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DVD Ripping


The Wipeouters - Ravin' Surf

Another note for myself for later, and boy this is dumb.


TL;DR: Here's the Link:

I use RDP a lot and had some scripts to let me launch lots of RDP sessions without having to enter my random-generated passwords over and over. I wasn't happy with how I was handling those passwords so I've made it more secure using gpg and KeePassXC. Last night I made it compatible with Windows and MSTSC which will be uploaded here shortly once it's cleaned up a bit.

Basically I'll click a shortcut for whatever host, which runs my launcher. I get prompted for my GPG passphrase, which reads from an encrypted file containing my KeePassXC passphrase, which is then used to retrieve the user password for launching the RDP session.

Gpg-agent uses a cache-TTL to "hold the door open" for 10 minutes by default, so I can launch a bunch of sessions and only type my passphrase once.


- gpg client and running gpg-agent (gpg4win, etc) with a private key set up, etc.
- cygwin if you're running Windows
- KeePassXC (or some other key-store that has a command-line interface
to query the database. In the beginning I was just using the gpg file
with user/password pairs, so that works too)

The tool has a few neat features:

- If run from the command line with no arguments, it will prompt for user/pass/host/domain, good for one-off sessions to machines I won't log into much. That's great since I spend all my time in terminal windows and this stops me having to go back and forth to the mouse and keyboard while entering credentials.

- If launched with -b, it prompts you for information for a one-off connection, but will also build a new shortcut launcher from a template. So like for the first connection to a machine you know you're going to use a lot. (Linux/Mac only)

- Automatically tunnel sessions over ssh. This means I can launch RDP sessions on my Mac and they'll seamlessly proxy through my work laptop to the VPN.

For tunneling, I am taking an arbitrary range of 200 ports and incrementing them based on what's currently listening. If there's already a process listening on port 6201, then try 6202 etc until there's an open one. So I can easily open 20-30 ssh tunneled sessions each with its own ssh process which will close down when the RDP window closes. 200 is "probably overkill", which means it might just be barely enough in the real world.

The launcher shortcut mechanics are a bit different on my Linux and Mac machines so I split the -b script builder piece out based on OS. On Linux, I use KDE/Plasma, and so I generate these as KDE desktop files which look like this:

#!/usr/bin/env xdg-open
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=/home/xrayspx/bin/rdplauncher.sh -h it-host.xrayspx.com -d xdomainx -u xrayspx

On the Mac side, I use shell scripts with the extension .rdp (which conflicts with Microsoft's client, but I don't care since I never use their client anyway). Those just launch using Terminal, so it does pop a terminal for a fraction of a second, but I really don't have a problem with that.

The launcher for that looks like:

#! /bin/bash
rdplauncher.sh -h host.xrayspx.com -d xdomainx -u xrayspx &

If I call it with AppleScript or Automator instead of a bash script as above, none of the password retrieval process works. I think it short circuits and sends the output back to the AppleScript rather than the bash script which ran the command. If I can get that working that would be ideal.

The mechanics on Windows are similar to the Mac method. a .bat file which launches the bash script via Cygwin:

C:\cygwin64\bin\mintty.exe -w hide -e /bin/bash -l -c '/home/user/bin/rdplauncher.sh -h host -u username -d domain'

On Windows at least the Cygwin window it creates is hidden from the user, so that's nice.

xrayspx's picture

Rippin' DVDs


Dana Carvey - Choppin' Broccoli

Today in Lattice of Convenience news, here's how to rip DVDs.

I barely understand the mencoder command that is the backbone of this thing, and there are many better ways to do lots of the stuff in this script, in fact I know several of those better ways, and looking at it fresh, I see some redundant stuff that cancels out other stuff. But it runs, and I use it, so here goes.

