Category Archives: Web

Ubuntu Tech Snippet #13 – Get your public IP in terminal

Sometimes when you’re working on a project or are SSHed into a remote server, you need to find out the public IP of the device, without using a GUI web-browser.

I had to do this while working on setting up a script on my server, and came across this neat little command that will grab your public IP and print it nicely out for you to use!

All you have to do is run echo $(curl -s https://api.ipify.org) and you’re good to go!

Output from echo $(curl -c https://api.ipify.org)

Output from echo $(curl -c https://api.ipify.org)

You can also do this programatically. In python you can run this code to get the result as a JSON object:

import requests
session = requests.Session()
ret = session.get('https://api.ipify.org',
                   params={"format":"json"})
print ("Public IP Address:",ret.json()['ip'])

You’ll need to install the Python Requests module. This can be done either via pip. Just run sudo pip install requests. You can technically install it using easy_install, but please, please don’t. Just use pip.

And that’s it!

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips of your own, leave them as a comment down below and I’ll be sure to take a look at them!

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Google and Youtube April Fools Day 2015 Roundup

So, it has struck again. The first of April is upon us yet again and Google, as usual, has a few tricks up their sleeve.

But first, where on earth have I been? Well, yeah. I’ve been really busy with life (school is horrible for having time to write) and I just didn’t have anything terribly interesting to write about.

But, I’m back. Not sure how often I’ll be posting here, but hopefully it will be more often than once every 3 months or whatever it has been. I apologize to anyone who actually reads and enjoys my blog.

Anyways, on to Google April Fools day jokes.


Google April Fools Day Jokes 2015

I’m gonna do this via categories, sorta…

The Nostalgic Award goes to … Google Dial-Up mode!

With Google rolling out Uber-fast internet access to several cities around the country, they figured people would want to be able to slow down for a bit. And, as they say, give more hugs. And, 56k modem sounds man! Right there in your browser! It’s incredible!

It’s also a great way to get your kids off the internet. If they spend all day watching Youtube videos or chatting with friends, just turn on dial-up mode and make them feel the pain you did back in the day. (Granted, back in that day, 56k modems were all the rage. Buuuut….we’ll ignore that point.)

Next up, we’ve got the Party Award goes to … The Keyless Keyboard!

Basically put, it’s a fancy-ified party noise-maker. What makes it fancy you ask? Well, watch the video!

The Cute (or, should I say, Kawaii – かわいい ) Award goes to … Google Panda!

This cute little Asian stuffed animal is all you’ll ever need again. Need to know what it’s going to be like outside today? Just ask Google Panda!

Want a companion who can answer questions when you’re out running? Google Panda is there to help again!

Oh yeah. And it comes in two sizes. The Google Panda 5 and Google Panda 6.

The Gamer Award goes to … Google Maps – Pacman Edition!

Selection_070

 

If you want to give this one a go (and I’ll warn you, it ain’t easy), then read this post on Bustle on how to get started wasting your day eating dots and avoiding ghosts around your house and workplace. Who knows, maybe one of those ghosts is that boss you really hate!

Now, this one could really give the Dial-Up mode a run for its money in the Nostalgic Award runnings. I really had a hard time deciding. I know! You guys tell me down in the comments what you think. Should this one (Google Maps – Pacman Edition) or Dial-Up mode receive the Nostalgic Award?

General Absurdity Award goes to: Google! Or rather, elgooG!

 

elgooG - Mozilla Firefox_071

If you go to com.google (yes, that’s right. Just type in com.google in the address bar – it’ll work) this’ll come up. Interesting fact, this is the first that Google has used their top level domain name .google.

It’s a fully-functional version of Google, with everything reversed.

The Social Media Award goes to … Chrome Selfie!

chrome selfie

(Image from Bustle – click the image to read their post)

Now, I don’t actually have a mobile device, nor do I use Chrome, so this one … really doesn’t affect me. But hey, I’m posting about all of elgooG’s exploits today, no discrimination here!

The Futuristic Award goes to … Smartbox by Inbox by Google:

Tired of getting junk mail in real life? Tired of being bombarded by annoying catalogs of junk? Well, no more. With Smartbox by Inbox by Google, you’ll be good to go. It has a motion sensor, so you’ll never have to actually touch your Smartbox by Inbox by Google to get your physical mail, and it’ll even sort it into Smart Folders for you!

Don’t want certain mail? Well, Smartbox by Inbox by Google has you covered. It’ll electrically zap any annoying spammers!

And, apparently, you can have Google Hangouts chats on it too and it runs full Android. So you’re basically getting the world’s bulkiest tablet that also sorts your mail for you.

