Spooky time – Earth 2020 edition

Front page update reminder. The recent content is on the forums. I occasionally come to put some threads on this main page. We are experiencing 2020 and all the splendor it presents us. I could rant about all the things but it’s pretty apparent.

Still making time to play some games and dabble with new hardware. On occasion I do some computer stuff that is not work related and even share some scripts or tweaks I came across either by my own poking around or as usual, by the help of many other people out there sharing awesome content.

Thank you for dropping in and keep taking care of yourself. In the event you have been slacking on self-care, make that a priority – please. Too much serious is never a good time.


Jolly Dec End-ish

It’s that time of year.  Shop for stuff, see a bunch of ‘year in review’ articles and keep an eye out for extra awful legislation to pass.  Besides all that, 2018 is riding out to a close.

Security wise, hmm.  Diversify your portfolio.  By that I mean make sure your credentials to login are really different between sites.  Even if they are moderately doing password security correctly in the database, that doesn’t say the rest of the login stack is authenticating properly or some component is not vulnerable to exploit.  Just for the sake of repeating it, be sure to contaminate data you give to free sites and not like your real name, or other identifiable attributes.  Even if that company is not intending to correlate all that information to build a profile about you, surely some scammer and or data analytic company is looking to.

This year has been stressful but fun.  Considering I haven’t been a teen for a little bit of time (hahaha), the old scope of life is a little more complex than to wake up, do as I wish, have no obligations, etc.  On a fun note I have been hanging out on Discord servers and chatting up with people and being on some Stream chats.  ThugCrowd is one of the main places to find me as I also am the AV person who archives the show episodes, in case of issue with twitch or if you just want them to play offline, by video or mp3.  There are some very cool and smart people on that server, I’m happy to be around these chill people.  I also lurk around The Many Hats Club.  Good people to be found there as well, just many many more people and a faster chat.

Final plug for ThugCrowd, is to peep the archives.  I like archiving stuff, so it gave me a chance to normalize some of my scripts.

Other stuff?  I noticed today I am pretty bad putting content on the front page of the site, so I will back fill October post to the WordPress front end today. :p  I still drive a good bit, dabble in powershell and like setting up raspberry pi devices for various purposes.  Sometimes I sleep too, well ok, I take naps.


Merry Spooky!

Hopefully you are having a nice Halloween!  It’s about mid-60 F temperature wise today.  I will step out for a break shortly.

Game wise, Fallout 76 had a Beta that was kind of a failure, since console and PC players had to download the same 45 GB multiple times.  On the upswing, the next beta window is increased to be from 2pm EST until 11PM EST tomorrow on 2018/11/01.  Most of the other ones are only in around 5 hour blocks, with a release on 11/14.  Speaking of such, Bethesda has their own launcher client now, instead of you being able to just get the game on Steam.  I guess they want in on those market demographics and not paying Steam a cut of sales.

Tech wise, Hmmm hahaha.  Red Hat was bought by IBM.  Kind of big news as I figure that recurring service contract income is a big deal for IBM to be able to attach to their financials.  Red Hat is only going to get bigger, well at least they were poised to before the purchase.  As a mainline Windows systems person, you kind of have to have your head in the sand to deny Linux computing in the server stack.  I have to say the inverse applies to thinking Microsoft is not going to remain in the business stack for some time as well.  But enough of my ideologies. 🙂

I recently got a better webcam so I can play Magic the Gathering with some buddies, using actual cards.  It’s a good time, I just tend to be out a bit between work and the occasional local tech event I like to turn up for.

I also helped the missus install Windows 10 in a VM on her Manjaro install.  She loathes windows so my powers grow stronger by enabling her to do so. Bwhahaha!
Have a nice week!

Oh yeah, we are on the 4th Nightmare on Elm Street film for our Halloween sessions.  She is getting to enjoy them for the first time.


Round up to Fall

I don’t know about you, but it has been pretty damn warm around here lately. In respect to Fall, Southern Tier: Pumking is out again. I have bought a few 4 packs and enjoyed them rapidly. The Mrs had a few but I kicked the last 4 pack solo in the night, last week.

Haha. So yeah when not working, I have been playing a few games and flying a DJI Spark drone. I have about 4 hours of flight time and am having fun dabbling with recording video, taking pictures, testing range and flight maneuvers. Game wise, I fly my drone like I’m playing Watchdogs 2. Granted I have not strapped a Wifi Pinapple to it (yet).

