26 February 2009 - 12:24amBears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

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Google it.

Today I finished migrating everything over to my new web host. All of my websites seem to be running fine and I’ve begun taking advantage of some of the features that DreamHost has to offer. If you find something wrong with the site anywhere, leave a comment and let me know so that I can take care of it.

This week, I worked on my first programming assignment for Computer Graphics. It took 300 lines of C to create a flat surface and a ball that rolls around when you press the arrow keys. Ridiculous. Once Ryan and I figured out how to do it properly it was a pretty neat assignment. I actually feel a sense of accomplishment now that I’ve finished it.

I guess that’s about it.

P.S. I’ve taken the limited time scrolling, blinking title feature offline. If you missed it, you missed out!

2 Comments | Categories: Clarkson, COSI, Life

24 February 2009 - 2:40pmPacking up and moving out

I recently discovered that it is possible for me to cancel my account on Bluehost and be refunded the balance of what I’ve paid in advance. This is pretty sweet because I’d like to be able to take advantage of the features that Dreamhost has to offer (SVN, WebSVN, etc.).

So, today I started backing everything up and I think I’ll be making the move soon. During that time this site and the few others I have on this account will be offline, though hopefully not for too long.

I’m not 100% sure on the process quite yet. I need to make sure all my domain names get transferred properly, which may involve having both accounts active for the transition. Once I have everything transferred, I should be okay to cancel the old account. First, I plan to talk to someone at Bluehost to verify that I will be refunded the appropriate money upon cancelling my account.

So, over the next couple days, if this site is unavailable for a little bit, you’ll know why.

1 Comment | Categories: General

11 February 2009 - 4:46pmSSH Port Forwarding


For some reason, Clarkson has recently found it necessary to block incoming requests to dorm subnets, making it impossible to directly access your campus-connected computer from somewhere else in the world.  This is very frustrating, especially if you host services on your computer, such as Subversion, a web server or other things.

To remedy this situation, I’ve done a little reading on using SSH to forward ports from your computer to a remote computer, thus providing a pathway (encrypted, I might add) from your off campus computer to some location on campus.  This is quite beneficial for a number of reasons and I’ll list some examples to help me explain.

First, I used the following SSH command the other day to download a file from the web server running on Ryan‘s computer:

ssh -D 8080 -Nf <username>@<ssh server on campus>

This accomplishes a few things.  First, it creates an encrypted connection between your computer and some server on campus (obviously one that’s accessible from the world).  Secondly, the -D 8080 portion creates a SOCKS v5 proxy on your local machine that forwards all requests it receives across the ssh connection.  This means that if you open Firefox’s connection settings and set your SOCKS v5 proxy to localhost:8080, you can access webpages as if you were directly connected to the Clarkson network.

Second, I used this command just today to access my computer’s Subversion repositories (over http):

ssh -Nf -L8080:<remote server>:80 <username>@<ssh server on campus>

I was then able to check out code from Subversion on my campus-connected computer using svn co http://localhost:8080/svn/.  Everything requested from localhost:8080 is sent over the SSH connection to the port on the remote server specified.  This same idea can be applied to any ports you might need… 3389 for remote desktop, 22 for SSH, 20/21 for ftp, etc.

I should also mention the -Nf portion of each command.  -N tells ssh not to execute remote commands, aka, don’t give a command prompt after connecting.  The -f piece simply sends the ssh session to the background once connected.  Both of these are particularly useful when using SSH to forward ports for other services.

I’m sure this is just touching on the surface of what’s possible when using the port forwarding features of SSH.  These two ways of doing it have proven very useful for me and at least now they’re documented here for me to reference.  Hopefully you find them helpful too.

P.S. For a limited time only, please enjoy the improperly nested blinking marquee at the top of the page!  No telling when this feature will vanish, so soak it up while you still can!

Leave a Comment | Categories: Clarkson, COSI, General

5 February 2009 - 6:35pmMore Subversion

A few months back I posted briefly about how I set up a Subversion server on an Ubuntu virtual machine.  That virtual machine was set up using Virtual Box which I’ve since decided is sort of a pain to use.  As a result, I uninstalled Virtual Box and removed all of the VMs created under it (losing the Subversion server in the process).

For COMM 444 I had to create a Fedora VM for “learning” on.  I decided to give VMWare Server a try and have been mostly impressed with the quality of it.  Setting up a Fedora installation was pretty painless and it runs so well on my machine that I’ve been using it to do schoolwork and such on (as opposed to using polaris, which has some annoyances).  Today in class, Tino mentioned that if we were responsible developers we would probably be using some sort of version control system while we write our compiler.  That way, when we finish building a piece of it and get it all working, we’ll always have the code at that particular moment so that next week when we break it beyond repair (or accidentally delete everything) we can go back to the way it was.

So I took his advice and spent some time after class getting a Subversion server set up in the Fedora VM I already have set up.  To get it going, I used this article on the COSI wiki and this post on my blog (which references a few other articles).  I should note that using the version of WebSVN from their site (as opposed to the one available in the Ubuntu repository) means that the sweet theme I worked so hard to find last time I set this up is included as the default.

There is still one fairly obvious issue and that’s the fact that, though I’m committing all my changes to SVN, they’re not really being backed up to some other location.  Both my working copy and the SVN revisioned one are on the same hard drive.  That means that if my computer bites the dust, I’ve still lost everything I worked on.  I’ll be trying to figure out some form of backups soon, but until then at least I have revisioning under control.

1 Comment | Categories: COSI, Technology