Roger Davies

The Ramblings of a Weirdo

Latest Articles from Roger Davies:
NEW : Monkey Island Section

What is Dark Internet, How to Access Onion Domains and Configure Hosting for the Dark Web

Protecting the Anonymity of the Dissident Blogger, How To Exercise Your Right to Blog Freely Outside Government Control

Bitcoins Beat the Bankers – Webs First Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Crypto Currency Empowers Users, May Replace Banks

The ACS:Law Disaster – The Digital Economy Act and the Greater Struggle for Intellectual Freedom…

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Welcome to the new, improved Roger Davies .com!

11th October 2009

See Roger Davies’ brand new Monkey Island section where you will find complete Monkey Island walkthrough solutions for each Monkey Island game, from the original Secret of Monkey Island, to Monkey Island 2 : LeChuck’s Revenge right up to (and including!) the brand new Tales of Monkey Island series. Roger Davies .com will feature the walkthrough solutions on the web before most other sources, so if you find yourself stuck … you know where to come! So far you will find the Launch of the Screaming Narwhal Walkthrough, Seige of Spinner Cay Walkthrough, Lair of the Leviathan Walkthrough and we will be bringing you the solutions for the long awaited final two episodes of Tales of Monkey Island along with the Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island solutions, So stay tuned!

11th August 2009

Yes, it’s true! … I finally found time to re-arrange and redesign Roger Davies .com exactly the way I like (actually a mix of several other ideas) which included giving complete control over to Wordpress as a content management system – something it does particularly well in this latest release!

Content management is a bit of a misnomer – in that it is probably better thought of as a loss of control over content, but a handful of plugins and a little editing of the Wordpress code and I’m very pleased with the result.

Wordpress has taught me so much this last year. It was after making some modifications to help Wordpress fight spam that I realised the significance of WordPress’ taxonomy structure and how it indexes these words for search. This provided the foundation of a search tool I began work on at roger-it.co.uk. This public version, currently hosted on my shared 1&1 hosting account is now painfully outdated, but a useful demo until I finally roll out the newest version, which will need to remain on my own computers.

11th January 2009

More about Roger Davies

For a general overview, see the Roger Davies profile page. The main categories – home winemaking, web tools and development and music production sections are similar to how they always were (but organised a little more neatly).

The blog entries are now available throughout the site, but the latest entries can be found here. The sections are still divided up the same way as they always have been – from politics, social observations to retro game reviews and strange ideas. There is the forum at Roger Davies .com which has discussions on home winemaking, Anime and Japan an image area and discussions on music production. Be sure to check out Roger Davies’ music section which includes various mixes and ideas, a which is really just a testing area for random Internet ideas and a forum for you to post any thoughts of your own!


Definition, Origins of ‘Roger’ in ‘Roger Davies’

Roger is derived from the ancient Germanic name ‘Hrothgar’ (Hroðgar, Roger) meaning “famous with the spear” (hroth/hroud meaning ‘fame, glory’, and ger meaning ’spear’). There was a legendary Dannish king named Hrothgar in the 6th century, who features in the ancient novel Beowulf. Beowulf is a British novel, set in Scandinavia in which Hrothgar hires Boewulf to slay Grendel – the main protagonist. Another Hrothgar also appears in the Anglo Saxon tale Widsith, but I am not sure if this refers to the same one.

Roger is usually spelt without a ‘d’ unless it forms part of a surname in which case it can be spent with a ‘Rodger’. In American-English, Roger can be spelt ‘Rodger’

Definition, Origins of ‘Davies’ in ‘Roger Davies’

Davies is has English and Welsh roots. ‘Davies’ is the welsh spelling, and ‘Davis’ is the English way. Davies means ‘Son of David (beloved)’. Variations : DAVIES (Welsh), DAVID, DAVIDSON, DAVISON

Disambiguation

Roger Davies is also a fictional character character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, who first appeared in the Prisoner of Azkaban, as a Ravenclaw student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Noted as being handsome (yey! Well, definitely disambiguated from the Roger Davies writing this site, then!) If you are reading Joanne, thank you lol. For what it’s worth, I did have Harry-Potteresque cheap NHS glasses which were horrendous!

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What is Dark Internet, How to Access Onion Domains and Configure Hosting for the Dark Web

What if I said there was Internet beyond what you can normally ’see’? Like dark matter, or the memory of a half-remembered dream, it lies just outside of perception, hidden beneath the sea of information. It is estimated that the Dark Web is several orders of magnitude larger than the surface of the Web. Just what is it? And how can you access it?

