How Windows knows it has an Internet connection

Found this interesting article about Windows 7 Network awareness on blog.superuser.com

Whenever I connect to a WiFi network which requires in-browser authentication, such as university networks and hotel access points, Windows somehow magically knows. Windows also knows when your internet connection isn’t working, and can differentiate between having local LAN access, no network access at all, or full internet access. But how?

If you have ever been wondering how this feature works, how you can turn it off and how it affects your privacy I highly recommend this.

Registration for Ubuntu One Windows client Beta is open

https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/canonical.com/viewform?formkey=dGpyR1B5VFlZTzNFcVAtdllENVlsenc6MQ

What is Ubuntu One?

Ubuntu One is your personal cloud. But it’s not just about syncing files — whether you need to access your contacts, notes or bookmarks from any computer or the web, enjoy your favorite music from a cloud integrated store or stream your entire collection to iPhone and Android mobile phones — we’ve raised the bar on personal clouds.

For more info, visit https://one.ubuntu.com/

Hacking at Random 2009 program online

The program for the upcoming outdoor hacking event in the Netherlands is online with some very promising topics:

Stay tuned for my upcoming outdoor hacker event survival guide ;)

Netbooks & Serial Network device configuration

I recently bought some Cisco equiptment (a Catalyst 2924-XL-EN and a 2611 router ) to play around with in my spare time. In order to get the equiptment running for a test lab using telnet configuration, I had to connect via the serial console which can be a hassle due to the lack of serial rs232 ports on modern computer devices.

I bought a Serial USB adapter eager to find out if this will actually work (had some compatibility issues with other devices in the past)

So i got a cheap USB adapter from my local computer store (link on Amazon – this one definitely works with Cisco Catalyst Switches, I will test it on a 2600 router as soon as it gets delivered to me ) and plugged it into my Aspire One netbook running Ubuntu 8.10. After dmesg confirmed the device (in my case ttyUSB0) I needed to get a serial based terminal emulator for console configuration.

Minicom is the good old Linux serial terminal emulator, so a simple

sudo apt-get install minicom

will provide you with the required app on Ubuntu/Debian. If you are running Vista, I recommend tutty since HyperTerminal is no longer included.

The next step will be to set up the device parameters for minicom by running

minicom -s

Set your serial device to the equivalent (should be ttyUSBx) and set the following connection values:

  • Baud Rate: 9600
  • Data Bits: 8
  • Stop Bits: 1
  • Flow Control: none

Now save your config file (the default config is dfl) and launch the program. The values for any Windows software are the same.

To be free or not to be free….

I like open source software… Especially when its cross platform so i can use it on the occasional Windows Sessions.

Many great Programs like Nessus, Gimp, OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird (i could go on forever) have proven that OpenSource can also appeal to Windows users and help them to get rid of proprietary software.

About a month ago i required an irc client for a Windows Machine and since i use Xchat on almost any Linux machine i own (including the EEE PC) i was shocked to receive a notice that my 30 day trial of Xchat has expired and asked me to register for a small fee.

At first i thought this was a joke until i read this on their site:

Q. Why can’t XChat for Windows be free?
A. It’s free to try for the first 30 days! Building XChat for Windows is a difficult process, it requires quite some skill and expertise to accomplish. It takes time, and is by no means automated. This version also has some value added features only for Windows, such as opening irc:// URLs from your web browser in an existing instance of xchat, spell checking and graphical emoticons.

I have no problems donating a small amount of money to support the hard work which i have occasionally done in the past for the Gnome and Gimp projects, but disadvantaging Windows users by making them pay for software every other user can download for free is pretty much restrictive and the above reasons are no argument to really get users into paying for software.

If you ideologically believe in coding and distributing open source software – make sure you treat everyone who wants to use it equally.

Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer

If you have the joy of administrating a Microsoft Exchange Mail Server and need a nifty tool for analyzing i can highly recommend the Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer

The analyzer will help you find sources of instability and performance problems and will assist you in configuring general policies for eMail usage.

Great tool  and until today, never heard of it.  Sometimes i just wish Microsoft would include tools like these directly into their products – or at least with the occasional service packs.