Categories: "Computer" or "Android" or "Chromebook" or "Hardware" or "Printers" or "Scanner" or "Storage" or "iPad Air 2" or "Networking" or "WiFi" or "Operating Systems" or "FreeBSD" or "Other Linux" or "Ubuntu" or "Windows" or "Software" or "b2evolution" or "BOINC" or "CFEngine" or "Quicken/TurboTax" or "Virtualization" or "VirtualBox"

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05/24/13

  08:20:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 509 words  
Categories: Home Theatre, WiFi, Storage, Samsung UN50ES6500F, FreeBSD, VirtualBox

I got another HSTi Wireless Media Stick

Link: http://hsti.com/products/wirelessmediastick

I had acquired my first HSTI Wireless Media Stick back on April 24th, 2011 (from a marketplace seller on Amazon.com)...it took some time to arrive and I blogged about it on April 30th, 2011 -- Getting local content to show on my Roku XDS.

Now my Roku has moved to my other HD display (24" 1080p), but that was before my old Samsung HDTV (43" 720p) regenerated into a Samsung Smart 3DTV (50" 1080p).... so I'm back to living room TV being my main viewing device for all content, though TiVo has a box that I could connect to the smaller display to access my TiVo content there....which I may want to get at a later date. The majority of content I watch is from TiVo...one of these days I need to setup my blu-ray player so I can get back into watching DVDs (not sure when I'll have blu-ray discs, but need to get back on my netflix backlog).

But, the other day I had an mp4 file that I needed to play....and I thought I should get someway to do that to my 50" HD display... Had to settle with using the Roku for a bit. And, decided that the plan will be to acquire another HSTi Wireless Media Stick.

After searching around online, eventually found that ordering directly from HSTi was the only option now. So, I ordered another one on May 17th. It arrived yesterday. But, I didn't set it up until I got home from work today. Somehow I had forgotten again that HSTi is in Calgary, Alberta. Not that I'll be going up there in the immediate future....

Anyways, no big surprises...good thing I had solved my USB2.0 and Windows 7 in VirtualBox on FreeBSD problem (got a Silex SX-DS-4000U2). I'm sharing TARDIS from orac to it still, since I don't yet have a replica on zen yet (need to free up space). Though when I moved the HSTi Wireless Media Stick it had forgotten the share, so had to pull up web again and add it back. Interesting that its graphic shows the itself, while the graphic on my older stick is that of the original Wireless Media Stick (it used to be the correct graphic, but after an update it keeps showing the graphic of the older version.) Though this one came from the factory with the latest firmware, so who knows what'll happen when there's an update.

Was interesting using the SmartTV to view it, though wonder if it'll be a problem with it constantly discovering the stick every time I turn it on and presenting dialogs and such. Afterwards I tried the Amazon app to see if that was working yet....it was still saying I needed to update my TV, though this time there was an update....and now that works. Which might make it interesting to decide on what I should do. The only problem with using the SmartTV versus some other viewer....the TV is only 2.1 audio while other routes I can get 5.1, and its a different input on my receiver....

Oh well, back to other projects....

04/28/13

  10:06:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 989 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, CFEngine

Took a diversion from cacti and now its nagios

So, doing cacti on cbox doesn't seem to be working long term... but, the moment is being prepared for....I starting to assemble the pieces to build a new machine to do this and handle some other tasks that I've been looking for a place for.

Back to cfengine, I added a promise for dnetc (distributed.net)....and then a promise to finally configure CUPS on the two servers. And, then I turned to nagios.

I spent a couple evenings creating the initial configuration of nagios, working in design changes that I wanted to make and initial monitoring of localhost (dbox). Though it wasn't straight forward....there were differences here and there....mostly in FreeBSD layout, paths, and some of the commands taking different options. But, eventually I got everything running. My old check_dyndns worked once, but then stopped working.... problem was that it did 'stat -c "%Y" ..." which doesn't work on FreeBSD, 'stat -f "%m" ...' was the adjustment for that. All, while all the checks_* seem to be there, command definitions was lacking....but I guess having command definitions for everything is part of the debian/ubuntu packaging. There were other frills that came with that, that I don't mind not having...

I did run into check_ntp being deprecated....with check_ntp_time and check_ntp_peer being the tests to use....separating and making more clear on whether you're comparing time between servers using ntp or checking the state of the ntp server...
It did show some interesting oddities in holding NTP time on my home network.... I know that I should have 3 or more ntp servers, but it seems that I'm often landing in the state where I only have 2....with lots of delay, resulting in pretty good swings of jitter....almost makes me wonder if this something I could graph in cacti.... :hmm:

Wonder if I can find a cheap NTP appliance somewhere....

