Downloading routes from RouteLabo (Yahoo LatLongLab)

Most of the brevets I ride are with AJ NishiTokyo, a randonneuring club based in the Machida/Sagamihara area. One thing I like about their rides is that they provide a link to a RouteLabo page for each event (RouteLabo is an online map service run by Yahoo Japan). This page shows a map of the course as well as download links for KML, GPX and TCX files of the course. By copying these files to your GPS device (Garmin or other) or by uploading a KML file to Google “My Maps” for your smartphone, you can almost completely do away with the need for paper cue sheets. I navigate all my brevets and many of my personal rides by following a “breadcrumb trail” on the screen of my GPS unit.

Unfortunately other clubs often only provide a map without any download option, like this Randonneurs Tokyo 2018 BRM421 Tokyo 600 Lake Hamana (BRM421東京600浜名湖鰻) page:

This does not help you much on the road. Without a link to the full RouteLabo page with download links, there’s no obvious way to obtain a GPX or KML file. You are still expected to navigate via printed turn instruction on a paper cue sheet, which I find cumbersome and error-prone.

However, there is a way!

The web page uses some Javascript code to display the map off the RouteLabo website, including a magic value that identifies the particular course to be shown. To see this value, view the source code of the page. This step varies by browser and operating system. On Chrome under MS Windows, Ctrl+U will show the source code, on a Mac under Chrome, Option+Command+U will do it. On Safari, once you enable the option via Safari > Preferences > Advanced > Show Develop Menu, you can also use Option+Command+U (just like in Chrome).

In the displayed HTML code, search until you find a line for Javascript like this one:

<script type="text/javascript" encoding="UTF-8" src="https://latlonglab.yahoo.co.jp/route/paste?
id=b86f940851b6ebed2538ffc5f80b2fc8&width=480&
height=640&mapstyle=map&graph=true&maponly=true"></script>

The value consisting of 32 hexadecimal characters (128 bit) after “id=” is the magic value you’re looking for. A full RouteLabo page URI with the download options will look like this:

https://latlonglab.yahoo.co.jp/route/watch?id=b86f940851b6ebed2538ffc5f80b2fc8

By replacing the value after “id=” in the URI with the ID from inside the HTML code using copy and paste, you will get a browser URI that will give you full access to the route, including route file download links to feed your GPS device of choice. You can then bookmark it for future reference. Bonne route! 🙂

Bitcoin Phishing Spams Cashing in on the New Tulip Mania

As a spam and scam research I watch new domains being created for malicious purposes. The following domains are look-alike domains of blockchain.info and blockchain.com, two legitimate Bitcoin-related domains:

xn--blckchain-66a.info (blóckchain.info)
xn--blckchain-66a.net (blóckchain.net)
xn--blckchain-m8a.info (bløckchain.info)
xn--blckchain-wxb.info (blōckchain.info)
xn--blckchai-w3a03f.info (blóckchaiń.info)
xn--blckchaln-66a.com (blóckchaln.com)
xn--blckchan-81a8d.com (blóckchaìn.com)
xn--blckchan-i2a8c.info (blóckchaín.info)
xn--blckchin-eza9o.info (blóckcháin.info)
xn--blckchin-m7a96e.info (blōckchāin.info)
xn--bliockchai-s1b.com (bliockchaiņ.com)
xn--bliockci-o8a35ayl.com (bliockcħąiņ.com)
xn--bliokchai-3eb86d.com (blioċkchaiņ.com)
xn--bliokci-u4a5c4s9l.com (blioċkcħąiņ.com)
xn--bliokhai-49ab66d.com (blioċkċhaiņ.com)
xn--blioki-00a0cb4z9l.com (blioċkċħąiņ.com)
xn--blocchai-gmb8m.info (blocķchaiņ.info)
xn--blocchain-orb.com (blocķchain.com)
xn--blocchain-orb.info (blocķchain.info)
xn--blocchin-m7a15c.info (blocķchāin.info)
xn--blockchan-dob.info (blockchaīn.info)
xn--blockchan-ipb.info (blockchaįn.info)
xn--blockchan-n5a.info (blockchaín.info)
xn--blockchin-12a.info (blockchäin.info)
xn--blockchin-61a.info (blockcháin.info)
xn--blockchi-n7a50e.info (blockchāiņ.info)
xn--blockchin-c3a.info (blockchåin.info)
xn--blockchin-ccb.info (blockchāin.info)
xn--blockchin-hdb.info (blockchąin.info)
xn--blockchi-o8a54d.info (blockchąiń.info)
xn--blockchn-fza4j.info (blockcháín.info)
xn--blockchn-n7a43b.info (blockchāīn.info)
xn--blockhai-obb78c.info (blockčhaiņ.info)
xn--blokchain-xdb.info (bloćkchain.info)

These so-called IDN domains substitute characters for easily confused look-alikes. There will be sighted in links inside spam emails as part of Phishing scams.

Phishing is just one of the pitfalls around Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. Scammers have revamped the old so called “High Yield Interest Programs” (HYIP), which are really just a Ponzi scheme, to hitch a ride on the publicity around Bitcoin’s stratospheric rise in 2017. If you deposit Bitcoins into an online investment scheme, the scammers can just walk away with your deposit and cash it out into dollars, euros or rubles without being traced.

The latest exchange rate push beyond US$10,000 came on the heels of the cancellation of the SegWit2x fork, a proposed upgrade to the underlying technology that not the entire Bitcoin community was prepared to follow. The driving force behind the upgrade was the urgent need to handle more transactions, if Bitcoin was truly going to be used as a payment vehicle competing against credit cards, wire transfers and PayPal. If new Bitcoins are constantly being mined and the value of Bitcoin goes up but the average purchase the crypto-currency is to be used for doesn’t change much then the system needs to be able to handle more individual transactions.

By cancelling the upgrade, a split of the community has been avoided, but at what cost? It’s really a vote for Bitcoin as speculation object and against it as a viable payment method.

A friend of mine expressed it best when he mentioned that it reminded him of “Pump and Dump” stock scams, only that in the case of Bitcoin it is legal. With all this publicity, existing Bitcoin holders
will be able to offload their existing tokens at huge profits. Then, when people realize that Bitcoin is no longer able to work as an efficient payment system (except for scammers, drug dealers and money launderers who value anonymity), the bottom will fall out and all the recent investors will lose billions. It’s Tulip mania all over.

See also: