Surveillance camera solutions

From: Dan Lyke 
So I've been asked to put together a quick and dirty solution to some
surveillance needs in the inlaw household, like "Order it off Amazon
Prime today, configure it there at their house on Friday" sort of

This is basically "record interactions between helpers and
mother-in-law to prove to father in-law that mother-in-law's dementia
is beyond what can be handled within the house". Thus  I expect that
the situation in the inlaw household will resolve itself within half a
year or so, and then I'd like to re-purpose those devices to other

I have a netbook I could re-purpose to this. I was thinking drop a 1TB
SSD into that and get a pair of WiFi cameras, but the state of control
software has changed since the last time I looked at this, and I don't
know about usability vs cameras that can just record to an SD and who
could read that SD and...


You always learn some things when sniffing..

From: Mike Harrison 
Been playing at home for the night.. Mostly with some Ubiquity Bullet M2’s and various software loads. And a few Linux and Mac devices.

I’m really liking the hardware, form factor, etc.. the two best loads are the default AirOS from Ubiquity. Unless you are doing weird stuff, it’s polished and does everything you would want. You have to turn off some Ubiquity specific features for it to play nice with older hardware/OS’s, like setting the speed to 20mbps. No flaming reason to use anything else for most uses. I’m impressed. 

On the playing around side: Very nicely tuned up for doing a HAM style emergency mesh/ad-hoc network. It has preconfigured web menu’s for the common deployments that a ham organization would want. Which also makes it hard to do something it does automagically do. 

Then I played again with Commotion. I like where they seem to be going and they are trying to make a friendly easy to use interface that other less technical people should be able to use to add their hardware to a mesh. They may have an Android app and a Laptop app that would allow them to join as mesh nodes in the future, rather than standard WiFI clients. Sounds good. In Theory. In practice, it’s a work very much in progress based on the Luci web interfaces that the standard OpenWRT install is on. Lots of things don’t seem to work well, like the initial “set the admin password” page. Frustrating. 

OpenWRT. in true geek fashion is fairly minimal on “slick” and robust on “it works”. As I started to add some packages to the most recent install, I’m blown away by the things that easily install and just seem to work:  Including iptraf, aircrack  (very useful tools).. 

I’ve given up on the “mesh” idea for now, because a solid AP and single Repeater will work for my remote event management needs I have coming up this fall. To do those things, I have a minimal web chat system (auto-updates across the people/devices using it.. ) and Dokuwiki running on a netbook as a server and upstream gateway. Should do what needs to be done: bringing a portable intranet and possibly upstream to the net to interesting places.

Part of playing around is sniffing your own home and devices. I used to do this a lot. It’d been a while. Using sniffit, iptraf airdump and OpenWRT, I found some devices I had forgotten about, and found that even seemingly properly working devices sure chatter a lot more than they used to. What is Google Chrome doing when it is doing nothing.. not even a window open. Cripes it is busy. 

No matter how you do it, I’m tossing out the idea that you might want to sniff your local home traffic every once in a while, and verify everything that is on it should be, and is behaving properly. 

And now.. time to do some remote database maintenance.. Sigh.. 


Lubuntu - Nice and Light

From: Mike Harrison 
Been playing with the latest Lubuntu (14.10) on an old netbook (Asus EeePC 1008HA), color me impressed. Light enough to feel good and everything I want to run on it seems to run well. 
With a few extra things installed, it takes 740 MB of HD space, and about 600mb of ram. Brought a nice toy back to useful life. 


ArchLinux vs Ubuntu

From: Dan Lyke 
I have an old netbook with a new SSD. Yesterday I put Xubuntu on it,
but I'm wondering about things that do a better job of keeping Gnome
off my system, or otherwise being lighter weight than Xubuntu.

My one requirement is that I'd like to run Mixxx (which Arch supports)
or something similar (ie: music playing with easy tempo shifting,
queuing, and a few set points) on this machine. I'm noticing that a
couple of the cool kids these days are running ArchLinux, mostly on
semi-embedded systems.

Anyone got thoughts on this matter?


I'm baaaaaaack!

