Posts Tagged ‘Search’

Linux find files while excluding / ignoring some files – Show all files on UNIX excluding hidden . (dot) files

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

linux-find-files-while-excluding-ignoring-some-files-show-all-files-on-unix-excluding-hidden-dot-files
A colleague of mine (Vasil) asked me today, how he can recursively chmod to all files in a directory while exclude unreadable files for chmod (returning permission denied). He was supposed to fix a small script which was supposed to change permissions like :

chmod 777 ./
chmod: cannot access `./directory': Permission denied
chmod: cannot access `./directory/file': Permission denied
chmod: cannot access `./directory/onenote': Permission denied

First thing that came to my mind was to loop over it with for loop and grep out only /directory/ and files returning permissioned denied.

for i in $(find . -print | grep -v 'permission denied'); do echo chmod 777 $i; done

This works but if chmod has to be done to few million of files, this could be a real resource / cpu eater.

The better way to do it is by only using Linux find command native syntax to omit files.

find . -type f ( -iname "*" ! -iname "onenote" ! -iname "file" )

Above find will print all files in . – current directory from where find is started, except files: onenote and file.
To exclude
 

Search and show all files in Linux / UNIX except hidden . (dot) files

Another thing he wanted to do is ignore printing of hidden . (dot) files like .bashrc, .profile and .bash_history while searching for files – there are plenty of annoying .* files.

To ignore printing with find all filesystem hidden files from directory:

find . -type f ( -iname "*" ! -iname ".*" )

on web hosting webservers most common files which is required to be omitted on file searches is .htaccess

find . -type f ( -iname "*" ! -iname ".htaccess" )

  In order to print only all hidden files in directory except .bashrc and .bash_profile:

find . -type f ( -iname '.*' ! -iname '.bashrc' ! -iname '.bash_profile' )

Another useful Linux find use for scripting purposes is listing only all files presented in current directory (simulating ls), in case if you wonder why on earth to use find and not a regular ls command?, this is useful for scripts which has to walk through millions of files (for reference see how to delete million of files in same folder with Linux find):

find . ! -name . -prune

./packages
./bin
./package

"! -name . " –  means any file other than current directory

prune – prunes all the directories other than the current directory.

A more readable way to list only files in current folder with find is – identical to what above cmd:

find ./* -prune

./packages
./bin
./mnt

If you want to exclude /mnt folder and its sub-directories and files with find by using prune option:

find . -name tmp -prune -o -print

 

 

AEWAN – a nice advanced GNU / Linux console ASCII art text editor

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

I'm a guy fascinated by ASCII art, since the very early days I saw a piece of this awesome digital art.

As time passed and computers went to be used mostly  graphics resolution, ASCII art loose its huge popularity from the early DOS and BBS (internet primordial days).

However, this kind  of art is still higly valued by true computer geeks.
In that manner of thoughts, lately I'm researching widely on ASCII art tools and ASCII art open source tools available for Linux.
Last time I check what is available for 'ASCII job' was before 5 years time. Recently I decided to review once again and see if there are new software for doing ascii manipulations on Linux and this is how this article got born.

My attention was caught by aewan (ASCII-art Editor Without A Name), while searching for ASCII keyword description packages with:

apt-cache search ascii

Aewan project official website is on sourceforge check it out here

Here is the complete description of the Debian package:

hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show aewan|grep -i description -A 5
Description: ASCII-art Editor Without A Name
aewan is an ASCII art editor with support for multiple layers that can be
edited individually, colors, rectangular copy and paste, and intelligent
horizontal and vertical flipping (converts '\' to '/', etc). It produces
both stand-alone art files and an easy-to-parse format for integration
into your terminal applications.

I installed it to give it a try:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install aewan
Selecting previously deselected package aewan.
(Reading database ... 388522 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking aewan (from .../aewan_1.0.01-3_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up aewan (1.0.01-3) ...

aewan package provides three executable binaries:

noah:~# dpkg -L aewan|grep -i /bin/ /usr/bin/aecat
/usr/bin/aewan
/usr/bin/aemakeflic

1. aewan binary is the ascii-art editor itself

2. aecat is utility to display an aewan documents (aewan format saved files)3. aemakeflictool to produce an animation from an aewan document

Next I ran it in plain console tty  to check how it is like:

hipo@noah:~$ aewan

Below are screenshots to give you an idea how powerful aewan ASCII art editor is:

AEWAN ASCII art editor entry information screen Debian GNU / Linux shot

Aewan immediate entry screen after start up

Aewan ASCII art editor Linux showing the major functionality of aewan on Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

Aewan ASCII art editor – all of the supported tool functions

As you can see from the shot the editor is very feature rich. I was stunned to find out it even supports layers (in ASCII!!) (w0w!). 
It even has a Layers Manager (like GIMP) 🙂

To create my first ASCII art I used the:

New

menu.

