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My posts about programming and things.
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Micro USB Digispark Pro issues and how I solved them

26/4/2016

EDIT: It seems communication via USB is possible via this library. I am as happy as ever!
EDIT: I shorted the board and it is dead, I give up on electronics.

Today I received a recent, off-the-whim Ebay purchase - a Digispark Pro microprocessor. The product was cheap and to be honest I kind of expected it to be a fake/remake (and to be honest I can't tell if it is). The one I purchased can be found here.
Like with everything in life I did zero research and happily accepted what the listing described to me - what a stupid mistake. I won't go into why it isn't what I expected, however, I can happily say THIS BOARD DOES NOT SUPPORT SERIAL COMMUNICATION! Be warned, don't learn the hard way and waste five dollars. (I bought this product for serial communication in a project, that to me is hilarious)
For once, however this post isn't about bitching, instead, it is how I managed to get code uploaded to this board via the Arduino IDE on a Linux system.
I am running a 64bit Arch Linux installation - this shouldn't really matter, however. If your problem is with Windows, I can't help you.

The first issue I encountered and the solution I found:
I can't find the board in the serial port list and dmesg gives me an output simmilar to this:
[369166.755711] usb 2-1.8: device not accepting address 87, error -32
[369166.755890] usb 2-1-port8: unable to enumerate USB device

When I encountered this error I had tried many things including changing USB port, micro USB cable and using another Linux system the result however, on each attempt was the same. It just didn't seem like it was working.
Now, the answer to this is not simple, and I won't be explaining it, but let it be known, this device does not appear as a standard ttyUSB device when in use. So, how do you upload code? Well, for five seconds upon initial USB connection your computer and thus the program used to upload code (more on this soon) can communicate with the board for a short ammount of time. I have found supposed libraries that allow you to communicate with the board via serial during use, however I have not tested nor used them and can't give an opinion on the subject. (see this for more information)
So, how do I fix the errors? You don't, I guess, it is supposed to do that, and even now, once I managed to get code running on the boad, the same errors occur. (probably due to this board not being meant to be connected via USB for anything more than code upload)

Great, we now know that we are not meant to see this board in our serial list and that dmesg errors are normal, but how do I upload code to the board?
Be warned, the fun starts now and I suggest you have some command line knowledge before continuing.
Now, the first thing that needs to be done is to set your Arduino IDE up to use the Digistump package that includes the piece of software that is the centre of this post, micronucleus.
You must at this point follow the tutorial here in its entirety!
If, after you follow the tutorial linked above you are able to upload code to your board without a hitch, great! You don't need to read on, go enjoy your new microprocessor.
however, if at this point the Arduino IDE spits out the following:
Warning: device with unknown new version of Micronucleus detected.
This tool doesn't know how to upload to this new device. Updates may be available.
Device reports version as: 2.2

You have a little work to do yet! But don't fret, the solution is simple.
It seems the version of the Micronucleus bootloader on Digispark boards (in my case at least) is newer than what comes with the Arduino software you installed earlier in this tutorial. To fix this issue, we just need to replace it with a newer version!
I'm going to go through the steps assuming you know what the commands do, if not, why are you playing with a microcontrller on Linux anyway?
First, we will make a directory in which we will install and compile the newer version of Micronucleus.
mkdir ~/compiled
mkdir ~/compiled/micronucleus

Next we will clone the Github repository of the project. I assume you have Git installed, if not, Google is your friend.
cd ~/compiled/micronucleus
git clone https://github.com/micronucleus/micronucleus/
Next we will compile the code into a binary that will replace the version in use now. I also assume you have development libraries installed.
cd ~/compiled/micronucleus/micronucleus-master/commandline/ make
Now the new version of Micronucleus is compiled and ready to be switched with the current version in use by the Arduino IDE. (your directory structure may differ sightly)
#backup the old micronucleus binary just in case we need it later
mv ~/.arduino15/packages/digistump/tools/micronucleus/2.0a4/micronucleus ~/.arduino15/packages/digistump/tools/micronucleus/2.0a4/micronucleus_old
#copy our new compiled binary to replace the one we just backed up
cp ~/compiled/micronucleus/micronucleus-master/commandline/micronucleus ~/.arduino15/packages/digistump/tools/micronucleus/2.0a4/micronucleus
Now that an up to date version of Micronucleus is installed you should now be able to upload code to your Digispark microcontroller - well, I could at least!
At this point I shall also warn you that I only managed to get Micronucleus running correctly if I opened the Arduino IDE as root, now, I suspect there is a solution for that out there, but I am yet to come accross it.
My experience using the Digispark pro microcontroller spans over a few hours as I received the product earlier today, but I have learnt a lot, and can hopefully help someone else one day.


