Installing an SSL Cert on Your Server with CentOS/Apache 2.4/Let's Encrypt

4 minute read Published:

Using Let’s Encrypt is so easy, there’s no excuse not to do it…the only drawback is that certificates expire after three months, but they’ll email to give you a heads-up when it gets close to time to switch ‘em up…and it really is simple (and free!) to get them issued. Here’s a run-through of how to use Certbot to install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on an Amazon Linux image:

Using CSS to Hack Up a Quick Quiz

2 minute read Published:

Was bored reading my sailing 101 book and thought it’d be easier to learn the material if I could set up a quiz on the go. After much duckduckgoing, came up with a quick-and-dirty solution to hide the answers until you hover (on desktop) or activate (on mobile). The styling I’m using is pretty ugly, but you can switch up the colors; just be sure that the background and hide-me colors are the same.

Making 8-bit Arcade Games in C

1 minute read Published:

So I bet you thought programming assembly on the web for the Atari 2600 was the ultimate. But check it: You can now use C to develop Z80 CPU-based game platforms like Space Invaders, Galaxian, Sega/Gremlin as well as the Atari vector and Williams platforms. (Atari vector and Williams used the 6502 and 6809 chips, respectively, but Steve tweaked them so that they work with the Z80 compiler.) Type your C source code on the left side of the browser and watch it compile and run in real time on the right side.

First of the 7 Minute Server Series: VPN Servers

3 minute read Published:

I’ve been using a proxy server for awhile, Squid and Privoxy, for fun and also because I saw too many cable and mobile ISPs acting shiftily (why, when I’m connected to Google, do all my connections go to an AT&T server, hmmm?). But the difficulty of setting up a proxy on a cellular connection was annoying — who wants to get Apple Configurator up and running and is that really a feasible solution for a non-technical person who should be able to control their phone’s outbound connections?

Configuring an OpenVPN client connection on Chromebook

4 minute read Published:

When you sit down to write a piece of technical documentation, it’s always surprising that the section you thought would be really complicated is astonishingly simple; and the things you thought would be finished in minutes steal days. Configuring an OpenVPN connection on Chrome was one of these things — it stole an entire day, but I finally got it working (and working repeatably, which is the sticky wicket!).

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.