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is awesome. I love that game and I think I made that apparent in it’s thread. I also have about 9 hours into Octopath Traveler. I got it a few weeks after it released but I am enjoying it so far. Good story, each character has their quest line / initial meet sequence, the battle system is pretty good with it’s accrued tactical points and well, I was impressed and liked it much more than I did the demo.

I heard Diablo III / Diablo 3 is coming to Switch. I’m a sucker for portable dungeon crawling so count me in there. Rumor has it you can play local multiplayer without an internet connection too. If I come to your house to visit you, get a Switch lol we can slay some demons and shit.

Reminder I still have thanks to ImmortalBob scoring the domain back. If anyone is playing games and wants to network it up, go nuts those forums are all you. You are welcome to post here too, obviously if you have an account still but I know it’s wild here.

I’m chilling for now but may have some more content going up soon. Mostly random stuff I wish I saw around more. I gotta finish this beer since the cat almost knocked it over. We might get around to watching John Wick tonight. Netflix horror movie selection, kind of sucks.

Original Thread


July greetings

As usual I have been slacking on posting to the front page of the site.  The forums are the active place for newer content.  Some threads of interest so far this year are:


New year Eighteen

Reporting in for another year of computer stuff, video games and general contemplation and rambling. Holy shit though, the whole Spectre and Meltdown turned into more than just an Intel issue and they even got the branded vulnerability treatment. Patches continue to release and be tested, while it looks like you can count on some performance hits in the mitigation of these flaws.

If you have read some of my recent benchmark review threads, you will notice I used the Final Fantasy XIV Benchmark utilities for a couple of years. My laptop seems to have taken a score hit of about 2000 points / 20 FPS but I also have to make sure that’s not just the Oculus 2.0 Beta killing my GPU.

Even stepping aside of the CPU issues, patching has been getting way more rapid. Looking back on 2017, I can remember when devices like QNAP storage servers semi-rarely having firmware updates, to having a new firmware drop monthly. Between all the vulns at *nix kernel levels and core software packages last year, it has been an intensifying ride. Getting all armchair here, but it seems like the days of your biggest concern being default passwords, are getting side–stepped by core component flaws. Not saying default passwords are not still an awful practice, but more that the level of these core vulnerabilities are making the passwords irrelevant in scope.

Other than that, I keep reading tech and various other articles and books when I can. I’m also a big fan of trying to relax in the world of games. I have been spending most of that time on Nintendo titles, Indie Games and VR Content.
I also caught that crazy cold that was going around this week and it had my sinus’ in a knot for at least 2 days straight.

If you work in tech, be sure to take care of yourself. Speaking as someone in a role with limited funding for obsolete equipment, I can say I feel the trying pinch of keeping legacy gear spinning.
Enjoy the new year!


Red Faction

I’m putting a front page post up from tOucan’s post a few months ago.  He is playing on PS4 and presumably PC as well.  Jump in the thread and suggest times you would like to meet up for some games.


Front page back up

I rolled back to WordPress.  Largely for the sake of prior post content and not needing to manually redesign the wheel from scratch.

Here’s hoping it can be viable without add-on plugins installed.  I will back fill some forum posts of interest, since the host migration and rollback from this summer.


15 years

If you check the whois for the site, you may notice it has been around now for 15 years.  If you have old links, they may and should very well still work.

Heart of the site is the forums but I still have content write ups buried away from clickable links.  Most of those are ported PHPNuke or straight up html pages.

Happy 15th to the site!  Thanks to old school visitors and new ones too.

Here are a few oldies.

ATI 9700 vs Nvidia 6800LE graphic card review.
Coldstone’s GTA Vice City Mod Pack.
t0ucan’s Cookies 4 CuBa story.
Ancient forum archive restored <-+ This is where most of the old reviews came from, when I launched the site on PHPNuke, having admin’d the House Of +PLuS+ running the same platform back in 2002-ish.

I have some info from an old Vidomi dvd encoder guide, but that is ancient and kind of useless, compared to using mencoder to convert ripped VOB files to AVI, then merging them.  The Vidomi app was glitchy, at best.
Mencoder bash syntax below for conversation’s sake.