This however didn't immediately show the prompt, where I can type  the ascii characters to draw my picture. In order to be able to draw inside the editor, its necessary to open at least one layer, through using the menu:

Add Layer (defaults)

then the interactive ASCII art editor appeared.

While an ASCII art is created with the editor you can select the color of the input characters by using Drawing Color menu seen in the above screenshot.

aewan drawing color choose color Linux shot

I've played few minutes and created a sample ascii art, just to test the color and editor "look & feel", my conclusions are the editor chars drawing is awesome.

Aewan ascii art produced on my Debian GNU / Linux host

All the commands available via menus are also accessible via a shortcut key combinations:

Aewan Linux Ascii art editor quick key shortcut commands

aewan controls are just great and definitely over-shadows every other text editor I used to draw an ASCII art so far.
Once saved the ASCII art, are by default saved in a plain gzipped ascii text. You can therefore simply zcat the the saves;
Don't expect zcat to show you the ascii as they're displayed in aewan, zcat-ing it will instead  display just the stored meta data; the meta data is interpreted and displayed properly only with aecat command.

aewan aecat displaying properly previously saved ascii art picture

I've checked online for rpm builds too and such are available, so installing on Fedora, CentOS, SuSE etc. is up to downloading the right distro / hardware architecture rpm package and running:

# rpm -ivh aewan*.rpm

On the official website, there are also instructions to compile from source, Slackware users and users of other distros which doesn't have a package build should compile manually with the usual:

$ tar -zxf aewan-1.0.01.tar.gz
$ cd aewan-1.0.01
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su -c "make install"

For those inrested to make animations with aemakeflic you need to first save a multiple layers of pictures. The idea of creating ASCII art video is pretty much like the old school way to make animation "draw every scene" and movie it. Once all different scene layers of the ASCII art animation are prepared one could use  aemakeflic to export all the ASCII layers as common video.

aemakeflic has the ability to export the ASCII animation in a runnable shell script to display the animation. The other way aemakeflic can be used is to produce a picture in kind of text format showing the video whether seen with  less cmd.
Making ASCII animation takes a lot of time and effort. Since i'm too lazy and I lack the time I haven't tested this functionality. Anyways I've seen some ascii videos on telnet  to remote hosts (some past time); therefore I guess they were made using aewan and later animated with aemakeflic.

I will close this post with a nice colorful ASCII art, made with aewan (picture is taken from the project page):

Aewan Flipping Selection Screenshot
 

How to mount NTFS Windows XP filesystem on FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Mounting NTFS hdd partitions on FreeBSD logo picture

A friend of mine bring home a Seagate External Hard Disk Drive using USB 3 as a communication media. I needed to attach the hard disk to my FreeBSD router to transfer him some data, the External HDD is formatted to use NTFS as a main file partition and hence to make the file transfers I had to somehow mount the NTFS partition on the HDD.

FreeBSD and other BSDs, just like Linux does not have embedded NTFS file system mount support.
In order to add an external write support for the plugged hdd NTFS I looked in the ports tree:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports
freebsd# make search name='ntfs'
Port: fusefs-ntfs-2010.10.2
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
Info: Mount NTFS partitions (read/write) and disk images
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libtool-2.4 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: fusefs-kmod-0.3.9.p1.20080208_7 fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Port: ntfsprogs-2.0.0_1
Path: /usr/ports/sysutils/ntfsprogs
Info: Utilities and library to manipulate NTFS partitions
Maint: ports@FreeBSD.org
B-deps: fusefs-libs-2.7.4 libiconv-1.13.1_1 libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
R-deps: libublio-20070103 pkg-config-0.25_1
WWW: http://www.linux-ntfs.org/
freebs# cd sysutils/fusefs-ntfs/
freebsd# ls
Makefile distinfo files/ pkg-descr pkg-plist
freebsd# cat pkg-descr
The ntfs-3g driver is an open source, freely available read/write NTFS
driver, which provides safe and fast handling of the Windows XP, Windows
Server 2003 and Windows 2000 filesystems. Almost the full POSIX filesystem
functionality is supported, the major exceptions are changing the file
ownerships and the access rights.
WWW: http://www.tuxera.com/community/

Using ntfs-3g I managed to succeed mounting the NTFS on my old PC running FreeBSD ver. 7_2

1. Installing fuserfs-ntfs support on BSD

Before I can use ntfs-3g, to mount the paritition, I had to install fuserfs-ntfs bsd port, with:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/fusefs-ntfs
freebsd# make install clean
.....

