A few days ago, I noticed that websites were loading very slowly, particularly in the early stages. It appeared as if there were problems with the DNS service being provided by my internal storage server. I tried to SSH into the machine to do some investigation and access the Webmin web interface; neither option worked. However, I was able to receive replys to pings sent to the server. I knew something was up, but I would have to dig in to figure out exactly what.
This weekend, I finished the bulk of the work of a long-standing project I had been pondering. I had all sorts of data lying around on my desktop machine that I didn’t want to lose. Photos, videos, school assignments, and the like. I wanted to be able to back up multiple machines and be able to synchronize my documents, especially while I was using my laptop. Knowing what I wanted to do, and being the IT control freak I am, I chose to build out a home storage appliance. I thought I would share my build process.
Yesterday afternoon, my girlfriend discovered a particularly large volume of voicemails on her phone, after having cleaned out her mail box just 36 hours prior. She listened to several blank voicemails, as well as one from someone who wanted us to return their call…
Over the course of the last few months, I have come across a few projects that I have not taken the opportunity to work on, and I really should. The following projects are on my short list of things to do:
- Obtaining and reflashing a Linksys WRT54G router, either the GL or GS.
- Playing with and/or hacking a LaFonera wireless access point
- Building my power lockout device for my ham radio
- Building a PC for my car with wireless capability for a media center
- Building a decent amateur radio station, including packet station
- Building a podcast station
- Upgrade my radio license to General Class
At some point in the future, I want to do some kind of podcast. But before I would commit to that, I need to find a topic that I can regularly update and contribute. Part of the issue of the lack of updates is the company for which I work. MCPR has me doing some very interesting things, but they are marketable ideas that I have to keep quiet. The only project that I can talk about is our Asterisk dabblings. We are offering the ability to connect analog or IP phones to the system and connect to about any outbound media out there, including SIP trunks.
But much beyond that, I don’t have the ability to talk about the details of what I do at work with the world at large, between protecting our clients’ privacy and not wanting to give any competitors any ideas about our strategy.
Today, I am finishing up my Streaming Media Server. It will wirelessly share music streams and setting up in-house file sharing for my music.\n\nThe hardware included a Thinkpad 390E from IBM (333 MHz Pentium II, 192MB RAM, 6 GB hard drive) and a D-Link DWL-122 USB Wireless Wi-Fi Adapter. The software I am using is Debian 3.0 stable and the SlimDevices.com SlimServer software.
Of course, I had solved this problem once with Mandrake installed, but I was just lazy about getting the modem in this laptop working.
Fortunately for me, the internal Winmodem is a Lucent Technologies chipset that just happens to have a Linux driver, available at http://www.physcip.uni-stuttgart.de/heby/ltmodem/ The package was simple to install, and it works quite well, although I should try to figure out why the driver told me that it is a v.92 modem, or if this is normal with a controllerless modem.
In my last entry, I was complaining about how I wasn’t able to get my laptop to work either at home or at school.
My major problem was dealing with the issue of how to treat my wireless and wired ethernet cards (Wifi used at school and wired at home) differently for the purposes of Shorewall. It was not until reading more documentation on the Shorewall website was I able to figure out the hosts file and get my laptop to understand that the home zone was a subset of the net zone.
I decided to treat North Central as a hostile environment, though it would be less hostile than hanging this machine off a cable modem directly. Me, being the paranoid security nut that I am, chose the more secure environment. Nearly everything is closed off, particularly anything inbound not directly related to my browsing or other activities.
For home, I have opened up SSH and FTP (inbound and outbound), the two services I regularly use on my home network. If I need more, I can always add rules or take down the firewall temporarily. Of course, the same outbound connections are enabled so that I can connect to the internet using my desktop machine as a gateway.
Now that I have a better understanding of Shorewall and its internals, I have decided that it is very cool. It does a great job of blocking unusual traffic and common spoofed traffic while making it easy to configure what traffic should go through.