Securing an FTP server on Ubuntu

As some of you might notice i setup a new blog recently, and with that, the most important thing needs to be dealt with, backups.  My blog is running WordPress, and i used one of the numerous backup plugins from the repository.  One of those options for backup is FTP of the files.  I like having a copy of things on my home network, so i decided to setup an FTP server on my Ubuntu machine.

Setting up an FTP on Ubuntu is really really simple

sudo apt-get install vsftpd

I chose vsftp since it has good reviews, is easy to setup via the repository and is known for strong security.

Once you have run the install, you can edit the configuration of vsftp with your favorite editor ( mine’s vim )

sudo vi /etc/vsftpd.conf

There are a couple changes I strongly recommend you make the following changes

uncomment the following lines

local_enable=YES # this allows only users that have an account on the machine to login via FTP

write_enable=YES # this allows authorized users to write to the FTP server not only read

chroot_local_user=YES # this locks users to their home directory

Once this is setup,  I proceeded to create a “throwaway” account for the WordPress backups with a strong password.  Once the account is setup, the WordPress backup plugin copies the backups to this account, and i move them to somewhere else using a script.

Getting back into shape

Now as most people in my situation, three young kids under the age of five, IT job, home renovations, keeping fit hasn’t always been number one on the priority list, and I am no longer in the shape i once was.

Being in IT, means long hours in front of a computer screen, followed by ( in my case ) a one hour commute in each direction.  Not exactly conducive to staying in shape, is it.

When I get home, I want to enjoy some time with my 3 boys, and my wife before the kids head to bed.  Once they are in bed, there are the usual household things that need to get done, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc.  Once this is all done, well I really don’t have much motivation to head out to a gym, especially since most of the gyms around my place suffer from what i like to call, the social gym circle.  This is what I call the people who just go to the gym to talk, socialize, flirt, you name it while sitting on some machine or just taking up space.  So if gym’s are out, what are my options, running, which I enjoy, when the weather permits, home gym, we aren’t really setup for that.

A while back, a colleague, well former colleague actually, started talking about a program called one hundred pushups that he had just completed.  The premise of this is that you train up to be able to do 100 consecutive push ups without stopping.  Push ups are an extremely good exercise ( if done well ) as they work shoulders, chest, arms, abs, back and legs.  The focus is to perform “good form” push ups, in sets and increase the amount every day ( 3 times a week ) until you can accomplish the magic number.

I started the program on February 18, only managing 13 good form push ups before my form began to falter.  On Thursday night, March 31st, was the second “test”, after completing week 4, I completed 44 good form push ups.  Now I haven’t completed the 100, but already I can already feel the difference.  I am actually enjoying this training, as it takes no more than a couple minutes in the evening after everything else is done.  I know it’s not a full workout, but it is a beginning.  and once that base is established, I can/will be able to move on to other exercises.

Sir Irisch Moos Shaving Soap

Recently, well a couple months ago really, I started getting into more, shall we say traditional, shaving techniques.  I had been suffering for years from razor burn, razor bumps, and an overall poor shave, to the point, I dreaded shaving.  I would go a couple days without shaving on purpose, actually to be honest, I would wait until having the facial hair either irritated me, or it just looked ridiculous.  See I have the odd genetics, that leaves me with extremely dark brown hair, almost black, and very bright red facial hair.

A couple weeks ago, I placed an order with http://www.fendrihan.com for a variety of shaving supplies, to try out different things.  Today was my second use of Sir Irisch Moos Shaving Soap.  I had read a great review from Shaving101 and wanted to try.  It was relatively cheap, so i figured it was worth the try.

The shaving soap is different from cream, both traditional and the pressurized cans, that i have used in the past.  It comes in a stick, and you just apply it to your face.  Word to the wise, wet your beard first.  When that is done, just lather up with your brush, and that’s it.  The lather isn’t as foamy as any of the creams, but it is just as slick.  So far, I believe this soap will become my goto for shaving, it offers good lubrication, and nice lather.  On top of that, it has a nice smell, very similar to Irish Spring Soap.

anyways, I’ll be updating my experience along the way.

Unemployment

For the first time in my career ( about 12 years ), I have found myself unemployed.  It wasn’t a matter of poor performance, bad management, conflicts at work. The company behind mine ( the money guy as they say ) decided that it was no longer a viable option to have a montreal office open.

A little context for the situation,  I worked for a startup initiative, funded by a large French/American company.  They had decided to launch a company based in Montreal, and run it like a startup,  unfortunately, generating critical mass took longer than expected.  On top of that, the work being done didn’t qualify for the SRED credits available in Montreal, so the interest in having another office open in another country wasn’t as appealing as it once was.  Based on that decision, the company laid off the entire montreal staff, about 12 people.

As for me, well i’m back to looking for a job.  This is a relatively new concept for me, as I haven’t really “looked” for a job in a couple years, people have always come looking for me through contacts.  I actually had to update ( from 2006 ) my resume, and I discovered, it isn’t a very pleasant way to try and sell yourself.  Hence the revival of my blog.  I’ve had a couple of the years, and i think i’m actually going to try and keep this one going.

stay tuned for updates