Project Alpha
The home of Project Equinox

Welcome to Project Alpha

What is Project Alpha?

Project Alpha is my small corner of the web.

I specialise predominantly in the hard-core mechanics behind PHP along with JavaScript and jQuery, MySQL, and CSS.

I am a lover of all things mathematical, statistical and so on, especially where these two collide with my first loves.

I have developed many websites and for numerous companies and I hope to continue on this this fashion, either as a consultant, freelancer or (in the ideal case) an employee

Project Alpha

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Project Equinox

See here for information about Equinox, our massively scalable web platform for bespoke websites

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Connection Established

By ozzyd on Thursday, September 8th, 2016 at 11:37 in HACKtivities

Don't worry if you don't understand this, I wrote it predominantly for my own reminder as I keep doing shit, breaking it and then forgetting how I made it work in the first damn place!

I'm trying to connect my QEMU VM machine, accessible through Virsh and so forth to the internet. This isn't hard as this is done for me anyway. I set up a VM Host which is connected to a network that works with the internet and have a network interface on the VM, everything seems to work there

To prove this, I'm gonna slap myself into the VM via the management console of my choice (which is Virtual Machine Manager at this moment. I want to use Archipel but it's being a dick. If you work for Archipel or have ever got it working, get in touch! I wanna bash your head in for information of why the hell it looks so cool but is a bitch to set up! :<!!) and running both a ping and an ifconfig

Well my ping to google out the box works swell and my ifconfig shows me exactly what I need to see: an lo interface which we don't really care about as it's only function is to make the base crap work and this weird one that replaces eth0 called ens3 for some reason best known to itself. (I could rename it, but arsed? No!) This shows me an IP of 192.168.124.174

If I sit on 192.168.124.1, which incidentally is also 192.168.0.101 on my network, I can access the ssh console. That means internal routing is working. But what if I'm sitting on 192.168.0.2? Connection refused.

Now you can get several different responses here. "No route to host" being one if your computer has no idea how to get from where you are to where it is, but in this case "Connection refused" makes it sound like it IS getting where it needs to; but this can't be as we've just done an ssh on that machine and the connection was accepted... so either a connection is being refused by another means we don't know about (something not supported by the logs at this point) or the connection is being routed elsewhere and the system's not being informed... well a shutting down of the VM and an ssh getting the same response proves that latter.

So let's put into perspective what's going on here. The VM wants to access the internet. The VM contacts the VM host and the VM host talks to the Internet host on our behalf. Then the Internet host talks to the internet on the VM's behalf until a response is returned, then the internet host returns it to the VM host an the VM host returns it to the client machine. That all seems to work right out the box.

But the system is not set up to do the other hanky-panky of wanting to be able to connect the network there through routing without using the internet, which is a pain because that box isn't internet facing... let's do some routing!

I'm on 192.168.0.2. My default gateway is the internet host at 192.168.0.1. I suppose I could set up a secondary DNS host on 192.168.0.101 and do things that way, but will it work and what's the point? Well I tried it anyway and dick all seems to happen: the connection is still refused, but is this because the VM is powered down? Nope.

Ok so THAT thought aside, I need to tell the default gateway (192.168.0.1) where to go (cause that's where I go) when a request comes through. Let's take a look at what we have on the internet host

Well route gives me the impression that 192.168.124.0 is routing to 192.168.0.101 (Using the command 'route add -net 192.168.124.0/24 gw 192.168.0.101 dev eth1') meaning that anything coming into the system on eth1 (192.168.0.1) for 192.168.124.0 is routed directly to 192.168.0.101. Seems good and what I want :)

My next port of call is for iptables, which seems to be handling routing for other machines, so let's try adding a few things in here

iptables -A FORWARD -i eth1 -o -eth1 -s 192.168.124.0/24 -d 192.168.0.101 -j ACCEPT

So anything that comes in on eth1 for 192.168.124.* is accepted and moved to 192.168.0.101 using the eth1 interface all the time. This hasn't helped as I'm still getting connection refuseds on the command line. But I'm now pretty convinced the internet host is overcompensating for what is needed to be going on. Since I can connect to 192.168.0.101 as 192.168.124.1 from both 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.2, I think I'm safe to assume that SOME address resolution is being enacted by the inernet server. So let's stop worring about that Let's check the VM host

The VM host has a similar route (This time it's route add -net 192.168.124.0/24 dev virbr0) so EVERYTHING from EVERYWHERE from 192.168.124.0 coming into that machine is handled by our virtual bridge. I don't see how this can harm, but doesn't really seem to be helping. I've also never seen it before so I may try removing it later =^.^=

Let's check the iptables as I think this is where things are falling over. I have a clusterfuck of interfaces on the VM host but since none are conflicting, I'm going to ignore those for a while, so let's see if the following will help

iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o -virbr0 -d 192.168.124.0/24 -j ACCEPT

This will state that anything from anywhere on eth0 destined for 192.168.124.* on virbr0 will be accepted

The connection is still being refused, but as I can see some reject lines sneaking into my iptables configurations, I'm going to blast those out. In this case the lines are 4 and 5 so I'll just run "iptables -D FORWARD 4" twice to remove those.

Yes! That hit the nail on the head! I can access 192.168.124.174 from 192.168.0.1. So can I do it from 192.168.0.2? Fuck to the yes :D

So a top tip: If you're getting "Connection refused"s when you think you ought not to be, check for REJECT lines in your forward chains, particularly if they are "anywhere to anywhere"s with a "reject-with icmp-port-unreachable" clause!

All the things

By ozzyd on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 at 18:12 in HACKtivities

Well isn't it all a load of fun.

Our exit from the EU (yay!), a new PM (Yay!), a potential new leader of the opposition in the form of Owen Smith (Yay!) and Trump vs Clinton...

