Driving the Cosmos with Gaia Sky

Written by max on 2019-01-15

Demo of using an iRacing rig to navigate the stars

I stumbled on the amazing Universe Simulator Gaia Sky by Toni Sagristà Sellés through a twitter post a couple evenings ago. Gaia Sky is a real-time universe simulator to provide a way to explore the data from the ESA’s Gaia spacecraft.

Immediately, I wondered how I could rig it up to my race driving setup on my PC. With a minor tweak the source code, and a few helper programs,

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Secure Google-Free Baby Cam using an old Android Phone

Written by max on 2013-11-03


Chances are if you are geeky enough to be reading this blog post, you have a couple old Android devices laying around. Even if you don’t, I guarantee you know someone who does. Older smart phones have high-resolution cameras and wifi radios, why not use them as baby monitors? This isn’t a new idea, there are many apps in the Play Store (market) that let you do just this.

What I add here are two things :

Running the Android phone

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Secure Foscam Webcam with Audio Over https

Written by max on 2013-08-08


So you want to use a cheap IP camera as a baby cam, huh? A little shocked at how little security there is?

Especially after reading recent articles.

“Oh, wait! I can reverse proxy this using apache!” you tell yourself. However you soon learn that in doing so you lose audio capabilities.

Solution? Use stunnel instead of apache to reverse proxy. Audio will still work, over the Internet/4G using IP Cam Viewer

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Dynamic DNS – Replacing dyndns with Bind

Written by max on 2013-07-08


Now that dyndns is starting to make you either a. pay money, or b. login every month, you would like to run your own Dynamic DNS services. I implement a secure dynds-compatible server in Perl CGI, hosted by Apache.

This assumes you have your own functioning server with a fixed IP that is running DNS service for at least one domain using the Bind DNS server. My personal setup is VirtualMin running on Ubuntu, so adjust accordingly if you’re

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Floating / Tubing the Russian River – a Map of Beaches

Written by max on 2013-05-29


If you’ve never given it a try, the Russian River is a great place to spend a few hours floating down stream. It’s free, it’s very shallow, and during the summer it’s very slow moving. This is not river rafting.

In the section between Steelhead Beach and Monte Rio the river is slow and steady. From Healdsburg to Steelhead you’re better off in a Kayake or Canoe where you can make up for the insanely slow river.  The river depth is

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ch0wned – Installing Open Office 3.4 as non-root in your home directory for Redhat RHEL 5

Written by max on 2012-12-03


This is a brief guide to help you to install a newer version of Open Office on your Linux box w/out root access. For example, you could be installing into your home directory. Things have gotten a lot easier since the RHEL4 days.

Basic Non-Root Install from RPMs

Download the RPM-based install for your distro and architecture. Example : Apache_OpenOffice_incubating_3.4.1_Linux_x86-64_install-rpm_en-US.tar.gz
Unzip the Tar ball into the place you want to install Open Office
mkdir ~/oo_3.4
cd ~/oo_3.4
tar xvfz ~/Downloads/Apache_OpenOffice_incubating_3.4.1_Linux_x86-64_install-rpm_en-US.tar.gz

Uncompress all the

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ch0wned – Keeping your own Perl library and cpan in your home directory

Written by max on 2011-04-08

ch0wned. adj. This is the state when you are a Linux user and don’t have root access.


This tutorial is for people wanting to install perl modules using CPAN who do not have root access or wish to keep a network-central module repository that is separated from the local install.


lib::local module on CPAN


Unpackage lib::local

tar xvfz local-lib-1.008004.tar.gz

Choose a library directory

I use a value of $HOME which installs the modules into $HOME/lib/perl5

Install lib::local into the above spot

cd lib-local-1.008004

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ch0wned – Firefox 4 in Redhat 5 (EL5) / CentOS 5 / CentOS 5.5

Written by max on 2011-03-29

ch0wned. adj. This is the state when you are a Linux user and don’t have root access.


The latest Firefox 4 Beta (rc2) requires GCC 4.x and a libstdc++ to match. Unfortunately, Redhat EL5 and CentOS 5 / CentOS 5.5 do not meet this requirement, no matter how many packages you update. But, luckily for us our friend rkl found a solution and posted it on mozillazine. Much to our dismay, the mozilla developers have

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ch0wned – Getting a Logitech G500 Mouse and all its Buttons Working in Redhat EL5

Written by max on 2011-02-04

ch0wned. adj. This is the state when you are a Linux user and don’t have root access. Ok, so technically for this edition of ch0wned you need to have root :-P Hint – Sys admins usually like beer.


You have a Logitech G500 or other multi-button mouse and want to get all the buttons working. These mice use the evdev driver in xserver. Unfortunately, Redhat EL5 ships with a very buggy version !!!

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Encrypted Open-Source Linux Backup to Amazon S3 using Amanda 3.2.x

Written by max on 2011-01-25


NOTE: This post was never quite finished… hopefully these partial instructions help someone in the future…

You want to backup a linux box using the open source version of zManda – Amanda. You’ld like to use Amazon S3 for storage on the cloud, and have it encrypted, as well as use reduced redundancy. You’ld like to not pay more S3 fees than you’ld have to. You’ld like to be able to do a “bare-metal” restore in case

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