Enable GPS for all site in FreeScan

Recently I purchased a Garmin GPS 18x PC for my Uniden UBCD396XT scanner.

I would have preferred to by a genuine Uniden GPS but its not sold in Australia and shipping cost from over seas was more than the GPS.

After buying a null modem male-male gender bender I got my GPS working.

To my surprise the trunking networks I’ve imported from Radio Reference into FreeScan don’t have the ‘Use GPS with this site enabled’ and I cannot find a bulk option to enable this for all my sites.

I had a quick look at the .996 FreeScan file in NotePad++ and found a GPS location. Example:

So it seems that the format of the file is LAT/LONG/Range/GPS on-off.

I downloaded and installed this plugin https://github.com/phdesign/NppToolBucket which allowed me to use ‘Multiline find and replace’.

I replaced this:

With this:


I saved the .996 file in NotePad++ and opened FreeScan.

95% of sites were set to 25 miles for the GPS, others had values like 1, 5 and 35 miles but I repeated the same process.

I recommend creating a copy/backup of your .996 file before starting this process but don’t be too worried about the integrity of the .996 file as the next option below enable GPS is to enable lockout which shows up in red within FreeScan.

Now I have GPS enabled on all my sites within a minute or so.

WSUS to Foreground Mode using PowerShell

Enable Foreground Mode:
(get-wsusserver).GetConfiguration().BitsDownloadPriorityForeground = $true

Disable Foreground Mode:
(get-wsusserver).GetConfiguration().BitsDownloadPriorityForeground = $false

This has been tested on Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 using both Internal and SQL databases.

Thanks to John Weeks for this post http://www.robertskinner.com/2013/01/wsus-on-windows-server-2012-setting.html

Nginx quicker than Apache2 on Raspberry Pi 2

Yesterday I setup my Raspberry Pi with Apache2 in the same manner I would for any Linux web server. My first impression was that it was slow to load my WordPress homepage. Installing APC as per The Perfect APC Configuration – Greg Rickaby improved load times but I was still seeking fast page load times.

After reading posts like The Raspberry Pi Web Server Speed Test – Raspberry Pi Blog and Raspberry Pi web server – Comparing the performance of Nginx and Apache web servers  I decided to install Nginx (pronounced engine-x). Being new to Nginx I used this Tutorial – Install Nginx and PHP on Raspbian – RaspiPress guide to do this inital configuration. I also used this guide to tweak Nginx for WordPress WordPress NGINX Rewrite Rules. First impressions of Nginx is that its fast and used far less memory.

Don’t forget to configure APC after installing Nginx as PHP caching does work to improve page load times.

Load testing and benchmarking is always a must when changing configurations on web servers. Look at apache – ab load testing – Stack Overflow and Load Testing and Benchmarking With Siege.

Can a Raspberry Pi 2 be a web server?

Over the past year I’ve been running a HP Proliant DL 38 G3 to host this website and other web apps. For the age of this server its a power house but this server consumes massive amounts of power using its two 575W power supplies.

Since the Raspberry Pi 2 model b was released I have been very interested on getting my hands on one. After receiving an excessive power bill I took the plunge and ordered my first Pi 2

With a 900 MHz quad core CPU and 1 GB RAM they pack some grunt in a small form-factor. The power saving is massive with a 2A micro USB charger using a mere  10W. Even if you used 2 or 3 Pi’s to run your website the power saving is huge.

Have a look at my awesome test bench. Still unsure of the type of case I want yet.


Currently I have one configured as a web server running Apache2/PHP5/APC and another running MySQL server. Not sure if a single web server will be enough grunt but time will tell. After performing some load tests I’m impressed on how well the Pi holds up.

If load becomes a real issue I’ll run a Pi with Varnish. I’ve used Varnish reverse web proxy in the past and its awesome at reducing web server load.

When I get my hands on some more Pi’s I’ll perform some bench marks comparing Apache2 and Nginx.

I’m sure you will see many more Pi related posts to come..

Migrate my desktop from Ubuntu to Fedora

Over the past 11 years I have used a few Linux distributions on my desktop. Here is an overview:

2002: RedHat 7/8 was used no a spare desktop
2005: 5.04 Hoary Hedgehog  was installed on my main desktop
2005: 5.10 Breezy Badger was installed on my server.
2006: 6.06 Dapper Drake came out which was the first LTS (long term support). From then on all my servers ran the latest LTS build.
2011: 11.04 Natty Narwhal brought Unity replacing Gnome 2.x. While I was never a fan on unity I continued to use Ubuntu.

