August 21, 2016

Do-It-Yourself: Auto-Posting Inspirational Quotes on Twitter and Facebook

I enjoy reading quotes, concise and thoughtful ones, as IT workaholics like me are busy and quotes are easy to be consumed; they get me inspired quickly or start off the day with clarity.

To pay my respect and contribute, I wrote a few Windows and Linux scripts (documented below) and established these quote delivery services on Twitter and Facebook in February 2011:

This blog post describes the previous and current designs of the services as well as sharing the scripts written to implement them. Unlike the last post regarding social media automation which introduced paid services that are more user-friendly, this post demonstrates a more advanced technique; it is completely free of charge, but could be more friendly to system admins or IT pros than general users.

Flow – How It Works


July 17, 2016

Automatic Posting on Facebook Pages/Groups as Members — 3 Third-Party Solutions Compared

Recently, a less technical friend of mine who provides services for a living wanted to advertise his services on Facebook groups of which he is a member. He asked me to take a look at the automatic posting solutions on the market. During the research, I had to make sure my suggestions are solid (legit – not some scams or fakes, proven to work – at least until this moment).

This blog post provides a brief look at three of the more popular ones which fulfill his needs (i.e. posting to not only fan pages but groups, and not only groups one administrates, but also groups of which one is a member.)

Know the Ethics First

Reading the product manual prior to use

As emphasized above (from the help page of one of the tools), this kind of automation tools, if used incorrectly (e.g. going over the posting limit, posting the same content over and over, abuse of the service, etc.) could upset the host (Facebook) and ultimately get your account restricted or banned. Therefore, it is important to do things right the first time by reading product manuals and consulting sales/support persons (support URLs below) to fully understand the manners in correctly using the tools and the associated risks.

July 3, 2016

Exchange 2013 Journaling Mailbox Archiving - PowerShell Automation and Reporting

Recent Exchange versions support a handy Journaling Mailbox for recording and storing all email messages that go in or out of the mail server for purposes such as audit and backup. Overtime, the Journaling Mailbox grows large and needs to be trimmed or pruned.

This article documents a PowerShell maintenance script I have written to report and automate the monthly archiving process of the Exchange 2013 Journaling Mailbox.

Archiving Concept

This script uses the PowerShell command New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox messagejournal to export Exchange 2013 Journaling Mailbox of previous month as a standard PST file (e.g. archive 2016_01_31.pst) to specified locations (up to two locations) and then uses Search-Mailbox -DeleteContent to delete email messages within the date range if successful (e.g. 2016-01-01 to 2016-01-31). It is designed to be run at the beginning of each month using Windows Task Scheduler.

Email Alerting, Reporting and Logging

June 19, 2016

Resolving 'Root Partition Is Filling Up' Issue on Sophos UTM Firewall

This is a quick guide on how to resolve an occasional problem that could happen to neglected Sophos UTM firewall with default settings, where updates are automatically download to device, filling up storage after some time.

An email alert similar to the below is sent to administrator when it happens:

From: Firewall Notification System []
Sent: 18 June 2016 11:58 PM
To: Administrator []
Subject: [SOPHOS][INFO-150] Root partition is filling up - please check

Root partition is filling up - please check. Current usage: 86%
System Uptime      : 362 days 1 hour 2 minutes
System Load        : 0.05
System Version     : Sophos UTM 9.210-20

Please refer to the manual for detailed instructions.

To solve it, one way is to
  1. SSH into Sophos UTM firewall using root login
  2. Remove content under Sophos update directory (Main focus of this blog post)
  3. (Optional) Configure firmware download interval for System Up2Date packages from Automatic to Manual

June 15, 2016

10+ Smart Working Enterprise IT Rules

As a young IT pro in a large enterprise, there were rules I had to learn in order not to go out of line. It was 2011, the first time I ever stepped into the commercial world of IT, where I learned the essentials (politics) from my supervisor and mentor who always told me not to work hard but work smart. I crafted this list as a reminder for myself.

Studying Image courtesy of Justin Baeder
  1. Most of the time, IT support is a standby job. It may be peaceful but we must get prepared for the worst to come anytime.
  2. Underpromise and overdeliver. We must leave buffer time when we tell users the approximate time to fulfill their requests. (If done early, it surprises them. Won’t hurt.)
  3. You are just a worker if you don’t plan and just do as ordered. When assigned a task, you should be curious. You should ask. You should seek every bit of detail. Then you tell risks to avoid taking responsibility in case of failure.
  4. When answering the management class, do not rush to say yes or boldly suggest when you aren’t sure. Just chill and say you don’t know or you need to check.
  5. As an IT support person of an enterprise, do nothing is better for users and the whole company in long term. (For example, working around a slow 10-year-old PC to mitigate compatibility issues is bad. Why not use it as a reason to support buying new PC that makes the user more productive and happy?)
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