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Updating BIOS on a Lenovo Carbon X1 3rd gen #computers

Meltdown Attack It is - also - the season to upgrade your BIOS, it seems. Lenovo released an update for the Carbon X1 3rd, 1.21, just before new years. Here's a short note-to-self/reminder on how to update:

The "Both"-thing is the one I usually forget (I have it set to Legacy only, normally).

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SPF, DKIM, DMARC #email

By following these two guides: "Getting DKIM, DMARC and SPF to work with Postfix, OpenDKIM and OpenDMARC" and "How to eliminate spam and protect your name with DMARC" - I have installed and configured opendkim and opendmarc on my server, configured them (and Postfix) and added the accompanying DNS records, so now emails from koldfront.dk and asjo.org get signed wit DKIM and I have set up DMARC records for the domains. (I had SPF-records set up a long ago already.)

Yay!

Next year I'll get around to DNSSEC, I'm sure.

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Tumble drying Dovecot #debian #free software #ilovefs

Last summer I was tumble drying my pillows and duvet, to try and keep allergy-triggering bugs down.

I usually never use the dryer, because it makes my clothes smell weird. But for the pillows etc. it was needed.

Unfortunately the tumble dryer kept triggering the RCD, turning power off in my apartment. This would happens around 4½ to 5 minutes after turning the dryer on, and to dry everything took quite a while longer. So it happened a number of times.

This meant that my cupboard server lost power aruptly. It coped remarkably well with that, except for one thing: one of the Dovecot mailboxes got corrupted: "Inconsistency in map index".

A quick search revealed that the tool to fix that is doveadm force-resync - "Repair broken mailboxes".

So I ran that on all the mailboxes, and it failed on one of them. Bummer.

More searching and reading up on mailing lists, I found someone reporting the same problem, and a note saying it was fixed in Dovecot 2.2.32 in commit c8be394.

This was a very nice piece of information, as I could quickly check that the version of Dovecot on my server was 2.2.27, and thus the fix could very well fix my problem as well.

I did not feel like upgrading Dovecot to a newer version, as I run Debian and rely on the security updates from the project, so I took a look at the commit, to see if the change was small enough that I could apply it to the Debian package locally.

Fortunately it is a 3-line change, so I got the source of the Dovecot package (apt source dovecot), used quilt to add the patch, built the package with debuild and added it to my local package repository using reprepro.

After installing the patched package on the server I ran the force-resync command again, and lo-and-behold, the mailbox was fixed.

I 🖤 Free Software.

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Open position in Novozymes #biotech #free software #programming

Novozymes One of the sister-departments of the department I work in at Novozymes has an open position:

We work on and with Linux machines, use all the Free Software we can, and besides having quite a say on how to solve the problems, you also get to interact with a variety of smart colleagues from around the organisation - so you get to learn some microbiology as well.

If you're a curious developer who is good at programming and would like to work in Bagsværd - get in touch and send an application.

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Testing strategies #email #programming

Here are two approaches to testing code that sends email, that I have stumbled over recently:

The difference in approach is thought provoking.

Why would you spend the time to implement something that simulates a real mail server, when you can just install a real mail server, and use it to test against?

Why would you test against a simulation (which might have its own set of quirks and shortcomings), rather than the real thing?

Kind of mind boggling to me. But that's apparently what's en vogue.

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Updating Intel ME on a Lenovo Carbon X1 3rd gen #commandline #computers #hardware #security

No doubt to Andrew S. Tanenbaum's great joy recent news have revealed that many Intel processors run a version of Minix on some kind of extra "security" core.

Unfortunately it seems to be full of holes.

After downloading and running a tool from Intel to check whether my system was vulnerable, Intel-SA-00086 Detection Tool , and getting the unfortunate message:

  Based on the analysis performed by this tool: This system is vulnerable.
  Explanation:
  The detected version of the Intel(R) Management Engine firmware
    is considered vulnerable for INTEL-SA-00086.
    Contact your system manufacturer for support and remediation of this system.

I started looking for how to update the faulty code in my processor.

I found a description on how somebody updated their Lenovo X1 Carbon 5th gen, Solved: Re: X1 Carbon 5th gen on Linux: How to update Intel Management Engine 11.8 Firmware??, which was basically a couple of amendments to another guide: Updating Intel Management Engine firmware on a Lenovo without a Windows Install, which was written for a Gen 4.

Here is what I did to upgrade my Lenovo X1 Carbon 3rd gen running Debian unstable:

Running the detection tool now says:

  INTEL-SA-00086 Detection Tool
  Copyright(C) 2017, Intel Corporation, All rights reserved
   
  Application Version: 1.0.0.146
  Scan date: 2017-12-09 16:59:33 GMT
   
  *** Host Computer Information ***
  Name: tullinup
  Manufacturer: LENOVO
  Model: 20BSCTO1WW
  Processor Name: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-5200U CPU @ 2.20GHz
  OS Version: debian buster/sid  (4.14.0-1-amd64)
   
  *** Intel(R) ME Information ***
  Engine: Intel(R) Management Engine
  Version: 10.0.56.3002
  SVN: 0
   
  *** Risk Assessment ***
  Based on the analysis performed by this tool: This system is not vulnerable. It has already been patched.
   
  For more information refer to the INTEL-SA-00086 Detection Tool Guide or the
    Intel Security Advisory Intel-SA-00086 at the following link:
    https://www.intel.com/sa-00086-support

Yay.

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Bioinformatics Software Developer #biotech #free software #programming #python

If you're a developer with keen programming skills and interest in learning the subject matter, the department I work in is hiring:

Bioinformatics Software Developer

We use Linux (Ubuntu) on desktops and servers and are currently working on a project based on Python, Hadoop and Solr to make information and analyses available to our colleagues.

The office is located in Bagsværd north of Copenhagen (and it does not look like the picture on the job-page).

The application deadline was October 24, 2017; time's up!

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