Ripping DVDs isn't fun, the disk labels are iffy at best, even within a single box set you might go from the Gold Standard "TV Show - S1D1" to "DVD_VIDEO" as a disk label. So it can get kind of ugly. To mitigate that I create an output folder based on the DVD disk label + a timestamp. If you get a run of disks with the same name, at least they're not overwriting each others files because the timestamp will shift. I currently have a dvdrip-output directory with the following DVDs in it:


Those are all from the same box set. So that's 3 naming conventions from one series. To be fair I think that while it's the same company producing them they probably came as separate "season" boxes rather than one big set. Still. Come on. Jesus.

Another big gotcha I've hit, again mainly with TV series box sets, a single show might exist on the disk as many as THREE times. Once as a "standalone episode", once as "episode with commentary track" and once as part of a massive concatenated file of all the episodes on that disk. In the case of the commentary track, that audio seems to be separate, so the actual episode rips to exactly the same filesize, the commentary track seems not to be something I have access to, so you just get two identical files at the end.

So as you're ripping, that's going to triple the rip time.

The way I'm trying to fix that is to rip the first 30 seconds of every Title on the disk, then do a SHA sum on those ripped sample files. As a Title rips, when it's done I'll drop its clip checksum into a "rippedchecksums" file. The next TItle starts the first thing it does is check to see if its checksum has already been ripped. If it has, skip it. It seems to catch 100% of repeated Titles, and probably 70% of the "Big Concatenated File" cases will match the sum for Title 1. Saves a shitload of time.

In this case, Title 1 is a standalone episode, and Title 21 is the Big Concatenated File of all the episodes on the disk. Title 21 will be skipped. Since I get about 70 or 80 FPS on my Mac Pro, that probably saved 90 minutes of rip time or so with 3 hours of video on the disk:

763b6035c4bf239b4425fb8f484018387574baca /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/1-sample.avi
59cca1b18759647e13e3e1b6a4facace0520fc06 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/10-sample.avi
125add4181b9dc6eee57c32c07568765b8e4483b /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/11-sample.avi
4daae35d014032964fe57e70e2cc3450f7dac4e5 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/12-sample.avi
a942f31a9ee42c5839772f733b2c666195397ad5 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/13-sample.avi
8c9473a940a9bc685d84e0ac29c66f53efa6667d /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/14-sample.avi
29d2200d8c46ac11417119b4b7179e4b526d99cf /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/15-sample.avi
466860b79bba6d132fcc97d6dc7c0c3a20dd771c /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/16-sample.avi
f4ae11cca0752956c4d6025a8760a260a59fe79b /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/17-sample.avi
00753d529f4bbf4081f647056cf44db7c630c198 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/18-sample.avi
b7f9c9087fed6b00d22de5033c153f9ffb3cd3b1 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/19-sample.avi
14efcb6164f1424b894cc28200ab621ec805ecd0 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/2-sample.avi
6c411c8869f1e6bc9a6ec298ba9b6a5c9eefc9ae /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/20-sample.avi
763b6035c4bf239b4425fb8f484018387574baca /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/DVD_VIDEO-090720202337/21-sample.avi

At the end of it, I still end up with just a directory full of files labeled 1 through whatever.avi. I have to take a few seconds per file to get it to "TV Show - S01E01.avi". But from there FileBot can mass-rename them with episode titles.

So here's the full ugliness. You'll want to adjust all the paths. I should have made variables, but I don't care, I maybe have 3 or 4 ripping trays running at a time on various machines, so I don't mind just changing the paths for each host. Works on OSX and Linux, and probably Windows with Cygwin, but I don't care about Windows so I'm not going to test it.

