Anonymous web-surfing with Tor

I wrote about Tor in the past but I never tried using it. I installed it on my Ubuntu laptop and tested using it via Firefox and [Torbutton]. Now that it’s set up, when I want to surf the web anonymously, I just need to launch Firefox and toggle Torbutton to be on. Even though the Tor daemon is running in the background, I won’t use it on a day to day basis.

I also downloaded the Tor Browser Bundle for multiple platforms per this post and placed them in Lightweight Portable Linux (LPS) USB stick so I can use them on other people’s computer should the need come. Of course, if I wanted to be even more discreet, I would boot up LPS directly.

web-based ssh

SSH has come to be my most used protocol besides http. It allows me to fully access a computer, transfer files, and all communications are encrypted (so I feel safe!). Since all my computers are Linux-based, I can use ssh by starting a terminal. However, what If I’m on a computer without an ssh client, say, a Windows machine? Sure, I can install putty on a Windows computer when I need to ssh. Is there a more convenient way?

consoleFISH allows users to ssh from the web for free short sessions. However, I just don’t trust third party hosted solutions; my privacy may be compromised. I discovered WebShell via this post, which allows me to ssh into the server with WebShell. From there, I can ssh into any server I want or do work on the current server. It’s also great for touchscreen phones as it offers an onscreen keyboard. However, it doesn’t yet offer password authentication before attempting to ssh into the server (the website); I feel weary of this. This wiki post shows some other alternatives, but WebShell seems to be the best on the list.

The other alternative that I think will work for me is the FireSSH plugin for Firefox. I assume Firefox is installed on all the Windows machines I’ll encounter. I’ll then just install the plugin, and use the ssh:// protocol in the address bar to ssh into the machine I want. It works well I must say. I guess this is slightly better than having to install a full-blown app (putty) on a computer that’s not mine.

Presentations/slideshows in a web browser using S5

I use LaTeX Beamer whenever I write a a presentation because

  1. I’m familiar with LaTeX and want to keep up with the skillset,
  2. I prefer to write in plain text, especially in emacs, and
  3. I don’t have to spend time working on the how the presentation looks and just have to worry about content.

I recently re-discovered S5, a way to make presentations using html, viewable by any web browser. I think it is safe to assume that more computers have a web browser than a pdf viewer (especially more than MS Powerpoint, for sure). I don’t really know html, so I searched for org-mode or markdown support. Of course, these exist. For org-mode, check out org-s5. For markdown support, there is Instiki and pandoc. I hope to try these out soon. S5 seems to be a good alternative when my presentation doesn’t involve math equations or source code on display. You can also create Beamer slides easily using org-mode; see this and this.

emacs-style web browser: Conkeror

I remember back then when I used Kubuntu, I love Konqueror because I can hit Ctrl and all the links would be highlighted. I just need to type the letters corresponding to the link and Konqueror would take me to that link. I love it because I didnt have to use my mouse or touchpad. Recently, I discovered that Firefox had a similar feature, and it made me love firefox even more.

Even more recently, I was introduced to Conqueror, an emacs-like web browser. Everything is keyboard-based! It looks cool, but don’t know how compatible it will be with say a download manager. Everything else should be working since it is based on the same web engine that runs firefox! Installation instructions for Mac OS X can be found here.