Monday, July 31, 2017

The Yaler Tunnel

In our test of the EE 4G Mobile Broadband service we found that although you get a Static IP address as seen from the Internet it is impossible to reach it.


Because you need to pass through an intermediary 10.x network inside EE and it will not route to your unique non 10 IP address.

In fact this is made even more irritating because in the setup of the supplied router from EE is an option to provide routing to an internal server like an Apache Web Server which we attempted to configure as shown above.

But since the traceroute failed it was no surprise that the test Webserver we setup at home, that would potentially respond to clients outside our home on the internet, could not be contacted.

If only there was a workaround way to contact our Webserver :-)

So the good news is that yes there is a way called the Yaler Tunnel.  Overall here is how and the gotchas

01  Yaler is a small program that runs continuously on your client computer.
02 In our worked example below we assume that you are running a Webserver serving HTTP and HTTPS pages on the standard ports 80 and 443
03 Yaler makes a connection outbound from your client machine to an Internet Based Yaler Server
04 You register free at Yaler
05  Once registered you receive a unique relay domain in our example a4d4-abcd
06 So then once your client is up and running and correctly configured, you will goto an address of the form <your relay domain>  to access your server
07 what happens is obviously your request goes to yaler and they communicate over the already open link made outbound by your running yaler client
08 The yaler client then receives your requests and forwards them onto the local ports on your system

Some Practical Steps then

A Sign Up With Yaler

B Start Yaler Manually on the machine running the Webserver
./yalertunnel server ssl: gsiot-a4d4-abcd
./yalertunnel server gsiot-a4d4-abcd

Obviously for reasons of Marcus parania my domain is not really a4d4-abcd, come on!

C Finally access the webserver from the Internet

In our test we started up our webserver, then the tunnel, then performed step C from a smartphone that used its SIM connection only (i.e. not local house Wifi) to get to the Internet.

D Automation

So you can make the yaler client run automatically on startup.  Here is the relevant for Linux Mint

vi /lib/systemd/system/yalertunnel.service

# cat  /lib/systemd/system/yalertunnel.service
Description=yalertunnel on port 443

ExecStart=/home/mbennett/yalertunnel/yalertunnel server gsiot-a4d4-abcd -min-listeners 1


Paranoid Note Reminder
In the above example the Relay domain i.e.  gsiot-a4d4-abcd   is a made up domain, because for reasons of security I am not telling you what the real domain is.  If you try this domain you will not get through to us, or hijack our service.

E A minor Flaw
To compete the picture I tried to get my hosted domain to point or jump to

This did not work, however I think this is a limitation of my Domain provider, and it's DNS settings program, it's certainly nothing to do with Yaler.

Remote SSH access to Raspberry Pi 2

Yaler Login

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gotta Get A Grip England

I do like satire and irony.   However there is a problem.

The limitation is that when shown to very stupid people, and by golly there are a lot of them, well they interpret the words literally.

I know.

Here is a 1980's example sitcom that you can watch

So let's start again with two videos and see if you can riddle me what they really mean

(Hint: It is not the British prowess at running or football)

Jagger: England Lost

Jagger: Gotta Get a Grip

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The FreeMasons

We recently went on a day trip to London.   We had some items to pick up and Agata, sharp as ever noticed that it was the 300th anniversary of the Freemasons.

And why so special?

Because there was a special Open Day at the United Grand Lodge of England, and on that one day non members were free to visit and have a look around.

Well with that we could not resist.

Freemasonary is a friendly society dating back to the 14th century in England originally of stonemasons.   It has moved on since then and if you don't have a criminal record then in 2017 man or woman you may apply.

(NB: Many lodges are men only so it is hardly fair to say that women are free to join )

Often lambasted as a secret society the Wikipedia page here explains more about Freemasonary

Anyway this is simply a photographic record of the day for better or worse.  We did sit in on a lecture, but you can Google similar, we won't attempt to persuade you for or against the society here.


