Thursday, September 24, 2009

Carrying Case for Lots of USB Devices

I carry with me a bunch of little devices that do different, necessary at specific times, things. I've tried lots of different contraptions and cases trying to get 'just right'. Lately I've been using some cosmetic bags (don't laugh - since they are see-through, they get through TSA security at the airport easier)

But it wasn't 'just right' - So I decided to design up my own solution. I made a pattern out of paper, dummied up a cardboard version, then asked a nice neighbor lady who has sewing skills to make me one. I even went to the fabric store and crafts stores to get the components. (that was almost more embarrassing than buying the cosmetic bags)

Here is the result.
It allows me to carry lots of USB devices all at the same time. Folds right up, and velcros shut so everything stays copacetic in my shipping cases during transport. In class, or on a client's site, I just whip this out and all my tools are ready and waiting to go!

I've already got the seamstress working on a couple more. Then on to getting ones designed to hold all the PCMCIA cards I carry as well.

Here's a list of what is in the current USB Case:

- CACE Technologies -
AirPcap Nx 802.11n Packet Capture
- PowerDsine -
Power over Ethernet test tool
- CACE Technologies -
AirPcap Tx - 2.4GHz Packet Capture
- three of these so I can scan Channels 1, 6, 11 simultaneously

- MetaGeek -
WiSpy 2.4i - Spectrum Analyzer w/3D
- MetaGeek -
WiSpy 2.4x - Spectrum Analyzer with External Antenna
- MetaGeek -
WiSpy dBx - 2.4GHz and 5GHz Spectrum Analyzer
- NutsAboutNets -
AirHorn 2.4GHz Jammer w/External Antenna
- NutsAboutNets -
AirHorn 2.4GHz and 5GHz Jammer
- NutsAboutNets -
AirHorn 2.4GHz Jammer - small form factor
- Smartronix -
LinkCheck - tests 10/100 Ethernet
- Nintendo -
WiFi USB Connector - Insidious automatic Rogue AP
- Xyzel -
AG-225H - 802.11 abg WiFi Finder, NIC and Soft AP
- NetGear -
WNDA3100 802.11n Dual-Band USB Adapter
- Ubiquiti -
SR71USB 802.11n Dual-Band USB Adapter

Plus a couple of PCMCIA cards I always have with me:

- Ubiquiti - SRC 300mw abg Card

- Senao - 802.11b (with Prism Chipset)

- AirMagnet - C1060 abgn Card

- AirMagnet - Cognio Spectrum Analysis Card

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Free WiFi HotSpots

OK, I like Free WiFi.

NOT the kind that makes you pay per minute.

NOT the kind where you watch lots of adverts.

NOT the kind where all web pages go through something that puts an advert on every page.

NOT the kind where you have to put in some special code.

NOT the kind where they block ports so you can't get your e-mail, VPN, etc.

NOT the kind where they throttle the connection to a crawl.

NOT the kind where you can only be in lobby to get net access.

Just REAL Free WiFi!

Oh, I don't mind hitting a web page and clicking 'yes' to their silly legal pages.

What I really like is the kind where you just get fast, easy access to the things you normally do with your laptop/iPhone. That's the kind that will keep me coming back again and again to your establishment.

I think it should be more like a water fountain, or a public bathroom. A service that is provided by businesses
freely for their patrons. Not just in hospitality - but in all businesses that work with the public.

Most of the hotel chains have figured this one out. (not the high-end ones - they still charge, but then again they charge a lot for everything)

Now let's get the rest of the business world to come on-board!
I've been in business a long time, have a MBA, and have run many companies. So I *do* understand there are costs involved in Free WiFi that have to be paid from somewhere.

Installation costs, maintenance costs, and of course the monthly Internet connection costs. But when you compare the actual cost per user, it will be WAY BELOW what a business would pay for getting a new client/or keeping a client. (compare to marketing and advertising costs)

So the next time you are somewhere with real Free WiFi - thank the management folks and tell them it made a difference in your choice to be there.

And for all those sites who still - "Don't Get It" - and do any of the things on the NOT list above. Remind them there is a better way to offer WiFi to their customers.

What about your own company?
Do you have REAL Free WiFi for your customers?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Moved to a New Macintosh

I just moved my 'main computer' from a MacBook 13" uni-body to a new MacBookPro 13". Now I can have a 'spare' in case anything happens in the future.

I'm using SuperDuper to keep a 'mirror image' of the working hard drive. If anything goes wrong, I can be back up and running very quickly.

The process to 'move' my main computer to the new one was quite simple. (So much easier than the move to a new 'Instructor' computer last week. Thank move from a Dell D630 to a Dell E6400 took over 10 hours of manual work.... whew!)

I purchased a 'spare' 500GB 7200rpm hard drive from NewEgg to be the 'main' HD for the MacBookPro. (I put the 250GB that came with it in a drawer so I can have a 'factory fresh' install whenever I like)

I put the 500GB Drive in a USB enclosure and plugged it into my MacBook Unibody 13" and ran the 'SuperDuper' program (well worth the money) and 'cloned' the internal hard drive to the new external drive. This did take a couple of hours... but no time on my part other than a couple of minutes to get it plugged in and started. I made sure to check the 'Make Disk Startup' when the copying was complete.

Then I opened the case of the new MacBookPro 13" - only needed a small phillips head screwdriver. Removed the factory HD and replaced it with the cloned 500GB HD.

Put everything back together and fired it up.

Other than a little error message that there was a duplicate name on the local area network (the Mac OS automatically made a new suffix to the computer name and moved right on past the error).

I had to do a little bit of 'tweaking' to the system preferences. First configured MobileMe preferences with my account information. Then let the 'Sync' begin. Within 10 minutes I had an identical duplicate of my origional machine.

E-mail, browser, Tweetie, Things, iTunes, etc. Everything ready and working. No more than 15 minutes of my time and the task was completed.


Soooooo much easier than the same process on a PC.

The MacBookPro is a bit faster - especially at starting up only 35 seconds from a cold boot, compared with 70 seconds on the older version. It also has a much better battery with better than 50% more juice, and not only a Firewire port, but also an SD card reader.