The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, Debtember 31, 2002

Core dumps, WAPs and war driving

After visiting the hospital, Mark, JeffK and I headed over to Kelly's to hang out for a bit. How we ended up talking about Michael Jackson, I don't know, but when we were tyring to show Mark just how badly Jacko looks these days, Kelly's Windows XP box crashed. What I did now know, but Mark did, was that Windows XP can generate a crash dump for later analysis. When Mark checked the dump directory, Kelly had approximately 50 dump files already there.

Unlike Windows NT, Windows XP doesn't come with dumpcheck.exe, which will tell you exactly where the crash took place. Mark then spent the next half hour or so (why not?) trying to determine the location of the crash, and to track down a copy of dumpcheck.exe. Unfortunately, Kelly's copy of Windows XP was set to only record a minimal dump, of which dumpcheck.exe wasn't able to work with. But Mark was able to track the crash down to ntkernel.dll which pretty much means a buggy driver, although not which driver is bad. Kelly then configured Windows XP to do a full dump next time it crashes.

After expressing the sad state of affairs with Wacko Jacko, talk then turned towards wireless networks. Mark recently aquired some equipment and was looking to set up a WAP at home. Mark didn't quite realize that WAP security was a joke (crackable with as little as 5K worth of traffic) and that really, you need to firewall off any wireless stations; all WAP security was good for was “to keep someone from inadvertantly connecting to your network.” Mark was then curious as to the range and from experiments done here at the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere, we were able to pick up a signal outside the building, up to maybe twenty yards or so (Rob and I didn't go much futher than that). We then decided to test Kelly's range.

Mind you, this was at 2:30 in the morning.

So with laptop literally in hand, we walked down the street and found that the signal strength was good for perhaps a hundred yards or so—definitely three houses down although it wasn't a straight cut-off point. The frequencies used tend to bounce around so that going around a corner only ten yards away would cut the signal entirely; but hit just the right spot and the signal can bounce down the street.

We also talked a bit about war driving and the best areas to concentrate on down here in Lower Sheol. We figured the best places would be around Congress, between Yamato and Clint Moore (in Boca Raton) and along Cypress Creek, between I-95 and Powerline (in Ft. Lauderdale). One of these days …

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