May 112015

My Story – Crohn’s Disease – Part 1

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in late 1996 at the young age of 16. I had been ill for the past year, My whole family got a cold but I never recovered so the doctors started running some tests and there were loads of tests before I finally got a diagnosis. I have my dentist to thank as it was him giving me a letter to give to my doctor which put them on the right track as I also had problems with my mouth and gums, This however lead to my first stay in hospital.

I was in hospital for around a week and was pumped full of IV steroids, Antibiotics, Fluids and Nutrients, At this point my weight had dropped to around 5.5 stones (35kg). My main symptoms were stomach pain especially after eating which I wasn’t doing much of and the other was trips to the bathroom, at least 20+ times a day.

When the Consultant gave me the news that I had Crohn’s Disease it come as a relief for 2 reasons.
1. The doctor’s had mentioned cancer and leukaemia
2. They knew what was wrong and how to treat it

When I was released from hospital I was put on Pentasa 1.5grams 3 times a day along with a 4 month course of Prednisolone steroids, I was also given Ensure plus drinks which are like milkshakes but full of nutrients and can be used to replace food. After around 6 months I was back to 9 stones (57kg) which would become my stable weight for the next 15 years. My symptoms had gone back to normal (what’s normal anyway) but in the summer of 1997 I developed an anal fistula.

An anal fistula is a small channel that develops between the end of the bowel, known as the anal canal, and the skin near the anus. Anal fistulas do not generally harm, but can be very painful, and can be irritating because of the pus-drain, it is also possible for formed stools to be passed through the fistula. Around 50% of people with Crohn’s disease will develop a fistula at some point. Most of the time you require some form of surgery to heal a fistula but if you are lucky like me it may heal on its own with the help of some antibiotics to kill any infections. I was told once you get one it never truly heals and will always be there.

What is Crohn’s Disease

So what is Crohn’s disease, well its one of two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to anus, the other is ulcerative colitis which only affects the Large colon.
Crohn’s is described as a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although you may have periods of good health (remission) as well as times when symptoms are more active (flare-ups). At present there is no cure for Crohn’s, but drugs and sometimes surgery can give long periods of relief from symptoms.

If you want more info on Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative colitis then check out Crohn’s and Colitis UK they have lots of information leaflets and a list of local support groups which are very helpful.

Crohn's - World IBD day poster

May 012015

World IBD Day is Tuesday 19 May

World IBD Day is a day for everyone affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease to stand up, take action, raise awareness and support the 300,000 people in the UK and millions more worldwide living with Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other types of IBD.

Please wear purple (the international colour for IBD) on World IBD Day. Ask your friends, family, school and workplace to join in and be powerful in purple to help boost awareness about Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, and raise crucial funds for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

You can donate any amount. To donate £5, you would Text PURP19 £5 to 70070
Alternatively, you can make an online donation at

world IDB day poster

world IDB day poster 2

Aug 272014

I have several Xen and KVM vps servers and they all suffer with the same problem of “nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet” but its an easy fix

You can check what the current number of nf_conntrack_max is set to.
cat /proc/sys/net/nf_conntrack_max
the default is 65535 but all mine were set to 15000.

Now to increase the number of nf_conntrack_max
echo 100000 > /proc/sys/net/nf_conntrack_max
Now if you check again it should be the new value.

Now to make the change permanent we add the following to the bottom of /etc/sysctl.conf
net.nf_conntrack_max = 100000

Please note that the directory path to “nf_conntrack_max” differs between Linux distributions, the above works for CentOS

Aug 262014

I’ve been playing around and getting to know CentOS 7 and have decided i prefer iptables (over firewalld) which i have been using for the last few years so here’s how to swap firewalld for iptables.

Disable Firewalld Service.
systemctl disable firewalld
Stop Firewalld Service.
systemctl stop firewalld
Now we install the iptables services.
yum -y install iptables-services
Start iptables at boot.
systemctl enable iptables
Start ip6tables at boot. (skip if you don’t use ipv6)
systemctl enable ip6tables
Finally we start iptables.
systemctl start iptables
Finally we start ip6tables. (skip if you don’t use ipv6)
systemctl start ip6tables

Now our firewall uses iptables and we can add our rules like we always have.

Jul 072014

Centos 7 has now been released to the public.

Release announcement can be found here
Release notes can be found here
The fastest way to download is via torrent, I’m currently seeding all images available and am pushing approx 300Mbps (megabits per second) across my servers and have done 200GB+ of bandwidth in under 3 hours.

I will be updating most of my servers over the next few weeks/months and will start updating my tutorials again, happy testing.