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Sun, 02 Jun 2013

My first Ham Radio Baofeng UV-5R experiences

I have been a licensed ham for some time .
However never had the time to buy a Ham handset and play with it.
So finally I took the plunge and bought a cheapo Chinese Ham radio which seems to be very popular due to its price point amongs online reviewers.It is called Baofeng UV-5R and I bought it for $40 shipped,lots of US retailers selling on amazon or ebay etc .I also bought the programming USB cable for about $8.So for about $50 I could get started on Ham radio.

Here are some of my notes after spending quite a bit of time on understanding Ham etc as I do not have any experience with using a Ham radio.Getting licensed and playing with an actual Ham radio are 2 different things :-).

First find the firmware version by following the instructions at http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/UV5R-Software.html mine was BFB297 http://www.brickolore.com/2011/09/baofeng-uv-3r-quick-start-video-guide.html http://www.brickolore.com/2011/07/repeater-websearch.html

Tried the chirp software on linux and it worked fabulously (it didnt give any errors as i still dont know what i programmed :-))and since i had a usb cable my port was /dev/ttyUSB0 .Alot of people have complained about prolific drivers on windows etc , so you migth want to try on linux as no special drivers needed.

As Im new to Ham I didnt want to inadvertently transmit anything on any of channels.So I disabled most channels by following instructions below.As this unit can transmit on any frequency it receives.Pls note in US you need proper licenses to transmit on most channels/frequency used by this radio.

Trying to follow instructions on comments http://w0hc.com/2012/04/baofeng-uv-5r/ for receive only initially I have discovered that you can Tx inhibit the VFO of these radios using CHIRP. Set the VHF & UHF frequency to 1.000 und uncheck the "Allow Tx" checkboxes. Now only the memory channels can Tx (listen-only channels can be created by setting duplex to "OFF").

Finally, be aware that it has an "emergency alert" function and since the switch that activates this is just below the PTT switch, it's quite easy to accidentally hit it and send this attention-getting tone over the air.

Various alarm modes.For my alarm the setting was SITE which from the video i understand is just like a panic button on a car remote.It does not transmit anything to anyone. For a moment I had got worried that when I hit the alarm button it would send some weird signals as it is very easy to click on the alarm button when you are trying to play with the FM radio.

keeping in mind that you should pre-program the frequency offsets of your local repeater, as automatic offsets (+/-) are not included on this one. Or use the chirp software as it does for you.

Few things to note about Antenna.I'm still using the stock antennae. - the antenna connection is a reverse TNC, so you will need an adaptor if you want to use your other handheld antennas with this radio

It is highly recommended to buy an aftermarket 2/440 (17") F-SMA antenna it will work a lot better. I have a BNC to F-SMA adapter to widen the antenna selection. I use a long range MFJ 1714 antenna for 2M. The original ducky works on 440 better than I'd thought it would.

Best site on what frequencies to program for a newbie http://codegreenprep.com/2013/04/tips-on-how-to-best-configure-and-use-your-baofeng-uv-5r/

Video to program NOAA weather channels for your area https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vszi6d2s5Sk https://www.youtube.com/user/GriffTaylor/videos?view=0&flow=grid

Just to be safe i turned off all transmissions from my unit by following the instructions below
https://hamgear.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/setting-up-and-programming-your-uv-5r/
if you set the channel to duplex then the offset to off it will apparently block you from transmitting.
see: http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/UV5R-CHIRPGuide.html
Let me know if this works for you.

Comment by Andor | August 25, 2012 | Reply

if you program your radio in chirp and set the duplex mode to off it will prohibit transmitting if the unit is on that channel. I have tested and confirmed this yesterday.
Effectively it sets the TX frequency to 000.000mhz.
The U-5R nicely error beeps when pressing the PTT button.


Quite a few people ask if this radio can be used on GMRS frequencies.Unfortunately as it is not FCC part 95 certified it cannot be used on GMRS frequencies.Pls refer to this link for exact details on FCC requirements

posted at: 18:11 | category: /general | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Sun, 26 May 2013

Our Visits to US National Parks/Monuments

Over the last few years we have developed an appreciation of the national parks in US.I'm allergic to pollen so my outdoors tend to be limited and generally under medication.
In most summer vacations for my kid we have tried to cover various national parks.With the amount of retirees we see in our visits to national parks , we are pretty sure that we will cover most national parks in our lifetime, stretch goal would be to see all monuments too  :-).

