Saturday, November 30, 2013

BsidesDE, Project.Phree, and Amateur Radio

Security BSides Delaware 2013

Thanks Josh and Janice for hosting BsidesDE. (Janice does all the work)

Friday: Project.Phree talk. Another great job by BTS. Video.

This year also included a FREE wireless essentials training class. The class was taught by a team of world-class instructors including Mike Kershaw (drag0rn), author of the immensely popular Kismet wireless tool, Russell Handorf from the FBI Cyber Squad, and Rick Farina, lead developer for Pentoo. The class covered everything from wireless basics to software-defined radio hacking. An absolutely amazing class. (excerpted from:


First slide I remember from presentation: "BECOME A HAM"  You want to learn about wireless, become a ham.

Sunday morning, ordered this: BaoFeng UV-5R  and began to study for my Technician License.

Best advice ever. Hams are/were hackers. I guess ham clubs were the first hackerspaces. Natural fit for me.


Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Phree Wi-Fi

Thanks to the fine folks at Nonprofit Technology Resources Project.Phree now has a physical location, named Phree.Labs at 1522 Brandywine St. Phila, PA 19130.

We are currently working to get it ready for use. Painting etc. Stop by irc and check if we are there:

We've registered #project.phree on Freenode.
If you're new to IRC or wish to not install an IRC client, Freenode has a webchat client.

Amateur License - KC3BRA - Fisher, James G  Help in new window
  New Search Icon New Search   Refine Search Icon Refine Search   Return to Results Icon Return to Results    Printer Icon Printable Page    Reference Copy Icon Reference Copy

Call SignKC3BRA  Radio ServiceHA - Amateur
StatusActive Auth TypeRegular 
Grant11/27/2013 Expiration11/27/2023 

Let the games begin.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fosscon 2013

Another great Fosscon is now done. Thanks Jonathan and Crissi for all the hard work you do all year to make this event happen. I'd also like to thank all of the staff that assists with this event. Finally, I'd like to thank all that support and attend this local event.

The Ubuntu Local Community Team always sponsors an Installfest at Fosscon. This year, we had an open Installfest. Any distro that wanted, could represent themselves and be part of the Installfest.
Fedora stepped up to that challenge. Ben and his wife drove all the way from North Carolina to represent Fedora. They are wonderful people and wonderful advocates. It was a pleasure working with them.

The Installfest yielded 2 new installs and 1 issue resolution (performed by the Fedora Team). The 2 new installs came via NTR.

Many Ubuntu-Us-PA members, alumni and friends were among the attendees at Fosscon. Some were speakers.

Alumna Elizabeth Joseph was a speaker.

Member Brent Saner was a speaker.

Friend/Member by default, Walt Mankowski was a speaker.

Exhibitors and Sponsors entertained and informed all.

Even Sunday, the day after Fosscon, some met at Hive76 for an impromptu Hackfest.

Project.Phree,, and Ecere were represented at the Hackfest on Sunday.

Each year gets bigger and better. Help us keep this going.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy New Year

Xmas for me was an Eggbot. Cool gift. Fun build. Now to play with Inkscape more and print cool stuff.

Also have been wanting to build a multi-channel controller for Cindy's Xmas light display. Easy build, just never got around to it. Decided to just order some Power Tails and do it.
Unfortunately they didn't get here while her whole display was up. The nativity was down already, and of course, the infant Jesus was going to be the star.

The video was the 4 channel test. I then ordered a Teensy 2.0 for the
real build.

Here is the simple test build:

Good start to the New Year. 
Hope everyone has a healthy 2013 and we do some cool stuff.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hiveberry Pi!

Sunday, we had a little Linux meetup at Hive76. This is how it went:

Ben, and everyone, awesome *first* meeting. Welcome all newcomers to
Hive76, I really hope you come around to open houses and let the rest
of the members meet you!

While playing with the Rasberry Pi we did some stuff that was very
Linux'y, but did it rather quickly to get the Pi running.

I will recap some of the things we did, and break down how they apply
to using Linux in an everyday situation:

1) dd - we used to make a bit for bit copy of an iso to a card to boot the R pi.