To finish our evening we headed out to Fishworks.   If you eat fish and live in London, we would recommend it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

In the Country

It is official.  In England, Marcus and Agata now officially live in the country.  What is happening apart from the harvest?

Well the first thing is small flies.  After the harvest they are known to invade nearby buildings like a plague.   As soon as we realised we closed all windows and door, but a few hundred got in. They are about 1mm long and get everywhere.  So small in fact that one has managed to get inside Agata's monitor screen and died there.  Very annoying.

There are of course many nice birds and corresponding noises.  But also some large aggressive birds.  This one died and a day later something decapitated it.  Lovely.

There are hedgehogs and unfortunately also squashed hedgehogs.

We have the services of Minx, our neighbours guard cat.  He is irresistibly cute.

Ludwig and Mary are the names we have given to the 2 mischievous breakaway sheep.

They have managed to stage a breakout, well everyday for the last week plus occasionally taking with them a string of miscreants.  On the face of it they are quite charming, however they poo a lot and it is all over the castle lawn and now the driveway.  And yesterday they started having ideas above their station and set up shop by the castle landscaped pond.   Farmer Phil will need to be called again soon.

Living in the English countryside is a little different from being next to the Swiss countryside that we are used to.   More dead and misbehaving animals.    Also a lot of pungent fertiliser (well sort of poo related fertiliser to be frank) odours at this time of year.
Overall we are really enjoying the change.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Apache2 Webserver Custom Footer

Due to the continued lack of a stable and fast home Internet connection we have been forced to mirror one of our principal Websites to an American hosting company.

Since there are now 2 domains involved, i.e. we did not move the domain, we wanted a simple way to alert people to the fact that a new mirror site was available to them.   The mirror site is not ideal but is able to serve pages at about 30 Mbits / second, whereas our local webserver can manage a pathetic  0.1 Mbit/second.

Compare this to the previous 500 Mbits/second or faster from our Swiss home and you can see why Marcus is almost in tears.

How to install a custom Apache2 footer

This is the procedure I used on a Linux Mint Server, and Mint is a Ubuntu derivative.

#install security 2 module
apt install libapache2-mod-security2
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Recommended packages:
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 115 not upgraded.
Need to get 314 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1'230 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 xenial/universe amd64 libapache2-mod-security2 amd64 2.9.0-1 [314 kB]
Fetched 314 kB in 0s (414 kB/s)
Selecting previously unselected package libapache2-mod-security2.
(Reading database ... 275014 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../libapache2-mod-security2_2.9.0-1_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking libapache2-mod-security2 (2.9.0-1) ...
Setting up libapache2-mod-security2 (2.9.0-1) ...

apache2_invoke: Enable module security2

#eenable module
a2enmod security2
Considering dependency unique_id for security2:
Module unique_id already enabled
Module security2 already enabled

# edit the security file and add footer
vi /etc/apache2/conf-enabled/security.conf

# 20170726 Custom Webpage footer
ServerTokens Full
ServerSignature On
SecServerSignature 'NB: Webserver mirror at, regds Marcus Bennett:'

#restart apache2
systemctl restart apache2.service

And here is the finished product

Meanwhile here at the mirror we have an identical layout and content with of course a standard footer since we don't have the power to change this American hosted system.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hiking Pen y Fan

Rather soon Petros, Marcus and Agata will each be faced with their own personal mountain challenges.

It was time for a plan

We decided under the guidance of our master navigator Agata that a days hiking in Wales to Pen y Fan might provide for both exhilaration and some preparation.

We are also delighted to report that we managed to lure our wonderful athletic and capable friend Sandra all the way from Vaud Switzerland for this event too

Most of the track was paved

 Unlike our sheep in England these Welsh specimens seems to have been dyed white.   I wish to take some photos back home and tell our local sheep to clean themselves up a little.

Much of the grassier sections were rather wet and boggy.  Nevertheless Sandra with her wet trainers still managed a smile.

