Encrypt files in Dropbox Folder

Putting sensitive files on a cloud drive like Dropbox can be dangerous no matter how secure they claim their systems are. The basic fact is that any system can be hacked, it happens every day. If you are using Dropbox to backup and share critical files like I am the first thing you want to do is to setup two factor authentication. In Dropbox the 2nd factor authentication sends a six digit access code in the form of a text message to your mobile phone. While this extends your security it alone will not totally protect your files. In this article I will take you step by step in setting up a encrypted Dropbox folder using EncFS and Ubuntu. 

Step 1:

Install EncFS in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install encfs

install gnome-encfs-manager

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gencfsm/ppa

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-encfs-manager

Step 2:

Create a directory inside your Dropbox folder. For this example I created a folder called crypt.

Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash by clicking the + sign.

Set the directory to encrypt to a folder inside your Dropbox folder.

Set the mount directory wherever you want, the default is fine just don't put it in your Dropbox folder. 

nter a strong password with at least 20 characters and click "Create".

Edit the new stash by selecting "Stash" and then "Configure" from the menu and check "Mount on Startup" and "Save Password in keyring" to save the password in the gnome keyring.

You should now have your encrypted drive mounted, it will be displayed like a mounted usb-drive.


Importing the drive on other computers:

1. Wait for all files to sync on Dropbox.
2. Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash.
3. encfs-manager will detect the drive and import it.
4.  Set the mount directory wherever you want (default is fine) and click "Import"
5. Edit the new stash as described above.
6. You will be asked for your password on first mount.

HTTPS Everywhere

A essential security add-on for your web browser is HTTPS Everywhere, if you don’t have it installed I recommend that you do so.  To easily install it go to https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere and simply choose the browser(s) you are using and click the appropriate icon. You can also install from the add-ons menu in you browser settings  and search for HTTPS Everywhere.

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. Encrypt the web: Install HTTPS Everywhere today.

HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by using clever technology to rewrite requests to these sites to HTTPS.

Ardour Digital Audio Workstation

I recently switched my video editing software from Windows based Sony Vegas to Linux based Blender.  I had also used Vegas as my digital audio workstation for audio projects. Wanting to do both on Linux I started researching Linux based DAW systems and found Ardour. After testing Ardour I quickly realized that I found my solution.  Ardour was very intuitive to learn and had all of the features that I required for my audio mixing projects. Good news for you OSx and Windows user, there are versions available for both of you. Linux VST support provides access to high quality proprietary plugins on Linux from Loomer, Pianoteq/Modartt. Excellent open source plugins from Distrho and others.   It’s also a free under GNU Public License v2  but if you end up using do as I do and make a donation to help keep the project going.

Ardour is a multichannel hard disk recorder (HDR) and digital audio workstation (DAW). It can be used to control, record, edit and run complex audio setups.

Ardour supports pro-audio interfaces through the ALSA project, which provides high quality, well designed device drivers and API’s for audio I/O under Linux. Any interface supported by ALSA can be used with Ardour. This includes the all-digital 26 channel RME Hammerfall, the Midiman Delta 1010 and many others.

Ardour has support for 24 bit samples using floating point internally, non-linear editing with unlimited undo, a user-configurable mixer, MTC master/slave capabilities, MIDI hardware control surface compatibility.

It supports MIDI Machine Control, and so can be controlled from any MMC controller and many modern digital mixers.

Ardour contains a powerful multitrack audio editor/arranger that is completely non-destructive and capable of all standard non-linear editing operations (insert, replace, delete, move, trim, select, cut/copy/paste). The editor has unlimited undo/redo capabilities and can save independent “versions” of a track or an entire piece.

Ardour’s editor supports the community-developed LADSPA plugin standard. Arbitrary chains of plugins can be attached to any portion of a track. Every mixer strip can have any number of inputs and outputs, not just mono, stereo or 5.1. An N-way panner is included, with support for various panning models. Pre- and post-fader sends exist, each with their own gain and pan controls. Every mixer strip acts as its own bus, and thus the bus count in Ardour is unlimited. You can submix any number of strips into another strip.

Ardour’s channel capacity is limited only by the number on your audio interface and the ability of your disk subsystem to stream the data back and forth.

JACK (the JACK Audio Connection Kit) is used for all audio I/O, permitting data to be exchanged in perfect samplesync with other applications and/or hardware audio interfaces.

Ardour is sample rate and size neutral – any hardware formats from 8 to 32 bits, and rates from 8kHz to 192kHz. Internal processing in 32/64 bit IEEE floating point format.

Further information can be found at http://ardour.org/.


VirtualBox Host Keys

I’m always forgetting the  host keys when using the VirtualBox install on my laptop. I did  a Google search for them and could not find a comprehensive list of all of the VirtralBox shortcut keys in one place so I made up a list myself.

Default Host Key = Right-CTRL
Main Menu Bar = Host-Home
Full Screen = Host-F
Scaled Mode = Host-C
Adjust Windows Size = Host-A
Take Screen Shot = Host-E
Settings = Host-S
Take Snapshot = Host-T
Pause = Host-P
Reset = Host-R
ACPI Shutdown = Host-H
Close = Host-Q

Press the Host key to capture/ uncapture mouse.