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How I use my new blogging system

11/4/2016

As pointed out in an earlier blog post I have recently transitioned from the blogging package known as WordPress to my own system that I feel is nicer to use and has little to no exploitable features.
I'd like to point out a few things - how I create a new blog post, how I display then on my page and how my site is setup.

Creating a new blog post

Creating a new post is easy due to how modular my system is - I will go into further detail of this modularity a little later. I create each and every blog post in its own php file in pure HTML (you can find them all here). I create and edit each blog post through an SSH connection using vim, I begin by copying the template.file into post_number.php and edit that file accordingly. This template has a basic blog post outline inside it and an example of how I should insert pictures into my media/posts with 404 fallbacks. Of course, having blogs be pure php files I can easily screw everything on my page up, and if a malicious blog post is written, do nasty things to my server. But with such risks comes the ease of backing up my media/posts and transfering them between servers.

Displaying the media/posts on my blog page

The system I use for displaying my blog media/posts may not be very safe or light but my god does it make things easy. I begin by getting a count of all files inside the 'media/posts' directory that end in .php, this is NOT safe AT ALL, but I don't plan on putting anything in this directory other than media/posts. I then use a for loop to count down to 1 from the number of php file we collected before, using this decrementing number I use the php include funtion to paste the contents of that particular file into my blog. Pretty simple, yet effective.
Here is an outline of the code that does this.
 
$total = count(glob("*.php", GLOB_BRACE));
for ($total; $total >= 1; $total--)
{
	include('' . $total . '.php');
}
 

How my website is setup

Moving from WordPress to my own setup allowed me to do things how I wanted - I prefer simple things, a simple website with a minimalistic design, and that is what I did.

Directory structures

Inside my www root I have 3 directories of interest: blog, includes and css. They each contain exactly what is stated - the blog directory holds my blog and its files, the includes directory contains files that I use regularly for web-design (more on this later) and the css directory contains all my css source files.
Inside my blog directory I have one other directory of interest: media/posts, which contains all of my blog media/posts and a single subdirectory named media, which, you guessed it, contains the media used inside my blog media/posts.

Files of interest and what they are used for

Generally, I have only two files of interest that may be of interest to you, one being the side navigation bar and my css source file.
Located at /includes/navbar.php is thenavigation bar you see to your left when using my site. It is a single php file that is included when and where I need it. It derives its layout from the style.css file.
Located at /css/style.css is my css source file that dictates the look and feel of my website and blog; it is pretty simple but works great.
All files I need are referenced locally (for example ../../includes/navbar.php).
For the hell of it, here is a picture of this blog upon completion inside my vim editor. It may look like jargon to you, but it looks like a blog post to me. pssst, you can click on the image to get a larger view.
post28_1

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New server, now running my own e-mail server

8/4/2016

The world still exists, amazing.
have spent the last two days setting up and configuring a new server that will, in-time replace the one I was once using for everything.
Things setup:

Things that still need to be done: This is my first time configuring and administering an e-mail server and it has gone amazingly well so far.
I do need help however.
I need to know what e-mail hosting websites/services tag my email as spam/junk, it'd be great if you could send me an email at admin@danieljon.es naming the service you are using, i'll then reply and get you to tell me if it was junked or set as spam!
Services known to mark my e-mail as spam/junk: Services known to NOT mark my e-mail as spam/junk: Much appreciated.

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Rid myself of WordPress

31/3/2016

Over the past few days I have been converting my WordPress blog media/posts and have integrated them into my own blog-like page.
WordPress is scary with all of its vulnerabilities, at least I now have security through obscurity!


