Posted in Me

Playing around with DD-WRT

I’m currently playing around with my two WL-330GE Access points from asus (see an older posting). Since that posting I was a bit creative using the existing ethernet cabling and ports in the apartment to be able to retire the WiFi bridge without having any cable going through the apartment.

So I decided to use the two access points for something more useful. I’m playing around with dd-wrt to build configurations to use them as WiFi probes (for an IDS), or as Rouge Access Points (for demonstration purposes and to test wireless IDS solutions).  I might compile my own dd-wrt version for the rouge version, there are a few things I miss to build a truly evil device.

I like the size of the devices (very compact) and that you can power them with 5V (you can run them off any USB port, right now the one here is hooked up to the USB port of a printer intended for cameras) the only thing missing to make them perfect would be Power-over-Ethernet and maybe a GSM interface to upload data online.

Fun having a cheap and small device like this with Wifi and ethernet running linux. Provides lots of possibilities and fun.

 

Posted in Me, Photography

How to make a wonderful cookie dessert in a skillet

A few weeks ago I stumbled across this recipe for making a cookie in a skillet http://www.sophistimom.com/one-pan-skillet-cookie and shared it with a few people because I though it looked cool. My wonderful wife then put “skillet” on our shopping list because she knows I can’t resist cookies, and yesterday we tried out the recipe. It was easy and tasted wonderful 🙂

Below are some pics of the treat.

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Posted in Gaming, Programming

How to increase Fraps performance with a ramdisk

I recently started playing Battlefield 3 and remembered that I have a Fraps license so I installed it and started recording some stuff. Unsurprisingly the performance made a big dip when I recorded. A glance at my PC told me the harddrive was at fault, probably bringing the whole system down due to IO.

Since my PC has more than enough RAM I decided to set up a 5Gb Ramdisk to see if that helped. It did, when writing the video files to the ramdisk I hardly had any performance hit. Unfortunately 5GB isn’t going to last long while recording 1920×1080 @ 40FPS (a few minutes footage at most).

Here is my little cmd file to create a 5GB ramdisk as drive J: and format it for usage:

So my next thought was to see if I could write a script to move files off the ramdisk when they were done being written to by Fraps. This obviously was going to cause IO load … the reason we were having performance issues in the first place, so I was skeptical about if this was going to help any. Especially since I also had to move the files away quick enough so that the drive wouldn’t fill up completely with the next file Fraps was writing. I wrote a little powershell script for this (yeah, a *nix Sysadmin writing scripts in powershell …)

Here is my little powershell script to copy the finished files from my ramdisk to a normal HDD (please excuse  possible ugliness, I’m a powershell noob):

The last little problem I noticed is that the 5GB ramdrive wasn’t big enough (Fraps seems to create some dummy files and fills them up). Forcing Fraps to make smaller files by toggeling the recording fixed that though -> pressing F9 twice fast will drop a few frames though. I used my Logitech G13 for that, just had a key mapped to press F9 quickly every 60 seconds. The shortest gap I could get working reliably is 50ms.

This all probably sounds awfully complicated, but it works and solves my problem. Fraps is great software, but it would be immensly helpful if you could set the file size in the settings (instead of it defaulting to 4GB). Or, even better, if Fraps could rework their IO system to work more efficiently.

So to sum everything up:
– create ramdrive
– start script that copies files from the ramdrive to a normal HDD
– set fraps to store videos on the ramdrive
– start game, press F9 to start recording and then press the G13 key to toggle the F9 periodically

Posted in Me, Photography

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks

A few weeks ago we traveled a bit west and visited the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I’ve finally gotten around to sorting through the pictures and uploading a few (well, actually a lot).

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I didn’t get around to editing and stitching the panorama photos together yet, or doing anything interesting with the GPS data of our hikes yet. If I get that done I’ll probably update this posting.

