Chances Are Your Router’s Firmware Blows

Linksys WRT-54G RouterYou surely have a lock on your front door. Do you have such a lock on your network? Though you may think so, but it may well be wholly unlocked. Or at least, you may not be able to know for certain that it’s locked. If you use a commercial Wi-Fi router from your ISP, or one of the big names like Linksys, Belkin, DLink et al, your network may not be as secure as you think.

At the outset let me state that, as someone who reads hereabouts, you’re no dummy. You’ve taken steps to ensure that the router doesn’t still have  the default admin password. You’re using modern encryption on your Wi-Fi. You’re being responsible, but there are things beyond your grasp.

The simple fact is that the firmware the runs most retail, commercial routers is closed source. As such, you have no ready way to verify it’s behavior. Yet, the manufacturer, by virtue of necessity, uses various common software modules to create their firmware. They may even use some open source modules, but end up with an closed source binary in the end.

The upshot of this reality is that you have a very small team of developers responsible for maintaining the code. That means updates come along slowly, if at all for older devices. By extension, serious security issues get addressed slowly, if they ever get addressed at all.

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VU Meters For Windows

Some time ago I noted the availability of installable audio metering for Windows. Today I stumbled upon a similar free application called “VUMeter” that provides old school stereo VU meters.

VUMeter-basic-600px

The meters can be resized from 50%, 100% or 200% of normal size, where  normal size is 1500 x 300 pixels.

VUMeter-600px

They can be set to stay on top of all windows. They can also be set to display the signal from any available sound recording or playback device.

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Polycom Revisits DECT with the VVX D60

vvx-d60-tb-com-650x500-enusToday saw the introduction of a new model in Polycom’s VVX Business Media phones. The Poycom VVX D60 is described as a “wireless accessory” to compliment the existing VVX series of desk phones.

Examining the brochure it seems that the D60 works along side the VVX-300/400/500/600. It requires that the desk phone be running UC Software v5.4.1A or newer. The D60 is actually setup via the VVX web interface.

The feature set of the D60 closely matches the VVX series. Some of the highlights that catch my eye include:

  • Two-port Ethernet switch (10/100 mb)
  • Support for P.O.E.
  • Support for HDVoice (G.722)
  • Support for up to 5 cordless handsets
  • Support for 5 lines per handset
  • Up to 4 simultaneous calls
  • Provisioning via the VVX desk phone
  • Close integration with the VVX desk phone

Since I have the VVX-500 and 600 models hereabouts I certainly see a lot to like in the D60. I think that the D60 could be very well received by SOHO users. It’s certainly an interesting alternative to a DECT headset.

I’m curious about pricing, which doesn’t seem to be available as yet. Rest assured that I’ll be trying to acquire a D60 for review.

The idea of a DECT handset that pairs with a desk phone is not new. I once used an Aastra 480i CT that had a DECT base built into the desk phone and a small cordless handset. Ultimately that cordless handset was less than satisfactory as too many common functions were buried in menus or simply not available.

The Gigaset DX800a also has a built-in DECT based, supporting the use of any of the Gigaset DECT handsets. However, Gigaset’s US presence has faltered, making their offering less than appealing to North American users.

I Want A New Kind Of Desktop Webcam

Logitech-C920-WebcamYes, I want a new webcam! The idiocy of that statement doesn’t become apparent unless you’re familiar with my home office, which is littered with various webcams. They have become something of an obsession. Yet, none of them does quite what I’d like.

My reference for a simple USB attached webcam is the venerable Logitech HD Pro C920. One sits, a near permanent fixture, atop my left-side monitor. It’s a solid product. It’s affordable. Makes great video under various lighting conditions. It can deliver MJPEG or H.264 encoded streams, which makes it capable of 1080p when used with suitable software.

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Behind The Scenes At VUC561 With Grandstream

gvc3200-right-300#VUC561 about the Grandstream GVC3200 was yet another example of bringing my broadcast video production background into the realm of vodcasting. In the pre-call walk-through Randy took a screen-shot of what he was seeing. It seemed a little busy. There was certainly a lot to look at.

Just for fun I thought I’d make note of what was actually there, and how it was being used.

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