Tech, Toys, and Tidbits


So I recently got tricked in to clicking on a Outbrain article clickbait scam ad.

Headline looked innocent enough, but when I clicked thru it quickly became apparent that it was one of those aweful “You won’t believe what happened next!  Click here to find out!” bullshit ads.

Ya, I could have just tweaked Adblock, but then I’d have to spend a bunch of time touching every PC and phone in the house.  Why do that when I can simply do a quick config change on the firewall and block the whole crap-ass domain.

You won’t believe what I did next!

  1. Start up NGAdmin and connect to your fw or the cc.
  2. Go to your virtual server – Firewall service – Forwarding Rules
  3. You should start in Access Rules, so go there in case you didn’t.
  4. Doublecheck that AppControl is enabled – We’ll be using Appcontrol, not the URL filter, so we’ll need that enabled.
  5. Ok, now the fun part.  Go to Application Rules now
  6. Right click in the main section, and click New-Rule
  7. Double click on the new rule’s number to open it up for editing.
  8. I named mine “BlockShit” but you can call it whatever you want.
  9. Set it to “Deny” obvs.
  10. In the Object Viewer, to the right of the rule settings, click on the “Applications” tab
  11. Right click in the Objects Viewer and select New – Custom Application
  12. Select “Web Application” from the popup and click OK
  13. Now the Custom Application window will open.  Make sure you set a category, risk, and Properties, too.
  14. Now click the little green plus sign above the “URL Host:” list and add the following starter URLs:  (I’m sure there are hundreds more, but this is a good start)
    • *
    • *
    • *
    • *
    • *
    • *.
    • and of course, *
  15. Now click Save, and drag the resulting object in to the “Application” section of your Edit Rule Window
  16. Click OK to close the Edit Rule window
  17. Ensure the new BlockShit rule is above the default rule
  18. Now send the changes, apply, and you’re golden!

You can now browse from any device on your network without worrying about clickbate!

Supreme Court opted not to hear the case despite a huge swath of IT folks sending in amicus briefs encouring the SC to hear the case.  🙁

Well, I guess it’s far past time to stop using Java.

Oracle may have “won” but it’ll be a Pyrrhic victory when everyone and their dog stops using Java.

We’ve already started at my company. We’re phasing out products that rely on Java (notably Cisco ASA firewalls) and are going to either non-java-web-based products, or products whose admin tools don’t use Java in any form.

Not sure what’ll happen with Android’s ART/Dalvik, but I have to assume Google has something in the wings to throw in to place if they don’t win the fair-use trial. Or even if they do win, for that matter.

Though there may a loophole – since ART/Dalvik are already open sourced, perhaps they can use the GPL’d Java headers, and relicense ART/Dalvik under the GPL.

It’ll also be interesting to see how this affects the compatibility layers for Android that have started showing up in the newer Windows and OSX builds… Presumably, and sadly, they’ll be dropped in fear of being attacked by Oracle.

This may end up being a huge win for OSS, actually. If programmers stop trusting that they won’t get sued for being API compatible with a closed-source API then they may choose to use OpenSource APIs instead.

Still, fuck Oracle, and fuck copywrite maximalists. These companies that were built on innovation are now spending millions to stifle it. Fucking hypocrites.

So last night I was installing a brand new Exch 2013 server on Server 2012.

One of the prereqs for Exchange had to be manually downloaded (unified communication library, or something) from Microsoft.

No problem, thinks I, I’ll just open up IE, paste in the link and download.

Except no.  Can’t download.  No download button.

Ahah, I think – I just need to put the site in to Exploder’s “trusted site” list.  Which I promptly do.

Still no download button.

Set the security level for trusted sites to the lowest possible – Medium Low.

Still no download button.

Add “*://*” to trusted sites.

Still no download button.

Install Google Chrome, and voila.  Download button!


How much animosity must exist at MS between their website group, their OS group, and their Browser group for this to take place?!?!

WHY is the easiest way to download MICROSOFT PRODUCTS from a MICROSOFT’s WEBSITE on a MICROSOFT OS involve installing a competing browser?

Just one more reason to make installing Chrome the first thing you do on ANY Windows machine, server or workstation.

Here’s an amazing video about why the patent system is so badly broken, how it’s strangling the public domain, and radically stifling progress.  Well worth watching – trust me, you need to see this.

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

First – So exciting!  Doublefine (Tim Schafer – the name behind a slew of great games including Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Psychonauts, Brutal Legend) has started a Kickstart fundraiser for a new game.  This is a great idea – bypassing publishers all together and putting the funding for the game in the hands of the audience.  I LOVE this idea – I just wish I had 10k to give in order to qualify for the lunch with Tim!

