Fun without wires

Archive for the ‘gps’ tag

GPS-Enabled War-strolling

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You heard right partner – the new version of WiFiFoFum is out (v0.3), and it now supports GPS! I whacked it onto my iPAQ and went outside with the GPS unit attached, played around with the settings and it was off and running!

Using the Leadtek CF card, I had to set WFFF to look on COM4 for the GPS, and then it picked it up. The GPS takes a while to warm up and get a fix once you put the sleeve on and stick it in, but once it does, it updates every couple seconds by the looks of things. I haven’t tried it moving any faster than walking pace, so don’t know if it adjusts automatically based on velocity or not.

I went for a walk around my block and picked up all the usual suspects that are always on (pookie.net, mustwebcast.com, home (network) and 2 x NETGEAR), but now should have coordinates against them as well. The other cool new change to WFFF is that the stronger signals now go to the middle of the radar, so you can see better when you are getting closer to them, although it’s still kinda hard to tell, because they jump around a bit. Depending on how good the Destinator maps/software are, I might have to get MS Streets and Trips, because it comes with Pocket Streets, which looks pretty cool. I mainly want to be able to plot known points on a map, and be able to output that map somehow preferably (on my PC), so I don’t know if the Pocket PC Destinator software includes anything for desktop or not – we’ll see, since apparently it’s going to be in-store ready for pickup within a couple days.

Written by Beau Lebens

May 4th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

New GPS Toys!

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Leadtek GPS - click for specs
Harris Tech finally got in some of my order, and I am now the proud owner of one of these Leadtek Compact Flash GPS units. I’ve tried it out using a demo version of a program called KingMap on my iPAQ and it appears to work perfectly, although it takes a little while to power up and connect to the sats. Now I am really hanging out to get some maps and try it out for driving directions and stuff like that 🙂

The big fun will come when WiFiFoFum’s next release comes, which will apparently have GPS support, so I can start logging WAPs properly with my iPAQ. I will have to hook up with a copy of MS Streets and Trips or something when I get to the US and start mappping out the points that I find – that will be very cool 🙂

I’ll post some pics of my complete war-driving and war-strolling kit (laptop and iPAQ) once I get it all running with the new version.

Written by Beau Lebens

May 4th, 2004 at 4:00 pm


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HP iPAQ H5550 (click to view specs on hp.com

Went for a walk down my street today with my new iPAQ H5550, sporting a copy of WiFiFoFum (it works, MiniStumbler doesn’t, WFFF looks excellent anyway!), and what did I find?

  1. My WAP is visible from the street, walking immediately past my driveway – d’oh!
  2. I found 3 other WAPs on my street, 2 show up at the same place
  3. One of the WAPs that I found identified itself as apparently beloging to this website; MustWebCast.com

I was surprised at the apparent power of the internal card/antenna on the H5550. I might have to do some comparitive tests on it and my Netgear laptop card, would be interesting to see how they compare on basic signal strength.

It will be very cool when WFFF gets GPS support, and my new CF GPS card gets here, then I’ll be able to get geographic information about the WAPs that I scan as well.

Written by Beau Lebens

April 22nd, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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ROM Update… Problems

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I figured it’d be a good idea to update the firmware and ROM on my iPAQ, so I checked out the HP downloads site, and sure enough, there were updates available. I downloaded the following updates;

  • HP iPAQ Pocket PC h5500 Series Firmware Update
  • HP iPAQ Pocket PC h5500 Series ROM Update

intending to update the BIOS and all on-board stuff to get me up to date. I didn’t bother with the Bluetooth manager update, or the WLAN update, because it appears that those things are included in the BIOS updates. So anyway, I install both the firmware and the ROM updates, which results in clearing everything off my iPAQ and having to reinstall everything from scratch.

No problem I figured, I’ve done this on my Palm before, and everything (applications etc) just got transferred back the next time I synched… apparently not.

So I synch again, and it wants me to create a new profile on my desktop, because I haven’t named my device back to the same name as I had it before (“jane”, named after the computer-based lifeform in Ender’s Game!). That’s no good – I want it to synch back the same stuff, same data, same details etc. After playing around a little, I decide that I’ll go whole hog, so I close down ActiveSynch, get into the registry and start hacking around to move all the new settings which I’ve just created as ‘jane2’ and change them over to point to the other directories etc (‘jane’). Then I change my device’s name back to jane again, and see what happens.

At this point, everything appears to be fine – it actually works, and it’s synched all the old data back, and looks like it’s accepted me as an imposter jane… sort of, or something. Wonder if this is an exploitable way of stealing someone’s data? All I really did was created a new profile, then hacked the registry and pointed it to all the same directories as the old profile…

On top of that problem though, now I have a bigger one – WiFiFoFum doesn’t appear to work!

I don’t know if it’s anything to do with the hackery that’s gone on, I can’t see why it would be, because that was more to do with synching and my desktop machine, I didn’t do anything dodgy on my handheld. I can only assume that this means that there’s some sort of problem with the new ROMs and the way that WFFF is coded. According to the program, when it tries to start up, there’s this problem;



Hopefully the guy who writes WFFF can figure out what’s going on there and can fix it, because in the meantime I have no warstrolling toys again :(. Once I get my GPS unit, then I’ll really wanna be able to get out there again, so until then it’s not too bad, but then there’s no GPS support in WFFF yet either, so that’s not really an issue is it?…

Written by Beau Lebens

April 4th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Wardriving Software

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This post was inspired by an email from David W (who I can’t reply to for some reason – the email is not getting through). I wanted to have a quick look around the place to see what software is available for stumbling/wardriving/network scanning etc. Here’s what I came up with;

Net Stumbler
The pre-eminent stumbling program for Windows machines, Net(work) Stumbler appears to support a wide variety of wifi cards, presents useful information (including a graph of signal strength over time) and supports GPS input to pinpoint the location of the WAPs you are detecting. I use Net Stumbler with my Netgear WG511 card, on a Sony VAIO laptop, running Windows 2000 and it works excellently (including GPS data now!)
As far as I know, Kismet is the favourite *NIX stumbling/scanning tool, and “supports raw monitoring (rfmon) mode, and can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g traffic”

“MacStumbler is a utility to display information about nearby 802.11b and 802.11g wireless access points”. Apparently works with Apple Airport Card and MacOS 10.1 or greater.

There are heaps more than those ones, but they are the big-boys as far as I can tell. As I mentioned, I use Net Stumbler, because I have a Win2k laptop, and it works with my card. So far, so good! I’d like to hear what other people use and any problems they’ve run into with certain packages?

Written by Beau Lebens

March 5th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

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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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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