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Tether Linux box to Internet via your 3G cell.

Tether your Linux box to your ATT phone's Internet connection via BlueTooth.
You basically connect your palmtop or laptop to your ATT cell phone using bluetooth technology, then, pass through the cell phone to allow your laptop/palmtop computer to access the Internet.

I use a Nokia770 and a Nokia810 model of Internet tablet mostly (.. really nice and compact.) , and carry my Eee 1000H Netbook, and laptop occasionally.

This guide is not intended to be a keystroke for keystroke instruction, but more of a guideline.
A little bit of prior computer experience goes a long ways to help you out, along with this guide.

What you need:

 Some kind of Linux Computer: (could be laptop, desktop, tablet, palmtop, etc.

Works nicely on:

Nokia 770 Linux Internet computer (Maemo).

Nokia800 or the new Nokia810 VERY COOL little box.

Netbook, I have a Asus 1000H running Ubuntu 904

Laptop,  I have a Compaq Evo N800v with bluetooth dongle running Debian 5) ,

My various desktops, mostly used as a backup to the DSL around the house.


Bluetooth can be built in, or get a Bluetooth USB device and plug that in to your machine.

The Asus Eee 1000H, Nokia770, N800 and N810 has EVERYTHING you need already built in. You can get them on Amazon for a steal of a price, EVERYONE NEEDS ONE of THESE!

AT&T (formerly Cingular) Cell phone service (with a data plan, otherwise they charge by the amount of traffic and its kind of expensive!)

To my knowledge, none of the other phone companies allow this method of connection as of yet. I had to switch to ATT just for this capability

Picking the right data plan is important. I took my Nokia770 into the ATT store and told them what I wanted to do (tether to the Internet), they suggested a  data plan and I went with it, it's a $20 charge on top of my regular plan, for unlimited 3G data.

Obviously you need a A Cell phone with G3 and bluetooth DUN or Dial up networking capability, I will cover the Razr V3xx model. (but some others will work also)

*Note, some advanced models of phones, including Iphone will not tether unless jailbroke*
Update 11/29/07 ATT and Apple announce the iPhone will do G3 sometime next year, but you gotta ask if it will "tether" to your laptop or not for dial-up-network. ...just doing G3 and bluetooth doesnt mean it will tether to your laptop.  As of 5/2009, you still cannot buy a iPhone / ATT tether data package.

Next steps:

1st create a file called /etc/ppp/peers/gprs-script
using your favorite editor, put these commands in that file.

####### start of gprs-script #####
user This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
password CINGULAR1
connect '/usr/sbin/chat -f /etc/ppp/chat-gprs-v3 -r /dev/con sole'
connect-delay 5000
#### end of file ####

Next create a file called /etc/ppp/chat-gprs-v3
using your favorite editor, put these commands in that file.

##### start of chat-gprs-v3 file ####
' ' \rAT
OK 'AT+cgdcont=1,"IP","wap.cingular"'
OK ATD*99***1#
## end of file ####


Punctuation is important ' ' this is a single quote with a space then another single quote.

Case is important. D <-- this is a capitol Dee, a small Dee looks like this --> d
In case you didn't realize, they are completely different to a computer. Well, to most computers anyway.

Slash is important / <-- is a forward slash located near the period, Linux and Unix and most other operating systems use it, (but not Windows)
This is a backslash, --> \ (think "backwards" thinking) :-)


Next:   Pair up your laptop and phone.

Heres how I do it with my Razr:  Make sure your phone is on findme mode.

from a Linux command window enter hcitool scan and note the mac address of your phone, you will use that in the next command.

The MAC is a unique code assigned only to your phone. It is unique in the entire universe. If you help a friend perform these steps...using your mac address will not work for his or her phone.

From a command window enter rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 then a space and a 1 on the end. example
rfcomm bind /dev/rfcomm0 00:1D:BE:03:F3:14 1

then enter cat /dev/rfcomm0 this will make a paring request, enter the same pin number into your laptop and phone where requested
Both sides will remember the pairing, only need to do this part once if you dont swap or change out your bluetooth device.