#! /bin/bash

timestamp=`date +%m%d%Y%H%M`

id=$(drutil status |grep -m1 -o '/dev/disk[0-9]*')

if [ -z "$id" ]; then
echo "No Media Inserted"
name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`

name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`
echo $name
mkdir /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

maxtitle=`/Applications/mencoder dvd://100 -o bob | grep "titles on this DVD" | awk '{print $3}'`

for title in {1..100}
if [ $title -le $maxtitle ]
/Applications/mencoder dvd://$title -alang en -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:vbitrate="1200" -vf scale -zoom -xy 720 -oac mp3lame -lameopts br=128 -endpos 30 -o /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi
shasum /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi > /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum
touch /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt

cat /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/*checksum >> /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/allchecksums.txt

for title in {1..100}
if [ $title -gt $maxtitle ]
chmod -R 775 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir
sleep 3
drutil tray eject
exit 0
sum=`cat /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum | awk '{print $1}'`
match=`grep $sum /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt`
if [ -z $match ]
/Applications/mencoder dvd://$title -alang en -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:vbitrate="1200" -vf scale -zoom -xy 720 -oac mp3lame -lameopts br=128 -o /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title.avi
echo $sum >> /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/rippedchecksums.txt
rm /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-checksum
rm /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title-sample.avi
chmod -R 775 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

xrayspx's picture

Running the Lattice of Convenience


New Order - 5 8 6

Since posting about the week of 1983 TV Guide viewing, I've had questions from some people wondering about the storage and other hardware and software we use for our media library. It's really not very complicated to do, though I do have preferences and recommendations.

So here's what we've got.


Mainly I don't like the level of control streaming companies have. That they monitor everything we do, and that stuff comes and goes from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime on their timeline, not mine. I don't like the concept of paying for things like Spotify so that I can rent access to music I already own.

I realized like 15 years ago that while we often spent $200/$300 per week on CDs earlier in our marriage, Natalie and I were drifting away from actually listening to it much, because who wants to dig around for a CD to hear one song, then move to another CD. Ultimately, the same applies to movies, we have lots of DVDs, and I don't want to have to dig through booklets just to watch a couple of James Bond movies.

It's super easy to maintain, and we like being able to watch Saturday morning cartoons, "Nick-at-Nite" or throw on music videos while we play arcade games and eat pizza. Once up and running, it's all pretty much push-button access to all the media we like.


- 2000-2500 CDs (Maybe 200GB of music)

- Couple hundred movies, really probably not as many as most people.

- Lots of TV shows. Space-wise, this is where it adds up fast when you're ripping a box-set of 10 seasons of some show.

- Commercials, mainly from the '80s and '90s, but I'll grab anything fun that strikes us.

- Music videos. We have an overall collection of around 2000, and a subgroup of about 700 which represent "'80s arcade or pizza place" music. That's music that was just ubiquitous when we were growing up in the '80s and early '90s, and you heard it all the time whether you liked it or not. I've since come to appreciate these songs and bands in a way I didn't when I was a dickhead punk kid.

So all told, there's about a 5TB library of stuff, mainly TV shows, but also a decent music library that needs to get maintained and served.


- Ripping machines - Mainly, all I need is the maximum number of DVD trays I can get my hands on. There's nothing special here. My tools work on Mac or Linux so I can work wherever. We have one main Mac Pro that has 2x 8TB drives mirrored which hold the master copy of the media collection.

- NAS - Seagate GoFlex Home from like 10 years ago. I think I originally bought this with a 1TB drive, and have since upgraded it twice, which is kind of a massive pain. Now it's got an 8TB drive which has a copy of the media library from our main machine. I'll get into the pros and cons of this thing below.

- Raspberry Pi - I have a multi-use RaspberryPi which does various tasks to make things convenient and optimizing TV viewing. There are a handful of scripts which create random playlists every night for various categories of music videos, TV shows (Sitcoms, 'BritBox', 'Nick-at-Nite'), etc. It also runs mt-daapd, which I'll get into below.

- Amazon Fire Sticks - We have a couple of them. I'm not super impressed with their 8GB storage limit, but I'm definitely happy enough for the money they cost. They're cheap, around $20 now, and they do what they say on the box. Play video. I have side-loaded Kodi 17.x, but they seem not to quite have the resources for 18.x, though I'm really not sure why not. It's just slower.

- The Shitphone Army - I've got obsolete phones (Samsung Galaxy S4-ish) around the house and decent speakers set up so we can have music playing while doing the dishes for example.


