Monday, January 30, 2017

Quote For The Day: 44

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.  ~~ John Wayne

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sunday Thought: God, Seeker Of The Soul...

A Sunday Thought, on Saturday...
Have you ever given thought to your soul?  That "inner man" that only you know.  The thoughts that do not express themselves outwardly into the world.  The desires within.  The emotions.  All of the things within a man, not exposed to the world unless you allow them to be.
It would certainly be hard for me to recognize you if you did not have a physical body.  I mean, I know you by your face.  Your voice.  If we were in a dark room, and I could not see you, I would not know it was you in the room.  I might "sense" someone in the room, but I would not know that it was actually "you".
Have you ever thought about the fact that God knows our soul?  He knows "that" that is within us.  He calls to it, if we really listen.  And when He speaks to us, we always say "we just know".  Because we "know" He spoke to the inner man of us.  Even those nudges, internally, when the Holy Spirit guides us is always in "internal communication".  Yes, there are times when God has spoken directly, externally, to people.  But for me, its always been internal.  But if you were to take off this physical body, and just be left with your soul exposed, God would recognize you still.  I would even go as far as to say that your soul IS how God recognizes you.  After all, that IS what He speaks to when He communicates to us.
Think about that for a moment.  IF what I'm saying is true, then God really is a "soul seeker".  God has never visited me in the flesh (that I'm aware of).  But He has spoken to the internal part of me.  So I have to conclude that God is the seeker of the soul.  The "lover of my soul", if you will.
And just as we seek relationships down here on the Earth through physical means (by talking to others and physically being around other people), God seeks "that" that is within us.  The soul, to have relationship with us.
Let us take the time to have a relationship with Him, through the soul.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Quote For The Day: 43

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us".  ~~Joseph Campbell

Monday, January 23, 2017

Night # 3

Saw this below lined up today. They are starting to work hard on replacing this pole now. They had to cut a way through the woods and slide the pole down the hill to the spot where the broken one is. Is going to be 37° tonight, so I'm hoping they can get this completed tonight. It's currently 9:07pm at the time of this writing. Oddly, my 4G on phone seems like 1G since this all took place.

Night Number Two In The Dark...

Still in the dark from the below power outage. It was 75 mph winds that blew the trees over onto the pole with the transformer on it. Still waiting on Alabama Power.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When Weather Disrupts Things...

This last storm was not so nice to us. We have been without power now for 13 hours (at the time of this post) and still waiting on the power company. We had two trees go down. First one hit the second tree. Second tree hit the power pole, caused a fire, which was put out by the rain. It was quite a scene. You can see the tree cutting crew has already done their job.

Sunday Thought: Do Unto Others...

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cisco ASA: Why Adding To Your ACL Does Not Block The Connection You Want To Block

In yesterday's post about shunning in the ASA, I said something about how I added an IP address to the ACL to block an IP address from getting through to a server.  I also mentioned that because the connection was already active, that adding his IP into the ACL did not stop him from coming through at that point.  So, why?
There is this concept in the ASA called "slow path" and "fast path".  When a connection is initiated, the ASA will use the "slow path", which means it checks the packet against the incoming ACL that is in place, to verify if its allowed or not.  If allowed through, then the packets from then on take the "fast path" for that particular connection.  Taking the "fast path" means that the packets are no longer checked against the ACL to verify if its allowed or not, allowing for better performance.  However, I personally am not a fan of this method.  My stance would be to add performance to the gear, instead of skimping on security for the sake of performance.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cisco ASA: How To Immediately Block An External IP From Coming Through Your Firewall

