Pavol Rusnak #cypherpunk #hacker #openhw #privacy #bitcoin #newmediaart

Technicolor Web of Sound on Spotify

technicolor

My friend is a big fan of psychedelic music from the 60s and 70s. Recently, he told me about the (now defunct) internet radio he really enjoyed listening to: Technicolor Web of Sound. He also mentioned that the website has a list of all artists and their songs that used to be in the rotation. I immediately got an idea to scrape the list and convert it to Spotify playlist.

And here’s the result:

Enjoy!

PS: The playlist does not contain all songs, only the ones that are available on Spotify. Also it might contain bogus entries, because it is autogenerated. Please, send me an email in case something is wrong. Thanks!

Temporal space-time anchors

I guess I was around 15 when I came up with an idea. I thought it was quite ordinary and didn’t bother to think about it more. Recently, it came to me again out of the blue. With much better access to the net, I tried to find someone else who came up and documented this idea, but I failed. So here it goes:

Suppose, you are out with your friends and you want to mark a particular point in time (and space). Maybe something interesting happened and you don’t want to discuss it immediately or you just want to make some space-time reference point for past and future events. All you need to do is just say: “I’m creating an anchor” or just “anchor” later on (when your friends are aware of the concept).

When you are with your friends later again, you can use this anchor in your conversations. Some examples:

  • “We went to sleep 5 hours after the anchor.”
  • “What was the song that played 15 minutes before the anchor?”
  • “Let’s tell Peter, we’ll meet him at the anchor in 30 minutes.”
  • “There is a nice church 500 meters south from the anchor.”
  • “Do you remember the nice clouds that appeared when I created the anchor?”

More people can create an anchor and one person can create more anchors during one day, but I generally don’t recommend it as it gets messy easily. :-)

Running SSH on a Raspberry Pi as a Hidden Service with Tor

Have you ever tried to solve the following problem? I did. Many times.

You have just finished installing a brand new Internet node, but you need to connect to it (usually using SSH) to perform some tasks. The issue is that this node usually lies behind NAT, does not have a public IP, its local IP keeps changing or even worse even the public IP is changed by ISP from time to time.

This problem is usually solved by port forwarding on a router that has the public IP, but this is not very usable in more complex network environments.

Another option is to create a VPN where you connect your node, but this requires quite a big effort to get it working (both server and client side).

There is another way, which I find quite easy and elegant at the same time. Let’s use a Hidden Service created via Tor network! We don’t really need anonymity in this case, but it comes as a nice bonus.

I will use Raspberry Pi and Raspbian Jessie in this example, but this should work almost anywhere with small changes.

  • Login to Raspberry Pi and enable SSH daemon if it was not enabled (it is on by default in Raspbian).

  • All commands below should be run as root, so either spawn a root shell using sudo -i or prepend each line with sudo.

  • Update the system and install Tor package:

apt-get update
apt-get install tor
  • Edit the Tor configuration file /etc/tor/torrc and add the following lines:
HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/sshd/
HiddenServicePort 22 127.0.0.1:22
  • Create the directory you specified above for the SSH hidden service:
export SERVICE_DIR=/var/lib/tor/sshd/
mkdir $SERVICE_DIR
chmod 700 $SERVICE_DIR
chown debian-tor.debian-tor $SERVICE_DIR
  • Enable and start the Tor service:
systemctl enable tor
systemctl start tor
  • If everything went OK, you are able to print the hidden service hostname using:
cat $SERVICE_DIR/hostname
  • Which should print something like this:
vxbdqtv2ber7js5y.onion
  • Your node is now available from anywhere in the world using this onion address! But how do we connect to it?

  • You need to install and start Tor on your local computer in a similar fashion you got it running on Pi, but don’t create a hidden service there.

  • Once Tor is running locally, open your SSH config (~/.ssh/config) and add the following:

Host *.onion
  ProxyCommand /usr/bin/nc -xlocalhost:9050 -X5 %h %p
  • If you are having problem with nc/netcat above (various distributions ship different variants), you can use socat instead:
Host *.onion
  ProxyCommand /usr/bin/socat STDIO SOCKS4A:localhost:%h:%p,socksport=9050
  • Finally, you can now connect to your node using SSH and the hostname from above:
ssh pi@vxbdqtv2ber7js5y.onion
  • Congratulations!

The Internet of Things is so 2015. Let’s give a big welcome to the “Darknet of Things” or #DoT. :-)


If you want to make your connections even more secure using HiddenServiceAuthorizeClient option, see this Nurdletech post.

Trick using host wildcard in SSH config is inspired from rtyler’s post.

For further reading I recommend Hidden Service Configuration Instructions from Tor project website.

NFC Tags in Prague Metro

Prague Metro is full of advertisements, which are posters put in frames like this:

nfc-metro

Have you noticed something interesting in the picture?

How about now?

nfc-metro-detail

Don’t worry, I haven’t notice it either at first, until my friend Sargon pointed that out.

So this white circle looks like a NFC tag (and yes, it is there even when there is a poster over it).

Let’s try it out!

I am using Nexus 5 phone with NFC TagInfo by NXP application installed.

This is how it looks when you approach the tag with this app running:

nfc-metro-a-reader1

nfc-metro-a-reader2

nfc-metro-a-reader3

nfc-metro-a-reader4

The most important thing on the last screen are dots that appear between the sector number and its contents. This means that the area is unlocked and writable (x means locked, . unlocked). Yay!

Why is the tag not locked and anyone can write to it? I can only speculate, but I think that’s because the advertisement company uses the tags to track which frame has which ad and they care only about the tag ID, which cannot be overwrittern.

Let’s try another application called NFC TagWriter by NXP.

nfc-metro-b-writer1

Select Write tags button.

nfc-metro-b-writer2

Select New dataset

nfc-metro-b-writer3

I will be creating a link so I choose Link.

nfc-metro-b-writer4

After filling in the details I click Save.

nfc-metro-b-writer5

Now I can select data from my list.

nfc-metro-b-writer6

Let’s write it by clicking on Write!

nfc-metro-b-writer7

Now we can touch the tag.

nfc-metro-b-writer8

Success!

Now when we approach the tag with the phone, Android will read the tag, interpret the URL and open browser with this address.

The information on the tag can be used to trigger lots of other events too. Call a number, send an email, launch an application, show plain text or send or receive bitcoins (when bitcoin:address URI scheme or Bitcoin private key is used).

When we use the TagInfo application now, it will look like this:

nfc-metro-c-reader1

nfc-metro-c-reader2

nfc-metro-c-reader3

nfc-metro-c-reader4

nfc-metro-c-reader5

When I was experimented with the tags, I haven’t found any which had any data stored in it.

I hope next time I try this, there will be some nice poems (106 chars maximum) or links to some nice pictures. Heck, someone could even create an interesting augmented reality game, capture the flag, check-in (who wants to be a mayor of this train?) or …

The only limit is your imagination. And slow (or none) internet in the metro. :-(

Netflix Content by Country

Beginning of January Netflix expanded to most of the countries all around the world. The domination map looks quite impressive:

netflix_map

Unfortunately, the reality is not as bright as it looks. When I read the announcement, I did not hesitate and subscribed the service. I was very disappointed to see that most of my favorite shows were not available in my country and I cancelled the renewal of my subscription.

Later, I stumbled upon a website that maintains the list of Netflix content per country called uNoGS (unofficial Netflix online Global Search). I was very interested to see how my country stands when compared to the others. Sadly there was no visualization of uNoGS data on their site, so I came up with my own using the interactive Google Charts API:

(open map in full screen)