Vegard Skjefstad

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Tag: Gadgets (page 1 of 8)

How To Install OpenWrt on a Linksys WRT1900ACS

This post will guide you through an OpenWrt Linksys WRT1900ACS installation. It’ll show you how to install OpenWrt on a WRT1900ACS running the stock Linksys firmware.

This summer, the OpenWrt project released OpenWrt 18.06.0. This is the first released since LEDE and OpenWrt merged, and what a nice release it is. The changelog is overflowing with all kinds of changes you want. This guide is based on a WRT1900ACS running version 2.0.2.188405, so your mileage may vary. If you have a router with another version of the Linksys firmware, the user interface might look a little different, but the guide should still provide you with enough information to get OpenWrt installed.

Understand this: Always flash firmware using a wired connection, never via WiFi. Failure to adhere to this substantially increase the probability you will brick your router. I’ve only included instructions for flashing via an Ethernet cable below. If you chose to use a wireless connection instead, you’re on your own.

Warning: Flashing third party firmware will void your warranty. I will not be held responsible if anything goes wrong. Flashing a device’s firmware is always a risky operation, especially when you’re dealing with custom, unofficial firmware. By following this amateurish guide you understand that you might end up with a brick – a useless piece of hardware.

Flashing a router with third party firmware isn’t a trivial thing to do, even with the help of this step-by-step guide. Make sure you read through the entire guide at least twice before you start so you get an overview of the steps.

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How To Install LEDE on a Linksys WRT1900ACS

This post will guide you through a LEDE Linksys WRT1900ACS installation. It’ll show you how to install LEDE on a WRT1900ACS fresh out of the box.

Update 2018-08-12: Since this post was published, the LEDE project and OpenWrt has merged. The LEDE project firmware is no longer maintained, but a new version of OpenWrt that contains everything from the LEDE firmware has been released. I’ve written a guide describing how to install OpenWrt on a Linksys WRT19000ACS router. You should use that guide instead of the information below.
Understand this: Always flash firmware using a wired connection, never via WiFi. Failure to adhere to this substantially increase the probability you will brick your router. I’ve only included instructions for flashing via an Ethernet below. If you chose to use a wireless connection instead, you’re on your own.
Warning: Flashing third party firmware will void your warranty. I will not be held responsible if anything goes wrong. Flashing a device’s firmware is always a risky operation, especially when you’re dealing with custom, unofficial firmware. By following this amateurish guide you understand that you might end up with a brick – a useless piece of hardware.

Flashing a router with third party firmware isn’t a trivial thing to do, even with the help of this step-by-step guide. Make sure you read through the entire guide at least twice before you start so you get an overview of the steps.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

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Finding the Best Router for OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE

Let’s find the best router for OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE.

OpenWrt, DD-WRT and LEDE are all Linux-based, custom firmware for your router. They give you a whole lot more features than your average stock router firmware, and they are more often than not better maintained than the firmware provided by the router vendor. From what I can see, OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE have enough in common that if one of them works well on a router, it’s a fair chance it’ll also work on the other two. OpenWrt and LEDE, in particular, have a lot in common. LEDE is an OpenWrt fork that was started because of internal disagreements among the OpenWrt members. Now they’re all friends again, and LEDE and OpenWrt will merge again soonTM, using the more actively maintained LEDE code base, and keeping the well-known OpenWrt brand.

But what router works best with third party firmware? It’s not easy to figure out. All three projects support, to various degree, a large number of routers, from a wide range of vendors. But some routers are better supported than others, in particular when it comes to WiFi support. The reason for this is that router vendors use different WLAN chipsets in their routers. How easy it is to obtain drivers for the different hardware varies, with Broadcom in particular being a hard nut to crack.

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The Smartwatch Hunt

My Pebble Steel smartwatch is quickly heading for retirement. Is there a proper replacement out there?

The watch has been with me for about three years now. It’s starting to show signs of wear. The battery life is slowly decreasing, and just last week, the screen began to suffer from static lines and artifacts. The latter problem is something that has troubled quite a few Pebble owners.

When I first bought the Pebble, I was sure I’d use it for a lot of different thing. But in the end, I’ve mainly used it for viewing notifications, checking my calendar, and – surprise, surprise – as an actual clock. Notifications are a massive time saver when the phone is in my bag, pocket, or stowed away somewhere else. The calendar extremely convenient whenever I’m on my way to a meeting, my phone is at my desk, and I can’t remember in what room the meeting is. And that happens surprisingly often. The battery life is also excellent, at least compared to your average smart phone, and most other smartwatches. Fresh out of the box, the Pebble Steel managed a good 7 days on one charge. Now it’s down to 5, which is still more than most other smartwatches.

Lately, I’ve also been looking at getting an activity tracker. It’s not features that I really need, but I’m a sucker for statistics and graphs. And let’s be honest: I don’t need a smart phone in the first place, either.

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Samsung Galaxy S7: The Yeas and Nays

Yesterday morning, my LG G4 decided to call it quits. In what would probably be described by the casual observer as a pretty desperate chain of actions, I had purchased a replacement a mere four hours later. The hasty choice fell on a Samsung Galaxy S7.

I’d only used the the now defective G4 for less than a year, but demanding a new phone from the store was never a realistic option. I voided the warranty within hours of purchasing it by installing a custom ROM, CyanogenMod. Voiding the warranty is something we nerds do, not only with cell phones, but pretty much everything that runs on electricity. It’s a risk, but definitely worth it. Tinkering like that has taught me a lot about how stuff works – and the importance of making frequent backups.

There’s usually a lot of research involved whenever I set out to purchase something. We’re talking days or weeks of poking around on the internet, reading reviews, guides and whatever else I come across that might be relevant. But this time I was in a hurry because I’ve simply grown too used to having the phone. It’s my public transportation ticket, my music library, my books, my news source, and the main reason I survive the two hours I spend commuting every day.

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S7 for about a day now. What’s the first impression like? Should I have gathered all my mental strength and commuted without listening to music for a couple of days, and done some proper research instead? Here’s a quick list of the phone’s most obvious pros and cons:

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