fping on windows

I started working on a ping plotter a while ago and back then I still was on linux and was currently getting into C. Now that I’m not on linux anymore I kinda dropped the project for a while. After that pause I’ve finally gone back I decided to ditch C and write it in Python since I’m developing it on windows but want it to work on linux aswell. The ping plotter is supposed to ping an ip over a timespan and then make a graph out of the latency values. For that I’ll use the ping command since that’s the easiest way to get latency values without adiministrative rights. The issue is that the windows ping.exe and the linux ping command return different outputs so formatting them means I have to differenciate between windows and linux.

After some searching I came across fping which is a custom ping program for linux. It’s designed to be used in scripts which digest it’s output. So now the only issue is to compile that for windows. I used cygwin for it since nobody seems to have done it before me. Sadly the build script returns errors when compiling. So here’s how I fixed that:

First get the sourcode from the releases. Now we’ll need to convince cygwin that we have the right headers. Download this header file (made by John Paul Morrison) as icmp.h. Copy it into these folders and replace it with the icmp.h that is in those folders (That one is empty, you can open it if you want):

\usr\include\icmp.h
\usr\include\cygwin\icmp.h

The path to cygwin will usually be C:\cygwin64\ or C:\cygwin\. Now you can run

$ ./configure
$ make

Now you’ll have a fping.exe in the ./src/ folder. Run a command prompt as admin and then run something like

C:\fping\src>fping.exe -s google.com

That should give someting like this

google.com is alive

       1 targets
       1 alive
       0 unreachable
       0 unknown addresses

       0 timeouts (waiting for response)
       1 ICMP Echos sent
       1 ICMP Echo Replies received
       0 other ICMP received

 36.6 ms (min round trip time)
 36.6 ms (avg round trip time)
 36.6 ms (max round trip time)
        0.038 sec (elapsed real time)

Pretty cool, huh? But if you read carefully it needs adminstrative rights on windows and root rights on linux so all of that was kinda wasted… I’ll just use the output of the native ping commands instead but if anyone needs fping on windows here you go. For those whore are to lazy to compile it themselves you can download my compiled binary for windows here (By the way there seems to be an infected version of fping on the web so if you need some confidence, that this one isn’t a virus heres a virustotal scan or scan it yourself). It’s completely unmodified and all credits go to the original authors.

I’ll now go back to getting back into python and formatting ping command outputs. Wohoo.

Clearscreen

I mentioned a while ago that I got a second monitor, which a long needed upgrade for me. I’ve been using only one screen for quite a while and for a lot of things it can get very frustrating to only have one screen. For example when playing a game in fullscreen your entire screen space is used up by one program, or when I needed to run two instances of a program for debugging, or when working on any project which requires to switch between programs like the webbrowser and something like Powerpoint.

Now that I have that second screen it’s obviously a lot more comfortable doing these things, but from time to time I still turn the other screen off because I notice that I don’t need it. The problem that comes up with that is that Windows remembers where you closed a program, so when opening for example the taskmanager and the last time I used it it was on the second monitor, I won’t see it since it’s turned off. So for now I’ve always either turned it back on again or just blindly guessed where the program is and dragged my mouse around in the dark.

Since that’s not an efficient solution I put together a small program that’ll move all windows (Almost all windows) that are open on one screen to another.

The program gets all it’s settings over arguments and is generally really small and probably unfinished but it does the trick for me. You pass it the dimensions of your main screen (Left, Right, Top, Bottom coordinates), which you can find out by running the progam with the –setup flag and finally pass it the coordinates of a point to which it should move all programs on the main screen.

It works pretty ok, it just doesn’t seem to want to move the file explorer since it’s probably the same process as the taskbar. At some point it also moved my taskbar, which made up for some interesting results like two taskbars stacked onto eachother. So I ended up blacklisting the explorer process.

And as always here‘s the sourcecode and the binary. I suggest launching the program from a shortcut with arguments.

Wifi issues

This is something that I already dealt with about a year back but it has come again to hunt me. A year back I tried to make use of an old laptop (An IBM T23 to be exact) and install linux on it. The laptop doesn’t have any internal wifi card so I went with an old wifi usb drive. But that thing was already hard to use on windows so getting it to work on linux was a whole different story. First I needed ndiswrapper to get the windows driver to work. But that didn’t do the trick so I went ahead and asked on the Arch linux forums. In the end I dug up a solution which worked for me back then.

A year later I dig up another laptop (An IBM T41 this time) and tried the same procedure. Sadly the thing that did the trick last time wasn’t the whole solution. After some more careful reading of my old thread I put together what is needed to get a wifi pci card or a wifi usb drive to work on an old ibm with linux:

First you need ndiswrapper. For Arch it’ll look like this:

$ sudo pacman -S ndiswrapper

If you have issues running ndiswrapper later you might need the linux headers:

$ sudo pacman -S linux-header

Next up we need to install the driver:

$ sudo nidswrapper -i <driver>.inf

The *.inf file is usually distributed with the driver, sometimes it’s inside the *.exe which means you’ll need to extract it using cabextract.

