About bilborg

I am who I am, there's plenty of data on this site to tell you more. Briefly, I'm a husband, computer geek, avid reader, gardener, and builder of furniture.

20 April 2020

Fun with WordPress

Note – this is a discussion and solution for a technical problem for a WordPress instance that uses an SSL certificate signed by a non-public CA. If you don’t care about this sort of thing, please move your eyes down to the next section.

The error text that I saw in the new-to-me Site Health page following upgrading to WordPress 5.4:

cURL error 60: SSL certificate problem: unable to get local issuer certificate

The error above was generated because WordPress/PHP couldn’t verify the site certificate. When this is broken, the impact can be significant on a WordPress instance. Some features just don’t work quite right. Auto updating can fail, and so on.

The context here is that for a variety of internal and external sites, I use site-specific SSL certificates that are signed by our internal CA. That’s a good thing, because prior to Let’s Encrypt, it was easy to spend a bunch of money on SSL certificates from a reputable source. We won’t discuss the non-reputable sources. Since I’m using an external resource for caching and web app firewalling, I am able to use the internally signed certificate for several external sites as well.

With the most recent update adding Site Health as a core feature, this error surfaced for me on a couple of sites. It took a couple of hours and some false starts before I found this solution.

In the WordPress file tree, there’s a file at wp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt (using UNIX-style slashes). This is the file of CA certificates that WordPress and the PHP functions use to verify a certificate is valid. Tryijg to get WordPress and PHP to use the system CA certs file (which has my Root Certificate added as a trust source) was a non-starter, although I tried. So I copied the text of my Internal Root Certificate into thewp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt file. Boom! Problem solved … for now.

The downside of this solution is that any given WordPress update in the future may (will?) overwrite that file with newer info, and will once again exclude my Internal Root Certificate. So I created a text file that contained an identifying header string and the Internal Root Certificate. I then wrote a shell script to check thewp-includes/certificates/ca-bundle.crt for that header string, and if not found, adds the content of the text file to the ca-bundle.crt file. That shell script runs once a day in the wee hours of the morning.

Now, anytime there’s a WordPress update that overwrites ca-bundle.crt, by the next morning, the Internal Root CA certificate will be back in place, and things will continue humming along nicely.

Staying at Home

We continue to stay at home, which is a good thing.

I’ll ask you to determine for yourself if it’s a good thing that some people who, for reasons of politics, mistrust etc., continue to gather in groups, putting themselves and their loved ones at heightened risk of severe illness and death. I personally would rather that people be sane and safe. But bailing any water at all from the deeply stupid side of the gene pool can only be for the good of humanity, in the long term.

I didn’t do any yardwork this weekend. We did a number of other inside chores, including re-loading shelves and such after dealing with a multi-phased ant invasion.

Additionally, on the yardwork front, I will point out that planting veggies HAS brought the usual effects on to our region: We had two overnight frosts in the last week, and we’re due for one more on Tuesday night. I’ve been tarping the veggie beds for those events, and so far haven’t lost plants to them.

Happy Dog

While I was dealing with a training event late last week, I ran across the first picture we took of Lexi on her gotcha date in March 27, 2010:

Our first picture of Lexi the chipuggle mutt, taken on March 27, 2010.
Lexi’s First Photo Op

Winding Down

Nothing particular to report here. Be well, okay?

April 13, 2020

Health and Safety

We’re continuing on the bored, stir-crazy, and physically healthy trend here. We hope that all is well with you and yours.

Yard Work

Aside from working from home, and some indoor chores, most of my “spare” time has been given over to further yard work. During the week, I took half a day off. The first hour of that was conveying the dog to her second round of annual shots at the veterinary clinic. The rest involved picking up some veggies and a tray of flowers, then getting the veggies into the raised beds.

I started by removing last year’s landscape fabric and preparing the beds for tilling:

Two garden beds ready for tilling

Turning over the soil in those two beds, with a bit of amendment in the form of sterilized manure, was a matter of barely 15 minutes. That was followed by raking out and leveling the beds, and getting the plants installed.

Veggies installed in garden beds.

I haven’t yet setup the watering – it really isn’t needed at this time of year. And from today’s vantage, several of those tomato seedlings (in the near box) are already failing. I’ll have to pick up some more robust ones soon.

