ALIX Monowall Firewall – Part 1

This tutorial covers the installation of Monowall (M0n0wall) onto a compact flash card utilizing a Mac and assembling the firewall. The firewall is being built utilizing an ALIX embedded system. This is the first part in a series of tutorials which will range from basic configuration of the firewall to more advanced topics such as IPSEC tunnels and VPN clients.
Download the Monowall embedded image file
Visit Monowall’s website and download the embedded image file for ALIX. Below is a link to the appropriate page.
Monowall Download Page: http://m0n0.ch/wall/beta.php
Place the file you just downloaded onto your desktop.

Run Disk Utility

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Insert a compact flash card into a card reader attached to your computer, a 256MB card will do just fine. Open up ‘Disk Utility’ which is located in the ‘Utilities’ folder under ‘Applications’ on your boot drive. Select the Compact Flash card you inserted on the right side. Make sure that you select the right drive, double check to make sure the size matches the card. Be very careful, if you select the wrong drive you could wipe all the information from a hard drive. Right-Click on the drive and select information.

Compact Flash Disk ID

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Jot down the the ‘Disk Identifier’ information associated with the drive. This number will vary on your own system so do not use the information listed above. Writing the wrong information down could result in one of your hard drives being wiped so pay very close attention. You will need this information for the next step.

Partition Mounted?

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If there is a partition on the Compact Flash Card it needs to be unmounted. Right-Click on the partition listed underneath Compact Flash Card and select ‘Unmount’.

Run Terminal

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When you open Terminal it will default to your home directory. Issue the following commands to change to the desktop directory and write out the image file to the Compact Flash Card:
cd desktop
gzcat embedded-1.3b16.img | dd of=/dev/disk# bs=16k (Insert the Disk ID number that you jotted down from the previous step) Last warning if you enter the wrong information you could wipe a hard drive or other removable drive connected to your system)
You should receive a message as displayed above. If you receive a message that states the resource is busy, it means that you did not unmount a partition on the Compact Flash Card. Please go back to the previous step and unmount the partition.

Assemble the firewall

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Remove the the Compact Flash Card from the card reader and insert it into the card slot on the ALIX board. Do this before you install it into the case as it will block the slot. This would also be good time to install any add in cards you might have into the mini-pci slots (wifi, vpn accelerator) Remove the hex bolts on both sides of the serial port, otherwise you cannot slip it into the case. Slide the board with the network ports going in first so they slide into the cutouts. With that inserted screw in the board to case, followed by reattaching the the hex bolts on the both sides of the serial port. Put the cover on the case and screw it in place. Thats all there is to it, pretty simple wouldn’t you say?

Log into the firewall

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Plug your firewall into the network utilizing the LAN port and power up the unit. You can either plug the firewall into a switch or directly into your network port on your computer. The DHCP server on the firewall will supply your workstation with the appropriate IP address information. Give it a couple of minutes to finish booting up. Open up your favorite browser and type: http://192.168.1.1 into the address bar. This is the default address of the firewall. You will be prompted to login into the firewall, the following are the default credentials:
Username: admin
Password: mono
This information is case sensitive, make sure you enter everything in lower case.
That is it for the first part of the tutorial. The next tutorial will walk you through the basic configuration if the firewall. Subsequent tutorials will discuss more advanced features, such as creating tunnels between two remote firewalls.

Site Redesign

Over the weekend I did a quick redesign of the site. I gave it a cleaner look, consolidated the main categories and added subcategories to make navigation of the site a little easier and quicker. There are still some little tweaks here and there that I have to complete but the main framework of the design will remain. I am pretty happy with my decision to move to GatorHost they have been pretty solid for the little time I have been with them thus far. Their control panel is much better than what 1and1 offered and their support is top notch. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on the redesign please leave a comment.

Switched Web Hosts

Over the weekend I moved my websites away from 1AND1 to HostGator. Recently I was having to many issues with 1AND1, primarily with my sites taking to long to be served. I have to say I always hated calling into 1AND1 tech support because it was obvious you were talking to someone that didn’t have a clue. I was pleasantly surprised when I had problems porting this site over and freighting having to speak to HostGator’s technical support and getting some pretty knowledgeable people. On three occasions speaking with different individuals, I found that they really had their act together and knew what they were doing and were quite versed with WordPress and mySQL.