Everything was great up until when I upgraded from a stable 13.04 Raring Ringtail April 2013 to 13.10 Saucy Salamander September 2013. 13.10 which was very buggy. With high memory/cpu usage and poor video playback I started thinking that Ubuntu is no longer cutting it.

On the weekend I installed CentOS 6.4 on one of my servers for testing and it had me thinking, If RedHat Enterprise/CentOS use Gnome 2.x on their desktop builds perhaps Fedora using Gnome 3. I had a quick look on their website and Fedora 19 confirmed me thinking. I downloaded a copy and got straight to the migration.

The installation went without a hitch and when I sore Gnome 3 it was love at first sight. I have installed Google Chrome and Rythembox, both applications used to crash all the time under Ubuntu 13.10 but they no longer crash. Yum is alittle different then apt-get and takes some getting used to but its not as quick as apt-get. Memory and cpu usage lower since the switch.

If you are thinking that Ubuntu 13.10 is a slow peace of shit that crashes all the time, perhaps give Fedora live a try.

Publish Moodle behind MS TMG

The plan was to set up Moodle internally and have it published by TMG. This would allow the speed of HTTP internally and the security of HTTPS externally. Moodle URL is by the config.php file in either a http or https modes but not both which holds Moodle back. I turned to TMG and found the link translation option can solve my problem.

Web server set up

Apache2 web service

<Directory /var/www/moodle/auth/ldap/>
<Files ntlmsso_magic.php>
NTLMAuth on
AuthType NTLM
AuthName “Moodle NTLM Authentication”
NTLMAuthHelper “/usr/bin/ntlm_auth –helper-protocol=squid-2.5-ntlmssp”
NTLMBasicAuthoritative on
require valid-user
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

TMG server set up

Web Publishing Rule for external https

  1. Authentication delegation: NTML
  2. Published server logout url: /login/logout.php
  3. Bridging: redirect requests to port 80.
  4. Users: All authenticate users.
  5. Link Translation MUST be enabled with configure
  6. replace ‘path=/; HttpOnly’ with ‘path=/; secure; HttpOnly’. This makes the Moodle cookie only work in https.
  7. replace ‘http:\/\/yourdomainname.org’ with ‘https:\/\/yourdomainname.org’. This fixes in page javascript.
  8. Create an SSL listener
    1. html form with Active Directory Authentication Validation
    2. Authentication Preferences have Validate credentials for every http request enabled.
    3. Connections only enable 443 ssl
    4. Select ssl certificate.
    5. SSO set domain.
    6. Networks, set external IP.

Web Publishing Rule for external http

  1. Authentication delegation: None
  2. Bridging: redirect requests to port 80.
  3. Users: All users.
  4. Create a web listener on port 80 with no authentication.

Web Publishing Rule for external http login

Copy the http rule and name it http login. This rule allows login redirect from http to https.

  1. Link transactions, custom, Path delete ‘/’ and replace it with ‘/login/*’ and ‘/auth/*’
  2. Action, Deny, Redirect to ‘https://yourdomainname.org/login/index.php’

The deny rule must be above the allow http in the TMG firewall policy list or it wont work.

Finished product

Guest access via http


Login form




Secure access




New Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002 for Subaru MY08 WRX

After 40,000 plus thousand KM of use on my Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002 tyres they are at end of life with only a millimeters of tread remaining.  My last set of Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002 tyres were purchased around 14 months ago during a buy 3 get 1 free offer and I wouldn’t have been able to justify the cost without that deal. I absolutely LOVE these tyres they grip so well in all conditions. Before buying my first RE002’s I bought a set of 1/3 used RE001 and that started my passion in tyres. The tyres do also have a very nice tread appearance as shown in this photo of the tyres sitting in my garage before were fitted.



Luckily the price of these tyres have come down in price dramatically.  Now I can afford to buy all 4 tires in one go and they will cost me the same price I paid for 3 last time. Before I desisted to buy the same tyre I performed some research and found this post by RexandRegina on the WRX AU forum.


