Rise Of The Mesh-ings

A couple of years back, when Egypt was in turmoil during the ouster of Mubarak (strange that we have to name which time it was in turmoil…) The Powers That Be shut down internet access so as to halt social media, email, skype, and all from showing what was happening. At that time I made a posting about ways to make an “ersatz network”, mostly the longhand way. Building routing points, DNS servers, and such and getting people connected on an intranet of sorts, then having someone with a satellite phone or packet radio or (other method) linking that into the broader internet if needed.


I’d even given a bit of a nod to “mesh networks” as a future thing.

There is mention made of self forming webs in one of the pages. That’s a more complicated extension. To make it such that the devices discover each other, and ‘link hands’ so to speak. So if there were enough of them, the whole area becomes one large web of communications. (The problem there is with the lack of ID. If 2000 folks are all “anon”, how do you find your spouse?) But with ‘not too much work’, that can be fixed too (or may already have been fixed by someone…) So, take a blog where folks can post with any name not already taken. Pretty quickly folks could paste up messages saying “John Q. Public looking for Jane, need lunch in 10 minutes.”


PirateBox DIY

PirateBox can be configured to run on many devices, including wireless routers, single-board computers, laptops, and mobile phones. Key hardware platforms include the TP-Link MR3020 and the Raspberry Pi both of which start at US$35.

PirateBox will potentially run on most OpenWrt compatible routers with USB storage. Check out this tutorial and be sure to visit the forum for support and more info.

OpenWrt with Mesh
Thanks to lead PirateBox developer Matthias Strubel PirateBox can now be configured to create wireless mesh networks using Alexandre Dulaunoy’s Forban. This feature is still in testing – for more info, check out this forum post.

So those distributed mesh self organizing bits are being worked on…

The “how to” do it on a Raspberry Pi mostly has a download of a prebuilt image. I’d want to know what was in it before using it for anything where badges and guns were involved (or checking accounts and money…)

Remember that a “mesh network” is one that mostly self forms between a whole bunch of gadgets and they all share over their individual connections to the nearest ones, and via the mesh of connections, with the further nodes that are out of range for a single hop.

Well that “being worked on” has become “done deal”. And in a far more elegant and complete way than I’d expected. I’d figured that the Libertarian mindset of the Geek World would take umbrage at having THEIR communications screwed around with by mere governments…. and I was right. Furthermore, it wasn’t just the Linux world. Android got in on the act (though as a derivative of Linux the only real surprise there is that Google is willing to let go of that much control and monitoring…) But in any case, someone would do it. So both Linux and Android. And….

Macintosh / Apple / iStuff too. Of course, you need a newer iThingy to get it to work. But a small price (and self healing over a couple of years anyway).


How an Under-Appreciated iOS 7 Feature Will Change the World

Mike Elgan (3:07 pm PDT, Mar 22nd 2014)

curious download hit Apple’s app store this week: a messaging app called FireChat.

It’s a new kind of app because it uses an iOS feature unavailable until version 7: the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. The app was developed by the crowdsourced connectivity provider Open Garden and this is their first iOS app.

The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?

But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection.

It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything. Here’s why.

It can also extend an Internet connect to a place where none exists — for example, to a hotel basement, cave or to rural areas where cell tower connections are non-existent.

It does that through the mesh networking capability inherent in the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. With multiple users in the area, FireChat can relay messages just like the internet does, from node to node (phone to phone).

(Apple’s AirDrop works in the same way, by the way.)


Share content with AirDrop from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
With AirDrop, you can share photos, videos, websites, locations, and more with people nearby with an Apple device.

What you need
To share content with AirDrop, both people need one of these devices using iOS 7 or later, or a Mac with OS X Yosemite:
iPhone 5 or later
iPad (4th generation or later)
iPad mini
iPod touch (5th generation)
You also need to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If you want to share with your contacts, sign in to your iCloud account.
Learn more about using AirDrop to share with people using a Mac with Yosemite.

So go ahead, evil dictator, cut the local WiFi and even the internet trunk. We’ll just share our short texts, emails, files, photos, movies, you name it directly with each other, no central node need apply. And when any node has a connection to the rest of the world, we ALL have a connection to the rest of the world. (Though how fast a connection is unclear and likely to be slow, but workable for getting the important bits of news out or in.)

While sharing with just recognized contacts requires an iCloud login, sharing with anyone does not. In an emergency, opening up a connection to “All” lets things just flow, but with a loss of privacy.

Were I in the Media Business, I’d be equipping all my remote reporting teams with a iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, etc. along with a satellite internet feed gizmo. Then, when they are reporting from a ‘hot zone’, they can just ‘mesh’ together and to their uplink. If things get really dodgy, then they can open things to “all” and let ‘er rip to an entire demonstration worth of folks.

(there’s more at both links)




Mobile phones normally can’t be used when cellular networks fail, for example during a disaster. This means that millions of vulnerable people around the world are deprived of the ability to communicate, when they need it most.

We have spent the past four years working with the New Zealand Red Cross to create a solution. We call it the Serval Mesh, and it is free software that allows smart-phones to communicate, even in the face of catastrophic failure of cellular networks.

It works by using your phone’s Wi-Fi to communicate with other phones on the same network. Or even by forming impromptu networks consisting only of mobile phones. Mesh communications is an appropriate technology for complementing cellular networks. Think of it like two-way radio or CB radio that has been propelled into the 21st century. For long-range communications you will still need to make use of cellular or fixed telephone networks or the internet.

This software allows you to easily make private phone calls, send secure text messages and share files in caves, in subways, in the Outback, in Australia or Africa, in Europe or the United States — even when cellular networks fail or are unavailable.

You can also keep using your existing phone number on the mesh, which is really important in a disaster when people are trying to get back in contact with each other.

