New version of Tespeed (Terminal network speed test)

Most advanced computer users know about speedtest.net that helps testing your internet bandwidth. While it is a great tool, it has only flash version available on their web site and there are Android and iOS apps for your mobile phones, but there were no tools available for Linux servers without GUI.

Back in 2009 I made a PHP script that tested network speed, wrote the results to text file and generated PNG graphs to be shown on web. It used speedtest.net partner servers and it got the data usage from ifconfig thus making it read the total bandwidth, not just what had been left for the php script itself. I set it up on my home router so I could prove my ISP that their internet is far form what they advertised.

I also uploaded it to Sourceforge and forgot about it’s existence for some time.

Years have passed and it has been downloaded almost 17 000 times, even though it doesn’t really work in every case and it wasn’t that easy to set up.

So I figured I should make a new version, written in Python (just to practice it), and so I did.

The new Tespeed is available at Github: https://github.com/Janhouse/tespeed

It is licensed under MIT license.

There are still some bugs and planned features left to sort out, but after testing it on multiple computers it is working fine.

 

Tespeed in automatic mode looking for best testing server and doing download and upload tests.

The new version finds closest servers and then picks the one with lowest latency.

 

Available server list top 25 (by distance)

 

You can also get a list of all available servers (and see the approximate distance to them) by using list-servers command.

 

Manually specified test server.

 

Please send me some feedback so I could make it better.

And go thank speedtest.net for this great service. 🙂

Automatic movie screenshot maker for Auto Uploader

I have finally found some time to make new features for the Auto Uploader.

So, the Thumbnailer is finally here.

Features:

  • Creates video thumbnails (single shots and joined timelapse);
  • Creates thumbnails even if video file is packed inside .rar archive (Linux only);
  • Skips sample files;
  • Extracts basic information about video file (resolution, codec, bitrate, etc.);
  • Automatically uploads created images to public image hosting sites and creates BBCode;
  • Can be fine tuned any way you want.

I am providing this as an external module for the Uploader.

If you want to get it, feel free to contact me. 🙂

 

Generating and uploading screenshots:

Generating screenshots:

I am going to upload a better video once I set up the new version on some tracker.

Following screenshot demonstrates BBCode generated by the Uploader:

Upgrades to announcement system

Some of you know that there are times when release announcements for certain download sources stop appearing for some reason. Mostly it is because the announcer gets banned from the announcement channel or there are some other problems with the feed.
I promised that I would make it possible for you to help with announcing. And so I did!
 🙂

I made some changes so you could help with passing announcements from your box to the tuper-server, that then sends them out to every connected user.
This way you will get the announcements sooner than before (at least for some sources) and they will keep coming even if some boxes get problems.

Those who want to help out, please contact me. I will give your uploader account permission to send release announcements and help you with setting up the necessary scripts.

Also, to make sure that releases get announced only once, I am now storing announcement history, so you will be able to check the history easily.

Vēl nedaudz par Linux

Pirms vairāk kā gada rakstīju “Mazliet par Linux”. Šoreiz apskatīšu, manuprāt, svarīgākās labās un sliktās izmaiņas.

Joprojām lietoju Archlinux, kas ir superīga distribūcija, kurā jaunumi parādās ātrāk kā citās, bet tā nav domāta pilnīgiem iesācējiem.

Sākšu ar neforšo

Gnome3 un Unity izstrāde

Pirms gada cerējām, ka pieradīsim pie Gnome 3 grafiskās vides, bet nekā. Gnome 3 un Unity joprojām ir lielākā vilšanās, kopš sāku lietot Linux. Daļa pārmigrēja uz XFCE, es lietoju OpenBox (jā, man ļoti pietrūkst noapaļotie logi un smuki vizuālie efekti). 🙁

Vienkāršais un ērtais Gnome 2 grafiskais interfeiss un Compiz efekti bija viens no galvenajiem iemesliem kāpēc daudzi cilvēki sāka lietot Linux uz saviem galda/portatīvajiem datoriem.

Gnome aizbrauca auzās, bet Canonical nopirka galveno Compiz developeri, lai viņš strādātu pie Unity grafiskās vides. Neesmu vēl redzējis Ubuntu lietotāju, kuram patiktu Unity.

Compiz stabilo 0.9 versiju tā arī neesam ieraudzījuši, jo galvenais programmētājs vergo priekš Ubuntu. Smieklīgi, ka Ubuntu lieto nestabilo Compiz  versiju (pat LTS versijā). Jā, protams, tā ir speciāli sapačota, lai viss būtu forši, bet pārējo distribūciju lietotājiem nākas iztikt ar nestabilo Compiz (un tas patiešām ir nestabils). Var jau lietot Ubuntu Compiz versiju ar visiem ielāpiem, bet tad nākas lietot vēl kaudzi citas Ubuntu pakas un tas var sagādāt lielas problēmas.

Skype, Pidgin un citi IM klienti

Šajā lauciņā notiek tas ko varētu saukt par ne-izstrādi (guļoši developeri/pārāk daudz forki vai negatavi risinājumi/putra in general).

