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Nginx and Extended Validation SSL Certificates

Quick tip on setting up Nginx with Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates since this took a bit of trial and error for me this morning and I found a lot of conflicting and in some cases incorrect information while searching around.

If after configuring Nginx with your SSL certificate you're getting an untrusted certificate error, or a 400 error saying the certificate wasn't sent, you're likely missing the intermediate certificate bundle that's required on EV certificates, which if you use Verisign certs is located here:
https://knowledge.verisign.com/support/ssl-certificates-support/index?page=content&actp=CROSSLINK&id=AR2128

According to the Nginx documentation (pro tip: start with the docs, not with what you pull up on StackOverflow), you need to concatenate your host-specific SSL certificate and the intermediate certificate bundle into a single file, with the host-specific SSL certificate first in the file. So you'll end up with a single file (foo.crt)…

Ubuntu on Dell XPS 15 (8947-sLV)

The beta version of my excellent Dell Sputnik (XPS 13) wasn't quite cutting the mustard for some side freelance work I'm doing since it only has 4GB of RAM, but I loved the machine so much I opted to get its big brother, the XPS 15. Specifically I got this model, and yes since I needed it pronto I actually bought it in person at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue, WA. I'll always hate myself a little for going to a Microsoft Store but it was darn handy to have one nearby and just go get the new machine as opposed to waiting to have one shipped.

When I got it home I didn't even boot into Windows 8.1, I just stuck an Ubuntu 14.04 USB stick in the machine and installed that. The only trick to installing Ubuntu is you have to go into the BIOS, turn off Secure Boot, and turn on Legacy Boot Mode.

Once Ubuntu is installed everything works out of the box. The screen runs at the full, mind-blowing 3200x1800 resolution, and even the touch screen works. No issues with sound card, Wi…

Python + Oracle on Ubuntu Server 12.04

Affectionately known among all non-masochists in the world of IT as The Seventh Circle of Hell (with real hell being preferable), working with Oracle is always a hair-tearing nightmarish fork-in-the-eye please-for-the-love-of-god-kill-me-now experience that none but those who look to Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy for moral and spiritual guidance would wish upon even their most reviled enemies.

Yes, it's that bad. And apparently nowhere is it worse than when one attempts to get Oracle working with Python on Ubuntu.

I'm not even talking about installing the Oracle database server itself here people, I'm just needing a Python application to talk to an existing Oracle database. One would think, as with every other database server on the planet (and yes, I'm including that other slice of hell SQL Server in that statement since it's a damn sight simpler to get working -- even on Linux -- than Oracle), you'd simply apt-get and/or pip install a library…