Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Skipping WebAuth Confirmation Screen

At my employer Oxford University we use Stanford WebAuth for web based Single Sign On (SSO). One of my particular problems with the current setup at Oxford is that for each service you sign into you have to confirm that you wish to signon using your credentials to the site. At Oxford this is known as the green tick page. Thanks to the wonderfull Firefox plugin called greasemonkey I can have some JavaScript run when I visit the green tick page to automatically follow the link. The result is a greasemonkey script that means I don't have to click on the link. I've put the script up for anyone else who might find it useful. WebAuth Tick Jumper to use it you should already have greasemonkey installed.

SSH Tunnels and Multiple Copies of Firefox

I'm currently working from home and need todo some testing of a website that is only accessable from some restricted IPs inside my work offices. To get around this I use and ssh tunnel: ssh -D 1080 -N &
  • -D 1080 sets up a SOCKS server listen on localhost, port 1080
  • -N mean no command gets run when the connection is established so it can be run in the background safely (SSH 2)
Once I have connected and authenticate I want to start another copy of Firefox but keep my existing instance of Firefox running for normal browsing. Firefox by default tries to limit you to only one copy being running at any one time and so just starting Firefox up you end up with just another window for your existing instance. There are some other blog posts about running multiple copies of Firefox but they don't have a nice one liner. Mine is: ( export MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1; firefox -profilemanager ) & The brackets mean that a subshell is started so that the MOZ_NO_REMOTE only affects the single firefox instance. This then brings up the profile manager as when running multiple copies of Firefox you have to use a different profile for each one. As I am wanting to test a remote website through the ssh connection I create a new profile called SOCKS and start it. Then once the extra copy of Firefox is running I edit the connection settings (Edit -> Preferences) and specify Manual Proxy Settings with the SOCKS host set to localhost and the port set to 1080. After clicking Ok all my browsing from this copy of Firefox goes through the ssh connection so I can test the IP restricted website without having to run a VPN. The only thing left todo is to install a theme in the SOCKS profile so it is more obvious which profile I am using.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wilf J Buckett

Anna gave brith to Wilf J Buckett on Friday the 10th of March 2006, he weighed 6lb 12oz and mother and baby are doing well. It doesn't feel all that different being a father I just see to be getting less sleep. The one change I have noticed is that now rather than watching TV we spend time watching Wilf. I just hope I can remember that not everyone want to hear about all the things Wilf has been doing that day.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Clipboard and the Web

Through a post by Phil Wilson I found a really beautiful idea about how the clipboard should work on the web. It show a rather slick way of allowing data to be transfered between web applications and also between desktop applications and the web. To understand it best just watch the screencasts. This sort of feature is one that needs consitent implementation across applications to ease the learning curve for users but with features like this the future does look good for applications being delivered through the web.