Web Rendering Proxy v4.6 released

(this is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

Pleased to announce WRP version 4.6! After almost two years of no updates due to dependency issues I finally resolved everything. More frequent work should resume now.

The main improvement visible to users is the new GIF encoding. I have been struggling with poor GIF performance for quite a while. This was mostly manifested on lower end machines running WRP such as Raspberry PI or these micro instances in the cloud.

Thanks to invaluable work of Hill Ma we now have blazing fast GIFs. Probably order of 100x improvements! This comes at a cost of quality, especially of color palette and dithering. However worse quality of imagery has a surprise improvement of font/text quality which is what a lot of people wanted.

WRP 4.6 with default 216 color GIF

Note that by default WRP uses GIF with 216 “web safe” colors. We choose this not so much for number of colors but rather activation of the super fast GIF encoding.

WRP 4.6 in 256 color mode GIF

When switching to 256 color mode the image look much better, however it takes around 25x longer to encode (7ms vs 170ms).

When using PNG this is of course not a problem.

0 height mode, which renders tall images of full page length has also been improved and is now more stable. Be careful when using very old machines with little memory as the images can be pretty big.

I hope that WRP will help you use your vintage computers more 🙂

Please report bugs and issues on github!

Downloads here.

Missing Neko98

Neko on ARM

With the collapse of my vpsland archive, Neko has become lost once more again. Thankfully I had some fragment backups so I have been able to bring Neko back from the grave. again.

First I dumped everything I had over on sourceforge. With a bit more digging I found the old RISC versions as well. I even found the Itanium version, although I lost the ARM version. Im not sure I have an 8gb pi4 anymore, but I’d like to get one when/if prices stop being insane. Anyways I also uploaded the source to github, since it’s more hip and acceptable for zoomers. I do have to say the git mirror command was everything I’d hoped it’d be.

git push --mirror https://github.com/neozeed/neko98.git

It literally was that easy.

I put a binary built with Visual C++ 2010 SP1 over there too. Although if you need Visual C++ 2010 runtimes, I put them on sourceforge.

Also I should add in the settings make sure you click “Always On Top”, otherwise Neko will be hidden to the desktop surface and you won’t see him.

I hope you enjoy!

So there has been a problem

I’ve been on the road for a few months, basically in exile. I’ve downsized my once large online presence to a desktop in an office I’m still obligated to for rent and internet. So my i7 workstation had been up to the task, although it seems I didn’t have the right power settings to turn back on from a power failure.

So now I’m faced with a stale backup as i can’t find my currents. so yeah content has been lost. So i also don’t want to race back to a single point of failure, so once more again I’m going to try a cloud. Microsoft keeps sending me these $200 trial things so i thought I would try it. There is a large learning curve about their networks , and deployments. although there is a bunch of ”shake and bake” deployments to speed things along. As always the key is reading the documents.

I still have a lot of stuff to upload, so for the moment the database is restored but there is a lot of messing around needed for the the old layout.

So appologies for the mess.

Special thanks for Tenox for helping me with all kinds of issues, and support from my muse.

Its always darker before its bright, and its already getting dark in northern Europe.

Much regrets to all my loyal fans

It’s come to that point where I’m basically forced to either step up and do a patreon and beg for money, or go the other way and passively shill for ads.

I’ve gone for plan b.

It’s annoying and yeah I know. It sucks.

This trip has… been a challenge, and I have a stack of unfinished crap I need to push out, but frankly i’ve been too lazy to do it.

Maybe I’ll call it depression as it’s more dressed up and sexy.

Anyways I now have far too much kit where I wanted 3 max, and now I have like far too many. Time to get busy with my Chinese soldering iron, patch up some stuff, and get some of this out of the door.

Anyways yeah, people not using blockers will see the ads.

Also today was frought with additional money stress so yeah.. let’s hope this meets in the middle passively.

Cloud Functions Bucket File Editor

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

The title is little complicated so let me explain! Ever since dawn of the web I been running some web server to host various websites. In the beginning it was a physical machine under my desk, then a colocated server, then a VPS Virtual Machine, then a container. Eventually all the websites that I look after or host for friends/family ended up in “the cloud”. Storage buckets to be precise, as they offer a super cheap and simple way of hosting static websites. I no longer have to maintain machines, look after updates, security or configuration. Just upload HTML and done.

However here lies a problem. You can’t just “edit” a file in a bucket, you can only download it, edit locally and re-upload. This typically is done via Storage Browser UI or gsutil cli utility (in case of GCP). Or some sophisticated IDE with storage API support or sometimes a FUSE client. In any case it’s hard and cumbersome. Why can’t there be a simple Edit function in the UI?

Why isn’t there a File Edit Option????

I have recently discovered that there even is a brand new Cloud Shell Editor which is a VScode instance bound to your “cloud shell instance”. It allows you to virtually edit files “in the cloud” but of course not in storage buckets! WHY NOT?

While this been bothering me for a while I also got interested in so called “cloud functions” which are small pieces of code that you can run “in the cloud” without need for a VM or even a container (although surely they run in one behind the scenes). Just paste the code and run… somewhere. Cloud Functions or AWS Lambdas have been notoriously abused by crypto miners. I wanted to play with these for legitimate reasons and finally decided to create a simple web based text editor that would allow to edit text files in storage buckets. So CFEdit was born.

The editor is super simple, no frills, just a file selector and textarea for editing files. You deploy it by creating a new function, either via the UI or CLI. You can restrict it just to a single bucket or allow editing in any bucket within a project. It doesn’t use IAM and thus doesn’t require Google accounts. I specifically wanted to avoid complexity of that and just went with own user database and HTTP Basic Auth.

Now I can create account for family members or friends and allow them to edit their web pages via simple web based editor rather than asking for uploading files or resorting to ftp/sftp GCS gateways or stuff like that.

In future I’m planning to add other function like create blank file, directory, upload/download etc. Let me know what’s needed.

CFEdit can be downloaded from github.com/tenox/cfedit, the readme describes in steps on how to deploy it.

lsblk for Windows released

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

Pleased to announce that lsblk utility for Windows is finally released. This is not entirely new, the original code was on github for a few years now, but it was lacking major features of printing drive letters, mount points and filesystem types.

Why would anyone even want lsblk for Windows? There are many other “native” ways of displaying disks and volumes. For example in PowerShell: Get-Disk or Get-PhysicalDisk or in cmd: wmic diskdrive list brief. Not to mention diskpart or disk management UI. There are a few answers to this.

Firstly the output format of lsblk on Linux is rather intuitive and useful, which can’t be said about previously mentioned utilities. People with Linux background find it more like at home.

PowerShell and wmic lack ability to combine disk and volume information, unless you want to write a larger script. This is now part of lsblk.

Lastly lsblk uses low level function to list objects directly from the kernel (think WinObj), rather than going through various high level services, management interfaces and relying on VDS (Virtual Disk Service). As such it’s super fast and you can use it even with VDS stopped or inoperable. Finally it’s yet another of these native Linux tools now also available on Windows.

Finally, some of the column names may sound cryptic, so here is an explanation:

ST – Status 1=healthy 0=unhealthy
TR – Trim / Unmap / Discard Capability
RM – Removable Media
MD – Media changed (for removable media)
RO – Read only