iOS 4.2.1 on iPhone 3G

Photo by Noel Feans

After being fed up with 4.0 on my 3G, I downgraded the firmware back to 3.1.3. iOS 4.0.1 was supposed to fix the performance issues on the 3G but I wasn't so sure. So, I waited until 4.2.1. Jailbreaking was easy using redsn0w (the part that I always forget to do it upgrade the firmware on my iPhone first then jailbreak). 

 Apparently SSH doesn't work on 4.2.1 yet (or something) which is a big pain in the ass. So, I grabbed afc2add from Cydia and got iFunBox running on my computer. It fills the gap until OpenSSH works with 4.2.1. BiteSMS constantly crashes my iPhone so I have to disable it to be the default SMS app. Everything else seems to work fine (Winterboard, fcsb, SBSettings, etc).

iStat on Solaris 10

After experimenting with Solaris 10 for a bit, I thought I'd get iStat on there so I can see it's activity on my iPhone. After getting down and dirty with Solaris for a bit, I definitely learned some things. Since iStat needed libxml2, I grabbed that from Sun Freeware and installed it fine. Next thing was to, of course, install the iStat client. When I ran ./configure it was complaining about not being able to create a C++ executable. And with gcc already installed, libraries were the issue. /usr/bin/crle -c /var/ld/ld.config -l /lib:/usr/lib:/usr/local/lib:/usr/local/ssl/lib did the trick.

Solaris has a steep learning curve, as compared to Linux. I've always fancied nano as my text editor, but Solaris didn't have nano so I had to make do with vi (of which I'm quite better at than before). Tab completion and using the up or down arrow key to repeat the last command isn't there either. I've learned that I have to gunzip then tar xvf a tar.gz file (bunzip2 works for .tar.bz2).  Also, I found this great for some tricks on Solaris (alebeit it's Solaris 9).

Networking was a bit difficult to start, I had to get the driver from here.Although, I'm still having problems with the module not loading on boot. All in all, I find that Solaris definitely improved on my command line skills. It's like Linux, but without the fun.

iOS 4.0.1 released, now what?

Now, I'm not one to blog about the newest tech news or anything, but Apple has released iOS 4.0.1 which as they say, "improves the formula used to calculate the appropriate bars for signal strength". Available in iTunes and here. I've always had a cheap plastic case on mine, so I never noticed any reception loss greatly. Although if I do hold it in my left hand for an extended period, I saw 5 bars go to 1 bar.

Firmware 4.0.1 is jailbreakable with the 3G so far, so 3GS and 4 users are out of luck. If the only entry in the change log is the "improved formula", I don't see the need to update personally. Sure, it may say I have 1 bar, but hey, as long as it works.

Cycoder still doesn't work in 4.0. I finally found a working version of biteSMS, 4.93. I had to run redsn0w again last week or so because 3G didn't work. Working fine now, but it was strange that it didn't work at all. Still some themes don't work. Infinidock and Lockinfo don't seem to be compatible either. I do experience random reboots and lockups, but whatever. 

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iStat on pfSense and server monitoring

One of my most favourite apps for my iPhone is iStat. It lets me monitor all my *nix servers in a beautiful interface. For my Linux clients, all I had to do was download the client, extract and compile. And since my router is running pfSense (FreeBSD 7.2) I thought I might as well get iStat on there.

 

Apparently, the developers edition of pfSense has all the goodies to compile stuff. Without even thinking of cross compiling, I quickly set up a VM of FreeBSD 7.1 (I know little to nothing of FreeBSD so I opted to get something near 7.2) and started to compile it. I had to get libxml2 first though and for FreeBSD 7. Anyway, logged into pfSense via SSH, fetch'd libxml2 and installed it. Now, since my router had nothing to compile packages with, I built iStat in the FreeBSD virtual machine and transfered the resulting mess to pfSense via SFTP. Now, since I couldn't have run make install in pfSense, I had to create /usr/local/etc/istat.conf and filled it in with the configuration file from another Linux client. I also edited the configuration file to fit the network interface (xl0 instead of eth0).

Looking back, I probably could have done things a little different. Either way, I got the job done. Now I'm happy that I can monitor my entire network with one app. I recommend for those that are in need of a functional server monitor to check out iStat for the iPhone. Be warned that iStat only supports one interface so far.

 

Since I have one Windows server I like to monitor that too. And for that, I have WinAdmin for remote RDP (great app) and Weave, which is almost a Windows version of iStat (but not). Awesome monitoring gauges in there. And, since it uses push notifications, it can alert me when the CPU usage is above 92% for example.

Another great agent-less monitoring app is Net Status. It simply pings the most comment ports on your IP of choice.

Also, see the attachment for the agent compiled on FreeBSD (i386). I can't guarantee that this will work for you.

