HOWTO: Always know your home computer’s IP address from anywhere using Dropbox

To always know what your home machine’s IP address is (and while I’ll assume that you’re running Kubuntu, this can be adapted using the following bash script to any machine).

  • Apt-get ‘kcron’.
  • Open Task Scheduler and set the following bash script to run every five minutes:
#!/bin/bash
J=`wget http://checkip.dyndns.org/ -qO - | grep -Eo '\<[[:digit:]]{1,3}(\.[[:digit:]]{1,3}){3}\>'`
K=`date`
echo "$J $K" >> ../Dropbox/ANYDIRECTORYYOUCHOOSE/output.txt
  • Ensure the script is executable, and test it in a shell.

Now, you can always see what your home computer’s IP address is in any browser window; I use this in case there are issues with SSHing into my home box.

New clients for Red Queen Technologies now accepted; big web development for small companies

Our web development company, Red Queen Technologies, is now accepting a few new clients for site design and hosting services.

We run a very special, niche service for Northwest small businesses and charities. Specifically, we help very small businesses (even one-man shops) look very big on the web. Sometimes, you need to appear to be a much larger company than you are in order to credibly get business and make the contacts you need. Often you need people to talk about you on social media services and have that be readily apparent to casual visitors to your site.

In addition, today’s web has so many tools for e-commerce and business shaping that you may have no idea how best to leverage them to grow your company. We are experts in knowing which tools matter and which are time-wasters; we set you up with the best and train you to use them.

We specialize in providing face-to-face
service and will meet with you in person to design or redesign your site, give you the best advice possible, train you in how to easily manage your site, and serve you long-term. Even our most basic hosting comes with 1 hour/month of free site upgrades, training for you, and content updates.

Because our business is 70% referral and we do not accept clients without being able to provide the best possible service, we only open a few spots at a time for new design and hosting with Red Queen Technologies. Right now, we have 4 spots open. Please also be aware that if you refer a new client to us, we provide you with two months free hosting!

You can email us at info@redqueentech.com.

Why Gossip Girl needs better faux techspeak.

It’s been my experience that when TV shows and movies get software development and web development wrong, they get it REALLY wrong.

A week ago, I rewatched The Dark Knight with two of my gaming buddies, both of whom are skilled developers. While we loved the movie, popcorn was thrown when Christian Bale rasped that a certain database was null-key encrypted. NKE is total fiction. It turns “Hello World” into “Hello World”, in case you were wondering. At least in the movies, they bother to invent some techno-jargon.

Now for the painful admission: I watch Gossip Girl. It is a vapid soap opera that I positively adore, and part of the major season story arc is the loss of control over the Gossip Girl website by the original (anonymous) owner, voiced by Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars fame. [See? I have legitimate geeky reasons for watching GG!] Any developer can see that there’s some sort of CMS that is used to post information; it’s likely the TV equivalent of WordPress. In a moment of brainmeat-deadness, Serena is IMed by Gossip Girl, and asked to return “the password to my site.”

Now, this is totally imbecilic on several fronts. First, if you’re the person who set up the CMS, you have administrator rights on an account that is different than your posting account. All GG would have to do is login using the alternate CMS admin account and change the password herself. Second, if she’s lost the admin account, she can tunnel to the server and change the authentication for any account through either the MySQL (or whatever DB) admin prompt or PHPMyAdmin if you’re as lazy as me. Third, if she’s the one who set up the
site, all she has to do is nuke the site at the server level after copying or exporting the DB and template files, and rebuild it (or talk to the hosting company). Fourth, and the worst-case scenario, if her hosting account or cloud server itself has been hacked, she can simply build another server and redirect the DNS to that location. In none of these cases does she ever lose control of the URL itself.

I am irritated here because I see Gossip Girl as a show that is primarily targeted to women and young people; I know I’m stirring up a tempest in a teapot, but I would like to see the same level of effort put in to creating fake technobabble in shows directed at young women as when they’re pointed towards a male demographic. I guess that may be unreasonable, but the truth is that we all absorb messages from pop culture, and the lack of care taken in shows like these betray a feeling amongst the show writers that no femmes would notice the difference anyway.

Well, I did. So there.

PS:
To Gossip Girl; I can hook a sister up with RSA-encryption and a 4096-bit key. That would keep nosy socialites out of your site. Also, more Bass, please.

XOXO, Cowgirl Coder.