I have updated the hosts files for the first time since last month. It is a bit later than I had wanted but a sorta-monthly cycle is what I want to maintain them at.
My next step is to completely automate their uploading to the server and maybe even have the page update itself so I don’t have to type anything at all.
Check it all out here: https://www.iruberleet.org/hosts-file/ and set your computers, routers and devices to automatically update from the links within.
I have begun updating a personally curated, collected, merged, de-duped hosts file here: https://www.iruberleet.org/hosts-file/
The regular version blocks ads, trackers, malware, spyware, gambling, fake news, fraud, cryptomining and a bunch of other bad things. It has around 40000 blocked hosts and is about 1mb in size.
The BIG version is about 22mb in size with over 700000 hosts blocked, it includes many more sources and also blocks pornography and social networking.
I personally use the regular version on all of my devices, computers and routers.
For more general information on hosts files, check out the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosts_(file)
Google has finally clarified that they will be restricting ad-blocking in extensions to paying customers of their enterprise services.
This is an unsurprising move from the advertising giant which has previously remotely-deleted ad blocking extensions and software from user’s software and devices. Recently Google has taken the extreme step of blocking all apps from third party devices which has resulted in a court injunction against them.
Google’s Duplex is a service which provides an AI voice assistant that calls businesses to make reservations and appointments. Lots of skepticism has been thrown onto it after it’s on-stage demo appeared to have been entirely faked.
Now however an explanation make exist which demonstrates why it is working so well, or perhaps more pointedly, why it isn’t working.
An independent study recently taken has shown that Duplex utilizes humans to speak in 75% of the calls. With it’s back up against a wall, Google has confirmed it does use humans in their calls but insists the rate is 35%.
The study highlights the ongoing debate about AI and whether it is deserving of the hype and investment money it is receiving. It appears that one of the largest tech companies on Earth has produced a call-center for you to outsource your restaurant bookings over the phone under the guise of being a technology-driven, “Artificially Intelligent” solution.
Such scams are common the scene as the technology rarely works as it is sold to clients but businesses need to maintain a veneer of success, competence and most importance: technological edge over their competitors.
It is already starting to sound like the plot to a Silicon Valley episode. I imagine in my head some crazy scheme where the guys have to prove their tech works and instead of actually producing a viable implementation they just heavily-compress all of their client’s data using conventional (and slow) algorithms while keeping uncompressed copies available side by side. They can then show just how quickly they were able to encode and decode everything in milliseconds. Just hoping to fool investors long enough to keep the runway going for them to figure out a real implementation, or to just pivot away once again.
Google has announced this month that they will be increasing the placement of advertisements on Android Home screens and YouTube’s recommended videos.
These new ads will be in the form of (static) image galleries which you can scroll through. These kinds of ads will likely be harder to block out, particularly in YouTube’s recommended video list.
I have a hosted link protector here: https://www.iruberleet.org/leetlp/
You can use this to password protect a link or use a captcha image, the real purpose is just to post links and share a different one. You can save any text or group or links in a single entry. This method of sharing links also hides the HTTP referrer.
Every so often I come across a request for instructions on how to connect a PSP to the internet. It is usually after the user has attempted to connect unsuccessfully. I’m still amazed that people are trying to connect these to the internet. One of the few great reasons to do it still is to play multiplayer games with a virtual LAN.
- Do not attempt to connect using the PSP E1000 model, it does NOT have a network interface (Wi-Fi adapter) and there is no known way to connect it to the internet. If you need to obtain things off of the internet for your E1000 model, you will have to connect the console to a computer with a USB cable, connect your memory card to a computer or even connect your PSP to a PS3 console or a PSOne console (it is a PS2 Japanese console that can connect with a PSP)
- The PSP Go (N1000) model has bluetooth built-in and is the ONLY MODEL with this feature. Using the bluetooth you can tether to another device and access the internet, including through a dial-up connection even. You should also be able to tether this to your computers (with bluetooth) and smartphones as well to access the internet.
- Your PSP’s firmware MUST be version 2.00 or above to access the most basic networking features. WPA-PSK (AES) requires firmware version 2.50 or greater. The PSP Go’s bluetooth-tethering require firmware version 6.10 or greater. You should be on version 6.60 anyways but I am specifying these in case you insist on a lower version.
- To access some features of the official PlayStation Network you will NEED to have the latest 6.61 firmware version. This firmware version may be more difficult to replace with a “custom firmware” that lets you play game backups (ISOs, CSOs), homebrew or other software modifications to your PSP.
- Your Wi-Fi router/access point needs to be running 802.11b or at least allowing an 802.11b client (All PSP Wi-Fi is 802.11b, never anything else). The PSP uses Marvell 88W8010 networking adapter which DOES SUPPORT 802.11g but there DOES NOT EXIST any means of activating this. It can theoretically be activated via a software update or some homebrew software but it appears unlikely at this time that we will ever see it happen.