Now you want to plug in the device of which you just installed the driver and run

$ ndiswrapper -l 

This will list all installed drivers and wether or not the device is present. If it says so the driver is correct and the device is recognized. Now with most devices the last thing you want to do is load ndiswrapper on startup using

$ sudo ndiswrapper -ma

And since this is your first time using it you’ll have to load it manually once:

$ sudo modprobe nidswrapper

Now the device should be ready to use and you can connect to your network using a network mananger or wpa_supplicant. But for me this wasn’t all that was needed. What I need to do is disable ipv6 by editing /etc/sysctl.d/40-ipv6.conf

net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=1
net.ipv6.conf.<wifi device>.disable_ipv6=1

You can find the device name by typing ip link and for me it was the last listed device. The next thing to do is add these two lines to /etc/dhcpcd.conf

noipv6rs
noipv6
# Also comment out the line that says something like 'ipv4all'

Now this command has to be executed on every startup:

$ sudo dhcpcd <wifi device> --nohook mtu
# Once again get the wifi device with ip link

Now finally we’ll generate a wpa_supplicant config using

# wpa_passphrase <Networkname> <network password> /home/<username>/wifi.conf

You can get your exact Network name by scanning for networks over:

$ sudo pacman -S wifi-menu
$ sudo wifi-menu

Don’t use wifi-menu to connect (It’ll probably not work, but you can try).

Finally we can use the config to connect via wpa_supplicant:

sudo wpa_supplicant -D wext -B -i <wifi device> -c /home/<username>/wifi.conf

To automate the connection you can follow the Arch wiki or create a service.

And that’s it, wasn’t all that hard, right? 😛

Livestreamer without commandline

Update: Livestreamer has been discontinued and has been replaced by StreamLink. So everytime I mention livestreamer just imagine I’m talking about StreamLink. It’s a fork of it and works exactly the same.

Now that my adventures on linux are over for a while I realized that some things are a lot harder on windows than on linux. For example: I use livestreamer (Now Stream Link) to watch livestreams in VLC.

VLC playing a livesteam over livestreamer

Originally because I wanted to avoid the Flash player and now that almost everyone has switched to HTML5 I use it only for convenience. On linux I started livestreamer like this:

$ livestreamer high & disown

Which allowed me to close the command line afterwards. Sadly windows doesn’t work that way so I always have to leave the cmd window open. But when something’s annoying enough I’ll fix it at some point and with this problem it’s possible over a *.vbs script.

This is the script I’m using (pastebin.com):

Dim streamer
Dim quality
Dim link

streamingSite = “twitch.tv”       ‘ The Site you want to grab the stream from
default       = “gamesdonequick”  ‘ The stream that is shown by default in the text box
defaultq      = “high”              ‘ The default quality

streamer = InputBox(“Enter livestream channel”, “livestreamer”, default)
quality  = InputBox(“Enter quality”, “livestreamer”, “high”)

link = “livestreamer ” & streamingSite & “/” & streamer & ” ” & quality & ”  –http-header Client-ID=jzkbprff40iqj646a697cyrvl0zt2m6″

CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”).Run link,0,True
Set objShell = Nothing

Just save it as a *.vbs file and change the three variables to fit your needs and when launching it you should see this:

After clicking ok on the second dialog it’ll take some time, and if Livestreamer is installed correctly and finds a player (eg. VLC) you should see the player opening with the livestream and no command line. The last thing I did was make a shortcut of it and give it a nice icon.

Windows 10

So I have avoided windows 10 ever since the tray icon showed up for everyone for the free upgrade. The furthest I’ve gone away from windows 7 was 8.1. Since my windows 7 installation was getting kinda slow I decided to make a clean installation, and while I’m at it I thought I’ll go ahead and, for the first time, install windows 10 outside of a virtual machine.

The installation went smooth and I only had to untick about 300 settings about “collecting data to improve my experience”. After the main installation I went ahead and ran a few scripts to disable the rest of the services and I think I now a have a relatively useable installation of windows 10. So after I installed the basic software I need (which I heard can be automated using ninite or allmyapps, but I haven’t tried them) I went ahead and looked at some customisation with designs. There were some pretty cool looking ones but sadly one of them ended up toasting windows and trying to fix it only made it worse. Luckily I made a backup so that helped out a lot.

So after almost loosing my first installation of windows 10 about 2 hours in I stopped with the designs and installed something I knew from windows 8.1: Classic Shell, the free StartIsBack. It gives you a way to customize (or for windows 8 bring it back) your startmenu. The windows 10 start menu is way to big and full of useless stuff in my opinion so with classic shell you’ll get back the windows 7 styled start menu with a skin to fit the flat design of windows 10. It’ll also give you the search bar back and it’ll adjust to the accent color.