Our software:

* Is completely open and open-source; free for all
* Can be carried and activated in seconds by those who need it when it is needed
* Is carrier independent
* Can be installed during an emergency from only one phone
* Is distributed nature makes network resilient
* Can use your existing phone number
* Encrypts mesh phone calls and mesh text messages by default
* Can distribute pictures, videos and any other files
What’s New
* MeshMS text messages display delivery notifications and timestamps, and only stored encrypted, but are not backwards compatible
* Vastly simplified the connection screen
* Added phone dialler for tablet users
* Our routing protocol has been improved
* The Peer List is more responsive to changing network conditions
* Reduced power consumption in a number of use cases
For a complete list of changes, see https://github.com/servalproject/batphone/blob/master/CURRENT-RELEASE.md

Want an Android to share with a Mac or Ithingy?


Mesh networking from ios to android

Is there any framework that connects an ios device to an android device using a mesh network ?

There are apps like firechat that ables users to speak to each other using only bluetooth and wifi (via apple’s multipeer connectivity framework). But is there any way to connect ios devices to android devices using multipeer connectivity of some kind ?

I’m trying to build an app like firechat to be used by some friends here in college, but it needs to connect ios devices to android devices. If there would only be ios devices, multipeer connectivity framework would be just fine, but in this case I don’t know wich framework to use in order to connect all these devices
I believe the Open Garden SDK may be able to meet your needs.

Basically it is an SDK for multipeer communication, by the creators of Firechat. And they claim that it is the same technology that Firechat uses, so I believe it will work with Bluetooth.

They also claim it works on Android and iOs, and as Firechat works on Android too now, I would believe that it is true.

Sorry for all the hypotheticals, but I have not been granted access to it yet so I can´t confirm any of these facts.

Looks like the needed bits exist and folks are working on the implementations.

Also expect multiple implementations from multiple sources for meshing, so that if any one gets broken, others will step up.


By Steven Max Patterson

Android phones are connecting without carrier networks
A new prototype backup network connects Android phones through a mesh network established with the phones’ Wi-Fi chips, which can come in handy during emergency situations.

Network World | Feb 12, 2013 10:12 AM PT

While the cellphone network in Haiti survived the devastating earthquake in 2010, the added load of international aid workers who arrived in the aftermath caused it to crash. Josh Thomas and Jeff Robble, both working at Mitre, saw this problem and created a working prototype backup network using only the Wi-Fi chips on Android smartphones. This capability won’t be shipped on new mobile phones anytime soon, but it is a really interesting open innovation project to understand and follow, and for some an Android project to which they might contribute.

The Smart Phone Ad-Hoc Networks (SPAN) project reconfigures the onboard Wi-Fi chip of a smartphone to act as a Wi-Fi router with other nearby similarly configured smartphones, creating an ad-hoc mesh network. These smartphones can then communicate with one another without an operational carrier network. SPAN intercepts all communications at the Global Handset Proxy (see figure at right) so applications such as VoIP, Twitter, email etc., work normally.

The source from the Linux Wireless Extension API was merged into the Android kernel source and compiled. The modified version of Android was used to root specific models of Android smartphones to expose and harness the ad-hoc routing features of the onboard Wi-Fi chip to enable this intercept.

It is really a framework for further research to refine how to build the special case of an ad-hoc mesh network. SPAN’s routing module is designed to be plug-and-play so it can be easily replaced. Researchers and developers interested in experimenting with new routing protocols save months of man-hours needed to build the entire app by using the SPAN framework.

The current version can be toggled between widely adopted routing protocols OLSRd and Dijkstra to test the differences in the performance of network discovery and routing. In testing SPAN, the limits of these routing protocols were discovered. Network discovery floods a network with “hello” packets so a routing table can be built. This type of discovery works well in static networks because the amount of bandwidth used for discovery is limited to infrequent changes in the network.

Some background on that Serval app up above:


Researchers enable mesh WiFi networking for Android smartphones
Australian researchers have created a system that allows VoIP calls to be …

by Casey Johnston – Jan 31, 2011 9:30am PST

An Australian research group from Flinders University has found a way to apply WiFi mesh networking onto the Android operating system, allowing phones to act as access points over radio waves to transmit voice calls as data. While the system currently only works between phones relatively close together, the researchers hope the use of transmitters will extend the service to remote areas for emergency use.

The system, named Serval, can relay VoIP calls between phones using their WiFi networking. Individual phones can also act as relay points, and theoretically should be able to bridge together a phone in a remote area with no service to one with access to the cellular network, where the call can finally be relayed to its intended recipient.

In its present state, Serval can only connect between phones that are no more than a few hundred meters away from each other, and the call quality is horrendous. But its creators say that coverage could be extended in areas with no reception by installing transmitter boxes that could pass along the call, which would be good enough for an emergency situation.

“A few hundred meters” is a pretty good distance, especially in a crowd. I note in passing that folks are already thinking about repeater boxes. Linux in a lunch pail with a big antenna and you have a mobile “hot spot / mesh node” for greater distance and clarity. I also note that sending text and pictures is not time dependent so the voice quality issue from packet delays is not an issue.

And, of course, you can do it with Linux boxes / tablets / phones / cards / {whatever}…


Setting up a Linux-based Open-Mesh Wireless Network, Part 1

Hardware and Software
May 26, 2009
By Eric Geier

Mesh networks are a type of wireless network. As you’ll discover, mesh networking is great for blanketing Wi-Fi in larger areas. They are especially useful in places where the environment changes frequently, such as people and walls moving around in malls, trees and buildings growing around an apartment complex, boats moving around the docks, and trucks coming in and out of stops. Additionally, they are perfect for locations and applications where it’s hard to run network cabling.

I would also add that they are really great for letting a cluster of robots share computes for a good hard think session… shades of SkyNet…

Instead of having to run Ethernet cables to each of the access points, mesh networks work wirelessly. Only one mesh node (or more for larger networks) must be grounded and plugged into an Internet connection. Other mesh nodes, acting as repeaters, can be placed throughout a building or outdoor area, only requiring power. When someone surfs the web from a repeater, the traffic hops from node-to-node, making it back to a gateway. The hops can vary depending upon the current signal levels among them all. Hence the common saying about mesh, “self configuring and healing”, and why they are perfect for busy areas.

