Monthly Archives: December 2007

D-STAR Projects

One of the many misconceptions about the D-STAR digital amateur radio protocol is that it is closed and will prevent tinkering by hobbyists. This turns out to be far from the truth indeed. Last year at the Dayton Hamvention there were several exhibits by D-STAR enthusiasts which included an entirely home brewed D-STAR radio and a home brewed D-STAR repeater controller. Well now someone has built a DV interface adapter which can provide a D-STAR digital voice interface on many existing transceivers. Of course some functionality is missing as there is no ability to change various DV settings from the minimal interface but it proves yet again that there is the possibility for much experimentation with this new digital mode.

On other fronts the OpenDSTAR group has released several software tools which build on existing commercially available repeaters and Internet gateways to extend functionality. Still in the pipe from that group is a USB dongle called the DV Dongle which will allow end users to encode audio in the AMBE format used by D-STAR digital voice for later playback through the repeater or, ostensibly, for live PC to repeater communications. Indeed the home brew spirit of amateur radio is alive and well in the world of digital communications, it just looks different than it has in the past.

Keeping an eye on system security

A few months ago I learned of an interesting website called myNetWatchman. This is a very interesting and free website which aggregates firewall logs from various sources around the Net (you are free to contribute your logs as well) and analyzes them for trends and potential infections by IP address. System administrators are then able to enter IP addresses of servers they manage into the site and see whether those servers have been exhibiting any malicious behavior towards the monitored firewalls. This is just one additional useful tool for sysadmins to monitor the behavior of their servers.

Free utility to create ISO CD-ROM images

Occasionally I have the need to have someone who is not as technically literate as myself send me a CD image. In the past I’ve recommended a number of shareware utilities (most of which are for ISO manipulation including extraction) but these are often more powerful than what the person needs and the associated cost is a disincentive. More recently I’ve found a piece of freeware from Lucersoft called LC ISO creator which does nothing but create ISO images of CDs and DVDs. It’s pretty difficult to make a mistake with a piece of software this simple.

Now if only there was a good open-source cross-platform GUI ISO manipulation utility that allowed for the creation, extraction and modification of ISO files. I’ve been really happy with InfraRecorder so I’m hoping something similar comes along in this vein.