Posts Tagged ‘long time’

How to Remove Firefox TABS all time Moving Backward / Forward (Waiting) Wheel cursor – Browser and OS Wheel Ring cursor might affect hypnotically

Monday, September 7th, 2015

remove-firefox-tabs-all-time-annoying-moving-back-forward-waiting-wheel-cursor-browser-and-ring-cursor-might-affect-you-hypnotically

I've been annoying for quite a long time by the the Clockwise moving backward and Forward Wheel (Ring) on Top of browser Tabs everytime I navigate to a new Internet domain or request a resource on the Net.

I'm aware that seeing the wheel all the time move back and forward is a very bad manipulation technique that is often used in advertisements in old movies and some advertisements in the start of the video . I'm talking about the infamous backward counting technique in a Circle (it was moer commonly used in the dawn of Television) aiming to induce watchers mind into hypnotic state …

back-counting-10-9-8-7-manipulation-technique-to-make-your-mind-susceptible

Those who have a degree in psychology or have been into marketing or human resources fields or any field involved where you have to influence the masses are already aware of the backward counting methology which has been practiced heavily by hypnosis practisioners such as Sigmund Freud, to induce any kind of hypnotic state the hypnotist always asks the object of hypnotism to watch closely into a moving back and forwards clock, often accompanied by counting backwards …

Well my Theory here is that the same techniques is well aware of those who planned Windows OS in which if you remember the Sand Clock has been substituted in Windows 7 / 8 and Windows 10 with the rotating back and foward Wheel for the reason that this aims to influence people mind to go into Alpha state from Beta state and thus make them feel more relaxed while doing stuff on the PC.

One thing to mention here is Back and Forward wheel is not only into OS level it has been heavily adopted by leading Software as a Service (SAS) UIs such as Google's and probably more importantly Youtube (have you noticed the Cycling Wheel when waiting for a Youtube movie to Load), the Wheel is also heavily incoruprated in most if not all biggest Websites on the Net. Even If you have noticed these days Google's Cycling (Waiting) Wheel is not only Cycling but has the colorful programming incorporated.

google-wheel-color-programming-example

Well probably many people who use computers daily did not really realize that the Computer OS and Programs GUI Interface they're using is influencing their mind and some famous psychological methods such as color programming and hypnotic tricks could be used more or less.

In that regard as a Firefox user I decided to change tne Back and Forward Wheel with another one which will not trigger my subconsciousness / mind all the time while browing on the Net into Alpha State. As I'm not a Firefox expert and my quick research on search Engines on how to achieve changing or removing the Browser Tabs all time turning wheel did not led me to nothing positive, I've consulted the experts in irc.freenode.net #firefox.

As always the guys were helpful and pointed me out to UserStyles.org website's Static-Throbbler CSS. I've mirrored the CSS script under a name remove-firefox-tab-wheel-script.css in case if UserSpace.org disappears in future, below is also a paste of the script:

@namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul); @-moz-document url(chrome://browser/content/browser.xul) { .tab-throbber { list-style-image: url('data:image/png;base64,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') !important; animation-name: none !important; } .tab-throbber[progress] { list-style-image: url('data:image/png;base64,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') !important; } }

To use the script you will first need to install the Stylish FF plugin, then:

Stylish-FireFox-plugin-screenshot-Windows-7-OS
 

1. Enable Stylish plugin and Restart firefox when prompted
2. Click on Write New Style
3. Paste above CSS script and click on Save button

 

stylish-static-throbbler-css-script-change-back-forward-rotating-tab-wheel-on-Firefox-howto

Now instead of the moving wheel you will get just a circle appearing as a static image while the page is loading.

If you want to absolutely remove any circles or images and show nothing when loading, e.g. not have any mean to monitor whether page is loaded or not, but also make it easier for the eye I even finally decided to completely remove the all time moving Wheel from Firefox Tabs even the static picture out using below CSS script with Stylish:
 

@namespace url(http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul); @-moz-document url(chrome://browser/content/browser.xul) { .tab-throbber { list-style-image: none !important; animation-name: none !important; } .tab-throbber[progress] { list-style-image: none !important; } }

After all even after removing the FF Tabs wheel, there is the Status being printed down the webpage, showing text based the connection status. I find this kind of page loading status much less agressive and preferrable, than the current verions Firefox 4 onwards ..

One other thing I do to prevent the annoying Windows OS default Theme wheel is to change it to the old fashioned sand clock as well as bring back the theme of Windows 7 / 8 to Classic Theme of Win 2000, as I believe this reduced the level of zoombification the PC imposes on self 🙂

Enjoy!

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Resume sftp / scp cancelled (interrupted) network transfer – Continue (large) partially downloaded files on Linux / Windows

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

resume-sftp-scp-cancelled-interrupted-file-transfer-download-upload-network-transfer-continue-large-partially-downloaded-file-howto-linux-windows
I've recentely have a task to transfer some huge Application server long time stored data (about 70GB) of data after being archived between an old Linux host server and a new one to where the new Tomcat Application (Linux) server will be installed to fit the increased sites accessibility (server hardware overload).