The Youtube Meme Award goes to … dudududu The Darude Sandstorm button!

Prepare yourselves ladies and gents. For you are about to be …. DARUDELY RICK-ROLLED!

Selection_072Just kidding, I wouldn’t Rick-Roll you. However, this is part of Youtube’s April Fools joke.

If you’ve been on Youtube and read basically any comments within, oh, the last 6 months plus, you’d know what Darude Sandstorm is. If not, you have narrowly escaped with your sanity.

Basically, if you search certain videos (Rick Roll being one of them, Rebecca Black Friday another, I’m sure there’s more) you’ll get that little Did you mean: Darude - Sandstorm by Darude popup-thing.

Youtube wants to make sure you’re nice and sandy.

In stupid infomercial voice But wait! There’s more! If you watch a video, you can play Darude Sandstorm over top of it! That way, you can listen to Darude Sandstorm while listening to Darude Sandstorm!

Just click the little Music note in the bottom-right-hand-corner of any Youtube video, and it will play snippets of Darude Sandstorm for you! You’re welcome.

 

 

Selection_073

If I find out about any more April Fools day jokes, I’ll update this post. But that’s all for this post. Thanks for reading guys!

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EmoJS: Programming Javascript in Emoji

EmoJS is a neat little project I recently was told about. Essentially (as you may have gathered from the title) it allows you to write Javascript, in Emoji. That’s right, Emoji Javascript.

The world’s most popular language, now in the world’s most popular language

The Project’s Tagline

The idea is actually quite fun, though not terribly practical. The project is far from a 1.0 release, currently in Alpha on the 0.2.1 release. There are, at the time of writing, twenty-seven (27) different emoji characters that have been: three escape characters, twenty-two single characters, and two multicharacters. However, not all of these can be used; some being reserved for later implementation.

You can currently see two example sets of EmoJS on the github page, though I have a screenshot below, just so I can explain the idea a little better:

emojs examples

EmoJS Examples – MIT EmoJS (emojs.github.com)

These are some basic examples, just showing off what the project is intended to do. Not terribly practical, but quite fun. They plan on adding an option to try out the language further down the road, but this is still very much in the works.

Yeah, that’s about all there is about this project right now. If you’re a programmer and want to help out, check out the projects page on GitHub. And/or, if you’re curious about the code behind the project, you can check out the project’s repository page on GitHub.

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Battle for the Net – Support the FCC in standing for Net Neutrality!

We’re in the battle for the net.

Cable companies are spending millions to gut net neutrality and slow your internet to a crawl. We can’t let them.

battle3

Help Remind the FCC and Congress of our rights…

We all use the internet, and the freedom that comes with it.

Team Cable, big names like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, are threatening that freedom. They want to remove Net Neutrality from being around, and they’re pouring millions of dollars into it.

What’s all this about?

Net Neutrality is a huge part of the internet as we know it today. It means that no data can be throttled or access of it controlled and places everyone and everything on a surprisingly level playing-field. It means that any and all data on the internet has to be treated equally, not matter what it is or who created it.

Without Net Neutrality, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can decide what it wants you to be able to access, and when. What that means to the common man, woman, or child is that if people in high places decide that cat videos are no longer suitable for the internet, they can just block them. That’s right Internet, no more Grumpy Cat.
It’s essentially Parental Controls, but on steroids.

A world without Net Neutrality would be terrible. It would simply sustain the Internet monopolies.

If an ISP didn’t like a new start-up company or information, they could simply block it and C’est la vie! little company or Au Revoir (never) stories! Without traffic, any site will die.

And to top all of this, President Barack Obama has appointed Tom Wheeler, former top lobbyist for Cable and Wireless providers, to be the next Chairman of the FCC. That’s right, the one guy who used to be on the side of Team Cable, is now leading the one group that stands between us and a nation without  a free internet.

What can I do to help?

Remind the FCC and Congress of our “Title II reclassification” rights and take a stand against these giants and help protect our freedom.

Find out more…

Read more about Net Neutrality and the forces supporting it, find out more about what you can do to help, and get information to spread the news.

Battle for the Net

 

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Speed up Youtube and Twitch.tv speeds

Twitch.tv is renowned for being quite a bit slower than Youtube, at least for me, and it made watching streams impossible. Youtube, although better than Twitch, still wasn’t great, barely handling 360p.

snail

Snail – That’s all I have to offer

However, I was researching why the difference in video speed is so great, and I found a very interesting reddit post that talks about blocking two groups of IP addresses that causes a huge increase in Youtube and Twitch.tv speed. You can read it for yourself here. I just figured I would make a post of my own, as the reddit post only has links to instructions for Windows (bleh) not Linux (or Mac, however my instructions have not been tested on a Mac…don’t blame me if it your Macbook goes boom.)


