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Riseup - from RiseupVPN to OpenVPN

June 9, 2023    Article    1037 words    5 mins read

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This article was sparked by a 4chan discussion, I was under the impression that everybody (that was interested in this) knew that you can use Riseup’s VPN service without their RiseupVPN (Bitmask, developed by LEAP) client. Apparently, nobody knows that.

Even though it’s open source, people might not want to install additional applications when you can just use a 5KB OpenVPN profile for that. Basically you just need a way to “trick” the Riseup server to give you the correct data (CA certificate, client certificate and private key) so an OpenVPN profile can be generated, and for that we’ll be using this excellent tool by nitrohorse. You can also use Postman or wget/curl to retrieve the certificates and private key.

Caveat: The generated OpenVPN profile must be re-created every 60 days, the RiseupVPN client does that transparently, but you can use cron, or whatever automation tool you fancy, to re-create the profile when needed.

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Rhysida ransomware group opsec

June 6, 2023    Article    292 words    2 mins read

I was debating whether I should publish this, Allah knows I hate to give tips to the feds and Interpol, but I noticed someone on Twitter already figured it out, so why not. Here we go!

There is a new-ish (since May 2023) ransomware group called Rhysida and they leaked some stuff from various companies and the French territorial colectivity of Martinique (why Martinique). All good for now, except they made a simple mistake, they forgot to disable (or it’s enabled on purpose, hello honeypot) the Apache server status page. I can’t remember whether the status page is enabled or disabled by default (and I CBA to check the manual, I’m cranky today) because we pros are way past the goth Apache phase and we’re converting packets straight into Morse code now.

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June 3, 2023    Photography

WWW - Website Writing Workflow

May 30, 2023    Article    1732 words    9 mins read

Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of writing apps, and in this article I’m going to talk a bit about my writing workflow. To begin with, I write in Markdown and I’ve been writing in Markdown for a few years now. Using a plain text format makes it easy to use pretty much any application, whether on macOS, Linux or Windows, an I prefer Markdown to writing HTML by hand, but I can write HTML if I need a feature not implemented in Markdown.

My preferred Markdown editor is iA Writer for longer, distraction-free writing and if I’m writing short notes (like the section which is basically micro-blogging) I will probably use Sublime Text, since it’s always open on my computer(s), anyway.

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A society of children

May 27, 2023    Article    600 words    3 mins read

In an effort to make everyone focus on the one thing they do best, we created a society of children who are experts in things that interest them and clueless in most other things; as soon as the economy loses its ability to ensure all the human rights, infrastructure and conveniences these require, there will only be a minority of people who can clearly judge the value of certain things - those who didn’t have them for granted. An utopia where nobody has to struggle to feed or house themselves would completely forget the value of food and housing and would collapse on itself when supply runs low, as everyone would oppose spending resources on food and housing (it being a given) and would instead start a campaign to find who is to blame.

Calling the west the most corrupt system might sound ungrateful at first, but if you look deeper into it you’ll see that our so-called “freedom” is really nothing more than just a smokescreen. In most dictatorships you usually know what to expect.

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The age of average

May 20, 2023    Bookmark

So, there you have it. The interiors of our homes, coffee shops and restaurants all look the same. The buildings where we live and work all look the same. The cars we drive, their colours and their logos all look the same. The way we look and the way we dress all looks the same. Our movies, books and video games all look the same. And the brands we buy, their adverts, identities and taglines all look the same.

But it doesn’t end there. In the age of average, homogeneity can be found in an almost indefinite number of domains.

The Instagram pictures we post, the tweets we read, the TV we watch, the app icons we click, the skylines we see, the websites we visit and the illustrations which adorn them all look the same. The list goes on, and on, and on.


So, this is your call to arms. Whether you’re in film or fashion, media or marketing, architecture, automotive or advertising, it doesn’t matter. Our visual culture is flatlining and the only cure is creativity.

It’s time to cast aside conformity. It’s time to exorcise the expected. It’s time to decline the indistinguishable.

Alex Murrell

StarFive VisionFive 2

May 12, 2023    Article    4590 words    22 mins read
StarFive VisionFive 2

This will be a long article with lots of information compiled from various sources as well as my experience tinkering with the StarFive VisionFive 2. This SBC is a RISC-V (in)development board, and if you’re looking for a one-click solution to play Cyberpunk 2077 and brag to your Discord friends, this ain’t it, homey.

Very important note: this article is work in progress!


RISC-V architecture

RISC-V is an open standard instruction set architecture (ISA) based on established reduced instruction set computer (RISC) principles. Unlike most other ISA designs, RISC-V is provided under royalty-free open-source licenses. A number of companies are offering or have announced RISC-V hardware, open source operating systems with RISC-V support are available, and the instruction set is supported in several popular software toolchains.

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