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Register.com is giving away free domain names

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Want a free domain name for a year?  Head over to the link below.  Register.com is apparently giving away free domain registrations for the first year.   Domains are only around $7-9/yr anyway, but if you want to save a few bucks..

I don’t think it’s required to stay with them after a year, but I haven’t looked into it either.

“For a limited time, you can register a new domain name for your small business

and get it FREE for the first year with no further obligation (a $35 value).”

Register.com, Inc..

posted by johntash at 12:31 am  

Free Newsdemon accounts

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I’ve been using Giganews as my usenet provider for almost a year now.   With 20 SSL-Encrypted connections that max out my bandwidth, 200+ days binary retention, and unlimited downloads; it’s pretty hard to find a good alternative.   The only downside is $30 a month.

Newsdemon.com is offering a one-month free account if you write about their service.  Their “Unlimited Plus” plan that I’m interested in is only $23 a month.   $7 cheaper than what I’ve been paying.   The main difference is 110days binary retention.  I don’t think the extra 90 days are too important to me.

The Unlimited Plus plan offers

  • 20 SSL-Encrypted connections
  • US and Euro high-speed servers
  • 110+ days binary retention with 99.9% completion rate
  • Free NewsRover newsreader software (I’ve never heard of it, but am willing to try it)
  • Uncensored, Unmonitored downloads
  • 24/7 tech support

PayPal is even an accepted form of payment  if you’re a little weary about giving out credit card information.

I plan to try this for one month (free, if they let me) and then possibly,if I like it, get the 6month unlimited plan that offers a 15% discount when you pay in advance.

Until then, I can’t comment much on their service since I haven’t given it a try yet.  Once I do, I’ll definitely post a review on the experience.

posted by johntash at 3:49 pm  

Cold Boot Beats Your Disk Encryption

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do you use Microsoft Window’s Bitlocker?   TrueCrypt?  DMCrypt?  Or whatever the hell Apple calls their disk encryption?

If you do.  Here’s something for you to think about.   That encryption key is more vulnerable than you probably realize.  It’s always going to be sitting somewhere in your ram while you’re logged onto your system.  If you put your machine to sleep, it’s going to be there.   Even if you completely power off your laptop/computer, it will still be sitting in that ram chip for at least a little while.

This video demonstrates an attack against Bitlocker:

Want to feel safe again?

  • Always shutdown your computer.  Not sleep,hibernate, or any other lowpower state.
  • Find a program to scramble your ram on shutdown.
  • Don’t use liquid nitrogen to cool your ram.
  • Reevaluate your encryption needs, because most likely you don’t need to encrypt the WHOLE disk.  If you’re using linux; look into setting up encryption per user per their home folder.

posted by johntash at 6:47 pm  

Installing MythTV from SVN on Ubuntu

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This is part one of a series about MythTV and using Ubuntu as a HTPC.  In this article we’ll explain the easiest (or hardest, to some people) step of the process of installing MythTV on Ubuntu Gutsy.

We’ll be installing MythTV using the svn source, which is the latest bleed-edge version of the source code.  There is a chance that the SVN version of MythTV may not be stable. Be Careful!

Lets start by downloading the source code:

  1. Install subversion
  2. sudo aptitude install subversion

  3. Checkout the mythv* trees
  4. cd ~
    mkdir src
    cd src
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/mythtv
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/mythplugins
    svn co http://svn.mythtv.org/svn/trunk/myththemes

Install the extra libraries and tools we need

sudo apt-get install checkinstall fakeroot debhelper libglut3-dev libxvmc-dev libmysqlclient15-dev libtiff4-dev libexif-dev libmad0-dev libid3tag0-dev libvorbis-dev libflac-dev libcdaudio-dev libcdparanoia0-dev fftw3-dev libfaad2-dev libsmpeg-dev libmp4v2-dev libtag1-dev
#we also need this header file for MythMusic
sudo wget http://faac.cvs.sourceforge.net/*checkout*/faac/faad2/common/mp4ff/mp4ff_int_types.h -P /usr/local/include

If you get any errors from the above two commands; leave a comment here and I’ll try to see if I’ve left something out.

Before we actually compile and install the svn version of MythTV; Remove the previous installation(if there is one)

aptitude remove ubuntu-mythtv-frontend mythtv-transcode-utils mythtv-common mythtv-frontend mythtv-themes mythtv-backend mythtv mythtv-frontend mythtv-database mythtv-backend-master

Change remove to purge if you want to delete the configuration files as well, not just upgrade.

