Neo evades me

Yanna sent me a picture of her using a banana as a phone (what a smile she had too :D). Surprisingly, Yanna was not referencing the well known “Banana phone” song, but instead was imitating the following Keanu Reeves picture:


My instinct told me immediately that this was an edited image from the Matrix. I went ahead and watched the “Escaping from work” scene, to find only the following shot:


I now thought that perhaps another film had Keanu actually using a banana as a phone. My search failed to return any results. I went back to a more generic search, and found a fan site that had the following shot:


Yanna suggested that it may have been a camera shot as a opposed to the film footage. After looking through the fan site and seeing other shots of the Matrix that were not shots from the film footage, this seemed the most sensible explanation.

Windows 8 – Boot to desktop

Following the installation of Windows 8.1, many of the little niggles I found annoying are fixed from a single settings menu, including;

  • Boot to desktop
  • Start menu has same background as desktop. Whilst it is a small change, it has a big impact. No longer am I instantly lost as the whole screen changes colour. It integrates much better (plus another place to have my cat background :D)
  • Apps are shown instead of the tile. The tiles have their place on mobile devices, but I don’t have much use for them. Instead I show Apps, and sort “by most used”.
  • Better multi-screen support.

This menu is accessed by;

  • Right clicking an empty part of the task bar (the bar where the program short cuts are sitting).
  • Left clicking the menu option “Properties”
  • Left clicking the tag “Navigation”

There are many more changes (many little niggles), but this was one of the ones I appreciate the most.

Configuring Windows 8 to boot to desktop

Installing VSFTPD

Following different tutorials, I was able to successfully implement a non-SSL FTP server without much difficulty. However, the SSL portion proved difficult. There were no debug or error messages that I could read, and searches for the Filezillas generic message of “Unexpected TLS message” did not help… until I found this blog and realized that the unexpected message was the error message from the server (that’s a bad place to put debugging messages!). Following the blog’s instructions, I then proceeded to sniff the network and was able to quickly find that a single line of my configuration file was invalid (during runtime and not on starting the program, adding further to the difficulty of debugging).

An additional problem between VSFTPD and Filezilla is that Filezilla does not accept low encryption method (at least in the newest versions). This is not mentioned in either debug files and instead kills the connection with “TLS error”. Setting the VSFTPD encryption method setting to HIGH fixed the problem.

VPN using OpenVPN

To ease firewall complexities, and allow quite interesting network setups (combining resources from several physical locations seamlessly, for example), I’ve used OpenVPN as my VPN technology. PPTP is the easiest (smallest amount of configuration), however is no where near as feature rich and secure as OpenVPN.

Whilst OpenVPN offers both routed and bridged setup, I’ve been using the routing because;

  1. it has a simpler configuration, and
  2. allows a clear separation of networks (i.e. by default, one subnet cannot access the other)

Through the use of iptables, and the OpenVPN push configurations, it’s been quite simple to share the resources over the subnets.

The resources I used were;