Posted in Me

rcon.c sorcecode (for linux)

Searching for a linux command line rcon tool can be a bit of a pain: dead links, outdated versions not working anymore, stuff written in php …. yeah. The only version I could find was stuck in a cache of an old webpage. So here is my mirror of the http://www.asyserver.com/~cstrike/rcon.c file that currently gives you a “404, File not found” error. Hopefully this will help anyone trying to find a working version via google and is frustrated with the results. Download, compile, happiness ensured.

http://www.dopefish.de/files/rcon.c

Posted in Internet Stuff, Programming, Tech

How to build an efficient GeoIP SQL table

This here is a very handy little script I threw together to generate a geoip.sql table for quickly determining which country a IP is from. I already hear you saying “Just convert the IP to an INT and use BETWEEN, how hard can it be”. And you are right, that works. And it may even be your easiest solution, but it just isn’t fast. And if you are planning on hammering the table with thousands of queries you are going to end up looking for something fast.

A while back I found a very interesting posting at www.jcole.us that described how to use Spacial Indexes together with MySQL’s GIS to speed up the queries. The posting has been online for a while and both it and the replies are worth reading.

All I did was make a small bash script to download the current “lite” version of GeoIP CSV file from maxmind.com, use the information from the posting to throw/transform it into a local database table and dump out a .sql file that can be easily imported into any other database. The script isn’t failproof though, it expects your user to be able to use mysql and have permission to create databases/tables and “load data local infile”.

generate_geoip_sql.sh

Posted in Me, Tech

win7 system restore … aaarrrrgggh

Warning: this is mainly me just ranting about Microsoft stupidity and a warning for anyone using junctions.

About a month or two ago I built myself a new PC (old one was dying) and installed Win7 on it.  Since I was previously still on WinXP there were a few things to get used to, but all in all I enjoyed the update. There were of course some strange Windows pitfalls involved, moving your users directory to a different drive really isn’t straightforward, but works if you use junctions to link the directories.

Since Virtualbox drops the guests in a subfolder of the users directory I decided to move my users directory to one of the larger mechanical disks in my system, to keep the windows drive (a SSD disk) with plenty of space.

Now fast forward to yesterday, where some software I installed decided to clear out most of my Start->All Programs folder, leaving me with lots of installed softawre, and no Start Menu links. After trying some stuff out I finally caved in and used System Restore to get my Start Menu working again. System Restore actually worked fine, I got my Start Menu back … unfortunately it also corrupted my profile, and while googling to find out how to fix it I found a whole lot of people with the same problem.

Junction + User directory + System Restore = corrupt user, non repairable. Hello Microsoft, this is all original system software, no 3rd party stuff, breaking my user is totally uncool.

So after trying all kinds of crazy tips I found I gave up and followed the official instructions (a.k.a. You are fucked, haha bye bye user registry). And right now I am copying stuff from my old profile to my new one and setting up all the software that had stored stuff in the registry. This time my Profile stays on C: without any junctions, it’s easier to repair Virtualbox if it breaks over the images being in a non-standard path than worrying about windows corrupting my whole profile if I touch System Restore.

Posted in Internet Stuff

How to add file versions/history to iFolder

I’ve been using iFolder for about a month now and am pretty satisfied with the performance and features, but there is one feature I dearly miss: having access to older versions of a file.  To work around this problem I simply created a SVN repository for every iFolder user.  This allows the users to “check in” files whenever they want to save a specific version of a file, they can tell SVN to ignore directories that they don’t need or want in the SVN system. And you can easily browse through the history of a file, pulling up versions from specific dates, or seeing what changed when in the file (obviously not for binary data).

I am fully aware that SVN may be a bit overkill and that I am only using a very small subset of the SVN features, but on the other hand it is very easy to set up, and there are clients for all the major OS out there that integrate seamlessly into the file managers. So even if I don’t need all the bells and whistles it does what I need it to do without any worries.

As with all workarounds this of course brings some limitations and implications with it.

  • First of all you will only have the history of a file on systems with a svn client, so no history if you are accessing the files via webinterface.
  • Situations where multiple people have access to the same files must be set up in the same consellation in SVN to ensure all users have access to file histories
  • Due to the usage of two systems (iFolder and SVN) the files will be stored in both systems
Depending on your setup and needs the implications may turn out to be a dealbreaker. But if not it may be a viable “addon” to add some features you otherwise missed. I’m not going to go into “how to setup SVN”, since anything I write would be tuned to a specific installation. Just use google, there are plenty of Howtos out there, just find the one that meets your system.
Posted in Internet Stuff, Server

How to install ruby 1.9.2 on Ubuntu 10.04

The current LTS version of Ubuntu is 10.04 and the most current version of ruby it ships with is 1.9.1. Unfurtunately 1.9.1 wasn’t that great of a release and anyone using the 1.9 branch really should use the stable 1.9.2.

