Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HOWTO: SSL your Mingle 3.5.x instance (including free SSL)

Following on from my self.documentation post on Java and its keytool, I shared a HOWTO on the mingle community for SSL'ing a Mingle instance.

HOWTO: SSL your Mingle 3.5.x instance (including free SSL)

Hope it helps someone and saves a little time!

Java Key and Certificate Management - Using an existing private key

problem: You want to use your existing private key and cert

It is not immediately obvious how to do this with Java's keytool. It took me a good while to figure out, so I'm documenting here.

solution: Java 6 can treat a PKCS12 file as a keystore

With Java 6 keytool, one can import a PKCS12 file as a keystore, here are the steps I used.

First, convert PEM format key/cert to a PKCS12 format cert
$ openssl pkcs12 -export -in thedomain.com.crt -inkey thedomain.com.key -out thedomain.com.p12
Then use keytool to import the PKCS12 cert
$ keytool -importkeystore -destkeystore thedomain.com.keystore -srckeystore thedomain.com.p12 -srcstoretype PKCS12 -alias 1
My understanding is, that if you have access to a version 6 keytool, then one can use the generated file keystore from 6 on older Java versions, but don't quote me on that.

Related: Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key and CSR

It worth mentioning that, if your just looking to generate a 2048 bit key/cert with keytool, to get a CSR for an SSL certificate authority, then you'd want to use something like this:
$ keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -keystore thedomain.com.keystore -alias thealias
Then to get the CSR:
$ keytool -keyalg RSA -keystore thedomain.com.keystore -alias thealias -certreq -file thedomain.com.csr
Then when you get the cert back from the CA, import with keytool:
$ keytool -importcert -trustcacerts -keystore thedomain.com.keystore -alias thealias -file thedomain.com.crt

Free class 1 SSL

I have used these methods to get free SSL class 1 protection from http://www.startssl.com.


Props to:
NCSA CyberSecurity @ University of Illinois
Graham Leggett @ Cunning blog
Knowledge Base @ Comdo

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Windows 7 taskbar pinned items stop working (after windows update?)

problem: After a few windows updates this week and the subsequent reboot, none of my taskbar pinned shortcuts or items worked!

The message was "Can't open this item" for each one of my pinned taskbar items.

The icons displayed just fine and the right click function worked as expected but launching the pinned items with left click gave the aforementioned message :(

Did I just get hit by a Microsoft's Patch Tuesday drive-by?

Feel free to skip right to the solution, the rest of the info is background/context.

Further reading

As a disclaimer, I have been getting weird issues with missing dll's of late, and have been forced to use the sfc /scannow command a few times in recent weeks. At first I thought this was after a few blue screens, due to playing with my RAM voltages, to ensure they were as low as possible... however now I'm wondering if there is a bigger issue somewhere.

Its possible that the so far unknown issue that has been causing these dll's to go missing or get corrupt, could of also hosed my taskbar items? I'm not sure, I would of imagined if I had an issue like that, things would be blowing up all over the place? It might not be related.

Worthy of note, a item in my Library also vanished at the same time as my pinned items... which was easily enough restored, but definitely odd.

In recent weeks, I've started to use Windows 7 Sleep function, e.g. at night when I have a lot open or if I know I'm walking away for a while. Since forever I've avoided sleep/suspend mode on windows because its always caused issues that need a reboot to fix. Perhaps sleeping is still a major no-no?

My main OS drive is also an SSD, so I'm wondering if there is something up with that, or perhaps SSD's don't like sleep mode, because up until now, the SSD has been working exactly as expected.

Oh the joys! I will post an update if anything worthwhile should arise on any of that.

solution: make shortcuts in \User Pinned\TaskBar

What I ended up doing to fix things, after not finding much help via the search engines:
  1. Locating where the taskbar stuff is kept
    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
  2. This location was empty for me :(
  3. So I manually created program shortcuts with the same names as my pinned items.
  4. Things started to magically work again.
To get the exact name of the pinned item, I SHIFT+RIGHT CLICKED a pinned item and chose properties, to see the name of the item. Then copy & pasted that as the name of the related item in the aforementioned path.

Hope that helps someone out!