Quick and Easy Tutorial on Installing and Configuring fail2ban on an Amazon EC2 Instance

This article will serve as a quick tutorial on installing and configuring fail2ban on an Amazon EC2 instance.

I like to think of fail2ban as a ‘second line’ of defence against systematic attempts to break through and access SSH on a server.
First line of defence should always be disabling the root log-in, using strong passwords/using private keys for log-on, etc.
It can do a lot more than protecting against brute-force SSH attacks using regex’s but that is not in the scope of this tutorial.


Generating Error Snapshots with LoadRunner Controller

LoadRunner Controller throws up errors here and there almost all the time; 99% of these errors are due to either scripting problems or code changes (the other 1% are out of memory exception errors ;))

The errors generated in the Controller are usually enough to figure out what the problem is, however there are times where the errors generated leave one searching for clues like a scavenger hunt.

Then I came across this option in the Controller… “Generate snapshot on error“… hmm, this looks like it could prove very useful for web testing.
Indeed it did. Turns out that every-time an error is encountered in the Controller, a snap-shot of the page the error was encountered on will be saved and stored in the results folder in .html format.


Using Adsiedit to Increase User Mailbox Size Beyond 2GB on Exchange Server 2003

If you use Exchange 2003 (I’m not sure if the same applies to later versions), you may have noticed that you cannot set a user’s mailbox size to anything greater than 2097151KB (2GB).

The good news is that this limit is only GUI imposed (soft limit) and not a hard value fixed on the exchange server software it self (hard limit).

Increasing a user’s mailbox is really easy and safe – however, I don’t recommend that you configure the size to some unreasonable or extreme limit.
As always, a full backup of the mail store is recommended before changing any settings on the Exchange.


Get Firefox 4 to Ask You to Save Tabs on Exit

One weird thing I noticed when I upgraded to Firefox 4 is that you no longer get offered the option of saving your tabs on exit.

This often came in handy for me at times when I needed to restart the browser for what ever reason (plug-in install, computer restart, etc) so I do wonder why it is disabled by default on Firefox 4.
Perhaps it is not used as often as I thought it might be…

Anyway, you can easily re-enable this prompt by following the simple steps below:


Dropbox – Automatically Standby PC After Sync

Dropbox – another piece of software I couldn’t possibly live without.

If you use Dropbox, you may have come across a situation whereby you’ve just put a few large files in your Dropbox which will take some time to sync.

One solution to this problem (without leaving your machine on all day or night) is to use a batch file which does the following:

  1. Uses a small executable created by a member of the Dropbox forums
  2. This executable checks the status of Dropbox (synching, in-use, up-to-date etc)
  3. The batch script simply runs in the background and checks the status of Dropbox every 30 seconds
  4. If the status is up-to-date, the script executes a command which puts the machine in to standby.