TorPlus includes Kestrel support

I am releasing a minor update of the TorPlus proxy solution. This update changes the way in which file paths are referenced within the Opera Settings files. Previous released used relative path names. This created minor problems with user stylesheets. Hence the built-in IRC chat and feed reader lost their CSS formatting. Now absolute path is used within the files. This path is updated everytime TorPlus is run, thus the program is still portable. It is highly recommended that you don’t run the Opera browser directly.

Felix and Ray requested Kestrel support for TorPlus. Hence I am releasing TorKestrel+ also with this version. For those who are unaware of Kestrel, it is the official alpha release of the upcoming Opera v9.5. Opera v9.5 is promised to be much faster than all previous versions. Since Kestrel is still is alpha stage, TorKestrel+ is provided as a separate zip file, without Tor and Privoxy. To use TorKestrel+, download and extract the zip files of TorOpera+ and TorKestrel+ to the same directory.

Read more and download TorPlus

TorOpera Plus

Ever since I blogged on the topic “Protect your privacy, Hide your identity“, I have been thinking about creating a package similar to OperaTor. My search for a simple programming solution lead me to AutoIt. According to AutoIt Script homepage,

AutoIt is a freeware Windows automation language. It can be used to script most simple Windows-based tasks (great for PC rollouts or home automation).

I too found AutoIt a helpful tool and was really amazed by its simplicity. It also supports GUI for your program. It cannot be used to create resource intensive programs. But for small programs like the one I intended to create, it is excellent.

I have created TorOpera +, which is a bundle of Opera, Tor and Privoxy. The program is fully configurable and contains many features that OperaTor lacked. The program can be configured to copy Opera to the Hard Disk from your pen drive which will speed up Opera. Also I have included several features like Ad Blocker, Flash Blocker, Image Blocker and several more.

I plan to create a similar bundle for Firefox too. PleaseĀ download TorOpera+ and let me know your valuable suggestions and opinions.

Migrating from WordPress.com to my own server

UPDATE : This is a very old post and I no longer provide blog installation/migration service. But if you want someone to install / migrate your blog, you may contact Ninja Blog Setup. They have both free and premium blog installation services.

wordpress installation service free wordpress blog

As many of you might be knowing, this blog is powered by the free and open source blogging platform ‘WordPress‘. Before I moved to my own domain, the blog was hosted at WordPress.com. Though the service was fast and good, I was dissatisfied. Because I was not allowed to upload new themes or plugins. Also, I was not allowed to edit the template files. I want to take blogging seriously. Hence I decided to take my own domain and move the blog over to here. Since the original blog was not much old and since there was only less than 15 posts, the migration went without any trouble. I am going to briefly explain what all steps I took for completing the transfer.

The two basic requirements for hosting your own website are the domain and hosting. The first step I took was to register the domain JoyceBabu.com. I registered the domain with bagfull, an Indian domain registrar. Their rate is lower than that of GoDaddy. I have already bought more than 10 domains from them and I like their customer service.

I already have a custom hosting plan with Wicks Hosting. Hence I decided to host my blog also in the same hosting account. Once the domain and hosting were ready, I changed the nameservers of my domain to point to my hosting server.

Now the third step was to setup the blog at the new server. I downloaded the latest stable version of WordPress (v2.2.1) and uploaded it to the server. To install the software I needed a MySQL database, which I created and the installation went smooth.

Once the blog was setup, the next step was to move my current posts and comments from the old blog to the new one. Fortunately, WordPress permits exporting the existing posts and comments from the admin interface. The exported file was imported into the new blog. Once that was over, I manually edited each post at the old location to point to the new location. Also I disallowed comments at the old location.

The final step was customization of the blog. Inability to customize the blog to my liking was the primary reason for migrating to my own hosting account. I spend one whole day searching for a theme for the new blog. My search ended once I found my current theme. The theme was not compatible with current version of WordPress. Hence I had to fix a few errors and made some small changes to the template.

Once the theme was fixed and uploaded, I started testing various plugins. I have tested over a hundred plugins and have found some really good ones. I will provide more information about that in my next post.

If you wish to create a new blog or transfer your existing WordPress.com account to your own domain and the above steps seems too much complicated to you, then feel free to contact me. I will do it for you, ofcourse for a small fee Wink .

Protect your privacy, Hide your identity

Today I am going to blog about how to browse the web anonymously. Most of the people think that their identity cannot be found out just by visiting a site since they are not directly giving any. But it is not true. When you visit a website, your IP (Internet Protocol) Address is available to the website which can be used to identify you. When we visit a website, most of the sites keep a log of visit details like your IP Address, Location, Browser, Operating System etc. This is the reason why, you can’t vote twice in the rating systems. When you search Google, they keep a record of your searches for researching searching behaviour. There are many instances when we would like to and times necessary to keep our identity safe.

