Jan 12 2009

Belated 2009 Greetings

Category: Friends,Personal,Weather,WiFi,Windows Mobile,WordPressChrisM @ 3:36 pm

Wow, no posts in almost 12 days. That has to be improved upon, sorry. The (somewhat predictable) reasons for my online muteness were recovering from Christmas, seeing in the New Year, travelling around meeting friends and family, some of whom we hadn’t crossed paths with in a couple of years, friends coming over to sunny Wales to see the house for the first time, oh and also maintaining, repairing and improving four different PCs. Getting used to Vista from a technical support point of view has taken time, but I at least no longer involuntarily shudder when I hear the OS’ name 😉
After flashing my TyTn II (Kaiser) to a custom WM6.1 ROM (it was working boringly reliably, something had to be tweaked/modded 😉 ) and getting TomTom, music and voice commands to work whilst in the car, I installed Ubuntu onto Ira’s laptop (dual-boot obviously, didn’t think the love of my life would appreciate me nuking her Windows install), finally got around to properly securing the wireless network at home in Clydach, got the PCs all happily working as far as UPnP was concerned. This needed to be sorted as the internet radio I recvd. for Xmas could also play files on the LAN, and I was having issues just using normal folder sharing on a couple of the Vista machines.
Ante natal classes have been an interesting and mostly informative process, it is hard to believe we are now probably less than a month away from seeing our daughter’s face for the first time 🙂 We now have a lot of the items new borns need, and even the pushchair/pram/car-seat optimus prime styled transforming thingy has turned up. Ira has done some more photo shoots with John, obviously centred around the theme of pregnancy/new life etc. See previous posts for the last published examples – though hopefully John will get around to adding new posts to his blog, and new photos to the gallery soon. Which reminds me, don’t forget to check out ConJoinery if you are in need of carpentry or joinery skills… when Con came over here for a few days, we got around to setting up a quick blog to promote his work, and showcase previous projects. It obviously still need more content, but the basic framework of WordPress 2.7 and useful plugins are in place.
After all that I finally noticed that this site is once again down to a PageRank of 0 (see many previous posts regarding Google and post links-for-money issues. Anyway, I now know why there is a lot less work around again. From n/a to a 2, then up to 4, spanked by google down to a 0, recovered to 2, then back once more to 0. As the only thing this alters for the worse is the potential income for this domain, I’m not crying into my cereal. The unique visitor numbers per day has been steadily bouncing between 250 and 600 a day, even when no fresh content has been added, so I know the search engine traffic, and regular repeat visitors have carried on regardless. It is a little strange to find out which of your posts are popular, and the search terms people googled to get there. If you’ve not already enabled AWStats on your site, it might be worth popping along to your CPanel interface and turning it on…

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Oct 28 2008

Everywhere You Go

Category: WiFiChrisM @ 2:19 am

I have been playing around with a program on my Windows Mobile powered HTC TyTn II. The basic idea of this Heath Robinson particular approach to mobile routers is that your phone uses an 3G/EDGE/GPRS/Dial Up (if necessary) connection to establish a working internet session, and then shares this with others via bluetooth or WiFi. If the other clients (laptops, other mobiles, pdas or even desktop PCs) don’t have their own connection to the internet, in the event of a power cut or not having a SIM card that works in that territory etc., then you can certainly enable them to work on the essentials as long as they stay in range of your phone. Obviously bluetooth connections need v.close proximity, and WiFi signals are very reliant on each device’s antennae, but it is good to know what can be achieved in emergencies. There are other more permanent approaches to meeting this sort of need, so feel free to click the link above.

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Apr 28 2008

Subtle Revenge

Category: WiFiChrisM @ 3:43 pm

If you find people are using your WiFi signal to get onto the internet for free, then this be of interest to you. Admittedly, you’ll need to have a router that you can really get your hands dirty with (a nice configurable linux distro on it for example), or you use a PC as an internet gateway already, then you should be good to go. You can take things further of course, but if you just follow instructions, you can make the images your WiFi thieves see on the internet go upside down and blurry.
Well, it made me laugh 🙂

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Feb 22 2008

Upgraded All Blogs To WP 2.3.3 …

Category: WiFiChrisM @ 3:10 am

and this time round it was a lot quicker. I had looked at a couple of plugins that attempted to automate the process last year, but they either required more coding expertise than I felt comfortable reaching for, or shell access to my server, which I’ve yet to enable (I need to e-mail a scan of my driving license first).
Anyway, head on over to Techie Buzz to read more about it. It saves me time upgrading 20 blogs to a new version of WordPress in a number of ways; I don’t need to download the new install locally first, and I also don’t need to upload the decompressed version 20 different times via FTP. Unfortunately the fully automated procedure does not work with my config, but I hope to try and assist the author with that matter once I’ve finished importing all my old web site articles into the new blogs that are sitting ready and blank right now. The ‘manual’ option still saved a lot of time, and automates backups beforehand, so should anything go wrong, it should be reasonably easy to roll back. Anyway, with the plugin in place, and known to be working, the next time even a minor (2.2.x etc.) update is released, I can not have to lose so much time upgrading all the sites.