Where does Linux or open source come into play? Well, there’s Open-Mesh, a volunteer-based organization that provides hardware and services for mesh networks. The comparatively low-cost hardware, or nodes, are loaded with open-source firmware.

The service or dashboard is provided for free by Open-Mesh and lets operators manage their mesh networks online. Then for user authentication (username and password-based access) or pay-for-use applications, there’s the free CoovaOM or CoovaAAA services in addition to other paid options.

n this two-part tutorial series, we’ll set up a mesh network using the Open-Mesh gear and services. First we’ll gather the hardware, create a Dashboard account, and configure the network settings. Then in the next part, we’ll experiment with the internal splash page, third-party captive portal, set up web filtering with OpenDNS, and finally install the nodes and test coverage. Now lets get started!

Expect to see folks showing up at major demonstrations or events with those management / authentication apps in a lunch box or backpack ready to go for the event.

And, yes, you can do it with the Raspberry Pi:


Since he’s got several Raspberry Pi boards on hand [Eric Erfanian] decided to see what he could pull off using the robust networking tools present in every Linux installation. His four-part series takes you from loading an image on the SD cards to building a mesh network from RPi boards and WiFi dongles. He didn’t include a list of links to each article in his post. If you’re interested in all four parts we’ve listed them after the break.

He says that getting the mesh network up and running is easiest if none of the boards are using an Ethernet connection. He used the Babel package to handle the adhoc routing since no device is really in charge of the network. Each of the boards has a unique IP manually assigned to it before joining. All of this work is done in part 3 of the guide. The link above takes you to part 4 in which [Eric] adds an Internet bridge using one of the RPi boards which shares the connection with the rest of the mesh network.

If the power of this type of networking is of interest you should check out this home automation system that takes advantage of it.

And, for those inveterate diehards who insist on things that are Industrial Strength, you can do it on BSD Unix. Here’s the pointer:


A wireless mesh network, sometimes called WMN, is a typical wireless network but using a mesh topology instead. These networks are often seen as special ad-hoc networks since there’s no central node that will break connectivity (in contrast with common wireless networks that you have at home/office, where there’s a central Access Point). 802.11s is an amendment to the 802.11-2007 wireless standard that describes how a mesh network should operate on top of the existing 802.11 MAC. If you want to know more, check the resources section. You may already know about the Wireless Distribution System, WDS for short, and if you do, just think of 802.11s as the standard that will expand and unite WDS. Note that 802.11s is much more complex than WDS (for example, 802.11s includes a routing protocol, an airtime link metric protocol and a congestion control signaling protocol, just to name a few).

This project aims to implement the upcoming 802.11s wireless mesh standard (not yet ratified) on the FreeBSD operating system (of course :-) )

Development is occurring at the FreeBSD HEAD branch and an experimental support is present on FreeBSD 8.0.

This work was sponsored by The FreeBSD Foundation.

In Conclusion

Did I mention that “It’s a bad idea to annoy the Geek!”?
We have keyboards and we know how to use them…

So TPTB decided to get in the grill of the Tech Generation (of all ages…) and we collectively are responding with a nice Aikido rotating side step and letting all those negative waves go flying by, while we continue to communicate as we wish. At most, TPTB can disrupt things for a little while, in a new way. Then we adapt and keep on keeping on.

Yeah, I suppose they could flood the entire assigned bands with jammer noise. Then we would just need to respond with an external gizmo to frequency hop over all available bandwidth ( a known communications method ). Just a few dollars and time. The process marches on.

Oh, and as a side note, these mesh networks don’t have those nice big central servers where all your communications can be saved and dredged through by companies and agencies. Expect to see increasing use of encrypted packet communications over meshes. Central Services? To quote P.G. “We don’t need them!”…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Political Current Events, Tech Bits and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Rise Of The Mesh-ings

  1. omanuel says:

    Thank you for this update on ways to communicate when Big Brother shuts down the internet.

    I hope Big Brother is not that stupid, but there is little or no indication of any living brain cells remaining there.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    Off the top of my head it sounds like a crude UDP messaging system (or any broadcast based data transmission protocol) could set up such a mesh fairly easily if there are enough nodes to ensure that at least one receiving node can pass on its datagram packet to the next generation of “in range” nodes. Higher density of nodes in a crowd would achieve reliability even though the UDP protocol does not guarantee delivery through sheer redundancy. Also being a connectionless protocol I suspect it would be virtually impossible to “trace route” the message in any way back to the originating node without massive real time monitoring to find the patient 0 node that first sent the message. All you would need would be an application layer filter that looks at the UDP datagram packet and determines if it has already seen it, if it has been seen and retransmitted then drop it, if it is a new packet rebroadcast it. You might need to include some way to minimize massive collisions in a high node density environment because the re-transmission of received datagrams would be sort of like a chain reaction in a large crowd, in just a few generations virtually every node in the available cloud of nodes would rebroadcast the datagram at least once.

  3. Chuckles says:

    Thanks E.M., lots of potential there for a lot of scenarios. Coupled with this maybe?


  4. Jason Calley says:

    M Simon, thanks for that link. I was talking to a friend a few days ago and this subject came up, but I could not remember the name of the actress. Tesla actually had a radio encryption technique that was reminiscent of frequency jumping. Instead of splitting the message into bits and shifting frequencies, he split it into bits and transmitted the pieces over multiple frequencies at once. Only by knowing both which frequencies were being used and also the algorithm for combining those bits could the original message be reconstructed. IIRC, one of his patents for part of the process was for the first electronic logic gate, a NAND gate.

    Someone more knowledgeable than I am could design a process based on frequency jumping combined with Tesla’s technique. By using public key encryption for each individual’s frequency choice algorithm as well as for each individual’s recombination algorithm, you could ensure a high degree of access as well as privacy.