Tor .onion domains

There are many different techniques in use, but Tor’s onion router network is probably the easiest one to get started with.  The .onion domains are not part of the ICANN registry, and will not resolve until you are running Tor (download it here). Because of the way Tor routing works, both the host serving out web pages and the requesting client are obscured and are not easily identifiable in the twilight (see these diagrams for full explanation). The combined effect leaves this form of Internet far beyond any kind of government control or regulation. You only need to click the ‘new identity’ button and Tor will pick a new node to make requests through – which will seem to give you a new IP address and a completely new identity even for regular Internet (see below).
Tor : New Identity
With Tor installed, you can access .onion domains such as the Hidden Wiki (which tells you a little about this realm), setup hosting with freedom hosting, create a blog at blog.masked or visit the Tor directory to see what other services are available.

Hosting Pages on the Tor Network

There are no laws here and you are free to publish anything and everything and nobody will even be able to identify you, much less stop you. As always, use this technology responsibly! You can configure hidden services for tor by clicking setup, then services and clicking the add (+) (see diagram below). Simply run your favourite server, whether this is Apache, IIS or whatever then on this menu screen point Tor at localhost / 127.0.0.1 (in this case we are using it for http / web so we choose port 80). Tor will automatically generate the hash string which you may give out to others to access your server through – although they will have no way of identifying you.Setup Tor Services

As you can imagine, you will find all manner of unsavory things on the dark side of the Internet (it hit the news recently, when U.S. senators realised that websites openly sold drugs), but it is also used for a tremendous amount of good. It is a place where the people may gather, out of sight and even further out of reach.  I urge you to see this as the Wild West, or Tokyo before the Edo period; wild and untamed but full of possibilities!


I2P2 Network and .i2p Domains

Another form of dark net or dark internet can be found in the I2P2 network (See the Wikipedia here. You can download the software here. I2P works in a very similar way to Tor, although is a little bit more flexible and can be used for many different types of protocol and different applications including Web access, email, IRC Chat, fire sharing and more. Running this software will allow you to access I2P Domains, another form of Dark Internet.

See the great tutorial below for how to set this up:

Namecoin .bit Domains and Alternative DNS

Many similarly great projects are currently under development. Namecoin is an decentralised, distributed DNS system that provides .bit top level domains, built on the same architecture as Bitcoin. Basically you need to ‘mine’ for Namecoin in the same way you mine for Bitcoins. This is then exchangeable for a .bit domain name. Interestingly ICANN have also recently announced an increase in the number of allowed web suffixes. Perhaps the timing is no co-incidence.

Other Forms Dark Web and Darknet

It should be noted that Deep Web is an all-encompassing term that includes all manner of content that is not typically accessible (either due to it being on some non-standard DNS like Dark Internet or that it is simply not indexed for (and cannot be found through) search, or that there are simply no links to the sites.  Darknet however, typically refers to the file sharing side of things (including peer-to-peer file sharing methods) and also IRC chat relays most of which are typically not index-able. I will argue that the Dark Internet itself is the natural and inevitable response to a government trying to assert more control than the technorati feels it deserves. I predict we will see a steady growth and development in these areas in the coming months. Who knows what we will see, but one thing is for sure – the architecture of the Internet is about to develop a lot further.

How Tor Works (Part 1)How Tor Works (Part 2)How Tor Works (Part 3)

It bit the news recently when the U.S. government realised you can buy recreational drugs online.
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Protecting the Anonymity of the Dissident Blogger, How To Exercise Your Right to Blog Freely Outside Government Control

In the light of recent events it has become necessary for me to write a brief piece on how you can exercise your online civil rights without fear of prosecution. Whistle-blowing and free speech can be controversial at times, but are essential components to any free or fair society. There have been a growing number of acts of aggression against the Internet community and I feel the only logical response is to level the playing fields by arming the Internet user with techniques and tips that will allow them to evade detection and secure a platform on which they can speak up if they feel something is wrong.

Disappearing Into the Social Media Cloud

Although it is possible to register a domain without giving away your identity (I will cover this in later posts), it is quicker and easier to sign up with an existing blog site, which will make identifying you more difficult and will depend on the co-operation of the host of that service.

Before you begin, be sure to CREATE A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS FOR USE ONLY WITH THIS PROJECT. Do not attempt to use the email box for any other purpose connected with your personal life, as there is already technology in use that will make you much easier to detect. I recommend hushmail.com which has optional encryption, you can also use any of the free, temporary, throw-away email addresses for the purposes of registering:

mailinator.com
mytrashmail.com
mailexpire.com
10minutemail.com
tempemail.net

Be sure to only EVER create or access your email or blog using a Proxy or VPN which will ensure your IP (or fingerprint of your machine) does not end up in the logfiles of the blogging or email services you use (remember, the company that runs these sites may be asked to turn over their records at some point in the future, so we must consider them hostile).

