Starbucks and AT&T offer up

After much confusion at the store level, it look slike here is what is happening, if you use a Starbucks card in the last 30 days, you can use AT&T Wifi at Starbucks for two hours. When you sign in, you create an AT&T login. Of course, I already have one, but there doesn’t appear anyway to tell the system that, so you have to create a new one. You need to just it just once and you get spammed four time a year by AT&T so its a small price to pay (turn your spam blocker on!).

You only get one session of a maximum of two hours per day, so choose carefully when you turn this on! But since you get one account for every registered card, what you really want to do is have say three cards in your wallet charged with the minimum, then you get three accounts or however many you want.

Sign Up for Starbucks – AT&T Wi-Fi

Join Starbucks Card Rewards to get great benefits, including 2 hours of AT&T Wi-Fi, everyday.

Wifi Hotspots in Wedgewood, Laurelhurst and Ravenna

OK, I get stuck waiting for meetings around the Childrens Hospital quite a bit. If you don’t want to brave the traffic at U-Village, what are the options. As an aside if you are in UVillage, “World Wraps”: does have free Wifi and is less crowded than Starbucks by alot.

Well, there are some great ones around the bend in Wedgewood according to “”:

* “Top Pot Doughnuts”: A great store. Very library like and the Wifi is of course free. Good hours too. It opens at 6AM and the doughnuts are of course great. There is a Starbucks up the street, but why go there when you have such a good option at NE 70th St and 35th Ave NE. Across the street, there is a “Grateful Bread”: is you want lunch and free Wifi instead although you do need to ask for a user name and password.
* “Gula”: Here is a non-corporate coffee shop that serve bubble tea. Just a few blocks north in Ravenna. Lots of bubble tea at NE 50th and 30th Ave NE.
* “Tully’s 5 Corners”:,+WA&fb=1&view=text&latlng=47661225,-122293280,12001432388379103107&dtab=2&reviews=1&sa=X&oi=local_result&resnum=1&ct=result I actually don’t like this Tully’s very much as it is very busy and the Wifi is incredibly slow. As an aside, there is Tmobile hotspot next door at the Kinko’s, so stay on the north side of the Tully’s and use that if you have an account.

Home NAS

I’ve had remarkably good luck with the Buffalo Linkstation Pro 500GB. It’s a 500GB network attached drive. It supports 1GB ethernet and seems reasonably fast and most important very compatible. Works super well with Windows XP and even with Mac OS X which is amazing. The main issue is that 500GB fills up pretty fast these days, so time once again to look for the latest:

* “PC Magazine”:,1895,1639544,00.asp did a review two years ago which selected the Buffalo, but they now have a great “NAS”:,1895,1639544,00.asp section that goes over the basics. Right now they are recommending RAID configurations for reliability like the “Iomega SorCenter Pro NAS 150d”:,1895,2128034,00.asp. Its quite expensive at $800 for 1TB but has four 250GB drives in at RAID configuration. It’s small at 10″x7″x12″. It comes configured as RAID 5 which means you get 750GB usable, but you can have one disk fail and everything still works. My main conclusion is that this is great for a small business but maybe a little overkill for our network which only really needs this to backup the storage on personal computers. You can get 750GB for about half the price if you go lower end.
* “PC World”:,125072-page,1/article.html also keeps a review set and likes a completely different set of machines. The “Netgear ReadyNAS NV+”: for instance is more expensive at $1100, but it very fast so good for a real server setup. Another good compromise is the “Maxtor Shared Storage II”:,29306-c,harddrives/specs.html also with 1TB and just $450. It is a single terabyte drive, so like the Buffalo Linkstation, not super redundant
* “Pricegrabber”: is interesting because it shows what’s popular. It shows that SimpleTech STI-NAS 500GB is a best seller. It is an amazing $135 for a 500GB drive. Almost too good to believe. “Newegg”: reviews say it works, but isn’t very fast because it only has 100Mb Ethernet. If you want speed, you really need 1Gb Ethernet and computers that support it. For most laptop oriented installations like we have at work it will be fine though since laptops are either 100Mbps Ethernet or much slower 54Mbps shared channel Wifi. Not clear if it supports Macs. It is just $135 because the underlying 500GB drive is just $105 or so now and there is $35 of other hardware. Makes the $400 Buffalo Linkstation 750GB look pretty expensive doesn’t it? 500GB by the way seems to be the sweetspot for these devices. They are between $140 to $250 for that. Buffalo is at the high end at $275 or so.
* “Newegg”: is a big enough site now that its ratings are meaningful. Those users like the Thecus N2050UD which is $140 but where you need to install two hard drives in it, so you can built it yourself.

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Print Servers

I actually tried a print server about five years ago and it worked terribly, but now I’m willing to give it another shot as I really want our Canon i9900 to work on network. If you can believe it, here is actually an entire web site that covers just Printer servers called “”: The main thing is that those reviews are a little old and Pricegrabber has a good list of the “popular”: print servers.

We have two printers, an HP 4250 and a Brother which have an internal print server, while a little expensive, they definitely work. The current state of the art are wireless print servers which use wifi, so you can literally put your printer anywhere in your house. That’s kind of cool. The only thing is they are kind of expensive, so if you have a wired ethernet, get the el cheapo wired print server.