    The whole point of TPTB is that the want centralized power for themselves. Modern digital information is inherently decentralized — and the best minds in the field refuse to be part of a collective! I am optimistic about humans…

  5. Ian W says:

    Why do none of these implementations look at WIMAX 802.16? Yes you might need more of an antenna and battery on your RPi ina bucket the range is far more than WiFi and you can create interlinked nodes that will backhaul too.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    I think because they are looking at doing on existing phone hardware, while I brought up the idea of using a “Pi in a Bucket” as an augment. But yeah, having a duel layer mesh with “Pi Buckets” of WIMAX connecting local clusters of phone nodes would be a very interesting topology…

    @M. Simon & Jason:

    Yeah, I always get a chuckle out of that one…

    And I’m glad to be part of the cause of your optimism ;-) (Wave’s tiny little jolly roger…)

    And remember to learn a bit ‘o Gaelic to be a proper Pirate Speaker…



    The names used in the languages themselves (Gaeilge/Gaolainn/Gaelic in Irish, Gaelg/Gailck in Manx, and Gàidhlig in Scottish Gaelic) are derived from Old Irish Goídelc, which comes from Old Welsh Guoidel meaning “pirate, raider”.

    So here we have this group of folks, who call their language the language of pirates. There have a long and rich history of being pirates, with that persisting even into today where Pirate movies are particularly fixating for my little Celts at home…

    Aye, there be Pirrrates Here… ;-)

  7. Ian W says:

    As you would expect it has already been done http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4299117/
    Looks like the Pi is something worth having.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    An interesting video of a load balancing router using a R.Pi, whith regular wireless dongles, and both WiMAX and LTE. Guy has it in his car. Would make a pretty nice mobile set up for adding some beef in the middle of mesh zones.

    It also looks like you can skip the commercial cell phone and “roll your own” if desired ;-)


    So without a whole lot of money one can have a known software known hardware all outside the reach of “authorities” doing telephony and networking over medium scale LAN areas via wireless and adding in mesh users as desired. Nice.

    Now just plug into some exterior link to the broader internet via some other tech (be it a WiMAX link out of the oppressed zone if a small zone, or via cell, or via packet radio over any ham band, or via spread spectrum over any bands, or via hardwire in any building be it copper or optical, or via VPN through “whatever” or via the tech that sends data over power lines, or via…)

    @Ian W.:

    Yeah, nice one. I’ve adopted the habit of doing internet searches on my new Bright Ideas as they are so often already done or in progress…

    And yes, the R.Pi is well worth having. I’ll be buying a few more as soon as I get time to do something with them. One is running on the desktop next to me right now, and has been for weeks. It does my caching DNS server that really speeds up all the web stuff ( it’s amazing how many DNS hits a typical web page takes these days, it is often the major slow down in a page) and is also a Bittorrent server (so I need not worry about either someone hacking my bittorrent nor some “agency” coming to collect it and getting anything more than a bittorrent on a stick… most just serving some Linux and R.Pi stuff so not likely to be of interest, but still…)

    I’m planning to slowly build up an infrastructure bundle based on just R.Pi (or similar boards). DNS, time server, boot server, web proxy, email server, etc. etc. That way “my stuff” lives on an encrypted stick or card that gets palmed when not at the keyboard, and everything else is a scatter of dinky boards with SD cards in them (all locked down and duplicated to an offsite encrypted cloud store anyway). Something goes crash in the night, you hit the power kill button and it all goes back to cold and encrypted (or not on premises and encrypted twice…) and anyone wanting to “take the interesting bits” finds there aren’t any.

    If really worried, it takes about 1 minute to yank the SD cards from the stack and chuck them in the oven… but I don’t see any real need to go that far. Frankly, it would waste more of their resources as they need to break disk encryption on each card and then find out it’s just a DNS server or has boot images for generic Linux configs… And, at all up about $50 / Pi+card, the total money cost to replace it all is under a few hundred bucks. (Though given what I’ve seen of police, they don’t recognize a credit card sized board as a “computer” and want things with keyboards and screens.)

    Part of why I’m separating my world into keyboard / screen sets with the “computes” in a lozenge [like the chromebox] or board [as I’ve used a R.Pi more than once] and with any data NOT on the compute box, but remote or on a ‘dongle’. I’ve put a load of linux images, for example, on my 1 GB “free for a year” Google Drive. Private stuff on a chip under the teabags in the cupboard ;-)

    I’m experimenting with a Puppy Linux via CD for complete anon no footprints use, or via a USB drive for saved session not all that worried use. (Like browsing nuclear reactor designs. I’m not particularly worried someone will think I’m going to make a nuke in the back yard as there will be postings showing what I found so it’s clear I’m just a blogger, but I’d rather not leave a load of links, history listings, and saved PDFs on my “main box” as some folks get excited when they see words like “nuclear”, “uranium”, and “bomb” and jump to conclusions…)

    Essentially this is a RAID like strategy but applied to computes instead of to disks (and in this posting applied to network connectivity). Redundancy, recreatability, resiliency, encryption / security, compartmentalization. (The end state goal being that everything can be ‘taken’ and it’s about a week to be back fully recovered. Kind of like my rummage in the junk box and the router failure is replaced, but with a more orderly ‘junk box’… ) Eventually I’m hoping to test out highly encrypted distributed file systems based in ‘the cloud’ with bootable (cd / USB / whatever ) generic OS services and generic KB / screen. Then it’s just depot duplicates where they are highly unlikely to be found and have redundant network access (like my visit to Starbucks… or better).