How to increase Youtube and Twitch.tv speeds

It’s a pretty simple thing to do, you just have to block certain IPs from communication with your PC. While I’m not totally sure why this method works, I think it may be that we are blocking heavily-used ip-addresses and/or ones that have throttled speeds, thus causing Youtube and Twitch (and other streaming sites for that matter, I haven’t tested any others as of yet) to be faster! As for side affects, I haven’t seen any off the bat and the changes are applied immediately.

Ubuntu/Linux instructions:

Step 1: Run the following command:

sudo iptables -A INPUT -m iprange --src-range 206.111.0.0-206.111.255.255 -j DROP

Basically what this does is tell iptables (the default Firewall for Ubuntu) to take the given range of IP address (iprange --src-range) and stop (or DROP) any packets/communication going to/from those IP addresses.

Step 2: Run the following command:

sudo iptables -A INPUT -m iprange --src-range 173.194.55.1-173.194.55.255 -j DROP

This does exactly the same thing as the previous command, except with a new set of IP addresses.

Step 3: Watch Youtube Videos in HD! The video below is a Piano Guys (Great music group) that has every possible (on Youtube that is) video resolution for watching from 144p to 4k. Good for testing increased speeds, and good for the ears as well.

That’s all there is to this trick, it’s super simple (at least for Linux users) and works great. If you are a Windows user, read this post from Study Blog.net. Disclaimer, this post was written for Windows Server 2008, so it may not apply anymore. However, please don’t bite the hand that got you good Youtube speeds, the reddit post I got this trick off of is from February of 2013. If those instructions don’t work for you, just google Block ip addresses Windows [INSERT YOUR VERSION HERE].

Remember, this is a Linux/Ubuntu-focused (and/or biased) blog; I haven’t used Windows for more than, say, ten minutes in over a month, so don’t freak out about me not having up-to-date Windows instructions.


That’s all for now. Please remember to leave a comment down below about whether or not this trick worked for you, if you’re running into any issues (errors and the like), and send this to all your friends (though not too many, it’ll stop working.)


Edit – Improved way

I was using this just fine, but it stopped working after a while, strangely enough, so I went back to the reddit post and read over it again and read another reddit post (this time from the Technology reddit) and they pointed out some other ways to do this, better than the DROP command.

First way is to use the REJECT command instead of DROP. The commands you want to run now look like this:

sudo iptables -A INPUT -m iprange --src-range 206.111.0.0-206.111.255.255 -j REJECT

and

sudo iptables -A INPUT -m iprange --src-range 173.194.55.1-173.194.55.255 -j REJECT

Almost identical to the old ones, except for the difference in the final word.

The second way just works for Firefox users (sorry Chrome, Midori, Safari, and all those other browser users) to use a Firefox addon, BlockSite Plus. You just download it (it’s a no-restart addon,) open up the addon’s preferences (enter about:addons in the address bar):

Firefox Addons Menu (about:addons)- Select Preferences for BlockSite Plus

Firefox Addons Menu (about:addons)- Select Preferences for BlockSite Plus

And enter the IP addresses:

BlockSite Plus Preferences - Enter the IP address ranges here

BlockSite Plus Preferences – Enter the IP address ranges here

This one is great for Windows/Mac users, as it will work without having to mess with commands and terminal/command line. I’m not totally sure this second method works, as I’ve already got iptables blocking those IPs, but it seemed to be accepted as a method on the reddit post.

This seems to be working right now, but if you are using Linux and use the iptables command, you will either have to set it up so that the iptable commands are run on boot up or you will have to enter them manually whenever you restart.

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A while ago my friend put together a video project/parody of a parody called Little Cello Wars, maybe you’ve heard of it? I know it’s nothing viral or anything, but if you want a quick little video to watch, check it out.

The official channel where all of his finished projects go (and a few other Piano Guys videos) is The Piano Guys Fans and his personal channel, which is where effects tests and less professional, more for-fun, videos is Caleb Cook. If any of my readers watch the video and like it, make sure to subscribe and give some thumbs up!

 

The Piano Guys Fans – Check ’em out!

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Mozilla Firefox 29 Released Today – New Australis Theme

Some of you who follow my blog may remember I did a post way back in November of last year regarding the Firefox 28.0a1 build, which included a slick new theme, along with a bunch of other new stuff.