2) Getting sound to work, we covered many things quickly:

     a) alsamixer - a sound control app for alsa   (it wasn't
installed in the distro), so you would    think: sudo apt-get install
alsamixer (for Debian based distros)

      BUT that returns E: Couldn't find package alsamixer

      WHY? because alsamixer is an app, part of a larger *package* of apps

      HOW TO FIND? (**Debian based distos**)
               i) apt-cache search alsamixer
              ii) apt-file   (has to be installed and updated;
contains all files available in repos for local
             iii) web based search of distro's packages

   b) Still no worky  *wonk wonk*  But why Mommy? So we tried aplay -l
 (which lists sound
       devices on system)

        1) returned nada zippo zero. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? It means
there is no module
            installed for the device

            HOW DO WE FIND module info? device info? *HELP* I'm drowning........

            i) module commands  - lsmod (list modules in use) modinfo
(list specific info for mod
                parameters, etc.) modprobe (install module) rmmod
(remove module)

            ii) device info - lshw (list hardware all) lsusb (list usb
devices) lspci (list pci devices) ETC
                *add* -v or more v's for more info (verbosity)
                Google - DDG - internet search  device and module info
can usually be found too.

   c) modprobe snd-bcm2835 (installs proper module)

   d) aplay -l again to see if it worked - SUCCESS

   e) alsamixer again to make sure nothing is muted - PCM must not be
muted and must be up
       (others too on different systems, but PCM is a big fail point)


   g) next boot, have to modprobe again or no sound or add module to
/etc/modules to have it
       install automagically at every boot.

WOW - we did all that - YEP, and most of it can be applied to any
device that isn't recognized automagically for your Debian based
system - wireless stuff - anything.

Happy Hacking!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Philly Tech Week Gala - Passion FTW

Friday night, Hive76 had a table in the Vendor area of the Philly Tech Week Gala at Moore College of Art and Design.

Big kudos to all involved in making Philly Tech Week happen, and making it great.

I am an event whore. I love getting out into the wild and promoting "Geek" to the masses; Linux, Electronics and all that falls in between.

Our table generated a ton of interest. I think that we stood out because most of the other vendors had standard, corporate style show booths, and booth people, that had to be at the booth. It was work; a job.

We, on the other hand, were at our vibrant, self-created table, showing things that we, or our friends, designed and brought to life. We wanted to be there. We want you to be there with us next year.

I think people could 'feel' the difference. Attendees could feel the passion that we had as we engaged them, and ignited their passions.

Hope to see some new visitors at Open Houses on Wednesday, stalking us on the mailings list, and grabbing the RSS of our site.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I finally setup an OpenVPN server. I use ssh and all it's glory but have known that a VPN would be good to have and a good experience also.

I used this Guide.

Note that bridging must be set up FIRST.

**Remember to which brctl and change the up and down scripts to reflect your location.

Remember to use tap and TCP.

In the client.conf I used the full paths to the certs:

ca /etc/openvpn/ca.crt
cert /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/1104.crt
key /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys/1104.key

Also install network-manager-openvpn to connect via network-manager

Import your client.conf file.

It should work.

If you have any problems increase verbosity on both sides and start to track the issues.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Global Jam!

First I would like to than Hive76 for hosting our event. The best hackerspace in Philadelphia.

A young man showed up first. He just came to see what he could do to help. Brought in a System76 laptop that he runs Mint on.

System Testing and Friendly Reports, as suggested by cprofitt, would be the route for newcomers that wanted to know how they could help.

I had burned cd's and made some Beta 1 usb sticks so we were ready.

Right about the time the System Testing was completed, attendee #2 came in.

After brief introductions, it became apparent that he wanted to work on the biggest bug of all, and we were more than glad to assist. The third attendee arrived just to watch. The fourth attendee, Peejay from Hive76, did some System Testing with his laptop.

After we completed the new install, a little training session ensued. I was more than willing to help, especially after he said, "I really want to learn the command line stuff."

The final 3 hours were Linux Bootcamp. I had a blast (always do). Met new people. Linux people.

I realized that we need to go back to basics to keep attracting people to try Ubuntu. The attendee came in with 2 Ubuntu distros that he runs off of live usb stick. He had been doing so for a while. He was a little unsure of how to install on his hard drive; so he didn't. He took the opportunity of this event to have it done with others around.

We have come so far, especially with the ease of installation that we have disregarded the totally new. Well, at least around here. Heck, it's been 4 or 5 years since we've had a proper installfest.

Thank you all for reminding me of stuff I take for granted.

Even better; later that night they were in IRC.

Next up: Release Party, followed by an LTS Installfest.