The last stumbling block was check_dhcp. Which seems to be broken on FreeBSD. All, the discussion on it seemed to point to firewalls, but no firewalls and it still didn't work....tcpdump on both places, and its saying it sending stuff, but no packets appearing on the network. But, I can see the other DHCP traffic on the network.

I remove that check and call it a night. I mull some possible work arounds....first one I tried was setting up linux compability and try running the check_dhcp from my working (ubuntu) nagios. Well, it didn't work...it couldn't find an interface. Oh well, guess there's the ugly way....use nrpe to invoke it. Though that didn't work right away.....probably because while I had created new nrpe configs for all my servers in cfengine, I haven't put any of my ubuntu servers under cfengine yet. Most of the other promises haven't been implemented for ubuntu yet. It was pretty simple to include nrpe.cfg for everything.... in fact it condensed to only 3 files.... a freebsd version, an ubuntu version and a host specific version for orac. Well, not right away...that happened more recently...while I was going through and updating the nrpe.cfg's by hand on the ubuntu servers. Was when I noticed that some of the files were only different in comments....so I made further simplifications in cfengine...which'll propagate out eventually....

Long term, I'll probably just have to track down some alternate implementation of check_dhcp....

I then add cbox to monitoring...and then looked to see about monitoring things that are on cbox/dbox...so I found checks for freeradius, cups, squid, along with improvements to checks on ntp. The check_squid was tricky....I got it working by hand, after making the suggested change for the default Cache type parsing, which turned out to be changes for squid3 vs. squid2 (but box is still running squid 2.7 - since I had re-built it by hand with SSL support, and blocked ubuntu from updating it. Orac wasn't blocked so it eventually turned into squid3.

it worked by hand, but wouldn't work under nagios...turned out that the embedded perl wasn't liking it. I was going to disable embedded perl for it, when I took a look at seeing what it was complaining about. And, did some reading on embedded perl.... the gist was "use strict", "perl -w" and "perl -c" as starting points. perl -w was find, but perl -c had one problem....which I fixed. But, no go. And, then noticed the line "# todo : use strict", guess I'll have to deal with that.

And, making that all happy, got it working.

The only other quirk was the memory check wouldn't work on FreeBSD, I guess there's no mallinfo() available for that. So, no running that test on those servers....plus no Cache test on box. But, it still left enough variety of tests that worked on all. And, it wasn't so much that I wanted to get all the information, but I choose to define all the different tests with ports set into the test....so running the check would also test that all my squid ports worked. There's actually only two that matter, but I have all my squid's configured the same, listening on 5 or 7 ports....depending on whether I have SSL enabled. Though I pretty much only need two now. I'm not doing transparent proxying and I don't need the SSL now that I've split box into dbox/cbox....the SSL was so ddclient could work on box and update dyndns via proxy to DSL....

Next up is adding zen to nagios, and coming with with more tests of things that are specific to zen, but covered or not covered in the old nagios.

Though as I worked along...there were things I couldn't find monitors for...though I realized that I could have cfengine promise that those services were running. Plus cfengine was also taking care of other things. So, I should probably work on writing some promises for zen. So, I can have promises to make sure things are started up again after a port is updated or that php/extensions.ini is reordered, etc.

But, I'll probably continue adding everything else to nagios first.

04/21/13

  10:52:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2431 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, CFEngine

Home server migration ran into some cacti

The home server migration that I wrote about on April 7th, hit a delay .... I started working on migrating cacti and nagios.

I probably should've started with nagios, since I don't think that would've taken as long as cacti has.

I had already been monitoring the new servers using my old cacti installation. I had pretty much decided that moving the old installation to the new servers wasn't going to straightforward.... partly because of versions, and no easy intermediary. But, I wasn't too worried about the historical data in my old cacti....

I figured that once I got things up and running, I'd just export the templates and import them into my new system and I'd be done.

But, then I hit a hitch....the squid templates I had weren't working on the new system....all I could find were old results about issues with doing SNMP to ports other than 161, and possibly due to newer versions of net-snmp....though that later turned out to be a wild goose.

Anyways...the work around was to use the proxy option in net-snmp. Though I recall having tried net-snmp before discovering bsnmpd on FreeBSD, but I gave it a shot.