The two systems are into a a paranoid DMZ network and does not have access between each other via SSH / FTP / FTPs and even no Web Access on port (80 or SSL – 443) between the two hosts, so in order to move the data I had to use a third HOP station Windows (server) which have a huge SAN network attached storage of 150 TB (as a Mapped drive I:/).

On the Windows HOP station which is giving me access via Citrix Receiver to the DMZ-ed network I'm using mobaxterm so I have the basic UNIX commands such as sftp / scp already existing on the Windows system via it.
Thus to transfer the Chronos Tomcat application stored files .tar.gz archived I've sftp-ed into the Linux host and used get command to retrieve it, e.g.:

 

sftp UserName@Linux-server.net
Password:
Connected to Linux-server.
sftp> get Chronos_Application_23_04_2015.tar.gz

….


The Secured DMZ Network seemed to have a network shaper limiting my get / Secured SCP download to be at 2.5MBytes / sec, thus the overall file transfer seemed to require a lot of time about 08:30 hours to complete. As it was the middle of day about 13:00 and my work day ends at 18:00 (this meant I would be able to keep the file retrieval session for a maximum of 5 hrs) and thus file transfer would cancel when I logout of the HOP station (after 18:00). However I've already left the file transfer to continue for 2hrs and thus about 23% of file were retrieved, thus I wondered whether SCP / SFTP Protocol file downloads could be resumed. I've checked thoroughfully all the options within sftp (interactive SCP client) and the scp command manual itself however none of it doesn't have a way to do a resume option. Then I thought for a while what I can use to continue the interrupted download and I remembered good old rsync (versatile remote and local file copying tool) which I often use to create customer backup stragies has the ability to resume partially downloaded files I wondered whether this partially downloaded file resume could be done only if file transfer was only initiated through rsync itself and luckily rsync is able to continue interrupted file transfers no matter what kind of HTTP / HTTPS / SCP / FTP program was used to start file retrievalrsync is able to continue cancelled / failed transfer due to network problems or user interaction activity), that turned even pretty easy to continue failed file transfer download from where it was interrupted I had to change to directory where file is located:
 

cd /path/to/interrupted_file/


and issue command:
 

rsync -av –partial username@Linux-server.net:/path/to/file .


the –partial option is the one that does the file resume trick, -a option stands for –archive and turns on the archive mode; equals -rlptgoD (no -H,-A,-X) arguments and -v option shows a file transfer percantage status line and an avarage estimated time for transfer to complete, an easier to remember rsync resume is like so:
 

rsync -avP username@Linux-server.net:/path/to/file .
Password:
receiving incremental file list
chronos_application_23_04_2015.tar.gz
  4364009472   8%    2.41MB/s    5:37:34

To continue a failed file upload with rsync (e.g. if you used sftp put command and the upload transfer failed or have been cancalled:
 

rsync -avP chronos_application_23_04_2015.tar.gz username@Linux-server.net:/path/where_to/upload


Of course for the rsync resume to work remote Linux system had installed rsync (package), if rsync was not available on remote system this would have not work, so before using this method make sure remote Linux / Windows server has rsync installed. There is an rsync port also for Windows so to resume large Giga or Terabyte file archive downloads easily between two Windows hosts use cwRsync.

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Improve Websites SEO: Optimize images to Increase website loading performance on Linux server – Image Compress tools

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Optimize-website-images-pictures-to-Increase-website-loading-performance-on-Linux-server_Image_Compress_tools-Improve-Websites_SEO
Part of our daily life as Web hosting system adminstrators is to constantly strive to better utilize our Linux / Windows hosting servers hardware.
Therefore it is our constant task to look for new better ways to optimize our Apache Sites and Webservers in order to return served application content light fast to keep the Boss and customers happy 🙂

There are things to tune up for better server performance and better CPU / memory utilization on both server Application server side as well as the website programming code backend, html and pictures / images

Thus it is critically important to not only keep the Webserver / PHP engine optimized but keep hosted sites  stored images and source code clean and efficient.

We as admins usually couldn't directly interfere with clearning the source code and often we have to host a crappy written sites with picture upload forms with un-optimized Image files that was  produced on old Photo Cameras, "Ancient" Mobile Mobiles, Win XP MS Paint, various versions Photoshop, Gimp etc.).

It is a well known fact that a big part from a Website User Experience is how fast the user loads a page, thus if HTML / CSS loaded images loads slow has a negative impact on user look & feel about website

Therefore by optimizing the size of hosted sites Images, you Save Network bandwidth and in some cases when Large Gallery sites HDD disk space.

