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Book: iPhone Hacks

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Linux / UNIX minicom Serial Communication Program

Linux comes with many serial text and gui based serial communication programs. My favorite is minicom - friendly menu driven serial communication program.

If you are addicted to DOS / Windows TELIX (a telecommunications program originally written for DOS and was released in 1986), minicom is for you under Linux / UNIX.

minicom Common features / usage

=> Setting up a remote serial console
=> Access a computer / server if the LAN is down
=> Connect to embedded Linux / BSD device via null modem cable
=> Connect to Cisco routers for configuration
=> Connect to dump device i.e. device w/o keyboard and mouse
=> Dialing directory with auto-redial
=> Support for UUCP-style lock files on serial devices
=> Separate script language interpreter
=> Capture to file
=> Multiple users with individual configurations

Let us see how to configure minicom for my Soekris net4801 Single Board Computer / embedded Linux device.
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Windows Vista: No HyperTerminal to Configure Cisco Routers Connected Via a Local COM Port

Recently I was hired to work on a Government project. They are 100% Microsoft shop expect for few Redhat boxes and Cisco gear.

They also have lots of customized VPN and cisco routers supplied by local company. Apart from securing those RHEL boxes, I had to connect routers / vpn devices via a local com port to upgrade BIOS and other configurations. They have Windows vista on all desktops and my Laptop has no serial port. So I decided to use old good HyperTerminal. I thought HyperTerminal is still under the Programs > Accessories > Communications menu. I failed to locate hypertrm.exe. From Microsoft support website:

HyperTerminal is no longer part of Windows. There are several options you can use to replace its functionality. If you previously used HyperTerminal to control serial devices, you can usually find a downloadable version of HyperTerminal on the Internet that is free for personal use.

So what was the purpose of removing Hyper terminal from vista ? How do you use the equivalent of Hyperterminal in XP, with Windows Vista to configure Cisco routers?
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Display real-time system information from your Linux box on a LCD with LCDproc software

I’m currently working on a small project. I came across cool software called LCDproc. If you have HD44780-based display you can build really cool system for just US $15.

LCDproc is a piece of software that displays real-time system information from your Linux/*BSD box on a LCD. The server supports several serial devices: Matrix Orbital, CrystalFontz, Bayrad, LB216, LCDM001, Wirz-SLI, Cwlinux(.com) and PIC-an-LCD; and some devices connected to the LPT port: HD44780, STV5730, T6963, SED1520 and SED1330. Various clients are available that display things like CPU load, system load, memory usage, uptime, and a lot more. CDproc supports Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Darwin and Solaris (beta support). LCDproc cycles through several screens of information. The screen order and display duration can be configured at run-time.

The CPU Utilization screen displays the system’s current CPU utilization. These values are the normal values reported by Linux.

Above is the CPU Utilization screen displays the system's current CPU utilization. These values are the normal values reported by Linux. The percentage in the title bar is the sum of all non-idle cycles, and the bar graph at the bottom of the display reflects this percentage.

Download LCDproc software

=> Visit LCDproc Project Home Page.