Hacking My MAC Address, And Recovering Photo's off of an SD card.

For those of you anxiously awaiting my new addition to the tutorial series, I just want to say sorry that it’s been a while. Sometimes life has to come before hobbies and my life has been pretty exciting this past week. First of all, my family has moved across town into a new house, so most of my time has been taken up by unpacking, spending money, installing appliances etc. Also my wife and I are both a little on edge because we only have a couple more days left before we have a new addition to our family, my second son Clinton. Honestly, with all of this going on it’s a miracle that I managed to get my new motherboard installed and my computer up and running again!

The installation of the new mother board went about as smooth and flawlessly as I could have possibly hoped for. After getting the hardware all hooked up, I just hit the on button and everything booted perfectly. The only problem that I ran across, and the first topic of this post, was that my Ethernet card’s MAC address, for whatever reason, wasn’t being recognized by my router when trying to add my PC to the reserved IP list. Of course I started out with a google search, which resulted in several people trying to fix this same problem in Windows, and mostly failing (sadly for them this fix involves registry hacking apparently) and a bunch of results saying “the mac address is built into the hardware, you can’t change it!” which I called BS on.

So then I moved onto my next resource, the Arch Linux Forums. Here I found about 100 different solutions to my problem, none of which really suited my needs.
I learned that the command to spoof your mac address is ifconfig {interface} hw ether XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX which is great, did the job. However, to run this command, the interface must be down, and then brought back up again afterwards. Also, the change is not persistent, as in the minute you reboot, your mac is back to the original factory defaults! LAME! So then I looked into sticking this command into one of the start-up scripts somewhere. The first thing I tried was inserting the above command into /etc/rc.local. This did achieve the desired affect of changing my MAC, however it performs this after the network daemon has already started, meaning that once booted, I would have had to re-bounce my network connection to get the reserved IP assigned to me. double lame. I finally settled on sticking the above command into /etc/rc.multi prior to the “Start daemons” loop. and now I have the desired mac address, and can have my reserved DHCP.

The next most interesting thing I’ve had to do this week is recover all of my family photos for the past few months off of a corrupted SD card. For whatever reason, the camera that we purchased back around Christmas occasionally tends to completely destroy the SD card filesystem for no reason at all (this is the first time it has ever happened to us, we learned that it is a commonly existing problem from product reviews on-line). My wife had the first go at recovering the data from the disk. After a while she came across a “free” program on-line that would recover the data. It turns out that it worked! but to “get” the photos that had just been recovered by the software, you had to download their $30US “download” software. What a scam. So she passed the task onto me. After a little bit of hunting around I discovered this fun program for rescuing data and photos from corrupted volumes called “testdisk” (available in the Extra repository for Archers) which includes a software called “photorec” specifically designed for hunting down and recovering photographs and movies. It worked like a charm :) took about 5 minutes, and recovered all of my photos from the last year flawlessly. I looked at the product documentation and it seems both testdisk and photorec are going to be pretty handy additions to my Linux tool set. I suggest trying them out some time!

New Toys Coming!

Alrighty, So I’ve finally got my new motherboard coming in the mail and I can’t wait to get my PC up and running again!  Thank god I back everything up regularly, getting my baby back on her feet shouldn’t be too much of a headache.

In other news, I’ve bought some new toys from Sparkfun.com so I can get to work on some of my new project ideas.

One of the cooler toys is the avr-p28B programmer shown here:

This is going to be a much more elegant solution to the home brew hacky kluge of a development board that I have built on my proto-board. which is awesome, because that frees up a protoboard for other tinkering projects. My next set of projects that I’m going to be working on involve basic robotics based off of AVR micro-controllers. I’ve found a few good sources for parts, and now I only need to find a cheap/good quality PCB manufacturing house to produce the boards once I have them designed. My idea is just to start with a basic solar powered platform with the capability to extend with new ideas as they come. It probably won’t have anything more fancy than a couple of wheels and some sensors, and if I get board, I may add a speaker to it as well. but right now all of that is just an idea, I’ve got to get my workstation back up so I can start drafting some designs and I’ll be ready to go.

now I need a new mother board.

ugh.  So I got my new power supply this weekend, and the good news is that it works perfectly. The bad news is, however, that my motherboard is apparently also fried.  Now comes the fun part, mobo shopping.  I hate shopping for a motherboard with a vicious passion.  First, I visit newegg.com, my normal source for computer parts, and go to the mother board section.  awesome, now I just need to find a motherboard that meets all of the criteria I need.  first, let’s find one that has 4 RAM slots and is in the micro-atx form factor.  sweet, 3 pages of results, okay, now lets narrow that down to one that works with my almost out-dated processor, crap. only a small handful, all with crappy reviews.  So the search continues, I’ll get my box up and running eventually…

Power supply explosion

So this is my first post here. yay.  I don’t really plan on using this blog as a diary or any of that crap, but more as a way of documenting and sharing projects that I’m working on currently.  A little background on my workstation, and the situation I’m in right now.  So I originally bought my PC from Fry’s electronics back in 2007 so that I could use it for school.  Mind you, this was the first computer I’ve ever owned in my life.  prior to this I didn’t even know how to type and I only used the internet sporadically for e-mail.  It was the cheapest bundle that they had available at the time. it came with a 17″ flat screen monitor, a single-core 1.7 GHz 32-bit processor, 120 GB Hard Drive, and 512 Mb of RAM.  it was pure crap even in 2007.  However, I was poor, and I had to do with what I could afford.  Now this is originally the reason I tried Linux out.  My PC came pre-installed with Windows Vista Basic, and of course no software.  It ran like a turd because of crappy hardware and the inherent high resource use of win vista, and I couldn’t afford ANY software for it.  So a friend of mine at the local retail office supply store I worked at recommended that I give Ubuntu a whirl. I was instantly intrigued by the idea of open source software and astounded that I could find such high quality software at no cost to me.  It wasn’t long before I started tinkering around, and it wasn’t long after that that I desired more control over my system.  I was eventually drawn to Arch because of the immediate amount of control one has over the system and the command-line oriented way that Arch does things.  I wanted to learn the command line, so I installed Arch.  I instantly fell in love with computing, and this inspired me to go to school for computer engineering.  Over time, I have significantly upgraded my computer.  piece by piece, I’ve changed out the processor, motherboard, graphics card, various peripherals, hard-drives etc.  Now I’m running a 3.2GHz dual-core, with 4 Gb ram, 440 GB storage on 2 internal hard drives, and dual monitors, with a bunch of handy add-ons like a serial port and a home-made FM transmitter.  Now for my recent situation. So about two weeks ago, the ati graphics drivers FINALLY caught up with my hardware, and I was able to run/play vega-strike.  Now, I’m no gamer(vega-strike is more of a face-melter/timewaster), and this is the first and only 3D application I’ve needed to run on my machine.  It turns out, that with my current hardware, I was drawing far more power than my little 300W powersupply could handle (I know, I kn0w, the PS should be the first thing you upgrade, but I’m cheap and figured it could handle it.)  needless to say, my PSU went out in a blaze of glory.  after a little bit of fiddling with a multi-meter just to make sure it wasn’t my mobo or something I decided to finally break down and buy a new powersupply.  it’ll be here in a few days, I’m pretty excited, so I probably won’t be posting too much in here until I can get my box back up and running, probably on July 2nd or so.