Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get Wikipedia blackout back online via hosts file work around

Wikipedia is on blackout for 24 hours. The blackout code is delivered via JS from the domain

To get wikipedia back online during their blackout append "" to your hosts file.

The line:

will make the domain resolve to your loopback interface for IPv4 (your local machine). It will thus NOT render the HTTP response delivering the JavaScript code that will blackout the wikipedia page. Thus you can use wikipedia as normal.

If you're not familiar with what a hosts file is, here is a short overview.
Or look here on how to edit your hosts file:

These are for windows, however if you're on Linux then it's a lot simpler - like most things Linux.

echo "" >> /etc/hosts

You need to be root to do this, so either do "sudo" or "su root" or "sudo su" etc.

Other workarounds to wikipedia blackout

If you have foxyproxy you can also use that to block specifically by specifying that it proxy to some blackhole.

If you use a proxy configuration script, that would also work. Modify your script to proxy to your favorite blackhole.With a proxy script you can match just the JavaScript file URL, so it is more specific.

There is a number of other ways to block and they should all deliver the same results. 

If you're interested in the JS file delivering the blackout code then with firebug or chrome, inspect the source and then go to "Network" tab. You should see two HTTP requests for The second one is delivering the JavaScript file.You can also use Wireshark to inspect the network traffic and create a Wireshark filter for 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Where is httpd.conf - The Apache Configuration File

Are you tired of searching for the Apache Configuration File, httpd.conf?

To find the location of httpd.conf run the following shell command:

httpd -V

Note the -V option is capitalized. Which will give a response similar to:

Server version: Apache/2.2.21 (Unix)
Server built:   Nov 10 2011 19:22:21
Cpanel::Easy::Apache v3.7.1 rev9999
Server's Module Magic Number: 20051115:30
Server loaded:  APR 1.4.5, APR-Util 1.3.12
Compiled using: APR 1.4.5, APR-Util 1.3.12
Architecture:   32-bit
Server MPM:     Event
  threaded:     yes (fixed thread count)
    forked:     yes (variable process count)
Server compiled with....
 -D APACHE_MPM_DIR="server/mpm/experimental/event"
 -D APR_HAVE_IPV6 (IPv4-mapped addresses enabled)
 -D HTTPD_ROOT="/usr/local/apache"
 -D SUEXEC_BIN="/usr/local/apache/bin/suexec"
 -D DEFAULT_SCOREBOARD="logs/apache_runtime_status"
 -D DEFAULT_ERRORLOG="logs/error_log"
 -D AP_TYPES_CONFIG_FILE="conf/mime.types"
 -D SERVER_CONFIG_FILE="conf/httpd.conf"

The path to httpd.conf can be seen as the HTTPD_ROOT/SERVER_CONFIG_FILE which is /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf in this example.

I've always been using find / -name 'httpd.conf" but this is much faster.

Once you've found httpd.conf you probably want to find the other files being included in the configuration. To do this you can search the httpd.conf file for the "Include" directives.

grep -E "^Include" /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf 

The -E option gives extended regular expression so you can use "^Include" where the "^" character matches the beginning of the line. So only lines beginning with "Include" are returned.

You could follow each included file and recursively follow every included file to get all the included files but this is a good start. Something I also find myself needing is to look at all the configuration files in the apache configuration directory. ie:

find /usr/local/apache/conf -name '*.conf'

That returns every file ending in .conf.

Hope that helps.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chrome Socks Proxy using SSH Tunnel

If you’re familiar with using a SOCKS proxy while browsing the internet you may have found out that Chrome will not work with a SOCKS5 proxy such as created when you create a SSH tunnel.

This is because chrome assumes the SOCKS proxy is a SOCKS4 proxy when it is SOCKS5.

A workaround is to have chrome read the proxy configuration from a script.
The configuration script is a javascript file with a function called FindProxyForUrl() that will be called for every HTTP URL to proxy.
Here is an example:

* .pac files are for automated proxy configuration
* This is a fix for chrome to use SOCKS5 as it assumes SOCKS4
function FindProxyForURL(url, host)
// no proxy for localhost
if (host.match('localhost') return false;
// proxy for other hosts
return "SOCKS5 localhost:8111";

Make sure your port number is the port that the socks proxy is bound to.

Save this script as ssh-tunnel.pac or similar and in chrome go to:
Options -> Under the Hood -> Network -> Change Proxy Settings

Chrome uses the same network settings as IE. So you will see the system window open and choose:
LAN settings -> Use Automatic Configuration Script

Enter the path to the ssh-tunnel.pac file you created.
Now reload the webpage in Chrome.

Creating an SSH tunnel.
If you’re not familiar with creating an SSH Socks5 proxy visit:
Windows SSH as Proxy
Linux SSH as Proxy

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PHP Command Line Telnet Client

A while ago I wrote a single line PHP Command line client.

while (1) {  fputs(STDOUT, "\n\-PHP$ "); eval(trim(fgets(STDIN))); }

Recently I needed to test an XMPP server and found out that Windows7 does not have telnet enabled by default. Usually I'd just use putty as it supports telnet also but wondered if I could just do this from the command line via PHP. Well here it is, a PHP command line telnet client.

echo "PHP Telnet Client. (c) 2011 Fiji Web Design,\n";

$opts = getopt("h:p:") or die("Invalid options. Please supply -h [host] -p [port]");

$host = $opts['h'];
$port = $opts['p'];

$fp = fsockopen($host, $port) or die("Could not connect to host ($host) on port ($port)");
echo "Connected to server...\n";

stream_set_blocking($fp, 0);

while (1) {

  $input = (fgets(STDIN));
  fwrite($fp, $input) or die('Could not write to server');
  sleep(1); // let server respond