How to Make a Bootable USB

There are many different ways to create a bootable USB drive both on Linux and Windows. The method I prefer is using a Windows program called Rufus, I find that it is the easiest and most reliable method of all of the different ones I tried. You can obtain Rufus by going to https://rufus.akeo.ie/.  To make a bootable USB do the following steps:

Step 1:
After starting Rufus use the device drop down menu to select your target USB drive. If you only have one USB hooked up to your computer it will default to that drive.

Step 2:
Click on the disk icon next to the ISO image drop down menu which will pull up a explorer window and select the ISO image you want to use.  Select the .ISO image file then click open.

Step 3:

The partition scheme and target system type, file system cluster size and new volume label settings are determined by the .ISO image and should not need to be changed unless required by you.  Click on Start.

Step 4:

You will then get the following dialog box. Click OK to begin the process.

Step 5:

You will get a warning message below. Make sure you are using the correct device and then click OK.

The process of creating the bootable USB will begin.

That’s all there is to it, when the process finishes you will then have a bootable USB drive!







Making backups of your Pi images is essential but restoring them to a new SD card can sometimes be problematic when the image is the same size or larger than the target SD card. You will get the message that the image is too large for the target device when the image won’t fit.  The solution is a simple bash script called pishrink.sh.

The first step is to backup the image that you want to shrink.

Step 1:
Startup the “Win32DiskImager” program, Here’s the opening screen:
Notice you will need to select which drive is your SD card. in this case my SD card is H:\ then click the NAVIGATE icon just next to the H:\ pull down box, this will open a file-explorer window.

Step 2:
Select a folder on your hard-drive where you want to SAVE the image file of your SD card. In my example, i have a folder named “rpi_backups”.
Also type in a filename of the image you’re about to create, and click SAVE to continue to next step.

Step 3:
Confirm the folder/filename are correct, and now you can click the READ button to start reading your SD card into your (about-to-be-created) image file.

Step 4:
Here’s my image file being written, almost complete at 90% .

Step 5:
It will indicate “Read Successful” and  “Done” when the image has finished writing.

Step 6:

The next step is to shrink the image you just backed up.

PiShrink is a bash script that automatically shrink a pi image that will then resize to the max size of the SD card on boot. This will make putting the image back onto the SD card faster and the shrunk images will compress better.

Usage: ./pishrink [-s] imagefile.img [newimagefile.img]

If the -s option is given the script will skip the autoexpanding part of the process. If you specify the newimagefile.img parameter, the script will make a copy of imagefile.img and work off that. You will need enough space to make a full copy of the image to use that option.


If using Ubuntu, you will likely see an error about e2fsck being out of date and metadata_csum. The simplest fix for this is to use Ubuntu 16.10 and up, as it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


[user@localhost PiShrink]$ sudo ./shrink.sh pi.img
e2fsck 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
Pass 2: Checking directory structure
Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity
Pass 4: Checking reference counts
Pass 5: Checking group summary information
/dev/loop1: 88262/1929536 files (0.2% non-contiguous), 842728/7717632 blocks
resize2fs 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
resize2fs 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
Resizing the filesystem on /dev/loop1 to 773603 (4k) blocks.
Begin pass 2 (max = 100387)
Begin pass 3 (max = 236)
Begin pass 4 (max = 7348)
The filesystem on /dev/loop1 is now 773603 blocks long.

Shrunk pi.img from 30G to 3.1G

Download pishrink.sh


Enigma Simulator

This software is an exact simulation of the 3-rotor Wehrmacht (Heer and Luftwaffe) Enigma, the 3-rotor Kriegsmarine M3, also called Funkschlussel M, and the famous 4-rotor Kriegsmarine M4 Enigma cipher machine, used during World War II from 1939 until 1945. The sim has a very authentic feeling with its hands-on approach: you can select between the three models, actually lift out and insert different rotors, adjust their ring setting and set up the plugboard. The internal wiring of all rotors is identical to those that were used by the Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine. This simulator is therefore fully compatible with the various real Enigma models and you can decrypt authentic wartime messages or encrypt and decrypt your own messages.

The program comes with a very complete 22 page help file, containing the manual, some original messages, the history of Enigma and all technical details of the machine. The simulator also has a picture gallery of Enigma machines. With this software you will finally be able to work with the most intriguing machine in military cryptology and examine how it works and how it was operated. A true reference to Enigma, and an educational must!

Download EnigmaSim v7.0.6 (Zip 3.1 MB)
Download EnigmaSim Manual
Enigma Codebook Tool   Create and print your own code books.

Runs on Windows™ and with WINE on Linux or Parallels Desktop on MAC.

Wehrmacht Enigma I

Kriegsmarine M3

Kriegsmarine M4

Enigma open

For more detailed information on the Enigma visit the Cipher Machines and Cryptology page.

How to Convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows 10

I recently purchased a 5TB external hard drive to archive some important media files. After I copied around 2TB of data over to the new drive I realized that it came formatted out of the box in FAT32 and not NTFS. Since I had files that were larger than 4GB leaving the drive in FAT32 was not an option.  I had already spent a considerable amount of time archiving files to the new drive and did not want to reformat the drive and start over.  Since doing a non-destructive partition change in Ubuntu Linux is not possible I booted into Windows 10 and used the convert J: /fs:ntfs  command to change the file system.  For some reason this command did not work so I searched for a 3rd party utility software to accomplish the change. I found a neat little utility called EaseUS partition software that worked like a charm. EaseUS is free for home users.

Convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows 10 with EaseUS partition software

2. The pop-up dialog box will show the source and destination file system, click “OK” to continue.

3. Click “Apply” to execute the operation.