The Seven Minute Server

Introducing Making Games for the Atari 2600 (and its companion IDE!)

1 minute read Published:

The Atari 2600 was released in 1977, and now there’s finally a book about writing games for it! My partner, Steven Hugg, just released a manual and companion Web-based IDE that’ll teach you about the 6502 CPU, NTSC frames, scanlines, cycle counting, players, missiles, collisions, procedural generation, pseudo-3D, and more. Steve covers the same programming tricks that master programmers used to make classic games. Create your own graphics and sound, and share your games with friends!

TV Time Warp: Experience TV as it used to be!

1 minute read Published:

If you’ve got an Apple TV, check out our newest Puzzling Plans release: TV Time Warp. TV Time Warp is a simulated television museum from yesteryear. Flip through the years as if they were channels and experience TV as it used to be! You’ll see shows from the 1950s and 1960s — complete with commercials. We generate hypothetical TV schedules 24⁄7 to show you what would have been on at that time — for example, soap operas during the day, variety shows at night, and cartoons on Saturday morning.

Like Chess hit Go's minivan in a parking lot and they exchanged phone numbers

1 minute read Published:

For real. Feldspar is an abstract board game, sort of a combination between Chess and Go. You and the computer opponent take turns moving pieces and placing blocks, attempting to trap the other player. There are nine piece types, each with different movement rules and special abilities. Each game is meant to last a few minutes, and the touch-and-drag controls are simple. History We developed Feldspar over the course of several months while perfecting our AI engine and our cross-platform toolset, which compiles Java into JavaScript/WebGL and iOS binaries (using libGDX and RoboVM).

Writing Custom OSSEC Rules

8 minute read Published:

Our team recently implemented a proprietary security component for a web app we maintain. When it performs an action of note, the component writes the action to a log. As a system admin and tester babysitting a new component, I want to know about these actions when they happen, and this sounded like a perfect use case for OSSEC, an Open Source host-based intrusion detection system. OSSEC monitors system logs, checks for rootkits and system configuration changes, and does a pretty good job of letting us know what’s happening on our systems.

Goofing with Audio

2 minute read Published:

My partner’s doing some speech analysis stuff, and introduced me to sox, a self-described “Swiss Army Knife of sound processing.” I was goofing with it today to convert spectrograms of mp3s to animated GIFs. This is quick and very dirty, but should work. Requirements On Ubuntu, install sox, the mp3 plug-in for sox, and imagemagick: sudo apt-get install sox libsox-fmt-mp3 imagemagick Running Copy the text of this script into a file:

Who's attacking your web server today?

2 minute read Published:

We’re going to go a little off-book today for a segment I’d like to call, “Who’s attacking my server today?” I administer a few servers and they, like most anything connected to the Internet, are constantly under attack. Searching through my logs, I’ve seen a large number of pretty basic attacks trying to exploit a vulnerability in Parallels Plesk - a hosting control panel. If you’re using hosting “in the cloud1,” you’re bound to see a lot of this sort of thing.

Ad Blockers, More Useful Than You Think

3 minute read Published:

Put yourself in a bad guy’s shoes: You have a piece of software that logs usernames and passwords to banking sites. It can do a number of other things, like propagate itself to other computers that share drives with the victims and open address books and email itself to every email address it finds - so that it can log usernames and passwords from even more sites! It just needs to hit one system, really, to propagate.

On Passwords

5 minute read Published:

With the number of systems and web sites you log into every day, generating and remembering unique, memorable, and unguessable passwords can be a real chore. However, a disciplined approach to password security is pivotal to thwarting password-based attacks. Who would use password attacks to break into your accounts? Thieves (your bank account and credit card sites), foreign governments and competitors (your bank and work accounts), ex-boyfriends (your Facebook account), ex-husbands (your personal email account)!