Before I got to testing the proxy...I soon saw that it wasn't giving the same information as bsnmpd...specifically, for the HOST-RESOURCES-MIB and parts of UCB-SNMP-MIB. So, I decided that I could proxy net-snmp to bsnmpd and get those. But, that didn't work.....after some reading the answer was I needed to either map bsnmpd in somewhere else or exclude those areas from net-snmp.

Well, during the build of net-snmp, it did make reference to being able to set some variables in make.conf -- such as NET_SNMP_WITH_MIB_MODULE_LIST and NET_SNMP_WITHOUT_MIB_MODULE_LIST. And, by default NET_SNMP_WITH_MIB_MODULE_LIST contained "host disman/event-mib smux mibII/mta_sendmail mitII/tcpTable ucd-snmp/diskio sctp-mib if-mib"

So, I tried setting NET_SNMP_WITH_MIB_MODULE_LIST without host and ucb-snmp/diskio and tried to exclude the rest of ucb-snmp in NET_SNMP_WITHOUT_MIB_MODULE_LIST. Which got me a strange error about host being in both lists.

I delved into the Makefile, and found while the other settable NET_SNMP parameters were done as '?=' in the Makefile, the NET_SNMP_WITH_MODULE_LIST was done as '+='...with conditionals that '+=' the last two modules.

OSVERSION >= 700028 adds 'sctp-mib' and the port option MFD_REWRITES adds 'if-mib'....I had started looking at what the fix might be, but decided that all I needed to do was remove all these lines...since I'm going to have my own definition in my /etc/make.conf file.

Trying to exclude all of ucd-snmp wouldn't make things work....but I did an snmpwalk comparing bsnmpd and net-snmp, and decided that the two areas that were lacking were ucd-snmp/diskio and ucd-snmp/disk_hw. So, I recreated the 'original' NET_SNMP_WITH_MODULE_LIST in /etc/make.conf, without 'host' and 'ucd-snmp/diskio' and put 'ucd-snmp/disk_hw' in NET_SNMP_WITHOUT_MODULE_LIST. The build grumbled, but finished.

I that worked.....all my ucd/snmp host graphs were working on m new cacti server in the same detail that I was getting before (IE: the CPU Utilization gave traces for each of the 8 vCPUs...instead of just one.... I could see all the ZFS filesystems, not just the the single zroot.

So, I went back to looking at getting squid graphs to work....that didn't work.

Pages: 1· 2· 3

04/18/13

  12:47:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1259 words  
Categories: Software, Networking, AT&T DSL, Broadband, CFEngine

Zoom ADSL X3 5760 & Cacti

It was a dark and stormy...late afternoon...yesterday, and....

I had started out almost 7 years ago with a Siemens 4100 DSL Modem, which worked the way I needed it to for my home network. And, wasn't sure how easy it would be to find another like it. I was running it in the cross between router and bridge mode...so that my router could maintain my dyndns info (though it wasn't too long after that I moved that to ddclient on box, which has been more reliable...but I was having ddclient scrape from the router, though the ddclient for the router on my Cox connection wasn't supported so that uses checkip.dyndns.org. So, now both do.

Would probably be too much work to make ddclient go out on the right IP so that ip route will send it to the DSL router, so it can query the DSL modem for what the real external IP is. Though the new cbox/dbox setup would simplify things....but the migration has stalled as I've been working on getting cacti moved from box...and it hasn't been going well. Lots of old templates and such don't work on the new, so I've been reworking what I feel I can't live without....

That includes the graphs of my DSL modem stats....

Anyways....when the Siemens 4100 started dropping the connection a lot (around the 3 year mark) and changing the filter didn't help, I had heard that these things wear out... So, I tracked down a new Siemens 4100 on eBay...and switched to that....and that got things working again.... Then a couple years ago, things go bad consistently....though I could see from my cacti graphs that SNR drops in the evening. Though I wasn't able to get local service to restore/fix things. I tried the AT&T forum on dslreports.com, and they changed me to Interleaved, which helped....

But, I had started shopping around for a new DSL modem.... somewhere in my journey's I acquired a Zoom ADSL X3 5760 Modem. But, since things were working...I put it aside as my spare for when things stop. Seems I've had it so long that its no longer available....got it July 9, 2012 according to Amazon.com

For a while now, it would drop the connection now and then during the week (between its weekly self-reboot)...at first I suspected the router, since its twin had gone away in much the same way several months earlier. Though the router do also have failsafe configured, so if it can't talk (ping) to box or the WAN gateway...it reboots. Though at some point AT&T made their gateways unpingable. So, it was pinging google.

