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Peru trip - Day 1 Stop over in Miami

August 9th, 2016

Got a taxi to the airport and boarded the plane. Sat next to a nice girl on her way back to Chilli. She was doing a master in psychology for human resources. Next to her was an English girl travelling to Bolivia. On my opposite side there was a woman who looked like a zombie. I wasn't sure if it was makeup or natural but she didn't try to bit me and her English was slightly better.

Booked myself into the HI USA Miami Beach hostel while I waited for my bags to appear on the carousel then hopped in a taxi. It was 7pm and 32° and I'm still wearing jeans and my leather jacket.

Checked in, which took an age because the staff are slow and a bit clueless. Headed out to forage for food.

Every town in America by the ocean has an Ocean Drive which is usually the last road running parallel to the sea. Sadly they are never actually on the sea front but a couple of hundred meters from the sea. It's usually a tourist trap but it takes the hard workout of finding somewhere to eat. Miami is no exception.

The steps up to the restaurant had red strip lighting and many other tourists found this to be a photo opportunity: I've seen strip lighting before so didn't bother photographing it.

The Greek salad I ordered turned into a ceaser salad and the beer never turned up. When it did, instead of tasting like local beer it just tasted of Desorado with orange in it. I was too knacked to argue with them so paid and left. Had an Pale Ale from the pub under the hostel. I miss English beer already.

Managed to stay up until 1, but when I got to my room there was a pissed old bloke sleeping in my bed. I turfed him out, got new bedding then listened to him snoring all night.

Went down to free breakfast, which is one of the worst hostel breakfasts I've had in a while. Scrambled egg - Mexican style. Half a tray of spicy scrambled egg with chilli and thousand island goo on top, and no drink. I got some water to wash it down with. Yuk!

I had to go to the airport so queued for up at reception again to ask about that. The receptionist kept telling me the only way to get to the airport was by a taxi organised by them and would cost $40. By this point I had run out of patience and started to get stroppy with them and that's when they told me about the $2.65 bus I could get around the corner. While I was on a winner I asked about tours. The receptionist telephoned ahead and got me a place on the next Duck tour. She said I had to hurry, so nipped back to room, packed, showered and brought my bedding back to reception for checkout. Unfortunately the receptionist was fannying about so I sat there for 20 minutes waiting for my turn. After checking out she said I'd better hurry - really!

The duck tour was pretty good. Mostly on water in Bisque Bay pointing out American celebs' homes and a "famous" house used in 8 episodes of Miami Vice, then a drive down Ocean Avenue. The majority of Miami is Art Deco in design and after you get used to it, it looks alright. Even the modern high rises have Art Deco features keeping it inline with the surrounding architecture.

After the Duck tour it was time to head for the airport. The receptionist instructions on how to find the bus to the airport were absolutely useless. So I went to the general area and while trying to illicit help from another person the 150 bus drove past. So I hooffed it down the road after the bus carrying all my gear in oven temperatures. Finally catching it up when it stopped at a bus stop with absolutely no markings on it. I had found this bus stop before but dismissed it as my bus stop because there was no signs hinting that it might go to the airport and all the people at the bus stop only spoke Spanish.

All in all, I wasn't very impressed with Miami or the people of Miami or the International Youth hostel. I don't think I'll be back anytime soon.

Certificate verification failed for untrusted issuer Equifax Secure Certificate Authority

April 7th, 2016

For better or worse I'm back using Plesk again. I wish someone could invent something that does want Plesk does only better! One thing you can be sure of when I'm using Plesk, is that plenty of "how do I fix abc on Plesk" articles will suddenly appear.

I tried to set up email forwarding on Plesk server but for some reason the mail was going into the inbox and not being forwarded. I checked file /usr/local/psa/var/log/maillog

postfix/smtp[1234]: connect to[ip6addr]:25: Network is unreachable
postfix/smtp[1234]: certificate verification failed for[ip4addr]:25: untrusted issuer /C=US/O=Equifax/OU=Equifax Secure Certificate Authority

The initial Googling I did led me to think that the problem was related to Plesk not having the correct certificate to create a secure connection to Google's mail servers citing that Google had changed its certificate authority from Thawte Server CA to Equifax Secure Certificate Authority and that Plesk did not have the Equifax certificate installed. However this turned out not to be the case, all the appropriate certificates were in place.