From: Ed King 
Got bumped off the list back in mid May due to "too many bounces".    Been checking webpage occasionally for any job announcements or hardware sells/freebies ;-)

I stayed unsubbed for awhile (and missed Hack-a-nooga too) because I needed to focus on our latest and biggest client rollout, which went "live" on 6/2/2014.    To "save money" we switched hardware platforms a few weeks before rollout (went from $800 kids-toy netbooks to $300 Dell Venue tablets), but the software platform stayed the same (albeit with some custom mods for the new client):    lamp stack (linux/apache/php/mysql) on qemu.    Why are we running in a vm/emulator?  Well its a long story but a previous 3rd party vendor wrote our field software.  This 3rd party vendor required Windows netbooks.  Their software was slow and flakey (as you'd expect from dot-net) so we ditched them and rewrote the field software in-house (like we wanted to do in the first place, and we did it in less than half the time, and still had more features and flexibility!).    But... we couldn't just throw out twenty $800 netbooks, so we leveraged that hardware "investment"
 by using qemu to run our lampp stack, thinking that it would also be portable if we ever moved to android (does anyone know of a qemu package for android that doesn't SUCK?)

Back-end:   For "security" this client did not want their data on the same server as our other clients, so I set up a new Debian server just for them.  HTTPS and automated sftp file transfers. 

Well now that this new client is up 'n running, I figured it was time for me to re-sub, so...  I'm back.  This new client is our biggest client to-date, and has doubled the amount of inspectors in the field (and doubled the data collection too...  thank goodness we solved that mysql lock problem we used to have).   Things are running smoothly!   I dare say that the support calls have somehow decreased (oh great, now I've jinxed us).    

Props to our little I.T. team:    Danny "dj" Smith Jada "coldfish" Case, and Master Ed :)

Chatt*lab kickoff and my new project (linux webtop on smartphone with killer dock)

From: Phil Sieg 
Tim and Jason and the rest of the Chatt*labers did a hell of a job on Saturday. Not only that the space is fantastic. Just wish I could have stayed all day :-(

If you are interested in, or believe deeply in the value inherent in the "Maker" movement, PLEASE find a way to be a part of Chatt*lab. It truly takes a village with these sorts of things...

No on to some *NIX geekery.

At the Chatt*lab there was a Motorola Lapdock (netbook like dock for about 10 different motorola android phones) that was hooked up to a little ARM board (think Pi) and was doing a heroic job of running Lubuntu.

These Lapdocks sell for $40-75 on eBay and are very high quality doohickeys. I have been searching for a way to use one (so I can buy one) and after seeing it in action, I just had to have one. I googled around and found out with $20 of connectors and no soldering it can be turned into a battery powered console/KVM for headless systems (of which i have a few). I have ALWAYS wanted a super portable KVM solution for my "kit" and this is the best option I have seen yet, so I ordered one, and all the connectors.

Then I started googling the "other uses" that people had found and struck gold.

Both Ubuntu, and Gentoo running on the Motorola phone as a full desktop when it is connected to the Lapdock. These are fairly advanced hacks. A far easier solution is to use one of the  "chroot" linux installs on the Play store and launch it from the "webtop" screen. These essentially run *nix virtualized and allow you to VNC into it for desktop access. Prolly a bit slower, but a lot easier to install on the front end without the fear of bricking the phone.

The coolest thing is that last generation Motorola smart phones with very good specs are Dirt Cheap, especially if they are Verizon/CDMA units. For $50-100 you can have a dual core with 16gb and a 4.3 inch screen that is a very capable device. Buy one of these and a Dock and you have an Android laptop/tablet for less than HALF the going rate.

Further coolness: MOST of the Verizon Motorola phones (if they are 4G) have GSM (think ATT & TMobile) compatibility if you hack the cellular radio. This is a fairly easy hack and means you could have $45 a month unlimited Talk/Text/Internet (through StraightTalk) with 4g speeds for next to nothing (comparatively). Since the Lapdock is a "dumb" accessory you can turn your phone into a 4g laptop for no extra monthly charge or tethering hassle.

