How To: Save yourself from stupid Tech Support Questions

Almost every other geek is pwned by his friends or people he/she knows by their stupid tech support questions. And sometime they drag you to the limits that you get frustrated enough to shoot yourself and bang your head onto your computer screen 😛 How on earth can someone be so stupid 😛 But luckily I found a Pidgin Plugin called STFW(Search The F**king Web). This is one really awesome plugin I have seen recently and I (and most other geeks) needed something like this for ages :)

What it does?

When somebody asks you a question, you can reply back with relevant keywords from the message you received prefixed with the command /stfw. The plugin will automatically convert the keywords to a URL understood by the site Let Me Google That For You (lmgtfy.com) and asker will get a URL like this http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+http.

How to use?

The Download, installation and usage instruction can be seen on plugin page. So, when someone ask you “Wireless not working on my laptop”, just reply back with the following message

/stfw Wireless not working on my laptop

C’mon guys, ask me tech support questions 😛

 

How To: New Mail Notification

mbooth commented on one of my last post (How To: GNOME GMail Notifier) informing that he/she uses mail-notification. I was curious to check it out for mail via IMAP and I found it way more useful as compared to Gnome Gmail Notifier. I especially like the option to configure it to check the mails every ten seconds. Thats way cool for anxious people like me :) Keeping in mind the huge advantages of mail-notification, I thought of writing an howto for configuring it :)

Install Mail Notification

Installing something can’t be simpler. Just use the following command as root

[root@fedora ~]$ yum install mail-notification

Configuring mail-notification is very simple. Its as easy as it can get but there are tricks for special cases like Gmail for  Google Apps hosted websites.

Launch Mail Notification

Mail notification loses a point here. It doesn’t show up in any of the menus. You have to launch it from command line. You can launch mail-notification from System -> Preferences -> Mail Notification (Thanks mbooth for correcting). Or use the following command as normal user to launch mail notification

[saini@fedora ~]$ mail-notification -p

Configure Status Icon Behaviour

On mail notification properties windows, select Status Icon tab and choose the appropriate behaviour.

Mail Notification Status Icon Action

New Message Popup Settings

Now go to Message Popups tab, and select appropriate options. If you don’t enable popups, using mail notification doesn’t really make sense (though none can prevent you from doing so :) ). Keeping popus stacked is good because it shows you all messages in case you get more than one new mails in an interval. Also, you can configure the expiration time for the popups.

Mail Notification Message Popups Settings

Add New Mailbox

Now select General tab and click of Add button. Mail-notification supports checking new mails from Evolution, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Mail, any IMAP and POP3 Server and moreover your system mailbox :) Select Gmail for mailbox type. Enter username and password for Gmail account.

Mail Notification Supported Mailboxes

Mail Notification Add Gmail Account

Now move over to Details tab and set delay between checking mails. I keep it 10 seconds :)

Mail Notification Gmail Account Settings

Add a Google Apps Hosted Email Account

This is totally optional :) Now we’ll add a Google Apps hosted account. This is a bit tricky. For mailbox type, you’ll have to select Gmail. For username, you’ll have to provide your email address.

Mail Notification Add Google Apps Hosted Account

Also, the mailbox name has to be modified in this case to make things work. Move over to Details tab and change mailbox name to your email address.

Mail Notification Google Apps Hosted Account Settings

Add a new IMAP mailbox (Gmail)

This is totally optional :) Keep mailbox type as IMAP. IMAP Server has to be imap.gmail.com . Username and password are same as Gmail Account.

Note: For this mailbox to work, you’ll have to enable IMAP in settings tab in Gmail.

Mail Notification Gmail IMAP Account

Now move over to Connection tab. Connection for Gmail IMAP has to be SSL enabled. So, select “SSL/TLS on separate port” and make sure the port number is 993.

Mail Notification Gmail IMAP Account Connection Settings

Well thats all you need to do for configuring things for getting new mail notifications lightning fast :) Now sit back and relax until someone sends you a mail :)

The only major disadvantage that I found with mail-notification is that it doesn’t stay in notification area all the time. It appears only when there is a new mail.

