Authentication for google-sites-liberation

I am doing a regular backup of my Google Sites using the free tool google-sites-liberation. Out of the blue, today I got the following authentication error:

Aug 06, 2014 2:34:08 PM com.google.sites.liberation.export.Main doMain
SEVERE: Invalid User Credentials!
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.RuntimeException: com.google.gdata.client.GoogleService$InvalidCredentialsException: Invalid credentials
        at com.google.sites.liberation.export.Main.doMain(Main.java:89)
        at com.google.sites.liberation.export.Main.main(Main.java:97)
Caused by: com.google.gdata.client.GoogleService$InvalidCredentialsException: Invalid credentials
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleAuthTokenFactory.getAuthException(GoogleAuthTokenFactory.java:586)
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleAuthTokenFactory.getAuthToken(GoogleAuthTokenFactory.java:490)
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleAuthTokenFactory.setUserCredentials(GoogleAuthTokenFactory.java:336)
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleService.setUserCredentials(GoogleService.java:362)
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleService.setUserCredentials(GoogleService.java:317)
        at com.google.gdata.client.GoogleService.setUserCredentials(GoogleService.java:301)
        at com.google.sites.liberation.export.Main.doMain(Main.java:79)
        ... 1 more

This was followed by an email with subject “Google Account: sign-in attempt blocked”, which was a very useful hint by Google!

It turns out that they are now blocking login attempts from apps or devices that do not use modern security standards, according to their “Less secure apps” documentation.

Once I enabled the “Access for less secure apps”, I was able to export my Google sites using “google-sites-liberation”. It’s highly recommended that you disable the less secure authentication once you’ve finished the backup.

Auto screenshot on Windows

I recently migrated my desktop back to Windows, and while I’m at work I need to have regular screenshots of my monitor, for investigation and other purposes. I easily found a solution to record desktop activity by making regular screenshots on Ubuntu, and I thought that Windows solutions will be even more. It turned out to be the opposite — they were all either paid or not working/lacking features.

Here is how “Auto Screen Capture FV” was born. Two screenshots of the interface follow:



It has the following features:

  • Runs on Windows
  • Free as speech; open-source, developed with Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express
  • Captures a screenshot automatically without disrupting user activity
  • Saves the snapshot images as compressed JPEG files, in order to save disk space
  • The destination directory where the images are saved is selected by the user
  • Rotates too old image files by deleting them, in order to save disk space
  • All settings are permanently saved in the registry, so next program starts remember what you configured
  • Auto screen capture can be easily temporarily suspended
  • Program can run in background; it minimizes to system tray

Old image files are actually moved to “Recycle bin”, in order to be on the safe side — if we have a bug, no files are lost. Auto Screen Capture FV has been tested on Windows 7.

Download links:


Resources:

ResellerClub technical problems with DNS and Domain Forwarding

Today I woke up and found out that many of my domains aren’t working. I’m using ResellerClub (aka. DirectI) free DNS and free Domain Forwarding. Well, they deleted all my DNS records. The Domain Forwarding service stopped working too.

I’ve filed a support ticket with an “Emergency” priority. Let’s see what happens now… I’ll keep you updated.

UPDATE: Instead of just fixing things, ResellerClub really disappointed me. I am their long-term and very faithful customer, but now I see that I shouldn’t have trusted them so much.

It took two days for ResellerClub’s support to respond with the following ridiculous statement:

DNS records are merely record entries made in the server, and not a space occupying entity for which a ‘backup’ would be available/generated.
Hence there is no backup for the records at our end.

ResellerClub keep no backup whatsoever of their DNS and Domain Forwarding configurations! The explanation of this fact is hilarious — because DNS records do not occupy space. :)

This really pissed me off, and I asked them how they could operate without a backup. What if the disks of their DNS or database servers fail? What if an operator deletes a record by mistake? The answer by ResellerClub’s support was that they monitor their servers, so this is not an issue. Ha-ha! Since when is monitoring a substitution of backups?? Furthermore, they added that the system was fully automated, so no operator’s mistake was possible. I replied that even if the system operates automatically, it is still being maintained by humans, who may delete data by mistake. How would they explain why my DNS and forwarding data was lost…

Anyway, no need to dig into this any further. I re-created the DNS records, and also learnt an important lesson — never trust an (IT) organization unless you really know that they operate in a professional way by following all well-established principles in the industry. ResellerClub ain’t one of them!