If anybody is interested in collaborating on this let me know. I have already ordered the "bionic" lapdock, and a Verizon "Droid Bionic" as my test bed. 

A word of warning: There are at least 3 different Lapdocks, and a dozen different phones that can "dock" but they do not all work together ;-) So a little research is required. It is probable that I will order a couple of more sets of these as presents for my nieces and nephews overseas. at $150 or less "all in" plus some hacking, they make kick ass Christmas gifts for teenagers.

Phil Sieg
SeniorTech LLC / snapfōn®

Phone: 423.535.9968
Fax: 423.265.9820
Mobile: 423.331.0725

"The computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Road Server Project

From: Mike Harrison 

Nancy and I bought a new RV yesterday, the next project will be turning
a netbook/notebook into an access device and server.

My goal is that it'd provide a consistent Wifi interface and network 
inside of the RV for a tablet/phone and a couple of laptops.
I've been collecting gear including a high range wifi antenna (a 
directional and an omni) - the goal is to merge a combination of WiFi
that I can suck (legally and with permission) and one (or more)
cell uplinks.

I've done some googling, and found some commercial "all in one" boxes for 
this, but me, being me, would love to roll my own on Linux.

My questions for the group:

   Am I insane? (probably)

   Is this a Raspberry Pi-ish project (That might be fun)

   Anyone seen any magic for managing multiple changing upstream 
connections or am I having fun with iptables and routeing commands via 
some perl scripts (which I know how to do..)?  It's been a while since I 
did these types of things.


Mike Harrison  cell: 423.605.6943

CrunchBang Linux

From: "Robert A. Kelly III" 
On 08/28/2013 06:15 PM, Andrew Pierce wrote:
> Anyone on the list us CrunchBang Linux? I have been trying it out and it
> is quite nice. Everything seems to work and it is stripped down quite a
> bit. It comes with the Openbox window manager which is super speedy. 
> Much better than the monstrosity that Ubuntu has become.

No, I haven't actually tried CrunchBang, although I am running the Kazam
screencaster from CrunchBang repos on Debian.

CrunchBang looks interesting, I have liked using some of the lighter
desktop set ups in the past. Currently I have been playing with KDE4. I
wonder how much CrunchBang has that is really unique from just
installing Openbox on Debian?  I have a fairly underpowered netbook,
perhaps I should consider trying it on that.

Chugalug Digest, Vol 7, Issue 85

From: Peter Veotsch 
I use VirtualBox as =A0my hypervisor. =A0It runs well and fast under mint. =
=A0I haven't noticed many practical differences between the type 1 and type=
 2 hypervisors for workstation use.=0A=0APeter Voetsch=0A=0A=0A

[OT] Gadget Carrier

From: Chad Smith 

The world of computing, as you know, is getting more and more mobile -
tablets, smart phones, mobile hot spots, internet-hungry handheld game
consoles and media players... I was wondering if anyone had any experience
/ luck shopping for a bag or carrier or something that could hold them all
- and their wires, SD cards, and extra batteries...

I have a laptop bag for my laptop, and I have backpack for mega-hauls, but
I'm looking for an everyday carrier big enough for my 7" tablet, a smart
phone, a media player, a mobile hot spot, a game system, and maybe one or
two other pocket-sized devices, and the aforementioned accessories. (I even
have a couple of pocketable power strips that I carry with me.

So far, I have tried something called a "Gadget Bag" - which was really for
a camera, and was too small for the tablet... a tolietries bag (which fit
everything, and offered decent organization, but no padding, and the zipper
kept mis-firing almost immediately)... and a small, somewhat padded bag
that would fit a small netbook, but didn't have a lot of organization to
it, and looked too much like a purse (after getting 3 comments from
different people in the same week, I decided it was time to retire it).

I was super disappointed by the Gadget Bag, even the name seemed right, but
the size was way off.

I realize it's kind of dumb carrying all those things, but I like the sense
of security knowing I have a ton of ways to get online.  And, that way when
someone asks me "iOS or Android" I can say "Why choose? And why leave out
webOS, Maemo, and whatever the heck this thing runs?"

