On Pokemon GO Scanners and Mapping Systems

The Cat and Mouse Nature of Things

I've been thinking; this is quite a cat and mouse game we're playing with Niantic here. While as of this moment, we are winning over the Unknown6 wrench, it is going to be very much an up-hill battle from this point forth. However, conturary to what is largely believed, I don't believe new UnknownVars would be the big issue we'd need to deal with in the long run, but rather, the accessibility of data.

As Niantic clamp down with IP banning on the various Cloud service providers, and rate limiting on residential connections, it will become increasingly more difficult for services such as PokeVision and FastPokeMap to operate. Compound that with everyone wanting their own piece of the pie in having accurate scanners for their own areas of interest, we get more and more people running multiple accounts on their own systems, covering overlapping areas, increasing the loads on Niantic's servers, further forcing them to clamp down harder, and thus creating an ever lasting vicious cycle.

There are several parties on the right track to address this issue. SkipLagged and various community have proposed and even implemented centralized systems where people can contribute data. However, from my perspective, the correct long term solution have not been implemented yet. These centralized systems all tends to limit how these centrally collected data could be accessed (typically through their website with some sort of ulterior motive be it donations or promote their other commercial services). Furthermore, short from the first party implemented these solutions, no one can on-demand request for map updates of certain region (going back to the centralized display).

It is nobel to think that "Maybe people will stop using scanners and maps once Niantic fixes the in game tracking", but all it takes is one missed Snorlax, Lapras or Dragonite, and we're all back to square one. So, short of Niantic coming up with a read-only API with realtime spawn data, which they've already made it very clear that they don't want to do, the cat and mouse game continues.

On Surviving The Verge, Gamespot, IGN, and Reddit

Depending on who you speak with, getting featured by big players in the tech sector is either the best thing that happened to their company, the worst thing that happened to their server, or sometimes both of the above. While I am not in charge of the infrastructure at work, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to try my hands at taking on such an assult. While the onslaught is still happening (Google Analytics suggests 742 active users as of the time of writing, averaging about 15 new visitors per second), I think I am finally happy with the setup and can share some things I've learned.

DDoS Protection for Minecraft Servers

It was brought to my attention that people do know how to do DDoS protection on a budget, or understand how it works. Today, I will share with you my plans on how to do DDoS protection on a budget. Keeping in mind that you will already have your server expense setup, so this is on top of your regular expense. As such, we would want to squeeze this as low as possible, and avoid the usual brand names such as JavaPipe (starting at $100/mn) and alike. Instead, we'll be looking at ways to press it down to (just under $5/mn).

Physical to Virtual with Proxmox VE 2.2

Bought my server a christmas present, which finally arrived. A "new" 146GB 15K RPM SAS drive to eventually join the RAID 6 array. In the mean time, I've been wanting to convert my server to a virtual machine node for some time now, so now I finally have a drive to do the conversion. While the entire process is not quite done yet, bits and pieces are coming together (finally), so I'm going to start to document this before I forget. Keep in mind that I am using Debian Squeeze 6.0.6, so the commands and files may be a bit different than another distro that you may be using.

URL Shortener and Base 62 Encoder / Decoder

I'm creating yet another URL shortener script. Why?  Because I'm not keen on over paying for simple scripts -- because, well, I'd be over paying -- and I'm not too keen on using open source scripts -- because the more people using the same script, the more likely people will find exploits in it. So with all that in mind, I set out to create my own script.