Also if you visit any of these places I highly recommend buying the Annual pass($80 for general population) @ http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

National Parks
Here is a good collection of list of national parks.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Parks_of_the_United_States
http://parks.mapquest.com/national-parks/map-of-all-national-parks/

We have covered the following national parks so far, sorted by State
  1. Saguaro National Park
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Yosemite
  4. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
  5. Lassen Volcanic
  6. Crater Lake
  7. Zion
  8. Bryce Canyon
51 more to visit :-)

National Monuments
We have also started to visit a few national monuments in US.
List of national monuments in US

We have visited the following list of monuments
  1. Montezuma Castle
  2. Tuzigoot
  3. Walnut Canyon
  4. Sunset Crater Volcano
  5. Wupatki
  6. Pinnacles
  7. Muir Woods
  8. Lava Beds
93 more to go :-)

posted at: 23:23 | category: /travel | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Thu, 09 May 2013

Simple ip6tables(firewall) script for 6in4 tunnel

My current DSL provider , has a 6in4 tunnel which I have been using and wanted to have a simple script to create a firewall on Ipv6. I searched quite a bit on the internet but could not readily find scripts which would work in a 6in4 tunnel mode until i found the link http://www.tunnelbroker.net/forums/index.php?PHPSESSID=702ecd4f548eb60461a09b7187922d0d&topic=1488.0

I modified the above link so that I could use it for my setup where I only have one machine that is my laptop where the 6in4 tunnel is setup. Hope this helps someone.

#!/bin/bash

# Tunnel Interface
TUNIF=sit1
# DMZ interface (Where servers live)
DMZIF=eth1
# Private interface ( machine and interface on which you are running the tunnel) PRIVIF=wlan0

# Clean Start
ip6tables -F

# Default Policy
ip6tables -P INPUT DROP
ip6tables -P FORWARD DROP
ip6tables -P OUTPUT ACCEPT

# Input to the router
# Allow all loopback traffic
ip6tables -A INPUT -i lo -j ACCEPT

#Allow unrestricted access on private network ip6tables -A INPUT -i $PRIVIF -j ACCEPT

# Allow restricted incoming connections ip6tables -A INPUT -i $TUNIF -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT

# Allow icmp, but throttle it.
ip6tables -A INPUT -j ACCEPT -p ipv6-icmp --match limit --limit 50/minute

# Allow SSH on port x (disabled in this example) #ip6tables -A INPUT -i $TUNIF -p tcp --dport x -j ACCEPT

# IPV6 FORWARDING RULES

ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $PRIVIF -o $TUNIF -j ACCEPT
ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $TUNIF -o $PRIVIF -p ipv6-icmp --match limit --limit 50/minute -j ACCEPT
ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $TUNIF -o $PRIVIF -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
#ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $DMZIF -o $PRIVIF -p ipv6-icmp --match limit --limit 50/minute -j ACCEPT
#ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $DMZIF -o $PRIVIF -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
#ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $PRIVIF -o $DMZIF -j ACCEPT
#ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $TUNIF -o $DMZIF -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
#ip6tables -A FORWARD -i $DMZIF -o $TUNIF -j ACCEPT

posted at: 19:15 | category: /linux | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Sun, 21 Apr 2013

Induction Cooking

So after a lot of skepticism and inertia for change  :-) , I finally plunged into buying an induction cooktop , as there was a good deal on newegg
After giving it a spin , I was amazed at how fast it boils water.We counted it and in less then about 30 seconds we could see water boiling for our tea.
Also I read quite a bit about it online and found that , most of the authoritative and unbiased opinion is that , induction cooking is very efficient.
Only caveat is that you need vessels , whose bottom can stick to a magnet.Otherwise , any other vessels won't work because if it is not magentic then it cannot be used for induction cooking.If you want to buy branded vessels then i have read good reviews about  induction sets from IKEA .
Here are some links which helped me make my decision to move towards induction cooking , please be sure to read them both from safety standpoint and understanding the difference between conventional cooking and induction cooking.