- Kodi - I mentioned Kodi, which is just an excellent Free Software media library manager. Kodi gets /such/ a bad rap because of all the malware infected pirate boxes for sale, but you never see much from people who actually use it to manage a locally stored library of media they own. Can't recommend it enough. Get familiar with customizing menus in Kodi and making home-screen buttons linking directly to playlists. It's worth it and makes it look nice and easy to use.

- mt-daapd - I'm running out of patience with music streaming, though everything does work right now. MT-Daapd just basically serves up a library of music using the DAAP protocol, which used to be used by iTunes

- DAAP (Android app) - This could be great, but it seems to be completely un-maintained, and somewhat recently moved from being open source to closed, so unless I have an off-line copy of the source, there go my dreams of updating it. But it works well on the Shitphone Army and on the road so we can basically stream from anywhere. Other DAAP players for Android are pretty much all paid applications, and none of them seem to work better particularly than DAAP.

- Scripts A handful of poorly written scripts for ripping DVDs and maintenance of the library (below)


Players - While the Fire Sticks work great, they're really very dependent on having constant access to Amazon. Were I installing mainly a Kodi machine, it would be much better to use a Raspberry Pi either with a direct-connected drive or mounting a network share. It's super easy to set up with ready-to-go disk images which boot straight into Kodi.

Playlists - Create lots of playlists. Playlists and randomizing things are two things that Kodi is terrible at, so I don't try to make it do it. These scripts run nightly on the Raspberry Pi and make .M3Us for us.

Filenames - Have a good naming convention. All my playlists are M3Us of just lists of files. That means that you don't get Kodi's metadata database with the pretty titles and descriptions, and so the files must be named descriptively enough that you can tell what episode you're looking at from the list of filenames. My template is "Name of the Show - S02E25 - Title of the Episode". Kodi's scrapers work well with that format and it makes it easy enough to fire up the Nick-at-Nite playlist and decide where to jump in.

At various times, I've considered parsing a copy of the Kodi database to suck out the metadata and add it in before the file location. In an M3U, that looks like this:

#EXTINF:185,Ian Dury & The Blockheads - There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards
/mnt/eSata/filestore/CDs/Ian Dury & The Blockheads/Ian Dury And The Blockheads The Best Of Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/17 There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards.mp3

It seems like having all that sqlite stuff happening would add a lot of overhead to generating playlists, and having well-named files saves me from having to worry about it, so I haven't bothered.

Storage - Though I use a "Home NAS" product that overall I've been pretty happy with, it does irritate me. Consumer market stuff is /so/ proprietary that it's quite hard to just get to the Linux system beneath and customize it the way you see fit. Specifically in the case of the GoFlex, "rooting" it even involved replacing Seagate's customized version of SSH with a vanilla one. Screw that up and you brick the device. I also run into network bottleneck issues with that thing. While you can enable jumbo frames, for instance, when syncing new content the CPU gets pegged, I believe I'm running out of network or disk buffer, which is kind of unacceptable in a NAS device.

Building it today, I'd just use a Raspberry Pi 3 with a USB drive enclosure. For the time being, my growth curve is still (barely) pacing along with the largest "reasonably priced" drives on the market. My ceiling is about $200 per drive when I do upgrades, because I am a very cheap man.

I have no opinion on consumer RAID arrays. I can only imagine consumer RAID based NASs come with all the shit I hate about the GoFlex. Yes, I'm biased against consumer grade garbage tech and that's probably not going to change. I'll have to buy one someday I'm sure, but for now it's all being kept simple.

Backups Keep backups. While I have multiple copies of everything, it does make me somewhat nervous that the only part of the media library currently being backed up off-site is the MP3 collection. That's got to change, and rsync is your friend. Ultimately I'll probably end up upgrading my home Internet from 20Mb/2Mb to something which will allow me to sync over a VPN tunnel to somewhere off-site (friend's house, work...).