After doing a bit of researching I found some information on how the best approach to get ruby installed is. Downloading the source, compiling it and registering the installed version with the package manager.

The following little bash script takes care of installing ruby 1.9.2 on a ubuntu or debian based system (or any other version if you change the $Version variable in the script). The script just consolidates information found online and wraps it up into a nice bashscript

 

Posted in Internet Stuff, Server

Using iFolder as an open source Dropbox alternative

I’ve had a few posting here in my blog over the years about trying to keep data synced over various computers. Nowadays it has gotten easier since it seems everyone is chruning out their own online storage. Classics like Dropbox or SugarSync, and then we have the big companies  Google, Microsoft and Ubuntu trying their luck. Basically they all provide you with 2-5Gb free storage, and more space and features for more money. But they all have one downside, whether encrypted or not, you are leaving your own files to the mercy of an external company. There is not really any voodoo in the whole system, basically you just have some space online, a bit of encryption, and some way to ensure that all clients of a user are synced, nonetheless building your own service can be a hassle as I have found out.

Currently I’m using SVN as a workaround. I just sometimes forget to commit, which leads to me having old data and no access to updated files. Instead of starting from scratch and build strange stuff with rsync I had a look if there were any open source solutions out there. And I was pleased to find a few. Unfortunately they are almost all in the “I have an idea and a few mockups” stage, maybe even some beta version that does something, but nothing really “production” level. Another downside was that most of them either supported Linux or Windows, but often not both.

One open source solution I stumbled across is iFolder,  seasoned software supported by Novell, with clients for Windows, Linux and Mac. And if all else fails you can use the web interface to access your files. Admin and User web interface are both easy to use. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it, but I do know that it’s not one of the main products you see named when searching for alternatives to Dropbox.

If you have SuSE as an OS, then installing the software is immensely simplified due to SuSE belonging to Novell, just follow the SuSE instructions on the website. I prefer debian based installations and found Ubuntu instructions at help.ubuntu.com that were written mainly for Ubuntu, but should work with any debian deviate.

I’m not going to repeat anything from the installation instructions, they already did a fine job of documenting everything. One thing is important however: the Client 3.8.0.0 just plain doesn’t work. unfortunately it is the one linked from the website. Go to the sourceforge repository, and download the newer 3.8.03 client. That one works like a charm.

Posted in Me

Where to find real bread in Twin Cities

Anyone from Europe will tell you that what Americans generally consider “bread” is more like a loaf of bland nothingness with the consistency of a sponge that can be mushed together into something resembling playdough. To be fair, it is okay if you get some multigrain bread and toast it to give it some firmness and make sandwiches, but other than that ….

Artisan bread is a step up and brings a bit more taste and firmness. It can be found at various stores, we generally get some from Cub or Trader Joes. But the best bread we have found till now is at a local  “breadsmith” here in Minneapolis / St. Paul. They truely sell real bread. Yaaaay. So if there is a breadsmith near you, drop in and have a look, might be you find bread like you have never tasted before.

Posted in Programming

How to easily add colored text output in bash scripts

Here is small snippet that can give your shell scripts some nice output: colortext.sh As with the debug.sh script, just download it to the same directory as your own script and add it with

It contains one simple function called text with the syntax text “text to be output”. Color can be red, green, yellow, blue or grey. The function does not automatically add a linebreak to the putput, so pop a \n in there if you need it. I prefer using it together with printf for clean and easy color output.

Here are some examples of how the function can be used, and below the corresponding output:

Output:

normal text
blue text, yellow text
Status of script: [ERROR]
Status of script: [OK]

Posted in Internet Stuff, Server

How to get Teamspeak 3 running on a current Linux

Teamspeak is know for lagging a bit behind with development.

The last few days I have been upgrading my servers to current distributions, today the Voice servers were on the list to get Debian 6 / Ubuntu 11.04. And again I ran into problems with Teamspeak, turns out they won’t work with libmysqlclient 16 libraries and require the good old 15 version (which isn’t available out-of-the-box in the latest Debian and Ubuntu release).