Induction vs. Gas.. Am I making a mistake?
Induction cooking: barefoot, with a metal spoon
Federal Office of Public Health FOPH Switzerland : Health risks of Induction Hobs
Update on April 21st,2013
To go with induction cooking we have bought the DILLKOTT Pressure cooker from Ikea.

posted at: 16:43 | category: /cuttingedge | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Wed, 06 Feb 2013

Setting up apt-cacher for local proxy

As Im playing with various versions of debian I wanted to cache all the packages to reduce the load on debian servers.
So I installed apt-cacher by following the instructions at http://lgallardo.com/en/2009/11/10/mirror-interno-con-apt-cacher/
Now the problem is that I ran into this weird error "Unable to create libcurl socket" and it just wouldnt work.
In any case after re-reading the above article multiple times figured out that I had not set the path_map in my apt-cacher.conf file.
Essentially the path_map parameter substitutes the value of the URL during its own run-time so that it knows where to fetch the packages which it does not have in its own cache.
In any case a better error message would have potentially helped debug this .

posted at: 06:37 | category: /linux | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Sat, 12 Jan 2013

Self Help  : Muscle Pain relief

As most professions have some or the other occupational hazard and more so in todays world with computers all around we always have some neck or shoulder or lower back problem.
In the end it boils down to our muscles getting weaker due to bad posture or immobilization or lack of movement of the muscles or a combination of it and other factors.
In order to get some relief from some of these common pains I highly recommend the book on Trigger point therapy by Clair Davies.I got this information from this very good website on RSI and Trigger point Therapy.
Other products I recommend are
As always in case of doubt consult with your doctor.Remember above tools are for muscles only and should not be used on any bones and especially not on the backbone etc.

posted at: 06:26 | category: /medical | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Sat, 15 Dec 2012

My car buying experience with Costco Auto Program

So we were in the market to get a new car.I usually do not prefer to buy new cars , however there was significant financial incentive offered by our employer to buy a new Hybrid or electric vehicle.
So we decided to buy a new Prius C One due to it meeting the criteria set by our employer for the financial incentives.Other choices were Honda Fit and Insight and then the higher range cars , original Prius Hatchback , Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf etc etc.
We did not want to haggle with the car salesman as in general it is not a good experience which always leaves a bitter taste due to their shady business practices.So we thought we will try the Costco Auto program.
Usually I become very paranoid as far as car salesman are concerned and when prices are not clearly printed on anything as that leaves too much room for error and most of the time consumers end up loosing.

I submitted my zip code and my email address to Costco site at about 7:45 PM PST and I got a response from Piercey Toyota in Milpitas at about 9:45 PM PST that they are a costco certified Dealer and I can set an appointment with them.

We told the dealership via email which exact model we were interested in it was the  Magnetic Metallic Gray Prius C One and we made it clear to them that we don't want any additional options and we are not interested in any upselling and we will not need any financing and it is a simple deal.

So I asked a few questions to the Costco Auto Program people.Here are my questions and their answers

Bhavesh Q1: Are dealers required to give car prices in an email  or do I need to physically go to the dealer and get the quote for the car which Im interested in  even though I know the exact VIN# ?
Costco Rep : Dealers are not obligated to give prices in writing or on phone as Costco does not require it.
 
Bhavesh Q2: Is the out the door fees negotiated  by Costco and will they show me the out the door price?
Costco Rep : Yes they will show you the out the door cost including Documentation/Dealer charges.

Bhavesh Q3: How frequently is the price of the car updated , as thanksgiving is coming near by does the Costco price change based on market conditions ?
Costco Rep : I honestly do not know the answer to that , but I think it would be once in a quarter.

I was also not very happy with answer to Q1 in todays age if you already have the VIN# and don't want any addnl options on the car I dont know why the dealers would not give the price via email , and why would Costco not require.But considering from where we have come as far as new car buying experience is concerned it is still a huge step.

Indepedently a few google searches told me that there is no Costco set price for each cars and basically Dealers are obliged to sell the car at the dealer invoice price(not MSRP) + $100(which goes to Costco Auto Program)
Some people on Internet were saying that Dealers can have any invoice price as they want but I'm not sure if that is true or someone is just trying to spread FUD(Fear ,Uncertainty, Doubt).

On Saturday we showed up at the dealership without setting appointment as we wanted to close the deal sooner because of extreme low to zero availability of the model/color we were looking for in the entire bayarea.Also I personally think Toyota purposely might not be building too many Prius C 0ne's and probably building more  of higher models of C two,three,four to upsell folks , some other forums also mentioned similar observations of low availability of starter models.

