Cloud computing what is it. It is a service of various types. Traditiional you have accessed a web server for your needs. There are actually many ways you can use “The Cloud” as a service (AAS). One that is becoming more prevelant is Infrastructure as a service (IAAS). Wikipedia defines it as:

“In the most basic cloud-service model, providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or (more often) virtual machines – and other resources. (A hypervisor, such as Xen or KVM, runs the virtual machines as guests.) Pools of hypervisors within the cloud operational support-system can support large numbers of virtual machines and the ability to scale services up and down according to customers’ varying requirements. IaaS clouds often offer additional resources such as images in a virtual-machine image-library, raw (block) and file-based storage, firewalls, load balancers, IP addresses, virtual local area networks (VLANs), and software bundles. IaaS-cloud providers supply these resources on-demand from their large pools installed in data centers. For wide-area connectivity, customers can use either the Internet or carrier clouds (dedicated virtual private networks).
To deploy their applications, cloud users install operating-system images and their application software on the cloud infrastructure. In this model, the cloud user patches and maintains the operating systems and the application software. Cloud providers typically bill IaaS services on a utility computing basis: cost reflects the amount of resources allocated and consumed.”

What a mouthful. That means anything you use on the computer comes from a other system(s) on the internet.  You do not have to put an operating system on your computer. You do not have to have a way of storing data locally. You have what is traditionally known as a dumb terminal. Does not mean you are dumb, but your computer system is controlled remotely. There has been a drive in this direction for a long time with the use of the thin client. Thin client is a low resource machine that uses servers on the network to do the heavy lifting so to speak.

Where I use to work, they used thin clients in the public access labs. Hopefully it would reduce support. The units they used were small desktops and you had to support them just like a regular desktop. You always were seeming to have to update the software on the units. Fortunately, I was not involved directly with all that. A better situation would have been to have a thin client without a tradtional operating system on the unit, but do have software that could be completely be loaded from the network. I made the suggestion to do that, but the ideas fell on deaf ears.

With IAAS, Sneaker support (having a technician to go out and correct problems) is reduced, All software issues can be remedied remotely from one central point. You also have the advantage that data is no longer stored on the local system. So someone could take the unit and and then not be able to exact sensitive information from the unit. All data is held in a central point, so making backups (duplicates of business data) easier to do. Only scraping the surface of what all can be done. Here is a url for a short very unprofessional video about what could happen when you bootup a system that has been set up for IAAS.

Ltsp boot example.

Actually do know what is going on and was just kidding of course. It has been a while, but I have talked about LTSP (Linux termial server project) before in an earlier article. Sort of an in house type of IAAS that companies can implement on their own.

More information at:


Made some coat hanger tablet stands in another post using coat hangers, I wanted a stand that would be less likely to damage a touchpad and be easy to store while traveling. This what I dreamed of after seeing another idea.

Draw your pattern.
Trace it over two pieces of thick posterboard.
Cut out the pieces. (Just using one long piece is hard to fold.)
Double tape the backend of the two pieces together.
Bend and insert your tablet.


Years ago there was a song called “Where have all the flowers gone”. I sort of wanted to do an introduction based off of that.  In a way the Intel i386 based architecure is not gone, but there is certainly a new major player on the scene. The Arm architecture is the new kid on the block. Originally used for embedded systems, is now coming into the main IT stream. There are desktops, laptops, tablets (aka palmtops), servers and etc that the I386 based systems have done for so long. What is the advantage of the Arm cpu’s?  They are cheaper, require less electrical power, and require less space just for starters.

The picture represents four different arm or arm derivative based devices that are all within a foot or so of each other. Almost like a whole network of devices.  None of them are the traditional Microsoft operating system based devices either. They are all using some kind of unix lookalike operating system. That is a good thing as it allows similar software to be used on many devices without a whole lot of additional development work to get software to run on the devices. Within the picture is a server, palmtop, network router, and a low end desktop. What are the devices in the picture?

First in the upper lefthand corner is an NSLU2 that was originally used as a networked address storage (aka nas) device front end. Linksys was kind enough to have built the unit so that you could bootstrap other operating systems onto the unit. Instead of running the original firmware, It is now running the Debian (squeeze) linux operating system. So instead of being a single purpose unit, it can now do all kinds of things. At this time I can still use it as a file server much like the nas. My main use for it is a music server (daap) and as a web server. At one time I even ran the famous wordpress blogging software using the apache web server. Even write my own programs for it to do special projects using the C language.

