Ye blog of Adam Wright

DIY, tutorials, stuff for geeks, all updated when I have the time to spare.

Category Archives: tutorials

Proxy Servers – Information and Instructions

DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY SOFTWARE PROMISING PROXY SERVER USAGE!
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO DOWNLOAD ANY SOFTWARE TO USE A PROXY SERVER TO BROWSE THE INTERNET!
DOING SO WOULD LIKELY CREATE UNECESSARY VULNERABILITIES TO THE LOCAL NETWORK(S) YOU USE!

Proxy Servers – Information

What is a Proxy Server?
“A proxy server is a kind of buffer between your computer and the Internet resources you are accessing (Web sites, FTP archives etc.). The data you request come to the proxy first, and only then it transmits the data to you.” – freeproxy.ru

In the simplest terms, using a proxy server forces your internet browser to use a different IP address for web browsing. This IP address could be one from across town, across the country, or across the world. This is useful because of web restrictions imposed on an IP-location based basis. For example, this was popular during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, when U.S. citizens wanted to view live online video feeds of the games, which were being blocked to all U.S. IP addresses. Americans simply used a proxy server located in an unblocked location, then they could access the video feeds because they were no longer using a U.S. IP address.

In the picture below, the green line depicts normal/secure internet browsing, where your IP address (1.2.3.4) is used for internet requests from the WWW server. The red line is an example of using a proxy server – your internet requests come from your proxy server’s IP address. For this reason, the WWW server doesn’t know your real IP address, and therefore thinks your location is in whichever area the proxy server is located. If the proxy server was located in Russia, the WWW server would think you are located in Russia.

 

Warnings about using a proxy server:

Since you are no longer accessing the internet directly from your network, internet page requests are going through another network first, so it’s easily possible that your internet activity can be monitored and/or logged. For this reason, it is a VERY good idea to NOT use any personal information or logins while using a proxy server.

Personally, if you plan on using a proxy server, I would recommend using an alternative browser (other than your main browser of choice) ONLY for using a proxy server. In other words, if you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome as your main browser of choice, then download and use Opera solely for browsing the internet from a proxy server. This way you could still browse the internet normally with your browser of choice, you won’t need to enter any information that can be compromised in the alternative browser (usernames, passwords, etc), and you could leave the proxy server details in the alternative browser – rather than changing back and forth for foreign-IP-based browsing in your primary browser. If you ever want to browse the internet using a proxy server, you just open Opera – the proxy server settings will still be set in it upon startup.

Internet Explorer and Chrome don’t have proxy server settings built-in, so you’ll need to change your PC’s network settings to use a proxy server with them. THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED, since then every application on your computer will be using the proxy server rather than just the alternative browser. For this reason, I recommend using Firefox (or Internet Explorer or Chrome) as your primary browser, and Opera as your alternative browser. If Opera is your primary browser of choice, then I recommend using Firefox as your alternative browser.

The two main things you need to set up a proxy server connection is the proxy server’s IP address and port number. You get these from proxy server lists found on the internet, below are links to a few examples.

Examples of proxy server lists:

Other Links:

Proxy Servers – Instructions

Please read information above before continuing.
It is recommended to use an alternative browser for using a proxy server.
Remember, I recommend using Opera as the alternative browser for using a proxy server, but if Opera is already your primary browser, then I recommend using Firefox as your alternate browser.

Opera (download):

  1. Menu > Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Network > Proxy Servers…
  2. Enter IP address or hostname of the proxy server, as well as the port, in the boxes for HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and Gopher.
    1. Make sure those four checkboxes are checked.
    2. Make sure “Use proxy for local servers” in unchecked.

Firefox (download):

  1. Tools > Options > Advanced > Network > Settings…
  2. Select “Manual proxy configuration:”
  3. Enter the IP address or hostname of the proxy server, as well as the port.
    1. Checking “Use this proxy server for all protocols” isn’t always necessary, but it’s probably a good idea.

Afterthoughts

Using a proxy server can speed up or slow down connection speed and bandwith when browsing the internet. This can be because of quality of service settings for the many proxy connections they administer, or just because of the distance of the proxy server’s location, or some other reason.

There are MANY MANY MANY proxy servers worldwide, easily hundreds of thousands. Its common to test different proxy server IP addresses until you find one you’re content with. It is also common for proxy servers to go down randomly, in which case you would need to go back online and find a new proxy server IP address to use.

Irssi is a command-line IRC chat program (can be used via SSH!)

Irssi is a linux IRC chat program which can be used via SSH (since its command-line/terminal based).
Here is a nice introduction/tutorial on using Irssi.

I highly recommend reading the guide linked above, but here’s some simple commands I used for installing on Ubuntu (should be able to use yum or whatever on other systems):

  1. ssh myserver.com # SSH into your server
  2. sudo apt-get install -y irssi # Install irssi
  3. irssi # Test it out
  4. echo “alias irc=’irssi'” >> ~/.bashrc # Create an alias for using IRC (optional)
  5. source ~/.bashrc # Resource the alias
  6. echo “/connect irc.efnet.org” > ~/.irssi/startup # Add any user-specific startup commands to ~/.irssi/startup (optional)

Simple startup notes: To switch between windows/channels use Alt+left and Alt+right. To switch between servers, switch to the server output window and press Ctrl+x.

It’s like using emacs or nano for text editing, because it resides entirely in a command-line/terminal window. So now whenever I feel like using IRC, I just SSH into the server I installed irssi onto and use IRC there. You’ll never need to install IRC on a machine again, just keep it on a server somewhere then SSH in!

