Browse the [modern] web in Internet Explorer 5 & 6

Here's something fun: Enable HTTPS browsing on IE5/Windows 98 with a Flask proxy that handles SSL and rewrites web content.

Windows 98 IE 6 Screenshot

For whatever reason, I have a Windows 98 virtual machine in UTM (which is fantastic on Apple Silicon) that I like to boot in to and take a trip down memory lane. It's fun, and painful at the same time. But, the modern web has moved on from Internet Explorer 6 (and Internet Explorer in general, but we're not celebrating that in this post). Lost in the dust, Internet Explorer of the Windows 98 days doesn't quite work anymore. IE6, released in 2001, came with support for SSL 2.0 and 3.0, and later updates added support for TLS 1.0. At the time, this was sufficient. The web was a different place, less sophisticated in both the technology it used and the threats it faced (generally speaking, of course).

Fast forward to the present, and the world has dramatically changed. We have toasters with wifi and fridges you can talk to. 
The versions of SSL and the initial iterations of TLS (1.0 and 1.1) are now considered insecure due to numerous vulnerabilities. Heartbleed, POODLE, and other less charmingly named vulnerabilities have led to a consensus in the community: SSL and early TLS versions are out. The internet has collectively moved on to TLS 1.2 and 1.3, which offer significantly improved security through stronger encryption algorithms and better protocols for ensuring privacy and data integrity.

For IE 5 and 6, this means being unable to establish secure connections with the vast majority of modern websites, which now mandate the use of TLS 1.2 or higher for all secure browsing.

Furthermore, the push for more secure web standards has led to widespread adoption of HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), a policy that forces browsers to connect to websites over HTTPS only, using modern encryption protocols. 

So, wanting to get the modern web on Windows 98, and therefore IE5 then 6 after updating, I wrote a simple proxy in Flask to rewrite URLs to get around HTTPS requirements. Run the Flask server, and navigate to your server and append the URL you'd like to visit (see above screenshot).


This mostly works, and works well enough for website that don't load natively on IE6 (which is pretty much everything).  You can check it out on Github here:

I've read about similar projects that others have wrote for their Mac 68k, Mac II Plus as well, to do the same thing: act as a proxy to serve web content, subverting modern security requirements. I've been wanting to do something similar with my Macintosh Plus II, but first I gotta purchase ZuluSCSI before the floppy drive fails hah.

A few projects of note that I'd recommend checking out:

SHOUTcast server

As finicky as I am about music, I'm one of those guys that'll change the song halfway through it. So, I thought I'll set up a local SHOUTcast radio to prevent that and create less distractions.

Download SHOUTcast DNAS either beta or stable (I chose stable) from here. Edit sc_serv.ini in the SHOUTcast program files folder. The only thing you need to change is your password and whether you want a public or private server. Next, download Winamp to make it easier to manage. Also download the SHOUTcast plugin for Winamp (here) and the null output plugin (here).


Once everything is installed, open up Winamp and go to DSP/Effect. Click 'Configure the active plug-in'. Go to the 'Output' tab and proceed to fill in your information. If you chose to use the stable version of SHOUTcast DNS, check the legacy mode box. Select your encoder and it's settings. Check the boxes for auto connect. Make sure your output is using the null output plugin, unless you do have a soundcard (for whatever reason). 

Start up SHOUTcast DNAS, either GUI or CLI then Winamp. Open up your favourite music player with the URL 192.168.x.x:8000/listen.pls and listen away!

Syslog server on Lenny

So, I installed VMWare Server on my Windows Server 2003 box the other day. Downloaded a Debian Lenny image and got it running. Never dealt with VMWare Server so it's pretty neat to configure virtual machines from a convenient web interface. The web interface was having issues at first, of which I tracked down to IIS. The web UI runs on port 8333 and IIS runs on port 80 of course. Disabled IIS and the web UI was up and running.


After that it was all down hill. Set the network adapter on the VM to bridged. Got the virtual machine running and started installing packages and such. At first, it couldn't resolve names so I had to correct /etc/resolv.conf and point it to my DNS servers. 

Anyway, I decided I'd set up a syslog server. Lenny now uses rsyslog but I went back with sysklog. Edit your /etc/default/syslogd, and change SYSLOGD="" to SYSLOGD="-r" for remote logging. Still on the syslog server, I edited /etc/syslog.conf and added *.* /logs/file.log to make sure everything was working.

On the clients, or nodes, I edited /etc/syslog.conf and added *.* @ (or whatever your IP is). After reboots of sysklogd on the servers and the nodes, it's finally working. Going to get lighttpd working with the logs, perhaps set up a little PHP script to read the logs.

I do really like this VMWare Server, it lets me utilize this server more. I might get it running on my other servers on that note. Plus, it's free. Can't argue with that ;)

As usual, comments are welcome.


So it just had to be the Windows box

Photo by MarkyBon

About last week my Windows Server [2003] (I had 2008 on there, then went back to 2003) server wouldn't boot. Since it's not accessed externally, I run TVersity to transcode by movies of which I watch on my 360.  

So, it wouldn't boot up which was great. Kept going into an endless loop, after POST it would keep rebooting. Dead RAM? You'd think it would beep if it was. But nope. Swapped the power supply and still nothing. Loose connection to the case fan? Still, nothing. Only other object that was still plugged in was the hard drive. Unplugged it. Booted normally (though it couldn't since it was the only one). Awesome. Ended up re-installing Server 2003 last night, turned out fine. 

Still puzzles me that it wouldn't boot at all. BIOS detected it fine, but once it tried to boot from the hard drive an endless loop occurred. Working well now, which is a surprise.


While I'm on the subject of shitty mishaps, my main web server packed it in. Didn't bother reading the logs, plugged in the monitor: kernel panic. Sweet. Screw it, reboot. Ran for couple more days. Again, kernel panic. Reboot, about two more days then it failed. Been down most of today, finally booted up my other spare web server which I should have done in the first place. Apparently Torrentino gets quite a large number of visits. 15000 this month.


'Bout time I head off, shit to do.