Thinking out of the box!



  • Hi all,

    This is one of many stories involving a current housemate who never ceases to amaze us. If you like this, I can submit more stories about him next time

    Some background<o:p></o:p>

    We recently had a family (1 couple and 1 infant) move into our house which is currently being shared by my family and another housemate who’s also a software developer.…

    Husband (General Practitioner) who does a bit of coding on the side during his free time. --> He's the main character in this story
    His Wife (Radiologist) – not relevant in this story
    His Son (Infant) – not relevant in this story

    Me (Software Engineer)
    My Wife (Homemaker) – not relevant in this story
    My Son (Infant) – not relevant in this story

    Housemate (Software Engineer)

    The Scenario<o:p></o:p>

    So the husband (not from the IT industry), Keith was telling us how he missed local TV dramas/episodes from Singapore ever since he moved over to Perth,Australia and Keith’s got the bright idea of setting up a home server that would record all the shows from the TV and stream it over the internet so that he will be able to watch it while he’s here.

    Since Singapore’s internet infrastructure is highly developed and competitive enough for Keith to sign up to a Starhub Maxonline Ultimate plan which offers speeds of up to 100Mbps download and 2Mbps upload at a reasonable price (with no download limit), we thought that this solution might actually work and applauded Keith for being so smart.

    Consequently, I mentioned that Starhub only offers dynamic ip addresses and me and my housemate automatically assumed that Keith would being signing up to a web-redirection service like dydns or no-ip to get his dynamic ip address resolved automatically.

    Keith gave us an incredulous look and ask what dydns or no-ip was… We looked at each other and asked Keith: “So how did you actually manage to resolve the ip addresses when Starhub (the isp) resets it?”

    The Objective<o:p></o:p>

    How do you resolve a dynamic ip address that resets occasionally without using a managed dns service? So you can find out the correct ip to log in to your server?

    Keith’s  Solution<o:p></o:p>

    Keith proudly explains his solution to the problem:

    He coded a small service app (in VB) that runs every 15 minutes in the streaming server. This app generates an invisible browser. The browser then redirects to one of those whatismyIp.com sites to capture his ip address. Then the browser automatically logs into his gmail account (hardcoded username/password) and composes an email that pastes the captured ip address and sends it back to his own gmail account. Finally, all he needs to do is just log into his own gmail and he will be able to find the server’s new address whenever he wants to watch some Singapore TV.

    P.s. If I remember correctly, he mentioned something about hardcoding the coordinates of the user/password and submit button box so that he can manipulate the mouse in the "invisible" browser to the correct location and enter his credentials into the input boxes and make the mouse "left-click" on the login button.

    Conclusion<o:p></o:p>

    We looked at each other, shook our heads and silently agreed not to discuss any IT related topics when he’s around. On a side note, we did try to tell him that there's gmail api available that allows a user to log in but he said he didnt trust other people's code. LOL

    The Consolation<o:p></o:p>

    At least he didn’t code his own streaming software…..

    <o:p> </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>

    <o:p> </o:p>



  • Impressive... but he forgot to print out the IP address from a printer which slides the paper out onto a wooden table where a digital camera takes a picture of it which is then sent as the gmail attachment...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @fyjham said:

    Impressive... but he forgot to print out the IP address from a printer which slides the paper out onto a wooden table where a digital camera takes a picture of it which is then sent as the gmail attachment...

     

    Hey, that eliminates the screen-scraping step!



  •  I don't think it's that bad. He's a GP, not a software engineer or IT professional, and came up with a solution to work around his lack of networking knowledge. It's not like it's a commercial product or anything.

     

    I think TRWTF is that a GP and a Radiologist have to house-share... surely they could afford their own place?



  • You have to admit it's pretty admirable that someone could have made such an "overengineered" solution work.

    Just out of curiosity: if all the other people really weren't relevant, why mention them? Are you preparing for future posts?



  • g Good post. Please send moar when applicable. 



  • @Zecc said:

    You have to admit it's pretty admirable that someone could have made such an "overengineered" solution work.

    Just out of curiosity: if all the other people really weren't relevant, why mention them? Are you preparing for future posts?

     

     

    Hahaha maybe? depends on whether you guys wanna hear more "over-engineered work". He's a pretty interesting guy actually and the solutions he provide to certain problems are very interesting!



  • @valerion said:

     I don't think it's that bad. He's a GP, not a software engineer or IT professional, and came up with a solution to work around his lack of networking knowledge. It's not like it's a commercial product or anything.