I was curious if ntfsprogs provides other utilities to do the ntfs mount but whilst trying to install it I realized it is already installed as a dependency package to fusefs-ntfs.

fusefs-ntfs package provides a number of utilities for creating, mounting, fixing and doing various manipulations with Microsoft NTFS filesystems.

Here is a list of all the executable utilities helpful in NTFS fs management:

freebsd# pkg_info -L fusefs-ntfs\* | grep -E "/bin/|/sbin|README"
/usr/local/bin/lowntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.probe
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.secaudit
/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g.usermap
/usr/local/bin/ntfscat
/usr/local/bin/ntfscluster
/usr/local/bin/ntfscmp
/usr/local/bin/ntfsfix
/usr/local/bin/ntfsinfo
/usr/local/bin/ntfsls
/usr/local/sbin/mkntfs
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsclone
/usr/local/sbin/ntfscp
/usr/local/sbin/ntfslabel
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsresize
/usr/local/sbin/ntfsundelete
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README
/usr/local/share/doc/ntfs-3g/README.FreeBSD

The README and README.FreeBSD are wonderful, reading for those who want to get more in depth knowledge on using the up-listed utilities.

One utility, worthy to mention, I have used in the past is ntfsfix. ntfsfix resolve issues with NTFS partitions which were not unmounted on system shutdown (electricity outage), system hang up etc.

2. Start fusefs (ntfs) and configure it to auto load on system boot

Once fuserfs-ntfs is installed, if its necessery ntfs fs mounts to be permanently supported on the BSD system add fusefs_enable="YES" to /etc/rc.conf(the FreeBSD services auto load conf).

freebsd# echo 'fusefs_enable="YES"' >> /etc/rc.conf

One note to make here is that you need to have also dbus_enable="YES" and hald_enable="YES" in /etc/rc.conf, not having this two in rc.conf will prevent fusefs to start properly. Do a quick grep to make sure this two variables are enabled:

Afterwards fsusefs load up script should be run:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/fusefs start
Starting fusefs.

Another alternative way to load ntfs support on the BSD host is to directly load fuse.ko kernel module:

freebsd# /sbin/kldload fuse.ko

3. Mounting the NTFS partition

In my case, the Seagate hard drive was detected as da0, where the NTFS partition was detected as s1 (da0s1):

freebsd# dmesg|grep -i da0
da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 target 0 lun 0
da0: Fixed Direct Access SCSI-4 device
da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
da0: 953869MB (1953525164 512 byte sectors: 255H 63S/T 121601C)br />GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.
GEOM_LABEL: Label for provider da0s1 is ntfs/Expansion Drive.

Therefore further to mount it one can use mount_ntfs (to quickly mount in read only mode) or ntfs-3g for (read / write mode):

If you need to just quickly mount a disk drive to copy some data and umount it with no need for writting to the NTFS partition do;

freebsd# /sbin/mount_ntfs /dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk

Note that mount_ntfs command is a native BSD command and have nothing to do with ntfs-3g. Therefore using it to mount NTFS is not the same as mounting it via ntfs-3g cmd

freebsd# /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Something, I've noticed while using ntfs-3g is, it fails to properly exit even when the ntfs-3g shell execution is over:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

I dunno if this is some kind of ntfs-3g bug or feature specific to all versions of FreeBSD or it is something local to FBSD 7.2

Thought ntfs-3g, keeps appearing in process list, praise God as of time of writting NTFS support on FreeBSD prooved to be stable.
Read / Write disk operations to the NTFS I tested it with works great. Just about 5 years ago I still remember write mode was still experimental. Now it seems NTFS mounts can be used with no hassle even on production machines.

4. Auto mounting NTFS partition on FreeBSD system boot

There are two approaches towards 'the problem' I can think of.
The better way to auto mount on boot (in my view) is through /etc/fstab use

If /etc/fstab + ntfs-3g is to be used, you will however change the default /sbin/mount_ntfs command to point to /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g, i.e.:

freebsd# mv /sbin/mount_ntfs /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig
freebsd# ln -s /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g /sbin/mount_ntfs

Then to mount /dev/da0s1 via /etc/fstab add line:

/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0

To not bother with text editor run:

freebsd# echo '/dev/ad0s1 /mnt/disk ntfs rw,late 0 0' >> /etc/fstab

I've red in posts in freebsd forums, there is also a way to use ntfs-3g for mounting partitions, without substituting the original bsd /sbin/mount_ntfs, the exact commands suggested to be used with no need to prior mv /sbin/mount_ntfs to /sbin/mount_ntfs.orig and link it to ntfs is:

/dev/ad0s1 /disk ntfs rw,mountprog=/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g,late 0 0

For any other NTFS partitions, for instance /dev/ad0s2, /dev/ad2s1 etc. simply change the parititon name and mount points.

