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Excelsior Springs High starts scanning student’s fingers August 17, 2017

Or: "how to ruin your kids lives in all the sake of convenience".

I came across a recent news story about bulletproof authentication for high school students. Ostensibly, the goals are very good. Allowing students to check in and out of study classes instead of being driven to distraction by following a more regimented cirriculum:

...They settled on flexible modular scheduling. High school students will still take core classes, but will be given a lot more time throughout the day to visit resource rooms staffed by teams of teachers to help them with homework or projects...

Students, being kids still, are assholes. And they slack a lot. So, there was a bulletproof need to make sure they were checking in to the right places and tracked efficiently. Enter finterprinting.

...Fearing student ids could easily be traded among students. School leaders settled on the biometric scanners fearing student id cards could easily be handed to other students looking to skip class...

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KC Weather Bot August 17, 2017

I followed @KansasCityWX for several months until late in March, 2016 when it stopped posting usable entries altogether. @KansasCityWX afforded me a nice heads up on the current temperature, but ended up being limited since that was all that it reported on, just the temperature for the next 6 hours.

While it was usable, the limitations inspired me to write up my own script. Due to the 140 character limitations of the Twitter platform, it needs to be succinct, and have actionable information in three or so lines. Chewed on it, and came up with a rough layout of the data...

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Gelf Listener in Python August 17, 2017

Recently, I receeived a request from management to provide raw system logs to one of our clients for their internal auditing purposes. They will need logs on an ongoing basis, and have no logging infrastructure on their end which could receive parsed out Graylog events. Effectively, they were looking for 'big text files' of logs.

Due to security reasons (as well as network configuration constraints), allowing them access to our Graylog instance is a non-starter. So, my journey to get logs out of graylog began in earnest. I attempted several methods and ended up writing my own Gelf listener for events. But, let's see why.

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Collect reddit messages using Graylog August 17, 2017

This post covers using a Python script to collect Reddit inbox messages and sending them to Graylog for alerting or reporting.

Graylog is an excellent platform for collecting and storing log data from servers, but that's not the only tasks that it can be suitable for. Objectively, any form of data can be added to Graylog. Once the data is inserted, then you are able to query, alert, and report on it.

In this example, I want to show you how you can use Graylog to monitor your Reddit inbox for messages. You can receive alerts for new messages, even receive alerts for particular words.

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Send Gmail Messages to Graylog August 17, 2017

In this post, we will look into using a script to send new Gmail messages to Graylog

Graylog is an excellent platform for collecting and storing log data from servers, but that's not the only tasks that it can be suitable for. Objectively, any form of textual data can be added to Graylog for retention, alerting or reposting.

In this example, I'll show you how you can use Graylog to monitor your Gmail inbox for new messages. You can receive alerts for new messages, even receive alerts for particular words contained within the body of the message. The Python script is flexible, and you can always rely on Graylog's superb filters in case you need extra work done.

This script can be useful for monitoring a support email inbox, an inbox which receives alert messages, or anything else which requires a little intelligence.

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Hunting Down Stale Devices August 17, 2017

Running a logging server with dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of devices logging to it, you may run into an issue with stale devices. Stale devices are just that- devices that have been configured to log to your server and, for whatever reason, managed to stop logging altogether. It should be logging, but doesn't.

It's a big problem with a few dozen devices. If you're responsible for the care and feeding of hundreds of logging endpoints, then it turns into a pain tracking them down.

I wrote up a script for my work Graylog servers which automate the efforts of identifying and alerting me of stale devices on a weekly basis. My script runs on the local Graylog server via cron. I also have a Stream setup which emails me whenever the stream reports new entries. Here's how I put it all together.

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