getting DNS to stick in OpenWRT

Posted in gadgets, hardware hacking on June 12th, 2008 by fabienne


as of a week now, i have OpenWRT version “Kamikaze” 7.09 running on my linksys WRT54GL v1.1 (marked WRT54GL-DE on the box). by following the setup instructions here for PPPoE, almost everything worked perfectly.

one part of the setup did cause me trouble. i need to manually dictate DNS addresses for my ISP. it turns out that it’s not /etc/resolv.conf one should worry about, but /etc/dnsmasq.conf instead.

in /etc/dnsmasq.conf change the line:


…and change the ip addresses at the end of the line to match the DNS addresses that play well with your particular ISP. now the DNS entries will survive a router reboot. now if only i had something interesting to do with my old BEFW11S4v2:


post hardhack

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on April 21st, 2008 by fabienne

pile of parts

thank you to everyone who came to hardhack, it was a lot of fun. the solder fumes were pervasive! for once i wasn’t the only one who was completely and utterly obsessed with circuits *smile*. so thank you one and all, i really had a blast watching people help each other and get inspired to try something new in the way of hardware. if you document all or part of a project online which you showed me at hardhack, don’t forget to email about it. my photos of the event are here. thanks again for participating if you were there.


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hardhack has a schedule

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on April 6th, 2008 by fabienne


there is a preliminary schedule up for hardhack, things may change a little bit, and a few more workshops may be added, but at least it’s a start. *smile* sign up for hardhack if you are into soldering or hardware or just want to sniff some solder fumes in berlin. [pictured above: marc’s antenna mod for what i think is an rfid device which he showed me at cansecwest last week.]

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"hardware hacking on the cheap" at girl geek dinner amsterdam

Posted in conferences, hardware hacking on April 2nd, 2008 by fabienne

nokia audio

i’ll also be giving a presentation at the girl geek dinner amsterdam next week on april 10th. if you are interested in attending, sign up info is on that site. if you are a guy, a girl that attends has to invite you. reverse sexism? perhaps a little, but it should be a fun evening. which reminds me, last week in vancouver at cansecwest, there was an after party that had more women than men, and all the women were geeks. that was the first time i can ever remember that happening naturally. i can’t wait until that is a common occurrence. say hi in amsterdam if you are around on the 10th.

subtitling t-shirt

Posted in hardware hacking, wearables on December 17th, 2007 by fabienne


i’ve wanted a t-shirt that has subtitles (either in the same language or with semi-simultaneous translation). eliot brought a bunch of fun stuff with him including an lcd kit (which was a pain to interface because cu on netbsd wasn’t cooperating and neither was winblows, but eventually got it working with both hyperterm and a 3rd party mac app, though with two different usb to serial converters). right now i’m fighting sphinx to get it to work (on anything. seriously. a-n-y-thing.) the instructions for getting the training sets going is thorough, but why isn’t there any info showing how to use one of their example programs like sphinx_continuous? i feel like i’m stabbing in the dark with the flags settings, but i am determined.

i also took apart a pcmcia / compact flash adapter and confirmed that the wiring is in fact just straight through with no extra components (one side pictured below). the next step is to cannibalize a pcmcia slot from a pci card and a cheap cf card. before anyone writes to tell me that a cf to pcmcia adapter and a pcmcia to cf adapter both exist, yes i know but i need one that is folded so that it is compact for a zaurus.


update 3 billion and 57: workshop not cancelled

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on May 23rd, 2007 by fabienne

up close

so because of so many wonderful people who have written me in the past two days with names and model numbers of devices they are going to bring (oh yes it is going to be a crazy mix of interesting dsl modems, routers, ethernet switches, and even some rare gadgets), we are going to have a solder fest on sunday. see you at ph!

in celebration of all the people that wrote me here is a little contest: if you are the first person who writes me (my email is fabienne at this website) and correctly identifies the circuit that is on the breadboard in the photo above (no not the type of microcontroller, that’s too easy), you win a wifi backpack strap kit.

