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.

Continue reading "Finding the Best Router for OpenWrt, DD-WRT, and LEDE."

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.

Continue reading "The Smartwatch Hunt."

I Love You, Revo SuperConnect!

Over the years I’ve reviewed a lot of stuff. It’s been mostly movies, books, and computer games, but also the occasional piece of hardware. My lowest ever score of exactly 0 was awarded to a pair of Scullcandy Uprock headphones. They are the worst piece of shit headphones ever made. Now the time has come to have a look at what might be the best piece of hardware ever made: The Revo SuperConnect.

I’m in charge of making dinner for the family, and thus spend some time in the kitchen. The radio is usually on, but the selection of radio stations in Norway isn’t exactly massive. The internet, however, has an almost endless collection of radio stations covering every imaginary genre. To take advantage of this massive smörgåsbord of beautiful audio waves, I started looking for an internet radio a while ago. The Logitech Squeezebox seemed like a good option, but the product was discontinued in 2012.

Then I came across the Revo SuperConnect. Designed and developed by the Scottish company Revo, the SuperConnect is a radio that combines an impressive range of features and connectivity options into a stunning looking hardware package.

Continue reading "I Love You, Revo SuperConnect!"

Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset.

I started 2016 with writing a couple of posts about virtual reality (VR), and the Oculus Rift. It’s only apt, then, that I leave the year with a piece about another VR headset, the Samsung Gear VR.

My romance with the Oculus Rift DK1 back in January was short. It turned out that the headset wasn’t compatible with my 6 year old gaming rig, and my life-long dream of flying through space looking like a complete idiot had a near-terminal blow. The dream was completely shattered when Oculus announced the retail price of their first consumer version of their Rift headset. The device was made available for pre-order at $599, which was quite a lot more than the company had previously hinted at. There was no way I could muster the money for both a new gaming PC and a VR headset.

Now, that an advanced VR headset is ridiculously expensive shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. After all, they are packed with quite a lot of science fiction-esque technology. It is possible, though, to get a VR experience of sorts on a very low budget. Google’s Cardboard is a $15 cardboard box you put your cell phone in. I haven’t tried the box myself, but I’ve got a hunch it’s not exactly spectacular.

Continue reading "Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset."

PoisonTap – The $5 Tool That Steals All Your Stuff.

A while back I wrote about the WiFi Pineapple, a wonderful little device that can be used to “audit”1 wireless networks. The device makes it surprisingly easy to act as Man in the Middle (MitM), a technique used by hackers to effectively steal all your passwords and credit card numbers. The cheapest version of the WiFi Pineapple, the Nano, costs just shy of $100. Not a lot of money, but it’s a bit too much for me to spend on a device that can’t be used for anything cool without breaking more laws than I can count. But now there’s a new toy available that does many of the same things as the WiFi Pineapple: PoisonTap.

Price tag? Around $5.

PoisonTap also plays the role as the MitM, but there’s a big difference. While the WiFi Pineapple hijacks wireless networks, PoisonTap needs physical access to the computer you wish to audit. Because of that, it’s easy to dismiss PoisonTap as pretty useless. It’s hard to get physical access to an unattended computer, isn’t it? No, it’s not. If you’re working in an office environment, simply take a look around you at lunch time. And if you have access to a conference center or a hotel, take a look inside. I bet you can find an unattended computer within minutes.

Another reason you might dismiss PoisonTap as worthless, is the size of the delivery vehicle. The version of PoisonTap demoed by its creator, Samy Kamkar, runs on a Raspberry Pi Zero. While the Zero is small, it’s not exactly invisible, and not hard to spot. But the PosionTap software doesn’t have to run on a Raspberry Pi, it’s possible to install it on even smaller computers. Both LANTurtle or USB Armory are viable options. Not too easy to spot one of those connected to the back of the workstation tucked under your desk, is it?

On top of that, the PosionTap doesn’t have to be connected for long. Just leave it plugged in for a minute or two, then pull it out, and walk away. The target computer is now infected, and a persistent backdoor has been installed.

Continue reading "PoisonTap – The $5 Tool That Steals All Your Stuff."