Now comes our real experience with the dealer .
On arrival we straight went to the Costco salesman and he was a Fleet manager.He was a good person and was not at all pushy in fact I dont even think he was a salesman as he was not at all pushy and very calm.
So I asked him to show the dealer invoice price and he showed it to me for the VIN# I had chosen ,  Cargo and other mats were shipped from the factory along with the bumper guard.So that was included in the  dealers invoice price which was $19,349 and miles on the car were 45.Ideally I wanted the base model without these silly addons like bumper guard and Toyota mats for the full car, but the salesman said that  for our region  they always ship mats.To which I didnt have much choice as the model/color was just not available .
As per costco agreement we need to pay $19349(which is the official dealer invoice price which he said will be same across entire california, dont know how true that is) + $100 , so the final price comes to  $19,449.Though , one nuance is the invoice sheet he printed did not have costco logo.I would have preferred to see a Costco logo for peace of mind. He also told me that they are legally obliged to submit the official dealer invoice price to Costco.I do remember that when I had signed up for the Costco Auto Program I did ask Costco to " Please verify my savings after purchase." and here is the text from costcos website

So then we asked him about all the addnl fees etc and he gave us a printout of the price along with all the addnl fees(mainly from DMV) and it came to $21,409 out the door price since we did not need any financing etc.The documentation fees was $85 which is the maximum anyone can charge in california and it was included in the out the door price.
Here is the exact breakout based on our contract.
Cash Price : $19449
Documentation Processing Charge(not a government fee) : $80
Sales Tax : 1635.61
Electronic Vehicle Registration or Transfer Charge : $18.60
Paid to Public officials
Vehicle License Fee : $127
Registration/Transfer/Titling Fees : $90
California Tire Fees : $8.75
Also we made it clear to him that part of payment will be via Amex as we wanted some cashback from Amex.To that he said that Piercey Toyota has a cap on maximum amount to be charged on any Credit card as $2000(Apparently as per Amex site $2000 is the minimum they have to accept) .We didnt want to haggle on it too much so we said fine and the rest of the amount we paid via personal Check.

So the deal seemed reasonable to me so I wanted to test drive the car and when we checked the car we found there were 107 miles on it versus what was on the invoice as 45.I really didnt like it but the salesman told me the car came from Vallejo.But since I had read about this online that there is quite a bit of possiblity in buying new cars that there are some miles on it , so it was not too much of surprise for me.
We took it for a short test drive and things seemed ok.
So then I ran a calculations on my smartphone and online.
My calculation was following , based on truecar.com the cost of the car was for Milpitas(Piercey Toyota is in Milpitas)
Base Price : $18,003
Options Price :$189
Destination Charge : 795

Now Costco's own website showed the following
Base Price : 18,003
Options : $189(Cargo/Carpet Floor mats, this price is costco's discounted price)
Destination Charge : $795
Total : $18,987

So even I were to get the best deal in town I would have to pay $18987 + $100 for Costco Auto program , so it comes to $19,087 and what I was quoted is $19,449.
So the difference would come to is about $362.
Also anyone who fills out Costco survey would get $50 back from Costco their survey and that can be only used at the Dealership which you bought the car from and $20 cashback from Amex.This $70 I would have got back regardless of the price of the car and the cost of the car .
So overall even if I overpaid , I might have overpaid by $362-$70 = $292.
To me this ~ $300 is well spend considering that there was literally zero availability of model/color in entire SF bay area,  that overall we felt that we might have not got the most perfect deal but it was reasonably good.We could have visited 5-8 dealers in SF bay area and negotiated with sleazy salesman and would have "potentially" saved another $100-$200 but we felt it was not worth the hassle.

Overall we were ready to buy the car and so we finished the paperwork in the salesman's office.Unfortunately since we were paying by personal check the full amount , we still had to give our social security and had to go through a credit check .I had already read about it online that for personal checks they do have to do a credit check etc, so we gave our Social security number.
Then for the final steps of payment we were asked to meet the Finance department guy who wanted to sell me(to some extend scare me by showing maintenace costs) extended warranty etc and I told him that we are not interested and would like to finish the paperwork.We were done with all the paperwork in 20 mins or so while our car was getting detailed etc and they went and filled fuel in it , when i saw the car again it had 5 more miles , so i asked how and they said they took it to fill gas(2.5 miles each way).

The original salesman who helped us buy the car did a walk thru of the car and we were on our way.
Then suddenly while I was driving I felt that I was speeding at 50 mph in a 40mph , but to my surprise the car was showing in km/hr , Phew...I never expected that it will be in km/h instead of mph .In any case I quickly figured out to change to mph and lots of other people on various forums had the same problem when they bought the Prius from dealers. I dont understand why the dealers would not take care of this simple check as it really can cause issues especially newer cars make less noise and it is hard to figure out that you are speeding on a new car.