    At that point, take anything and you get nothing. Take everything and I’m slowed down for a couple of days, max. (Maybe as low as hours – hit the discount store for a Chromebook, do the Linux install, mount the net drives. Or alternatively, get a laptop from Craigslist, wipe it, put in the CD / USB, and mount the distributed file system over the net at SBks…)

    Yes, this is the kind of stuff I think about for fun. Utterly useless for me, really, since I’m a “white hat” for a living, but it keeps the skills up. Though the raid on TallBloke did get me more motivated to build some of it rather than just talk about it…

  9. M Simon says:

    Jason Calley says:
    24 April 2015 at 2:39 pm

    What you describe is a kind of spread spectrum. CDM (code division multiplexing) combined with FDM (frequency division multiplexing). And the key is not the AND gate but the XOR gate. Or XNOR if you prefer. Coders in WW2 understood the XOR. At least on the Allied side.

    The key to secret messages is to make your message look as much like noise as possible. Make it unnoticed and or difficult to extract. Thus steganography. Or special phrases with a prior agreed upon meaning. “I need a beer tonight” = “Bomb Beirut tonight” .

  10. M Simon says:

    E.M.Smith says:
    25 April 2015 at 12:11 am

    Kurt Godel?

  11. M Simon says:


    If you like controlling things you might be interested in what I have here:

    http://spacetimepro.blogspot.com/ – yeah. We are working to revive a “dead” language. I’ll let you know when we go into production so you don’t have to solder your own. All little machines without keyboards. With their own compiler built in.

    I’m not a big fan of wireless for this kind of work. It is too undeterministic.

  12. M Simon says:

    As a former Naval Nuke I don’t worry about being tracked for looking into nukes (power plants, bombs, what have you). I assume I’m being watched everywhere I go. I don’t own a mobile phone though. I assume that helps some. But maybe not.

  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    3 weeks ago our satellite link died. The provider of service demanded an equipment upgrade so we investigated other options. Digitpath offered a solution to our lack of connectivity with their little transceivers up a tree to central sites. After several hours of them climbing trees, they admitted “no joy” as we are at the edge of their range and in a “hole” too deep for any of our trees to “see” over. Back to satellite link for the present. At least now at improved rate and quality of service. Cell phones are very iffy here as well. Need our own “cell tower” ;-) good thing we do have wire connection but 30kbaud is a bit too slow,
    @EMSmith, if you have a boring day, you need to visit my Lady’s shop in Chico. My grandson and I are setting up a computer room in the back with lots of toys. The building was once an IP service provider site with lots of connectivity available and my grandson thinks he is a geek that is into communication. We picked up several Raspies, he traded one for a Terabite RAID and we are setting up a rack tower for server and switches. Used equipment, old smart phones and Kindles can be had for next to nothing and Linux is open and free. Now if I could just figure out how to make that 20 mile jump to the ranch. pg

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    Maybe I ought to run up to Chico. It’s been a long time. Used to occasionally swim in a solid rock trench with a small creek in the bottom just across the street from the Airport and up a ways. That water was likely following some old lava flow / crack, but it was absolutely clear and in the deeper pools, there were foot long fish of some kind. Don’t know what they were. Not the usual trout, perch, sunfish, catfish, bass… Looked sort of like a giant minnow or some kind of smelt. But it was fun to try and catch them by hand (never did). You could get inside of arm length of them and they would not swim off. Probably never saw a person before… Up toward where the old missile base was located.

    Per your “hole”:

    One thing I’ve pondered is making a cell phone ‘tower’ balloon. The main idea being that after a disaster you could just float the thing up in the sky and have cell coverage for miles around. Doesn’t take much equipment and the balloon can be fairly small. (Tether weight likely the biggest issue, so use kevlar ocean fishing line ;-)

    It might be interesting instead of “up a tree” to try “repeater on a balloon”. Yeah, you would have to reel it in when the weather was dicey, but it could be a fun project. Not sure how to keep it out of the trees if you don’t have a large clear spot…

    (The original idea was a satellite uplink on a truck with the balloon in the back. Roll to disaster area, pay out balloon to, say, 500 feet, start generator and uplink. Instant cell coverage to the world… Useful post quake and post hurricane and post… Never did anything with it as most folks will not pay for a device that only generates revenue for a week every decade or two… Came up post Katrina when the rescue service providers were complaining about no cell service…)

    Now Google is looking to put up a global coverage balloon system for WiFi
    and since you can do phone over WiFi the truck idea has limited future.

    And a couple of folks are doing balloons already:


    Lofting Balloons for Cell Service
    Associated Press Email 01.30.06
    BISMARCK, North Dakota — Why put up costly cell-phone towers in thinly populated areas, when a few balloons would do? In North Dakota, former Gov. Ed Schafer is backing a plan to loft wireless network repeaters on balloons high above the state to fill gaps in cellular coverage.
    “I know it sounds crazy,” said Schafer, who now heads Extend America, a wireless telecommunications company. “But it works in the lab.”
    Extend America and Chandler, Arizona, company Space Data are developing the technology, which is believed to be the first to use disposable balloons to provide cellular coverage.
    A trial balloon will be launched in the next few weeks to test the idea, said Schafer, who left office in 2000 after eight years as governor.
    “To cover every square mile of North Dakota, it would take 1,100 cell towers,” Schafer said. “We can do the whole state with three balloons.”
    If successful, the hydrogen-filled balloons could be drifting across the stratosphere above North Dakota this summer, providing cellular coverage at a tiny fraction of the cost of building cellular towers.
    Jerry Knoblach, the CEO of Space Data, says that although the balloon technology, called SkySite, is new to the cellular industry, “the platform is very well proven” for other purposes.
    His company has launched thousands of the free-floating balloons in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico over the past year. The wireless data network they encompass tracks oil company vehicles and monitors the production of oil wells and pipelines, he said.
    Knoblach is certain the balloons will work for cellular service in North Dakota — even in cold or stormy weather. He said balloons were launched even during Hurricane Katrina.
    Up to 20 miles above the earth, well above commercial airliner pathways, steady stratospheric winds would push the latex balloons across the state at about 30 mph. Each balloon would deliver voice and data service to an area hundreds of miles in diameter.
    “Nine balloons would always be in the air, with some going up, some going down, and some in the middle,” Schafer said.
    The balloons swell from six feet in diameter to 30 feet after they gain altitude. Once a balloon leaves the state, its toaster-size communications pod would jettison, deploy a parachute and fall to earth, where it would signal its position.