Gribi ko vairāk par IRC? Patīkami tas nebūs. 🙂

Es ļoti priecātos, ja kāds komentāros pieminētu  labu alternatīvu Pidgin.

Labās pārmaiņas

Wine progress (un Office prieki)

Cik atceros, Wine vienmēr ir attīstījies nenormālos tempos. Tiesa, pierodot pie Linux aplikācijām, Wine nākas izmantot pavisam, pavisam reti. Viens no labākajiem pielietojumiem varētu būt MS Office 2008 darbināšana. Ar Wine darbināts MS Word patērē mazāk RAM kā Libreoffice Writer, un tas ir krietni lietojamāks. LibreOffice pēdējās versijas uzstartējas pāris sekunžu laikā (pirms tam bija ilgi, ilgi jāgaida), bet Word caur Wine (pieņemot, ka fonā darbojas wineserver) – apmēram sekundes laikā.

Patīk, ka Wine vairs lieki nenoslogo CPU, un Ofisā, beidzot, darbojas fontu antialiasing (smoothing).

Testēju gan Word, gan Excel, gan Power Point – darbojās labi. 🙂

Gimp 2.8

Ar nokavēšanos iznākusi jaunā stabilā Gimp versija. Pamanāmākā un, manuprāt, svarīgākā izmaiņa ir “Single window mode”, kas ļauj to lietot vienā logā. Man nav bijuši citi iebildumi pret Gimp, tāpēc nevaru komentēt vai ir salabota vēl kāda cita kaitinoša problēma.

Citi pozitīvi jaunumi

Jau iepriekš rakstīju, ka uz Linux pieejama alternatīva Photoshop Lightroom – “Corel Aftershot Pro”.

Valve gatavo Steam priekš Linux (būs arī pieejamas Source dziņa spēles).

Kodols attīstās ļoti patīkamos tempos un sen neesmu saskāries ar draiveru problēmām. 🙂

 

Kuru distribūciju lieto un kāpēc? Kā, tavuprāt, attīstās Linux un kā tam vajadzētu attīstīties?

FTP and file feature for auto uploader

Few days ago FTP feature was added to the uploader. It means that any files/folders can be easily added to the uploader’s database. This allows using FTP servers and other sources to auto upload to your tracker (or maybe even upload to some other FTP servers).

So basically you can make it work in any way you want now. FTP to Tracker, Tracker to Tracker, Tracker to FTP, FTP to FTP or even make it work with direct files on the web.

Those of you who already have the access to the new Wiki for the Uploader, can look there for information on setting it up.

I’ll keep making this new FTP thing better so any feedback is welcome in the bugtracker’s forum. 🙂

From the shiny features, automatic screenshot grabber script for videos is left to port to V3.

Kā uz Android ieslēgt NFC

Daži prasīja kā noskaidrot vai telefonam ir NFC un kur to var ieslēgt.

Var meklēt telefona specifikācijā, bet var arī ieskatīties tīkla uzstādījumu sadaļā.

Uzskatāmībai ieliku ekrānšāviņus:

Ja iespēja pie uzstādījumiem nav atrodama, ierīcei visdrīzāk nav NFC. 🙂

Dzeltenā e-talona atlikums Android telefonā

Citreiz gribas noskaidrot cik braucieni palikuši dzeltenajā e-talonā, nemeklējot tuvāko e-talona automātu. Protams, negribas arī aplauzties sabiedriskajā, pērkot dārgo biļeti (šogad vēl 70 sant.?).

Uzrakstīju Android aplikāciju, kura ļauj apskatīt dzeltenās kartes saturu un mēģina atšifrēt biļetes veidu un braucienu skaitu.

Dotajā brīdī aplikācija ir īpaši primitīva, negarantēju, ka atšifrējumi ir korekti visos gadījumos (nebija man tik daudz kartes ar kurām testēt). Ar laiku pieslīpēšu un pievienošu kādu jauku fīču (piem., laika biļetes atšifrēšanu?) vai vizuālo noformējumu.

Veidošanā noderēja (daļēji kļūdainā) informācija no Jāņa pierakstiem un citu cilvēku padomiem.

Interesentiem – aplikācija novelkama Android Marketā.

Lai aplikācija darbotos, nepieciešams Android >2.3.3 tālrunis ar NFC.

 

Updeits: Updeitoju .apk, lai saprot derīgo biļešu skaitu jaunajiem e-taloniem. Šķiet, ka Rīgas Satiksme tos bieži maina.

Pieļauju, ka būtu labi savākt daudzus e-talona dumpus vai tikt pie tiem, kuri Jānim bija pieejami pirms pāris gadiem, lai izveidotu maksimāli labu atpazīšanu.

Update 2: Uploadoju aplikāciju uz Android Market, lai būtu vieglāk updeitoties. Darbojas arī vecais links.

 

Android, pērkami bloggeri un emocijas

Izlasīju Krizdabz emocionālo rakstu, kurā viņš pēc “WINDOWS BUILD” apmeklēšanas sūkstās, kāpēc viņam neiet pie sirds Android OS un iekārtas, uz kurām tas uzstādīts.