 

How To: GNOME GMail Notifier

GNOME GMail (Google GMail) Notifier is an awesome tool for GNOME/Linux users if you are addicted to checking mails every few minutes. GMail Notifier solves a bit of your problems by notifying about multiple gmail accounts. One more plus point is that it can display GMail Notifications for new mails in accounts for which you are using Google Apps. Below is a step by step howto on installing and configuring GMail Notifier in Fedora (may apply to other distros as well).

Install GNOME GMail Notifier

You can download and install it from GNOME GMail notifier home page or just use yum

[root@fedora ~]$ yum install gnome-gmail-notifier

Launch Gmail Notifier

If installation was successful, go to Applications -> Internet -> Gmail Notifier.

GNOME Gmail Notifier

Open Preferences

Right click on Email icon in taskbar and click Preferences.

GNOME Gmail Notifier Select Prefreneces

Select Preferences

Set inbox update time to 1 minute. Check display notifications for new messages and errors. Also select a sound to play for new mails.

GNOME Gmail Notifier Prefreneces

Add GMail Account

Click Add on preferences window and add your GMail account.

GNOME Gmail Notifier Add GMail Account

Add Mail Account (Google Apps) (Optional)

If you don’t know what Google Apps is, leave this step. If you do know, then add your mail account.

GNOME Gmail Notifier Add Google Apps Account

Check Mail

If you can’t wait for 1 minutes to see GMail Notifier in action, just right click on email icon in taskbar and click Check Mail.

GNOME Gmail Notifier Check New Mails

Mail Notifications

Whenever you get a new mail, you’ll have bubble like the one in image below and a sound will also be played.

GNOME Gmail Notifier New Mail Notification

Enjoy the notifications :)

 

MSN Crawlers Pawned

After seeing the way MSN crawled my last post, I just realized why Microsoft could never do good in Search Engine Market :)

I wonder why MSN would crawler same page from two different machines. I wonder if a single page can be divided further for crawling. Checkout the screenshots below :)

Why Google Wins

A few minutes later. Three Microsoft machines were crawling the same page 😛

MSN Crawler Pawned

I have conformed using ARIN that all these IPs belong to Microsoft 😀

 

Crack: Google Authentication Services are Vulnerable

There is a vulnerability in the way Google authentication service works. Whenever you login to any of the Google’s online services like GMail, Orkut, Groups, Docs, Youtube, Calendar etc., you are redirected to an authentication server which authenticates against the entered username and password and redirect back to the required service (GMail, Youtube etc.) setting the session variables.

Now, if you are able to grab the url used to set the session variables, you can login as the user to whom that url belongs from any machine on the Internet (need not be the machine belonging to the same subnet) without entering the username and password of the user.

The proxy servers in the organizations can be used to exploit this vulnerability. Squid is the most popular proxy server used. In the default configuration, squid strips the query terms of a url before logging. So, this vulnerability can’t be exploited. But if you turn off the stripping mechanism by adding the line shown below, then squid will log the complete url.

strip_query_terms off

So, after turning stripping mechanism off, the log will contain urls which will look like this

http://www.google.co.in/accounts/SetSID?ssdc=1&sidt=Q5UrfB0BAAA%3D.oHVGErODzffQ%2Bms%2FOKfk53g5naReDKehRNHOBsmJlBu3VTNXjF03SbgX%2FVEEhmImhR4mlu5IAAjM%2BdbuXvMMSIb0oU8IGCYpnLcSNkbCIrG%2BQnm81YmX5%2Brcrq7U6Qx65%2F1yaQ2NzgmKD94jg0Iw13iXDen3qD5qn6L%2FhmmYWwTrcOeuTzGbO%2BAehpjEU3mrWapRafaq3b4kxyigJ68s8QrGQqZTINNE%2Bs%2BoIkZWmGt5kNzoT8fkVAsWJeu3CKFkxj4oVMngeDvpwb1nyFpsJCltOzmAr46fTxVJSpvQdx0%3D.BMLtjUdIDCcuszktZSvYzA%3D%3D&continue=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.orkut.com%2FRedirLogin.aspx%3Fmsg%3D0%26ts%3D1226148773097%3A1226148773386%3A1226148774868%26auth%3DDQAAAIcAAAC1pPE1QT4chKgrU4B3oyKZrQRkEVPtYlclpESQoXV_d9x9gdoe75Z0hfJ_22Pn5tVMR7j-uV5YCps3NB48L0bFlDeX-4PGHVT6Loztp_ru3tAy_gxDa9_YAEbz4d9CO4wD2VTKtzax9zvpGgrnJVZQfoWPkkIomUmxDtVGoH7g3fA3UjS0vdBJ2PJtgFMElso

