For the truly paranoid

HeaderI’ve been reinstalling my system as of late (been way too along a comin’) and I realized that I hadn’t set up a firewall yet. This, in turn, had me think how many ports were open. I was up too late and probably had too many cokes by then. I had given myself a dead simple root password so that I could finish the install and began getting that tightening, turning, wretching in the belly feeling. I couldn’t help thinking that, “This could be the time that some random joe comes along and finds a nice open gate”. Doesn’t make much sense now, but decided then to build a script that toggles a 20 character random password to relieved my paranoia. Here it is for anyone who can find use of it. Oh, and I did get my install done.

# randompass - toggle between random and known passwords for users

# User passwords to protect
users=(root todd akau)

# Program name from it's filename

# Text color variables
txtund=$(tput sgr 0 1)          # Underline
txtbld=$(tput bold)             # Bold
bldred=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 1) #  red
bldblu=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 4) #  blue
bldwht=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 7) #  white
txtrst=$(tput sgr0)             # Reset
info=${bldwht}*${txtrst}        #

# Check if users exist, if they don't remove from the users array
list="${users[@]/%/|}"    # Puts array to list, add pipe after each user
users=($(grep -Eo "^(${list// })\>" /etc/shadow)) # strip spaces, end of word

# Password generation
passgen=$(< /dev/urandom tr -dc A-Za-z0-9/.$ | head -c20 | xargs | cat)

# Variables for current passwords
for user in ${users[@]}; do
  eval "curpw$user=\$(grep \$user /etc/shadow | awk -F : '{print \$2}')"

# Save original passwords (first run)
for save in ${users[@]}; do
  if [ ! -f /root/pass$save ]; then
    grep $save /etc/shadow | awk -F : '{ print $2 }' > /root/pass$save
    echo "$pass Saved ${txtund}$save${txtrst} password"

case $1 in
  h ) echo " $prog <*u>- toggle random and known passwords. u - update known"
  u ) echo "$warn Be sure no random passwords are set before updating passwords!"
      echo -n "Update known passwords file(s)? "
      read update
      if [[ $update == [Yy] ]]; then
        for known in ${users[@]}; do
          grep $known /etc/shadow | awk -F : '{ print $2 }' > /root/pass$known
          echo "$pass Updated ${txtund}$known${txtrst} password"
        echo " Passwords not updated"
  * ) if [[ "$curpwroot" == "$(cat /root/passroot)" ]]; then
        for u in ${users[@]}; do
          usermod -p $passgen $u
          echo "$pass Generated password for ${txtund}$u${txtrst}."
        for u in ${users[@]}; do
          usermod -p $(cat /root/pass$u) $u
          echo "$pass Restored password for ${txtund}$u${txtrst}."

theatertime- hold power-saving to get through a flick

Getting down to watching you favorite movie on your computer? Start the movie, sit down, grab your snack and ten or so minutes later the screen goes blank. This happens in Linux because the desktop has built-in defaults for display power management (DPMS) and screensaving. Timeout settings can vary from distribution to distribution but they all got them. Here’s a basic script that can toggle DPMS and screensaving on and off.

Xorg Server Settings

You can set the values of blank, standby, suspend, and off in the the xorg server configuration file. The defaults are: 15, 20, 30, and 40 minutes. Personally I like to set these to better match how I use my computer:

Section "Monitor"
  Identifier  "Monitor0"
  Option      "DPMS"    "true"  # display power management on (true/false)

Section "ServerFlags"
  Option "BlankTime"    "13"    # LED still on, no + (0 disables)
  Option "StandbyTime"  "15"    # turns off LED
  Option "SuspendTime"  "0"     # turns off LED, and most power
  Option "OffTime"      "50"    # turns off all power

BlankTime is just a cheap screensaver and only real use for me is to tell me that I forgot to disable dpms while watching a movie. Doing this saves me a few seconds that StandbyTime requires to turn on the display again. SuspendTime and StandbyTime are nearly the same thing so I don’t bother setting SuspendTime.


