31 Jan

World’s Fastest Endian


Ok.  Here’s a key note for Endian Community Firewall 2.1:  It blows up without any particular error information unless you have everything just so.  It gives you a “Error:  Could not install packages.”

And then prompts for a reboot.

Packages?  What packages?  Give me a hint, willya?  BTW, it happens on both the 2.1 and 2.0 respin editions, and maybe others.  Here’s what I was able to determine:

I had turned off the Serial and Parallel ports in the CMOS setup.  Evidently, it will not load without these.  Further, it won’t even load with them unless you use the command nousborpcmcia (No USB or PCMCIA) at the Endian CD boot screen.  If you forget that little item, it will crash with memory registers splattered all across the screen in 80 column mode.


But I have the measure now.  We’ll see what happens next.

30 Jan

Firewalls and Old Stuff

Check out http://www.endian.it

I will be testing this firewall distro over the next few months.  It appears to be feature rich and able to replace my widdle belkin router at home, now that my WatchGuard 700 has died the death.  I’m hoping that WatchGuard will send me an old motherboard or an EEPROM (which is what I think is the problem), but there will be no breath-holding. 

Inside the Firebox is simply a small format custom PC board with a socket 7.  Mine has a 233MHz AMD K6-2 proc and a a 64MB SODIMM (like a laptop) that appears to be PC100.  We have another Firebox 700 at the office that is out-of-warranty, so I swapped all the parts I could, including the power supply, to no avail.  Has to be the motherboard or the software image. 

In other word, unless WatchGuard takes pity on poor me, it’s dead, Jim.

So, I’ll build an Endian FW from spare parts.  From what I can gather…or at least as far as I care , the group that started Smoothwall on SourceForge splintered in to several parts, from whence arose m0n0wall and IPCop.  And then (maybe?) the IPCop group split and started Endian.

In any case, my primary need is a true deep-packet inspection firewall, not a silly NAT-based obfuscation (like a Belkin or Linksys consumer router).  Endian seems to provide that, along with some IDS, some filtering, and proxy services.  I’ll let ya know.

Oh, and I posted three music files I found on the downloads page.  Talk about a blast from the past.  One of them, at least, been hanging around various hard drives and backup CDs for almost 10 years!

Ask a Ninja!

10 Jan

Pop-Filters on the Cheap

Well, I’m loving getting back into sound.  However, not being a single kid any more, I can’t just go out and blow my paycheck like I once did.  My family is in the habit of eating.   Therefore, in the building of my studio, I have to cut corners…for now.  SO, I made my own pop-filters for about $1.50 money-wise and 5 minutes of time.
They are permanent enough not to be a hassle, but can be replaced
whenever I am able to do better.

For the uninitiated, a pop-filter is just a screen of some sort between a vocalist and a microphone.  It slows down the air leaving the lungs just enough to cut down or eliminate plosives (“p-pops”) and excess sibilance (“s” sounds) in a recording.  Most dynamic microphones have a minimal filter built in, but a condenser mike, such as would be used to capture high-quality, high-definition vocals in a studio does not.  Get it? 🙂

I have a couple of pretty good microphones now, but didn’t have the money to purchase some cool professional pop-filters from a retailer like this:


It is simple enough–I won’t bother doing a huge guide on it.  Get a needle-point hoop from a sewing supply store or Walmart or what-have-you.  I went to Joann’s Fabrics and paid $1.42 each.  Grab some plyers, some ladies’ stockings, a few zip ties, and a short length of 10 (ish, your choice) gauge copper wire.  For the wire, I had some left over from building the house.


Take apart the hoop.


And put the smaller ring all the way to the toe of the stocking.  Take a moment to get the seam straight on the side of the ring (so it doesn’t show–you don’t want this to look STUPID, do you!?!?!?)


Tie a knot and pull it tight.


Cut off the excess.


And place the top ring over it, putting the knot in the split.  Don’t tighten it down just yet.


Bend a hook in the end of the copper wire.


Place it around the tightening screw and smash the hook as closed as possible…not crazy, just a bit.  Now tighten down the screw.  Since we used 10-gauge wire, it clamps it in there nicely.  A higher gauge might not be thick enough.


Model it to the mic stand, but put a “U” shaped bend in the end.  That way it will be easier to hold in place with the zips.


And literally, two or three zip ties will be all it takes.


Best part, I can replace the stocking if needed, or nip the ties completely and throw the whole thing away when the time comes.  If you look around a bit with Google you can find some more elaborate plans for this kind of thing–it certainly isn’t original from me.  HOWEVER, I think this is about as simple as it gets (without employing a wire hanger and duct tape).


OH yeah, check out www.wcsaga.com, I will probably be posting about it in more detail.  Later.