I found an article in the Plesk knowledge base which solved my problem. The postfix configuration file /etc/postfix/ was missing the line:

smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/pki/tls/certs/ca-bundle.crt

Once added, I restarted postfix with:

/etc/init.d/postfix restart

and all was well in the world.

Connecting to VPN via PPTP always reports Operation timed out

January 27th, 2016

I had a few problems connecting to a client's VPN. All the settings were correct:

Configuration: Default
Server Address:
Account name: mrn
Encryption: Automatic

but it would not connect, it always timed out.


publish_entry SCDSet() failed: Success!
publish_entry SCDSet() failed: Success!
pptp_get_router_address from dict 1
PPTP connecting to server '' (x.x.x.x)...
PPTP connect errno = 60 Operation timed out

I came across this forum post that said "it ended up being the router port forwarding stopped for the VPN port", so I checked my Virgin Super Hub router. After logging in go to the "Advanced Settings", "Security", "Firewall" section. I checked "PPTP Pass-Through" to enable forwarding of PPTP traffic, applied the changes and that fixed it.

Glasgow Fright Fest 2016 Programme

January 12th, 2016

Over the years this has become a little FrightFest survivors' guide. The most important part of a film festival is choosing when to eat and when to grab a quick pint. This year the gaps seem to be between 25 and 50 minutes long. Last year we had to eat a 3 course meal in 25 minutes then rush back to our seats! But it looks like we might have a bit longer this year.

If anyone from FrightFest is reading this then next year can we have a shorter (pee only) gap during the morning to build up a longer gap around food time. There are loads of really nice restaurants in Glasgow but we just end up eating KFC, Wok2Walk and junk because there just isn't enough time to go somewhere nice :(

So to help you with your food planning here is a list of the gaps and their films ;)

Thursday 25 February 2016

21:00 - 22:52 (93m / 1h 33m)
UK Première - The Forest

Friday 26 February 2016

13:30 - 15:05 (95m / 1h 35m)
UK Première - The Hexecutioners


15:40 - 17:11 (91m / 1h 31m)
UK Première - Anguish

1h 19m

18:30 - 20:08 (98m / 1h 38m)
World Première - Pandemic


21:00 - 22:27 (87m / 1h 27m)
UK Première - The Mind's Eye


23:15 - 00:41 (86m / 1h 26m)
European Première - Patchwork

Saturday 27 February 2016

10:00 - 11:44 (104m / 1h 44m)
Scottish Preview - The Wave (original title: "Bølgen")


12:10 - 13:39 (89m / 1h 28m)
UK Première - Southbound


14:05 - 16:05 (120m / 2h)
Preview - SPL 2: A Time for Consequences (original title: "Saat po long 2")


16:40 - 18:16 (96m / 1h 36m)
European Première - The Other Side of the Door


19:05 - 20:42 (97m / 1h 37m)
UK Première - Baskin


21:30 - 22:51 (81m / 1h 21m)
UK Première - Martyrs


23:30 - 01:00 (90m / 1h 30m)
UK Première - The Devil's Candy

More information about these films may be found on the official FrightFest web site.

For previous years' film choices take a look at our main Glasgow Fright Fest page.

Allowing users to logging in with keys

December 14th, 2015

I'm doing more and more work with SSH keys so I thought I'd share this little program with you. When I create a development server I set up SSH keys so that I'm not constantly typing in passwords as I copy stuff around. After creating a new virtual machine I copy the public keys from my other machines over to the ~/.ssh folder on the new machine then I run the following program:

cat *.pub > authorized_keys

This scoops up all the public keys into an authorized_keys file, effectively making them active.

I call this program ~/.ssh/ and I place it next to all the uploaded public keys so that I don't forget to run it when I'm uploading my new keys.