The PL2303 serial-USB adapter and Linux

September 21st, 2003  |  Published in hardware, linux

A short note to fill in for something I couldn’t find via google on getting a PL2303-based serial-USB adapter to work with linux…

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Installing Debian on a Dell Latitude X200

March 9th, 2003  |  Published in hardware, linux

UPDATE: more notes written recently

My new laptop arrived this week – a Dell Latitude x200. And it’s marvellous. Wonderfully lightweight, good battery life for such a small box, good keyboard and a really clear bright screen. After a quick look at Windows XP, which I’d never seen properly before, I set about installing Linux on it. The Linux on Laptops Dell page has links to some useful bootstrapping information, but there were a few things I found pretty hard to work out. Here are my notes on those things.

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Cron is my TiVo

January 20th, 2003  |  Published in hardware, linux

One thing I’d like to do with a silent PC is make a homebrew TiVo-alike. Well, I would if I watched any TV. Which I don’t. But still, the idea interests me beyond any use I’d actually make of it. Anyway…

In the past, this idea has been beyond my means since recording analogue TV to MPEG on a hard disk in realtime requires a great deal of CPU (or dedicated encoder hardware). The general availability of digital TV in the UK now means that the MPEG encoding is already done for you by the broadcasters; you just need a way to get it out of the airwaves or cables and into a PC. Happily, there’s now a range of cheap digital WinTV cards for cable, terrestrial and satellite. I’ve been checking out a NOVA-t (terrestrial) card on a linux box this week.

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Making a silent, tiny, diskless PC

January 7th, 2003  |  Published in hardware, linux

For a while I’ve wanted a home PC that I can leave on all the time without the noise bugging me – I’ve become quite sensitive to machine noise over years of working with computers. I’d use it to play MP3s off my network, then I’d think up other projects. It wouldn’t need a monitor or a keyboard. It would just sit attached to the network, appliance-style, in the manner of a slimp3 but with the flexibility of a full linux system. Now the off-the-shelf hardware I need to make such a thing is available.

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MAC-address logging/blocking for linux iptables

January 2nd, 2003  |  Published in hardware, linux, wireless

Here’s a little script I wrote that checks incoming wireless requests for a known MAC address. I’ve been using it on my Linux gateway/router/wireless-bridge.

If it doesn’t know you, it transparent-proxies all your outgoing port 80 traffic to the local webserver’s port 81, where you could put a redirect to a polite message or something.

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