Wasteland Video and issues with HTML5/DASH

With pleasure I opened the video section of the Wasteland last week. To my dismay I discovered an issue that I did not even know existed. Not new to the internet by any means I expected that videos on my server would not stream without buffering. But times are changing and with HTML 5 and most importantly DASH the game has changed. In the past you could just pause any video and let it buffer, these days you can not. This is a feature of DASH which is short for Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP. 

Let me start by saying that DASH as a technology is a good thing. It allows for dynamic bit rate broadcasting which can help ensure a smooth streaming experience. It also saves bandwidth by not uploading the entire file if a visitor clicks away after a few seconds of watching. Bandwidth is money in most cases so I see its merit, I just wish it were easier to disable.  The Wasteland is being hosted on my home internet connection and I NEED to be able to allow users to buffer my content, period.

Luckily there are options, and for Firefox it was easy.  You just need to install the YouTube Control Center and that alone allows you to pause a video and buffer it entirely. Without the plugin DASH only allows you buffer ahead slightly before stopping. If you wish to actually download the video you can as well using the Flash Video Downloader. If you need to download videos from the actual YouTube site you must use this extension.

Chrome was a bit more of a challenge. I was not able to find a working YouTube Control Center plugin and found the only workable options are to download the video from my site using extensions. I will link the three best I found the first two being for generic sites and the last YouTube Specific. These extensions are Flash Video Downloader and vget. For YouTube content specifically use the easy YouTube video download.  

Opera users also have the YouTube Control Center available. I was not able to make it work but am testing this from my work laptop that lacks administrative rights. If you get this working please comment back I would love the feedback. You also have download options available. The Video Downloader is good for all non YouTube content and the YouTube Downloader is available for that as well.

If you are an Internet Explorer/Edge user I am sorry. All joking aside that browser does not support plugins and I personally suggest using Firefox, Chrome, or Opera. The old saying is that IE is the best browser to use to download another browser and that logic remains true.  Mobile users will need to seek out an App that allows for the downloading of video, I did a quick search on the play store and found GetThemAll, Apple users will have to report back. That is all I have for now, if you have any issues with these plugins or viewing videos on my site using these guides feel free to comment below. If you know of a better way to overcome the DASH problem feel free to chime in as well.

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Video sharing on your own server with YouPHPTube

Unless you live under a rock everyone is aware of video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Live Leak, and Twitch. The list is almost endless, but YouTube is by far the most popular. What if you could set something like this up on your own server? You can, I present to you YouPHPTube. Did you think that you would have to buy commercial software to accomplish this? As you may expect the answer to that is no. 

The Wasteland only uses open source software. I decided I wanted to set this up for a couple of reasons, the first being my desire to learn. Secondly I wanted a way to share personal videos that I may not wish to give to the likes of YouTube or their competitors. Privacy is a big concern of mine, if you have followed this blog I am sure you have caught on to this fact by now. Now I still plan to use YouTube for sharing videos I want everyone to see since I do not have the bandwidth or the computing power to handle that load. This is more of a because I could kind of endeavor. 

Interested in setting something like this up for yourself? You have many options. I found a few good open source projects and will link the ones I thought were the best. First I will link clipbucket an open source site designed to create a very similar experience to YouTube. Other viable options include phpmotion as well as cumulusclips. If you are open to commercial software there are even more options. So back to the open source choices since that is my focus. Clipbucket is a fine choice but I was having issues getting it to connect to the MySQL database and found little support. I really wanted to try phpmotion but quickly discovered it lacked support for PHP 7 and only supported earlier version 5. 

The setup was quite simple, I will provide the exact link I used for the download here. So far I have just added a few videos from YouTube to test. A great feature if you ask me. Not only can you upload your own content, you can add content from other video sharing sites. If you have commercial hosting you can easily create a niche site that caters to your hobby or passion. With this software you can include videos from other sites as well as your own content, very cool. You know the drill, if you need help setting this up feel free to comment or email me here

This is a good video I found, it is designed for Ubuntu users but the principals apply to any distribution of Linux. Please check out the newly opened Wasteland Video section on this site. Be on the lookout for more changes and new content, bookmark if you like and feel free to use the sharing links as well. 

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Private Cloud storage with OwnCloud

Do you have files you wish to have access to from anywhere in the world? Would you like to be able to access those files in a secure manner from just about any device? I present to you OwnCloud a free and open source storage and syncing application. 