Next, this list underlines why a game developer would want to go the above route.  There are a number of incredible games on that list, many of which I have purchased from Steam or GOG.  Sadly, and unbeknownst to me at the time, none of the proceeds of my purchase actually help the developer in the slightest.  Many of them are out of business.  This is a huge problem in the gaming industry.  Publishers like EA (who haven’t actually developed a good game since the 90s!) pay a flat rate to the developers for the rights, and then pass nothing further on if the game actually does well.  And the big-name publishers wonder why people no longer buy their formulaic overpriced and overproduced piles of crap.  I basically read heading of that list as “You now have the right to pirate any of the following games.”  Which is not to say that I condone piracy – I do everything I can to support game devs, but that doesn’t include giving any of my limited budget to a greedy publisher just to fill their coffers while the folks that actually DID THE WORK have to find new jobs since their studio was closed down.  Grrrrr!  Ars Technica has a great article on the list that I highly suggest you read.

Lots of changes to the site:

  • I moved it from Godaddy to Amazon EC2.  For about the same price (and free for the first year!) I get a VM all to myself.
  • I’m flipping back to WordPress from Drupal.  Drupal 7.x’s bloggy XMLRPC interface just sucks too much ass.  Sad smile
    That means that all of the  remote management tools (e.g. to manage your site from Android) have failed to work since Drupal 6.x.  Windows Live Writer, Ecto, and all other offline blog editing software no longer worked either.  I’m giving up a bit of power in the site, but gaining a tonne of flexibility.
    It’s a pain in the ass to move back to WordPress – I had to manually copy-paste my posts from the old Drupal site.  Sorry to everyone, but the comments will be a casualty of the move.  Sad smile
  • I’m using a new theme – much cleaner.  I hope you enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy!  Smile

My wife and I got tired of living in an overpriced piece of crap apt, so we’ve moved to a better one. In the process we’ve cut our rent by 1/3 and gained a dishwasher and ensuite laundry! W00t!

We also switched over to Telus’ Optik internet and increased our intertube speed by 50% while cutting the price by $10/month! Sweet!

Oh! And! We get a free XBox360 for switching. W00t!

Anyone have any suggestions for 360 games? The package comes with Alan Wake and Forza3, and I’m planning on getting Shadow Complex and Limbo pdq… Anything else I should get?

Ok, I think that’s it – the site should be back to normal now.
If anyone notices anything that isn’t back to normal then please let me know.
Also, I hope you enjoy the new theme! 🙂

I’m upgrading my CMS from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 today. Please excuse any downtime and site-weirdness while I get things sorted in the new CMS.
Users should keep all the same rights and settings (e.g. donating users will continue to be ad-free) and all the posts+comments should remain in place.

Update – Site is sort of back. Still a lot of work to do with regards to formatting, but the info is all here so I’ve brought it back online. Let me know if y’all have any issues.

Update 2 – Site is mostly back. Rough format is back, though the theme still needs some work. I’m done for the day though. I’ll finish up the rest of the tweaks tomorrow. 🙂

Note: InternetExplorer formatting is badly broken, but does anyone use that piece of shit browser anymore? If you do, upgrade to Chrome/Firefox/Opera/Safari or any other standards compliant browser and save yourself a tonne of headaches – not to mention all the viruses/trojans/exploits you won’t be susceptible to anymore. 🙂

Seriously?  This just underlines how badly the US patent system is broken.

How did a Microsoft cofounder get a patent on “Browser use for navigating through information?”  I suppose he thinks IE was the first browser too.

“Managing a users peripheral attention” is patentable?  I guess notes in the margin of textbooks all get to pay royalties to him too…  Or the little TV station watermarks in the corners of TV broadcasts, or even the blinky light on cell phones that tell you that you missed a call.

The patent system was created to protect intellectual property, not stifle innovation or try to reap profits from an idea that is either obvious or has existed in other works for decades or even centuries.

Hell, maybe I should get a patent on “Character combination displayed on a medium in order to symbolize language and express information” and see if I can get royalties every time anyone writes anything down!

Paul Allen (and every other patent troll) is a total and utter shitbag.

My wife has started a new blog revolving around drawing requests from her readers.  Check it out at  Her drawings are great, so head over and submit a request for something you’d like to see her draw.

As some of you may have noticed Drupal took a dump when I updated it.  The site was offline for almost a day while I tried to get the errors resolved.  It only took a few hours to fix, but I’ve been insanely busy with work and life for the past few moths so it took the day to scrape together the few hours it took to fix.  Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

Yay! Google released the Android 2.2 source today! I’ll poke around at it over the next few days – maybe I’ll have better luck getting it to compile! 😀

Update: I downgraded to gcc4.3 and Java SDK5, and Froyo is compiling fine.  I’m still unable to boot the result though.  🙁  I’ll try again tomorrow.