Next up is the Airlink101 network router. Originally the router had the company’s firmware, but thanks to some enterprising souls, I use an alternative firmware known as DD-WRT.  DD-WRT enhances the capabilites to what many expensive commercial routers can do.  Many plastic box routers sold in the retail stores are now made so you can not use alternative firmware. To me that sure reduces the values of the units not to be able to upgrade them with third party software. There are exceptions though. Mainly I use the router for connecting to wifi devices such as a touchpad. I do not use wifi on the main router.  A bit of security there maybe. Then it is easy to just unplug the router when wifi is not used.

Down to the right, sitting on a table in a homemade white case is the infamous  Raspberry Pi. It is sort of a desktop, Using a Commodore 1702 monitor with it. Despite it’s size, you can have a gui desktop, just like a traditional desktop. I sort of call it the NSLU2 with super powers. It also runs the Debian (squeeze) linux. One thing I like about it is I can swap the memory card, so one minute it is a desktop and the next, it is a network media streaming device. Sort of jack of all trades as it can also be a server. It also be used as a thin client for the Linux terminal server project.  Like the NSLU2, you can slo program your own software on it. Both the NSLU2 have a great library of software you can download and install. No reason to reinvent the wheel for most things.

Lastly is the Android touchpad. Like the above unit there is a tremendous amount of free software you can install. My main needs were a portable remote desktop viewer, text based terminal for logging into servers to do management. running my own developed software, and lastly as a web client. There is so much software you have access to that is served from web based devices. We have our own local web server with many applications from business applications, educational, and recreational too. The Android tablet can also be used to bootstrap a network pc for software installation via Ipxe using a wireless connection. I could go on forever. But lastly sometimes I just like to use it for listening to music from the web.

Where have all the i386 cpu’s gone, Long time ago. They are slowly being replaced with Arm based systems.


Arduinos are the hot item when comes to microcontrollers right now but there are others that will still do quite a bit and do it on less power. For example you can control your sprinkler system, have a burglar alarm system, and many other projects that will all run off of just a yard solar lamp.  A  burglar alarm system that does not run off the car’s battery is a real plus. Virtually impossible to disarm unless you know where it is and can get to it before it goes off.

There are tons of projects for the Atmel 2313 (and related) chips in particular. You could make a toy for your child’s holiday gift such as a homemade robot. That adds meaning to the gift given to give of yourself. Another thing I like about the micro-controller is you do not need some fancy setup to program it.  You can virtually use an old parallel cable and a computer with a parallel port that can run the free development package). The parallel cables are discarded by zillions. We made a special adapter that could be used for many things, but the principal is the same.

Once people hear about your projects, you may be asked to do one for someone else. Sideline business? If nothing else it will allow you to be more valuable to a potential emplyer. As they say “The more you know!”

Surprise your kids! (

Note: Some parallel port interfaces (especially newer ones) may require a few resistors to help protect the parallel port.


ave had a chance to play with the Google Nexus 7 that runs Android (I think was built by Asus ) for little over a month now.  Generally have a good thoughts about it though there are just a few reservations which I may discuss later. Since the unit has been out a while, you probably already know the specifications of the unit (you can use you web search engine to get the details if you have not.) I was lucky enought the get the 32 gigabyte version of the unit. Getting anything less than that could make real challenges for you.

What was the first thing I added to the unit. first was some experimentation with some home made stands. Even the dollar store had a plastic stand. I based one of my experimental stands off of it.

The main reason why I wanted the unit was to see how web applications work with touchpads and maybe also develop some software for the unit. Found out right way that the touchpads react differently than the traditional web browser does with web pages. That meant I would have to rewrite some code on the server to better accomodate the new technology. Even the Chumby had for the most part no problem with existing web pages. That leads to the second part about developing software for the unit. Well the Android development package despite preaching to the otherwise became pretty much closed. Or as they say, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck. then it is a duck. The Android development system was forked. That means it was  copied and the copy is still open source. More about that at some other time.