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My Arch Linux system - software I use daily and how I do what I do

12/3/2016

As a computer enthusiast I am quite surprised I haven't gone into detail about how I use my system and the hardware I run - so, lets do it.
A good start would of course be my physical hardware, I'm curently running:
- i7 3770k stock
- 16GB Hyper-X blu ddr3 memory
- Nvidia GTX 660Ti
- 128 GB main bootdrive SSD
- 2TB data storage HDD
- 1TB local backup HDD
- 2* Acer V243HQ monitors
- Razer Deathstalker keyboard
- Logitech G502 gaming mouse
- Logitech G230 headset
and, like any good *nix guy, a screenfetch (you can click on an image for a bigger view):
post25_1
Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, lets get into the juicy software I use daily and the things I use them for!
[Operating System & Window Manager]
Arch Linux - Ah yes, good old Arch, I wont bother going into details, but it is what all the cool kids use ;)
i3 - This is a tiling window manager, of which I have covered before.
[Media & Media Management]
mplayer - this is a lightweight media player I use to watch .. things I have downloaded locally.
cmus - this is a terminal based msuic player that has one job, and does it exceedingly well, it plays my music! cmus has a nice commandline program that allows one to pause/play etc, this makes it easy to integrate into my key inputs such as my pause/play button etc
ranger - this is a terminal based file manager, I use it souley for selecting videos to play with mplayer, I do my general file management through the terminal.
[Entertainment]
ssh - Ah, good old ssh, I use this protocol to connect to my various servers and *nix boxes for remote server management, I, and many other people would be clueless as to what to do without ssh.
irssi - this is an Internet Relay Chat aka life client that I use over an ssh connection, I chat with many people around the world, I mainly hangout in programming/computer related channels, I also run my own IRC server, you can catch me over at irc.danieljon.es in #fun, identify yourself though, I remove anyone I don't know fast.
[Internet Browsing]
conkeror - this is an internet browser that is based upon FireFox and has the mind of a programmer - being lazy. It was created to be used without a mouse and has emacs-style key shortcuts, it has a large learning curve, but is very, very useful once you master it.
FireFox - this bastard program opens up when I open a link in irc because I'm too lazy to change the default program.
[Production]
lxterminal - this is a terminal emulator that I have recently decided to use, I was at one point using konsole, but its memory usage was just too high. This program is used to do many things: cmus, ranger, ssh, irssi, file management etc
vim - the enemy of emacs, this is an extremly powerful, terminal based text editor that I use for everything from writing notes, editing configuration files to programming in various languages - yes, I use vim instead of an actual IDE for programming, it just feels more comfortable to me.
[Local Media Server]
motion - I use motion on my media server to record via a camera mounted on my roof, it points towards our driveway, it is a good way to both know when people are coming/leaving and recording any no-gooders that may be in my area. I have it setup to take pictures when it detects motion - if I ever die bloody, check my media server for evidence!
apache2 - this is webserver software, I run it to provide me with an easy way to access my cameras stream.
tvheadend - this is DVR software, I use it to stream tv signals through my local network - although I don't really use it anymore.
If I have missed anything, I'll add to the list at a later date.
Resource usage:
I certainly am not lacking in resources, I generally keep my ram usage under 1gb, yes, I know, I have 16, I just like small numbers.
post25_2
post25_3
I love my setup and computer, I'd go ahead and provide some nice fancy images of both my setup and current desktop, but, I'm lazy.


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All domains (that serve content) on my server now use SSL

2/3/2016

Thanks to LetsEncrypt all domains running on this server now enforce SSL.
Domains affected:
danieljon.es
xmx.fyi
dummiesman.com
tankfootball.com
This literally does nothing more for myself, or you than provide a fancy green lock in your browser, well, it does encrypt all your traffic, but we don't exactly provide services to many people.
post24_1


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SSH isn't playing ball nicely ... I just want to do [il]legal things.

