Day: October 1, 2005

  • RedBox: Huge Bang for My Buck

    Last night we wanted to kick back and watch a movie at home but didn’t have anything interesting on the shelf. We decided to head up the street to our local McDonald’s which has a redbox kiosk near the front door. We poked around for a minute or two then selected our DVD. I swiped a credit card, filled out a quick form with the touchscreen and a DVD popped out of the slot.

    As long as you bring the DVD back by 10pm the next day, it only costs you a buck. Redbox keeps hitting your card a buck a day for 25 days. If you haven’t brought it back by that point, the DVD is yours.

    I’ve got to say that the experience was quick and painless and is a heck of a lot of bang for a buck a day. While we don’t watch enough to make a Netflix subscription worthwhile anymore, a buck a day every once in awhile is definitely worth it. I hope that redbox is making money and expands nationwide, because this is addictive!

  • OpenWRT: Turbocharging My Hunk of Plastic

    Yesterday I installed OpenWRT on a Linksys WRT54GS while evaluating some technology for a potential client. After exploiting an overflow in Ping.asp I had boot_wait set to on and was tftping White Russian RC3 to the box.

    A few minutes later the WRT54GS began behaving like a router again and I SSHed in to it. I quickly ran ipkg update and ipkg install NoCatSplash. After that I edited /etc/nocat.conf and the splash page HTML. Finally some NVRAM tweaks (don’t forget nvram commit when you’re done) and a reboot and a cheap hunk of plastic was up to customer spec with a custom splash page including T&C and AUP agreement.

    In the process of installing and configuring OpenWRT I was amazed at the quality and depth of the wikified OpenWRT documentation. OpenWRT also works on a wide range of newer hardware including a WRT54GS 2.1 that was purchased a few months ago and a WRT54 3.0 that a friend purchased not long ago. See TableOfHardware for a complete list of compatible hardware.

    After such a positive experience yesterday I plopped OpenWRT on my WRT54G at home. It kept most of the settings from the NVRAM, I just had to tweak the SSID and some wireless settings before I could get back online via wi-fi.

    If you want to enable SSH from the WAN port, just uncomment two lines in /etc/firewall.user. I’ve also set up my box to update its clock via NTP by using these instructions. It also looks rather trivial to set up cron jobs.

    I feel stupid for not installing OpenWRT sooner, as I’ve obviously been missing out on the fun for quite some time. The project has improved an amazing amount since I last looked at it. Now I feel like grabbing newer hardware with more storage space and hacking the crap out of it!

    Update: There’s something satisfying about updating your firewall rules via SSH, hupping /etc/init.d/S45firewall and having everything behave as it should.