Passwordless Logins with OpenSSH

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I don’t know about you guys, but typing my password in whenever I want to get to one of my home servers is… well, it’s damn annoying. Thankfully there’s a way to export your private keys so when you log in to a computer you trust, you can have this act as your authentication mechanism – because you have a preshared key, the target server won’t bother asking you for a password.

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Airvideo on Ubuntu the even easier way

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For those of you who don’t know what Airvideo is, it’s a little piece of software which runs on a server in your home and allows you to watch videos on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad both in your home via WiFi and when you’re out and about on a 3G network. It transcodes video (including MKV) into something your iDevice can play, then streams it out at the ideal bit rate for the available bandwidth. The server software is free, and the client software is available on the App store for around $2, which is a phenomenal bargain considering what it does.

A while ago I wrote a howto on installing the Windows version of the Airvideo server on Ubuntu using the Wine environment, because the Linux version of the Airvideo server was a little… well, confusing.

Since then, I was contacted by RubioJr (Gracias, Rubio!), who has put together a PPA (a list of packages) to allow Ubuntu and Debian users to enjoy a super simple installation method of Airvideo, without the need to install Wine. Continue reading

Automating Usenet downloads with HellaVCR and SABnzbd+

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Some people would say that I’m a lazy person, that I don’t want to do anything which requires any hard work. But I prefer to think of myself as efficient – Doing repeated complex tasks over and over irritates me, like scouring index sites for my favourite Linux isos. When a new version appears, it should magically appear in a folder on my server, right?

Thankfully, with a few programs and a bit of time spent on the front end, it can all be magically done for you.

I’ll be doing all of this on Ubuntu 10.04, as that’s my server operating system of choice. If you want to build this setup on a different system, your mileage may vary. Just be sure to check the individual requirements of each package to ensure that they’ll all work correctly (i.e. HellaVCR needs Apache to work). Continue reading

Securing your SSH server

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Enabling SSH on your home server – or a virtual private server, if you have one – is a risky affair. An unsecured server is a tempting target for script kiddies who want to test their “skills.” If you’re already running an ssh server, try the following command to see if anyone’s tried to connect to your computer and failed a password check:
user@computer:~$ sudo awk 'gsub(".*sshd.*Failed password for (invalid user )?", "") {print $1}' /var/log/auth.log* | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head -5
 11 root
 9 admin
 6 sales
 2 user

So how do you secure your ssh server so that inquisitive people across the globe can’t access and harm your sensitive data?

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Airvideo on Ubuntu 10.04 the easy way

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AirVideo on iPhone

For those of you who don’t know what Airvideo is, it’s a little piece of software which runs on a server in your home and allows you to watch videos on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad both in your home via WiFi and when you’re out and about on a 3G network. It transcodes video (including MKV) into something your iDevice can play, then streams it out at the optimal bitrate for the available bandwidth. The server software is free, and the client software is available on the App store for around $2, which is a phenomenal bargain considering what it does.

The server software usually runs on Windows or Mac, but what about people who use Linux as their server operating system?

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