But, on April 6 it got really bad....my IRC connection was resetting practically constantly. Though since I had swapped the router before, and swapped it again. Though maybe now I wonder if its watchdog was too aggressive. Things were usable, but the line drops would be annoying. Also the IP staying the same through drops didn't make me question the DSL modem.

But, then on April 13, things start getting really bad....and I was getting 50+ messages a day from ddclient that my IP changed. It seemed to stablize a bit on Monday....though it was still dropping regular enough that I switched to using Cox for my IRC screen session. Was going to defer to the weekend to make the swap.

Well, yesterday the weather was bad...lots of lightning, rain....and I first display I looked at when I got home said "NO INTERNET". Though it was probably a temporary outage, because it did appear to eventually come back while I was working on unboxing my 'new' DSL modem. And, try to figure out how to set it up without the Windows wizard it provides or the lack of documentation with it...there was a small CD, which didn't really provide much depth....but I found what IP it would be and that it has web interface....it also has a telnet interface and an FTP interface.

Anyways...it turned out to be pretty straight forward getting it working...the hard part was figuring out what the non-default options meant, and whether I would want them.... the main one I turned on was "fullcone NAT". And, I set my router in with a reserved IP and made it DMZ host, so I can keep all my forwards there...plus the Zoom is limited to 16, which isn't enough .... though this may change when I make use of its DMZ feature as well (doing reverse proxy on cbox/dbox to everywhere else on my home network...running firewall on these boxes already, to implement policy based routing.) And, enabling ICMP on the WAN interface (its also possible to enable http, ftp and telnet on the WAN interface as well.)

Getting it working in Cacti again, turned out to be much harder.

Full story »

Pages: 1· 2

04/07/13

  11:29:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2462 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Networking, Operating Systems, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, CFEngine

The home servers migration got off to a rough start...

My 10.04LTS servers are nearing the end of the line, but the move to get them upgraded is starting to get close....

At first I was waiting for the 12.04.1LTS update to appear, so that I might try upgrading them to Precise. But, then it struck me that it struck me that it might be time to replace one of the servers with new hardware.

The boxes had been servers for many years now, but in 10.04 they dropped support for 32-bit hardware as servers....which means one of my servers, and the more important one...is nearing EOL.

So, back in August....I came across a Shuttle XS36V open box on newegg.com....so I ordered one, along with an 8GB SODIMM memory set (a pair of 4GB)....the computers support a maximum of 4GB, but in my mind I was thinking that if this worked, I might get another to make a pair.

But, then it sat around as I go on to other projects....I had figured on using one of the 120GB SSDs that I had acquired earlier....

Realized what was strange about these boxes was they had serial ports, so I started thinking about network serial and setting these boxes up headless. Since I had done a server at work for serial with FreeBSD, I got to thinking that I would do the same with this. Plus I was really finding to be much more predictable/stable than Ubuntu....something that's good in a server.

I started revising the plans as I went....ended up deciding that I would have one that is default cable and one that is default dsl, and running the usual core...one would be master DNS, and the other one be the primary slave....just as one would be primary DHCP and the other secondary....both would do freeradius. Both would NTP servers. Both would do mail, though zen is my main mail system. They would have both apache and nginx on them...apache to run local web services....and nginx doing reverse proxy to the other web apps on my home network (kind of important since current cable router is a step back with it only supporting 16 port forwards....though I have a replacement that I'll get to setting up some day...)

Then while I was poking around on newegg.com, spotted that there was another open box Shuttle XS36V....so now I had two boxes. I had picked up once Cyclades ACS1 earlier on ebay, so I got a second....a 'new' one for about the same price. Just needed to find time. Perhaps after FreeBSD 9.1 drops.

Well, it dropped....but I still wasn't ready...now I needed some SSD drives for the machines. So, I used the $30 in RewardZone for the new TV I had gotten in September, and picked up a pair for 128GB SanDisk Extremes. And, then I started setting up the ACS1s....hmmm, wonder if I have any serial cables. Okay, I'll buy some of those first.... I end up ordering from TigerDirect, as they have a better price on RJ45 to DB9 adapters....not that I need them for the actual ACS1 to Shuttle XS36v connection...that's just a 9F to 9F null modem cable.