The second alternative to adding the NTFS to auto mount is through /etc/rc.local. /etc/rc.local content will be executed very late in system boot. :

echo '/usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1' >> /etc/rc.local

One disadvanage of using /etc/rc.local for mounting the partition is the hanging ntfs-3g in proc list:

freebsd# ps ax |grep -i ntfs|grep -v grep
18892 ?? Is 0:00.00 /usr/local/bin/ntfs-3g -o rw /dev/da0s1 /mnt/disk/

Though, I haven't tested it yet. Using the same methodology should be perfectly working on PC-BSD, DragonFlyBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD.
I will be glad if someone who runs any of the other BSDs can confirm, following this instructions works fine on these BSDs too.

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.

How to run your Own / Personal Domain Web WHOIS service in a minute with SpeedyWHOIS

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Running your own personal WHOIS service speedy whois in browser screenshot

I've been planning to run my own domain WHOIS service, for quite sime time and I always postpone or forgot to do it.
If you wonder, why would I need a (personal) web whois service, well it is way easier to use and remember for future use reference if you run it on your own URL, than wasting time in search for a whois service in google and then using some other's service to get just a simple DOMAIN WHOIS info.

So back to my post topic, I postpopned and postponed to run my own web whois, just until  yesterday, whether I have remembered about my idea to have my own whois up and running and proceeded wtih it.

To achieve my goal I checked if there is free software or (open source) software that easily does this.
I know I can write one for me from scratch, but since it would have cost me some at least a week of programming and testing and I didn't wanted to go this way.

To check if someone had already made an easy to install web whois service, I looked through in the "ultimate source for free software" sourceforge.net

Looking for the "whois web service" keywords, displayed few projects on top. But unfortunately many of the projects sources was not available anymore from http://sf.net and the project developers pages..
Thanksfully in a while, I found a project called SpeedyWhois, which PHP source was available for download.

With all prior said about project missing sources, Just in case if SpeedyWhois source  disappears in the future (like it probably) happened with, some of the other WHOIS web service projects, I've made SpeedyWhois  mirror for download here

 
Contrary to my idea that installing the web whois service might be a "pain in the ass", (like is the case  with so many free software php scripts and apps) – the installation went quite smoothly.
 
To install it I took the following 4 steps:
 
1. Download the source (zip archive) with wget 
 
# cd /var/www/whois-service;
/var/www/whois-service# wget -q http://www.pc-freak.net/files/speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
 
2. Unarchive it with unzip command 
 
 
/var/www/whois-service# unzip speedywhois-0.1.4.zip
3. Set the proper DNS records

My NS are using Godaddy, so I set my desired subdomain record from their domain name manager.
 

4. Edit Apache httpd.conf to create VirtualHost
 
This step is not mandatory, but I thought it is nice if I put the whois service under a subdomain, so add a VirtualHost to my httpd.conf
 
The Virtualhost Apache directives, I used are:
 
<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin hipo_aT_pc-freak.net
        DocumentRoot /var/www/whois-service
        ServerName whois.pc-freak.net
        &lt;Directory /var/www/whois-service
        AllowOverride All
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from All
        </Directory>
</VirtualHost>
 
Onwards to take effect of new Webserver configs, I did Apache restart
 
# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
 
Further on You can test whois a domain using my new installed SpeedyWHOISWeb WHOIS service  on http://whois.pc-freak.net
Whenever I have some free time, maybe I will work on the code, to try to add support for logging of previous whois requests and posting links pointing to the previous whois done via the web WHOIS service on the main whois page.
 
One thing that I disliked about how SpeedyWHOIS is written is, if there is no WHOIS information returned for a domain request (e.g.) a:
 
# whois domainname.com
 
returns an empty information, the script doesn't warn with a message there is no WHOIS data available for this domain or something.
 
 
This is not so important as this kind of behaviour of 'error' handling can easily be changed with minimum changes in the php code.
If you wonder, why do I need the web whois service, the answer is it is way easier to use.
I don't have more time to research a bit further on the alternative open source web whois services, so I would be glad to hear from anyone who tested other web whois service that is free comes under a FOSS license.
In the mean time, I'm sure people with a small internet websites like mine who are looking to run their OWN (personal) whois service SpeedyWHOIS does a great job.