Overall to summarize our experience was pretty good in today's age of dealership controlled monopolies and behind the door pricing etc.My hope is that in future we are able to buy cars online by pricing it correctly and knowing exactly how much we are paying upfront and from home.But until that day comes I feel Costco's auto program is a decent compromise and I would recommend it to "my grandma to buy her car with Costco Auto Program" .


Update 1 on 11/18/2012 : I filled the Costco Auto program survey to receive the $50.I also gave them the URL of this blog post and they told me that their Membership advocacy group will follow up with me on my experience in 3-5 business days and might ask a testimonial from me as well to be published.They instantly send me the $50 voucher via email after filling survey.

Update 2 : On Nov 22 , 2012 , Costco's Membership advocacy group followed up with me and have asked me to send the Invoice/MSRP/Contract to them as they would like to review my case.I was more then happy to get it reviewed.

Update 3 : Enrolled on Toyota.com and found out on their website that indeed the car was shipped from Vallejo.And then as per the printed invoice which i got as above had 45 miles on it.And the distance from Vallejo Toyota to Piercey Toyota as calculated by Yahoo is about 62 miles so 45+62=107 miles , bingo my odomerter reading as I bought it.Also on Toyota's website I found something weird that it said that the PDI(Post Delivery inspection) was done at 4 miles and at Vallejo Toyota but that is incorrect as PDI was done with me and the date on Toyota's website was the time I picked up the car.

Update 4 : MSRP on the car was $20,049

Update 5 : Finally figured out how to price it correctly on truecar.com.The Truecar's average price paid for the exact Selection came out to be $19,605
Someone got this awesome deal on Prius C2
Update 6 : Found out that Costco Program is not same as Truecar.com which is primarliy used by AAA,Amex etc.Here is the link on wikipedia which confirms that.
Update 7 : Send all the paperwork to Costco Member advocate group and got a call back from them in 24 hours that they confirmed that I had got the Costco price for my car

posted at: 01:03 | category: /personal | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Mon, 17 Sep 2012

Knoppix 7.0.4 simultaneously(chroot env) with my Debian Squeeze

I wanted the stability of debian squeeze but at the same time just try out some of the new latest applications in Knoppix 7.0.4
These instructions are fairly generic and should be applicable for Ubuntu or any other GNU/Linux distribution.
You will need approximately 15GB of free space apart from the ISO image which will take about 4GB.

On my debian squeeze machine i had to install cloop-utils
aptitude install cloop-utils
tried to build the cloop module in debian squeeze but could not due to a potential defect
So then i thought about just getting the Knoppix environment into Squashfs
I mounted the KNOPPIX_V7.0.4DVD-2012-08-20-EN.iso using
mount -t auto -o loop  KNOPPIX_V7.0.4DVD-2012-08-20-EN.iso /mnt/iso
Then go to folder /mnt/iso/KNOPPIX there you will find a huge ~ 3.8GB file called KNOPPIX

The command documented @ knoppix did not work for me as it seemed like it was just some error in passing arugments it would not even process the command.
So i used the following command
extract_compressed_fs /mnt/iso/KNOPPIX/KNOPPIX - > knoppixcloop
File knoppixcloop was about 9 gb so make sure where you redirect this file that it has enough space.I dont know if this entire step is needed or not.

Now reboot into knoppix so that we can convert the above cloop based file into squashfs
Downloaded the deb package for squashfs-tools as knoppix does not carry it
dpkg -i squashfs-tools_4.2-5_i386.deb
mounted using cloop instructions on knoppix wiki  especially the 2nd part where in it is documented to use "if you boot from the LiveDVD"
Say if the mount is /mnt/cloop which holds your clooped image of  knoppixcloop
Ensure that you can see the entire filesystem of knoppix like /proc , /tmp , /etc inside /mnt/cloop.