- Your Wi-Fi router/access point needs to use either WEP, WPA-PSK (TKIP) or WPA-PSK (AES) for encryption. Nothing else will work, period. WPA2 WILL NOT WORK!
- Since the PSP requires that you use insecure encryption schemes I strongly recommend that you tether it over bluetooth in the case of a PSP Go model or even create a special Access Point for just the PSP. You may wish to buy a USB Wi-Fi adapter or even use an old, spare router for this. Please use WPA-PSK (AES) for your encryption as it is the strongest available for the PSP.
- Most modern computers are capable of setting up a Wireless Access Point but whatever you decide, this access point should NOT be left running constantly and instead should only be enabled when you plan to use your PSP and connect it to the internet.
Advertising giant google has now begun a new model: Shouting out random advertisements across the speakers in your house! The Google Home service will now commence shouting out completely random and unrelated advertisements based entirely upon the whims of those who pay google for access to your speakers. Google has begun shouting out advertisements for the 2017 live action film Beauty and the Beast whenever people request their own personal information.
Google has denied that these are advertisements and instead say: “This isn’t an ad; … it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales”. This is also taking place on people’s android smart phones when users request their own personal information. None of these users have requested information regarding beauty and the beast or any films, they requested an account of their day and google has deemed this trigger action to advertise about completely unrelated products. My sincere apologies, they are not advertising… they are sharing a story with you from their parters…
For a lot of disc-based game consoles (Sony PlayStation 1 / PlayStation 2 / PlayStation 3, NEC TurboGrafx-CD / PC Engine CD-ROM², Sega CD / Dreamcast / Saturn, Microsoft Xbox) you will encounter when ripping them, a pair of files with the extensions .BIN and .CUE. The .BIN file is the disc image data itself and the .CUE is a metadata file for describing how the “tracks” of the disc are arranged. In simple terms, the .CUE file tells software (emulators, disc-burning apps) how long an audio track is for music and how long a data track is for the game itself as well as gaps between them and blank spaces on the disc as well (often used to reduce seek times).
While having the .BIN and .CUE file is usually all you need to burn a game to a disc or even play it in an emulator there are cases where you will want to rip out the contents (individual tracks) for compatibility with some emulators (using an .ISO file instead of .BIN or for playing the CD-audio tracks in the game) or disc-burning apps but also for another reason: Modifying (patching) the contents of the game. This can be done for simple improvements such as making the game run properly in some emulators, language translation patches or even overhauling the game itself. Another benefit of this is it’s use in extracting the soundtrack of the game. I will guide you through the simple steps of ripping the contents of BIN/CUE images for whatever purposes you require.
- Rip your disc or obtain the image as a BIN/CUE pair. This may also work in a RAW/CUE file extension pair but thats less common these days. If you have an ISO/CUE set then you will need to convert the .ISO file to a .BIN.
- Download/obtain bchunk from the official website or your own system’s ports, you can download a pre-built mac binary here that works for myself on macOS 10.12 – bchunk-mac-v1.2.0.zip (sha512 1baca45e7cfc49beefd26b2cca033519bb2f2e669aaf4a06d7c7bac3d72409eae727012f0a41c3509b597d4617a8d82d77701de5b321a567bd52dd09632b9f7e)- Windows users best bet is to use another operating system by running one in a Virtual Machine like VirtualBox with Debian or OpenBSD.
- bchunk (BinChunker) is a program that will do the ripping of your BIN/CUE contents and is meant for use on UNIX-like systems such as Debian, OpenBSD or macOS
- Now you will execute bchunk by specifying your .BIN image file and .CUE sheet file and then a base name for the ripped contents. I also recommend that you use the -w option to enable the conversion of the audio tracks to .WAV (uncompressed audio) files or else they will result in .CDR (CD audio tracks). You must use the -p option if you are running this against a Sony PlayStation 1 image. The “base name” is used for naming the extracted content files. A base name of “coolgame” will result in your files being named “coolgame01.wav, coolgame02.iso, coolgame03.wav – so it is basename[track#].extension. You will want to use the -r for .RAW image files (Video-CDs/MPEG).
- EXAMPLE #1: bchunk -w <image.bin> <image.cue> <basename>
- EXAMPLE #2 using the TurboGrafx-16 game “Human Sports Festival”: bchunk -w HumanSportsFestival.bin HumanSportsFestival.cue humansportsfestival
- Example #3 using the Sony PlayStation One (PS1 / PSX / PSOne) game Metal Gear Solid: bchunk -p -w MetalGearSolid.bin MetalGearSolid.cue metalgearsolid
- Example #4 using a .RAW image file: bchunk -r <image.bin> <image.cue> <basename>
- You should now have a directory filled with .ISO and .WAV files from the previous BIN/CUE image pair. You can apply whatever patches you like to your .ISO, bundle these files up for an emulator to play and also have the full soundtrack in .WAV format. Some emulators may not be able to handle the .WAV (too large) and you may wish to convert them to .OGG (Ogg Vorbis) audio files instead.