Why and How facebook profits because of you? – People, The real facebook investors

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Facebook people real facebook investors, facebook profits because of you / facebook greedy money logo

Facebook is usually praised and very seldom criticized. I've seen already on a couple of occasions on the TV channel news on earthquake occasions or some kind of other calamities, where facebook was said to help the rescuing teams etc. We constantly hear how facebook has helped people point their location in disastrous situations or just helping people organize a protest against a harmful company activity. Whilst this might be true, the harms it does are quite big as well. A primary harm it does is to economy as we know it. As people are engaged in filling in Mark Zuckerberg and facebook investors pockets, they rarely think about how actually facebook gets their money?

Let me explain:

Basicly facebook makes money out of its constantly increased social network data content. This could have not been possible without the 800 000 000+ million of people who constantly post updates on facebook, create groups, post pictures, add likes, comment and post links to other facebook pages. If people had not all this volunteers (facebook users) to post all this bunch of mostly junky information, facebook inc. would not have a penny. Therefore what makes facebook grow is the people itself who willingly choose to be part of this money making machine. One would think with regular company the investors are the owners of the company shares. This classical business model is not facebook model, there it is rather different as the real investors in facebook are not the capital shareholders but the regular social network user base – this means (you and me)!.

For all those who still don't get what I'm talking about I will shortly explain.
Everyone who has a basic idea on how internet advertising works is aware that the primary origin for facebook todays profit is the left pane sky scraper field with ever changing advertisements.

Various advertisers pays facebook all the time big money for displaying those stupid advertisement. As many peole are viewing and clicking the advertisements, facebook makes billions out if its advertisers.

So far so good, facebook generates its profits out of peoples free time and delibarately information sharing you would say and you might argue me that facebook steals people (time / money). This would have been true if you don't put in the picture for a contrast, a regular blogger, who makes its daily living out of blogging.
What a regular blogger does is frequent blogging on various kind of topics of his interest. Various bloggers blog at various titles, but most of them has a few major topics which they're following.

The more articles a blogger collects and the higher the uniqueness of this information is the bigger the probability this blog to have a good users base and the more interesting content it will have for search engine robots like Google Bot Crawlers or Yahoo Bot etc. etc.
With all priod said, the higher the probability this blog to have more traffic drawn from web searches to the blog. As the blogger content increases with time when it gets 10000 or more unique articles (pages), consequently it can be used as an advertising place. A 10000 pages blog could earn a person a few hundred of euros (200, 300 EUR) per month.

Well the business scheme behind facebook is exactly the same, except they store and physically own the data of the facebook registered persons. The user posts content on his facebook wall, makes pages or does various activities which generate pages, the content gets indexed in Google and with time the overall facebook website content grows. As new users joins facebook with the increased popularity of website. The website is growing exponentially like in a atoms chain reaction.

Because of this steady content growth, it becomes an interesting place not only for advertisers but for all kind of people that use the internet.
And there you have the monetarization facebook makes billions of dollars every second because of you.  This is the shocking truth, they get their money because people click or view advertisement on each others profile, so there you're YOU make the little people who develop facebook and the original investors richer and richer with every day, where you make yourself poorer and poorer by investing your personal time in facebook instead of using it to work on something that will potentially generate you some dividents in short or long future.

Actually social network is nothing more than just a multiple blogging platform, but some marketing person come with this marketing hype work "social network".
The social network buzz word is in my view just another big marketing "white lie"!. Correct me if i'm wrong but what in fact is a "Social network?". I don't see facebook neither as social, network as network. I don't know about you but I have never made a long lasting friend or relationship using facebook so far. I think the poor Facebook creator Zuckerberg made facebook with a viral mindset. He intended it to be like a social virus and so far he succeed pretty much. I just wait and eager to see who will start the anti-virus for Zuckerberg's (facebook) – people time eating virus. 
 

What is the facebook recommended profile picture (logo) size for better SEO Marketing / Few basic Facebook marketing tips

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Facebook marketing Likes good recommended logo sizes, Facebook profile logo

I hate facebook, from the deepness of my guts! However, unfortunately in one of the companies I'm employed, occasionally I have to use it as an advertisement media to improve the Search Engine visibility for their websites (gather them some more likes). As a not big lover of facebook, I'm also not a facebook-pro, anyways with this circumstances, I'm starting to learn basic tips on, making a facebook page / profile more user friendly and hence more attracting to facebook users.

