Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ddwrt repeater wds-like

Dynamically Repeat and Broadcast the Strongest Wireless Networking Signal

“I don’t have Internet access at home.” What a terrible thing to hear! It is so sad when people tell me that the only way they check their email is by visiting public, community-sponsored, unprotected venues like the library. Internet access is almost as essential as utilities. When my sister informed me that she didn’t subscribe to Internet in her apartment complex because it was too expensive, I compared that to having no running water at home. Its like she hasn’t bathed since she moved in!

Taking pity, I set out to solve her dilemma. Luckily, the great thing about living in an apartment complex is that you are usually surrounded by a neighborhood of trusting technology dummies. At least 5 open wireless signals will abound everywhere ... except where you need them the most, in your room. The only place that I could detect a signal was next to the kitchen window. Sadly, it would be too cluttered (and too trashy) to move the computer in the kitchen. However, we could bring the Internet connection to us in the computer room.

"The Little Router That Could" – Tillie on Steroids (Hacked Firmware)

Enter DD-WRT. The release of the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router was a milestone in the computer and networking underworld. When a couple of hackers reverse-engineered the firmware, they were pleasantly surprised to discover that the router was actually running on open-source Linux! With that in mind, a barrage of unofficial router firmware filled the open-source community.


Each variation of the firmware enabled new features, turning the $60 piece of home networking equipment into a very capable network server/router very well worth $600! Options and preferences that you thought were not possible began to appear in the router’s configuration GUI. A couple of talented programmers added functions like antenna power amplification, wireless distribution system, RADIUS server, overclocking, file server, VPN server/client (PPTP, OpenVPN, or SSH), public hotspot portal/gateway, and graphical statistics. Who knew a router with a 200 mhz processor could be such a powerhouse? It's like "The Little Engine that Could."

DD-WRT is just one of the many alternative firmware available that boasts these features. I use this particular firmware because it is most updated and it commands the most community support.

Virtual Wireless Interfaces

One of those "impossible" features mentioned above was the creation of virtual interfaces. With any normal wireless networking piece of equipment, you have one chipset dedicated to a specific role, either client (managed) or server (AP infrastructure). The advent of customizable, Linux-based firmware enabled one chipset to perform both roles at the same time by creating a virtual chipset (interface). DD-WRT allows up to 16 virtual interfaces!

Why does this even matter? The router can establish communication with another access point while, at the same time, the virtual interface shares that connection with WiFi clients on the same channel but a different SSID. These interfaces can even be customized with different encryption schemes. The host AP might require WEP but when you rebroadcast the signal under a different SSID, you can use WPA TKIP/AES. Essentially, the router becomes a repeater.

AutoAP + DD-WRT = Dynamic Wireless Network Repeater

However, DD-WRT by itself is not the solution to my dead-signal problems. The signal quality of the 5 wireless ESSIDs is very intermittent. Sometimes, one is stronger than the other. I want the strongest one repeated by the router. AutoAP is an optional add-on to the DD-WRT firmware. This script dynamically connects to the strongest network available. Therefore, if one AP suddenly dies on me, AutoAP connects to the strongest one and DD-WRT repeats the signal to the entire apartment! AutoAP allows me to plug in the router, wait a minute for initialization, and voila! I can start surfing the Internet via the repeater's SSID almost immediately!

Install and Setup Instructions for Dynamic Wireless Repeater Scheme

Only one configuration is necessary at the beginning. Generally, the router automates everything after the initial setup. DD-WRT and AutoAP, together, literally enable plug-and-play functionality!

Choose Your Weapon (Router) Carefully

First things first, get the right equipment. There is really no point in trying this if you don’t own a router that is fully compatible with DD-WRT and AutoAP. Although the open-source firmware was initially designed for the Linksys WRT54G(x) series, compatibility extended to other makes and models. See the Supported Devices page on the DD-WRT Wiki site for more details.

ddwrt_router.jpgMy original router was a WRT54G version 1.1. Sadly, I bricked it last week. So, I had to buy another one. I set my eyes on the Buffalo WHR-G54S ($30 at CircuitCity) since it was the cheapest. I couldn't complain when I discovered that the makers of DD-WRT recommended that particular model the most.

If you decide to go with a different router, get one with a detachable antenna. Nothing is worse than an internal antenna limiting you from achieving better signal range. I mean, you can only increase the antenna power so much until you deteriorate the signal quality, microwave yourself to Leukemia, or plain fry your chipset.

Flash Me!

The next thing you need to do is flash the router with the new firmware. Download the latest cutting-edge version. I used the Version 24 Beta released on 05-10-07. The DD-WRT installation guide can better guide you on flashing the firmware. My only precaution is that if you are doing this for the first time, when the directions say "wait," you wait extra long. It would be completely tragic if you actually performed a successful flash but bricked your router when you reset it during the firmware’s first initialization.

Basic DD-WRT Configuration

  1. In the "Basic Setup" tab, change the router’s local IP address to an obscure subnet that will definitely not conflict with any other network AutoAP connects to. Try if you can’t think of one. Who uses that?
  2. Disable the firewall under the "Security Tab."
  3. Next, visit the "Wireless" "Basic Settings" tab. Under "Physical Interface wl0," it should be running in "Repeater" mode on the "Auto" channel and "Bridged" networking configuration. Leave the SSID field blank as AutoAP will later dynamically fill this field as it finds a new network.
  4. Add a virtual interface. Fill the SSID field with your desired network name. This interface will be the repeater on the network. Make sure "AP Isolation" is disabled and "Network Configuration" is set to "Bridged."


AutoAP Script Installation

Now, its time to install AutoAP! First, you'll need to unprotect your home wireless network so that the DD-WRT router can download the AutoAP script. You will also need the open network to verify and test your setup scheme. Don't worry, it will only be about 15 minutes depending on how quickly you can get this running. One hour tops, I promise. :)

Go to the "Command" tab under "Administration." "Save Startup" these commands:

  1. nvram set wl_ssid=""
  2. `cd /tmp; until [ 2 = 1 ];do /bin/sleep 30;
  3. /usr/bin/wget;
  4. chmod 777 ./;./;done` &

When you "Save Startup," you are saving commands that the router will run each time it boots. Basically, on line one, the router will connect to any open wireless network. On lines two and three, the router saves the AutoAP script to a temporary directory. And on line 4, the router installs and runs the script.

The Moment of Truth

Reboot the router and check the AutoAP log (http://RouterIP/user/autoap.htm) after a minute to see if it was installed correctly. If the log appears, try to connect to Google. If that is successful, unplug your Ethernet cable from the DD-WRT router and try connecting to the virtual interface SSID that you specified earlier. Try connecting to Google one more time. If that is successful, congratulations! It works!

Tweaks and Additional Configuration

Now, you can resecure your home wireless network and tweak the setup. Optionally, you can visit the "Wireless Security" tab and configure a wireless encryption for your virtual repeater interface. You can also visit "Advanced" settings and increase the "Xmit Power." Try 100 but don’t go beyond 200!


Check the AutoAP Wiki for specifics on advanced configuration. But really, it should work out-of-the-box. Just a helpful tip, I would never "nvram commit." I like the variables easily viewable and changeable. Instead, I save my nvram variables in the "Save Startup" without "nvram commit." I save them with the installation code. This assures that I will always have the latest version of AutoAP. If download of the script is unsuccessful no changes will be made. The router will only retain what AutoAP version is in the memory.

Backup, Backup, Backup

Again, if you've advanced this far, congratulations! It's easy street, all downhill from hereon. There should be no more hassles and headaches. Now, it is only a mater of plug-and-play. Once everything is perfect and your tweaks are lined up in a row, I encourage you to backup your configuration in the "Administration" tab. Who knows? Maybe a freak accident in the future will destroy your hard work.

Closing Remarks

Until the my sister can actually afford her own Internet access, she can just turn on the router in kitchen, wait a minute, and start surfing many rooms away on the premises. The beauty of this setup is that it will work anywhere you go. If you want to extend another wireless signal at school, just do the same thing.

Whether your configuration is successful or not, I highly recommend the wikis and forums on Universal Wireless Repeater and AutoAP. Other than this article, if you have any problems or if you get stuck, these are great references. If anything, feel free to just leave a comment on this post and I'll see if I can help you.

Good Luck!

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posted by u2r2h at Wednesday, March 31, 2010 0 comments

Friday, March 19, 2010

FALSE History of the middle finger

FALSE History of the middle finger

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory
over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured
English soldiers. Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw
the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of
fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native
English Yew tree, and the act of drawing the longbow was known as 'plucking
the yew' (or 'pluck yew').

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and
began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated
French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew! Since 'pluck yew' is rather
difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has
gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F', and thus the words often
used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute! It is also because of the
pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic
gesture is known as 'giving the bird.'

Pluck Yew

Claim: The 'middle finger salute' is derived from the
defiant gestures of English archers whose fingers had
been severed by the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

Status: False.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1999]

The 'Car Talk' show (on NPR) with Click and Clack, the
Tappet Brothers have a feature called the 'Puzzler', and
their most recent 'Puzzler' was about the Battle of
Agincourt. The French, who were overwhelmingly favored
to win the battle, threatened to cut a certain body part
off of all captured English soldiers so that they could
never fight again. The English won in a major upset and
waved the body part in question at the French in
defiance. The puzzler was: What was this body part? This
is the answer submitted by a listener:

Dear Click and Clack, Thank you for the Agincourt
'Puzzler', which clears up some profound questions of
etymology, folklore and emotional symbolism. The body
part which the French proposed to cut off of the English
after defeating them was, of course, the middle finger,
without which it is impossible to draw the renowned
English longbow.

This famous weapon was made of the native English yew
tree, and so the act of drawing the longbow was known as
"plucking yew".

Thus, when the victorious English waved their middle
fingers at the defeated French, they said, "See, we can
still pluck yew! PLUCK YEW!"

