Electronics, Web, Travel & More

Roll your own secure Dropbox alternative

Dropbox is a great software that I have been using for almost 10 years. It has helped me a lot during university, sharing project files, backing up my thesis and much more. It is a great service, but it also comes with a lot of problems regarding security and transparency (I will not get in-depth here). You can check for example, this article, or this one (there are many more if you look for it).

With this security issue in my mind, I decided to roll my own Dropbox-like service. The main difference is that I will know where all files are and that I am the only one with access to the unencrypted files. After building my own simple infrastructure, I decided to write a quick tutorial showing my solution and how you can create your own! Let’s get started…

The main software that we are going to use is called Resilio Sync (previously BitTorrent Sync). It takes care of all the syncronization between computer, mobile and server, just like Dropbox.

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A Better Serial Monitor

Today I would like to talk about a very interesting piece of software that I have been using in the past few weeks, called Serial Port Monitor (version 7.0) by Eltima Software.

This software is perfect for when you are developing an application that has a massive amount of information going through the Serial Port. I am currently using it to analyze diagnostic data from one project. Is is great that you can easily save messages for a later use in its own .spm file format.


serial port monitor


serial port monitor

On the image bellow, you can check the windows that I am currently using: “Terminal View”, showing exactly what is coming from the Serial Port. “Dump View” that shows timestamp, the hex data and the message, and the “Table View”, showing the captured data from the developer’s point of view: it presents the table consisting of the recorded IRPs. Each row represents one IRP and each column represents one single part of IRP. It is interesting to point that the Serial Port Monitor doesn’t block the serial port while in use, meaning that another software can be “blocking” the port and you can still analyze all the data.


serial port monitor

In case you wanna know more about it, check the Wiki!

This is a great piece of software, and I am really impressed by the quality of the products from Eltima. I will probably do some more review in the future!

If you are an embedded systems engineer, you should check it out!!!

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Automating screenshot sharing on Windows

One thing that I really liked about mac was how easy it was to generate a screenshot from my screen and share with people. Now that I am pretty much a full-time windows user (besides all the time I spend on a Linux terminal), I needed to find an easy and fast way to share screenshots. And that is where Greenshot comes in handy!

The plan:
A keyboard shortcut to select a region of my screen, automatically generate the image, upload it to my server on a specific FTP folder (can also be done with rsync) and copy the shareable URL to the clipboard.

Step 1: Download Greenshot at http://getgreenshot.org/downloads/ and install it.

Step 2: Download and install NCFTP from http://www.ncftp.com/download/ (NcFTP Client 3.2.6 for Microsoft Windows). After installing it, the ncftp executable files are going to reside on C:\Windows

Step 3: Create a .bat file with the automating code below (changing yourdomain, ftp user and password).

Step 4: Configure greenshot:

Change the path where you save your screenshots on your computer, but the important thing is to change the “Filename pattern” to:

${YYYY}${MM}${DD}_${hh}${mm}${ss}

and uncheck “Copy file path to clipboard every time an image is saved“, this part is important!

Go to Plugins tab, click in “External command Plugin” and “Configure“.

Create a name for your automation. On command, link to the .bat file you created and make sure the “Argument” is

"{0}"

Done, now whenever you take a screenshot, it will automatically upload to your server and copy the URL to the clipboard automatically, making it super fast and easy to share anything on your screen 🙂

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