From what, i"ve read there are plenty of factors that can affect on how attractive a facebook page / company profile , anyways some of the factors are more important to tamper than others. Such two factors of top importance are:
 

Let me evaluate a bit on each of the three aforementioned fb marketing weight factors.

1. Using Page likes for popularization.

– Lets say that you would like to make marketing to a company websites which is involved in Financial or Investment market.
Enter with the company created page or profile and facebook and think for and search for as many keywords related to the company business as possible.
Check each of the results if the Page / Group is liked by hundred thousands of other people, then just give it a like too.
By doing so for a couple of seconds all this (hundred thousands or millions) of people who has also liked it will see for a second (or less), what hangs on your Facebook profile 😉
The chance someone gets interested into what is your profile saying here is high especially if this pops up to a some 100 000+ of logged people who previously liked a fb page 🙂

2. Joining groups as a way to drive more visitors to a facebook profile

Joining big groups consisting ot thousands or millions's logic is the same like with the page likes. The only difference is some groups are kept private the so called (Closed Group).
Finding a number of similar (Open Groups) to your company activities and joining them will possibly display your company facebook profile to as many profiles as the group has.
Most of the groups are not too active therefore joing groups as a way to drive attention of facebook users to a desired profile is not so efficient as with Page Likes Adjusting a profile picture logo dimensions to a wide skyscraper.

It might seem strange but actually the size of profile picture set to pages or profiles in facebook matters, different profiles dimensions could have impact on Page Likes 🙂
The reason for the fb picture profile having influence on the marketing is very simple. If you have a wider picture you can graphically include more data visible for the user that is always stuck to the page and hence seen by the user.

I've realized this after, I've red few articles online on the same topic along with that I've noticed many big brand pages on Facebook like for instance BMW (Cars) with over 8 000 000 of likes, Adidas and Nike – with over 6 000 000 likes, have set up this wide skyscraper dimensions logos.

Here is a crop taken displaying the wide skyscraper profile picture set by BMW cars.The profile picture used by BWM (cars) has an image dimensions of: 180×500 heigh x widthAdidas's profile logo has a size of 180×489.

Nike uses a bit of unstandard 390×720 (but while uploaded facebook website automatically crops the image to a size which is fittable for a wide skyscraper) with dimensions like (200×400)Another franchising company with big likes base, I've seen is McDonald's with 19 900 000+ likes! again with a banner logo consisting of wide scraper with picture dimenions (180×439 – height / width )There are some comparatively big user base facebook pages, like Ubuntu's non-profit organization with 555 000+ thousands of likes, and their logo has dimensions of 180×181 pixels.

Not all of the highly liked (visited) facebook pages however use a wide skyscraper as a profile logo and still has enormous number of likes.
One contra-example showing that there is no clear relation between facebook profile picture dimensions and page popularity (number of likes) is Metallica (Musician/Band) fan page – (http://www.facebook.com/Metallica), which as of the time of writting this article has the UNIQUE HIGH NUMBER of 23,725,897 LIKES! 🙂

As far as, I've further red on many blogs, there are two general facebook standard banner profile picture recommendations:

 

1. One is facebook square like profile picture

– (this is the classics), if you just place a picture that is not too wide automatically facebook upload scripts will tailer the picture to have dimensions like: 180×180 pixels

The other recommended facebook pictures size is the wide wide-scraper and it should possess an image dimensions size similar to:
width x height -180×500 pixels

This is pretty much the few basics I  so far, know of can help to easily gather a custom fb company Page Likes.
As facebook is really HUGE nowdays  fb marketing has advanced tremendously.

I'll be glad to hear some cool tips & tricks you know? which can help a facebook page / profile popularity rise up.
Looking forward to hear for your good or bad facebook experiences 🙂

  • Likes of pages, which are liked by thousands of hundreds or millions of people
  • Belongings to groups / Membering to big groups (consisting of thousands)
    which hold similar interest or business activity
  • Profile picture logo dimensions

TalkonAut Free Program to use Jabber protocol on Apple IPad (IBad)

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

 

TalkonAut Free Mobile Phones and Apple devices java program logo

I've installed Jabber as a platform for internal company communication for a company. It was a requirement for this jabber server to be accessed from a different type of computers / devices different in size, hardware and OS e.g. (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Ipad, mobile phones etc.)

