VestaCP and Centos 7 Issues

I’ve been using VestaCP for about a year now ever since I switched from Hostgator to a VPS with OVH.

Today I upgraded the VPS OS to Centos 7 as VestaCP now supports that version as of v0.9.8 release 15.

Two problems became apparent immediately, one of which caused the CPU load to be consistently more than 1. Both are simple configuration errors to fix.

ClamAV

ClamAV caused the CPU to run amok. The error logs showed that it could not control /var/run/clamav/clamd.sock and checking this showed that the file and the directory (/var/run/clamav) had the wrong owner.

Stop the service from trying to start from the VestaCP control panel and then log into your server via ssh. Now set the ownership of both the directory and the file to clam:clam – if the socket file doesn’t exist you can create it with touch and then set the ownership.

Upon restarting the service you should see the CPU load drop dramatically.

NGINX

For some reason VestaCP’s installer puts a link to a configuration file for Apache in the nginx config. This stops the service from starting which is why no websites are served!

Edit /etc/nginx/conf.d/vesta.conf and comment out the line ending in /httpd.conf (there are only 5 lines in the file so it won’t take long).

The service should now start.

Links

Centos – http://www.centos.org
VestaCP – http://www.vestacp.com
OVH – http://www.ovh.com

Joining the Netbook Revolution

I’ve joined the Netbook Revolution and become a network road warrier in the process!

I’ve bought an Advent 4211 from my local Currys electrical store. Linux was quickly installed using Fluxbox as my window manager – this was easy as the Advent is a rebadged MSI Wind so there are lots of helpful articles all over the ‘net.

It fits inside a canvas shoulder bag I bought years ago and never used, along with an A4 jotter pad and all the other paraphernalia I need for meetings so I’m recycling too. Talk about feeling smug as I set off each day!

So now instead of permanently being behind on email, I can stay on top of it on trains, buses, planes etc etc. And with a Huawei E220 bought on eBay (as I know it is Linux compatible) and a cheap-as-chips PAYG data card from T-Mobile, I’m truly a mobile warrier!

The Core Process Experience is now online

For several years now I have been a Core Process practitioner. This is one of the most satisfying and profound “jobs” that I have ever had.

Unfortunately it is one of the more “challenging” sells into the corporate world. For some reason, many senior corporates shy away from learning about themselves, particularly at this deep level where they get to understand, literally, why they are on the planet.

So what to do?

I was mucking around online a few weeks ago and discovered by chance that core-process.com had become available. So this was quickly acquired and a new website created; The Core Process Experience was born.

I was really fortunate that a number of my clients, including Prof. Chris Bones, Dean of Henley Business School and a major fan of Core Process, agreed to “seed” the site with their experiences. I am very grateful to them all.

Anyway now we have to see whether this “corporate” website with comments from high ranking corporate players (amongst many) will have the desired effect. I certainly hope so as I know from personal experience and from talking with clients just how powerful knowing your Core Process is.

Brilliant, but Secret, Extensions for Firefox and Thunderbird

While searching for an extension or utility to manage vCard files and/or attachments in Thunderbird, I stumbled across the Kaosmos website.

This site is a treasure trove of extensions for both Thunderbird and Firefox which are real time savers. I installed 3 straight from the get go including MoreFunctionsForAddressBook which does exactly what I want (i.e. import and export vCards to the address book) and is absolutely brilliant. And the extensions are updated regularly which is a bonus.

I just don’t understand why the author hasn’t put these extensions in the Mozilla Add-Ons repository as there must be thousands of other users who could use a number of them.

Highly recommended!

The Joys (or Otherwise) of Cloud Computing and RSS

Connected, one of the companies I chair, has recently decided to use cloud computing very heavily. The need to collaborate with clients and other suppliers lead them to Basecamp (and a whole bunch of other apps).

This has all sorts of advantages for them, but caused problems for me because I don’t work full time in the company, and the use of Basecamp seems to have really improved productivity – so much so that I was in real danger of unable to keep a general eye on things (one of my briefs being to ask awkward questions). The MD suggested that I look at setting up an RSS feed to monitor things. I must confess that I’ve never used RSS before to monitor news etc. as to me it has always seemed like extra noise – and noise is something I can do without!

Which leads me to Flock, the browser based on Firefox designed for heavy users of social media. I can’t (so far) use this on my Linux desktop PC but it works on my Linux laptop, both running Gentoo Linux which is seriously weird. My initial view of flock is that it is not as good as the WizzRSS plugin for Firefox I installed on my desktop but I’ll persevere to see which I like better over the next few weeks.