To connect, issue the next 2 commands from command window.

from a command window, type in rfcomm connect /dev/rfcomm0 and hit enter.
from a 2nd command window type in pppd rfcomm0 call gprs-script and hit enter.
wait a few seconds and the connection should be made.

You can check your connection by entering route and checking that you have a entry for pppd.

Open a browser and you should be online.

With Ubuntu 904 and others, you can perform the pairing via gnome bluetooth widget if you want.

For the Nokia's (770 800 810)

 Now, lets look at my favorite, the Nokia770 Internet tablet.
Everything you need, software, hardware is included when you buy it.

Maemo distro based loosely on Debian Linux
Fits easily in shirt pock or pants pocket, runs a long time on the battery charge.
Touch screen, music and video player, easy ZOOM screen, gui'd apt-get pkg mgr, etc etc

Cool flip cover that gives Instant on, and Instant off.
Similar to the iPhone interface and size, but 3 years earlier.

I cant say enough good things about the value of this little box.. It's creators, Nokia and the Linux community should be recognized.

Since the 800 and 810 came out, you can find a 770 for a real deal, around $100 if you check Ebay.
And no, I am not selling mine..I actually want to buy a SPARE!

OK, enough advertising, lets get started:

Turn on your phone bluetooth FindMe mode, (good for 3 minutes on the razr)
on the 770 Go to tools, -->control panel -->phone and new, select your phone and pair them via entering passcodes both sides.
Once paired, this step does not need to be repeated.

Go to Tools, connection manager -->tools-->connectivity settings
select connections -->new --> next-->
Enter a name for the connection, such as gprs, freddys phone or whatever you want.
tap packet data
Enter Access point name wap.cingular
enter dial up number *99***1#
enter user name This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
password is CINGULAR1
**note the case sensitive parts **
tap finish

I usually see about 300k-600k transfer rates, depending on where I am,
using, dslreports or any other speed tester that is online.

Again, only certain phones allow this tethering (DUN) , and the iPhone ISNT ONE OF THEM yet, or I would have bought one for sure.
the Razr V3xx works, and at least one Samsung phone also does, my son has it working great also.




Exciting Future of the Linux Desktop

Below is a list of exciting projects happening in the Linux ecosystem. This is a list I've compiled over time from reading, the "distro planets", and developer blogs.  Not all of these things have arrived yet - many are a work in progress. For each project, I've provided short summaries and links for further reading. Don't forget to leave a comment! ;-]

The Popular Stuff: 

  • Gnome3.0 - GnomeLive
    • a new 3D-accelerated UI for the Gnome Desktop.
  • Compiz++ - smspillaz
    • a "better suited" C++ rewrite. Its future is uncertain - it may become a WM in future because of Gnome Shell.

The Low-Level Jungle: 


  • Btrfs - BtrfsWiki
    • what will be the most modern and featureful filesystem to date.
  • Kernel ModeSetting - KernelNewbies
    • a new way of managing video cards that provides a Flicker-Free & native resolution gfx experience. Makes running X non-root possible and thus, safer.
  • Gallium3D - TungstenGraphics
    • a new driver development model/core that is based on modern hardware; will provide for simpler, smaller drivers that can run multiple graphics APIs.
The Inter-Distro *Kits of Unity:
  • DeviceKit - Creator's Blog
    • a cleaner hal reimplementation that will leave device management to udev.
  • PolicyKit - Creator's Blog
    • a dbus-like privilege-escalation model to replace apps running as root.
  • ConsoleKit - Fedora[FUSA]
    • an common framework for handling FUSA and session management.
  • PackageKit - Creator's Blog
    • an interdistro package manager that works on multiple backends.
And if these weren't cool enough, just take a peak at the F11 feature list.

The Cult of the Terminal

I just signed up for a group celebrating the Terminal. It's weird that I would join a group where, in plumbing, this would be the equivalent of celebrating a monkey wrench. I still like the terminal (it certainly makes my job a hell of a lot easier). But preferring the terminal to the GUI strikes me as a bit odd.

It's not so much that the terminal is better conceptually than a GUI but that in practice most OSS GUI's are wretched. There's very little fore-thought, and the lack of design acumen simply makes using them a drag.