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m0n0wall & pfSense Tutorials

I am in the process of creating an updated video tutorial on installing Monowall (m0n0wall) firewall on an ALIX embedded system. While I am at it, I will also doing the same for the pfSense firewall installed on the same platform. There will also be written guides to go along with these video tutorials. These forthcoming guides will come in segments ranging from copying the firewall to a CF card that will be inserted into the system board to more advanced topics such as configuring IPSEC tunnels. You should see the first of these tutorials released on July 15th.
Enjoy the tutorials and should you have any recommendations or things you would like to see included in these tutorials just leave a comment.
UPDATE: I ran into a personal matter which had delayed the production of the first segment. I should have it completed and posted within the next couple of days. Sorry about the unexpected delay.

Embedded Monowall: Installation


UPDATE: An updated tutorial has been posted here: http://www.techunplugged.com/2009/07/22/alix-monowall-firewall-part-1/
This tutorial will guide you through copying the m0n0wall image to a compact flash card and the initial configuration of the m0n0wall on the ALIX embedded board. I will be using a VPN accelerator card since I will have about 10 IPsec tunnels actively running at one time. I would only recommend using the VPN accelerator card if you plan on maintaining several VPN tunnels at one time, otherwise it is overkill. The following is a list of the items that were used:
Continue reading “Embedded Monowall: Installation”

Racial Slurs On Xbox Live

I wish Microsoft would police their services better than they do if they do at all. I am fed up with all the rampant racial slurs been flung around Xbox Live. You almost can’t walk into a match these days without some ignorant fool throwing out slurs based upon what he or she thinks your race or nationality is.


They only thing it would take to curb this behavior is to have Microsoft pay people to play online in random matches. When they find someone that is abusing the service with inappropriate racial comments they record the individual for their records and then ban him. When you ban him for the first offensive it would be for a week, when he is caught again it would be for a month and after that a permanent ban. Word would get out quickly amongst other players of people getting banned for inappropriate behavior and it would greatly curtail this behavior.


It is a shame to have kids that shouldn’t be playing mature games in the first place have to be subjected to this sort of language. They hear these statements and think it is funny or cool and start repeating it themselves.


I personally have had someone send me a picture through Xbox Live of himself in a KKK outfit. It took me about an hours worth of complaining through several supervisors to get them to do anything about it. They eventually banned the user after they took the time to look at the image that was sent to me.


Come on Microsoft step up to the plate and start policing your service. The one thing and the only thing I like about the PS3 is that you don’t here as much racial slurs as you do on the 360? I could never figure that one out. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

Party Chat Or Party Cheat?

I detest the ‘Party Chatting’ system in Xbox Live with a fervor! I could never understand why we really need party chat to begin with, life was fine before it. I guess I could see it were being for watching the same movie via Netflix streaming with your friends. What it has turned out  to be though, is the best way for you and your friends to cheat. Why do I say this is primarily used for cheating? Let me give you an example: You and your friends are playing ‘Call of Duty: World At War’ you have dead silence and camouflage on, you sneak up and knife somebody on the opposing team. All of a sudden 10 seconds later a grenade comes bouncing in at your feet, it goes off and your dead.  Now you didn’t give away your position nor did your opponent notify his teammates where he was before he died. What happened was that the entire opposing team is in party chat and the guy you just killed told his teammates exactly where you are from his grave. Now how fair is that and there is no way to prevent that from happening.
Now here is another example of why this sucks so much, your team has eliminated everyone on the other team except one or two players. Again you are using camouflage and dead silence, so you can’t be seen on radar nor heard. You find one of your opponents and you sneak up on him then all of a sudden he does a 180 a starts firing before the turn is even finished and your laying dead on the floor. How did he know you were behind him? Because one of his dead teammates is watching his back in essence giving him eyes in the back of his head. This is so rampant that players now jump into the lobby of a game and ask if anyone is in private chat. If no one answers guess what you back out.
Here is another annoying scenario, you and a couple of buddies jump on to play together but you don’t have enough to form a full squad. No problem you get teamed up with another couple of players randomly here is where it really sucks. They are in private chat with themselves. So you can’t talk to them, warn them or discuss any strategy. They are in their own little world and could care less about anything except themselves.
Why can’t Microsoft just disable ‘Party Chat’ for any online matchmaking games i.e. Call of Duty, Halo or any other FPS? These games have built in systems for team communications and nothing else is needed. So why do they let this run rampant? All it does is ruin the experience for those that would like to play and have a good time with their friends. Come on Microsoft get with the program you can’t be that dense or can you?

