So… Tangential much?!

Can you upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 *without* losing all your programs, settings, etc? Answer to that is “yes, with a but”.

It’s easy enough in principle, you just have to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista, and then you go from Windows Vista to Windows 7. I hope you have (a) a known good full backup, and (b) 48-96 hours to spare, cause neither of those upgrades is likely to be terribly quick on a machine that’s been in use for a good few years.

“Why do you pose the question?”, you might be asking? Well, at work we still have a few machines running XP, and I’m OK with that. Microsoft have shown that even though they don’t support it any more, they are still patching any giant holes (IE anyone?). The only problem is that one of those XP machines is a laptop used by a remote developer, and latest OpenVPN is exhibiting some weird inconsistencies with XP (sometimes won’t connect to Windows network shares, definitely won’t connect to Exchange server, and refuses to post info back to one of our internal web services). I’m in conversation with both OpenVPN and pfSense about it, but I’m thinking the quickest fix might well be to upgrade the laptop in question.

Which brings us to the second option that Microsoft offer us: clean install Windows 7 and reinstall programs, settings, etc. It can be a metric tonne quicker (hour to do a fresh Windows 7 install, and maybe a few hours to reinstall all the truly important programs that the machine in question has), and it will reset any “winrot” that the machine has. Plus, no need to get a copy of Vista (not everyone has access to MSDN).

The decision isn’t mine in this case, but if it were, I know which option I would choose (hint: the quicker one).

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Blog updates

Been a long old while since I felt like posting anything here (other than the automated posts from YouTube…) but I finally got my ass in gear and updated from lighttpd to nginx (something I’ve been meaning to do for *SO* long). While I was at it I also got myself an SSL certificate (free, from StartSSL) and configured nginx (using this post here) to harden everything against the known SSL attacks (POODLE and BEAST). I am currently getting an SSL Labs “A” rating (funnily, the only real problem is that StartSSL’s intermediate certificate needs to be SHA2 rather than SHA1, and I suspect they’ll update that soon enough), and I’m more than happy with that.

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Ingress and “Cheating” (pt. 2, if you will)

My last post on this subject was a little bit of a whinge, this one will not be.

I’ve had a teeny, tiny epiphany on this subject, but it puts me firmly in the naughty camp. See, it goes a little something like this…

Mobile device AGPS is shit. No ifs, buts or maybes, it’s straight up useless. Some devices do a far better job than others; Samsung have burned their bridges in my book after the Galaxy Nexus and the damp string they used for the GPS, but I know a lot of my Croydon ENL brethren (and sisteren) swear by current gen Samsung, and the Sony I’m currently rocking for my main device is pretty good once it gets a lock, and it’s pretty good at getting a lock, but the fact remains that for accurate GPS you really can’t rely on AGPS.

So what to do? For car-based navigation I’ve used CoPilot Live since my first Android device, and when I was cursed with owning the Galaxy Nexus I picked up a no-name Chinese Bluetooth GPS unit from eBay. It wasn’t expensive (even back then), and it’s SiRFSTAR III based (so it’s dead quick to pick up a lock, even when moving), and I get sub-10M accuracy off it almost all the time…

…and it would be nice to be able to use it for Ingressing. Only problem being you can’t use mock location when Ingressing, and the (many) Bluetooth GPS softwares for Android rely on having mock location enabled.

In my investigations of the “black hat” Ingress environment, I came across a great forum post that explained how to get mock locations without using Android’s Mock Location feature (not difficult, as it turns out, but you have to have a rooted device to do it). The post actually demonstrated this in reference to using fake GPS positioning (for Ingress ghosting), but the technique works equally well with Bluetooth GPS provisioning software, so I can have a second device running with accurate location thanks to black hatting. And in doing that, I’m flat-out breaking the Ingress ToS (twice, in actual fact).

Ingress “cheating” – a grey area at the very least…

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Good news…

I bought a new graphic card; an EVGA GTX 770 SuperClocked ATX. ūüėÄ

Thanks to a very generous upgrade deal offered by O2, I was able to buy a Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet at a very good price point, which I then sold on eBay for the current going rate for such devices, and at a decent profit overall. That gave me sufficient working capital¬†to afford the new card. I’m hoping that jumping two generations will show in the processing times for my videos…

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Ingress and Cheating

I play Ingress, the augmented reality game for Android devices by Niantic Labs (an offshoot from Google, if you didn’t know). I’m in the Enlightened (“the frogs”) fighting against the Resistance (“the smurfs”) and I know full well that some folks cheat on both factions.

How do I know?

I have tested how to do it, that’s how (and not on my main account, I hasten to add). NIA admittedly do their damnedest to weed out cheaters; they have coded the Scanner to prevent location spoofing (but it’s not perfect and it’s still entirely possible to location spoof with relative ease on rooted devices), they sign the Scanner to prevent the use of hacked scanners (but there are at least three “hacked scanners” that I have knowledge of, and at least one of them is an out and out “bot” that will follow a path anywhere in the world, hacking and smashing while the device itself is on your desk or bedside table) and they datamine the game logs to look for suspicious activity (including but not limited to running old clients, agents that are operating too quickly and agents that are moving too quickly) and they warn/ban when they suspect it. But when a really big event (the recent Interitus event in London) is blighted by accusations of an “enemy” mega-field being created by the use of ghost accounts, it ruins the game for those of us that are playing legit.

A friend of mine got his account insta-banned for running Broot (a hacked client that allows the player to turn off some of the in-game features that slow down agent actions – mostly graphical things) on a very old handset, hence he was running Broot in the first place (the Broot scanner also happens to be significantly “lighter” and runs relatively well on older Android devices). I’d bet money that >90% of Ingress players are actively breaking the terms of the game by operating multiple accounts, because trying to farm Portal Keys on a single account is currently a right pain in the arse and if you don’t have a friend/partner/SO that plays you really have no choice but to run two accounts on two devices.

The big problem is how easy it is to (a) get away with it in the first place and (b) get straight back into the game even if you are banned: just create a “throwaway” email account, install the official Scanner apk and change the account on your Android device for the few minutes it takes to sign up again as a new agent (that’s how I fixed my friend’s device ’cause he’s new to Android). As long as the sanctions for cheating are so limited, and getting back into the game is so ridiculously easy, cheaters will cheat.

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FML 2.1 – The “So, that’s your excuse” edition

I’ve had a reply from Alphacool, to quote: “I think this issue was caused by the¬†silver coils.¬†There are several different metals in a water-cooling, and when you used¬†additional aluminum or silver coils in the water-bearing area you get a high¬†ion migration [and] this will damage the components.” I consider this to be a crock of shit. There are a large number of high-end WC proponents who (rightly) say “use nothing but distilled water and very high purity silver, and you’ll be right for years”.¬†I have a suspicion what has happened to this pump, and if what I suspect is true, it’s my own damn fault; guess I’ll find out when I flush the loops tomorrow.

I’ve ordered a new VPP655 (I’m not totally against Alphacool yet) and two new silver coils (and a couple of barbs for my flushing/degassing unit) from SpecialTech here in the UK, and once it all turns up I’ll see about switching everything over; new distilled water, new silver coils, and new pump. I’ll get my rig running tomorrow using my flushing/degassing rig just so I can get a video or two processed for YT.

On which subject, and I’ll make a vlog about this later, but as I tweeted earlier today I got a Google “paycheck” this morning. I’ll just say a big “thank you” to all of you that spent a few seconds watching ads on my videos for now, you lovely people paid for the new pump.

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