Friday, February 10, 2012

Outsmart Windows screensaver

From time to time you'll get an environment where the Windows boxes are so locked down that it's a huge pain to try to play with the settings to avoid the screensaver locking the screen, etc. Also, there may be some cases where you just need to temporarily get around a screensaver/power settings for a Powerpoint or something. Maybe you are on somebody else's network and don't want them to get miffed about configuration changes being made. Or maybe you have a gray hat use in which case you are a loser.

Well, these all sound like a case for getting the awesome free lightweight application Caffeine to make your life easy.  Simply download and unzip the executable and run the completely portable app from your hard drive, thumb drive, network drive or cloud drive -- no admin privileges required and no install necessary! If you give onsite presentations to your customers in their conference rooms, etc. and are sick of annoying screensavers, then give it a whirl!

Basically, when you run the executable it places an icon in your taskbar and immediately starts its screensaver-toasting wonders. You can use the taskbar icon to disable it temporarily or exit. If you want to get fancy, you can use the command line switches. The beauty of it is that this is simply a standalone executable that emulates a F15 key up event every 59 seconds.

Don't forget, this app has some pretty serious security ramifications, so use with care. There are huge benefits to computers' screensavers locking the screen to require a password when inactive. If you step away for coffee and the janitor snoops on your email, you may be kicking yourself in the back of the head with great force. Consider only using this application as a temporary measure for special cases and if you are going to be within view of your computer. Don't be stupid. Don't hack yourself.

I've tested this on XP Pro 32 bit and 7 Pro 32 bit and it appears to work even without admin privileges. The maker's website also has other freeware-awesomeness apps so check them out, for sure!

In addition to the hotlink above, you can download Caffeine from my online storage here. Enjoy the Caffeine high!

UPDATE: Mac users, you can run the command "caffeinate" from the Terminal to achieve the same thing! (Run "man caffeinate" to see options.) Or, download Caffeine from the App Store!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

iPhone can't open photo app

My non-jailbroken iPhone 4, 8 GB, iOS 5.0 never worked quite right from the beginning. It was slow and unstable, requiring a reboot every other day. Then it started acting really blah and failing to open the photo app along with the camera making weird blank black photos. It got bad when it started failing to open all kinds of various apps. Also, the Windows photo/scanning wizard couldn't see it, so I am guessing there was a file system problem maybe.

I decided that since the nearest Apple store is like 2 hours away that I better start with an iOS reload. However, I didn't want to upgrade to 5.0.1 and iTunes would not let me restore to factory as 5.0 or load the 5.0 ipsw manually, despite hack attempts. (It was trying to force me to upgrade.)

Running out of time for research, I decided that it was worth a try to use Settings>General>Reset>Erase All Content and Settings. This of course deletes all of your data and so I backed up what I could first. So...yes! This actually has fixed my problem and the phone is behaving quite nicely now!

Sorry, Apple. I got around upgrading the iOS...Ha...!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Get the public IP of your *nix box via CLI

If you need a quick and easy way to get the public facing IP address of your Unix/Linux server in runlevel 3 (no GUI, and therefore no browser), try this. This method is especially helpful if there is no command-line based browser installed and you don't feel like installing one. (Wget and Curl may be more likely to already be installed.)

Hints: is possibly more reliable, but if you need a nicer format (just the IP only), try using (lol) as shown below. Method 2b is perhaps the easiest and cleanest, but Method 1a is the most fool-proof.

UPDATE 11/15/2012: Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an even better Method 3!

Method 1a:

[~]$ wget -O myip.txt
--2012-02-02 13:26:43--
Resolving,, [These are not the IPs you want.]
Connecting to||:80... connected. [This is not the IP you want.]
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 107 [text/html]
Saving to: “myip.txt”

100%[===========================================================================================================>] 107         --.-K/s   in 0s     

2012-02-02 13:26:43 (33.2 MB/s) - “myip.txt” saved [107/107]

[~]$ cat myip.txt
<html><head><title>Current IP Check</title></head><body>Current IP Address: x.x.x.x</body></html>

Method 1b:

[~]$ wget -O myip2.txt
--2012-02-02 13:27:07--
Resolving, 2606:f200:0:7::baad:d00d [These are not the IPs you want.]
Connecting to||:80... connected. [This is not the IP you want.]
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 16 [text/plain]
Saving to: “myip2.txt”

100%[===========================================================================================================>] 16          --.-K/s   in 0s     

2012-02-02 13:27:07 (1.34 MB/s) - “myip2.txt” saved [16/16]

[~]$ cat myip2.txt

Method 2a:

[~]$ curl
<html><head><title>Current IP Check</title></head><body>Current IP Address: x.x.x.x</body></html>

Method 2b:

[~]$ curl

UPDATED METHOD 3 11/15/2012:
# wget -q -O -
# wget -q -O -
<html><head><title>Current IP Check</title></head><body>Current IP Address: x.x.x.x</body></html>