Oh boy. America's screwed badly! In my humble opinion, I'm with quite a number of high profile people whom I follow on Facer, Twitbook, Googlegram and Instedit, Red+ and so forth in thinking that the questionable Trump is greater than the satanic halfwit Clinton. I mean after all, Clinton is better as a comic book villain ...erm perhaps not. I mean after all, FLICK isn't used for the same reason CLINT would be banned.

An interesting call from Trump for the Russian's to hack Cunton's ... ahem*, CLINTon's e-mail address may be something that would be comical to us, amusing to the followers and bait for the opposition, I honestly don't think Trump could say anything to stop him from being better than that witch.

Oh and whilst I'm on this subject, I am amused and shocked at a piece that was said a few days ago whence people high up in the US "establishment" said "England shouldn't get involved in US politics". Or something to that effect, that's how I read it and I can't remember where I cited this. Nevertheless, excuse me? Who came over here to suggest we should remain in the EU, Obama? You keep your nose out and we'll keep ours out lol. How do you like them apples?

Anyway yes into the present, so many thing are happening here as to make me wonder exactly what's real and not any more. The idea of living one day at a time is all we can do. Still, Psalm 37 rings strong in my mind, along with many others' right now.

I would like to make this longer, jollier and longer with more cohesion, but my head won't allow it. Keep you posted.

I wanna "take away [my] pizza hot"!

By ozzyd on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 at 13:17 in HACKtivities

I have threatened to put comedy on my website because it's just everywhere if you care or even dare to look for it. The problem is essentially that not everything is funny to everyone else all the time... if at all, so I'm just going to sit back with this one and see what happens.

People who know me will know that I have this passion for the English language. So far, I classify grammar as being a form of politeness that is required when talking. This comes, so far at least, in four distinct groups. Top of this list is the well formed phrase, passing down through "looks all right", to "That really doesn't look right at all", all the way down to the fourth which is complete gibberish.

This chance encounter one day sticks awkwardly between the second and third categories. I took this picture in front of a pizza counter in the local ASDA branch in Shepshed. The shop sells three different kinds of pizza; the brand names, such as "Goodfellows", and others which are avaialble and arguably as good. Then ASDA make their own, most of which are made cold and are shrink-wrapped so the customer can take them home and heat at their leisure. However, this store is one which offers pizzas made before your eyes. Nothing special, but as the signage tries to indicate for an extra £1 you can take it home hot!

Ok so that's the outline of what this picture's about; let's destroy the picture. "Take away your pizza hot?"? I'm going to take it for granted that everyone knows what this phrase implies; cold pizza, ovens, extra pound, "hot". Despite this, I must have spent a good five minutes wandering around the shop with friends, gestating on this five word oddity. It's a rather curious thing that if you want your pizza hot, you say "I want my pizza hot", but in my mind that's where my usage of the phrase stops. If I wanted take the pizza away hot, then why not just say that! "Take your pizza away hot"! ... "FOR £1 EXTRA!"

What's really interesting is this is something you MIGHT be inclined to say, then you look at it and feel silly reading it... then try saying it. I felt a right fool.

My first worry about this was actually the word order! I thought this rant would be turn "Take away your pizza hot?" into "Take your pizza away hot?", but the more I look and think about it, that question mark is an insult as much as it is comical. That bent bit should be straight ... where have I heard that before recently?

"TAKE YOUR PIZZA AWAY HOT!"

Also don't get me started on the "Just ask". Cause it could imply, if you're annoying like me, that with this delicious pizza they've made for you, you give them the money plus the extra pound, they'll put it in the oven and then make you wave good-bye to it. This makes me cry ... cause no pizza.

Sad blogger :(

Project Alpha may be getting faster!

By ozzyd on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 14:20 in Core

Hey everyone!

You know how for the past few hours our internet has been up and down? Well, good news! It's back and I've (hopefully) ported all that gunk from our HomeHub2 to our shiny new BusinessHub5 ... well ... one of them (BT sent us FOUR HomeHub5s, would you believe)

This above means we've shaken off the old copper wire for some lovely shiny new fibre-optic shenanigens to make everything, as is stated but yet to be seen, "super"-fast!

Anyway, a bank of blue lights is before me, our bounceback e-mail has just returned and confirmed that our e-mail server *IS* running and naturally, you're reading this so Apache's working.

Subversion, IRC and hopefully if our connection supports it Minecraft, will be following along in the next few days.

Keep on truckin'

Oliver.

How can you get data to us?

By ozzyd on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 09:10 in WifiTracker

Ian's software, Wifi Tracker, has some rather useful inventions inside of it in order to help get data from the device to our central command. These were what helped us decide to use Wifi Tracker in the first place!

Firstly, there is a web address uploading feature. Under the options menu, there is an option which states "Webserver URL", to which you can type in "http://www.projectalpha.co.uk/wifitracker.php" and the app will do the rest. If you want to, you can add your username and password which will help us identify who you are. At the moment we don't use this, but in due time this will become a feature rather like an IRC nick - You can submit data anonymously, or you can log in as a verified logger on our front-end to achieve a greater weightage of credibility. To protect credibility. a password can be assigned to the account. If the passwords don't match, we will still accept the data but anonymously. Beware when choosing a password as data is sent unencrypted... so either use something new and simple, or change often.

Because we've had "issues" with this service, we also will be accepting the CSV files the app creates when you select the "Log to file" option under the opetions menu. This CSV file is created under the root directory of the SD card in a file called wifiscan.csv (unfortunately this can't be changed - sad face)

An upload feature will be supplied, or you can upload them to a special e-mail account set up to read CSVs as they come in.

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Project Alpha The home of Project Equinox