On Linux, there are already a many command line tools to inspect and optimize (compress) the size of PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNM, Tiff Images, most famous ones are:

  • optipng – PNG optimizer that recompresses image files to a smaller size, without losing any information.
  • jpegoptim –   lossless JPEG optimization (based on optimizing the Huffman tables) and "lossy" optimization based on setting a maximum quality factor.
  • pngcrush – Recommended tool to use by Stoyan Stefanov (Yahoo Yslow Developer)
  • jpegtran – Recommended to use by Google 
  • gifsicle –  command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations. 

It is hence useful to first run manually availale Linux image optimization tools (to get an idea what they do) and later automate them to run as scripts to optimize server stored images size and make pictures load faster on websites and thus improve End Users Experience and speed up Image content delivery to GoogleBot / YahooBot / Bing Crawlers which will make Search Engines to position server hosted sites better (more SEO Friendly).

 

  • How much percents of  space (Mega / Gigabytes ) Pictures compress can save you?

If you run it on 500MB image directory, you can probably save about 20 to 50MB of size, so don't expect extraordinary file reduce, however 5% to 10% reduce in size is not bad too. If you host 100 sites each with half gigas of data this would mean saving of 5GB of data and some 5GB from backups 🙂 At extraordinary cases you can expect 20% to 30% of storage reduce. For even better image compression you can try out GIMP's – Save for Web option.
 

  • Installing jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush gifsicle on Debian / Ubuntu (deb based) Linux
     

apt-get install –yes libjpeg-progs optipng jpegoptim pngcrush gifsicle

 

  • Installing  jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush, gifsicle on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL (RPM based distros)
     

yum -y install pngcrush libjpeg-turbo-utils opt-jpg opt-png opt-gif


gifsicle is not availale by default on Redhacks 🙂 but there is a RPM package for fedora from http://pkgs.repoforge.org/gifsicle/

 

Some examples of running image compression on GNU / Linux

  • optipng and jpegoptim optimize for all files in directory
     

cd /home/sites/

find . -iname '*.png' -print0 | xargs -0 optipng -o7 -preserve
find . -iname '*.jpg' -print0 |
 xargs -0 jpegoptim –max=90 –strip-all –preserve –totals


In jpegoptim command, the option –strip-all will strip any metadata including Exif data from images. For websites JPEG metadata is usually not needed, so usually its ok to strip them.

Above jpegoptim example will decrease slightly JPEG image quality to 90%. quality level of 90 is still high enough and website visitors are unlikely to spot any visible quality reduction / defects in the image.

 

  • pngcrush all files in a directory example
     

cd /home/sites/

for png in `find $IMG_DIR -iname "*.png"`; do
    echo "crushing $png …"
        pngcrush -rem alla -reduce -brute "$png" temp.png

 

    # preserve original on error
    if [ $? = 0 ]; then
        mv -f temp.png $png
        else
        rm temp.png
        fi
done

  • Run jpegtran on sites directory
     

find /home/sites -name "*.jpg" -type f -exec jpegtran -copy none -optimize -outfile {} {} ;

 

  • Set a script to compress / reduce size of Sites Images


Here is a basic optimize_images.sh which I used earlier before and was reducing the overall images size just 5 to 10%, then I found the much improved version of optimize images shell script  (useful to  clear up EXIF picture data / And Comments from JPG / PNG files). The script execution could take very long time on large image directories and thus could cause a high HDD disk I/O, however if ran once a week at night time its not such a big deal. 

To set it to run on your server as a cronjob:
 

cd /usr/sbin/
wget -q http://www.pc-freak.net/bshscr/optimize_images2.sh
crontab -u root -e 


Sample cron job to run once a month on 10th and 27th in 3 o'clock AM:
 

 00 3 10,27 * * /usr/sbin/optimize_images2.sh 2>&1 >/dev/null


Also if you need to further optimize million of tiny sized PNG files Yahoo Smush.it service could be helpful. For compression maniacs its worthy to check out also TinyPNG Service (however be awre that this service compresses files with significant quality loss) making picture quality visibly deteriorated.

Besides optimizing server stored Pictures, here are some other stuff that helps in increasing server utilization / lower webpages loading time.

Starting up with the installation (when site is to use Apache + PHP) for its backend, the first thing to on the freshlyinstalled Linux server is to implement the following list of Apache common Timeout variables that help better scale the webserver for the CMS-es hosted, enable Webserver caching with (mod_deflate), enable eAccelerator tune PHP common php variable etc.

Other thing  I sometimes use to speed-up performance of Apache child responce time up to 20-30  is to Include into Virtualhost / httpd.conf Apache configuration any htacces mod_rewrite rules.

On too heavily loaded sites On-line stores / Large Company website portals with more than 60 000 – 100 000 unique IP visitors a day it is useful tip to disable completely Apache logging in access.log / error.log.