A summary of tread wear rating – lower values generally = better grip; higher values = longer tyre life.
Tyre wear ratings – these are a proxy for grip, where the number is lower the tyre will wear more quickly usually due to construction from a softer compound.
However, tread design may reduce contact area and thereby reduce dry grip but improve wet grip. Also the overall construction of the tyre will have an impact. Be aware of speed, mass and temperature ratings.
100 = the value attributed to the life of a test tire; thus a tire with a value of 200 will last twice as long as the test tire.
Value (generally lower values equal better dry grip)

30 – Kumho Ecsta V710 – Track
40 – Yokohama ADVAN 050 – Track
40 – Hankook Ventus Z214 – Track
50 – Hankook Ventus Z211 – Track
50 – Bridgestone RE55 – Track
60 – Dunlop SP Supersport Race – Track
60 – Yokohama ADVAN 048 – Track
60 – Pirelli PZero Corsa – Track
80 – Michellin Pilot Sport Cup – Track
100 – Toyo R888 (50) – Track


140 – Bridgestone Potenza RE070 – STi(old) – road
140 – Hankook RS3 – road
140 – Toyo R1R – road
140 – Federal 595RS-S – road
180 – Yokohama ADVAN 08 – road/track

180 – Bridgestone Potenza RE11 – road
180 – Yokohama ADAVAN 13c – road – EVO
180 – Kumho Ecsta XS KU36 – road


200 – Dunlop SP600 – STi current – road
200 – Hankook Ventus RS2 – road
200 – Falken RT615 – road
200 – Dunlop Sport Z1 – road


220 – Bridgestone Potenza RE02 – road
220 – Pirelli PZero Rosso/Nero – road


240 – Goodyear Eagle F1 asym- road
240 – Toyo T1 Sport – road
240 – Dunlop SP Sport Maxx
240 – Federal 595 – road


280 – Dunlop Sport 01 – WRX current – road
280 – Toyo T1R – road
280 – Hankook Ventus V12 – road
280 – Bridgestone RE050 – road
280 – Bridgestone Potenza S001 – road


300 – Bridgestone Turanza – road
300 – Falken FK452 – road
300 – Toyo Proxes 4 – road
300 – Dunlop DZ101 – road


320 – Hankook Optimo – road
320 – Kumho Ecsta SPT KU31 – road


420 – Hankook Ventus V4 – road


440 – Kumho Solus KU17- road


Datasource: Tirerack and manufacturers.


Before placing my order the tyre shop informed me that they didn’t have any stock of the RE002 and perhaps I wanted buy the S001 instead. I read the post and found the S001 is as grippy as the current WRX tyre which isn’t as grippy as the RE001. So I inform them I wasn’t interested and to order in the RE002. They told me that they are on back-order and there is only 2 in the country. Its been 2 weeks since I ordered them and I’m still waiting. But the RE002’s are worth the wait.

Web Server Upgrade

Its been 1 year since I began using a HP ProLiant DL360 G3 as my web server to host this web site. The last server upgrade was talked about in this post. During that time I have had two fan kit fail which caused a around a week of down time. I knew it was time to decommission the aging server. The HP ProLiant DL360 G3 server  had caused me issues long before it started to fail such as it doesn’t support a 64 bit operating system, limited ram slots, only supports two hard disks and the lack of processing power meant that a reverse proxy (Varnish) was a must.

My replacement server is a HP ProLiant DL380 G4. The specs for this server are as:

  • 64 bit support
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Two  Intel Xeon CPUs clocked at 3.60GHz with hyperthreading
  • Two 72 GB SCSI 15,000 RPM hard disks in a RAID 1 for the root file system
  • Four 146 GB SCSI 15,000 RPM hard disks in a RAID 10 for the www and mysql data

Just like the old server I am running Ubuntu Linux 12.04 LTS as my operating system but this time I can install the 64 bit version. Due to the upgrade in performance I have chosen to not install varnish or any reverse proxy but simply use PHP caching.  I went with APC (Alternative PHP Cache) as is maintained by PHP.  I have done some basic performance testing and found that my router is more likely to freeze due to high load than my web server.

Brake pad replacement time for MY08 WRX

Black Betty my car now has around 108,000KM on the clock. At its last service my mechanic informed me the front brake pads need to be changed next service and the rear pads will need to be changed in the not so distant future.

I started investigating which aftermarket products are good for my WRX. Everyone had both positive and negative feedback about any given product. After much time spent with no clear answer I decided to get a quote from my local Subaru dealer for Subaru OEM pads. I was impressed by the affordable of OEM pads so I bought them then and there for the front and rear.

What I like about the OEM pads is they work well without being warmed up and they don’t produce large amounts of dust. I have alloy wheels and hate them dirty. The only negative comment about OEM pads is they fade under extreme conditions but brake fade is a non issue for me as I don’t track the car. After buying the pads I went over to Autobarn and bought a 500ml bottle of Motul 5.1 brake fluid. That should keep my mechanic busy next service.