Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   semi-virtual equivalent of the Stick Trail
Sunday, December 12 2004
Let's say a local internet provider was providing broadband internet to one of your neighbors and you were able to connect to their wireless network because it had been left completely open and you'd obtained a device that allowed you to bridge that network wirelessly to your own. Let's say that their broadband provider actually did get around to changing their router's password to something other than the default, but then you guessed it anyway because the password they'd changed it to was perhaps the most obvious and readily-known difference between one customer and the next. Let's say that the router turned out to be a Linksys WRT54G, which runs a form a Linux.

Let me just add here that several replacement firmwares have been developed for this router, and one of these allows users to increase transmit power by 900%, run the router with more robust routing logic, and even get shell access. (One day we'll all have shell access to our cars and coffee makers, but for now it's just to our routers, DVRs, and some of our computers.) developed the firmware and offers it under a suspect version of the GNU general license, but you can download your own copy here.

If you were as network obsessed as me, what would you do? Would you reflash the firmware of the neighbor's router, even if you weren't entirely sure what would happen or whether you were going to render it inoperable? What if the reflash was successful, would you then kick up its broadcast power by 900% and then go under the cover of night on a range test with your laptop? Wouldn't it be just like discovering you had taken the controls of a probe in deep space? It would be physically inaccessible yet under your complete control and having powers to directly affect your computational environment. It would be like a semi-virtual equivalent of the Stick Trail, a logical and semi-physical passageway through the territory of others that takes direction from no one but you, because you're the only one who knows or cares that it exists or has capabilities at all.

This evening I was stumbling thorough the bushes and puddles in the field of one our neighbors, laptop in hand, trying to determine the range of a number of known wireless access points. And then it happened; suddenly I saw a completely unknown access point registered in my site survey. Whose could that be? Unfortunately, the signal was too weak to lock onto for more than a few fleeting seconds, and by this point my feet were cold and wet from having stepped in one of the infamous puddles of December (there are no puddles in January).

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