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Hacking the spot, The Hotspot that is! March 10, 2008

Posted by Ted Summers in : Technical , add a comment

Being the technophile that I am, I often travel with two Laptops one for Windows and the other for Linux. On weekends my girlfriend and son often go with me to the local book store for study time. They too also have their own laptops, which brings our total number of laptops to four.

Now the problem is that at the locations where we travel, there is mostly only paid /secured Internet access available via Hotspots. Making matters worse most hotspot providers only allow you to use one computer system per hotspot account. So with four laptops that would normally mean that I would need four hotspot accounts. So with the average hotspot provider costing $20 per month that would come to $960 per year to cover the total of four laptops we carry and use on a regular basis.

Surely there must be an easier way, and of course the answer is yes there is! The solution to this problem is “ICS” or Internet Connection Sharing. Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) allows two or more networked computers to share a single Internet connection, whether it is DSL, ISDN, Cable, T1, satellite, or dial-up. Using ICS and a small $50 Pocket /Travel Router is all you need. In my case I purchased a small D-Link G730ap router. The router is smaller than a deck of playing cards and can also receive its power from your Computer’s USB port. The device can also act as an access point, router, or wireless client.

Dlink AP

The D-Link G730ap handles WEP, WPA, and WPA2 Encryption for your security needs. The device can be configured using most Web Browsers. For those who like to try before they buy, D-Link offers and online emulator at the link below:


If you tried the emulator, then you can see just how easy the device can be to setup. I found setup /configuration to be easy and it only took me 7 quick easy steps to accomplish, which I will try to outline in what follows. The basic topology is outlined below in the following diagram:


Step 1: Connect power to your Access Point (D-Link G730ap)

Step 2: Set device to Access Point mode

Step 3: Connect Ethernet Cable to Access and Computer

Step 4: Configure Access Point. (SSID, Encryption, Passwords, etc…) Note **DHCP should be off**

Step 5: Using your Computer, connect to your Hotspot Provider and Login as you would normally.

Step 6: Configure your Computer’s Wireless Adapter for ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). Make sure to select network that sharing is to be allowed with from drop down menu. (See Screenshot for Windows Example)


Step 7: Attach your other Computers (Wireless Clients) to your private Access Point. These clients should now have Internet Access provided to them via your Computer.

That is basically all there is to it, you have just hacked the Hotspot. More advanced users can also enable /disable services that they do not want to share. If you are still unsure about ICS and use Windows then check the link below where there is even a video how-to:


Multi-Touch Technology May 30, 2007

Posted by Ted Summers in : Technical , add a comment

Jeff Han

If you have ever used a kiosk before, then you have used “Touch Technology”. Touch Technology is the technology used in Touch Screen Devices. Well thanks to Jeff Han and his company Perceptive Pixel which was was founded in 2006, the world of computers and how we use them is about to change.

So who is Jeff Han, he is a leading research scientist at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He is also someone, that when he speaks you really should listen to what he has to say.

You see Jeff Han is the designer of a new “Human-Computer Interface”, It’s a technology called “Multi Touch” and I promise you it will change the way we interact with computers forever. This new Multi-Touch Interface will allow the user to use “finger gestures”, but not just one finger, as with the current Touch Screen Technology. Try thinking about using several fingers at once to manipulate data. Once this technology takes off, relying on a mouse will be a thing of the past.

This technology is seen to be a Multi-billion dollar industry that is about to take off, with no less than Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Apple and others lining up to get their products to market. At the time of this writing Microsoft is planning to release a 30-inch Multi-Touch screen product, that they are calling “Surface“. It will initially sell between $5,000 and $10,000 U.S Dollars.

Well I’ve spoken on this long enough, so watch the video and you will see what I mean.

The Role of Key Management Service Servers May 23, 2007

Posted by Ted Summers in : Technical , add a comment

If you have worked in a Microsoft Environment for any length of time, then by now you may have heard of Volume Activation. Volume Activation is a method / technology used by Microsoft. It is their way of dealing with Volume Licensing issues.

Microsoft includes product activation technology in some products that are sold through original equipment manufacturer (OEM), retail, and Volume Licensing channels. To date there are two types of activations used by Microsoft.

Volume Activation 1.0 is the first generation of Volume License Keys (VLKs). These keys bypass product activation.

Volume Activation 2.0 Which is used with Windows Vista Business or Enterprise, and of which there are two types.

Multiple Activation Keys (MAK) activates either individual computers or a group of computers by connecting directly to Microsoft servers over the Internet. The keys can be used a limited number of times. This activation limit can be increased by calling your Microsoft Activation Center. When using this method you have two ways for activation.

This brings us to the title of our article. With Key Management Service Servers, Organization can host the Key Management Service (KMS) internally to automatically activate computers running Windows Vista. To use the KMS, you must have a minimum of 25 computers running Windows Vista that are connected together. Computers that have been activated through KMS will be required to reactivate by connecting to your organization’s network at least every six months.

The KMS software runs on a local computer running Windows Vista or the Microsoft Windows Server Code Name “Longhorn” operating system as a service. There is also now a download available for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 that allows it to be used as an KMS server.

So how does it work, you might ask. Well once you have the KMS server setup and running on your network it is quite simple to use.

  1. Install a copy of Windows Vista Business or Enterprise on the client PC using the default Corporate Key.
  2. Once installed and attached to your network, you open a elevated command prompt on the Vista client PC and type the following commands.

cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -skms xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx


slmgr /skms xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

Where xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx is the IPv4 address of your KMS server. You will get the message such as “Key management service machine name set to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx successfully”

Next you will enter:

cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -ato


slmgr -ato

Then wait for about 30 seconds. You should finally see a message displayed stating “Product activated successfully”

You can type in the following to check the activation status of your Vista PC.

cscript c:\windows\system32\slmgr.vbs -dlv


slmgr -dlv

You will then be greeted by a status message of how long till you have to reactivate your Vista license key.