    But you might find Loon in your future… (Though I still like the idea of a balloon truck…) or maybe you can call up those folks and ask for a trial in rural California…

    @M. Simon:

    Well, I guess there are shades of “Waiting for Godel, or someone like him” in it ;-)

    Per Forth, you might like these links:
    http://www.u8nc.com.au/raspi.html documents his journey to bare metal Forth on the R.Pi with lots of links.

    This page was to document my journey in getting a bare metal forth on the Raspberry Pi,
    but a few people have done it already. I’ll post up the links instead.

    Contrary to what the .NETheads like to tell you, Forth is by no means dead.
    “Forth on the Raspberry Pi” as a search term takes 93% of the traffic on this site. Wow.
    like the Mellotron, things of value wont go away.

    So “it’s not dead yet!”…

    It’s in Debian (so ought to be in the R.Pi port):



    by gordon@drogon.net » Tue May 01, 2012 9:31 am
    Well there’s GForth for a start – a standard package in Debian – many others, I’m sure.

    And not a Pi, but cheaper ;-) is the Fignition board – amazing. I saw it being demoed by its creator at the weekend – outputs to composite video done entirely in software on an 8-bit Amel microcontroller.

    ok – after sudo apt-get install gforth:
    gordon @ dot: gforth
    Gforth 0.7.0, Copyright (C) 1995-2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    Gforth comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `license’
    Type `bye’ to exit
    1 2 3 * + . 7 ok
    : hi .” Hello, world” ; ok
    hi Hello, world ok

    So there you are – just remember, its running bog-standard (Debian) Linux, so if there’s a package for it, then it’s almost certian it’ll run on the Raspberry Pi. (Although it’s not a dedicated Forth “distro” as such)


    From your page:

    Clyde has updated FISH Forth to Version 1.5. He has made some improvements. I’m just going to cover the major ones. There are now two versions of the FISH Forth for the LPC812. One is the full FISH suite and has 1K of Flash available for storing user programs. The other is a slightly reduced FISH (reductions noted in the documentation) that can hold 2K of user programs. The LPC812 has 4K of RAM space giving about 1 1/2K of user RAM space.

    Ah, the days when a couple of K was a lot of space for a user program… You would likely feel like you were drowning in memory on a R. Pi with Meg of memory and a giant 64 MB SD card…

    Your ‘dinky gizmos’ are interesting to me as dedicated service devices. How hard would it be to get something like DNS or Bittorrent or DHCP or a Time Daemon or… running on one of them? It could be real fun to have my collection of “serverlets” scattered about on dinky little thumb sized chips of boards… I’m pretty sure anyone looking at them would have no clue…

    Per “Being Watched”:

    For a variety of reasons I’m fairly certain I’ve got files in several agencies. (Not sure if they are active, though). For one, I dated the daughter of the Director of Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Labs while in college. Since she always had a shadow “somewhere” I’m pretty sure I got a workup. There are a few other such things that collectively will have gotten me marked. (One was going to “sit on the railroad tracks” to “protest the war” with said girl. I was there for the girl… but another friend and I managed to accidentally infiltrate a meeting of the undercover cops and agencies. We were just geeky short hair enough to look like junior police attempting to look cool… Needless to say, someone will have asked “who were they?”. We also approached a ‘guy in a suit with a 16 mm camera’ and challenged what he was doing filming. He gave a lame cover about free lance news – not having the right equipment OR technique, and in the pre-cell phone era, then went down the tracks and called someone up with a radio from his pocket and was looking right as US while asking them things. So we are almost certainly on his film in his agency. There’s more…)

    So I assumed I was cataloged and watched, probably for a while after that.

    Now, what with the raid on TallBloke, I figure the same is happening again. Too many vested interests pushing the Global Warming Money Scam to not be. The only difference between me and TallBloke was that he was physically closer to the Climategate Affair location and in a different legal jurisdiction. We both had blogs that were covering similar things with similar POV. Oh, and he got a contact from the info leaker and I didn’t. Had that contact been sent my way instead, it is likely all MY stuff would have been collected.

    So for me, I just make sure that when I’m doing something like looking up Nuke Info, there’s a blog post about it with many (most?) of the same links in it. That way it is pretty easy for Clarence Clearance (what we used to call her ‘shadow’ and the folks who checked up on the clearances of several other of my friends…) to see what I looked at and see where it went without even needing to leave his office (or truck… but I don’t think I rate a truck… just a part time folder in some office).

    Another Side Bar Story:

    One of my friends worked for Watkins Johnson as a radar engineer on Very Very Classified stuff. Another friend and I used to call him at work to do things like arrange movie times or coffee shop meets. This was also pre-cell phone, so it hit his land line. The cold war was still on, and the two of us (“another friend” and I) had learned a bit of Russian in the hope of making it to the Olympics in Russia (which we didn’t), but found another use.

    We would call up and say, in Russian “Hello {name}, how are you? I’m fine today.”
    He would say “Stop DOING that!” knowing that Clarence Clearance was on the line and that there were Russian Language triggers on equipment recording and all.
    Then we would say, in a fake Russian accent: “Oh, so sorry. In English be speaking now” …

    Then shift to a clear pure all American voice.

