News archive January 2008 - Koos van den Hout

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2008-01-30 (#) 12 years ago
First network scanned with the wardriving box uploaded to WiGLE. Not a new network (my own), but a valid upload anyway. Now for the final automation bit: starting kismet at the end of the boot process with the right drivers and settings. And the hardware bits: power and antenna connectors on the case and a battery (and charger) to power it all when not on my desk. And making sure it can all be brought along on the bicycle or in a car.

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2008-01-29 (#) 12 years ago
A fellow wardriver asked for a picture of the new wardriving box which is still awaiting serious hardware work, but the software is mostly up and running.
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The wardriving box with notes about the different parts

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2008-01-28 (#) 12 years ago
First boot on the wardriving box (like first light on a telescope). Thursday evening I had some actual time to play with the mainboard and a CF card. With a lot of peeking at the presentation on building flash-based Linux routers by Remco van Mook I was able to get a basic Debian Linux to run on the Alix board in little time. It boots, it starts a few getty processes and ifplugd. I also automated work on converting the local installation to a root image and the root image to the CF card.

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2008-01-24 (#) 12 years ago
A few updates to the weather maps recently: The maps are now generated each hour and there is a list of the recent weather maps.

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2008-01-24 (#) 12 years ago
The hardware I ordered for the wardrive box arrived yesterday. Now to find time to start playing with the enclosure, finding the right spot for the antenna connectors, doing the drilling for that, building it all together and after that working on the software. The manual for the enclosure starts with telling you need to take time to understand what needs to be done because you can only open and close the enclosure so many times.

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2008-01-23 (#) 12 years ago
Gisterenavond zijn we gaan snowboarden/Skiƫn in de sneeuwbaan van de Uithof in Den Haag. Lekker om nog een paar uur te oefenen voor we echt naar de sneeuw gaan. Helaas was de baan in een niet zo ideale conditie: grote stukken ijs.

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2008-01-18 (#) 12 years ago
I did it: Another wardrive with partly missing GPS locations because of a GPS problem Thursday was the reason I needed to start ordering parts for the wardriving box. So I clicked an order together at LinITX.com for the hardware.

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2008-01-14 (#) 12 years ago
I always thought the "Braille edition of Playboy" was just a joke in the movie Sneakers. But! It is no joke: the braille edition of the playboy, available from The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. ObJoke: you will really read this for the articles.

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2008-01-14 (#) 12 years ago
In a websearch about wardriving I came across a nice article on wardriving for people with enough time and budget which is probably known better as a wireless security penetration project: Spy guys: The anatomy of a covert wireless security assessment. Including notes on what kind of wheels to rent for ideal wireless scanning: a box truck has room and fiberglass sidewalls.

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2008-01-11 (#) 12 years ago
I noticed that I haven't posted wardriving results since 31 October 2007. Well, even with the recumbent bike, gps problems and winter weather I still scored new networks with GPS locations at WiGLE. In the backlog I can see that between 16 November 2007 and 11 January 2008 I found 1272 new networks with GPS locations. A the moment I am at position 24 in the WiGLE stats, a slight drop from the 23 I occupied for quite a while.

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2008-01-09 The server room as multistable climate system 12 years ago
We monitor the temperatures in the server room at work carefully, and viewing the changes over a while makes it look like the server room is a multistable climate system.

Our interest in temperatures

On 23 December 2006 we had a complete failure of the airconditioning system in the serverroom at work. One of the worst days of the year to have this, we did not find out until 24 December due to e-mail from our NetApp fileserver telling us the main board was becoming too hot. After that a co-worker went over there and started opening windows and calling support for the airconditioning system. No replacement parts would be available before 2 January 2007 so in that week lot of work was done with makeshift cooling using fans and open windows.

We changed the monitoring system to notify us when the temperature in the serverroom goes above 35 degrees. Which it had to notify us 2 times of on 20 January and 11 March 2007.

The easiest way to get temperature readings is from the temperature sensors in the UPSes at the bottom of each rack. We use the Network UPS Tools package which allows us to check the temperature sensor via the network from a central monitoring system.

The airconditioning system blows cool air via the space below the raised floor into the racks. So the temperature measured by the UPS units is closely related to the output temperature from the airconditioning system.

