Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Recover Deleted Files

Many years ago I accidentally deleted a lot of files on a Linux ext2 partition. At the time, there were no decent data recovery tools for ext2 filesystems available. So, I put the drive in an electrostatic protective bag and stored it in a safe place. Fast forward to the present, there is still nothing for Linux as good as Ontrack's EasyRecovery Professional. However, there is The Sleuth Kit, an amazing set of file and volume system forensic analysis tools. It is the best tool for data recovery because you can non-intrusively access deleted files.

Surprisingly, there is no batch recover for deleted data.

So, I wrote recoup.pl, a perl script to recursively extract every deleted file.

Point it at a directory and it will automatically reconstruct as much as Sleuth Kit's fls and icat commands will let it.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Customize any and every webpage!

First get the GreaseMonkey Firefox extension.
Then write your own script or install some of the hundreds available at UserScripts.org.

Here are my recommendations:
User Scripts Search Sorting - With Install Rate improves the sorting on userscripts.org making it easier to find scripts. Use it to toggle between 'install rate' or 'installs'

After a secure login gmail defaults to HTTP so I got tired of manually switching it back into HTTPS. Secure-em-All automagically secures many webmail sites.

Sourceforge Direct Links saves time with direct download links from sourceforge projects. But save yourself some time and do not install either cleaner layout scripts because they no longer work.

Download Video allows you to download videos from youtube, gvideo, and myspace.

Textarea Backup w/Restore Buttons automatically backs up the text you type so you'll never accidentally loose another email. It has a restore button so it's better than the script that automatically restores text [when you do not want it to].

You'll find tons more for the sites you use and dont worry you can turn greasemonkey or any script on/off with a click of a button.

View the source before you install each script just to verify it doesnt do anything sketch and I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Google Developer Day 2007 in Beijing

here is my take on the interesting parts of Google Developer Day's English speakers at the Beijing, China session.

The Keynote speaker, Narayanan Shivakumar, Engineering Director, talked about Google's hardware, software, and basically described the building blocks they've developed for all their services and APIs. He mentioned the Sitemaps Protocol which allows you to inform search engines about URLs on your website.

Jon Trowbridge, gave a very "exciting" talk about Linux and OSS. He mentioned that google has built a free project hosting site.

Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, talked about some cool Firefox 3 features: work offline mode, better bookmarking, and SQL Lite for full-text and image history indexing.
He discussed two very useful web development tools:
Firebug, an add-on that allows html, javascript, and css editing for on-the-fly debugging and also, web page optimizing to see which elements are taking the longest to load.
Aptana IDE, a web IDE developed by a start-up that has taken eclipse + firebug + firefox to create a very cool webdev app

Guido van Rossum, the author of Python, introduced it and gave a glimpse of what to expect in Python 3000. Also, he mentioned his favorite web framework for python was django.

Bob Lee, the co-author of Guice gave a technical talk on the use of Google's internal Java dependency injection framework.

there are pictures available

and if you haven't seen google maps new street view check it out!

I would have preferred to hear more of the technical talks but they were given by the Chinese speakers.

Nevertheless, it was an interesting day...

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Keep your files secure

Use Truecrypt to protect your confidential data. It is secure, easy to use, open source, and free! First create a virtual encrypted disk, mount it, and then simply put your files in it as you would any regular directory.

However, to be even safer, copy the sensitive data to the TrueCrypt folder and then secure delete the original file. In Windows, use Eraser to securely move the file. Eraser is also easy to use, open source, and free!

In Linux, use wipe. Under Debian and Ubuntu, just 'aptitude install wipe' to begin having fun!

If you require the destruction of all hard disk data beyond forensic recovery then the best solution is to run the drive's internal secure erase command. This can only be accomplished on ATA/IDE drives with the free Disk Drive Secure Erase program or on any type of drive with EDT's Digital Shredder.

All other software overwrite programs take 8x as long and can not erase reassigned user blocks. If this acceptable then I recommend the free and open source DBAN program. Get DBAN and many essential utilities on the Ultimate Boot CD, a freely downloadable boot CD.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Secure your email and chat

to send and receive secure encrypted email use
http://www.hush.com/

to securely chat over MSN, Google, AIM and many other IMs use pidgin
[formely gaim] download it here
http://www.pidgin.im/download/windows/

then download the OTR windows 3.2.0 plugin
http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/#downloads

and for help setting up OTR, follow these steps
http://www.cypherpunks.ca/otr/win-install/otr-setup.html

Sunday, 1 April 2007

View blocked websites

To circumvent internet filters you must use a web proxy.

The best way to do this is to use the tor network.
tor, is free, opensource and developed by the EFF, so it's trustworthy and safe to use.
http://tor.eff.org/index.html.en

tor on its own is tricky to setup so i recommend a very easy to use package called vidalia which installs tor and other necessary apps.

http://www.vidalia-project.net/download.php
this will installed tor, privoxy, and the tor button for firefox.

once installed, filter-free surfing is as simple as clicking the'Tor Enable' text button in the bottom right corner of firefox.

if you dont already surf with firefox, download it here

if you need to install the tor button then download it here

Friday, 16 March 2007

Get IE running under WINE

To get IE running under WINE, everyone links to the script on the ies4linux site. Problem is the site is down and there is no mirror! The solution is to use the Way Back Machine's link to tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/downloads/
Also, ies4linux leaves ~/.wine alone. So you have to reinstall your windows apps using ies4linux's ~/bin/ie[6|5] or move ~/.ies4linux to your old wine directory.

Friday, 2 March 2007

How to move Picasa photos to another partition

To free up some space, I wanted to move my Picasa photos from one drive to another. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to do this within Picasa and if you do it manually you'll loose your Albums and the metadata that links each photo with its backup in the Originals directory.

So in Windows Explorer, create an empty folder on the new drive. In Picasa, mark it "Scan Always" in Tools > Folder Manager. Then in Windows Explorer, copy an image [preferably one that has not been modified] from the old folder to the new one. Picasa will automagically add this photo and the new directory with show up under Folders on the left sidebar. Now in Picasa, you can select all the remaining photos in the old folder and move them to the new one. Thus preserving Albums and precious metadata!

Saturday, 17 February 2007

free and essential mac os x software

A list of the freely downloadable Mac software that I use on a daily basis.

web: Camino is Firefox but nicer looking and faster.
However, I also use Firefox because of it's many useful add-ons.
check out: adblock, greasemonkey, and nukeAnything
office: NeoOffice is OpenOffice but nicer looking.
video: play most video formats with VLC, mplayer,
or if need be use RealPlayer or Windows Media Player
p2p: standard bittorrent client or feature-rich azureus BT client
aMule for Donkey2k network and
Poisoned for old school Gnutella G1, G2, and limewire networks
chat: multi-protocol chat client adium
voip: skype defacto internet voice app
mp3: iEatBrainz will automagically fix bad or unlabeled id3 tags.
games: macMame download some ROMs for some old school fun
remote: CotVNC great VNC client
Vine Server a VNC server to remotely control your mac
utility: MissingMediaTools is great for burning CD/DVDs when the builtin apps dont work
HandBrake to convert DVDs
unix: 1000s of unix apps, all very easily installable with fink.
viewer: Chmox will open MS .chm help files
volunteer: use your mac to help find medical cures by running Folding at Home
to make it run automatically go to:
system prefs > Accounts > login items > and add.