Techniques for Removing Your Fingerprints

There are plenty of good web proxies available for free such as : Hidemyass.com and entire lists of public proxies for you to browse (or just Google ‘public proxy’ or something similar!). (see how to configure a proxy with Internet Explorer and Firefox, I will be writing one about VPN soon!).

VPN is even more effective and impossible to detect than a proxy (and can be used with any other Internet service, not just web access!). There are some good commercial ones available such as AirVPN.org which accept bitcoins for payment, ensuring no money trail leads back to you. I can also recommend VyprVPN. I will be writing further tutorials on how to configure a VPN with your system, in the meantime: here is how to configure a VPN with Windows XP, and here is a good tutorial on how to configure a VPN with Windows 7. There is also a great free tool called TOR, which is available for anyone to use. It will hide your identity online, although it is slow and often cuts out, you can choose a new identity at the click of a button.

Using the above precautions we can now setup our blog with an acceptable level of anonymity. I recommend any of the following sites:

Blogger – http://www.blogger.com
Wordpress – http://www.wordpress.com
Tumblr – http://www.tumblr.com
Sky Blog – http://www.skyblog.com
MSN Spaces – http://www.msnspaces.com
LiveJournal -http://www.livejournal.com
PasteHTML – http://www.pastehtml.com (really for single posts)
Scribed http://www.scribd.com (Is really meant for single-post documents)

Six Degrees of Separation Rule

NEVER share links to your blog directly through other accounts you have, this will almost certainly give your identity away (anyone with even a dash of SEO knowledge will be able to chase these links very effectively). Create new accounts specifically to promote your blog entries with sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook Pages and so on. But if you do, be sure to create these using the Proxy / VPN or TOR methods as outlined above. Again, we want to keep your identity from the sites you use, as they may be required to turn over their logs.

Further Points of Consideration

Do not ramble unnecessarily and try to ensure there are no obvious spelling errors! There are techniques currently used by investigators both in the U.S. and Europe that include the n-gram analysis of text. If they have a large enough sample of your text content, they can build a profile of your writing style. Any subtle quirks or minor errors you repeat across sites will quickly give your identity away. Be sure to clear your browsers cookies regularly, just in case you leave yourself logged in under your personal profile on any of these sites. Remember: if the IP logs are turned over by the service provider they may be able to link your accounts, and therefore we can consider your personal profile also compromised. Better yet, use a different browser altogether! (ideally one you don’t use for anything else). Google Chrome has an incognito mode that does just this!

It goes without saying that you should use this platform you create responsibly and for the greater good. We have seen the good the Internet can do with the Arab uprising, but it can equally be used as a tool for evil. For me, the question is really one of governance. Irrespective of why particular content is controversial, just who has the right to police the Internet? These chumps? I certainly hope not! They have sought no mandate from yourselves, they have neither the moral right nor the technical ability govern you. Empower yourselves, and use this new found freedom responsibly!

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Bitcoins Beat the Bankers – Webs First Peer-to-Peer Bitcoin Crypto Currency Empowers Users, May Replace Banks

Bitcoin - The Webs Online Currency

Bitcoin - The Webs Online Currency

Remember how PayPal revolutionised Internet payments? Imagine a similar system where no central bank or institution holds all the gold and there are no grubby little men investing your money as it moves between accounts. Welcome to Bitcoin (BTC), the Webs first peer-to-peer digital crypto currency that allows individuals to exchange money quickly, safely and anonymously over the Internet without the need for banks, cards, transfer fees or delays. Sounds too good to be true? Having just made my first purchase last weekend, I can say with absolute certainty: they are safe, easy to use and (most importantly!) they are here to stay.

How Does it Work? How Do I Get Some?

Technically speaking Bitcoins are very safe – each coin is heavily encrypted and stored virtually across the network of machines running the Bitcoin software (That’s your cue to download & install it! Don’t worry…I’ll wait!). Once you have done this you can literally claim your FREE MONEY by visiting the Bitcoin Faucet and they will deposit your first Bitcoins into your account for free! (The amount they give away is dropping as the Bitcoin gains in strength, so hurry!) Take a deep breath! Feel empowered. Feels good doesn’t it? Great, now continue…

Yale Law School’s Reuben Grinberg has written a fascinating paper assessing the legal implications of this new currency concluding that it has the “potential to be a significant player” and due to it’s digital nature “operates in a legal grey area” which would put it out of reach of the Federal government. Time magazine’s Techland suggested it was the online currency to challenge banks and governments.

