Hacking "The Code"

Posted: Wednesday, 24 September 2014


"The Code" is an Australian TV Series that draws elements from similarly themed detective/mystery series "Sherlock" on BBC, and many parallels can be drawn.

The distinctive digital representation of data in Sherlock is represented with a clear overlay of data, where despite the character's interactions with an electronic device, we typically don't see the device itself, and instead only the content and other important elements.

This is closely paralleled in "The Code", with the character's online sleuthing displayed with the same graphical style.

Puzzles to Reduce Bots

Posted: Saturday, 20 September 2014

As artificial intelligence becomes more and more powerful, traditional image-based text solvers can overcome simple reCAPTCHA and other text-image Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) codes become less and less relevant to society today.
Solve media and their solution, CAPTCHA advertisements, provide a very simple, but effective solution to both drive bots out and generate revenue from advertisements.
Credit: Solve media. Blurred advertising.

But bots can still solve text-based capture challenges... We know this from the expanding field of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and from Google's own artificial network designed to recognize house numbers:

Tutorial: Compile Python to EXE

Posted: Monday, 15 September 2014

Click here to skip to the decompiling py2exe section
Click here to skip to the compiling Python to EXE section
Questions? Comment Section Link Here


So we all know Python. Its a fun extension to the C language (Read: a language built on top of C). But one question, is, why can't we compile Python into an exe file, just like with C?

Now Python is an interesting language, in that it is both compiled and interpreted. In fact, there are many different implementations of the language. We have PyPy, on one hand, which does both, IronPython, which is basically a .NET compiler for Python, but the main focus is on CPython - Or what we all know as "Python". CPython is the "main reference implementation" of Python, and is the "Python" that is downloaded at https://www.python.org/.

It's weird to think that "Python" is not just Python, but makes sense considering the fact that Python is open source. A similar comparison between PyPy/IronPython and CPython can be made with JavaScript (js), where js is implemented not as "JavaScript", but as V8, spidermonkey, rhino and much more. We've come a long way from the monopoly that Microsoft has from their own programming languages, C#, VB.net and VBScript.

Download From HAR

Download from HAR is a Windows application that can download content from a HAR file.

You might need this program to more effective download content from servers then with wget or curl, where rendered content such as images or external javascript resources are all methodologically downloaded through the program, with next to none left behind.

Downloading websites for the sake of cloning them is unethical and immoral... This tool was created to play around with GPL-licensed websites, such as http://dhmholley.co.uk/civclicker.html, which does not have an easily accessible open source repository.

Scroll down for the download link...

http://static.extramaster.net/downloadFromHAR.exe (3.1MB)

MD5: 853867813FC1B74B25CBFC9351C84890
SHA-256: BDA0E6A172713E5C959027C78402EE697F95FD8A75FB2519DED7FA5FB188FCAE

VirusTotal Scan:
https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/bda0e6a172713e5c959027c78402ee697f95fd8a75fb2519ded7fa5fb188fcae/analysis/1410708838/ (Note: the Bkav scan is a false-positive, its as a result of the packaging method that I took [python -> cython -> exe with modules -> bundled exe])

Google App Engine UTF-8/Ascii Codec Issue

So... Recently, I encountered an error using Google's App Engine SDK for Python.

Sidebar Vectors

Posted: Saturday, 13 September 2014

With the new design of the main website at extramaster.net, and subsequently the similar redesign of this blog, you may have noticed that the bar that used to be at the top:

...is now on the left...

As such, new logos were created, in order to distinguish and incorporate a more visual and feature-rich feel for the site...

... But, there's no real point in having the vector in some closed source structure (unlike the rest of the site), and so, I'm giving them away, for absolutely nothing...


CC0 License - Public Domain (applies only for the images and vector code on this blog page only).

To the extent possible under law, Andy Tran has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Sidebar Vectors. This work is published from: Australia.

Tools Icon Vector

Hammer and Spanner criss-crossed in a hybrid and supportive demeanour. Both are tools...



Dice Icon Vector

A dice from a different perspective.



Binary SmartPhone Vector

iPhone-inspired vector (Read: does not represent an iPhone, but a generic SmartPhone).



Blog/Blogger-inspired Icon Vector

"B" text wrapped in a comment box.



anotherOS/OS Icon Vector

Fun grid-like "OS" vector



Bonus: Settings Cog Vector

Not a part of the side bar, but have fun with this settings cog!




The "+e" logo is not a part of this release. At ALL!

Hiding Drives in Windows

Posted: Thursday, 4 September 2014

If you're finding a way to hide hard drives on windows xp, 7, 8, 8.1 or any other windows devices, then there's a simple solution that doesn't involve installing or running third party programs.
In fact, if you've looked around, then the only feasible option is to use the windows registry to set flags on which hard drive to hide inside of explorer.

Disclaimer: Using the registry is dangerous, however its the lesser of evils between the choices of hacking about with the group policy (which you can't actually do without Windows 7 basic, starter and home premium, e.t.c., using command prompt to fiddle around with an even more volatile environment.
Make sure you backup your registry before continuing (for when something goes wrong now, or in the future).
So, with registry hacking, what about the big wall of text with all of those fancy numbers and what not?
A list of numbers without any immediate use. Source: ghacks.net
Well, lets skip the big wall of numbers and have a nice clickable online site that deals with this: http://extramaster.net/tools/windowsDriveCalculator/
The steps showing how the steps works is as follows.

#0 Start with an empty registry with everything remaining untouched.

Note: You don't have to navigate here, or perform this step AT ALL while using the tool - there may as well be already something here... It doesn't really matter...

#1 Find and identify the drives that you want to remove

Being a triple-quadruple boot install, no drives other then the C:\ drive is actually needed to be visible...

#2 Visit the page

You'll be greeted with something like this...

#3 Select the drives that you want to hide

#4.5 Click on the "Download" link/button to download

"Keep" the file, and then open it...

I wasn't able to screenshot the following dialogue box in Windows 7, but here's what you have to do in Windows 8.1...

#4.5.1 Run the file when the security warning pops up

#4.5.2 Accept the dialogue boxes that follow

#5 Restart Windows or log off and log back in

#6 Enjoy less hard drives cluttering explorer!