Breathing new life into Ruckus SmartZone 100 controllers (now EOL’d)

by on May.02, 2024, under Hardware, Investigative Dissassembly, Networking

Ruckus SmartZone 100 controller stock image from Ruckus Wireless. My controllers look like this without the two SFP+ slots on the far left.

Just like with most things, IT equipment has to evolve over time and wireless connectivity is one of those things. The company I work for decided to replace their aging Ruckus controllers and access points with Meraki access points (The decision was way above my paygrade) so that left a treasure trove of hardware behind that was destined for the waste bin. In this article, I’ll talk about the HA pair of the SmartZone100 controllers from Ruckus, their hardware capabilities, and what I plan on doing with my pair.

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EAS Decoding for fun using the TFT EAS911 ENDEC

by on Jul.25, 2023, under Hardware, RF and Radio

EAS Emergency Alert System logo credit FCC / WikiMediia Commons

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a US Nationwide alerting platform that uses a combination of terrestrial radio and television broadcasters to get an urgent message out to as many people as possible. In this article, we’ll be setting up the TFT EAS-911 ENDEC so we can receive these messages without being dependent on cellular service or Internet access.

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pfSense – Replacing a failed ZFS Disk

by on May.04, 2023, under Miscellaneous

There be badness here! (ZFS mirror degraded)

While the future of pfSenseCE and pfSense+ are still very much in the air, it at least brought us the option to use ZFS mirroring for hardware redundancy. Good news is that it works well, I didn’t even know the drive had failed for several months until I had to powercycle the router and heard the click of death. Bad news, it’s not really adequately documented anywhere how to do this and it’s not for the faint of heart!

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Generators and Open Source Part 2 – Always a better mousetrap

by on Feb.15, 2022, under Embedded devices, Hardware, Hardware Pr0n, How-To's, Miscellaneous

Nagios Monitoring

In Part 1, I discussed the research, physical installation, a bit of maintenance, and the overall basic operation of the Generac 22kW Guardian whole home generator. In this post, we’ll go over the monitoring of the generator and quickly outline the vendor’s supplied option as well as the Open Source option I decided on, and even up contributing to! Yes, even though I’m not a developer, I managed to contribute to an Open Source project and helped the developer out!

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Generators and Open Source Part 1 – Learning from the past

by on Feb.15, 2022, under Hardware, Hardware Pr0n, Product Reviews

Being a homeowner isn’t for the faint of heart, there’s always a chance for things to go wrong, especially considering that we’re in Texas and well… *gestures at the Valentine’s day week of February 2021*. So with that being said, as soon as the ink was dry on our house contract and we had closed, I was already in process of soliciting for a standby whole home generator. This three part article will cover everything from the decision making process of the generator and its installation (this article), how I monitor the generator using GenMon, an opensource application suite on Github (Part II), and lastly, how I implemented Grafana, Prometheus, and SNMP Exporter (Part III) to get the level of monitoring I am comfortable with.

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Check on the ERCOT grid using cURL and jq

by on Feb.01, 2022, under How-To's, Miscellaneous, Quick Hacks, Software

So, if you’re a Texan, you already know who ERCOT is and you already know what’s going to happen in the next few days. If you’re not Texan, or you haven’t been eyeing the weather, it’s going to freeze. If you’re not sure what the connection to freezing weather and ERCOT, I’d recommend reading up on it here: Wikipedia This quick hack article isn’t about them per se, but something that might be helpful to keep an eye on the grid in the upcoming winter storm.

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Life: Preparing for the big shutdown.

by on Jul.22, 2021, under Miscellaneous

This article is going to be different than the others that I post simply because there’s no delicate way to approach the subject of death. Unfortunately death is inevitable and as with many things, there’s tasks and talks you can do now (even if they’re uncomfortable) to ensure that your online presence will live on when you eventually pass.

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Op-Ed: TOS enforcement is not a 1A violation!

by on Jan.11, 2021, under Editorial/Opinion

Unless you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read any news, social media, or even talked to anyone for the past week and a half, you know that some really screwed up stuff’s been happening. In this article, we’ll touch lightly on what all happened in DC, the fallout, and the reason why Parler was kicked off of AWS. Contrary to the popular “conspiracy theory” belief, we will step through why Parler was kicked.

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Op-Ed: Passwords – The cause of and solution to online problems

by on Jan.24, 2020, under Editorial/Opinion, Miscellaneous, Security, Software

Anyone that’s been online as long as I have (and yes, there are many that have been online for far longer) knows that your passwords getting leaked and compromised isn’t a question of “if” but rather a question of “when”. As we continue onward in the online world, it’s critically important now more than ever to have a strong password policy and to actually enforce your strong password policy! I italicized the last bit as this will be the crux of this entire article as I experienced a password breach for the first time.

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Quick Hack: Smartctl tests in a nutshell

by on Nov.19, 2019, under Hardware, Miscellaneous, Quick Hacks

This quick hack is a quick “need to know” list of Linux’s smartctl commands for hard drive diagnosis. I highly recommend using a USB drive dock for analyzing suspect drives. These commands are OS agnostic provided you’re running the vendor provided smartctl for either Linux or BSD.

For the purposes of this article, /dev/sdb is the drive under test. Make sure you know which /dev entry corresponds with the desired drive.

smartctl -a /dev/sdb Shows all smart attributes of /dev/sdb including test results, and drive make, model, and serial number.

smartctl -t short /dev/sdb Performs a “short” online test of /dev/sdb. Does not print test results. Does not test disk surface readability.

smartctl -t long /dev/sdb Performs a “long” offline test of /dev/sdb. Does not print test results. Tests the entire disk surface for readability and reallocates bad sectors. If your system is under a lot of disk I/O to the disk under test, this will cause the test to take longer to complete (hence running it in a USB dock or other non-system location)

smartctl -c /dev/sdb Estimates how long the disk check will take in minutes (Usually is wrong though, I wouldn’t set my watch by it.)

smartctl -l selftest /dev/sdb Shows the SMART test results table (instead of smartctl -a which shows EVERYTHING).

smartctl -X /dev/sdb Cancels a test in progress.

NOTES: Re-running smartctl -t against a drive already testing will show an error message which includes how long the test will take to complete (unlike smartctl -l, this time is actually more closer to reality).

In some installations that support it, hdparm -S 0 /dev/sdb will prevent a disk from going to sleep, however in theory, the disk should never sleep if it’s under an active test. This will not stop an ACPI sleep or hibernate event from shutting down the disk.

Happy hacking!

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