Ikdienā lietoju Nexus S, uz kura darbojas Android 2.3.4. Neskatoties uz to, ka ir manītas dažādas nepilnības, es pilnīgi noteikti neesmu saskāries ar tik daudzām Android ekosistēmas problēmām, tāpēc uzrakstīšu savus komentārus.

Apskatīšu un pakomentēšu viņa raksta apakštēmas.

Continue reading “Android, pērkami bloggeri un emocijas”

Hiding your web server behind proxy

In one of my previous blog posts I mentioned hiding your server behind proxy to protect yourself from long downtime.

Since some of you wanted more information, I figured I should write about it. This will still only scratch the surface of it and you should do some additional reading if you want to get a better understanding of how these things work and what they can be used for.

Let’s begin!

Continue reading “Hiding your web server behind proxy”

Internet paranoid handbook

Knowing that internet is not all cute and cuddly and that the line between real and virtual sometimes gets kind of blurry, it is important to think a bit before acting, and possibly save you from getting in trouble.

What I meant by “blurry line between real world and virtual one”  is that what happens on internet not always stays on internet. If you read news, it is possible that you have noticed articles about police raids on some sort of network based service providers or their servers, governments asking communication service providers (e-mail, IM, others) to hand them private conversations to help in their investigations, or blocking network access and disturbing donation receiving.

While some “shady” network services were started by paranoid people (in a good sense), who think a lot about their security and anonymity, most others don’t realise how important it could be or just don’t care.

Who should care about this? People who call themselves media, political organisations, internet pirates and people who want to stay anonymous.

 

Here are some quick tips that could be of some use to you:

1. Domain name

Since most of the visitors reach your service through domain name, make sure you use domain name(s) that can’t be easily taken away by your country’s government or get you in problems for using them.

 

2. Location

2.1. Choosing country

Make sure your files are hosted on servers outside of your government’s reach. In case of  piracy, countries that don’t care about piracy or anti-piracy are best suited for this (Canda?).

Also make sure that your country doesn’t have official international investigation agreements with the hoster country.

2.2. Choosing data center

It would not hurt if the data center would be located deep under ground in some fortress that was previously used as a bomb shelter. Probably most countries have those.

2.3. Don’t bring your work to home

If there is something physical that can’t be encrypted and hidden, don’t keep it at home. Hell, don’t keep it at home even if it is encrypted!

 

3. Laws of your country

In certain cases, make sure that you can’t be extradited to other country. If necessary, move to new home. If you are dealing with some really powerful people, this could be really tricky (Wikileaks case).

 

4. Inability to reach users after takedown

Nothing scares away users more than leaving them wondering what is going one. Make sure you have some social messaging account that is hosted on safe grounds, that all your users know about. In case of problems inform them using those tools.

 

5. Encryption

5.1.Disk encryption

Keep your data encrypted and don’t give the key to anyone. Also recommend this to your clients.

Since computers are getting more powerful all the time, complaining about CPU power needed to use data encryption is silly.

Also make sure that your encryption key can’t be accessed using cold boot attack. If needed, glue the RAM to the motherboard! Seriously, this could help. 😀

5.2. Connection encryption

Use connection encryption between your server and clients.

If you don’t trust your government and certificates given out by some companies, make your own and make sure your clients recognize it.

 

7. Data loss and downtime

Good old saying “Real men don’t make backups” is meant more like a joke and should not be taken seriously. Do make backups! Keep them far away from your main server, hide them, encrypt them, but make sure you have them (and try not to loose the key).

Having not only your data but also server configuration backed up could help reduce downtime in case of server change.

 

8. Hiding

8.1. Fake identities for fake servers

Hiding your super powerful server behind cheap, anonymous VPS could help you stay unidentified by less powerful people. There are some hosting companies that provide cheap VPS hosting and allow you to enter fake owner data for small fee. If you can then hide your payment account and fake your domain name owner data, you could stay anonymous as long as your proxy hoster doesn’t give out your real server address. In this case even if your proxy is taken down, reopening is just a matter of getting new proxy server in some other part of the world.

8.2. Anonymous administration

There is always some risk that your server could be taken and data searched for leads.

If possible, leave no log files about your clients and administrators or make up some fake ones.

Use proxy! Tor Project should help you hide yourself.

8.3. Don’t use Skype

Since Skype was bought by Micro$oft, it can’t provide anonymous communication anymore. As an extra, they probably added the famous “generic crash library” to it. 😀 OK, to be serious, most of the public IM and e-mail networks should be considered unsafe. Set up your own private encrypted IM network and don’t log stuff.

But if we keep talking about Micro$soft, try to stay away from it. You never know what is hiding in their lame binaries and “security through obscurity” (M$’s motto?) is stupid. Open source software is the future, go with it, explore how “security by design” works.

 

Conclusion

It is hard to write universal hiding guide for every project and each case is different. If you think it is necessary, get someone to give you good advices.

Remember that it takes only one small mistake to fail completely.

Most importantly keep your conscience clean and be good! If you are doing it for the right reasons (and have good PR campaign), people will support you (shouldn’t they?).

 

P.S. Feel free to add more tips or point to some errors in the comment section. I’l try to keep this post up to date.