Ubuntu Touch

This week Ubuntu Touch makes its arrival. Ubuntu Touch is officially supported on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones, but there are other smartphones that Ubuntu Touch will work on. You’ll need to flash your smartphone to install Ubuntu Touch. The intriguing question is, will Ubuntu Touch be the next hot mobile operating system?

Gigabit DSL called G.fast

There’s a new broadband standard called G.fast with speeds up to 1Gbps over regular copper wires without the need for a fiber backbone. G.fast is scheduled to be approved by 2014. G.fast users should be able to install it without assistance. The self-installing system will eliminate costs for providers that they would have to pay for technicians. This could significantly improve the speed of the rollout. G.fast is meant to support bandwidth-intensive applications. Initial tests resulted 1.1Gbps over 70 meters and 800Mbps over 100 meters over a single cable. Consumers should expect G.fast connections to be available in 2015.

NoCatSplash With Authentication

DD-WRT is an open-source Wi-Fi firmware that you can install on select consumer-based wireless routers. I’ve been using the DD-WRT firmware on several Linksys and Buffalo wireless access points for a number of years. In addition, I have also implemented a feature called NoCatSplash.

NoCatSplash is a feature that allows wireless users to be redirected to a special splash page, whether to notify users of a disclaimer, or to make users agree to certain terms and agreement, or simply to advertise a web page. The NoCatSplash feature will prevent users with access to the Internet until they click on the submit button, thereby agreeing to the terms and agreement.

What was lacking with NoCatSplash was authentication. So, with a little bit of research, I found someone’s code at Github that allows simple authentication with NoCatSplash. It’s written in PHP and doesn’t require a database. It’s quite simple, but works flawlessly. The login credentials are kept on a file and can be changed anytime you’ll need to change passwords.

I’ve modified his code to fit my needs. Suffice to say, the code works great as advertised.

Canon MP495 Scan on Mac

Scanners can be a nightmare to work with. I’ve had this Canon MP495 Wireless Printer/Scanner for at least 3 years now. The wireless printing works on all my Mac computers, but I can’t get the device to scan via the wireless network. I even downloaded the latest Canon drivers as well as the latest MP Navigator software, but to no avail.

The solution seems rudimentary considering all the recent improvements in software and on network devices. The only solution that I have gotten to work is to connect the scanner directly to my Mac Mini via a USB port. In addition, the Canon MP Navigation software doesn’t seem to be  scanning. I ended up using the Scanner software that comes with the Mac OS.

Sphirewall Project

I stumbled on the Sphirewall Project the other day. Sphirewall is an open-source Linux firewall to compete with Iptables, Smoothwall and Monowall. The following are excerpts of the Sphirewall website.

Sphirewall is an open-source Linux firewall and router that provides advance user management and bandwidth analytics coupled with powerful flexibility. It’s open-source, free, easy to install and built from the ground up not using iptables.

Check out the features below

  • Full NAT/PAT and ip filtering support
  • User authentication and group based filtering
  • Detailed analytics and reporting on network traffic
  • Web, commandline and json api based management

You can download the debian iso, burn it to a cd, usb stick or mount it in your favorite virtualization system and get it running in minutes.

Lessons from the BART strike

BART union employees went on strike for 5 days. At the end of the strike, there is no new contract and no progress. Both parties are as far apart as they were before the strike. Bay Area commuters were irked due to long lines, extended commutes, and lost productivity. The only reason the strike was ended is because the BART union were feeling the heat and losing support from the public. Back to the drawing board. Back to square one. What was accomplished from the last five days? Absolutely nothing. Instead both parties agreed to continue negotiations and extend the current contract for a month. They could have done this and averted a strike. Meanwhile, who pays for the millions of dollars in lost productivity? If you are going to strike, at least show some backbone without losing any of your bargaining power. That’s a fail in my book.