Worried? Don’t be. There are several methods to circumvent these problems. Some are

  1. Web Proxies – Recently, when Indian ISPs decided to block Blogger, proxies came to the rescue of Indian bloggers and blog surfers. Proxies act as a link between you and the site you visit. When you request a site through a proxy site, your ISP passes the request to the proxy server, thinking that you are visiting the proxy site. The proxy then makes a request to the website you want to view. To the website, it looks like somebody from the IP Address of the proxy server is visiting the site. Also many of the proxies allow you to block cookies and scripts thus giving your better security.
  2. TorOpera – TorOpera is a software bundle that contains Opera, Tor and Privoxy. The main advantage of TorOpera is that it is portable, hence you can use it directly from your pendrive. You can use it directly without installing (which normally needs administrative privilage). Tor can be used to operate network servers so that their exact location is unknown.
  3. JAP Anon Proxy – JAP is another proxy system designed to protect your online privacy. JAP is written in Java and is platform independant, free and was designed to be easy to use. JAP sends requests through a cascade of encrypting mixes (Mix Cascades), run by independant organizations, and thus hides the origin of any connection. Users can select which operator to trust. This is not possible in P2P anonimity networks like TOR, as the anonymisation proxies are also anonymous.
  4. xB Browser – This is another free, anonymous web browser that allows you to surf internet securely and anonymously, bypass firewalls and internet censorship. The biggest advantage of xB Browser is that it requires no configuration or special knowledge and it is also portable. Also, xB Browser is Open Source too.

Some interesting sites

  • Scroogle – Scroogle allows you to search google anonymously. Scroogle randomly selects its IP Address when you search google and also deletes the cookies set by them. Hence your identity and search behaviour is protected.
  • BugMeNot – Many sites have a very bad policy of allowing us to view their contents only after registering with them. BugMeNot is a service that allows you to overcome that limitation. You can get valid usernames and passwords for most of the popular sites at BugMeNot. They also have IE and Firefox plugins.
  • BrowserSpy – BrowserSpy provides us with a lot of information about our computer and browser. You will be amazed by the amount of details you were providing to sites you were visiting, believing that you are anonymous. It can also be used to test whether the tools mentioned above are working or not.

5 Must use Macintosh Applications

Recently I got an opportunity to use a MacBook. I was amazed by its speed and the cool graphics. Vista looked like a reproduction of Mac OS X Tiger to me. The sidebar of vista seems to be inspired by the Dashboard Widget system of Mac. The new integrated instant desktop search and powerful indexing integrated with Vista was available in Mac Jaguar since 2002.

As with windows, the first thing I did was stuff it with as many softwares as I can. I always love trying out different softwares. After 2 weeks of constant use, I found out that I cannot live without the following programs.

  1. QuickSilver – QuickSilver is an application that is a must for all Macs. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is, you will have to feel its power by using it. It is an unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. You can search for files, lauch applications and files, open webpages, search the web, search your browser history, send mail, resize / convert images and do much more things with it. The list is endless. The most important feature is the integrated plugin system which further extends its power. LifeHacker provides some excellent tutorials and screencasts on QuickSilver. If you have a mac and is not using QuickSilver, I highly recommend you to download a copy now itself. Unfortunately, there is no comparable software for windows. Launchy seems to be the nearest match but is still way behind.
  2. NeoOffice – Macintosh lacks an office suite as powerful as Microsoft Office for windows. Even though Microsoft Office is available for Mac, they are not fully compatible. NeoOffice, a fork of the Free and Open Source office suite OpenOffice.org, is a better alternative than the original OpenOffice.org office suite for Mac.
  3. AppZapper – After installing a number of programs, I searched for the uninstaller utility for Mac. That was when I found out that Mac does not have a built in uninstaller utility like the Add / Remove Programs utility for Windows. My search led me to this application, which its developers describe as “The uninstaller Apple forgot”. AppZapper is not freeware.
  4. Zipeg – Windows Explorer counterpart of Mac, Finder, has built in support for zip files. But it does not recognize some other formats like Rar. Also it lacks the ability to preview the contents of the archive without extracting it, because opening a zip file in Finder extracts the contents to the same directory. Furthermore, it cannot be used to create new archives. This made me think about an alternative and I found Zipeg. Zipeg is a simple and free compression and archive utility. It supports a number of formats like ZIP, RAR, ARJ, LHA/LZH, 7z, TAR, GZ, TGZ, BZIP2, CPIO, RPM, ISO, CHM and Z. Also you can preview images as thumbnail in the tooltip. Another important feature is the drag and drop support.
  5. Adium X – Adium is a Free and Open Source Instant Messaging application which allows you to connect to any number of messaging accounts on a large number of supported services which include AIM, MSN, Yahoo! Messenger, GTalk etc.

Though there are many other applications that I like, these are the five applications I found hard to live with. Some other programs worth mentioning are

BrowsersFirefox, Camino and Opera

GraphicsGIMP , Xee2

Text EditorsBBEdit, Smultron

FTP ClientTransmit

BitTorrent ClientTransmission

Anti VirusClamXav