Pages: 1· 2· 3· 4

03/21/13

  09:02:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 507 words  
Categories: General, Quicken/TurboTax

State Tax Refund Received

I received my State Tax Refund...only 5 calendar days since my return was reported as accepted. TurboTax had said allow up to 21 days. There was a year where there was a budget crisis...though it doesn't seem to have ended yet....where they were threatening to not pay income tax refunds....or severely delay them.

Though it wasn't that huge of a delay by the time I filed.

Wonder when I'll get my Federal Tax Refund.... TurboTax said 9 out of 10 got refunds in under 21 days last year, though when I did my taxes last year, TurboTax said 7-14 days. Which was pretty much spot on....I got my Federal refund 7 days after I filed....the state refund came 5 days after filing.

So, if things hold....my Federal should appear on Monday.

Full story »

03/17/13

  03:10:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1773 words  
Categories: General, Computer, Home, Windows, FreeBSD, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

Did my taxes for 2012

Like I do every year, I bought TurboTax Premier Federal + E-File + State 2012 as a PC Download from Amazon.com back on Jan 18th, in part due to sale email from TurboTax. But, probably should've waited, because its cheaper now. Not sure why PC download is so similar in price to buying PC/Mac package. And, wasn't sure if I would still be on a PC.

In fact, I haven't had a physical Windows machine for almost 10 months now. Last year I did my taxes in a Windows XP VirtualBox VM on orac, since I had evolved to running Quicken in different XP VirtualBox VMs and using Dropbox to house my Quicken datafile. My first XP VM was on my laptop....and I spent part of Gallifrey One 2011 getting Quicken up and running in that VM and recovering my Quicken data. Where it seemed the best place to put the file was in my Dropbox. Have since adjusted things to make that work better to mostly cope with the locking issues between Quicken and Dropbox. I set up the one on orac which is where I did 'Windows' for about 9 months, and still use on occasion due to the lack of USB 2.0 support for VirtualBox on FreeBSD.

Though on zen, I have a Windows 7 VM (and still own another Windows 7 copy that I don't know where I'm going to put to use, just as I have a couple copies of XP still...been planning to put the 64-bit XP one into a VM on zen...but it hasn't happened yet.) Perhaps when I finally do get my Mac, I'll use some copies there.

Anyways...I would fire up TurboTax now and then, to see it get updates. Always thought it strange that after it said it was done that it would say that it was restarting TurboTax, but not. So, I never did more than see what updates it was getting.

But, I had intended to start my taxes last weekend...where DST began, though that turned out to be a bit of a weird weekend so I didn't get to it. I had actually intended the weekend before DST, but that also didn't pan out. But, seems tradition has been 2nd or 3rd weekend of March lately.... It is also for some reason the weekend that they always bring down HRIS for upgrades. As it happened this year, I did want to go on there and check something....

So, Friday night at 10pm I fired up TurboTax to see what updates, there were a lot. Been kind of unsettling lately...especially after the IRS Notice I got last year, which I dealt with using the services of Tax Resources...but it might have been a variation of a TurboTax bugs -- "Federal 2010: Customers with certain 1099-R retirement distribution codes" or "Federal 2010: Qualified Pension Conversion and Rollover" -- so I probably should've gotten TurboTax to take the heat for it.

Of course, TurboTax has had other issues in the past, and yet I stay with it year after year....

Full story »

03/07/13

  01:00:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 370 words  
Categories: Computer, BOINC, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Virtualization, VirtualBox

VirtualBox VDI and 4K alignment

So, after my Windows 7 machine at work ate itself after a Windows Update. I decided to turn it into an Ubuntu 12.04 system.

But, so much for becoming Windows free. I was informed that I need a Windows machine to run vCenter on, because the shared Windows 2003 server that we had been using is going away.

So, I setup Windows 7 in VirtualBox...pretty simple. But, soon I was getting ext4 messages complaining about unaligned access for a certain inode. The VDI for the Windows 7 install.

I searched around on VDI and 4K alignment, and eventually found this:

HOWTO: Modify empty VDI for optimal alignment of Windows

Though reading further it seems to suggest that newer versions of VirtualBox get the alignment right for you....and 4.1.24 is much newer than 3.0.12 in the original post. (had opted for 4.1.24, since 4.2.6 is not recommended for BOINC Test4Theory....but 4.2.8 is out now, and it is recommended....so it'll be time to go and update all my machines, I guess. The only systems with 4.2.6 were FreeBSD, because the 4.1.24 will cause the 9.1 kernel to panic on VM exit. though don't know if 4.1.24 was bad in ports or not, had been 4.1.22 before upgrading to 9.1 -- but had to recompile the kernel modules after the upgrade so had first tried 4.1.24....)