Plus, there's the Geek Cred, which was being off-set by the "He carries a
Purse" cred....

*- Chad W. Smith*

Mediatomb... or better?

From: Mike Harrison 

I'm diving into things I would not normally do at home, at the request of 
Princess Nancy and am wondering if ya'll had advice.

Her goal is encoding a big rubber tub of music and audio CD's and making 
them available to a player in her office, making the tub go away.

I tried to buy her a Logitech Squeezebox...
but she balked at the price. For now.

So, using what I have laying around I updated a Chumby Classic with Zurks 
offline firmware:
which works very well.. impressive. She likes the Chumby because it is 
cute, the speaker is good enough for her uses (quite background music).

I'm using a little Asus Atom netbook as a server. I tried using it in 
Squeezebox mode, but after burning some time playing with setting up 
"logitechmediaserver" (the current version of SqueezeServer) I did an 
"apt-get remove --purge logitechmediaserver" It seems to be quite the 
kludge with lots of competing documentation.

Following Zurks notes in a Readme file, I installed MediaTomb as a 
UPnP/DLNA server on the Netbook. I'm impressed. The Chumby does it well 
enough, and enabled a webserver for managing the playlist. It also worked 
very well with my Android Samsung Note II (I'm still liking it..) using 
"MediaHouse" as an App.

My Asus RT16 has a "minidlna" server in it, but it seems to be picky
about what it talks to. The Chumby can not see files in the folders,
but my phone dos.

I've decided to go down this road and do it well.

So, my question is: Is MediaTomb the best choice for a UPnP/DLNA
server? I see a lot of options.

What are ya'll liking for a UPnP/DLNA server and
what else are you using it for?

Mike Harrison  cell: 423.605.6943

Bodhi Linux updated

From: Mike Harrison 
------------------------------------------------------  - My Bodhi Linux systems have recently been updated
(apt-get upgrade.. nothing major) and the latest stable Enlightenment 
installed.. with a lot of spit and polish added. It was kinda freaky, as I 
had to re-choose my enlightenment preferences on bootup, and was afraid I 
might have lost important things. Not to fear, everything was kewl, 
shinier, glossier, and it seems just a little faster and smoother.
They stuck an app menu (start button) like button on the bar, but it still 
has the dock and the ctrl-alt-m, and click on any desktop menu that 
quickly became ingrained.

I'm running Xubuntu on a netbook now.. and it seems to share some aspects 
of the latest Bodhi/Enlightenment, so I'm liking it as well.

I'm just so happy it's not Ubuntu's Unity. ;)

Just sharing some on-topic thoughts.

Mike Harrison  cell: 423.605.6943

OT: cool new (old used) Kit

From: Rod-Lists 
So when you showing it off?

Wheezy, Xorg and open box is my suggestion.

----- Original Message -----
> I was perusing ebay to check out values of some geekery I need to
> sell
> and stumbled across something else that i don't need, so of course I
> did
> the right thing and bought it.
> Waaaayyyyy back in 2008 when the MacBook Air was the coolest thing
> ever,
> Nokia made a horrendously expensive Netbook carved out of a block of
> Aluminium. It looks like a tiny Macbook pro and  has built in 3g
> through
> a SIM card slot, and 12 hours of battery life. It also is a fairly
> pokey
> Atom Z530 processor, gma 500 graphics, a 1.8" 4200 rpm sata drive
> that
> is SLLLOOOOOOWWWW, and worst of all 1GB of ram that is soldered to
> the
> mobo with ZERO upgrade possibility.
> The good news is it plays well out of the box with all 12.10 based
> flavors (typing this in Xubuntu). It is fairly snappy and certainly
> quite usable. I ordered a 1.8 SSD off ebay for cheap and hope that it
> will speed things up just enough to where this is a pleasant
> experience
> rather than a bearable one. The battery life is absolutely out of
> this
> world. Next stop is Lubuntu which is supposed to be the lightest
> weight
> of all of the 'buntu's.
> For the final price this may be one of my best finds yet, and it is
> Just passin it on cause they are goin way cheap on the 'bay.  Search
> Nokia Booklet 3g.
> Happy New Year!!!!
> Phil

has anyone put linux on a powersave partion?