Often when old architecture websites are moved from older Linux OS version to a newer one with newer versions of Apache / PHP often sites are working without major code rework, but use many functions which are already obsolete and thus many WARNING messages crap is logged into php_error.log / error.log. Thus to save disk space and decrease hard disk I/O operations it is good to Disable PHP Notices and Warnings messages
 

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Joomla 1.5 fix news css problem partial text (article text not completely showing in Joomla – Category Blog Layout problem)

Monday, October 20th, 2014

joomla-fix-weird-news-blog-article-text-incompletely-shown-category-blog-website-layout-problem

I’m still administrating some old archaic Joomla website built on top of Joomla 1.5. Recently there were some security issues with the website so I first tried using jupgrade (Upgrade Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5) plugin to try to resolve the issues. As there were issues with the upgrade, because of used template was not available for Joomla 2.5, I decided to continue using Joomla 1.5 and applied the Joomla 1.5 Security Patch. I also had to disable a couple of unused joomla components and the contact form in order to prevent spammers of randomly spamming through the joomla … the Joomla Security Scanner was mostly useful in order to fix the Joomla security holes ..

So far so good this Joomla solved security but just recently I was asked to add a new article the Joomla News section – (the news section is configure to serve as a mini site blog as there are only few articles added every few months). For my surprise all of a sudden the new joomla article text started displaying text and pictures partially. The weirdly looking newly added news looked very much like some kind of template or css problem. I tried debugging the html code but unfortunately my knowledge in CSS is not so much, so as a next step I tried to temper some settings from Joomla Administrator in hope that this would resolve the text which was appearing from article used to be cut even though the text I’ve placed in artcle seemed correctly formatted. I finally pissed off trying to solve the news section layout problem so looked online too see if anyone else didn’t stick out to same error and I stumbled on Joomla’s forum explaining the Category Blog Layout Problem

The solution to the Joomla incomplete text showing in article is – To go to Joomla administrator menus:

1. Menus -> Main Menu -> (Click on Menu Item(s) – Edit Menu Item(s)) button
2. Click on News (section)
In Parameters section (on the botton right) of screen you will see #Leading set to some low number for example it will be something like 8 or 9. The whole issue in my case was that I was trying to add more than 8 articles and I had a Leading set to 8 and in order to add more articles and keep proper leading I had to raise it to more. To prevent recent leading errors, I’ve raised the Leading to 100 like shown in below screenshot
joomla-blog-layout-basic-parameters-screenshot-fix-joomla-news-cut-text-problem-screenshot

After raising to some high number click Apply and you’re done your problem is solved 🙂
For those curious what the above settings from screenshot mean:

# Leading Articles -> This refers to the number of articles that are to be shown to the full width
# Intro Articles -> This refers to the number of articles that are not to be shown to full width
# Columns -> This refers to the number of columns in which the articles will be shown that are identified as #Intro. If #Intro is zero this setting has no effect
# Links -> Number of articles that are to be shown as links. The number of articles should exceed #leading + #Intro

N.B. Solving this issue took me quite a long time and it caused me a lot of attempts to resolve it. I tried creating the article from scratch, making copy from an old article etc. I even messed few of the news articles one time so badly that I had to recreate them from scratch, before doing any changes to obsolete joomlas always make database and file content backup otherwise you will end up like me in situation loosing 10 hours of your time ..

The bitter experiences once again with Joomla convinced me when I have time I have to migrate this Joomla CMS to WordPress. My so far experience with Joomla prooved to me just for one time the time and nerves spend to learn joomla and built a multi-lingual website with it as well as to administer it with joomla obscure and hard to cryptic interfaces and multiple security issues., makes this CMS completely unworthy to study or use, its hardness to upgrade from release to release, besides its much slow and its less plugins if compared to WordPress makes wordpress much better (and easier to build use platform than Joomla).
So if you happen to be in doubt where to use Joomla or a WordPress to build a new company / community website or a blog my humbe advise is – choose WordPress!

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Fixing Clamav error: “WARNING: Can’t download daily.cvd from database.clamav.net”

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

On one of the Debian Squeeze Servers, where I have Running QMAIL Server, I haven't checked logs for a long time. Cause Qmail is configured and all runs smoothly. Just today while checking logs, I've noticed in /var/log/clamav/clamav.log, clamav database fails to be updated with an error, e.g.:

qmail:~# tail -n 28 /var/log/clamav/clamav.log

ClamAV update process started at Thu Jun 6 20:47:14 2013
main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from db.local.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from db.local.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from db.local.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from db.local.clamav.net
ERROR: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from db.local.clamav.net
WARNING: Incremental update failed, trying to download daily.cvd
ERROR: Can't download daily.cvd from db.local.clamav.net
Giving up on db.local.clamav.net…
ClamAV update process started at Thu Jun 6 20:47:15 2013
main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: Incremental update failed, trying to download daily.cvd
WARNING: Can't download daily.cvd from database.clamav.net
Trying again in 5 secs…
ClamAV update process started at Thu Jun 6 20:47:20 2013
main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net
WARNING: Incremental update failed, trying to download daily.cvd
WARNING: Can't download daily.cvd from database.clamav.net