Happily there is plenty of free software programs which allows access to jabber for free. On the major operating systems GNU / Linux, Mac OS X and Windows the client jabber accounts are working fine with the wonderful free software Pidgin The Universal Chat Client

One of the jabber clients, however was primary had to be used on Apple's proprietary IPad / IBad as Richard Stallman likes to call it 😉

The person who had to have the Jabber protocol working on IPad program was not a proficient user and therefore I had the task to find a program to be able to talk to the Jabber protocol for him.
A quick search in Google for jabber ipad client led me to few programs said to support Jabber on Ipad :
 

 

  • BeejiveIM for IPad
  • Jabba

Jabba was looking quite, nice but unfortunately costs $1.99 and should be purchased in Apple's App Store and it was preferrable not to spend money on a trivial thing as a Jabber client.
I gave BeejiveIM a try but it required some very complex registration, as well as again required to be purchased (if I remember correctly), so it wasn't an option either.

Then thanksfully, I found TalknOut which is free and it is a perfect jabber client for Apple Ipad
Talkonaut is a program also supporting both Jabber (XMPP) and GTalk2VoIP, hence supporting Google Talk and MSN/Live Messanger.
It is written Java and therefore works on any device that has Java installed. Talkonaut supports the following mobile architectures:
 

  • Apple's IPhone and Ipad
  • Google Android Phones
  • Many of the Nokia Symbian's S60 3rd and 5th edition "smart" phones
  • Windows Mobile 5.x and 6.x
  • Java J2ME based phones

Installing TalkonAut is a piece of cake from Ipod's Safari you click on the Install link and it gets installed. I will not get into details on how it is configured as this also is pretty easy.
Here is how it looks like on Ipad after configured and the user is logged in Jabber:
TalkonAut Jabber XMPP Mobile client Apple Ipad Screenshot

Something really unique and nice for the program is the way the chat dialogs gets ordered, the idea to place one person's sending on the left side and the replying one on right is innovative and something I've not seen in another chat client 😉

TalkonAut Sender and replier message on different side screenshotTalkonaut should also support VoIP (voice conversations), between mobile users, I'm curious if somebody used the program for VoIP and can share feedback?

The Legend of the Christmas Tree and Why do we put Christmas trees at home in Christmas time? :)

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Why we put Pine tree / Fir in Christmas origins of Christmas tree / Legends for the Christmas Tree
 

Christmas has just passed away. As a Christian I was curious what is the reason in so many Christian countries, we decorate Pine trees and I did a quick research on the topic. In this small article, I'll present my findings.

Observing the Christmas Pine Tree tradition has been quite ancient and probably according to many sources dates back to the XIIth century.
The first written records of a Christmas tree are of an anonymous Frenchman who visited Strasbourg, Germany in 1601. His description of the decoratd pine tree says like "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barley sugar), roses cut out of many-colored paper, apples, gold foil and sweets."

Later in the 1800s, the local German Christmas pine tree tradition was spread across America by German emmigrants.
In UK the Pine tree decorating tradition appeard in 1841, where a royalty (Prince Albert) decorated his castle (Winston Castle).

A little later after the Queen Victoria adopted the pine tree, United Kingdom citizens started to decorate pine trees for themselves, folliwng the highly regarded Queen.
Usually the pine tree has historically been decorated with gifts as well as an Bright star is put atop.

One of the Christian interpretations for the Christmas tree is that it represents the same Cross (tree) on which Christ was crucifixed. Then after Christ's resurrection because of (or through that) tree, the humanity received the Lord big spiritual blessings. These blessings are represented by the gifts decorated on the Fir tree. The pine tree itself is in Christianity a reference for the symbol of Salvation that we received came from the Holy Cross, where our saviour was crucified.

The Fir is decorated with lights to represent the joy and the lights of Christmas (that burns in our hearts), the star atop the tree is a reminder of the Star that rised in the East during the night of Christ's birth as we read in the gospels.

Roman Catholic Church Christmas Pine Trees
Decorating Pine trees is commonly observed mostly in Roman Catholic Church and often followed by some protestant denominations and less used in Orthodox Church (though this is changing nowdays).

In Eastern Europe, the Christmas tree appeared quite Legends about the Christmas Fir Treelate and the whole concept was unknown in the Orthodox Christian countries, just until the end of the 19th century.

With the recent severe globalization the pine tree was silenty adopted in almost all parts of the world, including even communist countries and even sometimes in muslim ones.
Enormous Fir Tree in Tarnovo city hill Bulgaria

Unfortunately, the relation between the Fir tree and our Christian faith is little known today and with the years to come it will be less and less associated with Christianity.