Sample Scripts:

Here are some samples of the shitty bash scripts that run this whole nonsense. I know the better ways to write these, but the fastest possible way to hammer these out worked well enough and there's no way I'm going to bother going back and fixing them to be honest.

Rip CDs

I use an application called MAX on the Mac to rip CDs. I think its usefulness might be coming to an end, and I'm not sure what to do about that. It uses (used?) MusicBrainz database to automatically fingerprint and tag discs, but the last CD I ripped it seemed to have problems. You can run iTunes side by side with Max and drag the metadata over from there, so maybe that works well enough?

Anyway, I use that because I rip to both 320k CBR MP3 and FLAC. I have a shitload of stuff that really should be re-ripped since they're 128k and no FLAC, but I've so far been unmotivated to do so.

I wrote a bunch of stuff to move all the output files around and update iTunes libraries. Honestly I don't rip a whole lot of new music, which is a shame and which I should really fix.

Rip DVDs

DVD ripping is a lot more fragile than it should be. Good software like Handbrake are bullied into removing the ability to rip protected DVDs, and things are being pushed toward the commercial. I use mencoder in the script below.

DVD titles are sketchy at best, and as far as I know, you can't really fingerprint a DVD and scrape titles in the way you can with CDs. So I do what I can. I take whatever title the DVD presents and make an output directory based on that name plus a timestamp. That way if you're doing a whole box set and all the DVD titles are the same they're at least writing out to separate directories and not overwriting each other.

As far as file-naming, unfortuantely we don't live in the future yet and that's all down to manually renaming each output file. I use the information from TVDB, not IMDB, since that's the default library used by Kodi's scrapers. Sometimes the order of things is different between that and IMDB (production order vs airing order vs DVD order issues plague this whole enterprise).

#! /bin/bash

timestamp=`date +%m%d%Y%H%M`
caffeinate -w $pid

id=$(drutil status |grep -m1 -o '/dev/disk[0-9]*')
if [ -z "$id" ]; then
echo "No Media Inserted"
name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`

name=`df | grep "$id" |grep -o /Volumes.* | awk -F "Volumes\/" '{print $2}' | sed 's/ /_/g'`
echo $name
mkdir /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

echo $dir

for title in {1..100}
/Applications/mencoder dvd://$title -alang en -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:vbitrate="1200" -vf scale -zoom -xy 640 -oac mp3lame -lameopts br=128 -o /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir/$title.avi
chmod -R 775 /Volumes/Filestore/dvdrip-output/$dir

Playlist Script

The simplest Music Videos one below just looks at one directory of videos and one directory of TV commercials and randomizes all the content into an M3U. The more complicated ones have dozens of directories, and I'm sure I'm doing this array-building the wrong way. I'm sure I could have a text file with the un-escaped directory names I want and read that to build the array, either way, it really doesn't matter because if I want to add a TV series, I still have to edit a file, so this works fine. I've also thought about having a file in each directory like ".tags" that I search for terms in, like "comedy,nickatnite,british" and build the array from that, I dunno, sounds like work.

#! /bin/bash

array=`find ./ -type f;
find ../../Commercials -type f`

printf '%s\n' "${array[@]}" | sort -R | grep -v dvd_extras | grep -v "./$" | grep -v "\.m3u" | grep -v -i ds_store | grep -v ".nzb" | grep -v ".srt" > full-collection-random.m3u

- rsync the TV library. I have several of these, one for TV shows, one for movies, music videos, mp3s etc. It's just somewhat faster to only sync the thing I'm actually adding content to, rather than have to stat the entire library every time I rip a single DVD. The TV show sync tool also deals with the playlists, which are actually created on the NAS drive, so they have to be copied local before syncing or else they'll just get destroyed every day.

This checks to see if the NAS volume is mounted, if not it will mount it and re-run the script.

