Hidden traffic

This site has been somewhat dormant for quite a while?

It's not that I had forgotten it – I have just been busy elsewhere.  Also my Linux has been running very smoothly so I have had no problems to resolve.

The intention of this site was to act as a notebook for myself, to which I could refer if I ran into similar problems again, and in fact I frequently do refer to it.  However, others find my little hints and tricks helpful so at least the site is doing its job properly!

While traffic to here is low but constant, I would consider it a bit of a backwater on the Internet.  So why are hackers so interested in it?  In the last 48 hours, there have been 2,770 attempts to hack the Admin password, and they're still coming.  As each of those 2,770 attempts have instantly been locked out of the site, I shudder to think how many further attempts would have been made if they had been allowed unlimited access to the login page?

It just demonstrates how important security is.  Even a very small site like this is prone to attack, and without security, it could be now hosting a dodgy pharmaceuticals site, dishing out porn or just acting as a slave to attack other sites.

Popularity isn't all it's made out to be!

Install Google Earth with photos on Linux Mint 18 (64bit)

Now that Mint 18 has been released, the first thing I noticed was that Google Earth is not available in the repositories and requires a manual download and install.

Before doing that, make sure Mint updates have been applied as the LSB libraries are missing from the installation disk, but are now available as an update.

First open a terminal and enter the following –

sudo apt-get install lsb-core -y -f

Then download Google Earth.

Finally, in Terminal, run –

sudo dpkg -i google-earth-stable_current_amd64.deb

The problem with the photographs not displaying still exists, so I have created a small script.

Please note – run the script at your own risk.  It does however run perfectly on my setup.

Download it here.

Open a terminal in the folder where you have saved the download –

chmod +x GEImages.sh

sudo ./GEImages.sh

Once it has finished, run Google Earth and enjoy!

Running a live image on the desktop

Things have been somewhat quite here of late?

Occasionally I like to set myself little mental exercises to keep the brain ticking over.  My latest bright idea was to replace my desktop background wallpaper with a live [or nearly live] image from the Internet.

There is a site with a live webcam pointing to a view that I love.  The webcam updates roughly once a minute producing a JPG image.  My task was to use that image as a desktop background.

For the purposes of illustration, I have used imaginary URLs but you can take it from me that it works.

The first part was to write a shell script to retrieve the file from the website.  This was short and simple –

# retrieves newest image from web camera
# and sets this as desktop background in cinnamon 

wget "http://webcamerasite.com/webcams/cameraoutput.jpg" -O /home/username/Images/camera.jpg

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.background picture-uri "file:///home/username/Images/camera.jpg"

Note that the final line is for Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Modify it for other versions.

Save the script and make it executable.  Running the script will replace the background image with the latest from the website.

The next task is to set up a Cron job to run the script.

In Terminal, type crontab -e

Select the editor (I chose 2 – Nano).

Add the following line at the bottom –

* * * * /home/username/location of shell script

This will run the script once a minute.

Press Ctrl-o to save the file, press Enter to confirm the file name and Ctrl-w to exit.

Your desktop will now refresh every minute with the latest view.

Desktop image

The latest image on my desktop



Auto mounting an NTFS partition in Linux

I have a simple setup on this machine.

It has a 1Tb hard disk so I allocated 500Gb for Windows and 500Gb for Linux [Mint 17.3 Cinnamon].

My problem was that I wanted to be able to permanently access the Windows NTFS partition from Linux as there were some files that I wanted to be able to edit from either OS, and it made sense to retain those files on NTFS where they can be accessed seamlessly from either OS.

So how do I get Linux to automatically mount the NTFS partition on boot?


In Linux, select Menu -> Preferences -> Disks.

Disk management

[Click to enlarge]

Select the NTFS partition and then click on the cog icon below the selection (not the one at the top right corner) as shown above.

Select "Edit Mount Options…"

Mount options

[Click to enlarge]

Simple set the Automatic Mount Options to "OFF", and make sure Mount at startup is selected, as above.

Reboot and the partition is mounted.


Download failed. error:0D0890A1:asn1

I maintain a series of WordPress sites.

One of them recently started throwing up an error whenever I tried to update the core or a plugin.  All I got was the not very helpful message:

Download failed. error:0D0890A1:asn1 encoding routines:func(137):reason(161)

As this meant that every update had to be downloaded locally and then FTP'd up to the site I was anxious to find a fix.

I found this simple piece of code (courtesy of Damien Carbery over at the WordPress Forums)

Plugin Name: Skip SSL Verify
Plugin URI: http://www.damiencarbery.com
Description: Skip SSL verify in curl downloads - fixes: Download failed. error:0D0890A1:asn1 encoding routines:func(137):reason(161).
Author: Damien Carbery
Version: 0.1

$Id:  $

function ssv_skip_ssl_verify($ssl_verify) {
    return false;
add_filter('https_ssl_verify', 'ssv_skip_ssl_verify');
add_filter('https_local_ssl_verify', 'ssv_skip_ssl_verify');

I saved this into a text file which I named Skip_SSL_Verify.php, copied it up into the site's plugin directory and activated it.

Problem solved.  The site now updates normally.