Here are few interesting legends which I found explaining, some of the possible roots of the Christmas tree decoration:

Legends about the Christmas Fir Tree

1. Legend of the Pine Tree Saving the Holy Family

When the Holy family was pursued by Herod's soldiers, many plants offered to provide them with shelter.
One such plant was the Pine tree. With Mary too weary to travel any longer, the family stopped at the edge of a forest to rest.
A gnarled old Pine which had grown hollow with the years invited them to rest within its trunk.
Then, it closed its branches down upon them, keeping the family safe until the soldiers had passed.
Upon leaving, the Christ Child blessed the Pine and the imprint of his tiny hand was left forever in the tree's fruit… the Pine cone.
If a cone is cut lengthwise, the hand may still be seen.

2. Pine tree and Easter Legend
 

Pine tree on cones on Easter forms Cross shape

There is a legend that pine trees "know" when it's Easter.
The pine trees start their new growth in the weeks before Easter.
If you look at the tops of the pine trees two weeks before Easter you'll see the yellow shoots.
As the days get closer to Easter Sunday, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a cross.
By the time Easter Sunday comes around, you will see that most of the pine trees will have small yellow crosses on all of the tallest shoots.
This really happens we live where there are lots of pines,
and each year this actually happens, it is amazing to watch,
and the process of the new growth appears as crosses on the ends
of each branch.

I've not personally observed that, but according to people who live in pine tree forest areas this is a fact.

3. Legend about M. Luther and the Pine tree

Martin Luther, founder of the Protestant religion, was taking a stroll through the woods late one night.
The sky was clear and many stars were shining through the branches of the trees,
giving the impression of twinkling lights.
Luther was so captivated and inspired by the beautiful brilliance of the sight
that he cut down a small evergreen and brought it home.
He recreated the stars by placing candles upon the tree's branches to imitate
their radiance and presented it to his children.

This story explains why, the pine tree become so wide spread initially in the "western world", as it gives some connection between the Pine tree and Protestant Christianity.

4. The Children Legend of the Fir Tree (Kids Story)

On the night of the Christ Child's birth, all living creatures, both flora and fauna, traveled to Bethlehem bearing gifts.
The Olive tree, for example, brought its fruit and the Palm tree its dates.
But the little Fir tree had no gift and was so tired that it was unable to resist when the larger trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view.
But then, a nearby Angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to descend and rest upon its delicate boughs.
When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, he smiled and blessed it,
declaring henceforth that Fir trees should always be filled with lights at
Christmastime to please little children.
When Christianity first came to Northern Europe, three personages representing
virtues were dispatched from Heaven to place lights on the original Christmas tree.
These personages were Faith, Hope and Charity.
Their search was long, since they were required to find a tree as high as hope, as great as love and as sweet as charity.
In addition, the tree had to bear the sign of the cross on every bough.
Their search finally ended in the forests of the North where they found the Fir.
Lit by the radiance of the stars, it became the first Christmas tree.
The triangular design of the Fir has also been usedto describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Eventually, converts began to revere the Fir as God's Tree…as they had once revered the Oak.
By the Twelfth Century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime
in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

5. The Paradise Tree Legend

A very old and delightful European custom centers around decorating a Fir tree with apples and small white wafers which represents the Holy Eucharist.
These wafers were later replaced by small pieces of pastry cut into the shapes of stars, angels, hearts, flowers and bells.
Eventually additional pastries were introduced bearing the shapes of men, birds, roosters and other animals.

During the middle Ages, around the Eleventh century, religious theater was born.
One of the most popular plays …
The German mystery play concerned Adam and Eve and their fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, represented by a Fir tree hung with apples.
This tree was symbolic of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Discernment of Good and Evil, which stood in the center of Paradise.
The play ended with the prophecy of a coming Saviour. For this reason, it was often enacted during Advent.

The one piece of scenery, the "Paradeisbaum" or "Paradise Tree" become a popular object and was often set up in churches.
Eventually it also found its way in private homes and became symbol of the Saviour.
Since the tree was representative not only to Paradise and the fall of man, but also the premise of salvation.
It was hung not merely with apples, but with bread of wafers (Holy Eucharist) and often sweet to represent the sweetness of redemption.
In some areas of Bavaria, fir branches and little trees decorated with lights, apples and tinsel are still called "Paradeis".

According to some other Christian legends, it was a Fir tree that grew as the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
When Eve plucked its fruit, the foliage and flowers shrank to nothing but needles.
Only on the night of Nativity would the Fir tree bloom again a moment marked perhaps by the Christmas tree we Christians use.

Of course these are just legends and as with every legend there is plenty of romantism included.
Nevertheless I consider most legends similar to proverbs contain deep truth and contain truthful facts. Moreover knowing the legends of our forefathers connect us to who and what we are and from antropological point of view is precious knowledge, we should try to sustain and spread to our children.