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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Netcat Proxy on Windows: Part 2 - v4/v6 Translation

In my previous post I looked at a Netcat proxy on Windows using named pipes to emulate how it works on *nix. Now that I got it working in the straightforward case, I decided to see if Netcat could be used as an IPv4 / IPv6 translation proxy.

This of course requires a Netcat that has IPv6 capabilities and because of my setup - works on Windows. Luckily, I have just the thing - nc64 which you can grab here.

The setup is more or less the same as for the IPv4-only test case last discussed: start the named pipe server, start the Netcat proxy, then connect. However, in this case, the Netcat proxy setup is slightly different. We'll need to listen on IPv4 and forward to IPv6 and vice versa for the opposite test case. Let's look at IPv4 to IPv6 first.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Netcat Proxy on Windows: Part 1 - Named Pipes

Using Netcat as a proxy has been well documented and is pretty straightforward on *nix:

&gt mkfifo backpipe
&gt nc -l 3000 0&ltbackpipe | nc www.google.com 80 1&gtbackpipe

However, I'm running Windows and the concept of named pipes (mkfifo) is a bit different. There isn't a Windows command to create a named pipe; rather, it must be programmatically done. Also, it operates a bit different so even with a Windows named pipe, the above command didn't work for me.

There are workarounds, using the '-e' option but I couldn't get those to send data back to me. So I figured it was time to find out how named pipes work and see what I could do with that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Defeating Lollipop Longing with KitKat Kustomizations

Even with a third-party ROM, I won't be getting Lollipop on my long-in-the-tooth Samsung Galaxy S3. It runs fine, doesn't give me any real troubles, gets app updates from the Play Store - just no operating system updates.

And of course, that's the issue.

Some of the new features of Lollipop - most notably notifications and smart lock - are missing from KitKat (4.4.2 is what my GS3 is running). And I need them!

Developers to the rescue!


For notifications, I looked at a few options and first settled on Heads-up notifications. It was easy to set-up and use, offered a clean and smooth user interface and did what I wanted - mostly. It didn't offer multiple notifications, only the latest one. Feature requests were made but it seems the developer doesn't want that in this app. From the open-source repository:

"I ran a poll on my website a while ago, where over 1,000 users voted. Roughly 50% of the users wanted support for multiple notifications. [...] (this option should probably be implemented in a separate app as it kills the whole point of non-intrusive notifications)."

Since "Android app developer" isn't on my resume and my limited programming chops couldn't make heads or tails of the open source code, I needed to find something else.

Enter Floatify. This app does the same but allows for multiple notifications. However, you'll need the ProKey ($2.49) to enable all features. I sprung for it and am pretty happy so far.

Smart Lock

Like notifications, I looked at a few options and settled on Dislock. This allowed me to set up my home WiFi network as a trusted location and disable the lockscreen while at home. I previously used the pattern unlock but this app (and most others of this kind to be fair) only supports PIN and password mode. So I had to switch and get used of using PIN to unlock; not a big deal.

This app too has a paid-for mode ($2.99) with an in-app purchase to allow more than one trusted "device". Since I've set up my home WiFi, I can't set up my Bluetooth headset or car Bluetooth also without the purchase. For now, skipping the lockscreen at home is fine.

Another note is that when this app installs and activates, it changes the default lockscreen security to "None" when on the trusted network. This means pressing any button on my phone (power or home) activates the home screen. This can lead to accidental app opening or other issues since there isn't the intermediate swipe to get to the home screen. I tried setting the default lockscreen security to "Swipe" and it WORKED! Now, at home, pressing a button activates the swipe to unlock screen (no security). And when I'm away, PIN to unlock appears to maintain security in untrusted locations. Works a treat!


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