Overnight Kayak on the Delaware River – Trip Report

Kayaking the Delaware River is not nearly as hard as I first imagined, nevertheless, it is an extremely fun and amazing trip that I would highly recommend anyone doing.

It turns out that this is practically one of the easiest rivers to run as an individual or group.  During the summer there is a free canoe/kayak shuttle – Pocono Pony – that runs between Milford Beach and Smithfield Beach.  This takes out a lot of the effort into arranging transport up and down the river.  It does only run on weekends and has a fairly limited schedule, so make sure you take the shuttle schedule into consideration when planning your trip.

The river is technically easy so any novice paddler should be able to make the kayak trip in 2 days.  There are some class 1 and 2 rapids but not much beyond that.  These rapids do add a bit of excitement every once-in-awhile, but not to the extent of being dangerous. (more…)

Hamilton Mountain Steps

I have always felt like I lead a pretty active lifestyle but since being diagnosed with diabetes in January I have tried to increase my activity level. I’m lucky that Hamilton has many sets of stairs traversing the escarpment that I try and run as frequently as I can.

I’ve gathered this information and verified most of it myself about the 5 locations in the City of Hamilton and quantity of stairs in each location.

Chedoke: 289 Steps
These steps connect the West Mountain to the lower west city, coming close to the front door of the Chedoke Civic Golf Course clubhouse.

Dundurn: 326 Steps

James: 227 Steps
The stairs originate at Southam Park on the mountain at the top of the Claremont Access.

Wentworth: 498 Steps

Kenilworth: 228 + 158: Total: 386 Steps
The upper Kenilworth steps connect the East Mountain (Margate Ave & Mountain Brow Blvd) to the Escarpment Rail Trail/Bruce Trail. There are 158 steps in this section. The remaining 228 steps then continue down to the Rosedale area (At Kimberly Dr. just south of the Kenilworth Access roundabout) of Hamilton. Between the lower and upper section there is approximately 350m of trail.

There is also a privately built set of steps named Uli’s Steps connecting the upper and lower city. These steps were built as a retirement project by a Hamiltonian named Uli who spent two years on the project. They have 305 steps.

I’ve marked all the locations of the stairs on the map below:

How to Add/Remove Additional Users to OpenVPN

To continue on from the previous tutorial on setting up OpenVPN on Ubuntu we will now see what is required to add and remove users on our server.

Adding Users

A lot of the steps are the same as creating the initial installation so it should look pretty familiar.  Lets assume our new client is called home_pc.

The first step is to generate the key.

cd $HOME/clientside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3
./easyrsa gen-req home_pc nopass
cd $HOME/serverside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3
./easyrsa import-req $HOME/clientside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3/pki/reqs/home_pc.req home_pc
./easyrsa sign-req client home_pc

After the keys are created copy all the required files to the clientside directory.
cp $HOME/serverside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3/pki/issued/home_pc.crt $HOME/clientside/
cp $HOME/serverside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3/ta.key $HOME/clientside/
cp $HOME/serverside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3/pki/ca.crt $HOME/clientside/
cp $HOME/clientside/easy-rsa/easyrsa3/pki/private/home_pc.key $HOME/clientside/

(more…)

How to Setup OpenVPN on Ubuntu to Bypass Restrictive Firewalls

Background

Since I will be travelling to China next week I thought now would be a good time to setup a VPN that at least had some chance of working through the GFW. After doing some research I found there are a few possible solutions but the one I settled on was using OpenVPN with the scramble patch.

The goal of this guide is to help those travelling or living in China or other countries that have limitations on their internet access. In my case I am trying to bypass China’s Great Firewall which actively seeks out VPN connections and blocks them.  Using a typical OpenVPN configuration is no longer good enough as the GFW uses deep packet inspection to block OpenVPN connections.  Using an obfuscation technique I hope it will confuse the deep packet inspection and let the VPN function.  Full credit to the author of this thread for designing the scrambling technique.

Choosing a Server

I found a cheap VPN provider that has TUN/TAP enabled and a dedicated IP since I didn’t want to worry about a NAT’d IP. The actual specs of the machine are not that important as long as you get a sufficient amount of bandwidth for what you need it for.  I also selected one in the USA despite the privacy concerns but for the added benefit of being able to use it for US Netflix and other USA only services.  This is not meant to be an extremely NSA-proof server, but something I can use to get around China’s firewall restrictions.  If you have more privacy concerns, I would choose something in another country.

My Server Specs:

  • Ubuntu-12.04-x86_64-minimal
  • OpenVZ
  • 20gb HDD
  • RAM: 768mb / vSWAP: 768mb
  • 2TB Bandwidth
  • 1 IPv4

Lets get to setting up the server.
(more…)