30 August 2016

Fun with HTTP Strict Transport Security!

At the moment I write this, something odd is happening with the US Senate site (if you view it in Chrome at least). If you go to http://www.senate.gov/, you will see the home page.

But, if you go to https://www.senate.gov/, you will see an error message telling you that HTTPS isn't working, and a link to go back to HTTP instead.

31 July 2015

Screen scraper changes between GSA 7.0 and 7.2+


A few years back, the Google team at Fig Leaf Software built a custom application in .NET to manage Google Search Appliance functionality using a rules engine of sorts, rather than requiring manual interaction with the GSA. I didn't build it; we have a very skilled .NET development team that did almost all of the heavy lifting, and all I had to do was build a very simple prototype.

30 July 2015

Upgrading Surface Pro 3 from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 - First impressions

I've been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as my primary work computer for about eight months, after upgrading from a Surface Pro 2 which I could never quite get used to for doing all of my work. The Surface Pro 2 was very portable, but a bit unwieldy and clunky for using at a desk. I held off on getting the Surface Pro 3 because I didn't think it would be so much better than the 2. In retrospect, I wish I'd gotten it the day it came out.

01 August 2014

Comparison of Google Search Appliance 7.2 and 7.0 Admin Consoles

The latest major version of Google Search Appliance software, GSA 7.2, was released on 12 February 2014, and introduced a ton of new features. One of those features was a significantly redesigned admin console, with restructured navigation menus. Prior to 7.2, the admin console hadn't changed in many years, so when I started working with 7.2 I had a bit of trouble remembering where to find specific menu items in the new admin console. I've heard GSA customers and students having the same problems finding things. In fact, one person I talked to actually backed out of a system upgrade because he couldn't find items in the new console! (The ability to back out of a system upgrade is itself a new 7.2 feature, by the way.)

So that's the motivation behind this blog post. Within the 7.2 release notes, there's actually a specific list that maps old menu item locations to new ones, but I thought that a little visual representation might help. This post will help you navigate from GSA 7.0 to GSA 7.2.

13 May 2014

Google Search Appliance 6.14 deprecation, and how to upgrade your GSA

Yesterday, Google informed its customers that Google Search Appliance 6.14 has been deprecated. The earliest supported GSA software version is now GSA 7.0. If you're using the Google Search Appliance, and haven't upgraded to at least 7.0 or higher, you should do this as soon as possible!

10 April 2014

My heart bleeds for you (security-wise, anyway)

What is Heartbleed, and why should I care?

If you've paid any attention to tech news over the last few days, you may have heard of a serious vulnerability called Heartbleed. In a nutshell, this is a vulnerability found in OpenSSL. What's OpenSSL? It's the program used by many web servers to provide HTTPS access via Transport Layer Security (TLS, which we used to call SSL). In other words, when you open a browser and buy something on Amazon, or log into Google Apps, you're connecting to a web server that uses TLS.

12 March 2014

Managing Chrome: Adding Existing Apps to the Chrome Web Store Domain Collection

Recently, my coworker and good friend Steve Drucker put together a blog post about Chrome Web Store apps useful for developers. I liked it, mostly because I've been using a couple of those plugins a lot myself lately - especially Postman, which is a great little tool for building and sending HTTP requests. It's great for REST testing!