Update2: The kernel is booting, but /system isn’t mounting, so ‘sh’ isn’t available, and logcat can’t run.  Putting sh on the initrd changes the error – but it just quits directly after launching.  Grrrr.  Not sure why /system isn’t mounting – the init.rc looks ok…  I may try getting it to mount by it’s device name instead of it’s mtd name.  I’m off to work – I’ll poke at this some more when I get home.

Update 3: LiBe (in the comments below) managed to get 2.2 booting using Routehero’s 2.0 boot.img.  I just played around a little on my lunch break and was able to duplicate his results.  Same issues as before – e.g. No sound, no radio, no wifi.  The boot.img was still using the old 2.6.27 kernel.  Replacing the 2.6.27 kernel with the 2.6.29 from V10T resulted in a non-booting boot.img, and as before logcat doesn’t work so I can’t even see why it’s not booting.  Grrrr.  🙁
However – 2.2 did seem to run ok.  Once I turned off Animations it even ran fairly fast.  🙂

Quick note: I made a few more changes to the site.

  • The mobile theme is MUCH better now.  Have a look at from your android.  Very simple and clean.  🙂
  • Added a Docs section (see the menu up there ^^^) that will be a repository for all sorts of instructions.  Enjoy!

Update 3: Made a few more changes:

  • QR codes on the right for ease of Android access
  • Mobile site is now live, but the theme isn’t so hot.  Trying to find an AJAX theme that rocked as much as the wordpress mobile theme
  • Donate button is back, plus if you’re logged in when you donate the site will stop showing you the button and hide the ads, and shows a “Thank you” message instead.
  • Front page changed – now it shows the full text of the first story, teasers (with “more” links) for the next 10, and text links for the remainder
  • Killed the titles from the comments
  • Removed my Gravatar from all the posts, but left it on the comments

I think I’m now quite happy with the site!  Woohoo!  Now if only getting Eclair running was this easy!  😉

Update2: Made a bunch of changes now that I’m live on Drupal:

  • Anonymous comments and Polls are now allowed. 
  • I’m still not happy with the fact that each comment’s subject is a full-on title.
  • All the old comments are flat and unsorted.  The threading was lost on the import.   (All new comments should be threaded nicely though.)
  • I’m still working on the mobile theme.  Should have available for mobile devices soon
  • Ads are back.

Update: The site is now live on Drupal. All the content should be in place – and you shouldn’t notice much difference for now. The move to Drupal will allow me to better maintain and organize the site in the future – the first things I’ll be setting up is some nice HowTos and some forum-type commenting. As always, let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

I’ve been messing around with the Drupal CMS all evening, and I’m seriously considering switching my site over to it.  It’s not as easy to use at WordPress is, but it’s far more flexible and WAY more powerful and easy to manage.  WordPress is/was great for a blog and a light site, but as I get more and more info on here I’m finding it harder to manage and therefore harder for y’all to find it.

I’m going to play with it for another day or so, and if I’m still liking it then I may switch over this weekend.  🙂

Quick note – I just changed my webhost from Sunwave over to GoDaddy.  For the same price I get 30x the storage and 60x the transfer/bandwidth, plus 24/7 support!  Crazy!

There may have been some service disruption yesterday as the DNS records propagated, but it looks like it’s all good now. 

The extra storage on the new host should allow me to host more than 1 firmware image at a time – Woohoo!

A few of you have donated to my site in the past week – Thank you!

I wanted some way to publicly thank donators, so I’ve changed the donation system to optionally show your name and link to a site of your choice.  Unfortunately, the folks that have already donated previously aren’t included in the list but I’m looking for a way to get their usernames in there.

Also, I’ll be including a list of any non-anonymous donators in a small “Thanks!” app on each firmware I release. 

Your support is very appreciated, and keeps me hacking away!

It’s just been a VERY busy few weeks.  Lots of travel to new clients, and so much work that I’ve not had the energy to do anything ‘cept relax in my free time.

I have done a few fun things though:

  • Built a 2-node  MythTV/Mythbuntu based media center.   Post about that is coming soon.  I didn’t get the new core i3 based media server I was planning on, but have rebuilt my existing server using mythbuntu and added a nVidia ION based box for the bedroom.
  • Upgraded my GW620 to firmware 1.0f.  It’s still android 1.5, but seems a little snappier.  The root method still works, so I’m going to port my apps2sd changes on to the new image this week.  I should have an updated firmware for y’all soon.  Maybe even today if I don’t get sidetracked.