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Remote Access to Linux without forwarding ports

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Tech | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

There have been many situations that I would like to have remote access to a Linux server, but I don’t have administration rights to the network the server resides on.
A few situations I’ve run in to:
1. A friend has a server and wants you to take a quick look (but no ports forwarded)
2. Customer has a server that you need to look at, but no remote access
3. You are working locally on a server but need to leave and access it later from another location

Requirements:
1. You need to have a publicly accessible Linux server with an SSH account (please don’t use root for this!)
2. Add a dumb user that has shell access but nothing else, don’t run any applications as this user (used for SSH only)

So in the case where you are physically at the server and need to get to it later, type:
ssh -N -f -R 19999:localhost:22 sshuser@4.4.4.4

The options make it so after you authenticate with the password the shell goes to the background.

4.4.4.4 needs to be replaced with your IP/Domain of the server you control
sshuser needs to be replaced with the dumb SSH user you setup earlier

Now when you get home, ssh to your 4.4.4.4 server. Then use the Remote forwarding to get back to the original server:
ssh -p19999 sshuser@127.0.0.1
You should now be on your remote server.
If you want to kill the connection, on your public server type:
ps -ef | grep ssh

Then you can:
kill -9

Remember when I said that you must create a dumb user earlier? This is in case you are in the situation where you must give the command to someone over email and have them execute it for you. That way you aren’t handing over root-level access to your server…ever.


Pop’n Music – Are you Ready?

Posted: January 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Tech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s no secret that rhythm games in the United States are popular.  Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and DJ Hero are now known to almost everyone.  Unfortunately, arcades are all but a dying business in the US.  I remember the days when I was a kid and my mom/dad would give me 4 bucks to entertain myself at the Tilt Arcade while they did their shopping.  The death of Arcades in the US is most likely due to the popularity of console systems.  When I was a kid, sure we had Nintendo, but the games at the arcade were of a higher quality.  Now graphics and gameplay of console and PC games are above the level of arcade games.

In my travels to Japan, I immediately noticed that Arcades are a common thing in larger cities.  In a square mile you could find 7 arcades or so (in my experience).  Another obvious thing I noticed at the Japan/Osaka arcades is the amount of rhythm games to play.  Games I’ve never heard of before.  Games like: Pop’n Music, Pop’n Movie, Beatmania IIDX, Guitar Freaks, and DrumMania. Beatmania IIDX has been around since February 26, 1999!  Being that I’ve played DDR, Stepmania, and Guitar Hero, I figured that I’d give these games a shot.  I found that these were not simply “pick up and play casually” games.  People I’ve talked to said they’ve played these games for years to build their skill!

One game that caught my eye in particular was Pop’n Music.  This game has 2 rows of buttons, with 4 on the top row and 5 on the bottom.  I played one time and became addicted, even though I was clearly a noob.  After playing this game off-and-on for the duration of my vacation in Japan and probably putting over $80 USD in to the machine, I decided that I should get a controller so I can play it in the US.  Note that they do not sell these games in the United States, you have to purchase them from a site like www.play-asia.com

The original arcade-style controller for Pop’n Music is out of stock so I had to look elsewhere.  After speaking with my friend at the arcade in Japan, he recommended DJ Dao for controllers.  This site can be accessed here: http://www.bemaniasc.com/eng/index.php
DJ Dao’s controllers are known for being the best reproduction of the arcade controller while offering the option for better switches and customizing the color(s).  The stock Pop’n Music ASC controller from his site is $210, but shipping is expensive because it is coming from China.

All you need now is the following to play:
1. US or Japanese PS2
2. Pop’n Music Games (Also from japan-guide website)
3. A Pop’n Music Controller

Note that if you have the US PS2 it is region locked for NTSC/US.  In order to play the games from Japan you need a boot disc to play discs from other regions.  You can purchase the Swap Magic 3 boot disc from http://www.swapmagic3.com. Please make sure you select the boot disc for YOUR REGION of PS2, not the region of discs that you want to play.  So I purchased the NTSC DVD boot disc to play my purchased Pop’n Music games.  Boot up the DVD, wait for the disc to stop, and swap it with your Pop’n game.

Connecting to PC:
The DJ Dao controller comes with an adaptor for both Playstation 2 port and Parallel ports.  If you are a developer and want to use this controller for your own Rhythm game, here is how to connect it to your PC.
1. Enable Parallel in your BIOS
2. Download configuration software from DJ Dao here: http://www.bemaniasc.com/download/drivers.rar
3. Extract and open the version applicable.
4. Follow on-screen instructions and when you are done you should have “windows new device found” notifications
5. Control Panel -> Game Controllers
6. Set to button mode, and make sure they are all working
(Does not work with XP 64-bit)

My buttons were flashing when I did this, and realized that the board I received had an issue.  It would work with my PS2 just fine, but on my PC it showed the far right button as flashing.  I replaced the board with the spare that DJ Dao ships (known issue?) and it was working!  Map your buttons and you can now play or use the controller with your own app.
Pictures of my DJ Dao Pop’n ASC below:
(After the bottom cover was removed)

(Close up of controller board)

Please let me know if you have any questions.  This game is addicting.
Time to go play :)

-Gregg


2010 – No More Ads…Resolutions

Posted: January 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Asterisk VoIP, Linux, Mac, Tech | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

I decided to start off 2010 with a few changes:
1. Choose a new theme for the site…done

2. Remove Ads…done(With the exception of the sweet animation my buddy did)

3. I’m studying AGI scripting with Asterisk and want to share my findings along the way. I hope to have a lot of posts soon for you guys.

4. I hope to have bi-monthly updates to the site at a minimum. Topics include but are not limited to: Asterisk, AGI, PHP, Linux, and anything else I find interesting. 2010 is going to be the year of knowledge.

5. I put a link on the right column, and I’m only going to say it once. If you want to buy me a beer, or contribute to my escapades with a small donation. Then I will smile knowing that someone appreciated the info enough to help me out.