Tuesday, September 6, 2016

WDS Setup for TP-Link C7 and D-Link682 running DD-WRT

So we know from the previous post that the hardware is the same for both routers.  The main difference is the style of the router (DLink has not external antenna's and is about 100$ cheaper).  As a reminder I picked up my DLink router from Ebay for about 30$.

After upgrading the firmware on both routers to DD-WRT (30082) - 7/1/16 was the build date, I began the initial setup for the main router.  The main router is the C7.  The following changes were made on the C7

WAN: Disabled
STP: Enabled
DHCP: Enabled
Advanced Routing - Gateway

Wireless (both) - Set as WDS AP (for the main router)
Wireless Security - Make sure what ever you set here is the same on both routers (I chose AES, I heard mixed reports about it not working on anything more the AES)

SSID - Make sure your 2.4 and your 5.0 have unique SSID, you will be using the same SSID on the second router
Ath0-WDS - Put your second router's 2.4Ghz mac address here.
Ath1-WDS - Put your second router's 5.0Ghz mac address here.

That is pretty much it for the main router.  Most of the notable changes are on the second router.

STP: Enabled
DHCP: Disabled
Advanced Routing - Router

Wireless (both) - Set as WDS Station
Wireless Security - same as primary router
SSID - Same as your primary router
Virtual Interface for 2.4 -  AP/ same ssid as primary router
Virtual Interface for 5.0 - AP/ same ssid as primary router
Ath0-WDS - Put your primary router's 2.4Ghz mac address here.
Ath1-WDS - Put your primary router's 5.0Ghz mac address here.

Firewall: Disabled

Those are the setting that I have currently setup and it is working.  Adding the second router really expanded my wireless range by about 500 ft.  Instead of just having WIFI in the house, I can walk to the kids playground and still have access, and I can just barely get it by the pool.

Next to add another router near the pool so I have full WIFI there (cellular service is horrible around here), just need to figure out where I can get power for the router and how to keep it out of site.


Pokemon Hunting with the kids

Just in case someone has never heard of Pokemon Go, its a Augmented Reality game by Niantic that was released in June/July of this year.   Since my kids where out of the country until recently and Pokemon was not available where they were at the time we have recently started to play Pokemon Go together.  

At first my youngest would just use my phone and my account for Pokemon Go, and kept telling everyone about how good her Pokemon where.  I mean who can complain she was using a Level 21 which a top Pokemon Vaporeon with 2000 CP.  

My other daughter recently got a phone, so she was ready to play.  But my youngest wanted her own phone to play one.  I don't need/want her to have her own phone (with sim card)  so this past weekend, I pulled out my old Samsung Galaxy S3, loaded up Cyanogen Mod 13 (CM13) and then side-loaded Pokemon Go.  I then setup my phone as a hotspot, and we went for a little walk for her to get her first Pokemon, and of course the kids being addicted to YouTube, they knew how to catch Pikachu for their first Pokemon.

Later that day we headed over to a local Pokemon hotspot (15 pokestops in walking distance) - or driving if you prefer at a slow speed.  I think the kids know more of the "hacks" to the game then I do now.   They were explaining the 10 pokestops in 30 minutes and how you get more loot from pokestops after the 10th.    Next they went on to tell me about renaming the eevee to get the evolution you wanted.

I still had one trick that they didn't know about though;  Lucky egg, and tons of Pidgy to level up.  In short time they were level 5 and ready to join a team.    Over the weekend, I would say that we probably walked about 3 miles and caught somewhere near 30-40 Pokemon.  I had a great time hanging out catching Pokemon with them.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Android TV on Pine64

After I pulled out the Pine64 and dusted it off, I went in search of a microSD reader to start the process of getting Android TV installed on the Pine64.   The instructions listed here are what I used to load the image to the card. -  Android TV Pine64

I did make one mistake which took a little bit to realize why it was not working.  I was getting side tracked with the kids wanting to go outside and play and did not realize the file that I downloaded was .gz file extension, all I saw was the .img.  So twenty minutes later after I finally looked at the file I was able to install the image onto the card.

Boot up was pretty simple, with one issue being the remote control that was purchased with the Pine64 does not have a keyboard.  I was setting up the Pine to use WIFI but I needed to put in the passphrase for the WIFI, but the onscreen keyboard was not showing up, no matter what buttons I was hitting on the remote.

Next stop Amazon for the Aerb 2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard Mouse.  Arrived the next day, and I was back in business setting up the Android TV.  The setup was easy, video looked great (1080) and the sound was working.  The Android TV version is capable of 4K. but I don't own a TV that supports that.