Xbox360 Wireless HeadsetI detest the ‘Party Chatting’ system in Xbox Live with a fervor! I could never understand why we really need party chat to begin with, life was fine before it. I guess I could see it if it were being used for watching the same movie via Netflix streaming with your friends. What it has turned out  to be though, is the best way for you and your friends to cheat. Why do I say this is primarily used for cheating? Let me give you an example: You and your friends are playing ‘Call of Duty: World At War’ you have dead silence and camouflage on, you sneak up and knife somebody on the opposing team. All of a sudden 10 seconds later a grenade comes bouncing in at your feet, it goes off and your dead.  Now you didn’t give away your position nor did your opponent notify his teammates where he was before he died. What happened was that the entire opposing team is in party chat and the guy you just killed told his teammates exactly where you are from his grave. Now how fair is that and there is no way to prevent that from happening.
Now here is another example of why this sucks so much, your team has eliminated everyone on the other team except one or two players. Again you are using camouflage and dead silence, so you can’t be seen on radar nor heard. You find one of your opponents and you sneak up on him then all of a sudden he does a 180 and starts firing before the turn is even finished and your laying dead on the floor. How did he know you were behind him? Because one of his dead teammates is watching his back in essence giving him eyes in the back of his head. This is so rampant that players now jump into the lobby of a game and ask if anyone is in private chat. If no one answers guess what you back out.
Here is another annoying scenario, you and a couple of buddies jump on to play together but you don’t have enough to form a full squad. No problem you get teamed up with another couple of players randomly here is where it really sucks. They are in private chat with themselves. So you can’t talk to them, warn them or discuss any strategy. They are in their own little world and could care less about anything except themselves.
Why can’t Microsoft just disable ‘Party Chat’ for any online matchmaking games i.e. Call of Duty, Halo or any other FPS? These games have built in systems for team communications and nothing else is needed. So why do they let this run rampant? All it does is ruin the experience for those that would like to play and have a good time with their friends. Come on Microsoft get with the program you can’t be that dense or can you?
*Photo by: Matt Brett

Bad Catz

As many of you know I am an avid gamer. I have been trying to purchase a pair of Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Tournament Sticks ever since they were announced. I have the game but to play the game with stock controllers is not that fun and difficult. The controllers go for $149 but have not been in stock anywhere since they were released. If you look on eBay and some Amazon vendors everyone is marking these controllers up an additional $50. Well it would seem that now Mad Catz wants to make a little extra money as well. Now that Mad Catz has some controllers in stock they decided to get in on the action and fleece customers as well. They are forcing everyone that wants one of these controllers to buy a bundle. The bundle includes the game and a face plate. Well guess what I already have the game and I don’t want a faceplate. Keep in mind I need two of these one for myself and one for my wife or guest. Do I really need two games and two faceplates? NO! It’s a shame when even the manufacturer gets involved in this shady practice. Just thought I would let you know what they were doing.
UPDATE: My mistake the reaming is even worse. The bundle does not contain a game at all these are the items in the bundle:
Official Street Fighter™ IV Xbox 360 Tournament Edition FightStick™
Official Street Fighter™ IV Faceplate and Console Skinz
Official Street Fighter™ IV Vinyl Wall Scroll
Xbox 360 Controller Extension Cable

Cab From Hell

My wife and I had an incredible evening out on the town only to have it blown by an #^$%&!@ of a taxi driver. We got in a taxi after the opera at Lincoln Center. When we got in we noticed that there was a clip of Jimmy Fallon’s show playing so we turned it up to hear it. Well that’s when the evening went bad and fast. The driver decided to turn up his “SPANISH” radio station and complained he could hear the screen in the back. Needless to say his radio used every damn speaker in the van. I informed him the reason the screen in the back of the van was for the passengers and that I did not want to hear his radio. I turned off our screen and told him to do the same. He then informed me “this is America and this is what happening right now and I should learn spanish”. This is America and I should learn spanish? I had to scream at him that I was the passenger and I wanted the radio off now. After complying he decided to race his cab down Park Avenue at 50 miles an hour while it was pouring ran. Luckily enough we got to Grand Central safe and sound. I am getting in touch with the Taxi & Limousine Commission to complain about my cab ride from hell….

Ringtones Video Tutorial


I just finished putting together a quick video tutorial on how to create ringtones using GarageBand on a Mac. This is my second tutorial I have done so far. The first tutorial was on building an embedded firewall. I hope to put together various tutorials over the coming months at the pace of once a week if I can find the spare time. Well below is a link to the video, enjoy. I would welcome any input on the video as it will help me going forward. Thanks