Local Development - Dot Test Localhost

Many serious developer had configured their local development to be served through Dot DEV TLD domains. Few months back chrome blocked its use. Currently it appears as though .test and .localhost are the to go domains. This is how you can configure your local machine to serve .test (or .localhost) for your projects. I will how ever not go to the extent to configuring a web server.

Abstract

We will configure our networks to forward DNS queries to localhost. There we will intercept the queries and resolve .test TLDs to point back to localhost. Any other query should be forwarded to an actual DNS server. How ever we would be in conflict with systemd-resolved which we will disable. Then we will install and configure dnsmasq. There after we will configure NetworkManager to use dnsnasq. Finally we will configure nginx to use a locally served .test domain.

Disabling systemd-resolved

Lets first disable and stop what would be on our way. systemd-resolved will be occupying port 53 which will be used by dnsmasq.

#~ sudo systemctl disable systemd-resolved.service
#~ sudo service systemd-resolved stop

You can any time undo this simply by enable the service.

Installing and configuring dnsmasq

dnsmasq is a neat tool that can be used to forward DNS resolutions. Install it using…

#~ sudo apt install dnsmasq

Notice: If you get a warning at the end of the installation regarding socket already been used, it might be because you didn’t run the previous step.

Then we will configure dnsmasq. We will do 3 things here. First we will make dnsmasq to listen to localhost. Then we will say which DNS sever it could use to resolve domains. For this you will need to add 2 lines to the /etc/dnsmasq.conf file. I use VIM so it will be like…

#~ sudo vim /etc/dnsmasq.conf

There add the lines…

listen-address=127.0.0.1
server=1.1.1.1

Then we will tell dnsmasq to point .test domains to localhost. Create a config file for the new TLD and add the following line.

#~ sudo vim /etc/dnsmasq.d/test

Content… you may need to make the following test to localhost or what ever you want.

address=/test/127.0.0.1

Configuring Network Manager

You will first configure your network connection (ex: WiFi) to use 127.0.0.1` (localhost) for the DNS.

Then we will edit /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf. Add dns=dnsmasq.

#~ cat /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf 
[main]
plugins=ifupdown,keyfile
dns=dnsmasq

[ifupdown]
managed=false

[device]
wifi.scan-rand-mac-address=no

Then sudo service network-manager restart.

You should be good to go… Next would be to configure Nginx or your favorite web server and host your projects locally.

Ubuntu Desktop - Random Rotate

Ubuntu installations go perfectly fine, most of the time at least. This morning I installed Ubuntu 18.04 in an HP Envy 15 having a 7th generation Core i7 processor. Things were off from the beginning. The installation screen was flipped 180 degrees (up side down). Knowing the installation well I went through it without an issue. Following installation the screen will rapidly change orientation. I did some digging and it turned out to be related to the iio-sensor-proxy which if I am correct is a daemon that will check sensors and do calibration. In my case it would freakout and rotate every time it wakes.

Fix

You can easy overcome this issue by removing the app.

#~ sudo apt remove iio-sensor-proxy

Warning

While this works, the daemon also deals with the gyroscope and ambient light sensor. I doubt the HP Envy 15 would have either. Even if it does, I can live without it.

The iio-sensor-proxy had a config file. In an earlier day I was able to just switch off the rotation. It was simply commenting out a line, which I don’t remember where.

Hope it helped and as always Happy Hacking!

Github Compromised - Alternatives?

Goodness! Have you heard the whining of panicked sissies whining about the Microsoft acquisition of Github. Don’t tell me you don’t know it!

About the acquisition, to be honest, I was personally disappointed, but what the heck! Microsoft was a developer centric company. I think Basic was one of their first products. Visual Studio Code is arguably the best editor in the world (for at least their languages). They have always been in the front of software development and the future is going to be software. They just want a piece of it. This acquisition makes total sense to me. They are not going behind your precious billion dollar code, grow your self a pair!

I was asked if I would move. I already have my own privately hosted GitLab server. Which hosts my most private research. 90% of my and my clients code otherwise is hosted at Github and few at Bitbucket. And I have no plans to migrate. Neither any of my clients.

In fact, I believe, if they really wanted, they would find much more economical and low risk ways to get their hands on our code. Give me a break.

Any ways here are a few alternatives for you!

Alternatives to GH

How ever if you are not comfortable that Satya Nadella fiddling with your privates, there are plenty of alternatives, that support private hosting.