When a GUI is terrific, it stays out of your way and allows you to accomplish your goals in a simple manner. Your web browser is a good instance of it. You simply type in your desired destination, et voila! It brings you to a page that will betray you with a good old Rickrolling.

What I'm trying to get at is that there's not a whole lot to terminal output design, but there is for graphical design. Therefore, it requires a whole lot more care than it currently receives from the OSS camp. With positive iterative GUI design improvements though, the terminal will become less and less necessary (and that won't be a bad thing). The KDE project is doing some pretty fascinating things with the desktop, and it's getting to be less that I want to fuss over the irrelevant (read: distracting) details.

I love the terminal, I use it a lot. At the end of the day though, it's just a tool. When there's a better tool, I'll drop it like a bad habit.


Simple scripting to save your Wifi connection

Wireless device support and stability have come a long way in Linux since i started using Ubuntu a few years ago.

Now and again though, something can happen to make you lose your wireless connection.  Many people solve this by restarting network manager or by simply restarting the computer.  

With a small script file, you can restart your wireless driver when its on the fritz, quicly and easily.

First create a file: 

gksudo gedit /usr/local/bin/name-of-file

Then add the script code:


modprobe -r your-wireless-device
modprobe your-wireless-device

Save and close your file and give permissions to run it:

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/name-of-file

Finall, run the script by typing in the terminal:

sudo name-of-file


Hope this helps some people, not only with keeping you wifi going strong, but also with how to implement simple scripts to make computing easier and funner.





Motion detection software for webcams

Here's a quick link for a problem of mine, it comes from Linux forum and I'd like to note this software rocks ! The author as well !

Here's my problem:
I'd like to get started with some sort of motion detection software, i need to save images (still frames) or videos from a common webcam when something changes. I even need to shape the area I need di capture cause in some areas there are noises or non interesting things (car traffic and so on). I need it for a private remote camera control for surveillance. Any hints ? is there someone having experience on it ?

See original post at:
Motion Detection Software HowTO

Check out solution at:
Motion Software

Lession learned: I've got a reply to my question (see the link) in 10 minutes, amazing !


Hope it helps someone else


Excellent Beginning Python Series on LinuxPlanet

Hey all,

I wish to shamelessly plug a series of excellent Python articles on LinuxPlanet. Akkana Peck, ace coder and all-around cool person, has been writing a series of howtos for Python beginners.  Python is a great language for anyone wanting to learn to code; it has a nice clean syntax, an orderly structure, and because it's an interpreted language you don't have to mess with compiling and linking and all those fun things. Which are fun, after you get a grounding in a nice interpreted language like Python.

Intro to Shell Programming: Writing a Simple Web Gallery
GUI Programming in Python For Beginners: Create a Timer in 30 Minutes
Graphical Python Programming With PyGTK

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!







Online Web Game

I've been playing an online webgame recently. (You've probably seen the advertisements for it).  The game is one where you build up your empire in several ways in order to dominate your corner of the world.


One of the ideas of the game is that the game runs even when you aren't online. You're farms keep producing food,  your ironmines keep creating iron, and  so on.  You leave it for a day, when you come back you have the resources to build something you've had your eye on.  The game teaches you patience.  After you start getting some of the higher level buildings and warriors or technologies it can take days to accomplish one thing. (During which you hope you won't be attacked).


I like this aspect of the game, as it will keep users coming back again and again.

 One of the downsides of the game is that it plateaus fairly quickly.  The game design is good, but doesn't go far enough. It also doesn't have enough possible paths in order to advance your "civilization".  The game does copy a lot of ideas from civilization, including most of the quotes. 

 The game is downloaded into flash each time you log in, so it is kept updated in real time. 




What is a distro?

I recently gave up on the idea that a distro is a set of modified packages and a core system. Because when I made the only major disto change of my linux life, yes, I was changing the way computer looked, and the core system was quite different, but that was a minor change, somthing that I could get over relitivly quickly. So what had changed when I moved?