18/2/2016

Recently we have switched ISPs, and with that came a monthly data allowance skyrocketing that of the measly 300GB we had previously.
There is no way of putting it nicely, I want to do illegal things and I do not want to be caught doing them, thus, I am suddenly in need of a way of protecting myself online, a VPN, and it just so happens that I have one floating around in use by a close few.
It was about damn time I used something I'm paying for.
Blah blah blah, an OpenVPN install and configuration later I was ready to connect to the service and begin muh illegalz.
I live my life through IRC. I'm on it all day every day, only missing a single line of text when i'm sleeping and I do this all through IRSSI running on my server. I connect to this server via the SSH protocol and thus, if SSH were to suddenly stop working, I would literally be clueless as to what to do.
I'm using IRSSI for IRC, I can't go back to a scrub X application, ew.
But, what do you know, SSH simply does not work through my VPN... or so I thought.
I was experiencing an issue initiating an initial connection to my server, when run in verbose mode the following line is where it hung everytime:
debug1: expecting SSH2_MSG_KEX_ECDH_REPLY
Quick I thought, time to put my uber leet Linux skills to use, lets go to Google!
I quickly came across this bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/openssh/+bug/1254085
Interesting I thought; apparently other SSH clients can initiate a connection and work correctly!
So I went ahead and installed PuTTY (a GUI SSH client), and what do you know, I was able to connect without a single hitch!
So, it was at this point I knew it was specifically an OpenSSH client issue. Great, perfect, amazing.
It has been suggested to change MTU values on eth0 .. now i've tried this, however it just isn't working.
And that is that - even now, I cannot SSH into my server while using my VPN.
I bet you expected a happy ending, nope. I'm going to bed and just might cry.


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Conkeror, Ranger and Cmus

11/2/2016

Chrome and VLC - the utter basics for any respectable computer owner. Both applicatons are cross-platform and run beautifully on Linux - great.
However, something all versions share is an extremely heavy footprint, RAM wise.
I had decided to stop using them.
Now with both of these applications gone I was then free to use my own alternatives - the choices were plentiful, but I settled on two applications. Conkeror and Cmus.
If you know me I like to make things difficult real difficult. I insisted I find myself a CLI (terminal based, no graphics etc) file browser and music player - as well as a really, really complicated web browser. And oh boy did I find them all.
Conkeror: Ah, the internet we all know, just in a really, really, really hard to learn manner! Conkeror is a purely keyboard driven web browser. Which means one thing, a mouse is no longer needed! Everything is driven with complicated fancy key combinations, you aren't interested, but if you are, you should totally check it out.
Ranger: Ranger is a purely CLI based file manager. It does exactly what "explorer" does in windows, except it is inside a terminal window. Simple!
The Ranger file manager:
post22_1
Cmus: Cmus is, once again, a purely CLI application that has one job - play music! It accomplishes this by having its own in-buit file manager purely for music. You are able to save file locations etc. And it works great!
Cmus:
post22_2
There is nothing more fun than learning new, difficult programs.


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http://xmx.fyi/ our new image uploading service

4/2/2016

We're now up and running with a new, fully custom created (using PHP and MySQL) image uploader.
We currently have a register/login system running with image uploading. We're working on getting an image manager setup. Good times ahead, thanks Dummiesman!


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Premature i3 window manager review