Configure the Source

./configure --prefix=/usr
cd ../mythplugins
./configure --prefix=/usr
cd ../myththemes
./configure --prefix=/usr

Compiling the Source

Letting make run it’s course is the most time consuming part of the process, so if you have something else to do while it’s compiling. Go do it.

cd mythtv
make -j2
cd ../mythplugins
make -j2


Simply run checkinstall and answer a few questions

cd ~/src/mythtv; sudo checkinstall

When it promts you, simply enter Mythtv or whatever you want for the description. The package name should automatically be mythtv. By using checkinstall we are still using Ubuntu/debian’s package system to install Mythtv and everything will be a lot easier to uninstall or upgrade in the future.
IMPORTANT: Change the version field to something like 20071226 (todays date) so that we don’t get an error building the package.(see screenshot below)
Checkinstall version setting

If everything went well you should get something similiar to this:


Done. The new package has been installed and saved to


You can remove it from your system anytime using:

dpkg -r mythtv


Do the same thing for mythplugins

cd ~/src/mythplugins
sudo checkinstall


Alright so now you want to upgrade to the latest and greatest again. Here’s how:

  1. Update the source
  2. cd ~
    cd src/mythtv
    svn update
    cd ../mythplugins
    svn update
    cd ../myththemes
    svn update

  3. Configure
  4. cd ~/src/mythtv
    ./configure --prefix=/usr
    cd ../mythplugins
    ./configure --prefix=/usr
    cd ../myththemes
    ./configure --prefix=/usr

  5. Install
  6. cd ~/src/mythtv; sudo checkinstall
    cd ~/src/mythplugins; sudo checkinstall
    cd ~/src/mythplugins; sudo checkinstall

    Only this time when you run checkinstall; increment the Release field. So if it’s 1 now, change it to 2. dpkg will upgrade it to this new package.

Conclusion / Possible Problems

If you already know how to configure and setup mythtv, you should be good to go on your own now (with the latest bleeding-edge features.)

Stay tuned for Part II in the series, but until then if you encounter any problems following this how-to guide; Please post a comment or send me an email with the issue you’re having.  We’ll get it resolved!



posted by johntash at 5:55 am  

Ubuntu: hellanzb for easy downloading from newsgroups

Saturday, December 1, 2007


This guide is written for Ubuntu or any debian-based distro of Linux; Mainly because I’m lazy and decided to use apt-get.
I’m also not going to explain newsgroups or .nzb files in general right now. I might write a follow-up for that later. I do however recommend the use of Giganews.

  • One: I get a small discount if you use my referral to sign up.
  • Two: It’s only $20 for the first month with unlimited download, 20 connections, and SSL.
  • Three: It’s the best usenet provider I’ve found so far and is able to max out my connection. Way faster than BitTorrent.

Update:   Astraweb is offering a special.    $11/mo for the life of your account.   I’ve been using them for several months with no complaints.    If you’re looking for the best deal, you may want to try Astraweb.

Hellanzb preview 1

What is HellaNZB?

Here’s a description straight from their website:

hellanzb is a Python application designed for *nix environments that retrieves nzb files and fully processes them. The goal being to make getting files from Usenet (e.g.: Giganews Newsgroups) as hands-free as possible. Once fully installed, all thats required is moving an nzb file to the queue directory. The rest; fetching, par-checking, un-raring, etc. is taken care of by hellanzb.

Installation of HellaNZB

  1. Open a terminal or connect to your server using SSH.
  2. Use apt-get to install the prereqs :
    sudo apt-get install rar unrar par2 python-dev python-twisted python-pyopenssl wget tar screen
  3. Download hellanzb and extract it. (Check the website to get the latest version)
    cd ~ ;
    wget http://www.hellanzb.com/distfiles/hellanzb-0.13.tar.gz ;
    tar xvf hellanzb*tar.gz ;
    cd hellanzb-0.13
  4. Install it (requires root access)
    sudo python setup.py install
  5. Copy the configuration file
    sudo cp /usr/etc/hellanzb.conf.sample /usr/etc/hellanzb.conf
  6. Edit the configuration file (replace vim with editor of choice)
    sudo vim /usr/etc/hellanzb.conf