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Dec 03 2007

My Main Christmas Present

Category: Personal,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 3:01 pm

I just wanted to show my readers a demonstration of my next toy 🙂
It is called a HTC TyTn II and will be replacing some of my current equipment…

My current phone (an Orange C550 (a rebadged HTC Hurricane) which crashes and some buttons no longer work all the time.
My current PDA (a HP iPAQ 2210) with a non-functioning directional pad, faulty USB socket, a snapped battery cover and it also crashes.
GPS unit – my current one no longer gets a fix on satellites.
The TyTn II also has a built-in camera, which should be an improvement over my current phone’s. Though without a flash, I don’t think it will be completely replacing our current digital camera.
Anyway, have a play with the demo below, you can spin the model around, slide open the keyboard and tilt the screen.
Continue reading “My Main Christmas Present”

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Aug 20 2007

Not Just Me – Skype

Category: Amsterdam,Internet Connections,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 11:50 pm

Over the weekend I had terrible problems signing into Skype, though Live Messenger had no issues. Due to the previous problems I have encountered with our local ISP, I just assumed they were doing some work on their servers, and were perhaps having to block ranges of ports whilst they were carrying out work. It now looks as though the ISP is not to blame, as Skype have released an official statement explaining they had encountered unexpected technical difficulties, that had led to some users not being able to sign in. As I don’t often use Skype for IM, it did not really effect me a great deal, but had I been in Amsterdam already, this could have caused problems, as I intend to use my PDA’s Skype application (with whichever free WiFi spots I can find) to avoid having to pay for calls back here to Kazakhstan. Other users who had to redirect Skype audio calls to a mobile have been asking if they will receive a refund. (In case you haven’t come across the system yourself, audio/video/typing conversations between two computers are free, if you need to dial a ‘real world’ telephone, be it mobile or a landline, you need to purchase some Skype credit.)

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Aug 01 2007

More Apps For Amsterdam – WiFiFoFum

Category: Amsterdam,Personal,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 6:26 am

This application is specifically for PDAs (Windows based) with WiFi capabilities – be it built in or, as in my case, a Compact Flash card. Although there are several WiFi detection applications already available, this one caught my eyes with its combination of simplicity and versatility. OK, and the fact that you get a geeky looking radar as one possible view swung my vote as well 🙂
If you combine WiFiFoFum with a GPS unit, the accuracy of where the WiFi access point (AP) is located is a lot more accurate. So why should you care? Well if you are in a town without your own private internet connection, it is useful to know where there are unencrypted WiFi signals you can use to access the web. When there are multiple possibilities, it makes sense to use the strongest signal, and in the case of Amsterdam, to know you can relax in a cafe somewhere, rather than be perched on a bench, exposed to the elements.
I’ve not been able to test the GPS functionality just yet over here in Kazakhstan, but once more, I’ll make a more in depth review around October time hopefully.

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Jul 02 2007

Goodies From Home

Category: Friends,Internet Connections,Personal,WiFi,Windows MobileChrisM @ 1:33 am

As you may have noticed, I have not posted a great deal this past week, mainly because Alex is over here on holiday, and so I used that as an excuse to take a short vacation from the normal daily postings. Hope my loyal readers don’t mind, and that any newcomers will have considered coming back to check for new info…
Anyway, Alex’s luggage was somewhat weighed down by a new router/modem/wi-fi access point. I originally had two, which did not make sense at the time, as I was on dial up access to the internet since moving to Kazakhstan. So, my Mum got one of them for her place (apart from anything else, it is easier to trouble shoot a piece of hardware when you have actually used one before 😉 ), and the other one went to the in-laws, so they could use their PDA downstairs to browse the web. It might never happen, but I liked to give them the choice in the future.
Anyway, the Netgear DG834PN that I ordered seems to do the job, and has a few more toys for me to learn how to use.
Oh, and the little blue flashing LEDs help 😉

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Jun 02 2007

WiFi Killed My Hamster…

Category: Aware Or Conspiracy Nut...,In The Media,Personal,WiFiChrisM @ 10:56 am

The Guardian blog has an entry regarding the ongoing saga of the BBC Panorama’s report on the dangers of WiFi radio signals, especially in children, whose brains are still developing. They centred their investigations on schools, where WiFi is becoming more popular, bypassing the need to retro-fit CAT5/6 cables everywhere.
Anyway the businessman/scientist who was used as Panorama’s expert has rebutted claims by some that his methods were profit-based, and not fair comparisons with mobile phone masts for example. It was good to see the comments on this blog entry being well thought out responses.

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Apr 19 2007

War Driving Leads To Jail

Category: In The Media,Personal,WiFiChrisM @ 3:45 pm

Well custody at least.
The BBC have reported what is believed to be the first arrest in Britain over the theft of someone’s data communications via WiFi.

Big thanks to my wife for spotting the story.

I’ve scanned the local area here in Astana, and there is one unprotected AP, and one with weak encryption used.
Do you know if your wireless network is protected? Have you ever ‘borrowed’ someone elses?

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