 We are nearly at the summit.   It is not Swiss mountain peak high, but for the UK this is high

 Sandra on the top

 We stopped for lunch here

 A boarded up building.   We wonder as to its history.  It would make a great conversion, though just a tad out of the way!

More great views

Back to the car and we noticed that people and civilisation bring food and then bugs.

We made a good 4 hours plus hike of about 20Km and 32,000 steps to Pen Y Fan.   Marcus, Agata Petros and Sandra had a wonderful time.   We are better prepared for the more extreme challenges to come in the near future.  

Rick A: Dance

A great day. Perhaps the only thing missing was a little dancing. 

To be continued.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Considering Oatly

The way we humans treat others of different races and sexes has for the most part changed dramatically in the Western world within the last 20 years.  And our relationship towards animals too.

Many people are now uncomfortable about drinking milk with its inherent requirement of using cows who have calved.

Ethical arguments aside there are many people who are Lactose intolerant  and a whole set of health based arguments that propose that milk consumption in later life can not always be a positive thing

2015 Should we be drinking Milk (Independent)

2013 10 common anti Dairy arguments explored

2016 Should Humans drink milk

2017 Dairy Free Alternatives


We have decided to carry out our own Oatly, i.e. milk substitute experiment.  Oatly was first brought to our attention in IKEA Switzerland and in England, well it's available from any of the main Supermarkets

Some Alternatives

A mention should be made to some other alternatives, notably rice milk and almond milk,  Marcus did try these for a while but Oatly is the focus of the main test.

About the Cost

Marcus and Agata have never traditionally counted the cost of milk.  But considering Lactose free milk and Oatly we have become very aware of an immediate difference.  The cost.

Basically, home brand Supermarket milk can often be half the cost of a Milk Substitute.  So the cost of an Ethical non milk based decision or one based on Lactose intolerance could be several pounds per week per person depending on what you use milk for.

Make your Own Test!

So far our experiment with Oatly is still in progress. The taste of Tea with Oatly we find acceptable but in coffee it is quite markedly different (not good IOHO)

- Least affected are things like Porridge breakfasts since they can be Oat based anyway

We would encourage reader to look at the arguments especially Ethical with regard to Milk consumption.  If these arguments strike a chord or if you are known to be Lactose intolerant, then why not give an Oatly week a try?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hill Sprints

It's not the dominant reason why we love our new home in England but our driveway is exactly 1.01 Kilometres in length.

Why is this important?

Because this length combined with the crucial fact that it is all downhill on the way out, and all uphill on the way back make it ideal for Hill Sprints.

What is a Hill Sprint?
(And Why)
A hill sprint is a shortish section of road where you can practise endurance training.  Ideally it's a hill section with what Marcus would ask for a 12% or greater gradient.

You can run up and down this section at maximum pace.  Resulting in:

- Exhaustion in a dramatically short period of time!
- Stamina Training
- Working at maximum heart & lung capacity
- And work on steep ascent and descent run training
- Over time a way to increase ones maximum Heart Rate and Lactate Threshold

In 30 minutes it provides a literally exhausting experience

An example Regime
Equipped with our 1Km inclined track surface with a steep hill at the end of a session:

- First run down warmup
- First run up max pace
- Second run down max pace
- Second run up max pace
- Right now we are km 4.0 total
- Repeat down and up 2Km loops until exhaustion
- Remaining 0.5Km down and 0.5Km up walking cooldown

Normally Hill Sprints take place on a much shorter hill section.  The above training regime however blends gradual ascent descent of about 0.85km for endurance with a final extremely steep 0.15Km lactate threshold training hill.

Additionally, running down and then up a 12% plus gradient teaches you the best way to run these inclines at speed.  For example on a downcline, body position (for Marcus, body forward).  On an incline attention to foot strike position  (for Marcus front foot strike)

You can attempt this say at least 1 time per week.

The Way Down











Going Up











Learning Points
So there you have it,  Hill Sprints are  an excellent way to improve your Lactate threshold is less than 60 minutes perhaps even in 30 minutes per day.   Exhausting, but do try it.