ph-neutral custom serial and j-tag cables workshop

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on May 17th, 2007 by fabienne


if you are planning to come to ph-neutral and you want to make a serial and/or jtag cable to interface with your dsl modem or other device in my workshop, please let me know as soon as possible so i know how many participants there might be. i am purchasing parts on my own and it would be nice to know if, say, fifty people versus fifteen will be interested. i will probably start a few hours earlier than 14:00 on sunday, so show up earlier to get a head start. no there will be no charge (to stay within the everything-is-free-at-ph spirit), but you do need to bring the device for which you want serial or jtag cables and documentation and probably a laptop and a usb-to-serial converter. the full workshop description including what to bring is here. if you have any questions whatsoever, send me an email: fbz at this website.

chumby: day 0

Posted in gadgets, hardware hacking on March 30th, 2007 by fabienne

there's the chumby!

it is with great reverence that i present you with the first unboxing photos of my Chumby, whom i have dubbed Tzitzak. she arrived yesterday, day 0 of my Chumby adventures if you will.

before booting

a few minutes after the unboxing, i powered Tzitzak up:

boot sequence

she booted with a few bleeps and blurps as the cute octopus swam around her screen.
swimming chumby

soon i set the date and the timezone using the touchscreen interface:
set the date with the touchscreen

and thus the cute, cuddly, hackable, open source, open hardware, alarm clock came into my life. My significant other can’t stop saying “Chumbaaaaaaaaaah” every time i mention how happy i am to have this momentous hacking opportunity.
ahhhhh, chumby.

we don’t have wifi at our place due to paranoia (yes every room including the kitchen has wired ethernet *smile*), but i will set up a special chumbaaaaaah access point for her. in the meantime i browsed her file structure. she came only with the bare minimum of flash widgets:

preinstalled widgets

i will be posting much more about Tzitzak’s adventures here so stay tuned to my rss.

workshop time change for 23c3

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on December 2nd, 2006 by fabienne

please note the workshop i will be conducting at the 23c3 in Berlin, Germany has incurred a time change. the new time for the Wifi Backpack Strap hardware hacking workshop is:

11:30 – 13:45 on Day 1, December 27th
full information about the workshop can be read in this earlier post:

Workshop for the 23c3 in Berlin

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on November 21st, 2006 by fabienne

inside of wifi detector we'll be hacking

I will be giving a hardware hacking workshop at the 23rd Chaos Computer Congress, aka the 23c3, in Berlin, Germany (exact location: 52.520693,13.416452) on the first day of the conference, the 27th of December from PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE 11:30 to 13:45 (11:30am to 1:45 pm). This workshop will be a hands-on workshop where attendees will repurpose an existing wifi detector into a soft housing that can be velcro-ed around a messenger bag strap or a backpack strap. When I built this project the last time, I built everything into the backpack strap. However, today’s world with vacillating fashion trends and frequent security checks demands more flexibility. The wifi backpack strap will therefore be removable in this newest iteration. There is a flickr tag for the project which goes into a bit more detail about the materials you will receive with payment for the workshop (about 35 euros / 45 dollars).

The materials for the project include: a wifi and spy wifi detector, usb cable to recharge batteries, rechargeable batteries, and a handy wrist strap which you can use for something else, black techie fabric pre-stitched with velcro closure, el-cheapo soldering iron, solder, bits of cable, glue gun to borrow, needle + thread, screwdriver to borrow, and the materials for squishy switches (foam, aluminum foil, paper, wire, silver conductive paint).

There are only about 30 seats in the workshop room, so attendance will be limited to that many. Also, if you prefer to use your own materials, by all means contact me to reserve some space in the workshop room and let me know what brand wifi detector you will be bringing to hack and if you need any other tools. To register with me for the workshop, please contact me using “mail” @ the name of this site with the subject of “23c3 workshop”.