  $out = '';
  while($buf = fread($fp, 2028)) {
    $out .= $buf;

  if ($out != '') echo $out;


Now that isn't one line like the PHP command line client. Also, if you are on windows and a version of PHP lower then 5.3, you will not have the getopt() function. To solve this here is a substitute for getopt().

if (!function_exists('getopt')) {

  function getopt($opts) {
      $argv = $_SERVER["argv"];
      $result = false;
      $opts_array = explode(':', $opts);
      foreach($opts_array as $opt) {
          $key = array_search('-' . $opt, $argv);
          if($key && !in_array($argv[$key+1], $opts_array)) {
              $result[$opt] = trim($argv[$key+1]);
          } elseif($key) {
              $result[$opt] = '';
      return $result;


Save the PHP code to a file, I call it telnet.php. Then open the shell and navigate to the directory which has telnet.php and type in:

php telnet.php -h [hostname] -p [port]

For example:

php telnet.php -h -p 80

This will open a connection to on the http port. Then you can type in your HTTP headers:

GET / HTTP/1.1

Then press enter twice, because HTTP requires that you send a newline to terminate the HTTP headers. should respond with the headers and HTML of the Google website.

You can telnet into any listening TCP port so for instance you can test XMPP servers.

php telnet.php -h -p 5222

Then send your XMPP stanzas.

Or even telnet into an email server and send or retrieve emails.


The socket connection to the server your are telneting to is currently non-blocking while the read from STDIN is currently blocking. This causes the response from the server to not show until you hit enter (send \n) a few times. It would be better design to have both streams non-blocking and do a socket_select() call but the current works for now and does not require socket_select() support which I believe requires php built with sockets support. The current implementation should work without that support but does use up a lot of CPU with the while(1) loop.

Sending email from PHP on Windows

I'm assuming you've installed Xampp or WAMP on your local windows machine. If not please visit the XAMPP website. WAMP and XAMPP will install the full windows equivalent of the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP/Perl/Python) stack on your Windows Machine, and offer a GUI to manage it. Here I'll talk about sending email from windows specifically on XAMPP, but you can follow this for WAMP or your own PHP setup.

I'm also assuming you're trying to send email through the PHP function "mail()".

Unlike Linux, Windows is not distributed with a default mail transfer agent (MTA). Linux flavors usually come with sendmail, which acts as a local MTA.

In order to have PHP send email, your windows machine should be able to send email, and have PHP configured to send email through it. So first you need to get your machine to send email.

You can either install an MTA locally (not recommended since sending emails is a complicated by spam detection mechanisms built into the protocol).

Or use a free MTA such as or You need an account.

To use a free MTA, you need to specify the MTA host, port, user and password. Luckily there are also sendmail like programs for windows and one is included with Xampp that makes this easy.

You will just need to configure PHP to use the sendmail binary provided by Xampp, to send emails. To do this edit the PHP configuration file, php.ini. You can find this in xampp by opening the control panel, clicking "explore" and going to the folder "php". The full path should be something like:


Look for:
;sendmail_path = "\"C:\xampp\sendmail\sendmail.exe\" -t"

and remove the ";" from the beginning of that line, to enable that configuration directive.

Now your PHP is configured to use the sendmail program that comes with Xampp for win.

You now need to configure your sendmail program to send email to your SMTP server.

So open up the sendmail.ini in the "sendmail" folder.

Create a new account configuration. Example for gmail:

# Gmail example
account Gmail
tls on
tls_certcheck off
auth on
password mypassword

Substitute myuser and mypassword for your details.

Now you need to make this account the default by editing the last line in the file to:

# Set a default account
account default : Gmail

You will then need to restart the apache service. You can do this from the Xampp control panel. (stop/start). This reloads the configuration for PHP.

Now you should be able to send email.

Monday, October 13, 2008

JavaScript XMLHttpRequest Wrapper

Here is my version of the XMLHttpRequest Wrapper, Open Source, and available on Google Code. Enjoy.

Here is a simple example of a http request with the lib:

new fiji.xhr('get', 'echo.php?param=value', function(xhr) {
   if (this.readyState == 4 && this.status == 200) {

The readystate callback handler executes in the scope of the XHR Instance. So you can use the this keyword to reference the XHR object instance. This behavior is the same as the specifications for the callback scope in the W3C XMLHttpRequest Specs. You can also receive a reference to the XHR library instance which is passed as the first parameter to the callback. In the case above it would be xhr. This allows you to attach further references or objects to the XHR library instance that would be persisted for the duration of the XHR call. For example, a request ID.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quoting Strings in SQLite with PHP

Unlike MySQL, SQLite follows the quoting standards in SQL strictly and does not understand the backslash \ as an escape character. SQLite only understands escaping a single quote with another single quote.

For example, if you receive the input data 'cheeky ' string' and use the PHP function addslahes() to escape literal characters in the string then you will get 'cheeky \' string' which according to SQLite is not escaped properly. You need to escape the string so that it looks like 'cheeky '' string'.

If you have magic_quotes turned on then you are in even more trouble. This PHP setting escapes all HTTP variables received by PHP with an equivalent of addslshes(). So the correct way to escape strings in SQLite would be:

function sqlite_quote_string($str) {
 if (get_magic_quotes_gpc()) {
  $str = stripslashes($str);
 return sqlite_escape_string($str);
This will remove the escape characters added by the magic_quotes setting, and escape strings with SQLites sqlite_escape_string() function which correctly escapes the string with '.