How the Pirate Bay seizure hurt other services

On December 9th the Pirate Bay and related sites went dark. This is not the first time the site has been taken offline but usually it’s caused by scheduled maintenance or the occasional domain seizure.

This time things are a little different. Sites like EZTV, Torrage, Zoink.it, and Open Bittorrent tracker became collateral damage.

I use services Torrage to hold torrent files of my artistic projects like the Pulp Fiction Chronological Cut. This is not just piracy were talking about. It’s used for independent music, videos, and software distribution. Not everyone has the infrastructure to host and share large files with a lot of people and services like Torrage really help.

Torrage and Zoink.it are simple torrent storage lockers. They don’t index the content of the torrent files or even know the names of each torrent. The file name is stripped out and replaced with the torrent’s hash. My Pulp Fiction Remix has a hash of

D9B48BFDE60C681D0D19BF7CB85B16E0DEA5A6FA

therefore the link would be:

Most of these services are coming back online but it’s kind of scary how quickly it disappeared. Even the Pirate Bay itself is starting to show up on certain mirrors already and it’ll probably be business as usual by this time next week.

Firefox Tip: New Tab URL

I don’t mind the default website quick dial that shows up in Firefox when you make a new tab. However having my favorite search page is a lot nicer. Here’s how to set a custom URL for new tabs in Firefox.

To change the new tab URL type about:config in the address bar. You’ll probably be prompted with a warning unless you’ve already disabled it. search for browser.newtab.url and change the Value to any website you like. Enjoy!

How to Make a Video “GIF”

It seems to be all the rage these days.

A video “gif” is a silent video embedded to a site in loop mode. I guess the audio is an optional thing but most go without it.

Step One: Prepare the video file

Use your favorite video editor to trim your video down to just a few seconds. To be an awesome looping “gif”, try your best to make it look seamless. I used kdenlive but almost any modern video editor will work. Render it out to either mp4 (h264) or webm (vp8) or both if you’d like to keep compatibility.

Step Two: The Code

It’s pretty easy. This even works on WordPress.

<video autoplay="autoplay" loop="loop" width="480" height="480">
  <source src="loop.webm" type="video/webm" />
</video>

If you want to add support for h264.

<video autoplay="autoplay" loop="loop" width="480" height="480">
  <source src="loop.webm" type="video/webm" />
  <source src="loop.mp4" type="video/mp4" />
</video>

Enjoy your creation!

Now obviously I don’t expect everyones to be as awesome as mine but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

Feel free to add your own music and enjoy my amazing dance.

Installing Ubuntu with only Android

I found myself in a unique situation last night. I somehow corupted my install of Ubuntu and my installer thumb drive was no where to be found. To make matters worse I don’t have an internet connection at my house. I use my phone’s tethering to access the web.

So I installed DriveDroid and I was able to get my machine back online.

I only have the 16GB Nexus and it’s pretty full right now so I opted to use Ubuntu Mini (Also known as the Net Installer). This ISO for all who don’t know only takes up 40 MB. It’s fast to download and boots entirely to RAM.

Once DriveDroid had mounted Ubuntu mini and booted my machine I was able to switch my phone in to USB tethering and retrieve all the packages I needed. The entire process took only about 30 minutes and my machine was back to normal.

From now on I’m going to keep a copy of Ubuntu Mini on my phone. I was so jazzed by DriveDroid I even dropped the $3 on the full version. (Rare for a cheap bastard like myself).

Doing real work on a tablet: 2014 Edition

About a month ago I sold my Chromebook. It was the HP 14. There was nothing wrong with it as a Chromebook but at the end of the day when it comes to a computer I really want to have Linux. Full unlimited Linux.

Then there was the size. I feel that 14 inches is not nearly as portable as I thought it would be. Lugging around a 14 laptop to do modest computing felt like over kill.

I decided on a Nexus 7. Android is not nearly as locked down as Chrome OS. It didn’t hurt that it was on sale for $150.

WordPress at full resolution with Firefox and SecondScreen.After rooting the tablet and installing CyanogenMod I have been tweaking it to suit my needs. I installed Hacker keyboard to make CSS and SSH through ConnectBot easier. Used SecondScreen to make Firefox scale more like a traditional laptop.

It’s almost flawless.

I can log into my VPS and install applications or edit files. I can log into WordPress sites with a desktop like screen. And it only takes twice as long to complete each task.

Yup. Not exactly efficient but totally functional. The truth is that i rely on a physical keyboard. When people constantly try to claim that the traditional PC is dead they clearly have never tried to set up a VPS with their phone.

Perhaps I’ll try again in the near future with a keyboard on my tablet but somehow i don’t think that’s easier to lug around than a laptop.

Avengers Age of Ultron Leaked Trailer (Updated!)

Here is the full version from Marvel.

Disconnected

Last month I took a trip to visit family in Denver. It was a trip I could barely afford. The trip itself was sponsored by my amazing parents. They wanted me at the first ever family reunion. I can’t thank them enough for the experience.

But like I said, it was a trip I couldn’t afford. With my rent paid but a two week gap in my financial I decided to trim the fat as much as I can.

As of yesterday I have no mobile service. I have no internet access at my house (used my phone for that) and I’ve ported my number to Google voice.

The plan was to switch back to MetroPCS from T-Mobile saving me about $15 a month for near identical service. However the going gets tough, the tough start WiFi calling.

So here is my test of Google Voice as my main provider until i have a enough cash to switch on service. Hopefully Google will have saved my communication situation.

Wish me luck.

UPDATE!

Foutune has smiled upon me in the form on my $50 T-Mobile deposit. I forgot I even put a deposit down.

Metro PCS Sim

Back online with unlimited data the way god intended us to be.

Winter is Coming…

It’s been getting darker earlier. Soon it’ll be completly dark by the time I finally crawl out from the depths of my job. The only tan I will get will emitted by the subtle luminescent glow of my workstation.

So naturally given any opertunity to lay out and bask on the rocks (picture related) will be fully taken advantage of. Early morning bike rides along with full Sundays might be blocked out as I attempt to rekindle my relationship with the sun.

Upside: Almost Christmas light season.

Buying Starbucks with Bitcoin

I’ve been a fan of Bitcoin since I first heard about it a few years back. I geek out on all the things you can do with it. I donated to a Humble Indy Bundle, I’ve bought a shirt from 6 Dollar Shirts.com, and today I just bought a large drink from Starbucks. The magic to buying Starbucks is a site called Coin for Coffee.

BitBucksCoin for Card is powered by Coinbase.  After you select how much you want to spend, the site redirects you to Coinbase and you can use any Bitcoin application you have on your phone to finish the transaction.  Soon you’re greeted with a barcode that represents a Starbucks giftcard.  You can scan just like you do with the official Starbucks app.

Not only does this system a great example of an open cashless system but it also works as a alternative to the card reward programs that collect all the data about you.  This is a near anonymous cashless transfer between you and a major corporation.

On the lookout for other things I can buy with Bitcoin.  Let’s hope that services like Eat24 start taking Bitcoin soon.

Web design Experiment

I’ve decided to edit my site live. I know that it is less than ideal but I figure it’s worth it. So for the next few weeks this site might have a bit of an interesting/half broken look. Enjoy!