On host Freshclam is configured to run in background as a service i.e.:

qmail:~#
 ps ax|grep -i fresh|grep -v grep
13615 ? Ss 0:02 /usr/bin/freshclam -d –quiet
 

I stopped clamav and tried running it manually through its script: qmail:~# /etc/init.d/clamav-freshclam restart

The error was reoccuring, so I decided to kill it and try running freshclam manually:

qmail:~# kill -9 freshclam

qmail:~# freshclam
I got same error again:
 

Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> ClamAV update process started at Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven) Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> ERROR: getpatch: Can't download daily-16682.cdiff from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> WARNING: Incremental update failed, trying to download daily.cvd Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> ERROR: Can't download daily.cvd from database.clamav.net Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> Giving up on database.clamav.net… Thu Jun 6 16:46:20 2013 -> Update failed. Your network may be down or none of the mirrors listed in /etc/clamav/freshclam.conf is working. Check http://www.clamav.net/support/mirror-problem for possible reasons.

The solution was to delete clamav database filedaily.cvd and then run another freshclam Clamav DB virus update:

qmail:~# rm -f /var/lib/clamav/daily.cvd
qmail:~# freshclam
root@pcfreak:/etc/init.d# freshclam ClamAV update process started at Thu Jun 6 22:07:21 2013
main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
Downloading daily.cvd [100%]
daily.cvd updated (version: 17309, sigs: 1302714, f-level: 63, builder: neo)
bytecode.cld is up to date (version: 214, sigs: 41, f-level: 63, builder: neo)
Database updated (2347142 signatures) from db.local.clamav.net (IP: 195.222.33.229)

Finally, to make freshclam work as daemon, restarted init script:

qmail:~# /etc/init.d/clamav-freshclam restart
[ ok ] Stopping ClamAV virus database updater: freshclam.
[ ok ] Starting ClamAV virus database updater: freshclam.

 

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Create ASCII Art Text banners in GNU / Linux console and terminal with figlet and toilet

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Create fun and colorful text ASCII art banner logos on Linux (figlet and toilet)

As an old school hobbyist, I'm a kind of ASCII art freak. Free Software is just great for this text / console maniacs like me, who spend their youth years in a DOS (Disk Opearting System) command prompt.
For long time, I'm researching the cool programs which has to do somehow with ASCII Art, in that relation I decided to write few ones of figlet and toilettwo nice programs capable of generating ASCII art text beautiful banners based on a typed in text string. Obviously toilet developer Sam Hocevar had a great sense of humor 🙂

To play with figlet and toilet install them, according to (rpm or deb based package manager on distro) with yum / apt-get.

yum -y install toilet figlet
....

apt-get --yes install toilet figlet
....

There are no native tool packages for Slackware, so Slackaware Linux users need to compile figlet from source code – available on figlet's home page figlet.org

Once figlet and toilet are installed, here is few sample use cases;
 

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet hello world!             

figlet ascii art banner hello world
 

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet -f script Merrcy Christmas

figlet merry christmas text in ascii art with script font linux

Plenty of figlet font examples are available on Figlet's website example section – very cool stuff btw 🙂 To take a quick look on all fonts available for toilet – ascii art banner creation. Type in your console tty or terminal; for i in $(dpkg -L toilet-fonts|grep -i /usr/share/figlet); do toilet -f $(echo $i|sed -e "s#.tlf##g" -e "s#/usr/share/figlet/##g") test; done

On below picture, I made a screenshot of my gnome terminal with most fonts installed by toilet-fonts (fonts package).

ascii art banner create generate program linux figlet toilet with fonts on debian linux screenshot pic - how to create ascii banners linux

There are about 150 fonts, most of which needs to be downloaded and installed manually. A quick search online led me to a fonts collection of 263 figlet ascii art fonts – you can download a mirror of the file figletfonts40.zip here. To aid up toilet and  with those 263 extra fonts (on Debian) do; wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/figletfonts40.zip cd /usr/share/figlets unzip figletfonts40.zip Note: you have to have installed unzip in advance, unzip is not in default install, so if you don't have it fetch it with; apt-get install --yes unzip toilet and figlet are partially compatible, between each other so most fonts should work okay on both.

figlet supports, also simple formatting of ASCII art banner, here is few examples with formatting; a.) format to center  

$ figlet -c bla bla

figlet centered ascii art text bla bla screenshot

b.) format to left


figlet ascii art banner left formatted text debian gnu linux

c. right formatting


figlet ascii art banner right formatted ascii art text debian linux generator

d. format to terminal width By default text that figlet generates is to suit for 80 rows terminals, normally on higher resolution in gnome-terminal and other Linux environments, terminals are not dimensioned 80×25, thus it is useful for longer sentences text to display text in accordance to terminal size;

figlet ascii art banner sentence phrase to terminal width banner debian gnu linux