Have you ever had an intruder coming through your firewall, and you needed to block that IP address immediately?  I recently saw this very thing coming through a Cisco ASA.  Even though we didn't see this in our logs (still working on why this didn't happen), it was reported to us from our server team.  And because we didn't see it coming through our log, we decided to do a packet capture on the ASA to verify that it was actually coming through.  Well, the capture proved that it was.  So, our immediate solution was to add this public IP address to our block list.  However, because he was already coming through to a particular NAT translation (an internal server accessed from the outside), adding this in to the ACL did not work.  Now this, to me, is unacceptable in a firewall!  So as I'm writing this post, I think Ill do a post coming up on how the ASA works regarding this concept.  I'm not sure its widely published.
Back to this post though.  So I put the public IP address to be blocked and that did not stop them.  So, what to do?
There is a command called "shun" on the ASA.  Its intended to block the IP from coming through.  So, after the packet capture, I verified with another command:
ASA# sho conn add
TCP outside inside, idle 0:00:00, bytes 903237461, flags UIOXB

You can see above, the connection is active.  So lets shun it:
ASA# shun
Shun added in context: single_vf
Shun successful

Now to verify that its actually stopped.  We did a show capture, to verify that the packet count was not increasing, as it was before:
ASA# sh capture
capture capin type raw-data access-list 189 interface outside [Buffer Full - 524058 bytes]
ASA# sh capture
capture capin type raw-data access-list 189 interface outside [Buffer Full - 524058 bytes]
ASA# sh capture
capture capin type raw-data access-list 189 interface outside [Buffer Full - 524058 bytes]

Done, shunned for now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cisco: Dual Nexus 7K Core

We are getting ready to replace an old 6500 with these dual core N7Ks. HSRP with vPCs to all connections. Should be a good core replacement.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Palo Alto (And Check Point)

I've been working on a pair of Palo Alto 3020s in HA mode.  I really like the Palo Alto firewall.  Don't get me wrong, I like "working" on most firewalls.  But Palo Alto (and Check Point) just ranks to me as the best on the market.  I've been consistent in saying this for sure.  And working on this cluster, I certainly recall why.
Just FYI, I have noticed in the past few years, its been Palo Alto and Check Point at the top of the list for NGFWs.  For 2016, Gartner says that for sure.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quote For The Day: 41

No one ever got fired for buying Cisco.  ~~just about every sales guy I know has said this

Monday, January 9, 2017

Empire State Building: Alabama/Clemson

The Empire State Building showing the colors of Alabama and Clemson for the national championship. Pretty cool.

Quote For The Day: 40

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.  ~~Walt Disney

Sunday, January 8, 2017

More Ice

In Alabama, this will certainly soon pass. But in the meantime, it's not good to drive on this here like in other areas of the country. Tomorrow, this will probably be gone.

How Is A Man "Saved"? And Saved From What?

This is on my "About Me - My Faith" page, but in case you didn't make it down that far, I wanted to just give this shorter version. What does it mean to be saved?  If you are reading this post, and you are not a Christian, it is no accident or coincidence that you are here.