 

iOS 4.01

With my iPhone 3G jailbroken with iOS 4.0, lots of other users have been experienced cell phone reception trouble. I tried it myself and covered the left side and saw my signal bars drop by 4. I've read around the internet and its rumoured that 4.01 was supposed to drop today to fix the antenna issues. I'd assume before Friday, there's going to be a fix out there. I, myself, didn't have too much trouble with getting a signal. Where I was reading on Slashdot, it was said that even if the signal is 5% or 100%, you're going to get the same call quality.

I haven't got BiteSMS to work on 4.0 yet, nor five column springboard (fcsb) or Infinidock. A couple Winterboard themes don't work either, such as custom Wifi and signal bar icons. Cycorder doesn't work either. Hopefully, these'll be fixed soon so I can get 4.0 running like I had 3.1.3.

Also, I was thinking about rejailbreaking my iPhone to disable multitasking. Apparently, Backgrounder uses more resources than native multitasking (duh). If two apps are running at the same time and one requires more resources than the other, the one running in the background will be terminated leaving the foreground application with more memory.

 

Jailbroken 4.0 on iPhone 3G

So, after a long time of tinkering I finally got it working.

Get 4.0 (stock 8A293) on your iPhone
Run redsn0w 0.9.5b
Be patient!  - This took a bit for me. Once redsn0w says it's done, the screen on your iPhone will display what it's doing (flashing NOR) and a running pineapple(?).  
4.0 seems to run faster on my 3G than 3.1.3.

Tried to make this post quick as I'm off to bed!

iPhone borken

Yes, I purposely spelled that wrong. Anyway, the entire left of the touchscreen on my iPhone doesn't work. Plugged it in at night, then didn't work in the morning. So, I've had to suffer only using the right side of the screen for the last two weeks. Going to have to restore back to factory defaults, package it up and send it off.

 

Luckily, I've been somewhat productive lately. I've added some new features toSysode, the free project management app I've been working on since late August. There only needs to be a couple features added (member search, user control panel, etc.) and then it'll be mostly done (err..). And, for once, it looks half decent.

 

School'll be out in about two weeks; summer job then. Makin' bank...

PPTP server on pfSense

 One of the servers that are at my disposal has a very low CPU usage percentage (if that makes sense). On my way to set up a PPTP VPN server on the box, I realized my router running pfSense could do it out of the box. In this short tutorial, I'll show you how to get a PPTP VPN working so that you can connect to it anywhere.

Head under VPN -> PPTP

Next, click on the Enable PPTP server radio button. For the Server address put in your WAN (public) IP. For the Remote address range, put in a local IP of which the range will start at. Near the end of the page, check Require 128-bit encryption.

Click save and click on the Users tab. Add a user, in this example, test and a password. You can enter an IP of which the user will be assigned but it's not neccesary.

And that's it! You now have a working PPTP server.

Now, I tried to connect with my iPhone 3G over Wifi. Worked fine. Over 3G? Nope. Did some Googling, it seems like you have to pay an additional $10 for a VPN option (I'm on Rogers) since Rogers gives you a LAN IP (such as 10.x.x.x) and firewalls the GRE protocol (of which is needed for a PPTP VPN to work).

It looks like the only way to get around this is to buy the $10 package, browse over to unlockit.co.nz on your iPhone, change your APN settings and voila.

 

Any comments are appreciated :)

 

Monitor your Linux boxen with iStat for the iPhone

So I came upon an app the other day while browsing on my iPhone. iStat. It monitors your uptime, network I/O, RAM usage, etc.. There was another app that just needed SSH access but that was another $2. Anyways, iStat has a Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris port of the agent. Just simply install the agent on your boxen and done!

 

It's pretty simple to get it working, I'll go over the steps that I used on Lenny.

Grab the latest release here (at this time, 0.5.4), and extract it somewhere. For me to get it working in Debian, I had to install the libxml2-dev package first. Go ahead and type 

./configure


 

Then

make && make install

I found it's easier to get a script to start it up which you can later get to run on boot. Download this file, save it something as 'istatd.sh' and chmod it to 0755 (or 0777 if that doesn't work). I received an error about a user on using the script, but the agent still runs. Go ahead and run './istatd.sh start' .
 

Start up iStat on your iPod Touch/iPhone and add the server running the agent. That's it! If you're monitoring something Mac, you're going to get more detailed information than other OS's.  This app is well worth the $0.99 I spent on it.

 

Feel free to comment if you need help and/or have suggestions.

 

iPhone OS 3.0 is out!

It's finally out! Apple will be releasing it free for iPhone 3G user but $10 for iPod Touch users :(
Anyway, here are some features I picked up from here and there:
+Peer to peer conectivity

+Prompts to buy more levels, etc.. in apps

+More than 1,000 new API's

+Apps access to hardware

+Maps embedable in apps

+Finally cut/copy/paste in apps!

+iPhone/iPod wide search

+Landscape keyboard

+Voice memos

and more....

 

At the moment, I don't think I'll be upgrade to 3.0. I already have copy/paste, a torrent client (and more) already on my iPod. Do you think its worth that extra $10?

Leave a comment and tell me what you think.