 It was the expectations. When I had been using Ubuntu, no one expected very much of me, and was willing to acomidate any strange or irrational decisions. However, when I came to Arch Linux, it was compleatly different. I was expected to be quite proficient in comand line, and while this did not mean that help was not provided, it was provided to be concumed, not to be shunned and ignored. Like a teacher, the community expects the student to want to learn, and it gives it's best in return. This isn't a blog about the benefits of the Arch Linux community over the Ubuntu one, it is a blog about how it is not the technology that makes up the distro, it is the community. While the technology gives a central point for the community to form, very quickly it becomes more or less equal to it's child. This isn't a one way relationship though, the community drives the technology, and the technology provides the basis for the community. The community very often takes it's expectations from the technology; the ubuntu forums are beginer friendly, as is ubuntu, but this does not always happen. What I am trying to say here is that the disto as a community is different from the distro as a technology, though the both depend on each other.

In conclusion, a distro is not a technology, yet it is not a community. It is a fusion of all these things, forming one great oblong (I like oblongs) bulge on the computers of  thousands of personas everywhere iver the world.


Buying or Building - System Options

I'm probably slightly older than the average member here at at 47 years of age. I was an early... and a late comer to computers. How could I be both? Well, it's a long story. Go grab that cup of coffee you wanted. I'll wait for you to get back...

My actual career, which no longer exists in the U.S., was RF communication (radio) and audio repair specialist. I was something you may have heard your dad talk about... a component level bench technician. I did this for about twenty years. Then one day I woke up and my job had moved to Korea, then on to China, eventually.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s I was in college learning about microprocessors and machine language. Some of you older folks might remember the 8080A, 8085, and the Z80 processors. They were the bleeding edge of the technology at that time. Nowadays, they're used to control sprinkler timer systems to keep your neighbor's grass pretty and green.

My first experience with what you might call a modern computer was the Commodore Vic 20. It was a pretty amazing machine at the time. Shortly after that I acquired a Commodore SX-64 briefcase computer system. This thing was the cat's meow. Let me tell you! It had a built-in 5¼" floppy, a game slot, and a 5" color monitor. With 64K, you were rockin' and rollin'. Here's what one looked like:

It has a 300 Baud modem that I used to access Compuserve and some local BBS (electronic bulletin boards). Lotsa' fun! I wasted hours with this thing online or playing text-based adventure games like Infocom's Zork series. Shortly after this time (early 80s), I moved on in life and left the computer in the closet collecting dust. 

One day in '93, I was at my brother's office. He showed me his new system. It was a 486 DX-66 running a new operating system called Windows. Cool! This thing was amazing compared to my old Commodore. Time went on by... Early in 2000, my brother asked my advice about purchasing a new personal computer system. He knew I had friends who were big muckity-mucks locally for the Gateway store. I set my brother up with them. He got a nice new system.

He called me a few days later and asked if I'd like his old system. He knew that I didn't have a computer. At this time, I had just started flirting around with the World Wide Web and USENET using a friend's system or the one at the public library. I told my brother that I would definitely like that old system. I went over to his place and picked it up right away.

It was a Pentium I 90 with a 2Gig hard drive and 64M RAM. It was running Windows 98SE. With that little system, I entered what was to me the modern computer age. This Windows stuff was pretty cool! Oops! What's this blue screen error notice I get once or twice a day?

Hey! This is frustrating!  Heh-heh. Ah... the memories.

Anyway, that's when I became a serious USENET/boards/forums junkie. To me the Internet is about two things: knowledge and community. I've spent the last nine years partaking of both. So, getting to the point of this entire, long-winded posting... is it better to buy or build your own systems?

For me, with my technical experience, it's much better to build I can build a very customized, top-of-the-line machine for about a third of what it would cost me to buy one. That's how the ericsbane series started. I built ericsbane01 with an AMD K7 Thunderbird CPU. I built ericsbane02 with an AMD Athlon 2600+. And I built my current ericsbane03 with an AMD Athlon XP-64 3800+. Yeah, I kinda' like AMD processors.

Building your own system is not for everyone, but it's really not that difficult. Do your research. Price your hardware and peripherals. Put it all together. Install your favorite GNU/Linux distro and you're all set.

Until next time...

V. T. Eric Layton

***Tempus Fugits***

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