Tor Exit Node Trials and Triumphs

Tor Exit Node SetupI recently worked on a project that required rotating IP addresses without the need for speed, just viewing specific pages from different addresses. I first started with open HTTP proxies but their reliability varies hugely and I found that parsing any (free) proxy list was so unreliable and most of the time was spent determining that a proxy was not online so I came up with the idea of leveraging the Tor network due to the ease of path-finding and pruning of dead peers. As the results have shown, the number of peers is always sufficient for the requirements.

As a way of contributing back to the community and the Tor Project, I set up a dedicated Tor Exit Node. It was quite interesting and took a little while of going through disparate documentation sources and the outdated version in the repositories for Ubuntu Server but it was thrilling to learn exactly how this service function, that I’ve admired for many years, functions.
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Automatic Sitemap Submission Script

I wrote a script for a client (which was acknowledged as off-contract so I’m providing it as open source) to automate the submission of multiple sitemaps (a.k.a. “pinging”) to multiple search engines.  It’s PHP and coupled with cron, it can run as (in-)frequently as wanted though without scheduling, I think it’s still useful as a batch submission tool.
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Thunderbird Lightning Google Tasks Sync

A plan for Thunderbird Lightning Google Tasks syncingI finally installed Lightning for Thunderbird which adds Calendar/Task functions as well as Provider for Google Calendar which allows the synchronisation of Google calendars very nicely. I hadn’t bothered previously because I couldn’t find something compatible enough that would sync. freely with everything.

Tasks-synchronisation is missing from the the GData plug-in though. The mostly-Linux-Thunderbird-Lightning community have been requesting the feature for years now and in may, Google released the Google Tasks API but this is yet to be implemented with Lightning.

“The current version doesn’t support the Tasks API yet, but I’m working on it. There are a few issues with Google’s API access rules I need to overcome.” – Philipp Kewisch

If I get free time and it isn’t already implemented, I’m going to give it a shot because I know there are lots of people out there also wishing for a Thunderbird Lightning Google Tasks sync plugin!

Online Morrowind Journal Viewer

I’m not certain what came over me but while going through the Dwemer ruins of Avanchnzel trying to return the lexicon for From-Deepest-Fathoms as part of the Unfathomable Depths quest, I thought it’d be a great idea to make on online Morrowind journal viewer based on an uploaded journal (perhaps later the save file itself).

As can be seen from the screenshot, it is starting to look a little like the in-game journal and topics are detected. The next features to add will be topic and quest-filtering then perhaps a player profile read from a save displaying skill levels, inventory, gold et cetera. Although it’s fun, I might have missed the boat to Seyda Neen on this one while everyone else’s already up north in Skyrim.

ISO 3166-1 Country Codes MySQL Import Script

Probably like most, I’m sick of finding or formatting  country-code lists into an acceptable format for importing into MySQL for every single project that’s nationally-aware. This time around, I exported ISO 3166-1 as numeric, alpha-2 and alpha-3 with the corresponding country names. I only ever use the alpha-2 format but I thought I’d include the rest for anyone that might want them. The alpha-2 codes fit perfectly with famfamfam flag icon set thusly:

echo "<img src='/images/flags/".strtolower($country['alpha-2']).".png'>";

Download iso-3166-1.sql

Brute Force TrueCrypt Volumes

Brute Force TrueCryptSomeone at work uses TrueCrypt and forgot their password for an encrypted volume which had some important, business-related files that were needed. This person relies on muscle memory for their passwords which has them employing alternating combinations of strings to create secure but forgettable password. To exemplify this method, the three strings “123″, “abc” and “!@#” could yield them a password of “abc!@#123″ or 26 other variations.

This person had no luck in trying everything that they could think of so I made a PHP and Bash script to automate the slow, brute force TrueCrypt volume with 100.000 password combinations to attempt. To save the web browser from a slow demise, I installed php5-cli and had Bash write the results – extremely quickly!
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