Archive for ‘February, 2009’

Linux Server-in-a-Plug is here…..only $100

datePosted on 18:40, February 24th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Marvell Semiconductors is now shipping their SheevaPlug linux machines. Little tiny Linux boxes the size of a plugin adapter. The SheevaPlug draws about 5 Watts of power, comes with Linux, and boasts completely open hardware and software designs.

At $100 the platform is available in single quantities, and is priced within reach of students, hobbyists, and tinkerers. This looks like the perfect embeded platform for all sorts of stuff. Think home automation, security monitoring, ultra low powered file servers, ad-hoc mini clusters, not to mention robots and such …..there is no end to it.

Its hardware design is completely open — everything from schematics to Gerber files will be available on a marvell’s website — and ARM ports of several popular Linux distributions are already running, and included. More importantly, Marvell has committed to do everything it can to ensure the best Linux support for SheevaPlug going forward.

The $100 SheevaPlug development platform and Plug Computer designs are built around the Marvell 88F6000, or “Kirkwood” SoC, which was introduced last year. The Plug Computer is based on the high-end 88F6281 version of the Kirkwood, with a Sheeva CPU core clocked to 1.2GHz. The Sheeva core combines elements of Marvell’s earlier Feroceon and XScale architectures, both of which implemented ARM Ltd.’s ARMv5 architecture, similar to ARM Ltd.’s own “ARM9″ cores.

The SheevaPlug Plug Computer is further equipped with 512MB of DRAM and 512MB of flash. The tiny embedded PC also includes gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports. One early product based on the design is listed as measuring 4.0 x 2.5 x 2.0 inches. Plugging directly into a standard wall socket, the Plug Computer draws less than five watts under normal operation, compared to 25-100 watts for a PC being used as a home server, claims Marvell.

Early supporters of the SheevaPlug Plug Computer design include the following companies, each with links to their respective websites:

  • Cloud Engines Pogoplug — The Pogoplug enables remote viewing of external storage devices via a web browser. The device connects to an external hard drive or memory stick via USB, and to a router via gigabit Ethernet, says Cloud Engines. The 4.0 x 2.5 x 2.0-inch device plugs directly into a wall socket, and enables remote uploading of multimedia, including access from an Apple iPhone. Regularly $100, it is now available for pre-order at a special price of $80, says the company.

  • Ctera Networks CloudPlug — This Plug Computer device converts any USB drive into a NAS device, and provides secure offsite backup, says Ctera. The CloudPlug is aimed primarily at service provider OEMs that want to offer online backup services to consumers and small businesses. Equipped with gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports, the device offers features including automatic and secure online backup, and data snapshot restore, says the company.
  • Axentra HipServ — Axentra has ported its home media server application to the SheevaPlug platform, providing applications for storing, managing, sharing, viewing, or listening to digital media content remotely over the web or across a home network, says the company. HipServ for SheevaPlug is said to enable connection to third-party services such as online backup and photo print apps, as well as social networking sites like Facebook and Flickr. Recently upgraded to HipServ 2.0, the software is built on Red Hat Linux Enterprise, and is said to support UPnP-AV, DLNA, WMC, and iTunes media standards.
  • Eyecon Technologies Eyecon — This “media companion” application enables remote mobile users, including iPhone users, to discover content from sources including the Internet, DVRs, PCs, and NAS devices. The Eyecon software can then direct the media files to any connected device in the home, says the company.


Sugar interface on a USB stick…..

datePosted on 23:25, February 18th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Thanks to Sugar Labs you can now have your Ubuntu 8.10 or Fedora 10 linux distributions with sugar on it…..Shweet :-).  Yep you heard right, go here and grab your OLPC XO inspired 1GB USB stick image and boot all those old PC’s into sugar. According to Walter Bender (the creator of Sugar OS) a new version dubbed Sucrose 0.84 is on its way soon. Complete article (including interview with Mr. Bender) is over at XConomy.

How to get Admin rights in OSX Leopard using single user mode…

datePosted on 23:11, February 18th, 2009 by Many Ayromlou

Here is a quick way to gain access to that leopard machine you don’t remember the admin password to. Yes I know this can be used by all the kiddies out there, but lets hope they are smarter than that. To start, reboot the machine into single user mode by holding down command-s before the chime (on the white screen with gray apple logo). Once in single user mode you need to mount the HD in read-write mode using the following commands:
/sbin/fsck -fy
/sbin/mount -uw /

Then we need to start the directory services by issuing the following:
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
First thing we need to do is to create the new userid (I call it newadminusername, you can use whatever you want). It is important to assign the user a Realname (which is the long name under OSX), a UID in 5xx range (I use 599 in this example) and assign the user to group 80 (which is the admin group):
dscl . create /Users/newadminusername
dscl . create /Users/newadminusername RealName “Test Admin User”
dscl . create /Users/newadminusername UniqueID 599
dscl . create /Users/newadminusername PrimaryGroupID 80

Next we need to use the dscl command to make our newadminusername part of the admin group in open directory using the following command:
dscl . append /Groups/admin GroupMembership newadminusername
To check and make sure it worked lets look at the list of users in the admin group using the following command:
dscl . read /Users/newadminusername
and make sure newadminusername is setup correctly.
dscl . read /Groups/admin
and make sure newadminusername is listed as part of this group. The output of the commands on my machine for my test userid “tester” (I chose tester as my “newuseradmin”):
Brain:~ root# dscl . read /Groups/admin
AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
GroupMembership: root mayromlou tester
Password: *
PrimaryGroupID: 80
RealName: Administrators
RecordName: admin
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Groups
SMBSID: S-1-5-32-544
Brain:~ root# dscl . read /Users/tester
AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
AuthenticationAuthority: ;ShadowHash; ;Kerberosv5;;tester@LKDC:SHA1.532A60C783871C50CE0DAF911171860F528DE20F;LKDC:SHA1.532A60C783871C50CE0DAF911171860F528DE20F;
GeneratedUID: A248AE2D-DCA4-41AF-B3C9-91F96CB42091
Password: ********
PrimaryGroupID: 80
Test User
RecordName: tester
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Users
UniqueID: 599

If everything is good to go reset the users password:
passwd newadminusername
Reboot by typing reboot from the command line. You can now use your newadminusername to login and admin the machine. Once you’ve got access back to the machine through your regular account, you might want to undo all the stuff we have done above (just to keep things neat and tidy). If you decide to do that, reboot into single user mode again by holding down command-s before the chime (on the white screen with gray apple logo). Once in single user mode you need to mount the HD in read-write mode using the following commands:
/sbin/fsck -fy
/sbin/mount -uw /

Then we need to start the directory services by issuing the following:
launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
Then we need to undo all the steps we did above to create the newadminusername ID. That can be done simply by issuing the following commands:
dscl . delete /Groups/admin GroupMembership newadminusername
dscl . delete /Users/newadminusername

That’s it…..You’re done……