Embedded Monowall: Installation

UPDATE: An updated tutorial has been posted here: https://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:
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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

Drobo Schmobo!

When I switched over to Macs I made mention of purchasing a Drobo as a NAS for my home office. Fast forward 2.5 months and my purchase of a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+. I did a lot of research on the Drobo and found it very lacking for my needs. The Drobo was primarily deigned as an redundant external storage device connected via USB. They later designed an attachment that sat underneath the device to allow it to be shared on the network, they called that device the DroboShare. The DroboShare is very simplistic it allows various protocols across the network to talk to the Drobo. The major draw back to this device is it’s lack of security.You can password protect your DroboShare with one password and that is it. There are no different levels of security or users, just one password and thats it. This makes this device useless for several users on a network. For personal use I guess it gets the job done.

I also snooped around their forums and found a lot of people where having issues with data throughput of large files to the device. People were also discussing major wait times for the device to wake up from sleep to write or read files from it. I decided to read through some of the more recent threads before I wrote this post for reference and found that they have locked their forums to owners only. Which I find kind of odd for a manufacturer to do. I could only see this being done to protect them from would be buyers being frightened from purchasing due to reading negative posts on their forums. I am sure that someone at Drobo will rebuff that statement saying it is for the benefit of their end users. How it benefits their users I don’t know, but that’s what the spin doctors are for.

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Monowall Tutorial

I just finished my initial tutorial on setting up a m0n0wall firewall on a PC Engines ALIX 2C3 board. I have setup several of these using a Mac. There was a lot of research I had to do to figure out how accomplish it using OS/X. Most of the documentation I found online referenced using Windows systems. So I decided to take what I learned and write a “How-To” on the topic as well as a video to accompany it. You can find the How-To by following this link: https://www.techunplugged.com/tutorials/embeded-m0n0wall-firewall-on-alix-hardware/
UPDATE: An updated tutorial has been posted here: https://www.techunplugged.com/2009/07/22/alix-monowall-firewall-part-1/

Embedded Firewall

In part of my quest to simplify my life I moved away from Windows workstations and servers to Macs. With the number of systems that were removed it had a large impact on the acoustics of the room as well as power consumption. I still had one relic left behind and that was a firewall running on a PC to keep my IPSEC tunnels up with all my clients. I decided I could replace that unit as well with something that was at least fanless. During my research I found something that would be fanless and work with a 15w power adapter so it would have a small electrical footprint. The hardware I used was a PC Engines ALIX 2c3 board on which I installed the m0n0wall embedded firewall OS. I also used a Soekris VPN1411 mini-pci card to offload the encryption processing from the CPU. It is very small and runs super smooth on a 30mbit connection with 10 tunnels running. The CPU never goes above 40% utilization on a full load. It is fairly inexpensive and quite simple to assemble and program. I am in the middle of doing a video tutorial on putting one of these together and programing it. I should have the video done along with support pages tomorrow, so check back.
UPDATE: An updated tutorial has been posted here: https://www.techunplugged.com/2009/07/22/alix-monowall-firewall-part-1/

Mac Convert

It is official I have completely transitioned myself away from Microsoft (Personally). I think Vista was the final nail in the coffin for me. Back in September before my Vegas trip I purchased a Mac Book Pro, under the assumption I would run both OSX and Windows on the notebook. I found myself more and more using the OSX side until I no longer had the need to run Windows. Believe it or not, everything I needed to do could be done under OSX. As far as my client’s servers, I could manage them all remotely with the Mac version of Remote Desktop. This past weekend I replaced my workstation with a Mac Pro. The only thing left was my Windows server and my wife’s workstation. Moving away from my Windows servers that were handling my network file sharing (running raid for data protection) as well as Exchange and Blackberry services would be the hardest, so I thought. I wound up moving my domains to Google Apps for email and used T-Mobile’s services to connect via IMAP and forward my email to my Blackberry. I am purchasing a Drobo to handle my network file sharing as it runs it’s own version of raid for data protection. Continue reading “Mac Convert”

Toshiba Kills HD DVD, Officially!

Toshiba Kills HD DVD, Official [Format War]: ”

Toshiba Announces Discontinuation of HD DVD Businesses
19 February, 2008
Company Remains Focused on Championing Consumer Access to High Definition Content
TOKYO–Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. This decision has been made following recent major changes in the market. Toshiba will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.
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HD-DVD Is Dead!

HD-DVD is dead, so says Netflix! I received this in my email today. It seems that Netflix has declared Blu-ray the winner in the format war. It doesn’t mean much to me since I have both players. In my humble opinion I always saw HD-DVD as the superior format as to what it had to offer compared to Blu-ray. I guess it all came down to whoever could throw the most money around to influence the studios would win. I guess getting one of the four formats to mass adoption was worth throwing all that money around. Having a fourth proprietary format fail would have really hurt Sony as far as being an innovator. The other failed formats being BetaMax, ATRAC and MemoryStick. To this day I still don’t understand why they peddle memory stick format for the majority of their cameras and their PSP.

Microsoft Buys Sidekick Maker

Microsoft Absorbs Sidekick Maker Danger Inc. [Cellphones]: “

Out of left field, Microsoft has bought Danger Inc. best-known as the Hiptop/Sidekick’s daddy for an undisclosed hunk of cash. Fear not, Sidekick fans, it’ll be business as usual on that front. But this pretty much confirms that Microsoft’s new growth strategy in areas it’s obsessed with but weak in is simple, ill-fitted assimilation. Obviously, the goal is to grab Danger’s mobile expertise, but I’m not really seeing the mesh here. Well, two words, maybe: Zune Phone. The full, official details below.

Microsoft Agrees to Acquire Danger Inc., Strengthens Mobile Consumer Vision Acquisition of popular software and mobile services company will enhance Microsoft’s ability to broadly deliver compelling mobile experiences.


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MacBook Airs Arrive

CorAirs.JPGSetting up a number of MacBook Airs that arrived today. After holding one of these I can say it is way cooler than any commercial can display. Well off I go to load on the VPN software needed to connect these to the corporate LAN and hand them out.