cd /media/user/SourceDisk/Vobs/Cosmos_Disc01/FullDisc/DVD_VIDEO/VIDEO_TS
mencoder 'VTS_01_1.VOB' -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1800 -o 'Cosmos_Disc01 1 of 5.avi' -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -sid 1000
mencoder 'VTS_01_2.VOB' -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1800 -o 'Cosmos_Disc01 2 of 5.avi' -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -sid 1000
mencoder 'VTS_01_3.VOB' -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1800 -o 'Cosmos_Disc01 3 of 5.avi' -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -sid 1000
mencoder 'VTS_01_4.VOB' -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1800 -o 'Cosmos_Disc01 4 of 5.avi' -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -sid 1000
mencoder 'VTS_01_5.VOB' -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=1800 -o 'Cosmos_Disc01 5 of 5.avi' -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=192 -sid 1000
mencoder -oac copy -ovc copy 'Cosmos_Disc01 1 of 5.avi' 'Cosmos_Disc01 2 of 5.avi' 'Cosmos_Disc01 3 of 5.avi' 'Cosmos_Disc01 4 of 5.avi' 'Cosmos_Disc01 5 of 5.avi' -o '/media/user/OutputDisk/Vobs/Cosmos_Disc01.avi'


Pi-Hole config guide

Pi Rasperry Pi-Hole config quide:
Howdy and welcome to another thread.  I have a history of not being a fan of advertisements and do not run those banners on this site.  Besides a security concern, I think advertisement gets really creepy online.
Pi-Hole is an Operating System with dns capabilties and use of adblocking lists.  The added benefit of the request being denied even without plugin-based web browsing, is pretty handy.

Before you install, be sure if you are using a RaspberryPi or whatever device, that your user password is one of your own.  You do not want to go default with your LAN traffic.  If you wanna log a fun time, you can use one of these for short-term logging a little CTF monitoring style.  Logs are configured to purge after a few days on your standard Pi-Hole install. Please be sure to update your OS image with latest patches via said package manager.  In my case I set the primary network connection to a static address.  I have the service connection IP address details to use the actual router as DNS server.  Since all your other network DNS will be set to the fixed IP Address you bound to your Pi-Hole installed device.
SSH is likely disabled.  I like to administer my SSH session by serial to usb in the case of my Raspberry Pi installs.

Follow the install guide and advisory on their site about the bash | pipe install.  Quick comes at a trade off when you do not review the install process part for part.  If you go for the easy install and read the disclaimer, you can run the single line install:

curl -sSL | bash

This thread is for administering and keeping yours updated, as with my configuration I ran into update issues using just the one connection.  Details ahead cover enabling a second connection to fetch updates, since you will have the primary network connection with a set IP address that handles DNS requests handed off from your router / main DNS device on your network.

To do updates to the OS and Pi-Hole local web services device / OS, I disable the service network connection to resolve conflicts of web requests to get out locally.  All the LAN clients will be fine getting pages.  In this case, I suspect the localhost calls in the Pi-Hole logs relate to my network layout and the device being bound to serve back to itself.  When logged into the [deviceIP]/admin configuration page I would also get failures to resolve list update servers.

Having plugged in a second USB NIC or using Wireless as an update connection, I ran the following commands to handle my network adapters.  Turning off the static address service NIC. In most cases likely eth0 as shown below

sudo ifconfig eth0 down

Do some pings and the like to see they should now resolve.  Do your updates etc for the OS.  In my case, Raspbian on a Pi 3.

Once those finish, load up the Web Admin panel for your Pi-hole install. Get your ip address for the active network connection with:


Connect to that IP address in a web browser and add ‘/admin’ into the address bar at the end of the IP Address without the quotes around the path.

Login with your admin password to the admin panel and you should now be able to see updates are pending.  You need to start with the FTL update.  To do this, return to your SSH session.  As I mentioned I am working with serial over USB, but you can enable SSH over network if you so desire.  One more service for a network heavy component, so choose of your own accord in concern to security to conveinence.
On that SSH console, run:

pihole -up

Wait for the updater to get and deploy the new FTL version.  You will likely also be treated to the Web Interface and Pi-Hole version also being to current revisions.  Great!  Almost updated and running live AdBlocking again.
Still on your console, seeing the update completed you want to turn back on the main network connection we disabled for updating.

sudo ifconfig eth0 up

Overviewing network setup above:
Main Internet router will be your DNS server on the Pi-Hole device.  Manually set client DNS or change your DHCP server to set client DNS to the static address of your Pi-Hole install. ( default-ish router)  Check your current IP config to get details if you do not know current network base configuration.
On the Pi-Hole install, set the primary network adapter to an address in that subnet (say  Make sure DHCP server /or/ router will not also try to assign that address in it’s pool.  The Pi-Hole DNS primary will be set to your local router (as above default-ish router

I hope to have avoided huge gaps or inflected confusion in this thread. Jolly adblocking.  Even if you like making money from it, you have to know it is a vulnerable vector and kind of a shaky market.  I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m sharing details to help block them on places that run them without respect to visitors.