Watching ntp servers and temperatures

As we are a big fan of statistics and nice graphs, we also started graphing the temperatures. We already watch the ntp servers very thoroughly (you can view our public ntp graphs) and noticed interesting connections between the temperatures and the PLL loop value. Any change in temperature due to door openings, changes in hardware or outside weather shows as a change in PLL values. Usually after a while the ntp daemon stabilizes at a new PLL value.

The multistable system

The bigger picture is that the entire server room seems to work like a multistable climate change. Any change to the input parameters, including a simple change like opening the door of a rack changes the system which eventually leads to a slow movement to a new stable situation.

21 December 2007 I added temperature sensors to the top of each rack. These sensors are more precise than those inside the UPS and more exposed to the air temperature.

These sensors show even better how any change influences the system. After a change, a new stable temperature will be found after a few hours. 3 January I moved a floor tile directing the airflow in one rack and the temperature at all rack tops rose, with the one at the top of the affected rack nearly a degree celsius. After nearly a day I moved the tile back which reversed most of the change.

The current idea is to add a lot more temperature sensors in the racks, near the inlet and outlet of the airconditioning unit, below the raised floor in several places and on the inside and outside of the walls of the server room.

Study of this climate system

Should someone be interested in studying this climate system, get in touch!

But the server-room climate is stable!

According to Current Weather Conditions in the CSL the server room should have a stable temperature and humidity. We know better.

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2008-01-09 (#) 12 years ago
Another instance of me thinking so seriously about a project that I started a webpage about what I want to do and how and collecting the knowledge and ideas that I already have: building a wardriving box. I first thought of a small PC for project sundial, the self-powered weather station and gps time receiver but I got the idea that this could also make a really nice Wardriving box which would do just that.

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2008-01-08 (#) 12 years ago
Slowly I'm no longer denying the blogness of this page ;). View myTechnorati Profile. I got the idea from Kirrily Robert's article Technorati and Perl.

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2008-01-08 (#) 12 years ago
I just read an article about the Neuros OSD: a digital video recorder which is different: the OSD stands for 'Open Source Device', it runs Linux and you are free to modify it in any way you wish. The Neuros OSD site shows a device with a lot of potential. Something I'll keep an eye on.

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2008-01-07 (#) 12 years ago
Yesterday I found some time to install the new 1-wire sensors in a place where I am interested in the temperatures: the attic where the home server gosper lives and started fetching data into rrdtool databases. The assorted sensors at home page now shows some of the available temperatures. Sensor 2 lies in the open area right below the top of the roof.

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2008-01-03 (#) 12 years ago
athcool is .. cool! The new server mainboard was consuming some more power and was at a higher temperature. I looked for ways to reduce this a bit. Setting power throttling mode to T1 did not help for power use or temperature (but the system reacted slowish), but athcool made the readouts from lm_sensors change from CPU Temp: +42.8 C to CPU Temp: +21.5 C which looks a lot better. And, more important: the UPS reports a drop in power-use, which is good for the electricity bill. Follow the graphs at my assorted sensors at home.
Update: the chance of instability mentioned in the documentation happened to me so athcool is disabled again on the server.

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2008-01-02 (#) 12 years ago
The 1-wire sensors and adaptor I ordered arrived today and I started playing with DigiTemp. After running into a faq item (make sure you don't have crossed phone cable) it started working like a charm. The DS18S20 sensors work really easy and they are quite precise and fast to react to temperature changes such as touching fingers. Two sensors in the home office: on a switched-on PC speaker Sensor 1 C: 19.38, on another speaker switched-off Sensor 0 C: 18.81.

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2008-01-02 (#) 12 years ago
My first CPAN upload. I uploaded Geo::METAR 1.15 to CPAN just now. Time to find out if I did stuff right.

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2008-01-02 (#) 12 years ago
Happy new year! I used the christmas period to do an upgrade I have been planning for a while: change the mainboard of the home server gosper to a newer (better: less older) one. A few hours of screwing worked: it now is an AMD Athlon 1400. Everything works after a few bits of tweaking, including updated mainboard temperature sensors.

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