Here’s movietime. Movietime should work with just about any type of desktop environment (at least any system with dbus installed which really all of them do). If you aren’t familiar with having your own scripts and how to run them, take a look at this page).

# movietime - disables power savings to watch movies.

# Movietime options
#  Resume time - resume normal display pm and suspend after set time.
# 0 = disabled, time in minutes
if [ $resumetime = 0 ]; then 
  resumetime=1440 # Re-enable resume after a full day

# Check that values for 'resumetime' are numbers
if [ $(echo $resumetime | sed 's/^[-+0-9][0-9]*//' | wc -c) != 1 ]; then
  echo "$warn variable 'resumetime' is not a number.  Exiting."

# Name of suspend script

# Program name from it's filename.

# Text color variables
txtund=$(tput sgr 0 1)          # Underline
txtbld=$(tput bold)             # Bold
bldblu=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 4) #  blue
bldwht=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 7) #  white
bldred=${txtbld}$(tput setaf 1) #  red
txtrst=$(tput sgr0)             # Reset
info=${bldwht}*${txtrst}        # Feedback

# Check that Xorg server is running
if [[ -z $(ps aux | grep /usr/bin/X) ]]; then
  echo "$warn The Xorg server is not running."

# Check if user is regular user
if [ $(whoami) == "root" ]; then
  echo "$warn You are the root user, must be a regular user."

# Current DPMS times (in minutes)
dispdpms=$(xset -q | grep "DPMS is" | awk '{ printf $3 }') # Enab. or Disb.
dispstand=$(xset -q | grep "^  Standby: " | awk '{ printf $2/60 }')
dispsusp=$(xset -q | grep "^  Standby: " | awk '{ printf $4/60 }')
dispoff=$(xset -q | grep "^  Standby: " | awk '{ printf $6/60 }')
dispblank=$(xset -q | grep "^  timeout:  " | awk '{ printf $2/60 }')

# Resume time in hours
resumetimehr=$(echo "scale=1;${resumetime}/60" | bc)

# Display help
case $1 in
  -h | --help | h | help )
    # Help message.
    echo "  $prog disables screen blanking and screensaver to allow viewing a video.  Running the program again will enable them.  If the 'resumetime' variable is set after that time $prog will resume normal powersaving values." | fmt -c -w 76

    # Display current values of power management and movietime.
    suspinhtest=$(ps aux | grep -v grep | grep $suspinhscript)
    suspinhval=$([ -n "$suspinhtest" ] && echo "Disabled" || echo "Desktop settings")
    # DPMS disabled information
    echo "   ${txtbld}Current settings ${txtrst}(in minutes, 0 = disabled):"
    if [[ "$dispdpms" == "Disabled" ]]; then
      echo "   DPMS:         $dispdpms"
      echo "   Suspend:      $suspinhval"

    # DPMS enabled information
    if [[ "$dispdpms" == "Enabled" ]]; then
      echo "   DPMS:         $dispdpms"
      echo "   DPMS times:   Blank: ${dispblank}; Standby: ${dispstand}; Suspend: ${dispsusp}; Offtime: ${dispoff}"
      echo "   Suspend:      $suspinhval"
    echo "   ${txtbld}$prog settings${txtrst}:"
    echo "   Resume after: $resumetimehr hours"
  [a-g,i-z,A-G,I-Z,0-9,-]* )
    echo " Use '-h' for help"

# Suspend inhibit script (must be run as seperate process)
suspinhibit () {
    echo '#!/bin/bash
    for time in $(seq 1 '$resumetime'); do
    # Simulate user activity every minute
    dbus-send --print-reply --type=method_call --dest=org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver /ScreenSaver org.freedesktop.ScreenSaver.SimulateUserActivity
    sleep 60

