b l o g ( s a m m y . b a k a r )

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Over the years of owning a VPS (Virtual Private Server) I have changed from one provider to another. I’ve had my fair share of super cheap deals to mid priced vps packages. Both good and bad experiences goes without saying.

So let’s start the Digital Ocean review on a good note. Price. The vps’s or droplets as Digital Ocean calls it are reasonably priced. In fact, it’s perfect. They’ve hit the nail on the head for pricing.  Packages range from one core processor to twenty processors. Customisability is some what non-existant, to increase the droplets performance you would need to backup your droplet by creating a snapshot, and initialise a new droplet with a recent snapshot. However by doing this you would loose your ip address, I have heard that you could ask for the ip address to be relocated to the new droplet but I haven’t needed to increase the performance of the droplet just yet.

The bad points, if you require a managed server, then Digital Ocean is not for you. DO’s slogan is “Simple cloud hosting, built for developers.” Which says it all really. I’ve been in contact with support a couple of times, most of my droplets downtime was due to my own incompetence, however there was an incident in the data-centre which caused data corruption on my droplet. So I used this opportunity to move data-centres and start again. Due to this incident I have basically two support tickets that haven’t been resolved.

The first support ticket is in relation to the IP address that was issued to my droplet is still listed as level two blacklisted with apews. Support referred me to the FAQ’s on the APEWS website, which then refers me back to my provider. APEWS FAQ’s state that the provider must get in contact with them for the de-listing.

The second support ticket is to do with a new linux kernel. The community help pages state that if I need a kernel that isn’t on Digital Oceans list that I should open a ticket for them to add it to the list, after numerous messages back and forth the final message from support indicated that the kernel would be in the list within the next 24 hours. Four days have since passed and still no updates. If my business relied on email being sent to customers, getting de-listed from any email blacklist will be of high importance. The second issue with the kernel update is a potential security issue, especially any server with valuable data will be a target to any hacker out there so being up to date is critical.

So we’ve covered the good and the bad, and I feel like I have spent a lot of time explaining the bad points and haven’t really covered enough on the good points if that makes any sense? So I’m going to expand on a few other features that Digital Ocean has excelled. Digital Ocean has an awesome simplistic web design which is aesthetically pleasing. They also have a wide range of locations ready for droplets to be deployed. Pay as you go billing system. Various flavours of Linux distributions and architectures. IPv6 support for some locations and a community support with tons of helpful tutorials.

Any provider out there will have their good points and bad points, and a lot of providers out there will be as good and as bad as Digital Ocean. Let’s put it this way I have had worst and this is by far a better and reliable service than some of the providers available. Digital Ocean has space to improve on, and I hope I am still with them when they do.

My website has been hosted on droplets provided by Digital Ocean since October 2013, and has only had one serious incident resulting in my droplet being offline and data corruption. A lesson to be learnt is to keep regular backups.

 

Has this incident put me off Digital Ocean? No.

Have I lost trust in Digital Ocean? No.

Would I recommend Digital Ocean to friends or family? Possibly, depends on their needs and their capabilities.

Have I looked at other providers? yes, am always looking for better deals if it came about.

Edit: I have since moved providers after finding a better deal for not much Digital Ocean was offering.

Started playing Counter Strike Source again over the weekend. I used to play this game a lot as a teenager with the wc3 Warcraft mod enabled on a gaming community called iJ (Insane Justice) it was ran by someone called MrGravis. I’m still unsure why the community closed down. It may have been lack of funding, am not entirely sure.

However after reactivating my steam account, I can still see a few players from the community still active. I’ve installed and configured the Counter Strike Source server to run the Warcraft wc3 mod. It seems to play well, and the server has seen some active players too. Hopefully I can get some frequent players on the server.

If you have Steam and Counter-Strike Source on your account, and fancy a round or two, connect to

Counter-Strike Source server:      steam.sammybakar.com:27015

or

Check the gamer stats at:        http://steam.sammybakar.com

Here’s a demo with a few bots, the video is a little jerky, but that is probably down to the software I used to record the game-play. I’ll have to look into getting some other software to record game-play.

 

Since I moved house, I haven’t had the Raspberry PI powered up. I didn’t have a place for it with the Antenna connected to continue monitoring the airspace above me. So last night I had the idea of running webmin / virtualmin on the Pi and configure it as a backup DNS server.

There are a few other features that I have incorporated, such as using rsync to backup all my homedir’s onto the memory stick connected to the Pi.

To accomplish this setup I had used a few other reference sites:

  • Geek & Dummy for installing Webmin and Virtualmin onto the Pi.

now the install process is a little slow for the Pi, afterall it is powered by a low voltage single core processor. If you like the case it was purchased from eBay for around £2 if memory serves me right.