#! /bin/bash

mounted=`cat /Users/xrayspx/xrayspx-fs01/.touchfile`

if [ "$mounted" == "1" ]

cp ~/xrayspx-fs01/Common/TV\ Shows/1\ -\ Playlists/* /Volumes/Filestore/Common/TV\ Shows/1\ -\ Playlists/

rsync --progress -a --delete /Volumes/Filestore/Common/TV\ Shows/ ~/xrayspx-fs01/Common/TV\ Shows/

exit 1
mount -t smbfs // ~/xrayspx-fs01/

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And With That


I've bought my last MacBook

Who's to say this isn't /only/ on the Macbook product, and that the Macbook Pro might not have the stupid thing? Either way though this is bush league.


xrayspx's picture

Why use any specific OS?


I was reading this Slashdot post about "why use linux" and pointing out all the good things we have.

But really the question applies to pretty much any OS now. A huge percentage of users could be told "you're using X at work" (well, not X, like a variable, $X) and they'd adapt, begin to prefer whatever OS, and buy it for their home computers. [I'm sure Linux would accelerate /fast/ in the case that a couple of major companies start deploying to the desktop (this is gonna be the year...).]


I own 3 Macs, but I'm as or more at home in Linux on the desktop (I didn't "switch" from Windows, I switched from Linux, by accident, and I stand by those words today). I only really use Free Software, even on the Macs, save for a couple of things to be addressed below... When I set up a Mac, the stuff I always set up is:

OwnCloud sync client

And that's about it, and you can run 37% of that functionality on any platform, subbing Pidgin and excluding a decent shell on some platforms (Cygwin doesn't count), which is weighted at 62% of the total functionality of any computer I use.

I use iTunes, Mail.App, and Photos, (which is loathsome), as well as calendaring and contacts, so not all Free Software, but I guess I use "Apple Software and Free Software" when on the Mac, but that's mainly because of aesthetics, not any functional advantage they may or may not have over Free alternatives. Mail.app looks nice, iTunes looks nice, it's nearly impossible to run Amarok on OSX, at least the last time I tried, they integrate well with their OS, etc. However we must be able to run things like Adobe software, and OmniGraffle. I'd hate my job without OmniGraffle.


On Linux, I can do a handful of small things I can't do on OSX, and the same thing the other way 'round. But I set everything up exactly the same. I prefer the OSX Keychain Encrypted Notes function over my GPG encrypted files, but just because it's smoother. OSX has improved in handling multiple monitors over the past few years, and KDE, and X in general, has gotten much worse at it. I like to have multiple screens, with multiple virtual desktops, and when I change virtual desktops, I want only that physical screen space to change. So I have Enlightenment. Easy (enough) and gorgeous, and all kinds of customizable.

Other things are a massive pain, Juniper SSL VPN with a requirement for 32-bit Java and Firefox. Come on everyone... But it works, and I use it day to day. It just took a month to get the machine set up the way I like, and it takes some upkeep when some package gets updated that breaks that arrangement. But it's never been a showstopper, because I'm a professional.

However, even for any non-professional, there are major cases for Linux:

Linux runs my home theatre, which boots to Kodi so I can stream TV and movies from our collection of ripped DVDs, watch online streams from the major networks, PBS, Archive, etc*. Chrome so we can watch local news, use Amazon and Hulu and stuff, and browse seamlessly through emulators for any game I care to play through N64/PS1 era. All controlled by the TV Remote (within Kodi) or any Android tablet or no-provider obsolete shitphone (With KDE Connect, Yay for KDE Connect!). Haven't touched the wireless keyboard in at least a month.

This is all doable on a $35 Raspberry Pi 3 right now. I know that part because of the video game cabinet which is on the horizon and which does exactly all this stuff, including Wipeout XL PS1 Games. I'm sure we will be doing build blogs on that.


So what about Windows? Not for my specific use cases, but why should anyone care who isn't old and curmudgeonly? I carry grudges maintain baggage from 20 years ago.

I hear there's transparency now kind of, and virtual desktops are finally a thing baked into the OS, but every time I log into my Windows 10 VM at work, I am infuriated by it, so why should I bother? Windows can suck it. That's all I know. I'm happy enough to do server admin of Windows servers, I don't much care either way whether I'm adminning Windows or Linux at the end of the day.

