Receive Alerts On SSH or SFTP Logins with Papertrail

papertrail

Frustration-free log management, plus a lot more

I’ve been a huge fan of Papertrail ever since I discovered it, probably about a year ago or so. I use it mostly to monitor server logs. I currently have two servers setup to send syslog messages to Papertrail.

The Papertrail Events dashboard can be a bit overwhelming at first, but the provided search is powerful and allows you to finely control which log messages you see and which you don’t.

You can even setup saved searches to fire when a specific event occurs. For example, I have a saved search that searches for the following:
Accepted publickey for tyler

When that message shows up in Papertrail, it means that I logged in, or that someone else has logged in using my SSH key. This can be quite handy, especially if you’re a one man shop like me and are usually the only person that has SSH or SFTP access to a server.

Getting a DigitalOcean VPS added to Papertrail, especially if it’s running Debian or Ubuntu, is super easy. It just requires that you modify /etc/rsyslog.conf and add a line to the end of the file that will send a copy of the system logs to Papertrail.

Papertrail can monitor application logs, too, such as Apache httpd logs and MySQL server logs, although that takes a bit more configuration to get working properly.

If nothing else, it’s just nice having system logs aggregated in one central place, where everything is easy to search through, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re an admin for one server or hundreds of servers, Papertrail could turn out to be one of your favorite tools. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

I suggest you give Papertrail a try, can’t hurt, they even have a plan that’s free forever. It’s definitely a great service for monitoring server logs.

Track JavaScript Errors Easily with Track:js

trackjs

I’ve been using Track:js for a few weeks now here at longren.io.

There may seem like a lot of GoogleBot-related errors at first glance. But, after deleting or filtering those out, you’re left with the errors that really happen most often.

Track:js has also recently added an option that will send you a daily summary of the JavaScript errors encountered, which is really handy, especially when you don’t have time to monitor the Track:js dashboard all day long.

A summary email can be seen below:
Track:js Daily Email Summary

I really enjoy the service, but I can’t see myself paying for it, at least not until I have a viable product of my own that is worthy of being tracked in such detail. Track:js starts out at $29.99 a month, which will get you 500,000 hits per month and 8 days worth of error history.

The guys behind Track:js are pretty awesome and seem to be pretty involved in the tech startup scene here in the Midwest. The footer of their site reads “Proudly built in Minnesota”.

Pretty YouTube Embeds with PrettyEmbed.js

PrettyEmbed.js

Prettier embeds for your YouTubes

PrettyEmbed.js is a jQuery plugin for making YouTube embeds look much better. It’s on GitHub, and a demo can be seen here on CodePen.

PrettyEmbed.js works with FitVid.js, but it’s not required, and comes with options like high-res preview images and advanced customization of embed options.

You can see some of the advanced customization options in the CodePen demo below. Just click the “JS” tab to see the JavaScript.

See the Pen PrettyEmbed.js Demo by Mike Zarandona (@mike-zarandona) on CodePen.

How-To: Reset WordPress Database to Default Settings

wpdb-reset

Easily Reset Your WordPress Database

WordPress Database Reset is a WordPress plugin I recently came across that will at some point prove very, very useful to me.

It’s not often that I need to reset a production WordPress database to it’s default settings, but this plugin will make the task a whole lot easier. Chris Berthe, the author, describes the plugin like this:

WordPress Database Reset is a secure and easy way to reinitialize your WordPress database back to its default settings without actually having to reinstall WordPress yourself.

I can see this being crazy useful for WordPress plugin and theme developers. We frequently need a fresh database to work with, so I’ll be adopting this plugin in my WordPress plugin and theme development workflow from here on.

WordPress Database Reset requires WordPress 3.0+ and can be installed just like any other WordPress plugin. It’s in the WordPress Plugin directory, and can also be found on GitHub.

If you’re a WordPress theme or plugin developer, you should definitely check it out.

Copy.com Referrals Give Crazy Amounts of Free Cloud Storage Space

copy_bonuses

Lots of free cloud storage, 5GB for every referral :)

I use Copy a lot. I still maintain a Dropbox account for sharing files with friends who still use it, which is most of them honestly. But, I have such a crazy amount of free storage at Copy that I use it for absolutely everything.

All of my photos and video go there from my Nexus 4. On top of that, when my Nexus 4 gets full, I’ll just archive it to Copy, so I essentially have two of every photo and video in Copy. Dropbox holds just one copy of all videos and photos, I only have about 20GB of storage there, so that stuff eventually gets brought down to a local drive. Which I should probably just bring it local right off the bat and just skip Dropbox all together for that stuff. But I digress…

I’m currently using about 19GB out of 185GB available to me. It’s all due to this post I made back in August of 2013. It resulted in a bunch of referral signups, which gave me an additional 5GB each. I started out with 15GB of storage.

If you’re a blogger and want some decent amounts of free cloud storage, check out Copy. Drop your referral link in relevant posts and you’ll slowly start building up referrals and gaining additional storage.

Copy has clients for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, MacOS, and probably others. Just visit their download page. I’ve been very impressed with Copy and have been using them for nearly a year. They’re run by Barracuda Networks.

I dig Copy’s Fair Storage concept, which they explain like this:

We believe in a simple concept of fairness. Everyone paying for the same data they are sharing doesn’t work for us. We think that’s like going to dinner together and everyone having to pay the entire bill. People sharing content should equally divide the amount of storage being used. With Copy, you can split the bill. So a 12 GB folder shared between 3 people only counts as 4 GB per person.

Unless I’m missing something, that sounds as lot better than what Dropbox does. With Dropbox, if someone shares a 4GB folder with me, that’s 4GB taken away from my available storage, plus the other persons. So both of us ending up getting the 4GB taken from our accounts. Fucked, but that’s a topic for another post.

I still think you should check out Copy. I seriously recommend it, and that’s after I’ve been using it constantly for nearly the last year. I’ve a couple minor gripes about the Linux client, but I can deal with them.

Affiliate links are rampant throughout this post. If you don’t want to help me out, here’s a non-affiliate link for Copy, and here’s a non-affiliate link for Dropbox. Pretty sure you get extra space if you sign up from an affiliate link though, so, your call. Here’s the affiliate Copy signup link and the affiliate Dropbox signup link. :)