The cool thing and advantage of toilet over figlet is toilet can print out ASCII art banners in colors – very very cool stuff; To quickly test all filters issue; for i in $(toilet -F list|awk '{ print $1 }'|grep -v Available|sed -e 's#"##g'); do toilet -F $i pC-fREAK; done Change text pC-fREAK with whatever you like;

> using toilet to create funny ascii-art banners linux pc-freak logo pictures

Very nice use of toilet or figlet, can be if it is placed to produce some nice message in ASCII banner on each user login. Other nice fun applications  is together with cowsay.

apt-cache show cowsay|grep -i description -A 5 Description: A configurable talking cow Cowsay (or cowthink) will turn text into happy ASCII cows, with speech (or thought) balloons. If you don't like cows, ASCII art is available to replace it with some other creatures (Tux, the BSD daemon, dragons, and a plethora of animals, from a turkey to an elephant in a snake).

In case interested in using cowsay on system logins, I suggest you check out my tiny cowrand script which uses cowsay and shows random cow ASCII art picture on each user login.

Also a good use if you're Christian is to combine, some nice Holy Scriptures  verse in text ascii with  some encouraging daily bible phrase from verse or fortune.

Apart from fun, common use of ASCII art slogans is in e-mail or blog comments ASCII art signatures, also they are certainly good for creating unusual (text) advertisements and even can be used to save printer ink:) cause text generated in ASCII art logo is not massive like most text fonts are 🙂 Last but not least  ASCII art banners are useful in generation of ASCII slogans as an art; after all ASCII art is one of innovative arts of 21st century 🙂

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Editting binary files in console and GUI on FreeBSD and Linux

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

I’ve recently wanted to edit one binary file because there was compiled in the binary a text string with a word I didn’t liked and therefore I wanted to delete. I know I can dig in the source of the proggie with grep and directly substitute my “unwatned text” there but I wanted to experiment, and see what kind of hex binary text editors are for Free OSes.
All those who lived the DOS OS computer era should certainly remember the DOS hex editors was very enjoyable. It was not rare case, where in this good old days, one could simply use the hex editor to “hack” the game and add extra player lives or modify some vital game parameter like put himself first in the top scores list. I even remember some DOS programs and games was possible to be cracked with a text editor … Well it was times, now back to current situation as a Free Software user for the last 12 years it was interesting to see what is the DOS hexeditor like alternatives for FreeBSD and Linux and hence in this article I will present my findings:

A quick search in FreeBSD ports tree and Debian installable packages list, I’ve found a number of programs allowing one to edit in console and GUI binary files.

Here is a list of the hex editors I will in short review in this article:

  • hexedit
  • dhex
  • chexedit
  • hte
  • hexer
  • hexcurse
  • ghex
  • shed
  • okteta
  • bless
  • lfhex

1. hexedit on Linux and BSD – basic hex editor

I’ve used hexedit already on Linux so I’ve used it some long time ago.

My previou experience in using hexedit is not too pinky, I found it difficult to use on Redhat and Debian Linux back in the day. hexedit is definitely not a choice of people who are not “initiated” with hex editting.
Anyways if you want to give it a try you can install it on FreeBSD with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/hexedit
freebsd# make install clean

On Debian the hexedit, install package is named the same so installation is with apt:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install hexedit

hexedit screenshot Debian Linux Squeeze

2. Hex editting with chexedit

I’ve installed chexedit the usual way from ports:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/chexedit
freebsd# make install clean

chexedit is using the ncurses text console library, so the interface is very similar to midnight commander (mc) as you see from below’s screenshot:

Chexeditor FreeBSD 7.2 OS Screenshot

Editting the binary compiled in string was an easy task with chexedit as most of the commands are clearly visible, anyways changing a certain text string contained within the binary file with some other is not easy with chexedit as you need to know the corresponding binary binary value representing each text string character.
I’m not a low level programmer, so I don’t know the binary values of each keyboard character and hence my competence came to the point where I can substitute the text string I wanted with some unreadable characters by simply filling all my text string with AA AA AA AA values…

chexedit on Debian is packaged under a deb ncurses-hexedit. Hence to install it on Deb run:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install ncurses-hexedit

Further on the binary to run chexedit on binary contained within ncurses-hexedit is:

debian:~# hexeeditor

3. Hex Editting on BSD and Linux with hte

Just after trying out chexedit, I’ve found about the existence of one even more sophisticated hexeditor console program available across both FreeBSD and Linux.
The program is called hte (sounds to me a bit like the Indian word for Elephant “Hatti” :))

hte is installable on Debian with cmd:

debian:~# apt-get install ht

On FreeBSD the port name is identical, so to install it I execed:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/hte
freebsd# make install clean

hte is started on Debian Linux (and presumably other Linux distros) with:

$ hte

On FreeBSD you need to run it with ht command:

freebsd# ht

You see how hte looks like in below screenshot:

ht has the look & feel like midnight commander and I found it easier to use than chexedit and hexeditor
4. hexer VI like interface for Linux

As I was looking through the available packages ready to install, I’ve tried hexer

debian:~# apt-get install –yes hexer

hexer does follow the same standard commands like VIM, e.g. i for insert, a for append etc.