However, it was still in Beta, some people might not have wanted to use it. Well, fear no longer. Firefox 29 has been released across all desktop iterations, complete with the Australis theme!

Part of this major change (which has been in the works for over a year now – and in use on Firefox Mobile) there are some more, less obvious changes, as well as other unrelated to theme changes.

First off, the tabs are much more curved and there is much larger distinction between forward and background tabs, as you can see here:

Firefox 28 tabs vs firefox 29 tabs

There are also changes that affects the menus, with a new one being added to the upper-right-hand corner of the window, removing the well-known Firefox menu and several others.

firefox 29 menu

Firefox 29 with the new menu and Australis theme

You can now access all of the commonly used features of Firefox straight from this menu, and, it’s customizable. You can not only drag around the parts of the tool-bar, to and from the menu, you can drag and drop any of the many, many addons as well. You can move the search bar into the menu, add the Print button the the toolbar, or add a favorite addon to sit next to the Awesome bar.

customization menu in Firefox 29

New Customization features for Firefox 29

The addon bar has been entirely removed, and if you want to access addon options, you can add it to the menu or toolbar and access it from there.

The Bookmark button, which previously sat in the address bar (or Awesome bar), is now combined with the bookmarks menu, making accessing the sites you love that much easier.

firefox 29 bookmarks menu

Firefox 29 – Australis Theme – New Bookmarks Menu/Button

The Forward button now appears only when there is actually a page to go forward to, and the Forward/Backward buttons have a slightly different look, part of the new theme.

Firefox 29 Forward Button

Firefox 29 – Australis Theme – Forward Button

There is a new interactive tour feature, where it will take you through all of the new features that the average user would use. You can access that here.

Firefox 29 interactive tour

Firefox 29 Interactive What’s New Tour

Firefox Sync has changed, with new, more secure ways to sync your bookmarks, settings, etc.

firefox sync screen

New Firefox Sync – Introduced with Firefox 29

And on top of all of this, there are some slick new animations, as well as a new color scheme, to go with the Australis theme.

Other changes include:

  • An interactive onboarding tour to guide users through new interface changes;
  • The ability to set up Firefox Sync by creating a Firefox account;
  • Gamepad API finalized and enabled;
  • Clicking on a W3C Web Notification will switch to the originating tab;
  • navigator.plugins is no longer enumerable, for user privacy;
  • ‘box-sizing’ (dropping the -moz- prefix) implemented;
  • Console object available in Web Workers;
  • Promises enabled by default;
  • SharedWorker enabled by default;
  • <input type=”number”> implemented and enabled;
  • <input type=”color”> implemented and enabled;
  • Enabled ECMAScript Internationalization API.

A full list of changes is available in the release notes, along with the currently known two bugs with Firefox 29.

 

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Firefox 28.0a1 (2013-11-21) released with new UI

So, Mozilla has been planning a new design for Firefox that unifies the app’s look across all devices for a while (I first heard about it in June-ish. You can read about the release here: The Next Web and for techy-nerds the official wiki post: Mozilla Firefox Wiki.)

Firefox Australis running in Ubuntu 13.04

Now, it is out on Firefox Nightly and you can download it for all platforms via Firefox Nightly builds (http://nightly.mozilla.org/). This is great, except that if you want to keep a stable firefox running at the same time it might require some tweaking. (No. Not twerking. VERY different.)

Ubuntu actually makes this rather easy with a PPA that allows you to install Firefox Nightly right alongside with a stable version. You can read the WebUPD8 post here that tells you how to install the testing Firefox version alongside.

Firefox Australis has a ton of cool new features. The Mozilla blog has an official write-up here along with a video of the features. You can see a comparison picture of the taskbar here: Firefox comparison

One of the comments on the blog asks

I would like to hear about Australis’ impact on speed and memory consumption.

From what I’ve seen on my rather old computer (7 yrs. old) with the 1GB of RAM is that it does about the same as Firefox 25.0 and Chromium 30.x with several tabs open (6+ along with a Youtube video playing) if not better.

Australis is focused on simplicity and the status bar is quite nice. One of the big changes is in the look of the tabs and the fact that the Firefox button is gone. It has been replaced by a button that looks similar to the Chrome settings button, but once you click on it the menu that pops up is quite innovative really.

While this program is mostly stable for most basic web browsing (have yet to crash it once) it is still a Nightly (testing) build, so don’t download this and replace your stable Firefox version with it because it may have some bugs that need to be ironed out. However, if you’re like me and would love to try out new software, go ahead and download this and give it a whirl!

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