# Toggle powersaving
if [[ "$dispdpms" == "Enabled" ]] && [ -z "$suspinhtest" ]; then
  # Disable blanking, screen power saving
  xset s off; xset -dpms
  # Create script in tmp
  suspinhibit > "$suspinhscript"
  # Make script executable
  chmod u+x "$suspinhscript"
  # Run script
  nohup "$suspinhscript" &> /dev/null &
  echo "$pass $prog started, powersaving disabled."
  # Enable blanking, screen power saving
  xset s on; xset +dpms
  # Kill script
  if [ -n $suspinhtest ]; then
    echo "$info $prog stopped, powersaving enabled."
    kill -s 9 $(pgrep movietime-susp) &> /dev/null

Turn off all cellphones and enjoy the show!

Week of bash scripts – rps and commentstrip

These two scripts will respectively: find if a program is running, and strip-comments from text files. The first is useful if you need to see if the program is running or if you need to kill the process with it’s id, comment strip is a good tool to use if posting configurations on forums as often developers or advanced users already know what the settings actually do.


aspire ~/.scripts:
rps geany
todd      1827  0.1  0.3 184576 28616 ?        S    May31   1:05 geany


Commentstrip will display the output to the terminal. If you got xclip installed the ‘c’ option can be used to copy the output to the clipboard.

The final day of week of bash scripts… phew! I’d like to thank everyone that posted comments, and to those that stopped by this week.

Week of bash scripts – grok and cdf

These two scripts are two different find commands. The first (grok) will list all files in a directory recursively that contain a matched string; the second will locate a file/folder and the change to it’s directory. Neither of these are mine (though slightly edited), I’ve gotten them from the Arch forums where they have a great thread called Post your handy self made command line utilities.


This one is by rebugger and I call it grok. Syntax is:

grok <string> <*location>

If no location is given it uses the current directory.

aspire ~:
grok /etc/


This one is by segoe that uses locate to find a file and that cd’s to the first match found.

aspire ~/.scripts:
cdl demo/PKG
aspire ~/.arch/pkgbuilds/amnesia-demo:

This one put in your ~/.bashrc:

cdf () { cd "$(dirname "$(locate -i "$*" | head -n 1)")" ; } # locate then cd

Week of bash scripts – Unpack

As the antithesis of yesterdays pack command there is unpack.


This script was originally written by brisbin33 in the Arch forums (beautiful work man) and is slightly-modified. It will unpack most compressed file formats. Syntax is:

unpack <archive.ext>

A week of bash scripts – Pack

Hello blogweb, this week I’ll be posting some of my bash scripts that I use on a regular basis. To begin:


I tend to do quite a bit of compressing files for uploading and I cannot always seem to remember the options and order of those options that tar needs. So I built a bash script that does it for me. I call it pack and it’s syntax is:

pack <file1> <folder1> ...

Restore settings of Firefox on trouble

Update: 09-29-11 – Using script to automate process, see end of post.

When people have a issue with Firefox I’ve seen many people will resort to deleting their old profile (or folder) and creating a new one. This works but doing this will get rid of any passwords, history, bookmarks… therein. Having used Firefox quite a bit creating a new profile from time to time is a good idea anyhow as cruft, bad extensions, … can slow down browsing.


Copying the Firefox configs can be done by:

cd ~/.mozilla/firefox/

Backup the old profile and profile list:

mv xxxxxxxx.default{,.bck}
mv profiles.ini{,.bck}

Create a new profile:

firefox -CreateProfile <profilename>

This command will return the name of the new folder. Copy the basic settings to the new profile:

cd *.default.bck
cp places.sqlite key3.db cookies.sqlite mimeTypes.rdf formhistory.sqlite signons.sqlite permissions.sqlite webappsstore.sqlite persdict.dat content-prefs.sqlite ../*.<profilename>

This will transfer the bookmarks, browsing history, form entries, passwords, personal dictonary changes, and page zooms. There might be a couple other things wanted to add (possibly your firefox preferences), take a look at Transferring data to a new profile for more information.