Over the years some 'folk etymologies' have grown up
around this symbolic gesture. Since 'pluck yew' is
rather difficult to say (like "pleasant mother pheasant
plucker", which is who you had to go to for the feathers
used on the arrows), the difficult consonant cluster at
the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodental
fricative 'f', and thus the words often used in
conjunction with the one-finger-salute are mistakenly
thought to have something to do with an intimate
encounter. It is also because of the pheasant feathers
on the arrows that the symbolic gesture is known as
"giving the bird".

And yew all thought yew knew everything!

Origins: The piece quoted above is silly, and so
obviously a joke that shouldn't need any debunking.
Nonetheless, so many have forwarded it to us accompanied
by an "Is this true?" query that we feel duty-bound to
provide a bit of historical and linguistic information
to demonstrate why this story couldn't possibly be true.

First of all, despite the lack of motion pictures and
television way back in the 15th century, the details of
medieval battles such as the one at Agincourt in 1415
did not go unrecorded. Battles were observed and
[Image]chronicled by heralds who were present at the
scene and recorded what they saw, judged who won, and
fixed names for the battles. These heralds were not part
of the participating armies, but were, as military
expert John Keegan describes, members of an
"international corporation of experts who regulated
civilized warfare." Several heralds -- both French and
English -- were present at the battle of Agincourt, and
not one of them (or any later chroniclers of Agincourt)
mentioned anything about the French having cut off the
fingers of captured English bowman.

Secondly, for a variety of reasons, it made no military
sense whatsoever for the French to capture English
archers, then mutilate them by cutting off their
fingers. Medieval warriors did not take prisoners
because they were observing a moral code that dictated
that opponents who laid down their arms and ceased
fighting must be treated humanely; they took prisoners
because high-ranking captives were valuable property
that could be ransomed for money. The ransoming of
prisoners was the only way for medieval soldiers to make
a quick fortune, and so they seized every available
opportunity to capture opponents who could be exchanged
for a handsome price.

Bowman were not valuable prisoners, though; they stood
outside the chivalric system and were considered the
social inferiors of men-at-arms. There was no monetary
reward to be obtained by capturing them, nor was there
any glory to be won by defeating them in battle. As
Keegan wrote, "To meet a similarly equipped opponent was
the occasion for which the armoured soldier trained
perhaps every day of his life from the onset of manhood.
To meet and beat him was a triumph, the highest form
which self-expression could take in the medieval
nobleman's way of life." Archers were not the "similarly
equipped" opponents that armored soldiers triumphed in
defeating; if the two clashed in combat, the armored
soldier would either kill an archer outright or leave
him to bleed to death rather than go to the wasteful
effort of taking him prisoner.

Moreover, if archers could be ransomed, then cutting off
their middle fingers would be a senseless move. Your
opponent is not going to pay you (or pay you much) for
the return of mutilated soldiers, so now what do you do
with them? Take on the burden and expense of caring for
them? Kill them outright and violate the medieval moral
code of civilized warfare? (Henry V was heavily
criticized for supposedly having ordered the execution
of French prisoners at Agincourt.)

Even if killing prisoners of war did not violate the
moral code of the times, what would be the purpose of
cutting off fingers and then executing these same
people? Why not simply kill them outright in the first
place? Do you return these prisoners to your opponents
in exchange for nothing, thereby providing them with
trained soldiers who can fight against you another day?
(Even if archers whose middle fingers had been amputated
could no longer effectively use their bows, they were
still capable of wielding mallets, battleaxes, swords,
lances, daggers, maces, and other weapons, as archers
typically did -- and as they indeed did at Agincourt --
when the opponents closed ranks with them and the
fighting became hand-to-hand.)

So much for history. There's not much that makes
linguistic sense here, either. The claim that the
"difficult consonant cluster at the beginning" of the
phase 'pluck yew' has "gradually changed to a
labiodental fricative 'f'" is specious. A labiodental
fricative was no less "difficult" for Middle English
speakers to pronounce than the aspirated bilabial
stop/voiceless lateral combination of 'pl' that the
fricative supposedly changed into, nor are there any
other examples of such a shift occurring in English. As
well, the etymology of the word 'fuck' indicates that
the word originated in a completely different time,
place, and manner than the absurd version presented
here. And on top of all that, the insulting gesture of
extending one's middle finger (digitus impudicus in
Latin) dates from Roman times (at least 2,000 years
ago), so it obviously was not developed in conjunction
with the creation of the English word 'fuck.'"

Last but certainly not least, wouldn't these insolent
archers have been bragging about plucking the bow's
string, and not the wood of the bow itself?

Barbara "bowfinger" Mikkelson

Last updated: 9 July 2007

Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2010 by Barbara and
David P. Mikkelson. This material may not be reproduced
without permission. snopes and the logo are
registered service marks of Sources Sources:

Axtell, Roger E. Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of
Body Language Around the World. New York: John Wiley &
Sons, 1991 ISBN 0-471-53672-5 (pp. 33-35).

Keegan, John. The Face of Battle. New York:
Penguin Books, 1978 ISBN 0-140-04897-9 (pp. 78-116).

Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of
Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992
ISBN 0-19-282916-5 (p. 454.

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posted by u2r2h at Friday, March 19, 2010 0 comments