A quick portable server: Raspberry Pi

A portable server for around $85. Yes, if you told someone just that 10 years ago, you were put in an isolation cell in the worst-case scenario.
But today it is possible, and nobody will call you crazy with this setup you can put in tiny handbags, dog or spaceship capsule. (unless you are going to host The Pirate Bay this way, or automatically dump passwords on Pastebin for example)

Getting started:

Here is a shopping list to start with (the prices are an indication e.g. cheapest (or similar) on eBay/Buy now):

  • Raspberry Pi model B [$35]
  • Bag, suitcase, storage box (as long it’s ventilated) [0$]
  • 3G router with dongle[*] (I used: EDUP EP-9501N router (since it has a battery) and a Huawei E220 3G dongle) [$40]
  • 2 USB solar panels (w/ internal battery of 1000mAh, or 1 of 2000mAh. The higher, the better, the bigger, the longer battery life. [$6-$20]
  • USB Y-split cable (if you have 2 solar panels) [$1]
  • SIM card with huge internet bundle [$?, varies per country]
  • Dedicated VPN (for remote port forwarding, since you have 3G)[$10]
  • Some IT experience [priceless]

Step one:

Get all the items, charge the solar batteries and the portable router.

Step two:

Remove unnecessarily services and applications. I’m assuming you’re controlling your Pi without a display and using SSH. If not, connect to your Raspberry Pi over the network (connect it to your own network).
Now, set-up the VPN, and make it automatically connect. Write the IP address down of the VPN.
Make your server software ready, eg. Apache to use this IP.

Step three:

Configure the router. On most EDUP models, this is 192.168.1.254 or 192.168.1.1. If you’re unsure, check the sticker on your router.
Connect your 3G dongle and insert your SIM card. Next, set the APN, username, and password.

Also, there are some 3G dongles that do not need an external power source to be connected to the Pi. Use Sakis3G on your Raspberry Pi.

Step four:
sudo poweroff your Raspberry Pi.
Now, connect the 2 charged solar batteries using the Y-cable.
Connect the Ethernet cable from the portable 3G router to your Pi, and also connect the 3G device.

Step five:

SSH into the IP of your VPN. Now you are connected to your Pi over 3G!
Put it in some case or bag, and travel for 5 hours without power loss if you’re lucky. For more power, upgrade the battery inside the router(this is the first device that will die, thanks to the 3g connection), and connect the router via USB to the Pi. This shouldn’t give any problems, since you have multiple power sources.

And of course, it is not completely low budget, but you can easily get the prices down if you know what and where to buy.

Download: Serious Overheat Icon pack

I decided to create an icon pack. Didn’t really post anything in the last weeks, my apologies. Also, there is going to be a new download section for everything you might need.

Download: Serious Overheat icon pack(format range: 16×16 – 256×256 pixels)
The pack contains 8 icons, with different styles and desktops.

License: Free for non-commercial use.

Preview (png):

Desktop (8) - Serious Overheat Desktop (8) (Beaten) - Serious Overheat Desktop (7) (Beaten) - Serious Overheat Desktop (7) - Serious Overheat BSOD (8) - Serious Overheat BSOD (7) - Serious Overheat Kernel Panic - Serious Overheat Serious Overheat

Review: PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel is a website that gives you ‘free’ items, such as eBay promotion codes and STEAM games.

This website has reviews, good ones, bad ones… it doesn’t seem to end the long line of Google results. The ‘free’ items are earned by completing surveys, companies that want your opinion. For each completed survey, you can get points, varying from 15 to 200 for each free survey.  These free* surveys take an average of 5 minutes to fill in.

  • There are also mobile subscriptions, which aren’t free nor cheap. Don’t even try them.
  • Watch out when giving your real address in some surveys. You might get invoices for so-called ‘free’ stamps or other products.

You might prepare yourself for the spam, so it’s the real deal to make a spambox of your own. All surveys require e-mail validation, so you might want to access the mailbox (some tips: GMail, remote.nu, Outlook).

I tested this site for a week, and its promises are real. After I had done 9 surveys, I already had a $5 eBay coupon. But hey, wait a minute… it’s pending? The site does all orders manually, and are processed within 2- 3 business days.

The next day, I finally received my code.
PrizeRebel Notification E-Mail

I got the code, and it’s working:

eBay code

The code worked, but you are still required to use PayPal (the checkout shows $0.00) for the ‘Buying protection’ and it only works on ‘Buy Now’ orders.

eBay order

 

And now I’m on the way for the next item.
Great site, and a great payout rate.
Stay tuned for more reviews to come!

Oh look. Someone is trying to nuke things.

A quick blog entry, because I’m going to leave the house for a hour or two.

North-Korea. Some country, placed right above South-Korea, is threatening with war. Why? Because the U.N. gave new sanctions right after the rocket-launch test and possible nuclear experiments. North-Korea blames the United States, and threatens to launch a rocket to the U.S.

Experts say they do not have any rockets that are capable to arrive at the United States.

North-Korea, are you even capable of launching the internet and start a digital war?

Well, we will see.

Raspberry Pi: The included case -mod

I received my Pi a day ago, and without a case. I thought it was better to make my own case.