So, I went through the HOW-TO to create an new emtpy VDI...and found that it is already 4K aligned. So, why was the VDI created through the 'New Wizard' in VirtualBox Manager not?

Anyways...I then booted gparted and copied my partitions over to the new VDI....and then had to boot the Win7 installer to fix the startup to get it to boot, and no more complaining.

:hmm:

Guess I'll have to remember to create VDI before creating the new VM in the future? Wonder if there are issues in other disk image formats. Wonder if ZFS would complain that my VDI isn't aligned? Wonder how to check? Though the other formats I use are either VHD or VMDK. VHD because that's what Microsoft Windows Image Backup creates, and I'm using the last one of Zen to try to recover files from.... VMDK is after an import/export of a VM or for raw zvol accesses. So, guess those aren't areas of concern for me right now.

02/07/13

  10:09:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 1100 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, BOINC, Storage, FreeBSD, VirtualBox

I upgraded to Zen to FreeBSD 9.1

I have a number of FreeBSD projects at home on the go that I've been trying to find enough free time each weekend to tackle. Having a recent problem where my system will freeze/panic/reboot whenever I shutdown or saved a VM...I thought maybe upgrading to 9.1 would help. It didn't.

Anyways...I wondered how freebsd-update would proceed, given that checksums on everything had changed...because at one point during things I had rebuilt the world with optimized compile flags, though otherwise still running GENERIC and no other alterations, though later rebuilding kernels so uname would reflect p4 and p5....

But, from what it said it was going to do to get me upgraded, it seemed okay with everything. Though the merge was a bit strange....first time through it didn't present one of the merge conflicts for me to resolve (/etc/login.conf), so I said no when it asked if the file was ok before proceeding. That just stopped it instantly, had hoped that since it didn't ask how to resolve before that it would ask now. But, running the update again....it did ask for that file this time (otherwise I was considering what would happen if I fixed it by hand during or later.... So, then it went and upgraded.

And, then that's where all the fun started. While rebuilding all my ports wasn't necessary. It was necessary to rebuild all the ports that create kernel modules....like nvidia, virtualbox, fuse, webcam....

Full story »

02/05/13

  08:10:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 428 words  
Categories: General, Networking

Pinterest supports Internet Censorship

It has been about 20 months since I took the EFF Tor Challenge:

Operate a Tor relay to help Tor users all over the world!

Activists worldwide use Tor to protect their anonymity online and to circumvent Internet censorship. But they all rely on a limited number of user-provided "relays" to protect themselves and communicate with others. Internet users worldwide need your help to make the Tor network stronger and faster, so take the Tor Challenge today!

From this I initially set up two Tor relays....initially one with a limited set of exits and one with no exits (middle relay). For more info see: What is a Tor relay?

But, FreeNode blocks exit relay IPs that could access any of their systems....that includes port 80/http. Instead they run a hidden service that would allow a Tor user to connect to IRC via Tor....and say:

We appreciate your accessing Freenode via the Tor hidden service. If you'd like to help us maintain quality access, please consider providing "middleman" bandwidth to the Tor network. Just set your host up as a Tor server and specify how much bandwidth you want to provide.

I did irssi connecting to the hidden service as an experiment....while waiting for the exit relay block to expire. I continued to run irssi this way for a while, until I got tired of doing so.

Since then, Tor wise, I'm playing around with running an anonymous bridge in AWS.....currently costing under $1 each month on the free tier...for bandwidth overages. I'm wondering what it'll be after my free-tier expires, and what would happen if I were to move to another region. Though I guess its deploy new in another region and remove old, since the images have updated a number of times since my initial deployment that there have already been occasions where my image has had trouble staying current.

And, then recently I got stopped from accessing Pinterest, with "the we've detected a bot!", "because Bots may be resource-intensive and slow down Pinterest for other users."

After some email exchanges, they responded that:

Pinterest blocked access because the IP address originating traffic hosts a public Tor node. If you are knowingly hosting a public Tor node, we cannot ensure continued access if traffic coming through your node is malicious.

But, since its a middle relay, the only traffic originating from my IP address to Pinterest is me. So, they're censoring anybody that supports Tor and its use "as a method for whistleblowers and human rights workers to communicate with journalists"....

Guess, they're a strong supporter of Internet Censorship!

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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