So anybody running into the same problem (do a ldd libts3db_mysql.so to check), can hop on over to http://packages.debian.org/lenny/libmysqlclient15off and download the package for your architecture and install it with dpkg -i

Posted in Internet Stuff, Security

What plugins is that website running?

While having a look at nikito yesterday I stumbled accross cms-explorer. It’s an interesting little program that checks the themes/modules/plugins installed in common CMS systems (Drupal, WordPress, Joomla! and Mambo), with automatic exploration for Drupal and WordPress. It also has some nice bonus features like providing a list of known issues for plugins found by accessing the OSVDB.org database.

Example output:

Running it against my own webspace revealed a possible SQL injection I was unaware of. *) Fixed that, will probably replace that plugin completely this week, anything that has stuff so obviously bad in it is generally not all too sane.

*) I normally look at plugins before I install them, must have missed this one. @ PHP programmers: anyone who passes on the content of a $_REQUEST directly to a SQL query without any sanity checking deserves to be flogged with his own code.

Posted in Programming, Tech

How to add debugging to shellscripts

Debugging bash scripts is pretty straightforward, throwing around a couple echo and set -x quickly gives you what you need. But what if you want to add a nice breakpoint,  debugging to lots of paces in the code or turn all debugging on or off at once? Then this little script I wrote is the right thing for you: debug.sh just download it to the same directory as your script and include it with the following line:

It contains 4 simple functions that will make your bash coding easier.
debug and breakpoint both print the argument with a timestamp to STDERR
You can turn off all the functions by adding a DEBUG=false into your code

Example:

Output:

Posted in Internet Stuff, Programming

Disemvoweling

Talk about weird words … ok, according to Wikipedia disemvoweling is the term for replacing or removing vowels from words. Commonly used as a tool for moderating.  I’m pretty sure everyone has run across  certain disemvoweled  words on the internet like f*ck or sh*t. Anyway I went and made a pure html/javascript page that does just that, removes any vowels from an inputted text. The usefullness can certainly be argued, it was more for me to brush up on my javascript and css skills.

http://www.dopefish.de/projects/disemvoweling/

Posted in Internet Stuff, Tech

Virtualbox update

Anyone running Ubuntu as a Virtualbox guest is advised to update to Virtualbox 4.0.6 (+ the extensions) that was released today.  Don’t forget to recompile the guest additions after upgrading to 4.0.6. Besides the usual stuff in the changelog, the update fixes a problem with screen resolution in Ubuntu 11.04. Since the Ubuntu update is just around the corner updating Virtualbox beforehand will prevent a bit of hassle.

Posted in Gaming

Thanks for the free games @Valve

For the release of their latest game Portal 2, Valve went to great lengths marketing wise. They set up an “Alternate reality game” (ARG) with tips and puzzles hidden in 13 independent games (to promote indie games). Some of the games even added extra levels just for the ARG.  Solving puzzles, finding passwords, and triggering special events led to the possibility to gain “potatoes” as a sign of progress. If all 36 potatoes were found in the 13 games involved players got a golden potato.

After the ARG was solved by the community, Valve added a countdown a few days before the release of Portal 2, allowing the community to get Portal2 to release early by collecting potatoes and (in the end phase) playing the 13 indie games.

Last Friday Valve announced in the official blog “There’s also still time to collect all 36 potatoes. Anyone accomplishing this feat by the time Portal 2 launches will receive a very special, non-hat-based reward.” An extra incentive for people to play the games involved and collect the potatoes. I spent most of the last days collecting all 36 potatoes, got the last one just hours before the deadline.

Today everyone with a golden potato  got the reward, a valve complete pack and a copy of portal2. I’m honestly impressed. I never would have expected them to not only give out all their previous games ($100), but also a free copy of their latest game they just released yesterday ($50).

Impressive move Valve, even if I was irritated at buying the game on steam on pre-order and then seeing Amazon and Best Buy drop the price shortly before release by 10$, the ARG and the potatoes blew everything out of the water. So now I have a few copies of games I already owned to give out 🙂