On the weekend, I continued working on the front yard. My primary focus was making that bed where the extracted tree once lived nice again. So on Saturday, I used the pick axe to turn over the soil in large chunks, and remove as many of the roots as I might. Then I used the tiller to turn the soil over and make it manageable. I raked and shaped the bed, then covered the back section with landscape fabric to keep the weeds down. Finally I mulched the whole bed. I continued with a few more bedding sections, with the eventual goal of getting the front yard in shape. I’m about half done. But here’s how that mound came out:

Mound, made pretty

Winding Down

DoD announced no new casualties in the last week.

Side note – I was up for a few hours during the night, comforting a dog terrified by the intermittent thunder. She’d just start to settle down, then another boom would wind her up again. Now, of course, I’ve got to work, and she’s curled up in a ball beside my chair, asleep and snoring. Sigh.

5 April 2020

Spring Chores

Turns out that the seasons roll by regardless of stay at home orders… Late last fall, during the cleanup, it was clear that the spruce that adorned the left side of the front yard was just about done.

The failing spruce

By February this year, there was no green left to it. This weekend: last rites were administered. Using the pole saw and the small electric chainsaw, I took the tree and both small shrubberies out, along with doing a fair bit of other spring front yard cleanup.

Today, my big hope was that the odd angle of lean was indicative of a shallow, shoddy root system. My hopes were fulfilled.

Stump removal

I first weeded out the bed, preserving the tiger lilies. Then I dug out stumps, starting with the two shrubs, then attacking the spruce stump. I trenched around that with the pickaxe, to a depth of about a foot, then started undercutting it. After a couple of hours of work just on this stump, I got a long 2×4 underneath one edge and broke it free of the remaining roots. Then I worked it up on it’s side onto a couple of short lengths, and was ready to knock the dirt out before hauling that off. I filled in the shallow hole and called it a day.

Our schedule remains the same – mostly home. I’ll go to the office for half a day this week, and on Wednesday there are two outings – in the morning, we’ll take the dog for the rest of her annual shots, then in the afternoon, we’ll go to pick up the groceries that we ordered on Friday.

Winding Down

Our condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class John David Randolph Hilty, 44, from Bowie, Maryland, who died on March 30, 2020 in Erbil, Iraq, of a non-combat related incident.

30 March 2020

Healthy and Cooped Up

As such things go these days, that’s not a bad combination. I’m one of about three people going into my office for a few hours one day a week, to manage one part of our “essential” business that requires physical presence. I’m trying to keep the grocery runs to once every two weeks if I can manage it. Just about the time the weather gets nice enough that Marcia could consider going fishing, at least, the stay home order drops. A pretty good thing, frankly, but it’s hard for her, I know.

The extended family is, to the best of our knowledge, also healthy and cooped up. That’s a happiness, too.

Be safe as reasonable, my friends. Lexi will keep guard…

Lexi on guard duty

22 March 2020

#WFH

First, we’re healthy at this time.

Yup. Most folks I know hereabouts are working from home (WFH). Me, too, but for one day a week when I’m the only one in my department to go into the office for required onsite work requiring physical interaction – tape backups rotating offsite.

I actually put in about 4 hours this weekend, too, on regularly scheduled patching activities that I would have done from home on a Sunday, anyway.

Saturday was yardwork, roasting coffee, and some other chores.

By next weekend, it’ll be time to make a brief run to the store for groceries, etc.

Give yourselves space, time, and forgiveness. Do the best you can to protect yourselves and those around you.

15 March 2020

Ides of March

Happy Birthday, Alex!

What’s new?

The good news is that we already practice social distancing a lot. Hope y’all can manage that, too! Wash your hands a lot, keep the people around you healthy by keeping yourself as isolated as is reasonable and possible.

We’re both healthy at this time, and we’ll do our best to keep it that way!

I did get the shopping done today, which took a while, since there were lines. I also roasted coffee.

Lexi

Relaxing:

Lexi the mutt relaxing on her back, on the sofa.
Lexi relaxing…

Winding Down

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo, 34, of Simi Valley, California died on March 8, 2020 while supporting Iraqi Security Forces in north central Iraq.
  • Capt. Moises A. Navas, 34, of Germantown, Maryland died on March 8, 2020 while supporting Iraqi Security Forces in north central Iraq.
  • Army Spc. Juan Miguel Mendez Covarrubias, 27, of Hanford, California died March 11, 2020, when his unit was engaged by enemy indirect fire at Camp Taji, Iraq.
  • Air Force Staff Sgt. Marshal D. Roberts, 28, of Owasso, Oklahoma, when his unit was engaged by enemy indirect fire at Camp Taji, Iraq.