In using the Nexus 7, I found that they had an app store by Google of course. There are a lot of good free applications that you can download.Some will automatcally download and install on your unit and others require you to give special permission to allow for installation of an application. You could also uninstall applications fairly easily, if you found a bummer of a program.

Installed several applications to help fullfill my needs. One was an secure shell application that would allow me to access the servers I manage so that I dould access them as if I was at any computer using the keyboard to do admin duties. Another application was an RDP client that would allow me to remotely access remote systems using the gui interface of those systems rather than the command line as I would do with SSH. Had a bit of trouble with that. I may get out my old MSWindows XP box Insteal of using linux as a server to see If I mave the same kinds of issues, Then maybe I can remedy the problems I am having with rdp. The ssh app works just fine.

Though the Andoid development system is not really my cup of tea, I did download dosbox and “x11 basic”applications to do any special project I want to use. That also means all the source code I have developed for other systems can be used immediately without reinventing the wheel. Also downloaded an office package, but have not installed it as of yet. You really probably need and external keyboard to take advantage of that software.

For relaxation you can always listen to music from the web. Of that takes some bandwidth. Already have most of the music I like on a local server. I downloaded an applicaton that will play music from a server that supports the daap protocol. Traditionally daap was used in the Itunes world. EVen apple has changed the way that works for them. Ironically I can access a daap server with no problem at all. Apple based system do not want to access that kind of server unless you want to reinvent the wheel of your securty or your Apple Ipad or the like. Another reason I did not want an IOS based device. You can always get movies and other video from Youtube and the like.

The last major area I wanted to talk about is connectivity. Have to admit that like most seasoned computer users, you like to attach goodies to your system. Out of the box, with the Nexus, 7 out of the box you are out of luck to add anything such as usb drives to your unit. Not to say you can not, but you are expected to do everything over the wifi connection. There is special hardware you can attach to the single microusb port, but that cost big bucks. My second gripe in that direction is that if you want to hook a usb drive to the Nexus 7 you have to have super powers to do that. That means you have to disable the security on your unit to use the device. Not good.

Another issue is that a lot of companies will not let you use a wifi enabled device at their location. Again you feel kind of frustrated. At home I do not like to run wifi either. In fact I have a special router just for wifi that usually stays off unless I have to use it. But there is an answer.   You can get what is known as a OTG (on the go) cable for you unit. Good luck getting one for your local Nexus 7 from a local brick and mortar store. You can get one from off the internet from places such as Amazon. One advantage of the OTG cable is that you can connect keyboards, mice, and “usb to ethernet” devices to your Nexus 7 without super powers.

After searching the web, I found way to modify an existing usb cable so that it works like an OTG cable. You do have to have a female to female adapter to hook up the extra goodies. The easy way would have been to just put an female adapter on the usb to micro usb adapter. I just took two usb female adapters and made an adapter cable (shown above). As a tech it always seems like you are making adapter cables such as the one in the last article to program microcontrollers. Now I can and do connect keyboard, mouse, and ethernet adapter to my Nexus 7. Though use of the battery is reduced by some amount when you do that.  Since I have made my own OTG cable, I will need to get a replacement for it. Off to the brick and mortar…..


Notice: do this at your own risk  Get a professional to help if you are the least bit unsure how to do it.  We are not responcible for and and all issues.  Do not do this on the cable that works with the charger!!!!!!!   Use a separate cable.


Knowledge about electricity is required. Get an expert to help if you are the least bit unsure. We are not responcible for any and all issues.

Great way to power your usb hubs if your pc can not handle it. Some hubs will not work with this setup, so try at your own risk.  Lot of people do this with the usb hubs, but I wanted to be able to use the hub without having to have the power attached.


Similarities:about coding.

Screenshot from 2013-02-04 12:35:15


rem start
Input “Enter your first name: “, yourfirstname$
Input” enter your last name: “, yourlastname$
rem process
yourname$ = yourfirstname$ + ” ” + yourlastname$
rem output
print “Your name is: “;yourname$;”.”
rem stop


$ ./logicchart
Enter your first name: a
enter your last name: b
Your name is: a b.

An oversimplification, but that is where it starts.


Sorry IHOP, you lose.


Good day.