Hexer Debian Linux vim like binary editor screenshot

It was interesting to find out hexer was written by a Bulgarian fellow Petar Penchev 🙂
(Proud to be Bulgarian)

http://people.freebsd.org/~roam/ – Petar Penchev has his own page on FreeBSD.org

As a vim user I really liked the idea, the only thing I didn’t liked is there is no easy way to just substitute a string within the binary with another string.

5. hexcurse another ncurses library based hex editor

On Deb install and run via:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install hexcurse
debian:~# hexcurse /usr/bin/mc

Hexcurse Debian Linux text binary editor screenshot

hexcurse is also available on FreeBSD to install it use cmd:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/hexcurse
freebsd# make install clean
….

To access the editor functions press CTRL+the first letter of the word in the bottom menu, CTRL+H, CTRL+S etc.
Something I disliked about it is the program search is always in hex, so I cannot look for a text string within the binaries with it.

6. ghex – Editting binary files in graphical environment

If you’re running a graphical environment, take a look at ghex. ghex is a gnome (graphical hex) editor.Installing ghex on Debian is with:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install ghex
….

To run ghex from terminal type:

debian:~# ghex2

GHex2 GNOME hex binary editor screenshot

To install ghex on FreeBSD (and I assume other BSDs), install via port:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/ghex
freebsd# make install clean

Gnome hex editor have plenty of tools, useful for developers to debug binary files.

Some nice tools one can find are under the the menus:

Windows -> Character Table

This will show a complete list of each keyboard sent character in ASCII, Hex, Decimal, Octal and Binary

Screenshot ghex Character table Debian Linux

Another useful embedded tool in ghex is:

Windows -> Type Convertion Dialog

Ghex type convertion dialog screenshot

Note that if you want to use the Type Convertion Dialog tool to find the representing binary values of a text string you will have to type in the letters one by one and save the output within a text file and later you can go and use the same editor to edit the text string within the binary file you like.

I’m not a programmer but surely for programmers or people who want to learn some binary counting, this 2 ghex edmebbed tools are surely valuable.

To conclude even though there are plenty of softwares for hex editting in Linux and BSD, none of them is not so easy to use as the old DOS hexdedit tool, maybe it will be a nice idea if someone actually rewrites the DOS tool and they package it for various free operating systems, I’m sure many people will find it helpful to have a 1:1 equivalent to the DOS tool.

7. Shed pico like interfaced hex editor

For people, who use pico / nano as a default text editor in Linux shed will probably be the editor of choice as it follows the command shortcuts of picoOn Deb based distros to install it run:

debian:~# apt-get install –yes shed

shed pico like hex binary editor Linux

Shed has no BSD port as of time of writting.8. Okteta a KDE GUI hex editor

For KDE users, I found a program called okteta. It is available for Deb based Linuxes as deb to install it:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install okteta

Screenshot Okteta Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

As of time of writting this article there is no okteta port for BSDs.
Okteta has plenty of functions and even has more of a functions than ghexedit. Something distinctive for it is it supports opening multiple files in tabs.

9. lfhex a large file text editor

lfhex is said to be a large (binary) file text editor, I have not tested it myself but just run it to see how it looks like. I don’t have a need to edit large binary files too, but I guess there are people with such requirements too 🙂

lfhex - Linux The Large file hex editor

To install lfhex on Debian:

debian:~# apt-get install –yes lfhex

lfhex has also a FreeBSD port installable via:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/lfhex
freebsd# make install clean

10. Bless a GUI tool for editting large hex (binary) files

Here is the description directly taken from the BSD port /usr/ports/editors/bless

Bless is a binary (hex) editor, a program that enables you to edit files asa sequence of bytes. It is written in C# and uses the Gtk# bindings for theGTK+ toolkit.

To install and use ot on deb based Linuxes:

debian:~# apt-get install –yes bless
….

On BSD installation is again from port:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/editors/bless
freebsd# make install clean
….

Something that makes bless, maybe more desirable choice for GUI users than ghex is its availability of tabs. Opening multiple binaries in tabs will be useful only to few heavy debuggers.

Bless GUI hex editor Debian Linux tabs opened screenshot

11. Ghextris – an ultra hard hacker tetris game 🙂

For absolute, hacker / (geeks), there is a tetris game called ghextris. The game is the hardest tetris game I ever played in my life. It requires more than regular IQ and a lot of practice if you want to become really good in this game.

