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Category: Tech

Links and News

According to W3Counter, which maintains a pretty good cross sampling of web site users (from what I’ve hear, anyway), the use of Firefox for web surfing has risen to an impressive 25%. That is so great to hear, as Internet Explorer is and continues to be the bane of web developers and designers everywhere. Good riddence, another 10% of IE users!

I have long been a scavenger for the best deals on items I am seeking to purchase. I was pleased to find one tool that encompasses many of the bargain-hunter sites I am used to visiting. Before you buy anything online, be sure to stop at!

I discovered an excellent streaming radio station at They play a delectible sampling of alternative and indie music. If you are into that sort of thing, then check it out.

More to come…

Geeky Stuff

On the Dell website, they detail all the cool stuff Michael Dell has in his personal tech arsenal. I was suprised to see his primary laptop runs Ubuntu Linux, Open Office, and Firefox. Guess he’s as fed up with Window as the rest of us!

Speaking of (free) alternatives to (upgrades from) Microsoft products, Thunderbird 2 is out! I have been eagerly waiting for this, as it will introduce some cool new features, such as the ability to tag your messages with keywords. Ooh! I gotta go upgrade now…I’ll let you know how it goes!

Kurt Vonnegut, Dead at 84

Ah well…Tingaling!

Sorry, I haven’t had time to make any Song Of The Week postings. Been running around like a headless chicken, juggling jobs, kids, and flaming kittens. On Tuesday I gave notice that I’m leaving my job with P3I, where I am working for the Air Force, and will soon be starting to do full-time contract work for a marketing company based in Raleigh. Luckily, this does not mean I will be moving!

I’ll post more info when I know more about it all, but in the mean time, make sure you check out the Top Ten ’80s Robots (We Expected to Exist By Now). It’s funny ha-ha.

The Biggest Shot In The Foot Ever?

For the last few weeks, the techie blogs have been circulating stories about how Microsoft Windows Vista can be installed and used for free for 120 days. You see, Microsoft gives you 30 days to try it out for nothing, but then they will disarm it and require you to purchase a license to continue using it.

Someone found out that Microsoft had built in a way to extend that 30 trial to 120 days through a little registry tweak.

Well, now someone has figured out how to extend it indefinitely, not by hacking or cracking the operating system, but by using the built-in tools that Microsoft included in the operating system.


“It appears that crackers need not break Windows Vista activation because Microsoft has done it for them! Brian Livingston of Window Secrets writes in Microsoft allows bypass of Vista activation about how to allow you to keep your Vista box running indefinitely without activating it.”

It is likely that MS will try and fix this through some future patch, but what will they break in doing so? They obviously had a need to provide this functionality for some reason.

Now that I’ve abandoned Winders on the home desktop completely for RedHat Fedora linux, this makes me chuckle. However, maybe I’ll give it a shot and see what happens!

Part II: Setting up Apache, Tomcat, and mod_jk on RHEL4

After managing to get Tomcat5.5 working with Apache2 using mod_jk, my next venture was to enable SSL using a self-signed certificate in Tomcat. This proved to be quite a task.

The system I’m setting up is running RedHat Enterprise Linux 4.4. I installed all the official RedHat RPM’s to get Tomcat and Apache talking together with mod_jk (see Part I of this tutorial).

After 4 days of banging my head on my keyboard, I noticed that when I would run:

#java -version

It spit out this:

Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build pxi32dev-20061002a (SR3) )
IBM J9 VM (build 2.3, J2RE 1.5.0 IBM J9 2.3 Linux x86-32 j9vmxi3223-20061001 (JIT enabled)
J9VM - 20060915_08260_lHdSMR
JIT - 20060908_1811_r8
GC - 20060906_AA)
JCL - 20061002

This let me know that I am supposed to be using IBM’s version of java, which apparently is the default on my RedHat system, not Sun’s version. I think somewhere along the way I downloaded Sun’s jvm, and I assumed that I was supposed to be using it’s keytool to generate an SLL certificate for Tomcat, but such is not the case. This caused me much confusion, but here’s how I ended up fixing it:

1. Generate Keystore file
(NOTE: all of this assumes you already have Apache configured with SSL. I used OpenSSL, which I don’t go into here, but there are loads of resources online for you, and it’s relatively easy to do).

Assuming you have the default RedHat java rpm already installed, run this:

# /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.5.0-ibm- -genkey -alias tomcat -keyalg RSA

NOTE: I used Tomcat’s default password of ‘changeit’ when prompted.

The keystore file gets dropped in the home directory of whatever user you are logged in as. I was root, so I then moved the keystore file to the tomcat home directory:

# mv /root/.keystore /etc/tomcat5/
# chown tomcat.tomcat /etc/tomcat5/.keystore

2. Next you have to edit Tomcat’s server.xml file

# nano /etc/tomcat5/server.xml

Uncomment the SSL connector and set it up like so:

<!-- Define a SSL HTTP/1.1 Connector on port 8443 -->
<connector port="8443" maxHttpHeaderSize="8192"
maxThreads="150" minSpareThreads="25" maxSpareThreads="75"
enableLookups="false" disableUploadTimeout="true"
acceptCount="100" scheme="https" secure="true"
clientAuth="false" algorithm="IbmX509" sslProtocol="SSL"
keystorePass="changeit" />

Note that I added algorithm=”IbmX509″ and I changed sslProtocol=”TLS” to sslProtocol=”SSL”. This is necessary to get things working with IBM’s jvm.

3. Restart everything

# service tomcat5 stop
# service tomcat5 start
# apachectl restart

If you were following along from my last article, then browse to:

If all went well, you should see the hello.jsp page showing you the system time!