    Only did it a few weeks as we figured Clarence worked it out “right quick” and likely got bored of the game… But I’m also sure it got us a line trace or two and some observation time… and a file in a cabinet in some agencies… probably saying “with friends like these, who needs…” ;-)

    But that’s the impetus for my security awareness. A lifetime of it. And of my interest in making my infrastructure “raid proof”, as we have the existence proof of TallBloke as a “probable” mode now. I’m not willing to assume they will look in the 40 year long folder and conclude I’m OK… even if a bit of a thorn…

  15. R.de Haan says:

    Not entirely off topic:

    Breathing life in old technologies:

    Now high tech in Kenya providing broadband in rural area’s: http://www.dynamicspectrumalliance.org/assets/TVWS_Report_for_Kenya_final_final_24_Aug.pdf

    In the mean time there is this:

    The Wifi light bulb

    And the pCell
    pCell tech: http://www.rearden.com/artemis/An-Introduction-to-pCell-White-Paper-150224.pdf


    pCell Demo ColumbiaTechL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bO0tjAdOIw


  16. M Simon says:

    Re: Mr. Clearance. For a deeper look into how intel agencies work you might want to look at their connections with criminals. The criminals already know at least rudimentary tradecraft. It is also one of those “empty spaces”.

    Suppose you wanted to infiltrate something somewhere (smuggle). Who do you go see? People with minimal (or no) morals who will take the money and keep quiet. Smugglers. The Brits more or less invented the method of instigating Prohibition – both for profit and for personnel development. They passed it on to us when we got heavily involved in WW2.

    Look into Tojo’s involvement in the trade pre-WW2. The war in the East was at least in part about who will control the trade and the covert networks that go with it.

    My take is that they find the game of much less use now that it can easily be used against us. So they are slowly giving it up. Who do you go to when you want to put Islamics into the US covertly? Mexican people smugglers. Who also smuggle other things. There have been rumors.

    One thing you might have noticed of late. The defense of Prohibition has been very weak. Who gave Sanjay Gupta an OK to air his movies about “Weed”? Given the lock down on things like “Global Warming” the leakiness of he Prohibition side is a tell.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. De Haan:

    That Artemis stuff is Very Interesting…. Using a lot of computes to put together an interference pattern broadcast that synthesizes a full signal for each cell phone in a group is no small task. (Took me to page 52 before they finally had some technical meat to chew on… the earlier pages being interesting, but mostly “look at me! Look At ME!” stuff…

    @M. Simon:

    Not to mention W.W.II and our cooperation with the Italian Mafia. We gave them port control in exchange for no trouble from the Axis powers, and they gave us detailed maps and intel and support and… for our arrival in Sicily (down to staff, locations, and more for our opponents there).

    That particular “arrangement” worked well up until JFK screwed the pooch with the Bay Of Pigs and backed out on the deal to give them back their casino business in Cuba. You don’t make a deal with the Mafia and then just back out of it at the last minute and let them take it on the chin…

    IMHO, that lead to a bit of a covert “war” eventually ending in the take down of the central Families some years later.

  18. R. de Haan says:

    M Simon says:
    28 April 2015 at 3:08 am
    “Re: Mr. Clearance. For a deeper look into how intel agencies work you might want to look at their connections with criminals.”

    We have now arrived at the phase where there is no longer any difference between intel, government agencies, politicians and criminals.

    Example: Arab Spring Revolution, the following chaos and the flood of refugees and “refugees” crossing the Med to reach Europe.

    Step one: Introduce a bio fuel mandate in the US and Europe
    Step two: take out 40 percent of your corn crops, hiking food prices world wide and wait for the food protests.
    Transform the food protests into political protests and topple governments in area’s where you want to create chaos.

    Where the original leaders resist and fight back, send in NATO and the masses start running.

    Take care massive loads of propaganda prevent people from both sides to connect the dots and support activists to push your agenda.

    Long forgotten, the criminal exploitation of the UN program food for oil program in Iraq by Kofi Annan from Ghana and his family.

    Many, many more examples where this came from, all undermining Western Civilization at the root.

    We really need the mesh to resist this mess and we need it fast.

    Without privacy there is no freedom, without freedom there is no free market and without a free market there is no civilization.

  19. R. de Haan says:

    PC Magazine has tested the Android version of FireChat:
    Where the App should show strength it’s weak: unreliable connections

  20. R. de Haan says:

    Better tools for enhanced privacy:
    Startpage for internet searches: http://www.startpage.com
    Brosix (alternate Skype but encrypted with free edition for private use for practically all platforms.
    Have used it for a few months now using it on iMac, Macbook Pro and Android Phone without any problems.

    RedPhone for Android and TextSecure, both encrypted and both from Whispersystems allowing you to make encrypted calls and send messages over WIFi or your data bundle for the cheap or free.

    They currently work to integrate both Apps the same way they did for iOS App named “Silent App”.

    For all Apps there is this basic rule that all the people to connect to need to have the App installed.

    That’s why WattsApp and Skype, despite their total lack of privacy remain the most popular applications.

    No privacy but in combination with Ebay Classifieds, a great tool to quickly buy or sell all kinds of stuff from cars to real estate or rentals without any costs.

    You put up a free classified on Ebay Classified with a smartphone number for people to call when interested. Most people respond with a Smartphone and most people use WattsApp. When the contact has been established you can send interested parties contracts, offers or whatever at zero costs. Today entire sales and service organizations make use of these features and their business is booming. More personal than e-mail.

    I started my first business with a Telex. When the fax came we no longer were depending pn the speed of conventional mail delivery to evaluate offers and contracts. The fax speeded up the process. But we were still confined to the office location so I got a car phone at the first possible opportunity. This investment brought freedom but at a steep price.

    Today we’re in the fast track and all is free. So from a business point of view much has improved.

    Just keep one phone for business and one for private contacts and you’re fine.

    Te private phone you connect to a virtual phone number so you never have to hand out your mobile number to anybody. There are providers who offer virtual phone numbers in many countries at extremely low costs.

    For encrypted e-mail services (web based) you look at http://www.mailfence.com

    When you manage to remain within the free storage limits this is for free as well.

    Limitations for the use of these kind of email services come from the Googles and Microsofts of this world but that’s their problem, not mine.