GitLab

While I landed on Github early. I wasn’t using it much, mainly been the cost of hosting private repositories. My intense Git use started when I was working for Orpiva (formally Clothes Network). They had hosted GitLab in their own server farm. This is the same time I got serious about my pet projects and starting hosting them at GitLab. I am pretty sure the CTO of Orpiva, Bjoern Rennhak, was the one to point me at GitLab.com.

GitLab has (or at least had) a moto “Better than GitHub”. Its ironic becurse the source code of GitLab was it self hosted at Github. You can install GL in your own server. Other wise you can use GitLab.com which has both free and paid subscriptions.

GitLab.com unlimited private repositories without storage limitation. Like GitHub it supports static web hosting. So if you like what GitHub has to offer, GitLab is for you.

Visit

Bitbucket

Bitbucket was my 2nd stop after GitLab. I have couple clients today who use Bitbucket. It is a great platform. To be honest, I personally prefer GitHub and GitLab.

Like GitLab it offers unlimited repositories both public and private. How ever it does have a 2 GB storage limit. There is a static web hosting option but I have not personally tried it.

Visit

Other honorable mentions

I have personally used CodePlex and what I believe is Google Code in my university days to host my university projects. There is also SourceForge, Manuscript.

If you would look around you might find more. But IMHO you would be good with either GitLab or Bitbucket regardless of the size of your organization.

Conclusion

I think its good for the future. I just hope Satya won’t ramp up the prices. Then no cool!

My DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is in Sri Lanka

I purchased my first real camera, a Cannon 77D just under a year ago. What I had in mind is to step up the quality of photos and videos I take. The camera performed well enough (for the price) in both segments. How ever I was struggling to get smooth video specially when panning. No matter how hard I try it would shake more than I would like.

I considered buying a gimbal for my DSLR. But I am in a budget and it is expensive. Then I though about a steady cam. While in theory it should do the job I am not comfortable with a big profile. A smart phone gimbal would be cost effective and also would also not need me to carry a separate camera when its not needed.

My research narrowed down the products to Zhiyun Smooth Q and the Osmo Mobile 2. I wanted to know which was durable and most bang-per-buck in terms of features.

I noticed some reviews by users that the Smooth Q was not handling large phones well. There were also some complaints that they broke down after few weeks use. That gave some plus points to the DJI Osmo Mobile 2.

Then in the application features department the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 app (DJI Go) seemed to be solid performer. The Zhyun Smooth Q had features that the DJI didn’t have how ever its tracking feature was horrible. Tracking is important to me as I am a one man show.

With that said, I decided to settle for a DJI Osmo Mobile 2. I went shopping. While few shops advertised it in their websites, they actually didn’t have any in stock. One shop had the DJI Osmo Mobile (the first version) which was expensive and old. Patience not been one of my virtues, I went online and ordered the item through Ebay.

Two days ago (2 weeks from the order) I got my hands on the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. It was great. I love its tracking. I am yet to put it to use as my house is under repairs and am in no position to vlog.

I love its battery. Since I lost my S7, I have been using my Note 3 which drains battery fast. With the Osmo I can use it as a power bank it self while shooting. The panning is very smooth and it handles shake when walk decently. The tracking feature is good and useful. I must say it is worth the price.

The Expanse Saved

The Expanse is Saved! I would like to make this an opportunity to thank Jeff Bezos, the guys at Amazon, The Expanse family and the other fellow fans for getting Expanse another season.

The first season of the Expanse was not very special. I almost dropped from the show. But over time the show improved. This improvement was clearly visible in Season 2. It is in this time I fell in love with Chrisjen Avasarala (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo) and Roberta (Bobby) Draper (Frankie Adams) and the spy Cotyar (Nick E Tarabey). I also started to like Amos (Wes Chatham).

Season 3 was a shocker. It was as perfect a good story could be. I was hoping to see Chrisjen be the Queen (Sec Gen) of UN and Bobby and Cotyar by her side. Cotyar died and Bobby is in a MCRN ship. I should have known better. May be that is why E06 wasn’t as appealing to me as the previous 5.

Syfi cancelled the show. They have a habit of cancelling good shows and continuing shit stories.

The Expanse team (specially Cas Anwar) and the loyal fan base have convinced Jef Bezos and Amazon to pick up the show.

It is great news! God Bless Amazon! You earned a customer!