Converted that to squashfs to down to 3.8gb by following the instructions
mksquashfs /mnt/cloop /knoppixsquashed

mount the squashfs file on /mnt/squashfs using the command
mount /knoppixsquashed /mnt/squashfs -t squashfs -o loop
mkdir in /tmp called fuse.In my case /tmp is in the memory so it gets wiped our everytime
unionfs-fuse -o cow /tmp/fuse/=RW:/mnt/squashfs/=RO /mnt/knoppix/

Executed the following commands as root

mount -o bind /proc /mnt/knoppix/proc
mount -o bind /dev /mnt/knoppix/dev
mount -o bind /dev/pts /mnt/knoppix/dev/pts
mount -o bind /sys /mnt/knoppix/sys
mount --bind /tmp /mnt/knoppix/tmp
cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/knoppix/etc/resolv.conf


chroot /mnt/knoppix/ /bin/bash

If all goes well your knoppix chroot environment should be up and running .You can try out a few simple commands like xclock etc.
in chroot environment need to run the following commands without which most kde apps dont work
dbus-launch
export $(dbus-launch)

you can also launch lxpanel in case you want to see what applications are installed.It might overlap with your existing panel if it is as the bottom but once you do a Ctrl-C your panel will be shown.

Post comments Knoppix Forums

References
http://basictheprogram.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-chroot-simple-and-fast-archive.html

TODO
Try compressing more for squashfs as default is very low compression
See if the step of extract_compressed_fs can be eliminated by loading the cloop directly and then making a squashfs

posted at: 01:09 | category: /linux | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Mon, 03 Sep 2012

Making XFCE Clock settings permanent

There is very little information on formatting the clock which comes with XFCE and by default it is set to show 24-hour clock as opposed to the AM/PM which is probably more commonly used.
So I searched quite a bit to change this to be more of AM/PM format and found this link .However the problem is that once I would use any custom formatting on my next reboot it would still revert back to the original 24-hour clock.
In order to make your formatting changes permanent edit the file ~/.config/xfce4/panel/clock-14.rc and change the format there.

posted at: 19:14 | category: /linux | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

Sat, 18 Aug 2012

Debugging Juniper VPN Client connectivity issues on Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu

I have jotted down couple of notes on debugging Juniper VPN client one of the most difficult software to install on any flavours of Linux.
My company uses RSA key fob with login to authenticate users on juniper network.My company also runs host checker to ensure our companys minimum standards are met.
In any case here are the rough steps for debugging, hope it helps someone as I spend a good amount of time trying various things to get my VPN working.
  • On a 64-bit system ensure that you have both 32-bit & 64-bit java from Sun.As of this writing , based on my findings on internet it is not possible to run any other java with juniper VPN client other then from Oracle/Sun.On a 64-bit machine you have to have 32-bit java , otherwise it will not work.
  • Verify in your firefox(on debian it is called iceweasel) that your java plugin is loading , by going to the location about:plugins in your location bar.Here 32-bit or 64-bit java plugin does not matter
  • Login to your company's VPN portal , it will be something like https://www.<your company portal>.com
  • You might be asked to "Allow to install software" that is Juniper client etc.Go ahead and click ok.
  • Now navigate to your home directory and see a folder by the name .juniper_networks gets created.If this folder is not created nothing will work and most likely your java plugin is not working.It has to be fixed else it just won't work.
  • Now navigate to the folder $HOME/.juniper_networks/network_connect , and you might be able to see a file named ncsvc.log .In my case I was never able to see this file , the reason was because Juniper client was trying to launch 64-bit java , and fails silently(no errors anywhere) because it has one file which is 32-bit and the file is libncui.so, here is the output of file command
    • file libncui.so
      libncui.so: ELF 32-bit LSB shared object, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, stripped
  • Also in my case even though the 64-bit java client was dying silently according to the screen of Juniper which you see in your browser when you login , it was saying you have full access to your company network.However nothing happened.
  • If you don't see the network connect GUI that means you are not connected to your VPN inspite of the VPN connectivity page showing that you are connected to VPN in green.You can verify that by checking your ipaddress and it will not be in your companies range.You can also run the command  ./ncdiag -a in the folder $HOME/.juniper_networks/network_connect and you will see it sayd network client not installed.If that happens then you are not on the VPN.
  • Follow the good instructions @ this forum thread to modify your java to launch 32-bit if the invoking program is Juniper Client.This simple bash script does the trick.
  • Now again navigate to your company's VPN portal.
  • If everything goes well you will see a Network Connect UI window popup and it will tell you your IP address, how long you have been connected and so on.
Othe threads that helped me
http://www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/~iwr91/juniper/
http://pthreads.blogspot.com/2010/11/connecting-to-juniper-vpn-from-linux.html

posted at: 13:11 | category: /linux | permanent link to this entry | Donate via Bitcoin

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