Now, to sum up "being saved", and why I needed to be saved and from what, please allow me to quote Dr. James Dobson. He simply has a way with words about this topic, and I can not say it better than he can. Im quoting from his book "Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives".
From Dr. James Dobson:
Here, then, is my concept of the plan of salvation and why Jesus's death was necessary: It begins, as it should, with an understanding of God's nature. Throughout Scripture, the Almighty is represented by two uncompromising characteristics: His love and His nature. Both of these aspects are reflected in everything God does, and none of His actions will ever contradict either component.
The love and justice of God were especially evident when He created Adam and Eve. Obviously, He could have “programmed” them to love Him and obey His laws. This could have been accomplished by creating them as highly sophisticated robots or puppets.
He did, in fact, program the brains of lower animals, causing birds to build a certain kind of nest and wolves to kill wounded elk. They have no choice in the matter. My Dachshund, Siggie, displays an assortment of wired-in behavior about which neither of us has a choice. For example, he can't help barking when the front doorbell rings, even if I threaten to kill him for waking the baby. Nor can he keep from gobbling his food as though he would never get another meal. God has imposed instinctual behavior in Siggie (some of which I would like to eliminate) which operates automatically and without learning.
But the Lord elected to put no instinctual behavior in mankind, leaving us free to learn. This explains the utter helplessness of human infants, who are the most dependent of all creatures at birth. They lack the initial advantages of unlearned responses but will later run circles around the brightest animals with “locked-in” reactions. Such is the nature of our humanness.
By granting us freedom of choice, therefore, God gave meaning to our love. He sought our devotion but refused to demand it. However, the moment He created this choice, it became inevitable that He would eventually be faced with man's sin. I've heard Christians speculate on what might have happened if Adam and Eve hadn’t disobeyed God. The answer is obvious. If they had not sinned, a subsequent generation would have. After all, if no one ever made the wrong choice, then there was no true choice to be made.
But Adam and Eve did sin, as we know, and thereby confronted God with the most serious dilemma of all time. His love for the human race was unlimited, which required that He forgive His disobedient children. The Bible says, “As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13 KJV). That is an analogy I can comprehend. I know how I pity my children when they’ve done wrong. My inclination is to forgive them.
But in spite of God's great love, His justice required complete obedience. It demanded repentance and punishment for disobedience. So herein was a serious conflict with Gods nature. If He destroyed the human race, as His justice would require in response to our sinful disobedience, His love would have been violated: but if He ignored our sins, His justice would have been sacrificed. Yet neither aspect of His nature could be compromised.
But God, in His marvelous wisdom, proposed a solution to that awful dilemma. If he could find one human being who wasn’t worthy of damnation – just one individual in this history of mankind who had never sinned, a man or woman who was not guilty – then the sin of every other person on earth could be laid upon that one and He could suffer for all of us. So God, being timeless, looked across the ages of man from Adam to Armageddon, but He could not find anyone who was innocent. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV) it would be later be written. There wasn’t a person who was worthy of assuming the guilt, blame, and punishment for the rest of us. Therefore, the only alternative was for God to send His own Son to bear the sins of the entire human family. And herein we see the beauty of Gods plan and the reason Jesus had to die. When He was crucified here on earth, Jesus harmonized the conflict between Gods love and justice and provided a remedy for fallen mankind.
Thus, Jesus said as He was dying, “It is finished!” meaning, “I have carried out the plan of salvation that God designed for sinful man.” And that’s why God turned His back on Jesus when He was on the cross, prompting Him to cry in anguish, “My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 KJV). In that moment, Jesus was bearing the punishment for all human sins down through the ages, including yours and mine.
This understanding of the plan of salvation is not based on guesses and supposition, of course. It is drawn from the literal interpretation of Gods Word. This message is, in fact, the primary theme of all Scripture. The Old Testament says, “Jesus is coming!” and the New Testament proclaims, “Jesus is here!” But if I had to select one passage to represent the concept I’ve presented, it would be the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It was written seven hundred years before the birth of Christ and provides an incredible prophecy of His mission. The summary of Gods entire plan is presented in this one chapter. Let me quote it from The Living Bible:
But oh, how few will believe it! Who will listen? To whom will God reveal his saving power? In Gods eyes he was like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. But in our eyes there was no attractiveness at all , nothing to make us want Him. We despised Him and rejected Him – a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised and we didn’t care.
Yet it was our grief He bore, our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, for His own sins! But He was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was chastised that we might have peace; He was lashed – and we were healed! We are the ones who strayed away like sheep! We, who left Gods paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on Him the guilt and sins of every one of us!
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He stood silent before the ones condemning Him. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people of that day realized it was their sins that He was dying for – that He was suffering their punishment? He was buried like a criminal in a rich mans grave; but He had done no wrong, and had never spoken an evil word.
Yet it was the Lords good plan to bruise Him and fill Him with grief. But when His soul has been made an offering for sin, then He shall have a multitude of children, many heirs. He shall live again and Gods program shall prosper in His hands. And when He sees all that is accomplished by the anguish of His soul, He shall be satisfied; and because of what He has experienced, my righteous Servant shall make many to be counted righteous before God, for He shall bear all their sins. Therefore I will give Him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because He has poured out His soul unto death. He was counted as a sinner, and He bore the sins of many, and He pled with God for sinners (Isaiah 53 TLB).