     

    I think TRWTF is that a GP and a Radiologist have to house-share... surely they could afford their own place?

     

     

    The TRWTF here is that he took all the trouble to learn how to program an "invisible"  browser to log in to his gmail which should be harder than googling for a managed DNS service or reading about APIs to access gmail. 

     



  • @valerion said:

    I think TRWTF is that a GP and a Radiologist have to house-share... surely they could afford their own place?

    @loba said:

    depends on whether you guys wanna hear more "over-engineered work"
    Do I smell a sitcom?



  • @loba said:

    @valerion said:

     I don't think it's that bad. He's a GP, not a software engineer or IT professional, and came up with a solution to work around his lack of networking knowledge. It's not like it's a commercial product or anything.

     

    I think TRWTF is that a GP and a Radiologist have to house-share... surely they could afford their own place?

     

     

    The TRWTF here is that he took all the trouble to learn how to program an "invisible"  browser to log in to his gmail which should be harder than googling for a managed DNS service or reading about APIs to access gmail. 

     

     

     

     Well obviously that IS the real WTF, but what I'm saying is if he has no concept of Dynamic DNS then it wouldn't have entered his brain to search for something like that, hence his application.

    Ok, screw it. The guy should've at least thought "Hmm, changing IPs, DNS... maybe I'll just stick that into Google and see if anybody else has had the same problem".

    More, please!



  • Actually, I devised most of this in my head once.  All except the logging into gmail with an "invisible corncob."  I can send my own email, tyvm.  I also had the added bit of requesting one of my own sites that had a phpinfo() page.

    Luckily, I asked a friend what he thought and that friend directed me to no-ip.com.  Not a word of code was ever written.



  •  @loba said:

    Keith proudly explains his solution to the problem:

    He coded a small service app (in VB) that runs every 15 minutes in the streaming server. This app generates an invisible browser. The browser then redirects to one of those whatismyIp.com sites to capture his ip address. Then the browser automatically logs into his gmail account (hardcoded username/password) and composes an email that pastes the captured ip address and sends it back to his own gmail account. Finally, all he needs to do is just log into his own gmail and he will be able to find the server’s new address whenever he wants to watch some Singapore TV.

    P.s. If I remember correctly, he mentioned something about hardcoding the coordinates of the user/password and submit button box so that he can manipulate the mouse in the "invisible" browser to the correct location and enter his credentials into the input boxes and make the mouse "left-click" on the login button.

     

     

    u have gud design skillz

    please send the codez



  • @Zecc said:

    @valerion said:

    I think TRWTF is that a GP and a Radiologist
    have to house-share... surely they could afford their own place?

    @loba said:

    depends on whether you guys wanna hear more "over-engineered work"
    Do I smell a sitcom?

    I very much fear not... in fact, I don't think we're even gonna get a soap opera out of this one...

    @loba said:

    His Wife (Radiologist) – not relevant in this story

      . . .

    My Wife (Homemaker) – not relevant in this story

    And I was hoping for Desparate Housewives!


  • I asked my ISP for a fixed IP address, which they gave me with no hassle and no charge.



  • @loba said:

    This is one of many stories involving a current housemate who never ceases to amaze us. If you like this, I can submit more stories about him next time

     

    Plz save yerslf teh embarssment and doent boethr.



  • I really don't know much about VB, but a simple google search turned up both dot-net and  legacy VB functions for determining your system's IP address.  Boggles the mind that he could come up with checking a website and screen-scraping but wouldn't think of that...



  • @shadowman said:

    I really don't know much about VB, but a simple google search turned up both dot-net and  legacy VB functions for determining your system's IP address.  Boggles the mind that he could come up with checking a website and screen-scraping but wouldn't think of that...
     

     I wouldn't touch those with a 10-foot pole (which is why I keep this 11-foot pole handy). You've never had a legacy program or even a new one misguess your IP? With NATs and PPPOE you get two or three different IP addresses, depending on how you ask. You could filter out by subnet mask or something, but that's not what I'd call an option if you don't have physical access to the computer for months or years at a time. 

     This one isn't all THAT bad, really. The Gmail login is through https, and if someone has physical access to the computer, you've lost already. Actually, with the HTML parsing it's pretty spiffy (though annoying to code). If he doesn't like other peoples' code, he won't like DNS updaters, and I've had several of those break on me since they try to use a LAN IP (recently doubled with Hamachi). Nowadays I'd just use Hamachi. It's easy enough to setup, you can make your own network-level set of rules for it in your firewall and it scales pretty well. But that's just me.


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