Desktop OS? No dice. How times change.

* Side Note: Please do not buy one of those "pre-built pirate box" Pi's with Kodi and a bunch of janky, buggy, potentially insecure plugins pre-installed. Kodi has very strong feelings about that, and I agree with them on the point that regular people who think this is going to be better than an Amazon Fire stick with Free TV streaming are going to:

A) Be disappointed
B) Bring awful attention to a fantastic project by unfairly associating them with and implying their endorsement of piracy and copyright infringement.
C) Could be setting themselves up to get owned by pre-installed botnets or whatever other backdoor/sniffer/malware nightmare scenario, I can't even imagine buying one of these...

People are of course going to download and use those plugins, but should know what they're doing, not blame Kodi for any fallout, and most importantly should not give money to thieves and scam artists, because that's dumb.

xrayspx's picture

Simple location aware ssh tunneling for Chrome (Mac)


Hall and Oates - Private Eyes (Seriously, it just came on randomly)
and really, just as I finished formatting the stupid script, Big Brother from Humanwine was playing.

This is both a nice toy to have in a Big Brother Is Watching sense, and a glaring example of why one should never log in and use a Mac (or any other system obviously) as an Administrator. Just have a Regular Guy account, and escalate to Administrator/Root when needed. For example, this tool could be inserted by a script to cause all your browsing traffic to route through a proxy server of an attackers choosing. If you're not running as an Administrator, you can't write the file without escalating. (Example of the risk, though it wouldn't help here, since there is LCE to root...goddammit Apple...)

I had a use case recently where I wanted to have multiple copies of Chromium start in different profiles and with different proxy settings. I'm getting to the point at which I don't think that's really feasible, in that any new instance will assume the proxy settings of any already running instance.

BUT, I did get some cool location aware-ish proxying set up. Since one use case involves laptops, I'd like to see it use a local proxy when I'm home, and a remote proxy when I'm not at home (hosted VPS for instance).

I'm using ssh to set up a SOCKS5 proxy, and push all traffic including DNS through the tunnel, ssh'ing to different hosts based on different local system IPs. I have it checking en0 and en1 and if their IPs match my home subnet, it ssh's to a local system, if they are anything else, it will run against a publicly hosted system to which I can ssh.

Next step is to clean up after itself, so when you run Chromium (or Chrome), it will detect IPs, ssh to the appropriate host, and connect using that tunnel. When Chromium closes, it cleans up the SSH session so it's not just hanging around.

To use - Have a local and remote host you can ssh to using keys, and which allow you to forward. On the Mac, navigate to /Applications/Chromium.app/Contents/MacOS/. Rename Chromium to Chromium-bin. Drop this script in, chmod appropriately, and name it Chromium. Now when the Chromium app is run, it runs our script to set up proxies and launch the browser:

#! /bin/bash

ip0=`ifconfig en0 | grep -v inet6 | grep inet | awk '{print $2}' | awk -F "." '{print $1"."$2"."$3}'`
ip1=`ifconfig en1 | grep -v inet6 | grep inet | awk '{print $2}' | awk -F "." '{print $1"."$2"."$3}'`

if [ -z "$ip0"  ]
   if [ "$ip1" = "192.168.30" ]
       ssh -C2qTnN -D 8181 username@ &

       proxypid=`jobs -p`
       /Applications/Chromium.app/Contents/MacOS/Chromium-bin --proxy-server="socks5://" --host-resolver-rules="MAP * ~NOTFOUND, EXCLUDE" --profile-directory=Tunnl 2>&1 /dev/null

       kill $proxypid


        ssh -C2qTnN -D 8181 username@publichost.com &

        proxypid=`jobs -p`
        /Applications/Chromium.app/Contents/MacOS/Chromium-bin --proxy-server="socks5://" --host-resolver-rules="MAP * ~NOTFOUND, EXCLUDE" --profile-directory=Tunnl 2>&1 /dev/null

