password.  In this case, that would mean any single character could appear four times.

To add the a nifty warning message when a user logs on, simply create a file titled “motd” in /etc and add your message.  Easy!