Taghack

Hackathon

Hey YEG, that was a pretty cool open data Hackathon. The potentials demonstrated by the participants in that room had me shivering with excitement. So many useful and brilliantly simple ideas.  The future is bright.

Need some evidence of the potentials of open data? I recommend starting with Jennifer Pahlka’s TED talk on Code for America.

“…platform for people to help themselves and help others.”


At Saturday’s Hackaton, I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people, super-geeks. I appreciate techs that seem to be almost immune to any technological aversion.

So, back to Saturday’s event…

While at the all-day hacking festival, something was shared with me… and it’s only just now hitting me.

We love this open data. It’s great and more and more of this public/government data is becoming open and available for everyone to plug into.

However, I was told what happens whenever one of these independent volunteers comes up with a great way to present and grant access  to these goldmines of information: The government responds by rebuilding the information tool internally, themselves. This results in the indie project being unsupported, and fading away, unfunded and unappreciated. There’s something about this that doesn’t make sense to me.

It’s not really about “fairness”. It’s about failing to recognize that the idea came from a method. Ideas like this usually grow from a fertile garden of even MORE ideas. It’s about encouraging this open data culture, speeding it’s development.

trystal

Finally, just wanted to highlight Trystal.net, which is based on the speedy node.js, this text editor is… well…  how does one glorify a text editor? Well, after playing around with it for a bit, I’m pretty excited about the direction it’s going. Document writing in a more procedural fashion. No more scrolling through pages of documents and re-organizing content is super simple with tried and tested keyboard shortcuts. Super efficient document creation / conversion. Looking forward to seeing where Terry takes this.

Don’t take my word for it.  If you are feeling adventurous, create yourself an account and Open file -> my files -> home … then play around a bit after reading some of the docs. It won’t take more than a few minutes to get comfy with this way of document creation.

Linksys WRT54G Router as Wireless Bridge

DD-WRT_speedTestResults

With 2 desktop computers and 2 laptops with another desktop being added to the mix, I felt it was time to cut down on these wireless signals. My motivation is part security and part efficiency… with a dash of paranoia.

While looking through old electrical gear, I found a Linksys WRT54G v8 wireless router. Bells started ringing in my head.

I remembered reading an article on some custom firmware that allowed for routers to be turned into repeaters or a wireless bridge. When I looked it up, it turns out that the Linksys WRT54G v8 was a perfect candidate for this DD-WRT firmware.

There’s a few Youtube videos out there that will help you through the process, which seems intimidating, but really isn’t that complex. And for those preferring an text & image based tutorial there’s the bridge article by WIFI Planet.

For my particular router (the v8), I only needed to:

1. Download the files from the DD-WRT Router Database (for the heck of it, grab em all). http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database
2. In the admin panel of my Linksys router apply the vxworkskiller firmware. After applying this firmware, your router can only be accessed from a computer via a static IP and FTP.
3. Used the included tftp.exe file to upload the micro_generic firmware to my router.
4. Rebooted the router again and then inside the newly installed DD-WRT firmware, I followed these instructions to set it up as a wireless bridge. http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Bridged

Besides the speed benefits, I also have a little more security as I can just unplug a single device and all my computers are immediately taken offline. Also going to rest a little easier knowing I don’t have a half dozen wireless signals traveling through my body all night long.

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