Isn’t that a beautiful explanation of Jesus purpose here on earth? It makes clear why God's plan necessarily involved His own Son – His grief and sorrow and death. Only by paying this incredible price could He harmonize the potential contradiction between love and justice, and provide a “way of escape” for mankind. It also explains why there is no other name by which we are saved and why we cannot escape so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3).
One important question remains to be answered: Just how does a person proceed, now, to accept this plan and follow the risen Lord? I believe there are two basic steps in that process (although some churches emphasize only one). The first is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 10:13 (TLB) says it another way: “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” So the first obligation for anyone is to accept what Christ did, as being for him, personally.
But as I understand the Scripture, and from my own theological perspective, there’s a second responsibility which is often under-emphasized. James expressed it like this: “Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strongly that they tremble in terror! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to do? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith” (2:19 TLB). So something else is required. While its true that you cant “work” you way into salvation – you cannot do enough good deeds to earn it – repentance is still an important part of the process.
“Repentance” is a word that’s often misunderstood. What does it really mean? Billy Graham defined repentance as having three parts to it. The first is conviction. You have to know what is right before you can do what is right; and you have to know what is wrong in order to avoid those misbehaviors. Repentance also involves a deep awareness that you stand guilty before the Lord. I’ve seen people who call themselves Christians and say, “Yes, I believe in Jesus,” but they seem to have no real comprehension or awareness of their own sin and guilt. They have no “contriteness” of heart. From the Scripture in James we see that even demons “believe and tremble”; yet many individuals believe and do not tremble.
But where does this spirit of repentance originate? It must come through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Deuteronomy 4:29 says, “But if from thence [from this point forward] thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if you seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (KJV). So you must want this relationship with God. He must be so important that you will allow Him to turn your life around and change your behavior. In summary, then, repentance includes conviction, knowing right from wrong; then contrition, being aware of your guilt and sin; and finally, resulting change of mind and heart and behavior.

Now, back to my own words. "Saved from what"?   Saved from being separated eternally from the one that created you. Plain and simple. If you choose to not accept what was done for you, then there is an alternative. It's called separation. There is a place for people who choose not accept this free gift. I've never been there, so I can't accurately describe what that place is like. But just as a child does not want separation from the love and safety of his parents, so also, I believe, we don't want this separation, eternally, from our Creator.  I would ask you to seriously consider this message. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday, January 6, 2017

Kudos To Cisco

Just a FYI. I was at a new position the other day, and to my surprise, Cisco came in to see me (and probably a few other people also).  I know these Cisco guys, as IT in Birmingham (and even Alabama) is a pretty small world.
One of the things I always liked about Brocade, and also being at Brocade, was the personal attention the SEs were willing to give to help a customer out.  The SEs in Alabama and Mississippi are top notch. I just personally value that.
Well, this time the local Cisco SE offered this kind of attention as well. This was actually the first time I had seen this from Cisco, in this way. He even followed through in keeping his word on something he said he would do. I respect that. And appreciate that.  I'll see over time of this continues. But let's give credit where the credit is due. Kudos to Cisco on this visit.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Quote For The Day: 39

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Oracle VitrualBox Virtual Drive Resize

Just real quick, I have a few things running in VirtualBox on my laptop.  I needed to resize the partition of one of the virtual disks.  Below is what I did in command line.  You will have to modify to fit your directory names and can explore them in Windows Explorer to verify.

Once you have done this, then you will have to go into the OS itself to resize the partition.  Above, you give it the availability.  Then you give it the space in the actual OS itself that you booted up into in VirtualBox.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Quote For The Day: 38

If you are reading this quote for the day, there may be a reason.
"I know it seems that nobody cares, but it still matters what you do. Because there is a difference you can make, but the choice is up to you." ~~ Al Denson song 'Will You Be The One'