More WRT54G fun

February 25, 2006 | Comments Off

The last entry before this website went on hiatus was about the WRT54g I had just gotten. Since then, a friend let me borrow one of his spare WRT54g (thanks sungo), which allowed me to start playing with OpenWRT. I have to say I’m much happier with OpenWRT than I was with sveasoft’s firmwares. The versions I’m running haven’t provided a web UI, to which I had no attachment. Instead I manage everything via SSH/CLI. It boots with a pretty small foot print. Then I can install packages similar to how I would on a Debian box. This gives me a lot more flexibility and much more manageable.

Once I got the borrowed one running OpenWRT in a suitable configuation, I turned the second access point into a client. This solved my isolated living room issue. The main wrt54g has unrestricted wireless association, but it won’t route any traffic. It runs a VPN server for such a purpose. The second linksys sits in the living room and acts as a wireless client. It associates to the wireless lan, then VPN’s onto the network, then acts routes the local living room traffic (xbox, tivo) over the VPN. Really works beautifully.

An Ubuntu Experiment

February 12, 2006 | Comments Off

Despite my best efforts, lethargy gets the best of me. This website hasn’t been updated in far too long, mostly because I’ve been really busy planning for our baby that is due in March. But that is neither here nor there.

For Christmas, Leigha wanted to give her dad a computer. Leigha’s dad has never used a computer, of any kind. I thought this was a fairly rare opportunity to see how well a user could get by with Linux as their first OS. I took an old P3-500 that was laying about, and I chose Ubuntu 5.10. I had quite a lot of trouble with the ubuntu installation process, but it appears to have been media / cdrom related. Next I chose Netscape ISP because it’s cheap and it helps my employer. This was another trouble spot. Netscape sales folks were completely unhelpful in determining whether it would work on Linux (they even said Mac’s aren’t supported).

Ubuntu dial-up support had an bug that worked to my benefit. The way that dial-up was configured, the computer would start to dial up to the internet when it went through the network setup phase. This turned out to be a feature I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Since he only needed the computer to send email, it meant that by the time XWindows finished loading, the computer was already dialed up.

So the experience is actually pretty positive, when you think about it. He turns the computer on, it starts dialing while booting, XWindows starts and it’s already connected. Firefox auto-launches with GMail as the home page (with automatic login already set up). When he’s done, all he has to do is shut down. This seems to beat the Windows experience of boot, wait, login, wait, dial-up wait, browse, wait, shutdown.

We also bookmarked a few sites to get him started, CNN and Leigha’s website. It didn’t take him long to find the gallery on her website and leave some comments on pictures. So far, I think the experiment was pretty successful. I’ll be really curious to see what happens when he meets a Windows computer.