Posts Tagged ‘twitter

14
Apr
12

How to have Twitter when you’re not allowed to have Twitter.

Due to a change in our network security policy, I lost access to Twitter. To be accurate, I lost access to a lot of websites and services, but what really cost me was Twitter. I don’t mind not being able to watch Youtube, I don’t mind losing access to services like Yousendit or Wetransfer (although I got to admit this can make my life a bit more difficult at times), but Twitter was too much. So, I decided to find a way to be able to use Twitter while at work.

Disclaimer: What I did could be considered a violation of company policy. Although it’s good for educational purposes, please consider talking to whoever is responsible for your network.

Before I go any further, let me describe the situation a little bit better. What we use is a type of DNS Blacklisting. I am fairly sure that except from blocking and redirecting DNS requests, there’s also IP blacklisting, since I was not able to access blocked sites even when I tried using the IP in a browser. Besides that, port #53 is also blocked, so the standard “ok use another dns server like 8.8.8.8 (Google’s main dns server)” tip, forum members and internet gurus tend to give you, does not work.

Fortunately, DynDNS domains were not blocked. My good old VIA EPIA would do the rest. This time, I decided to take an extra step to making it silent and decided not to use an HDD. Instead I used an 1GB Compact Flash where I mounted /boot and swap space and an 8GB usb flash drive for the rest of the installation. I chose to go with Xubuntu after trying Damn Small Linux and Nimblex, just because I feel more comfortable with Ubuntu. I have to warn you that what I did was probably not a very bright idea. Both CF and the usb are very slow, but for my purpose it is just fine.

After I finished installing, I set up SSH (check to see if it’s legal where you live), SAMBA and then, the most brilliant program ever written: TTYtter. A console Twitter client!

So, the only thing I have to do, is fire up puTTY, connect to the VIA and enjoy a nice Twitter session. It really took my some time to getting used to it, but I assure you despite the fact that it’s command line only, it is more than usable. Yeah I know, my award for the most ridiculous solution will soon be delivered, but in my defense, what I did is a lot faster than using remote desktop or vnc.

If you cannot live without a proper Twitter client (or another piece of software with a gui for that matter), consider running a remote X-Server. If you are on a Windows machine try messing around with cygwin, but expect no help from me. If you have access to a Linux box however, the only thing you need to do is run ssh with the -X  (ssh -X username@server)parameter. Sweet, huh? Combine that with a sweet little program called screen and you will be able to run as many programs as you want.

Have fun!

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05
Aug
10

Seesmic Customer Support!

For quite some time now, I’ve been searching for a Twitter client. The reasons? Many. The web interface is OK, but nothing more than that. Mainly I am interested in being able to create lists and following different kinds of  information easily.

I know there are a ton of programs out there, each one with it’s own pros and cons, trust me I’ve my homework on that. One of the most popular clients is Seesmic. I had used it for some time, but I really don’t like Adobe Air, so I uninstalled it. Recently, I found out that they’ve released a Windows version and thought I could give it a go. I downloaded and installed it, entered my account details and at lightning speed (compared to Air version) I could see my time line.

However, when I tried to post an update, it would give me an error message, informing me that the update failed. Between you and me, I had no desire to look into it, thought it might have something to do with Vista, access rights and whatnot, and uninstalled it. Then I decided to twitt about this:

Seesmic 4 Windows was a disaster… Sticking to web for now…

And that with no intention of blaming the program or anything, I just meant that it didn’t work for me. A few minutes later I receive a mention, from Seesmic, asking me what went wrong and if I could supply them with more info, so they could help me solve the problem! All these years, this is the first time I get customer support without even asking for it! I am beyond impressed I must tell you. They asked me to send them an email, explaining what the problem was and so forth, which I did and the response was almost instant. They also asked me to try out the new Silverlight version of Seesmic and although so far I was avoiding Silverlight, I accepted and I am now testing Seesmic Desktop 2.

I will post my thoughts in a few days. Stay tuned till then.

PS: I am in no way associated with Seesmic or any of the people working there.

03
Sep
09

Parents & the internet – What? Who? What?

In my line of work, it is very common for me to have to answer all kinds of computer related questions, from what is the best lcd monitor one can buy to how can one download porn to how can one spy on his wife. I usually spit out something extremely generalized (and somewhat in-comprehensive), hoping to be left alone, not because I don’t want to share whatever knowledge I may have with others, but because I have come to realize that most people (especially colleagues) do not ask you to learn from you, they do so in hope that you will say “sure, I will fix it for you”. To this day, cases that someone really wanted to learn something from me, needed a little push so he/she could take it from there, are rare.

One question that is really often, is how can one “protect” his/her kids from the dangers of the internet. Check the following semi-real dialogue:

– My 10 year old son spends way too much time on the internet. What should I do?
– What do you mean? You’re feeling alone and want him to keep you company instead?
– Don’t be silly, I am worried that he will watch porn* (or start worshiping satan, or meet pedophiles, or buy drugs, or…)
– Well, yeah, there is the possibility.
– So? What do I do?
– Well, you could… [series of suggestions]
– What? All that? It is a LOT of work! Isn’t there a program or something for this kind of thing? A friend of mine says there is!
– There are such programs, but they require you to… [long explanation about how net-filters work]
– Crap! I thought I only had to throw it in and be done!
– Apparently, this is not the first time you thought that all you had to do is throw it in…
– What?
– Never-mind…

Apart from the obvious, the above conversation shows one other thing: Parents do not know what internet is and most importantly how can they take control of it. You could always pull the plug (just like you do with TV) but you still don’t know what goes on in that little box your kid spends so much time with. Thankfully I was browsing Geeks Are Sexy, and came across this:

Problem solved! You only have to follow the instructions in the video and you will be able to spy on your children, control their digital lives, threaten their friends and a bunch of other interesting things!

I have to apologize to all of you who thought that they would read something serious, or even a ranting and were “tricked” into watching a humorous video, but the truth is that I do not have the patience to deal with this matter more seriously than this. See, being a parent, means above all else, being responsible. Yes, internet might seem scary, unknown or simply too much work, but it is your kid we’re talking about. Invest some time…

07
May
09

Twitter this!

twitter_logo_header

Do you have to say something in just 140 characters? Do you want to allow all of your friends to know what you are up to?  Then you probably already know twitter and are laughing at my face right now…

Yes, I admit, I have never used this before, I don’t know it’s capabilities, it’s impact on micro-blogging, how it works as a social media. And to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have unless a certain someone, didn’t. I would feel a bit older otherwise…

Do I have something to say? I don’t know… We will see. You can check the upper right corner of this blog to see my twitter updates ^^




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