Replace .co.in with your tld specific to your country. If you paste this url in any browser, it’ll directly log you in and you can do whatever you want to that account. Remember that all such urls remains valid only for two minutes. So, if you use that url after two minutes, it’ll lead nowhere.

At the time of writing this post Orkut, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Books and Youtube are vulnerable.

So, make sure your squid has stripping mechanism turned on and your squid server is properly firewalled.

You can watch the Video proof for Orkut on Blip.tv, Youtube.

 

Google is Fastest

While testing a piece of code for my squid plugin, I ended up changing permissions of /tmp/ directory to 0755. A few minutes later (after making changes to the code), I tried committing it to fedorapeople.org and got this error

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[project@bordeaux youtube_cache]$ git push --all ssh://kulbirsaini@fedorapeople.org/~kulbirsaini/public_git/youtube_cache.git
Enter passphrase for key '/home2/Studies/project/.ssh/id_rsa':
ssh_control_listener bind(): Permission denied
fatal: The remote end hung up unexpectedly
error: failed to push to 'ssh://kulbirsaini@fedorapeople.org/~kulbirsaini/public_git/youtube_cache.git'
[project@bordeaux youtube_cache]$

Well, I couldn’t understand the error and jumped to #fedora-admin. I pasted the error on pastebin. Almost a minute laster, while trying to conquer the error, I Googled the exact error and I was damn surprised to see the paste as first result. What an indexing speed Google has??? See the screen shot for proof :)

Google is Fastest

In #fedora-admin ricky confirmed that nothing was wrong on server side and it should be a local problem with my machine or proxy server at my insti border. A few minutes later, I reliazed the /tmp/ permission thing and changing permissions back to 0777 fixed everything :)

 

Info: Spicebird 0.7 Pre with Awesome Features

Spicebird is

your one platform for many collaboration needs. It provides e-mail, calendaring and instant messaging with intuitive integration and unlimited extensibility.

Spicebird beta 0.7 pre release is out now and can be downloaded in 10 languages from the i10n nightly build archive. For the latest nightly build of English version, check this English nightly build archive.

Some of the new features in version 0.7 are

  • Google Applets in Home Tab
    • You can add Google applets in the Home tab. For example: On home tab, click Add Applet -> Google Applet. Add a url to Google applet (e.g. Google Map Search). And you’ll have a nice Google map on your home page :)
    • Or add date & time applet ( this url )
    • Or from the thousands of applets available from Google :)

Google Applets in Spicebird

  • Auto Update Feature
    • Spicebird now checks for updates automatically :)

Spicebird Auto Update

  • Its way faster than the previous version. Thats my personal opinion. I was using Spicebird beta 0.4 since more than 6 months.

Check the official release announcement for more details.

How to install Spicebird for test usage

Download

Get the latest version of Spicebird from nighty build archive.

Extract and Move

Extract the Spicebird archive file as

[root@localhost ~]# tar -xjf spicebird-beta-0.7pre.en-US.linux-i686.tar.bz2 [ENTER]

Move the extracted directory to /opt/

[root@localhost ~]# mv spicebird-beta /opt/ [ENTER]

Create shortcut on Panel

Right click on Gnome panel and click “Add to Panel

Add Spicebird to Panel

Click on “Custom Application Launcher”

Spicebird Custom Application Launcher

Fill in appropriate details as shown in the following image

Spicebird Create Application Launcher

Choose an icon for Spicebird by clicking the “No Icon” button on the top left corner.

Spicebird Launcher Icon

Click Ok. And you are done. Now click the new icon that has just appeared on the panel. Rest of the configuration like account creation and settings is exactly same as Thunderbird or Evolution or any other mail client.

Reference : Spicebird Official Website