Good luck on your installation if you decide to try it out.

 

Raspberry Pi DNS server

Raspberry Pi DNS server

Webmin and Virtualmin control panel with bind and ssh controls

Webmin + Virtualmin control panel with bind and ssh services

 

The wife wanted to see the Lancaster fly once before they stopped, so we booked our tickets in advance for Farnborough Air show. It turns out that in 2015 the Vulcan will come to it’s end as they would have run out of hours on their last remaining engines.

All in all it was a good day, will be nice to remember them flying and soon they will join the Concorde on the ground.

We find ourselves returning to Florida every year as we love the atmosphere and friendliness of the American people. It truly is an epic time there, especially staying at the Royal Pacific Resort (Read my first and second review on TripAdvisor).

Our next planned visit will be in October – November 2014, our room, car hire and flights are booked, Universal and Islands of Adventure 14 day tickets has arrived, and I think we may visit the Wekiwa Springs for a bit of kayaking.

Photos from our trip in Twenty Thirteen.

Setting up RTL2832U R820t for Air Traffic on OS X

First download the pre-built rtl-sdr binaries

Go to http://www.hfunderground.com/wiki/RTL-SDR and follow their instructions on where to copy the files too.

Secondly we will need a decoder.

Dump1090 is the only one I could get to work. There is a ported version for OSX but I couldn’t get it to work (Something to do with BETA version).
Anyways , you can obtain Dump1090 from:

https://github.com/antirez/dump1090

On the right hand side of the website you can download the Zip file.
Once you have extracted Dump1090, open up a terminal and CD into the directory and type

make

*Please note you will need to have developers tools installed. You can get these with mac ports and xcode. http://www.macports.org/install.php

Assuming you have successfully compiled Dump1090, you can start with this command

./dump1090 –net –enable-agc –interactive
Once it starts up you can access the air traffic by pointing your web browser to
http://localhost:8080/
Here’s a preview of what you’ll get

air traffic

After our vacation *cough* in Orlando Florida we had a few nights in New York City. Luck would have it that my wife had visited New York in the past and with the help of my Tom Tom USA app on the iPhone, navigating around NYC was indeed quite easy.

Our time here was very tiring from all the walking in Universal Studios (blog post and photos coming soon) and our four year old daughter loved the city, not the mention Toys ‘R’ us in Time Square.

British Airways first Airbus A380 super jumbo landed at Cardiff Wales International for certification. ‘Echo Alpha’ made the headlines and media coverage on July 29th 2013.

so you have found yourself in a position that would like to learn how to change your mac id in osx. this procedure requires the root password, the god of all gods account. that one account to rule them all.

not sure why you would want to do this whether it’s to get free wifi from those hotels or you want to hack someones wifi by impersonating another device. anyhow this is for educational purposes only?

first you will need to find out your interface device id. usually it’s either en0, en1, wlan0. you can do this by opening a terminal session and typing

Sammys-iMac:/ $ ifconfig

you will get an output that looks like

lo0: flags=8049<UP,LOOPBACK,RUNNING,MULTICAST> mtu 16384
    options=3<RXCSUM,TXCSUM>
    inet6 ::1 prefixlen 128 
    inet 127.0.0.1 netmask 0xff000000 
    inet6 fe80::1%lo0 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x1 
    nd6 options=1<PERFORMNUD>

en0: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
    options=b<RXCSUM,TXCSUM,VLAN_HWTAGGING>
    ether c1:21:c3:03:f2:2a 
    nd6 options=1<PERFORMNUD>
    media: autoselect (none)
    status: inactive

en1: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
    ether d1:20:63:24:9f:12 
    inet 192.168.0.2 netmask 0xfffffff0 broadcast 192.168.0.15
    nd6 options=1<PERFORMNUD>
    media: autoselect
    status: active

the information that we are interested in is en1 (as this is my wifi device id) and we know this because it’s actually connected to wifi and state is active.so copy you’re mac id which is in this line

    ether d1:20:63:24:9f:12

the next thing we want to do is change our mac id using our super user account.

sudo ifconfig en1 ether c1:10:11:14:1f:11

you will be prompted to enter your root password, once you do this your mac id will have changed. to confirm type ‘ifconfig’ again.

en1: flags=8863<UP,BROADCAST,SMART,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> mtu 1500
    ether c1:10:11:14:1f:11
    inet 192.168.0.2 netmask 0xfffffff0 broadcast 192.168.0.15
    nd6 options=1<PERFORMNUD>
    media: autoselect
    status: active

and that is the end.

if end is true then return zero;