Giving a PIX firewall a new lease on life

by on Jan.24, 2014, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Networking

PSU Spaghetti

Buying networking equipment off of Ebay can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating challenges you may ever face. Of course, being able to identify and fix issues with newly purchased hardware may mean the difference between having purchased a $500 firewall for $11 and some parts versus buying another piece of crap for $11 that will live out its life in the back of the parts closet.   In this article, I’ll cover how to replace the power supply to a Cisco PIX 506E firewall with a standard computer power supply.

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How to build a [better] Minecraft Server

by on Mar.10, 2013, under How-To's, Linux, Toys and Games

Minecraft Screenshot

Quite some time ago, I posted an article on how to build a basic Minecraft Server which served to get you up and off the ground with multiplayer gameplay.  It’s been two years since that article was posted and there have been so many advances in the Minecraft Server realm from administration changes (now you have a fancy GUI) to core game changes that allow for the modification for just about everything gameplay related. Popular alternative servers (Bukkit, Tekkit, Feed The Beast, etc..) allow for mods to be used which can drastically expand your Minecraft experience.   This howto will detail the process going from a basic Debian server installation to a fully fledged vanilla Minecraft server with a browseable map. Read on for the full article, it’s pretty long but we have a lot to cover. (continue reading…)

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New threat to sobriety: Arduino powered JagerBomber costume!

by on Nov.02, 2012, under Miscellaneous

Arduino powered Jagerbomber!

Arduino powered Jagerbomber! (click to zoom)

The challenge for this year’s Halloween party was to find a “B-rate” superhero or villan.  No superman, spiderman, ironman, or other mainstream nonsesne here. We had to come up with something unique and not-mainstream, so my answer was clear.  I present to you the Arduino powered Jagerbomber, complete with countdown timer. This costume served me quite well, winning both the party’s “Best Male Costume” and later on at work, “Best Costume” so I’m sure it’ll give you some good ideas for next year!  Remember, only 363 Days till Next Halloween! (continue reading…)

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Arduino: Basic Network Temp and Humidity monitor

by on Aug.23, 2012, under Microcontrollers, Networking

I don’t know why I can’t flip this image. It’s cursed.

The (albeit crooked) image above is a basic environmental monitor I built for the server rack that I keep my house’s servers in. This project features network connectivity via an Arduino Ethernet shield, an HTF3223 humidity sensor, a TMP36 temperature sensor and a Sparkfun serial LCD for a decent monitoring station that is self-reliant.  Read more for build details and the code to get it all working. (continue reading…)

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IBM RS/6000 display repurposed for Arduino

by on Jul.23, 2012, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Microcontrollers

I couldn't find a picture of an IBM server with the LCD so here are some squirrels.

I couldn’t find a picture of an IBM server with the LCD so here are some squirrels.

We managed to unearth an old IBM RS/6000 server at work and decided that since the machine didn’t work, it was time for it to go away.  Right off the bat, one of the things I noticed about this machine was that it had a diagnostic LCD panel in the bezel presumably for showing POST error codes and warnings.  Since the machine was going to the scrap heap, I decided to relieve it of the LCD and managed to get it to work on an Arduino with minimal effort.  Read on for pictures and a wiring pinout.

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Hardware: Remote Control your Arduino

by on Jul.10, 2012, under Hardware, How-To's, Microcontrollers

Arduino Uno - Image courtesy of www.arduino.cc

Have a giant Arduino powered killbot, but can’t fancy being right next to it when you unleash it on the unsuspecting populace?  Want to change the mood-lights in your dorm without having to get up off the couch?  Why not use IR remote controls to do the walking for you?  In this article, I will be covering how to use the IRremote Library written by Ken Shirriff for the Arduino to control a seven segment display as a proof of concept.  Killbot not included.

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Editorial:YWIV going dark for SOPA

by on Jan.17, 2012, under Site News

Ok, so here’s the deal.  I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to black out my site in formal protest of SOPA but after talking with several other website owners and operators and consulting with a lawyer friend of mine, I did confirm my worst fears.  While SOPA may be “well intentioned” to be a fight against piracy, the law is so vaguely written that it would allow anyone to shut down any website with little to no recourse or any due process.

As a self-generating content site, (I write my own articles and most of my images are hand-taken. Those that aren’t are linked and used with permission from the original content owners or with permission from the parent company.) this is seriously a threat to my sites’ existences.  If I posted a bad review of a product didn’t like it, under SOPA,  they could scream that my site was enabling piracy and they could effectively steal my domain without any due recourse. I could not petition to get my domain back, nor could I do anything else legal about it.  All of my hard work on this site would have been wasted and even worse, under SOPA, they could even make it so I would lose all of my webhosting in its entirety.

I am opposed to any legislation that is written so vaguely and allows the indiscriminant shutdown of any website on the allegation of piracy.  I oppose any legislation that makes my ISPs the “police” of the Internet. I oppose any legislation that allows others to take control of my domains without due process.  If you are to charge me with something, you had best be prepared to defend yourself.

Other sites have taken notice.  Google, Reddit, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, and many others are joining in the protest tomorrow and I am going to be one of them.  We must send the warning to Congress that this must not be allowed to pass as it will destroy the Internet. Essentially, this will turn into a witch hunt, where everyone is guilty.

I understand that some of you may not understand and that some of you will be upset, however I will return on January 19th and I hope you will continue to read my site.

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Networking: Bringing IPv6 into your network using pfSense

by on Dec.01, 2011, under How-To's, Networking, Software

Hurricane Electric, PfSense and IPv6The Internet as we know it is undergoing a significant change.  With the last IPv4 addresses being allocated out, the Internet has officially run out of address space.  IPv6 is the next-generation IP addressing system that aims to resolve this issue however the changes proposed are drastically different than the current IP schema currently in place and for most is quite a daunting task to switch. In this post, we will cover some basic IPv6 information and some fundamental differences between v4 and v6 (aside from tons of IPs), and finally we will build out a pfSense firewall with IPv6 using pfSense and a free IPv6 tunnel provided by Hurricane Electric. Read more to get started on the cutting-edge of Internet infrastructure. (continue reading…)

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Networking: Installing and configuring pfSense Embedded

by on Nov.11, 2011, under Embedded devices, How-To's, Networking, Security, Software

pfSense Logo

After publishing the last post on networking and the security series, I felt it was necessary to go ahead and publish a piece on building a custom router.  I have been a fan of pfSense for the past four years and swear by it. It has the ease of use of a commercial GUI-driven router and unrivaled flexibility limited only by the hardware it is installed on.  In this howto article, we will cover installing pfSense on an embedded platform and initial configuration for getting your router up and running.

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Reviews: Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit at Mircocenter

by on Sep.09, 2011, under Hardware, Microcontrollers

Sparkfun logo

Sparkfun at Microcenter!

After reading this post on Hack-a-day, I went to the local MicroCenter to see what all they had to offer in a brick-and-mortar store.  I remember when Parallax and RadioShack had joined together and while the new availability had made it easier to get started with microcontrollers, the most common expression recalled is one of sadness at the general disarray of the parts cabinets.  Thankfully Microcenter seems to have done Sparkfun right.  Read on for my initial impressions of Microcenter’s offerings and a full review of my first Arduino kit, the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit. (continue reading…)

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