Cloud based firewall mgmt

dome9 interfaceOnce we started using CentOS for our Couchbase instances here at RecordSetter, I have been looking for a better system for managing the firewalls.

Rackspace, our cloud provider provides public NICs that are open to the Internet at large and obviously need to have a proper firewall. I managed to hack my way through iptables once, but my configuration got wiped by a “yum update” and I really didn’t want to go through that again.

Rackspace has this thing called the Cloud Tools Marketplace where services can register and integrate pretty easily. And that is where I found Dome9.

I found the service to be exactly what I hoped it would be. Installing the agent was extremely easy and was zero config from the console side. Using the web admin to write rules was super easy too. I would have probably preferred to write rules on a NIC by NIC basis, but their model right now is more about whitelisting IP addresses since that works better across a logical group of machines and I’m okay with that.




Windows 8 on big monitors – ModernMix

For those of us fortunate to have multiple and/or high PPI monitors, Windows 8’s tablet-focused UI design is, to put it mildly, not ideal.

I totally understand why Microsoft focused on creating a simple, focused experience for touch screens. If I were in charge, I would have made a similar decision. The new “Store” apps are generally a breath of fresh air. They install and uninstall incredibly quickly. Settings are usually synced across accounts, etc etc. You can tell it is early days, but more and more I look for and use the Store versions of apps that I’m used to on the classic desktop.

The problem here is that Store apps open full screen by default. You can set them to pin to the side and work on two Store apps at once, but this is only of limited value.

Anyway, the point of this post is that although I’ve heard MS is changing things up a little in the upcoming codename Blue release, there is a stop-gap option via Stardock called ModernMix for $4.99. The app lets you open Store apps in classic desktop windows.

My only complaint so far is the licensing built in, and I hope I’m wrong about this, is bound to cause problems at some point down the road.