Fun without wires

Archive for January, 2004

First Stumble With GPS!

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First GPS war-drive

I’ve just been on a short stumble/war-drive with my GPS unit for the first time, and here’s the results (using my standard format).

  • 7 different SSIDs scanned
  • 11 unique MAC-addressed nodes scanned
  • 4 WAPs encrypted with WEP [36%]
  • 3 WAPs using what appear to be default SSIDs [27%]

I’ve also included the actual Net Stumbler log (exported as wi-scan, with extensions [summary format]) for interest, which includes the co-ordinates of each point. At the moment I can’t map anything, so I can’t do a lot with the data, but it’s there if anyone else can do something with it 🙂

Written by Beau Lebens

January 15th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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GPS Unit Received!

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My GPS Puck Unit (photo by me!)

Well, my new GPS unit arrived at work yesterday by Express Courier, and all is well. I got it installed easily on both my workstation at work (XP Home, didn’t need driver disc) and on my laptop (Windows 2000, used driver disc without any problems). I can’t pick up any sort of signal inside, but considering the unit, that’s no great surprise. As soon as I go outside and have a clear ‘line of sight’ straight up, it starts hunting for a signal and locking in satellites, and then gets a lock on position within about a minute. When I get a chance, I’ll post a screenshot of the little utility (the appropriately named ‘GPS Information’) that comes with it, showing the satellites it’s locked to and current location.

A couple points I noticed with the unit;

  1. The indicator LED on the side flashes when it has a locked signal, this is really cool because you know when all is well and when it can’t get anything, although when I’m driving around with it, I won’t be able to see it, because it’s on the actual unit, which will be on the roof 😛
  2. The base of the unit is entirely magnetic, and is quite strong. This is great for temporarily mounting it on a car roof, stair railing etc, but means that I’ll need to be careful with storage and transport, that I don’t leave it near my laptop screen or any magnetic-storage or anything like that.
  3. The cord is a good length – plenty to get out through the door seal of the car and onto the roof, with length to spare so you can move the lappy around in the car.
  4. It’s nice and small, only about 6cm x 4cm x 2cm or something like that.
  5. The signal is very dependant on having a clear line into the sky. Even inside, on a windowsill or something, it gets no signal, but in the clear, it picks it up without a problem. I’ll be interested to see how it goes on a war-drive.

I haven’t taken it out war-driving yet, just trialled it from my balcony, scanning my own WAP. Hopefully I’ll be able to go on a short test-run either tonight or this week sometime and see how it goes 🙂

Next Step: Got to get some sort of mapping software for my region and figure out how to export information from Net Stumbler into a useful format for mapping the WAPs that I discover.

Also, for those interested, I bought the unit from someone who runs a store on eBay, and there appears to be a lot of things like GPS units for laptops, PDAs etc – you might find something you like!

Written by Beau Lebens

January 10th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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The Guts Of It All

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I realised that I never got around to describing the actual machine that I’m using to do my networking and stumbling, so here’s the story.

I’m using a Sony VAIO laptop, which I purchased 2nd-hand from sold.com.au, which I believe is now controlled by Yahoo. As I mentioned previously, I bought a Netgear WG511 PC Card to connect/stumble wirelessly, and that has an external ‘bulge’ style antennae which is all that I’m currently using (even for stumbling). The specs of the actual laptop are;

  • Sony VAIO PCG-R505CT (see picture)
  • Pentium III 800 MHz processor
  • 256MB Memory (upgraded from the base 128MB)
  • 20GB Hard drive (new one installed after previous one failed)
  • 12.1″, 1024 x 768 Active Matrix TFT Display
  • Running Windows 2000, SP4, fully patched as of today
  • Using Network Stumbler 0.3.30

Sony VAIO Laptop

This machine is great for portability, because the core of the machine is encased in the normal laptop design, and then there are extra drives and ports (CDRW/DVD, Floppy, Printer port, more USB etc) provided via an extra ‘slice’ that clips onto the bottom of the laptop when required. Since I don’t need these facilities when war-driving (or riding), I can just leave it all at home and work with a much smaller and lighter device. More details about the rest of my rig in another post…

Written by Beau Lebens

January 5th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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Incoming GPS Signal…

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Well, after a tip from Anders, I’ve put in an order for a GPS puck that will attach to my laptop via USB. It’s getting sent from over east, and only cost $AUD134.20 total (including postage etc), so I reckon that’s pretty good. It was purchased via eBay, using a ‘Buy Now’ option on a dealer who appears to basically use eBay as a shopfront.

I should receive the device either tomorrow (Friday) or on Monday at work, so I will have to drop in and check the mailbox there tomorrow afternoon to see if it’s in yet.

Now I need to get my hands on some sort of mapping program so that I can visualize the data that I collect while stumbling…

Written by Beau Lebens

January 1st, 2004 at 5:02 pm

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