Both screenshots were made when I was using Putty within Windows.

Ten rules for making a video game montage that isn’t total crap

If you plan on making a montage of some awesome video game footage, follow these rules, or else its likely you will get stabbed in the face with a knife from across the internet.

10. Broadcast yourself or give credit when due.  If you’re planning on using footage of other players, you need to make it blatantly obvious who is on the screen.  You can’t show sweet headshots then give the other shooters names in the credits, viewers need to know who made what kills.

9. Rocket-whores need not apply. I remember watching Halo 2 montages riddled with triple kills thanks only to the game’s built-in lock-on feature. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a lock-on triple kill every time I get the chance, but I don’t consider it “epic montage quality”. You’re proud of getting a triple kill that a person with only one finger could get? Anyone can upload that.

8. Point of view should stay behind you…mostly. Plenty of games support video editing built into the game with no software video editing skills necessary (Halo 3’s “Theater Mode”), but that doesn’t mean a bird’s eye or third-person view of you owning another player is better than the familiar first-person view. After all, your audience wants to see the awesome moves and steps you took to get that epic frag, so keep them in the driver’s seat, rather than the bleachers.

7. The background music doesn’t need to be synced to the gameplay, but it should be something worthwhile. Suspenseful classical-type music is ok, but a bit cliche. Your best bet is to choose one of your all time favorite songs that represents you. That means not one that’s on the radio every other hour. Rap, rock, techno, rave, there’s so many thousands of songs out there, so why choose the one that your 10-year-old sister already knows the words to by heart?

6. Shareware is for retards from the 90s. Got a banner at the top of your screen that says “www.fraps.com” during the whole video? Apparently you haven’t heard of this brand new tool called “Google.com”. If you can’t find free video recording software [or how to get full versions of non-free software without paying], then you’re quite internet-incompetent, and it would seem safe to assume your video content is equivalent, so why watch it?

5. Hi-res makes a difference. I refuse to view any video that is pixelated before maximizing to full screen mode. I shouldn’t have to squint to make out the type of gun you’re using.

4. If you want it to be awesome, only use awesome content. Not every snipe or nade kill is awesome, so stop using them to fill up some empty spots in your video. I don’t want to see how you sniped a guy in his leg with three shots because he was a mile away with a shotgun(also, as a rule, hardly any snipes should be included if they aren’t headshots). Get back in the game and frag til you get a better two seconds of pwnage, loser.

3. There should be no where near more editing/effects than gameplay. Everyone’s really impressed you learned how to install Windows Movie Maker, now enough sliding fade-ins and “BOOM HEADSHOT!” scrolling across the screen, this isn’t a PowerPoint presentation, noob.

2. If any, the intro and credits should be no more than 20% of the total time of the video.  If your montage is 9:30s long, and gameplay hasn’t started after a minute, I’m clicking “dislike” and probably going to use my witty intellectualism in the comments to insinuate that I fancy your mother.

1. STOP USING LINKIN PARK SONGS AS THE SOUNDTRACK YOU FUCKING KIDS!!! Christ almighty. It’s kids like you that forced me to hate Linkin Park and Evanescence even though I legitimately liked them when they first came out. Now hearing “Faint” or “Papercut” makes me nauseous.

Examples of good montages:

How to tether a Motorola Droid to a PC

For you simpletons out there, tethering means to use your cell phone’s internet connection to access the internet on your computer.

In my case, I set up my new netbook with my Motorola Droid and it was amazingly simple.  In fact, this entire post was written on my netbook using the internet connection from my Droid.
Best of all, its completely FREE.

DISCLAIMER: Tethering any cell phone to a computer for internet access could cause penalties or extra charges to your cell phone bill.  I don’t know how a cell phone provider detects tethering, or why they charge extra for it, so don’t ask me.  Just be warned that there is a chance that tethering your phone to your PC could cost you extra monthly charges, I just don’t know for sure how likely it is for those charges to occur.

With that said, let’s get started.

  1. Make sure your Droid is unplugged from your PC for now.
  2. On your Droid, search the Android Market for “PDAnet” and install “PDAnet free edition”.
  3. On your PC, download PDAnet (free) from JuneFabrics.com and install.
  4. During installation, the program will instruct you to enable “USB debugging” mode on your Droid, and then connect it via USB. (don’t do anything with the Droid’s PDAnet app yet)
  5. At this point, the PDAnet program on your PC should be installing a Motorola USB driver connection.  Once that finishes, the installation of the PDAnet program will finish.
  6. Now you should see the PDAnet icon in your PC’s systray.  (note: after installation finished, I also saw a “MotoConnect” icon in my systray, so don’t be surprised if you do too)
  7. On your Droid, open the PDAnet app and push the “enable USB tether” button.  The app should show that it is connecting and within a few seconds it should be successfully connected.
  8. On your PC, right-click the PDAnet systray icon and click connect.  After a few seconds connecting, it should be successfully connected.
  9. Now you should see a new internet connection in your systray called “PdaNet Modem”.  If you see this icon, you’re all done!

At this point, you should be able to use the internet on your PC!

Personally, I’m loving this because I don’t have internet access at home, and now I can browse the internet while my phone charges anywhere I go.  This is also a great match with a small netbook like mine, because anywhere there’s an internet connection (like in my vehicle with my DC-to-AC converter) I can have an internet connection on my netbook!

The original article I found on tethering a Droid can be found here.

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