Facebook’s evil Free Basics

It is hard to appreciate the evil in FB’s “Free Basic”. The simple facts.

If and when “Free Basics” becomes very popular, which in all likelihood it will, if government does not ban it, then people will mostly probably stop renewing their mobile data plans. That means they will be able to access only “basic” sites when on the go. If tomorrow a startup creates a competing social network – Coolbook, there is no chance, no matter how good it is, Facebook will allow it on its “Free Basics”. So that means a lot and lot of users who are now already used to “Free Basics” will rarely access that site, causing it to shutdown due to poor response, even if few people like us want to use it.

So, if majority supports “Free Basics” we are basically screwed since that will make Mark and FB to become our country’s internet gatekeeper; even if the minority does not like it. This is such an evil but genius scheme.

However, there is still slim sign of hope. In India we are very demanding customers, even when freeloading. When “Free Basics” takes off people are going to use it real heavily, and due to the sheer volume it will inevitably result into slowdown, and public outcry, giving it the much needed negative publicity.

Needless to say, all and everyone should oppose this. Do not bank on the small hope. Take action and goto savetheinternet.in.

Configure your Belkin N150 router for BSNL broadband

  1. Login to your router dashboard. It should usually be at
  2. Now under “Inertnet WAN” click on “Connection Type”.
  3. Here select “PPPoE” and click on Next.
  4. Provide your BSNL username and password. Leave the “Service Name” field blank.
  5. For “VPI/VCI” field provide 0 and 35 as values.
  6. For “Encapsulation” field choose “LLC”.
  7. Leave all other fileds to their default values.
  8. Now Apply Changes. It will take around 30 seconds for the router to restart.
  9. Notice the top-right corner of the page and check the status. If it says “Connected”, then you are good to go.
  10. Else click on the “Home” link near that. On the home page click on Connect button.

Now you should be able to use this Wifi router with your BSNL broadband. Happy surfing. 🙂

PS: Now you no longer need to use your computer to dial the BSNL connection and login. Your router has your BSNL username and password, it will do the dialing and logging in.

New (possible) social engineering attack using forums.

First a disclaimer: I am not 100% sure if the incident that I am about to mention was really a social engineering attack to steal my email id. The attacker introduced himself as Osher. Osher if your intentions were really good then do let me know and I sincerely apologies.

The incident

Refer to the comment posted by some guy Osher on my post ‘Making sense of standard deviation‘. I had asked one question in the StackOverflow forum, to which he replied on my forum! his repose read funny.

Hi – I’m trying to get you without any relevance to this post.
I’m referring your post in Stack Overflow:

I don’t see the mechanism of Stack-Overflow fit for dialog, and I need some information to understand some things before I can post a reply…

Is one of the scripts that do not exist any more is HtmlUnit?
I suspect that the problem is that you take API that you get from HtmlUnit as a part of JavaScript, and when you take them out – you get null-reference on APIs that HtmlUnit provides and is no longer available

find me at osher.filter (at) gmail.com, and we’ll sort things out 🙂

If you read his reply then it doesn’t make any sense. Furthermore StackOverflow has comment section for discussing stuffs. You need not reply in anybody’s forum. My StackOverflow account has my blog address, so it wasn’t hard to guess how he came here. My guess is that he wanted to harvest my email for spam, so I replied to him by posting via my forum. After that I never heard from him.

So, friends beware on the net!

Router settings for TATA Indicom Broadband connection.

I have a Netgear ADSL Wifi router. The router provided to me by TATA Indicom was below par so I decided to use my router. Below are the settings you need to configure your router. Note that you need a router with ADSL modem (like my Netgear DG834G).

Multiplexing method: LLC-Based
DSL Mode: ADSL2+
VPI: 0
VCI: 32
Encapsulation: PPPoE (Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet)
Login: (e.g. chitran@vsnl.com, check the receipt given to you for your email ID)
Password: (default is reset123)
That’s it. These the critical values you need. Particularly if you set VPI and VCI values to anything but the ones listed above then you will not be able to connect to the net.
Happy surfing!
PS: If your plan provides static IP address then chances are that you will be using completely different protocol, e.g. maybe MER (MAC Encapsulated Routing) instead of PPPoE. In that case the above giude is not useful for you.