From: Rod-Lists 
I have a vista netbook that I might want rehabilitate.

Wanted items (with regards to Virtual Swap Meet)

From: Chad Smith 
Anything cool and handheld.  PDAs, PocketPCs, eMates, non-mainstream
portable game systems (of course, if anyone is dying to give me a Vita,
I'll take it... I guess).

I have an Android netbook, a UMID pocket laptop with a broken screen, old
Macs (iMacs and Power Macs).

Now I'm in St Louis, MO - but I'll pay for shipping my stuff if you pay for
shipping yours, (if you want an iMac for a PDA, you win on that deal) - or
if you just want to get rid of whatever, I'll pay for shipping to me.

I'd pay in Twinkies, but all I have are Cloud Cakes.

*- Chad W. Smith*

Lovin' Linux

From: Eric Wolf 
I'm having to travel to conferences on my own dime thanks to the GSA's
party in Vegas. One side effect is that I'm not supposed to use my work
laptop when I'm not travelling for work. Since I've relied on my work
laptop and netbook for the past couple years, I was facing a dilemma.

When I "upgraded' my wife to her MacBook, that left her 2006-vintage
Toshiba Satellite ($329 at OfficeDepot) free. I had some spare RAM floating
around that fit, so I upgraded it to 2GB RAM. I also temporarily freed up a
240GB SSD. With Ubuntu 12.04, I hardly notice the low-end in 2006
single-core Pentium M CPU.

A large part of it, I'm sure, is the SSD. I'm sure y'all are tired of me
ranting about it... but if you are still using spinny disks, you are
wasting your life!

FYI: I freed up the 240GB drive by replacing it with a pair of 240GB OCZ
Agility III drives setup with RAID0 on my desktop workstation. That thing
is FAST!

Eric B. Wolf                           720-334-7734

~12" Netbooks good with Linux?

From: William Wade 
It has been a while since I have looked for a good 12-13" "Netbook" that
works well with Linux.

Anyone gotten one recently? My wife really likes her old Lenovo Ideapad S12
(Got it for $330 just over 2 years ago). Recently it has had trouble with
the battery (as expected from a laptop of this age).

So I might be in the market for a new one, but I thought I would ask here
first what people have been getting and liking, or despising.

ok unity is usable

From: Rod-Lists 
I upgraded one of our netbooks to 11.04.
Granted it had 10.04 nrm so it already had unity.  But with 11.04 it is lot less buggy.
once you learn where they moved the furniture so to speak, it is not bad.
it is kind of like getting into one of those cars where the lights and radio controls are on the steering wheel instead of the column & dash.
once you get used to it, it actually may make more sense. At least on a net book.
more later as play with this.

OT: For Sale: Umid M1 Netbook

From: Stephen Kraus 
Played with it, loved it, but realized it wasn't for me

Umid M1 Mini Netbook

1.3 Ghz Intel Atom
512MB DDR2 (Non-upgradeble)
32GB built in SSD with Windows XP Home
Resistive Touchscreen with 1024x760 Resolution includes stylus
built in 802.11b/g with Bluetooth
Has a built in MicroSDHC slot for expansion

Comes with the headphones and microUSB to USB adapter needed for the USB

I loved it, its EXTREMELY small, gets excellent battery life, and its the
only netbook I know that is pocket sized

The ONLY downsides to it:
The battery it came with was dead, not to be stopped by that I simply
replaced the dead cells, so it has a working 'hacked' together battery. You
can purchase a new battery on ebay for about $80 dollars

I am asking $200 for the lot.

Ubuntu 11.04 was Friday Friday Friday!

From: Rod-Lists 
how is the unity interface working? Or did go standard gnome?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Billy" 
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:53:00 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: [Chugalug] OT: Friday Friday Friday!

It's tomorrow.

(That is all.) 


P.S. I upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 11.04. Haven't noticed anything special, except I have firefox 5 and grub now hides old kernels. Otherwise looks the same.