        kill $proxypid


  elif [ "$ip0" = "192.168.30" ]
      ssh -C2qTnN -D 8181 username@ &

      proxypid=`jobs -p`
      /Applications/Chromium.app/Contents/MacOS/Chromium-bin --proxy-server="socks5://" --host-resolver-rules="MAP * ~NOTFOUND, EXCLUDE" --profile-directory=Tunnl 2>&1 /dev/null

      kill $proxypid


      ssh -C2qTnN -D 8181 username@publichost.com &

      proxypid=`jobs -p`
      /Applications/Chromium.app/Contents/MacOS/Chromium-bin --proxy-server="socks5://" --host-resolver-rules="MAP * ~NOTFOUND, EXCLUDE" --profile-directory=Tunnl 2>&1 /dev/null

      kill $proxypid


xrayspx's picture

They Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore


Thu, 08/01/2013 - 7:33pm - It's the last of the big V8 Interceptors. csFlickr

Last of the big V8 Interceptors. I had to grab a new Pro before they decided only to sell those insane coffee magnets with no internal drive bays. Last one lasted 7 good years, here's to another computer in 2020.

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Never Offer Me Platform Advice


Throwing Muses - Cry Baby Cry

I am in the market for a new computer. Apple has left me seriously disappointed with the new Mac Pro, what with its inability to hold many 3.5" SATA drives, and has driven me to the iMac after all this time. Internal storage and the fact that the iMacs of the time (2006) sucked was the main driver for me getting the Pro I have now in the first place. However, time marches on, I have a 32-bit EFI and can't upgrade past Lion, and the install is getting kind of crufty, and so I end up having to bounce the machine every so often, which sucks.

So the new Pro is out, might as well go with a maxed out iMac. I had two questions:

  • Am I going to see much difference between the i5 and i7?
  • Do I care about 2GB of video memory vs. 1GB
  • I asked a friend about the CPU thing. His response was "HP will sell you a way better machine for half the price anyway". Was that what I asked? Do I give a fuck what HP sells? Have I not already proven this to be false when I bought this Pro in the first place?

    If I roll up in a BMW 535i, is your first reaction going to be "You could have bought a v6 Nissan Altima for half the price and only lost 30hp". No.

    I have very specific needs, which Apple meets much better than Microsoft + HP (or whoever), my reasons are not "Because it looks cool" or "Because I am a hipster".

    My reasons are:

    • I am not an Apple fanboy. I am a Unix fanboy
      • Use Cygwin, it's just as good
        • No fuck YOU, I don't like rewriting every goddamn little bash script every time I deploy to a different platform, the differences in output between GNU and BSD toolchains are annoying enough, I don't want to deal with MS tools on top of that.
    • Don't like Windows? Use Linux!
      • If Linux was a serious option, I wouldn't be ditching a perfectly good 4 core 2.66Ghz machine with 16 GB of memory just to get an iMac. Photoshop does not run on Linux. Illustrator does not run on Linux. I run many things on Linux, my wife's primary home machine is not going to be one of them.
    • Well dual boot Linux with Windows!!!
      • Explain that to my wife, and explain to her how her workflow must change because we're using Windows now because we're cheap.
      • Why should I reboot my machine, ever?
      • What if I want to quickly get a unix environment outside my work environment for testing, should I remote reboot into Linux? Manually change boot menu options before rebooting? Sounds like a waste of time.
    • But GAMES!
      • But I don't care about games. Anything I want to play I can either play on my HTPC or in a Windows VM on the Mac.

    ...And on, and on and on I could go.

    Fixed Tags:
    xrayspx's picture

    Use The Force

    Fixed Tags:

    Some time ago, I set "3 finger drag" on my mouse to "Lock my machine". That worked about 50% of the time first try. The rest of the time it would take me to my dashboard, change virtual desktops, or go back in my browser history.

    The correct way, as in all things, is to use The Force.


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