Using Airtel Edge/GPRS Micromax MMX 610U USB device to surf the internet from Linux

This has been a major headache for me to reboot to Windows just to surf my net, and to update my Linux machine I had to forward the internet connection from a Windows computer to my Linux machine. None-the-less I eventually managed to make it work to day. 🙂

Note that I managed to make it work, and I provide no guarantee that it will work on your computer, but I will share my computer’s configuration so that it may help you.

So, first my computer’s configuration. I have Kubuntu Hardy Heron installed (8.04). My current kernel is 2.6.24-19-generic (installed from the official Ubuntu server). Mine is a 32-bit system. The USB modem I have is Micromax MMX 610U.

Now the steps to setup your USB modem:-

  1. Plug-in your USB modem. A green light will start blinking. If the light is blue then you have PIN set and I have no idea how to enter PIN code from Linux. In that case, reboot to Windows and from the provided Airtel’s software enter the PIN code and reboot to Linux or disable the PIN altogether.
  2. Now run the command lsusb in the console the output will be like as below.Bus 005 Device 003: ID 0d49:7410 Maxtor
    Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
    Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
    Bus 003 Device 002: ID 046d:c016 Logitech, Inc. M-UV69a Optical Wheel Mouse
    Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
    Bus 001 Device 004: ID 12d1:1001 Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. E620 USB Modem
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

    An Important Note:-
    As I have found out that hot plugging of this USB modem doesn’t work. The modem will be detected by the kernel but for some reason wvdial won’t be able to locate the modem, hence, when you insert the modem into your USB drive then reboot your computer (or plug it in before turning on your computer).

    Note the bolded text above. That’s your modem.

  3. Now run sudo wvdialconf. This will create the file /etc/wvdial.conf with some of the necessary values.
  4. Now whatever values the file /etc/wvdial.conf keep that as such except for the ones shown below. If any settings shown below already existed then replace that with the ones below, if they didn’t exist then just add them to the file, but they must appear below the line [Dialer Defaults]. Note that will need to open the file /etc/wvdial.conf as a root. Try using sudo nano /etc/wvdial.conf.Init1 = AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”airtelgprs.com”,””,0,0
    Baud = 460800
    stupid mode = 1
    Phone = *99#
    Password = a
    ;No need to change this to anything else. This is immaterial, and note that no semicolon before Password =.
    Username = a ;No need to change this to anything else. This is immaterial, and note that no semicolon before Username =.
  5. Now create a file connAir in your home directory. Copy and paste the following code into it and give it execute permission.
    [code lang=”bash”]#!/bin/bash
    # BY AppleGrew @ http://blog.applegrew.com (All rigths
    # reserved)

    pid=`pgrep wvdial`
    if [ -z $pid ]

    sudo route del default
    echo "CONNECTING TO Airtel…"
    wvdial &

    sleep 10s

    IP=`ifconfig ppp0|grep -o  ‘inet addr:\([.0-9]*\)’`
    IP=`echo $IP|sed  ‘s/inet addr:\([.0-9]*\)/\1/g’`
    echo "YOUR CURRENT IP IS ‘$IP’".
    if [ -z $IP ]
    echo "CONNECTION TO Airtel TIMED-OUT…….. : ("
    echo "CONNECTED TO Airtel. : )"
    sudo route add default gw $IP


  6. Now create another file disconnAir in your home directory. Copy and paste the following code into it and give it execute permission.
    [code lang=”bash”]#!/bin/bash
    # BY AppleGrew @ http://blog.applegrew.com (All rigths
    # reserved)

    pid=`pgrep wvdial`
    if [ -z $pid ]
    echo "DISCONECTTING FROM Airtel…"
    kill -INT $pid

    sleep 6s
    pid=`pgrep wvdial`
    if [ -z $pid ]
    echo "DISCONNECTED."

Connecting to Airtel:-

  1. Open console and type ./connAir.

Disconnecting from Airtel:-

  1. Open console and type ./disconnAir.

Hope this helps.