Monthly Archives: May 2005

Windows Authentication

I thought I had already posted about this but a quick search of the archives shows I have not. If you’re interested in changing the way Windows users on your network can authenticate but don’t have the resources, time or desire to implement a domain or Active Directory you may want to look at pGina. pGina is an open source project by XPA Systems which also offers pay support for the product.

Using a series of plugins pGina will let Windows users authenticate with a variety of services including, mySQL servers, LDAP directories, PAM, POP3, RADIUS, RSA SecurID, Bluesocket/URI, PAM or even Slashdot. I’ve tried out the software and it works as advertised including the ability to do very basic roaming profiles via a FTP server. Very interesting stuff, especially for a small office or large home situation where you have a number of users and wish to have a single point for authentication but don’t want to go through with a full domain or Active Directory installation.

Sipura follows Grandstream with FXO device

In a recent announcement VoIP technology company Sipura (recently acquired by Cisco’s Linksys division) announced the new SPA-3000 with 1 port FXS and 1 port FXO capability. Earlier this year competitor Grandstream made a similar announcement so it looks like we have the beginning of a trend on our hands and one which is bound to be good for the Asterisk SOHO community.

In related news Russell Shaw at ZDNET has a blog entry suggesting this very technology could be what Cisco was after when they announced the Sipura purchase. I know I’m certianly interested to see what Cisco/Linksys does with this technology, especially if they start putting “home PBXs” in the Linksys broadband routers!

I was also interested to find the Asterisk Management Portal which is an open source project developed by a Canadian company and looks to be a much easier way to administrate Asterisk servers.

Scanning Minnesota

First there were the analog systems, then the trunked analog systems, then the metrowide digital system and now the statewide digital system. This is one hack of an administrative nightmare, it’s a good thing we’ve got tons of committees working on this. In any event the following are some useful links for exploring Minnesota’s digital system(s).

Scanfan is always a good palce to start when you’re talking about metro area Minnesota scanning. Unfortunatly their server got hosed early this year and they lost a lot of good stuff, it’s slowly coming back though. They have a lot of the metro municipality/county analog frequencies listed on their site.

One of the members of Scanfan created this nifty database of talkgroups and frequencies for the metro digital system, they’ve also added some analog frequencies. The whole database is searchable and downloadable and it’s a pretty nice project.

If you’re looking for detailed technical information, policies and diagrams of the metro digital system the place to start is at the Metropolitan Radio Board website. They have nice transmitter location diagrams, system explanation and all the other juicy technical details of this engineering marvel.

The newer statewide board, “Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response” (ARMER), is picking up where the metro board left off and taking the system statewide. They too have a webpage with some useful information, though not as thorough as the metro board.

Some additional information on the workings of the digital system and more talkgroup IDs can be found at the MN_Metroscan website. Another local scanner/ham enthusiast with a good webpage of digital talkgroups and analog frequencies in the metro area is ECMscanning. also has a page with some information on the ARMER system.

As for myself, after some debate over GRE (RadioShack) vs. Uniden and mobile vs. handheld I went ahead and purchased the Pro-2096 and the “purple” PC programming cable and plan to purchase the Win96 programming software which is widely regarded as the best.

RFID Tracking for Automobiles?

I submitted this to Slashdot, don’t know if they’ll pick it up though. I just finished reading this week’s NetworkWorld and saw Mark Gibbs’ column on RFID tracking. Looks like he’s really opening a can of worms here. I generally like what he writes, but either he’s either totally off with this one or he’s just looking to get a rise out of people.

–Slashdot Story as submitted–
A few weeks ago NetworkWorld columnist Mark Gibbs wrote about the California school district tracking children with RFID tags, this was also covered on Slashdot here and here. In his latest column Mr. Gibbs has suggested tracking cars with RFID, apparently Mr. Gibbs feels that “Roads, freeways and junctions [should] have RFID scanners and log all vehicles that passed.” He suggests using the data to ticket speeders and make it easier to track criminals. He openly admits such a system could easily be defeated by removing the tag and swapping plates but that only “serious criminals” would resort to that. Aside from the massive amounts of data a project like this would create does it really serve the public interest to have an easily defeatable and easily abused tracking system such as this in place? A plan has already been suggested in Texas that would put RFID on cars. While that plan doesn’t go as far as Mr. Gibbs has proposed it could set the stage for such tracking in the future.

PHP Mailing List Manager

I’ve got a project that’s going to require a basic mass mailing manager. I was going to code it myself but the PHPList software looks like a good alternative.

*Updated link Oct 2 2016*