When I received my package, it included the following things:

  • 2 pieces of paper, one for the precautions, and the other one was a quick-start guide
  • The Raspberry Pi board
  • A protective case, with room for one SD card

Then, I had a great idea. The included case was well fit to be cut out.

Pictures shown below:

Before

Before cutting.

Cutting

Cutting2

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After cutting. Note the ventilation holes on the top. The only holes missing are for the GPIO port, and the RCA port.

After

WhatsApp? I know.

People always ask me: “Do you have Facebook on your phone?”, and I always reply “No, sorry.”
The next thing someone says is 9 out of 10 times: “Do you have WhatsApp then?”. Same reply, why not Skype, Messenger or SMS?

The thing is, I have Skype and Messenger (it’s integrated in Skype now), why do I even need additional applications for WhatsApp or Facebook? Why should I?
Short Text Messaging costs money(duh). That’s the reason why people use Skype or WhatsApp as a ‘free'(cheaper) alternative.

WhatsApp got hacked like 2 times, and leaks are dripping like an old tap. You only need someone’s IMEI and phone number to log in to WhatsApp. And it only supports file transfers and texts. But Skype has support for video chat, Facebook integration, messaging, calling, and more. But not only that, should I register for 16 services because I only need one?

It’s not about bandwidth,  it’s about usage. I have unlimited (FUP of course) mobile internet, and I must say that Skype works better than WhatsApp on a modem connection, even with video. Horrible quality, but messages were almost instantly delivered, but with WhatsApp, it took 30 seconds on the same network.

Peerbet 2. A website listening to its users.

This is a follow up article about the old Peerbet review, the owner of Peerbet contacted me according to the review.

I have had my own experiences with Peerbet. A good site, and it differs from other well known Bitcoin sites. I had some criticism about Peerbet, mainly because it had no option to ‘try’ or register without E-mail (which is something for privacy-parrots and real Bitcoin veterans). They offer instant withdrawals now, so take a bite of coins.

Their simple response to my review was: “We’ve added it now. Check your facts”. And now I did. I wrote this article as a huge appreciation and a apology. I underestimated Peerbet.

Well, a thank you to the Peerbet staff for reporting it and actually implementing the feature. Even if its criticism from a small blog like this, it’s a great improvement.

Until next time~

Peerbet: gambling with issues

Last time, on the ‘old’ version of my blog, I covered Bitcoin and SatoshiDICE. I’ve had a small review about it, combined in the About Bitcoin article. I visit Daily Bitcoins on a regular basis, and there was an ad about a service called PeerBet, and the ‘peer’ part in the name draw my attention.

This site claims to have ‘no-house edge’, so the betting usage itself doesn’t cost anything for the user. Gambling isn’t my thing as written earlier, but I was curious since I got a coupon code and saw a hole to review it. The coupon I got was of a low value: 0.001 BTC.

Here is how it works:

  • You can either create a raffle, or join a raffle.
  • This is why it’s called ‘peer’ bet, from user to user.
  • You can create a raffle with a maximum of 16 million tickets: a minimum of 2. (since you obviously win with only one).
  • You can make raffles private with a password.

It’s basically the same as SatoshiDICE, but again, without cost and you have a raffle.

The site itself looks dark and straight boxed, a clean interface. The user created raffles are usually a 50/50 raffle: two tickets. You can’t really sort the raffles though, and even when you do, you don’t have too many options. Also, a huge disadvantage is that you must register: something most Bitcoin users do not like (SatoshiDICE just uses your Bitcoin address).

Summary:

+

  1. User to user without fee
  2. You can buy unlimited tickets

  1. Payments take long and are not instant: payments are done manually it seems.
  2. You must register (including e-mail)
  3. The site needs tweaking
  4. Hack-Sensitive: you must withdraw payments on your own (not automatically), and thus there are Bitcoins on the site itself.

I do not really recommend this site, nor gambling at all. At the moment it is just too rough and quick build. This isn’t a huge difference from SealsWithClubs.

So, if you have a few pennies left, go ahead.

You won’t be getting postcards before christmas. Maybe next year.

Ordinary mail, postcards, packages, and all other stuff that gets send by mail companies: the delay was huge this time. (in the Netherlands at least) My friend send me a package with a charger in it, without being too big (bubble-wrap envelope).

When he send it, it took 3 weeks to arrive. Christmas cards didn’t arrive that fast either: this took 1 week. I live in a city, and the post office is very close to me. Even when cards got send from within a 10 miles (approx. 15KM) radius, it took a very long time to arrive at my home address.

PostNL, the company that handles the mail in the Netherlands, did not want to give any explanation of the issue. They only told me that I didn’t live in a good location to receive letters and postcards fast. They also told me it would be better next (this) year, and “happy holidays, thank you, goodbye”. I certainly hope so, since I don’t have time for reading Christmas cards in February.

Happy 2013!

Happy new year everyone! I’ve had a great year with ups and downs and much blogging. I got myself a new laptop and a cool tablet for this year. I reviewed some noodles, and Ubuntu One’s cloud services. I guess you got some interesting stories aswell? Well and again, a happy new year!

~ Marlon.ws

Now for 2013 and many years to come!