HowTo: Monitor the Network – Plasmoid

I always like to know what’s going on with my individual systems (especially air-gapped LANs), so if it hangs I have a good idea why.   And I especially like to know when lots of data is going out of my systems.   So we are going to make a handy little plasmoid which does this very effectively, and will run on KDE, XFCE, LXDE, etc, and given its cmake origin will probably build and run on OS-X and Windows as well.

knet1Here’s what it looks like. (click to enlarge)   It sits in your System Tray, and monitors the outward network interface.   Green traffic (bottom) is incoming, and red traffic (top) is outgoing.   You can set the scale to just about anything, but I’ll give a reasonable default below.


Those Darned Clever Crows

Crows using traffic to crack a walnut


Router Security

There is finally beginning to be more awareness of router security.   All of us have routers, large or small;   it’s the bridge between ‘The Internets’ and our LAN, and smaller ones have a built-in firewall which many rely on as their only protection.

All routers come with a well-known default username and password, which most people have enough sense to change.   This helps prevent not only unauthorized access over the airwaves, but also through the internet itself, although WPA2 should also be turned on for airwaves protection.

Recently there’s been more black hat exploitation of certain brands of small router, specifically Asus and the sorry Linksys and DLink routers.   Users often opt for convenience and so turn on Remote Admin…   and black hats have automatic worms running around (check at :23 seconds) out there specifically looking for vulns to exploit for fun and profit.   NEVER turn on Remote Admin, and it’s not a good idea to turn on router disk sharing as it uses the terrible Windows Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.


Our Microbiome

Phones carry bacterial ‘fingerprint’
(This is why I read the BBC)

You know, we hominids carry around 2-3 pounds of bacteria all the time!   1/3 of feces is bacteria and fungal flora.   In cows, bacteria and fungi consume the plant matter cows eat, and then the cows actually digest those bacteria and fungi for nourishment!

Furthermore, they’re beginning to find that a strong possible cause of Cron’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, some obesities, constipations, et al, are likely caused by an imbalance of the good and bad flora in our digestive tracts.   This can easily be caused by a regimen of strong antibiotics, not enough water, and so on.


Home Theater – Build a Mega-Screen

I’ve been watching TV on front projector since 2006, and it came to the point where, um, a 10′ screen just wasn’t big enough anymore.   You know how it is…

screen(click to enlarge)


Home Theater – Folding Light

When I moved to this house around 4 years ago, I found that the den is too small (15′ x 11′) to accommodate my very good Planar home theater projector, even though it is fitted with a short-throw lens.

Swapping from a long-throw lens to a short-throw lens on my expensive new projector.  (eeek!)

Swapping from a long-throw lens to a short-throw lens on my expensive new projector. (eeek!)

Well this is a problem because the image will be way too small for my 12′ diagonal screen.   There was nothing more I could do to the projector but I still needed some way to lengthen the throw.   But how, when the walls are in the way?   (click to enlarge)
SU - full shot