Category Archives: Technology

Vanity Bitcoin Keys

So it’s been a while since I’ve talked about bitcoin and I’ve recently gotten more interested now that the prices have grown significantly. So I started explaining it to some friends at school and have gotten them interested as well. So of course I wanted a nice and custom key to show off, and it’s really quite easy with tools like vanitygen by samr7 over on the bitcoin forums which is the tool that we will be using for this post.

Because it’s actually doing alot of math to figure out (or more correctly guess) at the key, the longer you want your custom key to be, the longer you will have to crunch these numbers so don’t get too crazy with it.

The tool has several options but most of them won’t be used, in fact I only use one of the possible flags below, but there are more, you can view them by running vanitygen.exe with the “-h” flag, or just save this as something like help.bat in the same folder as vanitygen.exe and double-click the .bat file to run the help command for you.

Now that you have read the options the batch file below might make more sense, we are going to ask you for the pattern you want your custom key to have, and decided if you want it case-sensitive which takes MUCH longer, and might have strings that are not allowed, but it’ll error out if it does so you can try something different.

So save this file as something like vanity.bat in the same folder as vanitygen and run it. (Change the highlighted lines 19 and 23 to reflect the executable you are going to use for your system. (ie: if on a 64 bit system you would use vanitygen64.exe, on a gpu you would use oclvanitygen.exe)

Here is what the output of the script does (note, I’ve highlighted the user input for clarity, there is no color in the actual script results, and No this key should NOT be used!):

vanity.bat result

Then create a shortcut on your desktop for vanity.bat and change the icon to something that you prefer, I’ve added the image I use below for fun, and then just run this anytime you (or a friend) want a custom wallet key!

As for wallet’s, I use the Armory wallet but for most users I would recommend multibit as it’s much faster, and much smaller, but you do give up some freedom and security relying on others where armory can offer a true TNO security standpoint, just my 2 bitcents on that topic, now get mining!


Stream My Pi

Alright, so most of my friends already know, I’ve recieved one of my Raspberry Pi computers!


So being my old love is streaming radio, I figured why not get this little guy pushing out some tunes for me!

MPD To the rescue!

Now I did a post for Ubuntu 10.04 a while ago where I had custom compiled a .deb file that included mp3 support, however the new version of MPD for the pi has it already built in! Double sweet!

So here’s how to get it started.

First install a few apps. I personally prefer ncmpcpp as my local client to control my MPD stream from the cli. And of course you’ll need to install MPD.


Type in “Y” when it asks if you would like to install the dependencies as well, let it run and install your requested apps.

Shucks, you’re already half way done!

Now you just need to configure your server (mpd) and client (ncmpcpp) to cut down on overhead I’ll just be using the built in httpd stream as well as the alsa mixer, however the config files are much more built out with better examples then they had on my last post, so configuring them should be quite simple these days.

In order to get MPD working as your local user “pi” in this case, we’ll first need to create some directories and files. Enter in the following commands one at a time from the pi user’s home directory.

That will create the “state” and “pid” file in your .mpd folder and the “cache” and “sticker.sql” files in your .mpd/db folder.

Now let’s backup the original mpd.conf file and then edit the original file.

You can copy it straight up if you like, as your username is most likely “pi” as well. I’ve set my default music folder to “/home/pi/Music” and Playlists to “/home/pi/Playlists” if you don’t have these directories either, go ahead and make them with the mkdir command, I’ll wait.

Alright, here’s my /etc/mpd.conf file (click it to expand, it’s kinda long):

I went and left all of the default comments in there, but of course if you want to make it more readable feel free to remove what you don’t use.

So, yea. MPD’s ready. Just restart it.

Now let’s get our client up and running so we can start playing some music!

This one’s a little more tricky as the default config file is hiding and compressed.

First let’s create the local config directory like we did for MPD.

and let’s copy the example config over to our new directory.

and then extract it.

Now go ahead and edit that file.

Again, these are the settings I used, but it’s well documented so feel free to make changes as well. Here is my config for ncmpcpp (again, click it to expand it, it’s even longer…)

So yea. That’s it! You should be up and running!

Start ncmpcpp in a tty with the logical command of “ncmpcpp” This will open the client app and allow you to start playing music! Being it’s a command line app, most of the work is done with keyboard commands. Press the number “1″ on your keyboard (NOT on the 10key if you have one to the right of your normal keyboard but the numbers above the qwerty row) and you will be shown a VERY long list of keyboard commands to control ncmpcpp, however the arrow and space and enter key’s will get you through most of it easily.

Plug it in to your amplifier, or better yet, grab your android phone and grab the free app called “MPDroid” it’s the best app I’ve found to interface with MPD. Now you can control your music from your phone, and get a stream of it sent TO your phone as well! No wires needed! (however it will be significantly buffered, so be patient when you first choose to start your stream)

Not too bad right!

Enjoy and if you have any questions, feel free to post a comment, here or in our forums, or even in my IRC hangout at !

Coining the term “PirateDriving”

So I’ve long been a fan of wardriving which is the act of driving around with a laptop sniffing packets of open (and closed) wifi access points (Great android app, check out or search the android market for wigle wifi). However I’ve yet to hear of a term defining driving around with an open wifi access point (such as my piratebox) offering content instead of looking for other’s. So following the spirit of merging the two concepts that brought me to this head, I’ll just start calling it “PirateDriving”.