25/1/2016

It hasn't quite been a week, and I don't quite yet have it set-up exactly how I want it - but my god is it great.
First, you should know I'm fairly new to Linux, and am a complete noob.
I'm going to chop this little review up into multiple parts, ranging from the install and it's ease of use to the configuration and set-up of i3 add-ons.
But first, let me actually explain to you what the i3 window manager is.
A window manager is a piece (or collection) of software that has one job: control the border, appearance, location and maintenance of windows on the users desktop. This software also controls the functions you can use to resize, move and sometimes dock/stack windows. You use a Window manager every day. Windows has one, Apple systems too! You can learn more about a window manager here.
Before I began my journey into learning i3 I was using the default KDE window manager, kwin. And it was great.
Kwin was beautiful, and in-fact my first ever window manager. So why, one would ask would I want to switch from something I know so well, and is so familiar to that of a Windows system? Well, you literally just answered your own question, is what I would respond. I wanted something different, I was sick of having a computer look like almost every other personal computer out there - a task bar, icons, a start menu etc. I wanted to be a hipster - even more than I am now.
I'd love to stop right here and say that is the only thing that influenced my decision, but it wasn't.
I'm also lazy. I hate having to pick-up my arm and grab onto my mouse when doing something terminal based, such as programming. I wanted something that would give me full control of my windows and workspaces, I needed something for the elite, I needed a tiling window manager.
I began researching many tiling window managers, and I kept coming to a single conclusion - one that was above and beyond the rest. And so came i3.
But with i3 came a learning curve - one that was quick to learn, but vastly different from any other desktop experience I have ever had. I had to re-learn the basics of a computer. With i3 there is no minimise button, there is no maximise button and there is no close button. There is no dragging windows, or resizing windows. Instead, everything is done automatically, your windows getting smaller each time you open a new one. Of-course, you can change the positions and sizes, but only (mainly) with your keyboard.
Another luxury given up by deciding to use i3 is that of a start menu. Instead, you are required to use an alternate program launcher, in my case I'm currently using dmenu.
dmenu is a small application that allows me to start any program installed on my machine. By default, the hot-key to launch dmenu is mod+d (mod in my case is the Windows key), in which I kept. You are then prompted with a small bar at the top of your screen in which you type the program you want to launch, dmenu then looks at your installed programs and provides you with the appropriate options of which you select with your arrow keys.
Here is an example of what my second monitor currently looks like. Note the evenly set out windows, the lack of title bar buttons and the status bar at the bottom.
(Click image to enlarge it)
post20_1
The installation of i3 and its recommended programs (such as dmenu) was easy, kind of.
to install i3 and dmenu I only had to run a simple apt-get command, they installed like a charm. and it was great.
I opted to not use the default status bar program that i3 comes with, named i3status, instead choosing to install i3blocks, which was a different story when it came to installing.
To keep it short, I had to download and compile the source code of i3blocks and do some magic hackery to get it to actually work, but we will talk about that later.
And so, once the installation process was complete, came the fun (yet long) process of configuration.
I'm a hipster. I dislike things default, and oh my, does that sometimes cause pain, and this time was no different.
The first thing I had to configure was easy, when I first logged into an i3 session I was asked if I wanted to create a configuration file, which I did, and was then asked to select a key that would act as the 'mod' key (mentioned earlier). My two options were the super key (Windows keys, you plebs) and the alt key. This was an obvious choice for me, my alt key is already taken by irssi my IRC client, so I selected the super key.
And so there I was, initial set-up complete, I was greeted to i3, a beautiful grey blank screen! I had never been so excited to see grey in my life. This is Linux dammit, of course the screen is blank! The first thing you are supposed to do is press mod+enter, which opens a terminal window. And so I was ready to begin. I opened a second terminal for SSH'ing into my server and launching irssi - this is literally the first step to life. I then opened my browser to the i3 user guide and began doing awesome things. Using Nano (yes Nano, vi shall be learnt one day) I opened my i3 configuration file (~/.i3/config) and began customising.
I wont bore you with all the little hot-keys and changes I made to colors etc, instead I will post the most important lines.
These lines are literal life savers. i3 doesn't handle being directly out of the box too well.
These hot keys do multiple things that are critical to me:
- control volume
- control my media player (I use VLC)
- lock my computer

 
# Pulse Audio controls
bindsym XF86AudioRaiseVolume exec amixer set Master 5%+ $
bindsym XF86AudioLowerVolume exec amixer set Master 5%- $
bindsym XF86AudioMute exec --no-startup-id pactl set-sin$

# Media player controls
bindsym XF86AudioPlay exec playerctl play
bindsym XF86AudioPause exec playerctl pause
bindsym XF86AudioNext exec playerctl next
bindsym XF86AudioPrev exec playerctl previous
#lock screen
bindsym $mod+l exec ~/lock.sh
 
By the way, lock.sh uses a program called i3lock, which is an optional i3 package, it simply locks my computer, privacy is key.
Configuring i3 was easy, as well as i3blocks. Again, I wont bore you with details.
Here is a video I watched and borrowed some tips from.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARKIwOlazKI
I'm currently three days into using i3 and to put it simply, I'm loving it. I expected a learning curve far beyond what I was welcomed with, instead really, all I needed to learn was a few hot-keys and short-cuts.
I'm still tweaking things here and there, slowly improving my experience, learning new things and just having fun.
If you're interested in using i3 and need some help, ask me or the guys over at the subreddit.
Here's to more future media/posts about i3 and elitism.

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