To enjoy it:

debian:~# apt-get –yes install ghextris

Ultra hrad hardcore hackers game ghextris screenshot

Unfortunately there is no native port of ghextris for BSD (yet). Anyhow, it can be probably run using the Linux emulation or even compiled from source.
Well that’s all I found for hexedit-ing, I’ll be happy to hear if someone can give me some feedback on his favourite editor.

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Fix Null error in WordPress comment reply with wordpress-threaded-comments plugin enabled

Friday, April 6th, 2012

I'm running WordPress for already 3 years or so now. Since some very long time. The first wordpress install, I can hardly remember but it something like wordpress 2.5 or wordpress 2.4

Since quite a long time my wordpress blog is powered by a number of plugins, which I regularly update, whenever new plugins pops up …
I haven't noticed most of the time problems during major WordPress platform updates or the update of the installed extensions. However, today while I tried to reply back to one of my blog comments, I've been shocked that, I couldn't.
Pointing at the the Comment Reply box and typing inside was impossible and a null message was stayed filled in the form:

To catch what was causing this weird misbehaving with the reply comments functionality, I grepped through my /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugins/* for the movecfm(null,0,1,null):

# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/plugins
# grep -rli 'movecfm(null,0,1,null)' */*.php
wordpress-thread-comment/wp-thread-comment.php

I've taken the string movecfm(null,0,1,null) from the browser page source in in my Firefox by pressing – Ctrl+U).

Once I knew of the problem, I first tried commenting the occurances of the null fields in wp-thread-comment.php, but as there, were other troubles in commenting this and I was lazy to read the whole code, checked online if some other fellows experienced the same shitty null void javascript error and already someone pointed at a solution. In the few minutes search I was unable to find anyone who reported for this bug, but what I found is some user threads on wordpress.org mentioning since WordPress 2.7+ the wordpress-threaded-comments is obsolete and the functionality provided by the plugin is already provided by default in newer WPinstalls.

Hence in order to enable the threaded comments WordPress (embedded) reply functionality from within the wp-admin panel used:

Settings -> Discussions -> Enable Threaded (nested) comments (Tick)

Enable Nested Comments WordPress default wp comments enable reply functionality screenshot

You see there is also an option to define how many nested comments subcomments, can be placed per comment, the default was 5, but I thought 5 is a bit low so increased it to 10 comments reply possible per comment.

Finally, to prevent the default threaded comments to interfere with the WordPress Threaded Comments plugin, disabled the plugin through menus:

Plugins -> Active -> WordPress Thread Comments (Deactivate)

This solved the weird javascript null "bug" caused by wordpress-threaded-comments once and for all.
Hopefully onwards, my blog readers will not have issues with threaded Reply Comments.

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How to reduce spam in PHPBB based internet forum on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, March 26th, 2012

phpbb reduce spam bot registrations on Debian Linux tiny script

I had to install two PHPBB based internet forums, some long time ago. Since long time passed and I haven't checked what's happening with them I just noticed. They start filling up spam threads. The phpbb installations are done using the standard shipped deb packages in Debian Linux Lenny.

After checking online, I found one smart solution to . The idea is very simple most spam bots are written in a way that they don't have a properly set timezone. Therefore the quickest way to get rid of spam bots which try to auto register and put spam content inside the a forum category or post is to add a simple if condition in php to check the browser set timezone:

The file to add the php if condition is ucp_register.phpThe phpbb package install places default phpbb path on Debian is /usr/share/phpbb3/ and hence the file I had to modify is located in:

/usr/share/phpbb3/www/includes/ucp/ucp_register.php

To make the TZ check one needs to modify ../www/includes/ucp/ucp_register.php and look for php array definition:

$data = array(
'username' => utf8_normalize_nfc(request_var('username', '', true)),
'new_password' => request_var('new_password', '', true),
'password_confirm' => request_var('password_confirm', '', true),
'email' => strtolower(request_var('email', '')),
'email_confirm' => strtolower(request_var('email_confirm', '')),
'confirm_code' => request_var('confirm_code', ''),
'lang' => basename(request_var('lang', $user->lang_name)),
'tz' => request_var('tz', (float) $timezone),
);

Right after this chunk of code add the if condition code which is like so:

if ($data['tz'] == '-12.00')
{
die('Die, bot! Die.');
}

From now onwards, any attempt for new user registration with an incorrect timezone of -12.00 will be immediately stopped while the forum spammer bot will be offered an empty page 🙂

Another good practice is to disable Birthday Listing from phpbb Admin Control panel (ACP). Go to menus:

ACP -> General -> Board Settings -> Enable Birthday listing: (No)

Enable birthday listing phpbb forum screenshot

I like disabling birthday listing, as when it is enabled and you have some spammer registrations, which even though didn't succeeded to contaminate your forum content has specified a birthday and therefore there profiles gets popping up each different day on the main page of the forum.
This will not eradicate all spammer bots, but at least will significantly decrease spammer bot registrations.

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