Bright Economic Outlook

The Bitcoin has been rapidly (and steadily) increasing in value, doubling in January alone according to one source, with Forbes reporting that an estimated about $30,000 worth of Bitcoins are spent each day! (If this isn’t a stable currency, what is!?). You can mine (generate) bitcoins of your own, and the processing time your computer uses goes towards helping process other users’ online transactions and re-enforce the security of the system itself. In effect, the monetary value is measured against processing time, rather than gold.

What Can I Buy?

A number of sites accept Bitcoins for payment and this is rapidly growing. You can buy anything from food to gifts and this month a rival service to eBay was launched called Bidding Pond, run entirely on Bitcoins!

In fact, lead developer Gavin Andresen has been invited to speak at the CIA headquarters next month suggesting that the U.S. government is interested in this development.

Yes, the Bitcoin has gone from strength to strength. Each time I buy some, I look at the exchange rate and wish I’d bought more the previous time! They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this depression might just have helped a few geeks come up with a system that may actually replace money altogether. As the Bitcoin becomes more mainstream (and it will over the next six months!) it is likely to find friends amongst the open source shopping cart community (there are already plugins for Wordpress WP-eCommerce, Prestashop, Open Cart, ZenCart and numerous others) and will then replace Paypal (as it will be faster, free and not depend on a real-world bank or debit card). Eventually, as our own currencies continue to collapse, it will challenge them for a place in the real world. Then we will be able to dump the banker like a deposed middle-east dictator, forcing them to join the ranks of Kings and Queens, the Black Plague and most of 1990’s pop music in the dark ages of history’s memory.

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The ACS:Law Disaster – The Digital Economy Act and the Greater Struggle for Intellectual Freedom…

Anonymous VendettaThe Digital Economy Act was dealt another severe blow this week, as ACS:Law’s website was attacked and private information about users was leaked over the Internet. The law firm, who’s homepage (when they had one!) boasted of their ability to help rights holders “exploit and enforce their rights globally” using “effective and unique methods”. When, in actuality, this meant : ‘send blackmailing letters, demanding cash’ to broadband users, who’s data they had obtained in collusion with BT, Plusnet and Sky.

ACS:Law Faces £500,000 Fine, BT Faces Legal Action

As a result of the leak, ACS:Law now faces legal action to the tune of £500,000, as it may have breached the Data Protection Act (1998) by providing inadequate security for private individual’s information. BT may now also face legal action for handing over the information and Sky is trying desperately to distance itself from the beleaguered law firm, in a vain attempt to extricate itself from the mess it helped to create.

Impossible to Enforce Digital Economy Act and Protect Privacy

But there are bigger lessons here than the superficial: ‘protect your data better’. This recent flashpoint has demonstrated just how powerless our government is to protect your personal data online, and just how impossible it will be to enforce the Digital Economy Act and protect your privacy at the same time. Still further, it shows that ISPs will be held accountable for disclosing data about the British public to third parties, along with all the liabilities that accidental disclosure entails.

The Broader Struggle for Intellectual Freedom

But I urge the reader to see this debacle within the broader context of a greater struggle for intellectual freedom. The Internet represents the ultimate freedom of speech and expression. To the government, this equates to a loss of control, which they will perceive as a threat. They are concerned that Wikileaks will give you details of the Iraq war they didn’t want you to hear. They are worried that you will learn the details of how your MP abused his or her expenses claims. But above all, they are terrified that free ideas can unite people to work together to cast aside undesirable forms of control.

The Chinese government is so concerned they have erected a firewall around their entire country while India habitually monitors people’s private messages. Even here at home, a leaked CIA paper completed in February 2010 (codenamed ‘Red Cell’) shows that even the U.S. Intelligence Services are concerned about the influence of Blogs, Twitter and Facebook:

The ubiquity of internet services around the world and the widespread use of English on popular websites such as Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and various blogs enable radical clerics and terrorist recruiters to bypass America’s physical borders and influence US citizens.

It would be incredibly naive to see ACS:Law’s secret spying and gathering of private information as totally disconnected from all of these issues. Indeed, I would say that a civil war of information was being quietly waged in the background: one in which the people are seeking greater accountability, transparency and freedom from our leaders, who in turn are seeking further control and censorship of the Internet.

Copyright theft and infringement if intellectual properties can never be justified, but it would be unreasonable to expect us to surrender our privacy to do it. Let us remember too that it was the UK government’s lack of funding that allowed our broadband to become one of the poorest in the developed world, outranked by Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania, Spain and Portugal. Let us also remember the undemocratic way the Digital Economy Act was rammed through parliament in the ‘washed up’ period, around the same time our MPs (some of whom are now facing prison sentences) were too busy lining their pockets with taxpayer money as ‘expenses’ to even notice.

Let us consider who the real criminals are in this story, and ask : just who does has the right to look after the Internet, if not the people who use it and contribute meaningfully to it?

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