Those not new to the internet know that there are plenty of cloud storage services available. From the likes of Dropbox to Google Drive and even Microsoft’s OneDrive there are numerous options to choose from. Why you may ask should I bother to set this up for myself when I have so many good choices? First and most important to me would be privacy, while all of these services are good you are still sending your personal information to a third party server. I for one do not like the idea of handing over personal data to unknown entities and entrusting them to properly secure it. In some cases *cough google* they even scan it so they can better market to you. Thanks but no thanks…

Luckily there are two good open-source alternatives. OwnCloud which I am using on my server and NextCloud. NextCloud is actually a fork of OwnCloud, and I may try it in the future. I went with OwnCloud due to its longevity. The setup was surprisingly simple. If anyone is looking to set this up on their own server feel free to comment on this post or email me Here. Required is a web server with the LAMP stack installed. If you are running Fedora then I will include a guide on how to do this. If you are using any other distribution of Linux there are guides out there, and of course I would be happy to help.

First impressions are very positive. It works just like Dropbox does and even has mobile apps for your phones and tablets. Careful they try to charge you 99 cents for the official client. Luckily there is a free one called OwnClient that works very well. I can not say for sure if the Apple store has these options. I will report back once I find an Apple user to try it. Due to the nature of this server, and limited hard drive space I can not open this to the public. I am opening this to any of my friends and co-workers that wish to try it. I encourage anyone interested give it a try and set it up for yourself. Why let Google and the NSA scan your files when you can safely and securely set up your own server?

That is all I have for now, if you have any questions or want to leave a comment feel free to do so below. If you need more in depth support please join my forum, I am always happy to assist anyone interested in the world of GNU/Linux.

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Photo Gallery returns thanks to piwigo

With pleasure I am glad to announce the Wasteland Photo Gallery is back online. I do apologize for the delay but I have been busy and dealing with some software issues. The gallery not only returns, but does so with improvements. I present to you the new gallery powered by piwigo.

What software issues you might ask? My first choice and long time favorite was gallery 3. I ran this on the first version of the Wasteland, and on sites in the past, I assure you it is a solid platform. Why then did I choose to move away from it? My reason is simple, I was having a few issues with the installation and began to google the problem at hand. To my dismay I saw on their main site linked above that they all but abandoned the project. Support was moved to a yahoo group. Check the official support forums and discover no new posts in at least 2 years. Learning that fact, I had no choice but to move on. 

Never fear progress is always a good thing, though moving on may be hard. I quickly found a few new options, piwigo and coppermine. Both are up to date projects with full support. I chose piwigo, it seemed to have a few more features I wanted and setup was a real breeze. I can’t even begin to explain how easy it was, I didn’t have to fight anything, search for any missing libraries or obscure packages it might require. Putting it simple it just worked. 

Not only does it work, but it works better. Gone are the issues with mobile users, this software has mobile and desktop support. That alone is a huge upgrade but there is more. It has support for many plugins as well. I am using a number of them including ones to protect against brute-force attacks as well as image preview and analytics. So far I must say it is the superior product, with a June 2017 most recent release and longevity this project won me over. I may try coppermine at some juncture as well just because I love to tinker. Welcome to the new and improved gallery, enjoy.

Wasteland Photo Gallery

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Protect against brute-force attacks with fail2ban

Are you running a Server or thinking about setting one up for yourself? If so you will quickly discover the need for protection from brute force attacks. Having run a server in the past I was well aware this was a problem. What I found surprising was the frequency in which these attacks came. Don’t fret though, I present to you fail2ban, an open source program designed to mitigate the risks of brute-force attacks. 

For administrators running highly sensitive servers this would only be the first step, you should also include some form of multi-factor authentication. The most common method for this would be RSA SecurID. This of course not free and not open source but a good choice for large enterprises. For less sensitive servers like this one, fail2ban with a strong password should be sufficient. In my honest opinion if you have SSH open in your firewall, you should be using this software. 

Luckily this software is quite easy to configure, and does a great job at blocking brute-force attacks. Fail2ban can be configured to email your root account every time it blocks an IP address. Included in this email is a whois lookup and output from your /var/log/secure file. In order to retrieve these emails you need a console based mail client. I am using alpine but mutt is also a fine choice. Another nice thing about fail2ban is the ability to configure both the length of the ban, and the number of attempts needed before it is issued.

If you were not aware The Wasteland is running Fedora server edition. I am going to include a great guide on how to get this working with systemd and firewalld on Fedora. Being able to automate the blocking of these attacks, and knowing where they came from is quite the useful tool. I know I am considering just blocking all Chinese hosts after seeing the percentage of attacks originate from there. For bloggers like me that is an option, for large enterprises it may not. Anyway that is all I have for now, I will also include a video I found showing how to set up fail2ban on Fedora. If you are running another distribution guides are available. If you need help feel free to comment, I have been around Linux a long time and would be happy to assist.

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