    1. Make sure you configure the server information in the .conf file.  It’s pretty self explanatory and gives examples.
    2. If you’re planning to use SSL; make sure you enable the SSL option and change the port from 119 to 443.
    3. Set the PREFIX dir to something like /home/username/ or /mnt/storage/hellanzb/
  7. That’s it.  You can download a .nzb file and put it in PREFIX_DIR/nzb/daemon.queue/ and if hellanzb is running, it will automatically start processing the .nzb file and then download its contents.   Start hellanzb like this:
  8. Once it finishes downloading a file.  It’ll check to make sure it’s all there and repair it using PAR if it needs to, then unrar it and copy the extracted content to PREFIX_DIR/usenet. It’ll also delete the .rar and .par files once it’s done with them.

Make Hellanzb startup on boot as an init script

I found this init.d script on the ubuntu forums that basically starts hellanzb in a screen session at boot.

  1. Download my slightly modified init.d script
    wget https://www.thesh17.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/hellanzb ;
  2. Copy and chmod the script
    sudo cp hellanzb /etc/init.d/hellanzb
    sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/hellanzb
  3. Set it to run on boot
    sudo update-rc.d hellanzb defaults
  4. Edit the init.d script to run hellanzb as your user(IMPORTANT)
    sudo vim /etc/init.d/hellanzb

    1. Change HELLAUSER=yourusernametorunhellanzbas to reflect your username.
  5. Start hellanzb to see if it all worked
    sudo /etc/init.d/hellanzb start

Alternate Method to start on boot

If you get any errors. Just add this line inside /etc/rc.local and change $HELLAUSER to whatever your username is.

su -c '/usr/bin/screen -S hellanzb -d -m /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/hellanzb > /dev/null 2> /dev/null' $HELLAUSER

Now then.  You should be all set.  Just use SFTP or one of the web interfaces to hellanzb and download .nzb files into the queue folder.

posted by johntash at 6:49 pm  

Zune V2

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Microsoft released a press release about the Zune V2 the other day. The video above I saw on Zuneboards earlier and it reminded me about it.

A bigger harddrive is the main thing I’m excited about.   They’re releasing a 80gb version that’s a little slimmer than a v1 Zune is right now.

If you look at the feature specs, it looks like you’ll be able to synchronize wirelessly now.  Hopefully this means with a PC or through the Internet  anywhere there’s a wi-fi hotspot.  That’d be badass. 

Zuneboards posted this picture:

Zune Vs Ipod Specs

I think I’m definitely going to sell my v1 Zune and buy the new 80gig version 2 when it comes out.   I’m definitely not a fan of Microsoft or anything like that(even though I do tech support for them now) but I could at least store all of my music on that 80gb hdd unlike the 30gb one.   And I just don’t like Ipods very much.

All the new features that are part of v2 will work with v1 Zunes as well.  There’s going to be a firmware update soon to include all of those features,  including wireless sync.   So if you have a Zune already; get the firmware update, and you’ll be just as good as the v2 unless you want a bigger harddrive or slimmer looking Zune.

There’s also 4gb and 8gb flash models designed to rival the Ipod Nano basically.    They’ll have the same features as the bigger models, including all the wireless features and fm radio.

Check out the video above to see the looks of the new Zune but here’s a glimpse of the flash models.

Zune vs Ipod Nano specs

[tags]zune,zunev2,microsoft,music,video,ipod,apple,press release,october,wireless,wifi,sync,new,firmware,update,ipod killer,video,commercial,v2,v1,zuneboards[/tags]

posted by johntash at 10:50 pm  

¿uʍop ǝpısdn spɹoʍ dılɟ oʇ ʇuɐʍ

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

..and backwards.

Flip is a cool javascript tool that flips words upside down and backwards.

flip words

¡ɟlǝsɹnoʎ ʎoɾuǝ   ¿ʇɥƃıɹ ‘ooʇ uoƃɐʍpuɐq ǝɥʇ uıoɾ llǝʍ sɐ ʇɥƃıɯ ı pǝɹnƃıɟ os ‘sǝʇıs ɹǝɥʇo uo pǝʇsod ʇı ƃuıǝǝs ʇdǝʞ uǝɥʇ puɐ sıɥʇ uo pǝlqɯnʇs ı

posted by johntash at 10:10 am  
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