StartSSL customer care

A few days ago I had to go through the “Class 2 Identity Validation (StartSSL™ Verified)” process, so that I can issue an unlimited count of wild-card certificates.

Before even getting any deeper in the process, I first contacted StartSSL and asked them if they stand behind their words, that once verified (one time-fee $49.90/yr), a customer of theirs can issue an unlimited count of wild-card certificates. I got a pretty quick response by StartSSL stating that this is indeed true, there’s no catch.

After that I started the process of verification – registered, submitted documents, etc. There were many unknown things to me and I had to ask their support many questions (I won’t go into details as I can’t disclose all of it), and we’re almost at the end – they send me a verification postal mail. Once I get the code, we should be done.

But this post is not only about my success with StartSSL – it’s about their very quick, accurate and helpful Support service. You guys rock!

Free SSL certificates

More and more people start telling me about the StartSSL SSL authority, which is a daughter company of StartCom. The rumor that they are giving free SSL certificates looked too unbelievable to me, so I decided to review this more carefully.

After much reading at their page, what people say was confirmed – StartSSL really issue SSL certificates for free, when they are about to be used by individuals on their websites. This means that your personal name stays in the SSL certificate information which can be reviewed if you click on the SSL bar in your web browser.

Business or other legal entities verify their company’s information once for an annual fee and can then issue an unlimited count of SSL certificates too, including wild-card ones. Once verified, a business customer can purchase EV certificates for US$ 49.90 per year.

You can compare these prices with any other SSL certificate authority and you’ll see it yourself that StartSSL are the most affordable one, and the only one which doesn’t charge you for what doesn’t cost them money either – that’s why they can offer “loosely verified” SSL certificates for personal websites for free. It’s unbelievable but true.

My IT brain immediately started to doubt the technical side. I had to check if web browsers accept these SSL certificates without issuing an SSL warning about the certificate being signed by an unknown SSL authority. The test results were successful and the SSL root authority of StartSSL was recognized by the latest version of:

  • Internet Explorer 8 on Windows.
  • Chrome on Windows.
  • Firefox on Windows and Linux.
  • Chromium on Linux.

Furthermore, the Debian “lenny”, “squeeze” and Ubuntu Lucid CA repositories also recognize the StartSSL root certificate. You can verify this yourself by the following command:
openssl s_client -CApath /etc/ssl/certs -connect startssl.com:443

StartSSL have a long list with platforms and browsers which recognize their certificates. You can review the list at the products comparison page.

No more self-signed SSL certificates for personal use, hurray! :)

Update 29/Nov/2010: If you’re interested, you can also review my success story with the Support staff of StartSSL.

Perl API Kit for ResellerClub (DirectI)

ResellerClub offer a SOAP/WSDL API interface, in addition to their Online Control Panel, which lets you automate some of your tasks or integrate it directly with your website.

They claim to support a Perl API Kit, but it doesn’t work out-of-the box for me. Whenever I make an API call, I get the following:

soapenv:Server.userException java.lang.Exception: Body not found.

There is a similar bug report at Web Hosting Talk too.

After a few hours of struggling with SOAP::Lite, reading sources, and some trial and error, I finally was able to make the API work in Perl! :D

If you want to try my version of their Perl API Kit, you have to execute the following:

wget --no-verbose http://www.famzah.net/download/resellerclub/resellerclub-api.tgz
tar -zxf resellerclub-api.tgz
cd resellerclub-api

vi example.pl # edit your username/password
./example.pl

In order to build my version of the Perl API Kit yourself, click the “show source” link below and execute the commands.

mkdir resellerclub-api
cd resellerclub-api
wget --no-verbose http://www.famzah.net/download/resellerclub/setup.sh
wget --no-verbose http://www.famzah.net/download/resellerclub/example.pl
chmod +x setup.sh example.pl
./setup.sh

vi example.pl # edit your username/password
./example.pl

The scripts use some Debian/Ubuntu specific “apt-get” commands to install the required Perl and system packages, but this can easily be ported to other *nix systems too.

ICDSoft 30% discount coupon for new web hosting accounts

Today I recall a very cool feature of the reseller program of ICDSoft. Resellers are entitled to the right of giving promotional discounted prices to new customers. Here you go:

No need to thank me, you are welcome… :)