The main thing is that the consumer oriented network guys really make stuff that is quite flakey, so caveat emptor. The Linksys PSUS4 has a USB port for the printer plus four network ports. Here are some good choices according this site through their reviews,

* “HP  Jetdirect en3700”: This is $300 list b ut support USB 2.0 and works with the Macintosh. “”: has a good review of this and says you should make sure you are using V28 firmware. It streets for $300, but you can get it off of eBay for $70 or so and “Pricegrabber”: has it for $181 from a reputable reseller.
* “HP Jetdirect ew2400”: this is $200 and uses 802.11bg and works with the Mac
* “HP JetDirect 310x”: this is expensive at $200 and only has USB 1.1, but it does support the Macintosh and I’m sure is more likely to work than no name print servers. Its nice it support Apple Talk and also that it works with various forms of Unix.
* “Linksys WPS54gu2”: This thing is just about everything in terms of features. It is $100 and has an older parallel and USB 2.0 interfaces plus a single wired port. It also support 108.11bg
* “Linksys PSUS4”: is the printer server to get if you don’t need wifi. It include a 4 port ethernet switch and is just $50. Biggest issue is they don’t formally support Macs. “Pricegrabber Reviews”: shows it to be just a terrible product though. Main thing is that it won’t work with the Mac.
* “Linksys PPS1UW”:  This actually requires a separate WPC11 wifi card in order to be completely wireless. One major point of confusion is only the WPC11V3 works, not the V4, so be careful. Otherwise it has nice specs, $70 for USB Print Server but you won’t know if your printer works with it until you buy it 🙁
* It is $120 list with a USB 1.1 port, so a bit slow and doesn’t support Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) which is pretty standard now a days as is USB 2.0

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I need to VPN back to home, it looks like with the DD-WRT firmware load on a Linksys WRT-54GL, this is quite doable. Here are the steps:

* “Install DD-WRT”: This is open source firmware for the popular Linksys WRT-54GL router. These routers have 4MB of nvRAM and can run a nice version of Linux. Its a little complicated, you have to first load in the mini version of DD-WRT, then the VPN version.
* “Configure OpenVPN”:–_bridged.html. This is an open source project that turns your home router into a VPN server, pretty neat actually gives a good overview. The only problem with these instructions is that it assumes you can use JFSS (journaled file system) which only works “WRT54GS Version 3 or lower”: routers with more memory
* “DD-WRT OpenVPN”: These instructions are work with any WRT54G v3 or WRT54GL where you put the key for the VPN into the script itself. The only change is that to create the key, you can telnet to your router and run the _openvpn –genky –secret static.key” command there instead of having to load the Windows verson of Openvpn.
* “”: has specific instructions on how to get this working on a low memory WRT54G v4
* “Windows OpenVPN Client”: YOu do need to load OpenVPN on each machine, it is SSL based and Windows doesn’t have a built in client for it. You get it from “”:

Here are the instructions that seem to work, it is the simplest in that it uses a single key and only allows a single client to login, which is all I need:

1. Create a static key by downloading “OpenVPN”: and on Windows running Start/OpenVPN/Generate a static OpenVPN Key which dumps it into _c:\program files\openvpn\configs\key.txt_
2. Go to your routers web page (typically at “”: and go to Administration/Commands and enter into the Commands text box and click on Save firewall
bq. iptables -I INPUT 1 -p tcp –dport 443 -j ACCEPT
3. Now enter the code below and insert the text from key.txt into the echo command and click on Save Startup

openvpn –mktun –dev tap0
brctl addif br0 tap0
ifconfig tap0 promisc up
echo ”
—–BEGIN OpenVPN Static key V1—–
—–END OpenVPN Static key V1—–
” > /tmp/static.key
ln -s /usr/sbin/openvpn /tmp/myvpn
/tmp/myvpn –dev tap0 –secret /tmp/static.key –comp-lzo –port 443 –proto tcp-server –verb 3 –daemon

4. Reboot the router and go to the web interface Administration/Commands and look for mypvn when you type in
5. Because your router is probably on an ISP with rotating, connection, create an account at “”: so that you get a DNS address for your home that looks like “myhome”
6. Create an openvpn config file on your client computer (see the openvpn instructions)

# Use the following for simple connections:
port 443
dev tap
secret key.txt
proto tcp-client
7. Start Openvpn on your windows machine and click connect.
bq. ps | grep vpn

Buffalo LinkStation Pro 500GB LS-500GL

!<!: The state of the art of Network attached storage has sure improved a lot since I got a Linksys NSLU-2 three years ago. Then, I couldn’t even get it to transfer 1GB worth of files and it cost $80 and I had to buy a $35 USB enclosure and spend $200 for a 120GB hard drive. Today, for $280, I got a 500GB hard drive, enclosure with the Buffalo and I’ve transferred about 100GB already with my 1GBps ethernet. It really does work.

The thing was super easy to setup, since it uses a web user interface and with 500GB and a very quiet 1inch fan, it is pretty amazing to have an always on storage system. If you get a pair and stick it in two places in the house, you really do solve your backup problems, so Irecommend it.

I’m using version 1.0 of their software, but their “download”: for once doesn’t show any firmware releases.

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WEP Cracking

“Tom’s Hardware”: has an amazing guide on how to crack a WEP key on a Wifi network. Kinda scary how easy it is. Everyone should move to the more advanced WPA or WPA2 if you can ASAP.

Basically, you need a laptop with a Prism2 card in it (this is a particular chipset that the cracking software needs). There is a CD you plug in that has a Linux distribution on it called “Backtrack”: over at so it fits on a CD and comes in .iso format

YOu can either use Nero or “CDBurnerXP Pro”: which is freeware burning software.

With the Linux tools on Backtrack, you can use Kismet which is like Netstumbler to find wifi networks and like Ethereal in that it allows you to look at the raw network traffic.

You then use the tools

* Airodump to capture the packets looking for IV or initialization vector packets
* Void11 to kick clients off the network and thus generate IVs for you (a deauth attack)
* Aireplay take the traffic that void11 generates and keep replaying it to the wifi network to generate more traffic
* aircrack to take the captured files and extract the WEP key.