Expanding the wireless network

I finally got my Linksys WRE54G wireless 802.11g repeater working with my WRT54G. This is nice because now I can use the laptop in the kitchen and study. It also forced me to do a firmware upgrade to my router, which seems to have fixed a few problems with losing connections. Happy surfing now!

But as I was saying, I finally got it working. The setup program was failing with a message: WRE54G cannot associate with this AP in repeater mode, so I put it in my closet for 6 months. This weekend I googled a bit, and found that the roundabout method works:

  1. Reset the repeater
  2. Set your wireless IP to, select the repeater network, and surf to, login as admin.
  3. In here you can set your SSID, frequency, security to match the current infrastructure. They should all be the same. (in the process of doing so, you may need to change your IP address back to whatever).
  4. The tricky part for me was the MAC address: my AP has three: one for the WAN, one for internal wired, and one for internal wireless. I mistakenly gave it the WAN MAC address the first time, and while I was able to connect to my repeater, it could not talk to the AP. After I corrected it to the one for the wireless MAC address, the red light on the repeater turned blue. Hallelujah!

DNS Slave Issues on Fedora

I recently updated one of my servers to Fedora Core 2, and one of its jobs is to provide DNS slave service. I could not for the life of me figure out why I was getting the following message when sending zone notifies:

Oct 11 17:11:44 saturn named[30297]: received notify for zone 'guyton.net': 
                not authoritative

The main problem was that I didn’t follow convention with ns records, so I fixed them up. Still nothing fixed, but I got things in better shape, theoretically.

It turns out that Fedora’s named runs chrooted to /var/named, even though there is an /etc/named.conf file. That’s misleading – you really need to edit the /var/named/chroot/etc/named.conf file. That in itself didn’t fix things, however:

Oct 11 21:45:47 saturn named[31267]: transfer of 'guyton.net/IN' from 
                failed while receiving responses: permission denied
Oct 11 21:45:47 saturn named[31267]: transfer of 'guyton.net/IN' from
                end of transfer

I had to chgrp named /var/named/chroot/var/named; chmod g+w ... so that the replicated zones could be written as the named user.

Problem solved, but it took some tinkering. I found a couple of other items that were improved upon in the process, so it was not a bad thing. I also softlinked /etc/named.conf to /var/named/chroot/etc/named.conf so that it would remain obvious.

Double-Network Linux Installation

Wow, Linux installations have come a long way in the past few years. I won’t dredge up the past, but the present certainly needs mentioning:

  • I downloaded Fedora Core 2 ISO images
  • I mounted them as loopback devices and dumped the contents all to one directory
  • I set up that directory for NFS export
  • I burned disc one for initial boot
  • I booted the new server with the CD with this command:
    linux vnc askmethod

    This did nothing at first, but eventually asked me the type of install I wanted – NFS to the server I had already set up.

  • Then the cool part – it started a VNC server on port 5901 for the gui choices.
  • I went downstairs to my laptop in front of the TV, grabbed an alcoholic beverege, and proceded to choose packages on my remote (wireless) network display.
  • Currently as I type, my remote display is telling me that the new server is pulling install files off the older server and installing Linux.

That’s so cool! I view my display over the network to the new server, which is pulling packages over the network from the NFS server.

For what it’s worth, it’s not a big box – just a 450 MHz P-II with 256 MB RAM. But it’s got two new 80 GB drives mirrored – nice again – the Linux install was able to do software RAID and LVM on everything.

I love being a geek.

Bluetooth Rocks

My car that I got last December is going to have a Bluetooth module so I can use the car microphone and speakers and buttons on the steering wheel to talk to people while the phone is still in my pocket.

Well, the car module is not available yet, but I went ahead and got the Motorola V600

The car module is still not available. I got tired of waiting, and just so I could play around with it, I got a USB Bluetooth module. It’s cool! I can transfer pictures I take without having to email them to myself (thus incurring charges from T-Mobile), and I can put files ON the phone – now my background is a nice high quality photo of Zachary.

OK, now the coolest part is that I can use the cell phone as a modem for my laptop and dial out to an ISP. No wires, cell phone within 30 feet, just a bluetooth dongle and drivers installed on the computer. This is cool because now I can support remote sites from work, which pretty much blocks outbound shell access.

I don’t have an ISP, but I want to get one of those thingies that can detect an incoming data vs fax vs voice call and route it appropriately. That way when I am on vacation I will still have dialup access anywhere I go. That’s the plan, anyway.