ExplodingPenguin.TV Linux Love, Microsoft Frustrations, and Other Geekery


Broadcast Multiple SSIDs From One Computer



MDK3 is a Linux program that will allow you to do all sorts of things with wireless beacon frames.  One of the things you can do is broadcast a list of fake access points from a single wireless card. Good for illustrating that users shouldn't just connect to any open AP that they come across.


Convert VM File Types

VM FormatsTo avoid booting into Windows and downloading VMware's VM converter, I use qemu-img to convert virtual machine's to my needs. It's free, fast and open source. You can download it from from the repos in most Linux distros.


qemu-img convert -O [output format] [input filename] [output filename]

Record Audio Output or Input From The Terminal

An easy way to record any audio output or mic input is to gstreamer-tools.

The command to record all audio output to a file:

gst-launch -e pulsesrc device="alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo.monitor" ! audioconvert ! lamemp3enc target=1 bitrate=128 cbr=true ! filesink location=output.mp3

That will save the audio to the a file specified after "location=."

The "device=" may vary, to list the audio devices on your system  enter:

pactl list | grep -A2 'Source #' | grep 'Name: ' | cut -d" " -f2

Example output:




To create an easier to remember command add an alias to the .bashrc file.

Open .bashrc (located in your home directory) with your text editor and add the record command in this format:

#Audio Out record
alias capaudio='gst-launch -e pulsesrc device="alsa_output.pci-0000_00_1b.0.analog-stereo.monitor" ! audioconvert ! lamemp3enc target=1 bitrate=128 cbr=true ! filesink location='

This creates an alias called capaudio. After this you only need to type capaudio followed by the filename to record the audio out.


capaudio output.mp3



SSH Tunneling

SSH tunneling has been my favorite way to quickly tunnel to my home network over the years. The setup is incredibly simple, and if you have a Linux machine at your home or office, and use Linux on your travel computer, then you have very little to do to make this work.

The Linux machine on your home network needs openssh server installed. (Server distros usually ask if you want openssh installed initially or have it installed by default)

Forward the SSH port on your router/NAT device to the Linux box at home. (port 22 by default)

Now on the Linux notebook you only have to open a terminal and run your normal SSH command with the -D option.


ssh john@server -D 8080

This allocates a socket to listen to the local port you specify (in this example port 8080).

Then configure whatever application you want to use the tunnel, to a socks proxy pointing to the localhost at port 8080 (or whatever port you specified).

For example, you would setup Firefox to use the tunnel by going to Preferences>Advance>Networking>Conection Settings, and select Select SOCKS Host with and port 8080 as the setting.


Deja Dup Backup Tool for Ubuntu

Deja Dub is an easy to use, end-user focused, backup tool that will ship with Ubuntu 11.10. It is already in the Ubuntu repos  for older versions of Ubuntu, so you could easily install it right now, but before you start relying on this program to keep those important files safe, you should be aware of it's features and limitations.


Change The Purple Background on Ubuntu’s Grub Menu

I prefer my grub2 in plain old black and white, not that purple nonsense. There are many ways to try and change the color setting, and the methods can very from versions of Ubuntu, grub, and plymouth. So the easiest way to edit boot apperance is with a super-boot-manger.


Try Mozilla’s Webian Shell

Webian Shell is a full screen web browser (simular to Chrome OS) with a minimal interface, and is very web standard compliant. It's still in a very early stage, but worth checking out if you've been following Chrome OS.

You can download it from Webian.org

To run in Windows and Mac OS, you unzip the file and run the executable.

In Linux, download and run:

tar -zxvf webian_shell_0.1-linux_xx.tar.gz
cd Webian\ Shell/
./Webian\ Shell


To install Webian Shell in Ubuntu, so you can run it by just typing webian in the terminal:

tar -zxvf webian_shell_0.1-linux_xx.tar.gz
sudo cp -r Webian\ Shell/ /usr/share
sudo ln -s /usr/share/Webian\ Shell/Webian\ Shell /usr/bin/webian


Now you only have to type webian into the terminal to run, regardless of directory. You could also create a launcher that points to /usr/bin/webian.

Official Project Page


Make Backspace Go Back in Firefox for Linux

Over time I've developed a habit of pressing Backspace to go back a page when web browsing, but the Linux version of Firefox doesn't do this by default. You can use Alt+Left Arrow to go back.

Making backspace go back only requires a simple configuration change.

Open up Firefox and type about:config into the address bar.

If you get  the message that says "This might void your warranty!" just click "I'll be careful I promise!"

Type backspace into the filter bar.

Double click the only line that shows up, which should be browser.backspace_action

Change the value from 2 to 0

Click OK and close Firefox. When you re-open Firefox the backspace button will go back a page, like it should.


Convert Videos the Easy Way with WinFF

WinFF is an easy to use front-end to ffmpeg. It's runs on Linux and Windows, and does batch operations. If you need to convert/transcode a video to another format or just extract the audio to an mp3, check out WinFF.

Download from official site



Find the Right Channel for Your Wireless AP

If you're setting up a new wireless router (or just curious about the wireless networks in the area) check out inSSIDer. InSSIDer makes it easy to see what channels the other access points use, as well as what encryption is in use (if any), and the brand of the AP. This is very helpful for choosing a less used channel for your router, and if you're a tech it can help with enumerating a client's setup.

InSSIDer is available for Linux and Windows. It has deb and rpm packages making the Linux install easy.

Download from Official Site