I’ll be running around Martinez/Concord/Pleasent Hill/Walnut Creek area’s in California the next few weeks with my piratebox hooked up to my power inverter and my piratebox running. When I’ll be parked for a while I’ll be the white truck with several antenna’s on the roof and one really long stainless steel whip that stand’s at around 12′ in the air. Feel free to approach me, I’m harmless I promise, and I just might have some decent content you might be looking for! Wifi First Run
An example of "wardriving" using GPS logging.

Loving the new server install.

So as you may remember I have updated the server’s hosting this and many other site’s I own (and a few I don’t) and have installed ispconfig3 on debian, and it really is the perfect server setup!

I just updated wordpress automatically (never been able to do that before!) and it worked great! Mad props to, debian, howtofordge apache, lighttpd and ispconfig3 for providing absolutely great and free software and support! I’m a happy sys-admin :D

Asus wl-330gE Antenna mod.

First off I’d like to give credit where credit is due.

I only found out about this awesome mini wireless router due to the PirateBox project that I’m currently in the middle of building. In the information on their site they link to a picassa photo collection on modding the antenna of this router. However the info and recommendations we’re left to be improved upon in my opinion so I figured I’d do it myself.

To start you need to get the router open. If your still kinda new to modding hardware often times the screws are hidden under the rubber feet. This happens to be the case on the asus wl-330gE. There are two screws under the feet closest to the “top” if it were hanging on a wall using the included slot.

After you remove the 2 screws the unit simply unfolds in half.

The hookup is the same as in the other post, ground wire is the shielding on the antenna cable, antenna is the small center wire.

Measure out enough wire that it will make both contact’s however the insulation is as close to the solder point’s as possible so that no shorting will happen due to the exposed shielding touching something it’s not supposed to. If you cut off too much insulation, adding some heat shrink tubing to the wire before you solder it on is a good alternative.

Then just take a razor knife and make a parallel cut up the side of the shielding (that braided wire showing in the pic above) so that you can twist it up into it’s own wire.

If your going to be making a slot you can do this later, if you want a nice finished hole drill a hole and put your wire through it FIRST! (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve soldered something and forgot to put it through a cover first…)

Once you have the two wires ready, put a dot of extra solder on each of the antenna points *use a rosin core wire!* so that you don’t have to keep alot of heat on the board, you’ll be soldering close to other connections, 2-3 seconds max! Then apply the soldering iron to the wire get it to where it’s soaked up some solder on each wire (center and shielding) then touch the iron to the points already on the board and let the wire squish into the beads. Cut off any extra wire.

blurry I know but it's the best of the 4 I tried to get :/

Now that your antenna’s connected you just need to put it back together! If you have any zip ties laying around putting one inside your case attached to your antenna wire with a little slack is a good idea. It keeps the strain off of your soldering connections.

Zip tie in the top right for strain relief.

A little dremel work to get rid of the stock antenna holders (they get in the way of the new soldering points and wire)

Put your two halves of the case back together and viola! Your pimping new asus mini router with a not so mini range! Put dd-wrt firmware and boost the output a little (I’d keep it under 90 myself) and this thing really pumps it out!

Showing off the size differences
I really like how this one came out :)


Deluge Torrent – My New Favorite Bit Torrent app!

So I’ve tried the Deluge-Torrent client a few times before, in different releases and on different os’s. I’m here to tell you in the past couple of years, they’ve made LEAPS and BOUNDS of improvements!

There’s plugins that let you do alot of powerful manipulation (like automatically extract downloads, move them into folders etc.) but my personal favorite option, the daemon with a remote gui.

That mean’s I can run the daemon on my headless server, install the client on any machine I have with me like my laptop, and then connect the laptop’s GUI to the daemon running on my server!

This is a huge game changer imho!

That means that I start my torrent client, it connects to my server which is always on, and let’s me add, remove, or edit any torrent running on my server from the gui on my laptop!

Now seedboxes need to start taking a look at this, as it is so much cleaner then a web-ui (which deluge also offers a great one as well ) and easier as it looks and works just like a normal torrent client, it just happens to connect to a server instead of running locally.

Here’s a screenshot of what I’m talking about (sorry about the very dark theme, I do alot of work at night.)

As you can see the connection manager (found by going to preferences and un-checking the “classic mode” option under interface) is connected internally to my server which is actually doing all of the heavy lifting of sharing those files. (it’s quite resource friendly too being it doesn’t need any gui for itself) it uses python and libtorrent.

Shortly said, get it, try it (fully cross platform compatable!) LOVE DELUGE!

Yubico and Authlite, Finally 2 factor login for windows!

First of if you don’t know what 2 factor authentication is, in the most common usage practice is a password (1st factor) and something else, usually an object or piece of paper with random passwords (2nd factor) to be entered in allowing passage through whatever login your dealing with, often using a One Time Pad (OTP) which is a password that you’ll only ever use once and should never repeat itself.

If your paranoid you’ve already heard of and gotten yourself a yubikey from if not hold on a sec and check out what I’m about to drop on ya. (here’s a quick pic of my daily usb devices)

Up until now I’ve loved my yubikey, hell I have to use it to post on this site, but have always wanted a OTP enabled windows login. Authlite has teamed up with Yubico and fixed this!

Not only has Authlite fixed this problem they offer yubikey enabled almost everything on the windows platform! (Come on linux version!) From remote access, Active directory, and the all important Windows Login!

I’m very excited! I’ve already ordered my bundle and anxiously await it!