But the use RSS for this is a brilliant idea/solution. Maybe I should use it more …

New Website for My Professional Career

I rebuilt my professional website using WordPress and I’m thrilled with the result. A great theme and I found lots of excellent plug-ins to make it do exactly what I want/need. The site has new and, dare I say, better content as I’ve had some professional help

When I took some time out at the end of last year, I spent much of it looking at Google and how search works to see how to work with the search engines rather than trying to outwit them – the latter will mean that I would have to constantly monitor what was happening (not that I don’t do that anyway) and make changes on a site wide basis whereas the former means that the site should just “work”. During this thought process, I came to realise that most sites like mine are completely static and if they have a blog, it is an afterthought tacked on to the main site. Given how impressive WordPress is as a content management system (CMS), it makes a lot more sense to built the website around the blog so that the search engines get a site which is being constantly and consistently changed and added to. So this is what I’ve done 🙂

The only problem is the name! As it is my professional site, it can’t have a funky blog name (well it could, but my market might not understand being suits!). So it has to be the boring old Philip de Lisle.

I hope you like it as much as I do.

A Roller Coaster Week

This has been a weird week.

First up my eldest son’s 7th birthday. I couldn’t be around when he got back from school as I had a meeting in London I couldn’t miss, nor could I get the other participants to rearrange. Which was sad as my wife created a fabulous panda birthday cake (my son is crazy about pandas).

Then exactly a week later I’m in London for an evening networking meeting when I get a telephone call telling me that my father-in-law died earlier that day. My wife, naturally enough, is very upset. So now we have the fun task of sorting out his affairs as his other family is scattered far and wide.

I guess this is what the Circle of Life is all about, but it sure feels weird at the moment!

Job Interview – The Final Frontier!

I got a phone call from the outgoing chair yesterday at 5:15pm some 2 days after the interview panel had said I’d be informed.

They clearly had a major headache in making the decision.

Having been praised for my presentation (“a really enjoyable tour de force”) I got the dreaded news that I wasn’t being offered the position which was, and still is, disappointing. I was told that I would have been a “breathe of fresh air” but that I was considered to be too likely to make waves. In short I was too scary and therefore too risky. If I’m honest, this was not a surprise as I’m not a political animal and the 2nd interview showed me that you had to be pretty good at it to deal with the regulatory stuff/people.

But then I was dumbfounded to be told that they had decided not to appoint any of the candidates! So the deputy Chair has been told he didn’t get the job but, by the way, can you chair the board for the next few months on an interim basis while headhunters are appointed and do their stuff? I’m glad I’m not in his shoes.

Heaven knows what this is costing them. The ad in the Sunday Times won’t have been cheap, plus the expense of the outside assessor and now headhunters who are, I suspect, going to demand a flat fee as the post doesn’t pay well.

This has been an extraordinary process from my point of view and I’ve learnt a lot. Not least of which is that interviewing is a dance and that the appointed candidate may well not be able to live up to their performance of that dance.

No wonder so many senior executives fail so early in a new job.

The sad thing is that this is a great little company which has huge potential. It would have been great fun, and hard work, to take it forward. But if they have this much difficult hiring a Chair, I worry if they have the where with all to take the necessary tough decisions needed to grow the business. Time will tell.

Job Interview Part 2

Well I made it to the 2nd interview. A 15 minute presentation on a topic that I’d specifically said at the 1st interview I believed was not part of the role! So I argued against it and got better feedback than I was expecting.

Then they dropped the bombshell – that the current vice Chair had applied for the role and was being interviewed as well. So they asked awkward questions about how I might cope with a member of the board who was uncooperative, difficult, not up to the job etc etc. Surprisingly I found I enjoyed it.

But then I had to be appraised by an external third party and it was then that I realised just how different the private and public sectors are. And it really does appear that one is trying to operate with both hands tied behind one’s back. For example, although the company that is offering the job is in the private sector, it’s sole shareholder is public sector and therefore regulated. Which means that the private company is expected by the regulator to adhere to public guidelines and policy. Which calls into question how it can remain competitive and this expectation is onerous to say the least.

Anyway they told me that they would try and let me know by the end of yesterday and it is now midday GMT the following day as I type this and I’ve not heard anything so I’m assuming that it is a split decision and I’m still involved if only on the basis that if I wasn’t in the frame they’d have told me straight away.

And curiously, I find that I’m increasingly keen to land the job as I’m now very intrigued by how it all works. So fingers crossed!