Due to the roll back to the backup I lost some software I had already installed, including winamp which was my goto music player for a while now. So I thought I’d use ths opportunity to give foobar a try but quickly dropped it since I didn’t like the interface and installing skins didn’t really work for me. But while looking for skins I found out about AIMP. I’ve never heard of it but I found a cool skin for it and it offers a lot of customization while staying very light weight (at least in terms of RAM usage).

So this is what my current installation looks like:

Classic shell and AIMP with the ncmpcpp skin

That’s basically it. We’ll see how long I can stick with it until I get annoyed or maybe to my surprise I’ll actually stay who knows.

Styling Firefox

A while ago I found out about the firefox addon stylish. It’s an addon that allows you to change the look of your browser and specific websites. Unlike themes it can completely redecorate almost all elements like the url bar, bookmark bar etc.

A small side note: The addon has sadly been bought by a big company. This is not the first time this has happened to an addon, but sadly this means using the addon will send information to that company, since that’s pretty much the only reason they bought it. Currently this is only enabled in chrome and can be disabled under the settings. An update for firefox will probably follow at some point, but I doubt that the option to disable the information collection is here to stay. So use this addon only if you’re okay with sharing some of your data (which I am not). There’s an alternative for chrome called StyleRRR (Chrome/Firefox).

On userstyles.org you can browse website and browser styles. I for one installed DarkTube so the YouTube design is easier on the eyes. So yeah with stylish you can have dark themes for most popular websites which don’t natively support it.

YouTube with the DarkTube theme

So since only making YouTube darker is kinda lame i also wanted firefox to be more darkish and more flat. So after some searching I came across powerline. Which is pretty cool, but the theme doesn’t include the bookmark bar nor the addon icons. But with my amazing css skills and some googling I modified powerline to fit my needs.

Firefox with my modified version of powerline

So as you can see Firefox is now entirely dark themed. The tabs look a little bit like those from chrome and they take up 100% of the window width, devided evenly to all open tabs. The url is centered at the top and on right are the icons from my addons. It’s not perfect but it does the trick.

So if you want to try my version you can get it here. Just copy the css text, make a new style under about:addons and paste in the text.

MPD Query

So I mentioned in another post that I use mpd and ncmpcpp to listen to music. The positive thing about this is that I can just close ncmpcpp when I don’t need it anymore and the music will continue playing, since mpd is responsible for the sound which is running completely in the background. Now sadly I have no indicator about what song is playing right now.

So I looked if anybody made a patch for dwm to display the current song, but everything I found didn’t really work for me. And I didn’t want a bash script to be running in the background. So I found a few people suggesting to make a simple C program to query the current song.

Now this is easier said than done, since I have no idea how to use mpd and C. The first thing I did was download the source code of mpd and copied the include directory into my project folder. So now I can write a program utilizing code from mpd. Now for the tricky part: Getting my program to connect to mpd and get the song name and some other information. I had some example code which showed how to connect and get the play time of the current song, so that helped a little bit, but getting the song name doesn’t work the same way.

For experienced people this task probably would be a thing of ten minutes but I not only had to deal with how mpd worked I also had to figure out how C works. And most time that was me writing like three lines of code, compiling it and finding out it compiled fine but crashed when running. So here’s what I have done so far:

Created a Makefile where the include directory (which containes the headers of mpd) is:

Makefile

VERSION = 3.02
CC      = /usr/bin/gcc

mpdq: mpdq.c
    $(CC) -o mpdq -lmpdclient mpdq.c

So this way compiling is just the command ‘make’. Next up is writing the actual code which started by me finding out how the main method looks in C and then moving onto actually fiddling with mpd. To work with mpd I needed these two headers:

#include <mpd/client.h>
#include <mpd/stats.h>

When those are included and the compiler doesn’t complain about not finding them you should be able to access the necessary methods to connect and query information from mpd:

struct mpd_connection  *connection = mpd_connection_new(NULL, 0, 0);

This will open a connection to the local mpd and return the pointer to the connection if it succeeded. The three arguments are only needed if the connection is to another computer. After that we want to get the current song and from that we can read most Song tags:

// Get current song as a struct
struct song = mpd_run_current_song(connection);
// Read name and artist
char *song_name   = (char *) mpd_song_get_tag(song, MPD_TAG_TITLE, 0);
char *artist_name = (char *) mpd_song_get_tag(song, MPD_TAG_ARTIST, 0);

And that is technically everything important to read information from mpd. The only other things I did were putting this in a loop, adding a command to make it appear in the dwm bar, differentiating between paused/playing and  cleaning up when closing. That’s all I have done up until now. I’ll see if I can get some controls like pause/play into the dwm bar but for now this’ll suffice.

DMEDYKJ

Here‘s the source code and here‘s a binary build. Just give it the run flag with chmod a+x and when running it should display the current song in the top left corner (Provided you use dwm and a song is playing in mpd :P).