  21. R. de Haan says:

    Yesterday an App called Yallo was released for iOS and Android. The reality is that it is sophisticated dialer enabling you to be called world wide, on your own phone number no matter if you’re in the grid, wifi, G3 of G4 and make yallo to yallo call for free and paid calls for the cheap, really cheap. It sits on top of your regular phone number and that is what the receiver sees. Besides that it has some handy features like recording the call at will creating a text file ready to send by mail. The dialer also has the capacity to break into conversations and provide a short message why your calling. If a conversation is cut for any reason the app automatically restores the connection. Anyhow Google it for all the details if you’re interested and the connection fees (World wide 300 minutes for 8,75, in the US and Canada much cheaper and more minutes.
    With signing up I received 100 free minutes but that’s in Europe. In the US you get 400 minutes.
    I am going to test their service and see if they fulfill their promises. 100 minutes to play with.

  22. R. de Haan says:

    Sorry, my bad, the name of the App is Yallo: https://yallo.com

    [Reply: Fixed it for you. -E.M.Smith]

  23. R. de Haan says:

    Thanks E.M.

  24. Paul Hanlon says:

    It might be worth your while looking at the ESP8266. It comes in a number of different flavours including a breadboard friendly one for testing / prototyping. The kicker is they can be had for around $4 apiece delivered. They can be in station or access point or both modes, so getting a mesh network going is possible. With the right aerial combinations these displayed a range of nearly four kilometres.
    But there’s more. They have an onboard MCU that can be programmed, with I think about 80KB RAM, there’s even a version of the Arduino IDE to help with the programming and flashing firmware. And all on the wifi network, no zigbee or z-wave to learn and configure.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Paul Hanlon:

    Now you’ve got me thinking…. (everybody duck! ;-)

    Those look like a nice easy way to get the wifi. Last night, the neighbor was flying his new toy drone around…

    So what about having a cheap drone, with one or two of those on it, that knows how to hover over a land station. Now other drones are taught to hover at about 70% of max range from it. So all you need to do is release a flock of these drones and you can cover what, maybe a 6 km hexagon with 7 of them? Hmm….

    So some onboard software to adjust to 70% max range and look for adjacent nodes to space against ought to self form a hexagon. Have one of 7 that is programmed to hover over the base station / downlink (or down and uplink to satellite ) and a bit more so that at about 80% of onboard power consumed, it asks for a replacement to come, and then at 85% power used, heads back to the barn for a battery swap, recharge. I’d guess all up cost at about $400? a node on a DIY basis, so a cluster at about $3200 ( 8 so one can be fetching batter replacement at any one time ;-) to cover a roughly 6 km (call it 4 mile) circle-ish area?

    I could easily see an advocacy group, or an “organizer” popping for that. For 12 mile march route by 4 mile wide we’re at about $12,000? (included a few more spares). Less than the cost of one hospital run with one injured person.

    All systems autonomous and all cheap enough that if they get taken down, just toss another one in the air as they adjust positions… As the station keeping will be a bit error prone and “wobbly”, the whole lot of them will be doing a sort of “bumblebee wobbly float” making them unpredictable to shoot at… so it would take a fair number of shotguns to take ’em down. (Personally, I’d attack the station keeping signals, but that isn’t equipment in the typical police car…)

    Oh, and with the range, you can have them high enough to be hard to see anyway and likely even above shotgun range… Just saying…

    RELATED, Sort of:


    ACLU has an App For That… When taking video of what you think is an abuse of justice, you can have it automatically uploaded to the ACLU (so if the Authority takes your phone, they still can’t delete the video as it’s gone uplink already).

    Furthermore, it will ‘alert’ others in your area, with the app, that you think you have something happening and they ought to come video it too… so likely the Authority taking your phone away will be on Yet Another Video from the approaching herd…

    Now mix that with The Mesh and with this Aerial Mesh idea… Set up an “ACLU App ground station” and toss your drones up. Mesh up. Now the whole area is covered, and taking down the internet or cell connects in the area doesn’t help. The Video has gone “to The Cloud App Server” wherever it might be in that multi-kilometer area (and from there, likely already uploaded further out of region).

    That, as they say, would make for Interesting Times…

  26. Larry Ledwick says:

    Current over the counter cameras are already exploiting this sort of ability. Nikon (and I assume others) are building in wifi and “near field communication” ability in their current family of cameras.


    This camera’s built-in Wi-Fi® capability can only be used with a compatible iPhone®, iPad®, and/or iPod touch® or smart devices running on the Android™ operating system. The Wireless Mobile Utility application must be installed on the device before it can be used with this camera.


    This allows direct transfer of images to the smart phone and from that to any device it can interact with by wifi.


    At the Olympics the credentialed photographers were instantly transmitting their images to their photo editors by wifi and they were edited, digitally processed as needed and on the wire literally in minutes after they were taken.

    All the pieces are getting there for a journalist or advocate to take pictures of an event and transmit them in real time to an assistant in a near by building and have it on the web in 2-3 minutes after it is taken, before any local official can commandeer the camera or stop the photographer from taking pictures.

    This little item has a range of 590 ft. With a directional antenna on the receiver you could probably double or triple that.


    It will get harder and harder over time for official channels to control information, the genie is out of the bottle.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry Ledwick:

    Look at Disney. Photographs taken all over the park, sent “magically” to the photo kiosk and waiting for you to pick up the CD when you wish, also sent to your email or automatically delivered to your home. (Don’t get me started on their security set up… the telephoto lenses on that let you see people queuing at the front gate from cameras at the back of the park… and images distributed to wherever needed based on security issues identified, if any.)

    Then there are streaming video web sites and folks with mobile cameras… “live” events…

    And while this link from your comment on Tips:
    shows a drone used for hacking / spoofing, it could just as easily be a protest participants relay out of the mob to {wherever]…

  28. Paul Hanlon says:

    Wow, Chiefio, I had to go back in the calendar to resurrect this. You’re really on a roll! Another thought I had was what about putting these in the lampposts around the neighbourhood. You could get a two-fer by having these control the streetlights as well as a mesh network. It would help too with security, a kind of “smart” neighbourhood.

  29. Pingback: WiFi, LTE, FireChat, Let The Meshing Begin… | Musings from the Chiefio

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