3 March 2020

Super Tuesday

Enough said.

Eyeballs

Marcia’s cataract surgery went off without a hitch, and she is really happy with both her current improved vision and the progress she’s making. It’s frustrating that she has to sleep with a pirate patch each night, and endure a month of eyedrops, but all realize that compared to progressively worsening functional blindness in one eye, she’s a winner.

Entertainment

We got out and about this weekend, heading over to Ram’s Head On Stage, over in Annapolis, for a lovely matinee show with Zoë Keating.

Zoë Keating playing her cello at Ram’s Head

Zoë’s music is a joy! We saw her last at the same venue a few years ago. She’s had a rough road dealing with the illness and death of her husband in the interim. Her fans (Marcia and I among them) supported her as best we could, as Zoë would allow. I’m selfishly glad she’s back to composing and performing her own music.

Zoë did note and “appreciate” the “Vermont spring weather” that greeted her – it had only climbed up to freezing by noon on Saturday!

Dog

Lexi, being weird

Winding Down

No other significant news to report from this end of the world. After the weekend chill, we’re back to unseasonably warm weather. Did I mention daffodils? Yeah, in bloom for a week or more already. Sigh.

23 February 2020

A Lovely Spring Day

And it was – nearly 60F today. Stuff is blooming and budding and … I have yard work to do. Oh, wait … IT’S STILL WINTER!!! I did none of that this weekend, however. We relaxed in advance of Marcia’s cataract surgery this coming week. We hope that goes well for all the usual reasons, and at least one unusual one – we’re going to see Zoe Keating next weekend! Huzzah!

On the professional side of things, I’m working on refreshing my Red Hat training in advance of re-certifying for my RHCE, sooner than later. Frankly, not a lot of stuff has changed, and I think that their certification cycle is a bit rapacious. But that’s probably just me.

Winding Down

There’s naught else to report. Lexi barked at the pizza man, but that’s unremarkable. Have a good week, y’all!

17 February 2020

Catching Up

We had a lovely 3 day weekend hereabouts. We started a bit early with a pleasant evening at home for Valentine’s Day. This was followed by Marcia’s birthday. We relaxed, watched shows as she wanted, played a few games, and I “cooked” dinner, using some of the meatballs she’d made up earlier in the week. Then shopping and some chores on Sunday, and more relaxation today for the holiday. Tomorrow, back to work.

Not much else to report but for the seasonally inappropriate weather – it’s too damn warm. I’m going to have to start doing yardwork really soon unless we get back to some correctly freezing weather.

Winding Down

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, died on February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.
  • Sgt. 1st Class* Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, died on February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.
  • Spc. Branden Tyme Kimball, 21, from Central Point, Oregon, died on Feb. 12, 2020, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Pfc. Walter Lewark, 26, from Mountainair, New Mexico, died on Feb. 13, 2020, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, from a non-combat related incident.

5 February 2020

Winding Up

So, we’ve had a week that was somewhere between t-shirt and sweatshirt weather. Very weird for late January into early February. This is normally the core of snow season here just south of the Mason-Dixon line. But we’ve only been graced with a pittance of the white fluffy stuff so far this year. Upside – no shoveling yet. Downside – I might have to start doing outside spring work much, much earlier than I expected.

Entertainment

I’ve been reading … mostly Clarkesworld Magazine, and Neil’s related project, Forever Magazine. (Yes, yes … not HTTPS, I have to get on Neil’s case about that.) I changed how I support these projects by dropping the AMZN subs, and picking them up on Patreon. The wonderful original works in Clarkesworld are a joy. I’ve especially appreciated my broadened horizons, courtesy of the big push into translated speculative fiction that the magazine has made over the last couple of years.

On the visual side, we’ve added the CBS All Access streaming service to our repertoire for a while. And while we let a few of those tasty new Picard episodes pile up, we binged out the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s awesome!

Lick-spittles and Cockroaches

It’s been a ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋ and ▋▋▋▋▋ with ▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋ in the Senate! If only those ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋ while ▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋ in the eyesockets. Furthermore, ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋ ▋ ▋▋▋▋ ▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋▋. You get my drift.

Winding Down

Our condolences to the families and friends of these fallen warriors:

  • Spc. Antonio I. Moore, 22, from Wilmington, N.C., died on January 24, 2020 in Deir ez Zor Province, Syria, during a rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations.
  • Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam, died on January 27 in the crash of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.
  • Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire, died on January 27 in the crash of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.