The only app I have looked to install so far is Netflix which is not on the Google Play Store, going back to the forums they say to side load it, so that will be next on the agenda.  After that Amazon Videos would be good, and Plex or Kodi for my local storage.  Last but not least would be to install some games to try out the Air Mouse on Android TV.  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Impressions: Pine64

I initially purchased the Pine64 to become an HTPC, sort of like a Roku, or Android TV.  The Kickstarter showed it to have grand plans and backing for builds of my different OS's.   The Pine64 was pretty easy to put together, and wifi was easy to attach.  What I was not expecting was the hassle of trying to type on the screen with the remote control.  The HTPC remote control that came with the Pine64 was horrible.  I wish they opted from the beginning to order the Air Mouse that they now have for sale.   The next hassle was getting an OS that would work on the Pine64, after much reading I noticed that there was an Android image available, but it was months old, and also on based on Android 5.1.  Now there is nothing entirely wrong with that, but considering this was a new piece of software I would have expected them to also be running the newest version of Android.  Even looking into the image, it did not seem like it was created by the Pine64 team (I could be wrong with this).  There were a few other images available for other OS's but I was really looking towards using Android.  Shield TV was out, and now my expectations of what I wanted the Pine64 to do were high.  I knew that it would not do everything the Shield does, or it would not be as powerful, but it was the baseline I was looking for in a set top box.   

I installed the Android image that was available and played around with it for a few days.  It was not easy to use with the default remote control,   It moved off into a drawer somewhere until recently I saw over on the Pine 64 forums that someone has tried another attempt at Android TV for the Pine64.   
Time to dust off the Pine64 and set out to try and get it up and running again this time with Android TV, just maybe ill have what I was looking for.


I recently purchased the TP Link C7 V2 to replace an aging Linksys E2000.  Yes I know its an old router, but I was not using the WIFI as much as I am now.  Initial setup of the TP LINK was pretty strait forward.  The router was purchased from Amazon when it was on sale.   I tried to keep the router with the original firmware, but just couldn't last about 2 weeks after getting it I installed OpenWRT. 

OpenWRT was pretty good, and I had it on there for about a week or so, but it was to much for what I was looking for, I finally settled on DD-WRT for this router.  The setup was pretty strait foward.  I download the stock firmware from TP-Link, and installed it over top of OpenWRT, and then installed DD-WRT on top of that.  

My next task was purchasing a D-Link 862L from Ebay for 25$.  This router is considered a AC1600 but with DD-WRT installed it will be a AC1750, and has the same internals as the TP-Link C7, just in a different shape.  

I wanted to play with wireless bridging/mesh networks so having two routers that use the same hardware should be simple enough. 

Next post will go into setting up the two routers on the same network.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughts on Aquaponics

Recently I have wanted to try and make a backyard garden with my kids, but I wanted it a little more interesting.  This is where I started to read and learn about Aquaponics.   In case anyone does not know what Aquaponics means:

A food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. - From Wikipedia

I think I could use my backyard and build a raised spice garden out of some 2x4's and other material. And then get a tank or something to use as a tank and go from there.  I would love to use Tilapia or Barramundi fish, but might have to start with just gold fish to see how it all works. Besides with Barramundi or Tilapia I will need a much larger "tank".

I thought about buying one of those pre-built from Amazon, but were is the fun in that. Besides those are very small, but I would probably kill those fish anyway.

Any thoughts?  Anybody ever try and make one of these? Or even bought the one off of Amazon or anywhere else?

It would be nice to be able to go in the backyard, grab your vegetables, spices, and even a fish and make a fresh meal.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Lightbox Game for Windows Review

The other day I was searching for some coding games to let my kids try them out.  Currently they are addicted to Minecraft.  I was looking for something new that they could try on the computer and try and stimulate their brains to think.

Lightbox reminded me of Robot Turtles which I bought I believe two Christmas's ago for my kids, and they love that game.  I like that Lightbox is on the computer and the girls can see quickly if they made a mistake and then try new things.

And there are different levels to the game.  In Robot Turtles  I broke it down to levels but the way LightBox does it I think it makes it easier on me for explaining.  Robot Turtles I would have to explain what a program was and how to run it.

In Lightbox they can test and run, test and run, till they figure it out.  And if they do not understand it then I can lend a hand.  My oldest daughter got up to Level 3, while my youngest is currently at Level 2.

Each level has about 8 stages, with Level 1 basic commands like: Forward, Light, Turn left, Turn Right, and eventually Jump.  Level two they add the PROC command which to me is like a sub-routine you can run in your main command. This will give you the ability to have an additional 8 commands.   I used the PROC command for routine repeated commands (which I gather that was what it was for).  On average it would save a few "lines" of code in the main routine.

In Level 3 you get the PROC 2, which enables looping of the PROC 1/PROC 2, and adds another 8 commands to your chain.

Overall I think the game is a great tool for kids to learn function, routines, and problem solving.  The controls are basic and easy to use that even my youngest was able to start right up.   The game was built using flash.  The game was built during the Hour of Code event.

Additionally on their website you can sign up for an alpha of a new programming game being built.