Posts Tagged server

A High-Resolution IP Webcam

Web cams are fairly ubiquitous things these days and by no means expensive. They can be good or bad depending on how much money you want to spend, but there is one almost-universal rule, which is that they connect to a host PC over USB. IP-based cameras that connect to a LAN via an RJ45 connector or wirelessly over 802.11 are quite a bit more useful, because they can be put almost anywhere, but they tend to cost a surprising amount and not provide much resolution. A low-end one like the LevelOne FCS1030 is NZ$260, and they go a lot more expensive than that. For example, the wireless D-Link DCS5300 sells for NZ$930 and it only does 320×240 pixels. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ubuntu! Its fun to say!

We have a fairly standard home networking setup – a DSL modem, a wireless router, and a hub distributing 100BaseT to some RJ-45 sockets scattered about the house. The modem and the router both have firewalls and web interfaces to them, but neither of them are very versatile. For example, one thing they can’t do is log traffic on a per-IP basis, so when we start using 500Mbytes/day they can’t tell me which machine in the house it is coming from. We have a bandwidth cap, above which our ISP chops us back to 64Kbits up and down, so that can be important. Nor can the DSL modem firewall send mail to me logging firewall rejects, so sometimes when something doesn’t work it can be difficult to tell whether its the PC, the firewall, or something broken in the outside world. A proper firewall can do all these things and a lot more, as I know from running an OpenBSD-based firewall for my employer for the last ten years. And the firewalls in DSL modems don’t have such a great reputation for security. Holes have been found in some. Our modem has an additional peculiarity; it insists on running a DNS cache and providing its own address as a DNS server to local machines. Unfortunately the cache isn’t all that great and falls over every two or three days. The only solution is to turn the modem off and on, which is a bit vexing.

So that was one reason to look at installing a separate stand-alone machine to act as a firewall. Read the rest of this entry »

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