Recent political issues, travelling to DC and emdevs hacking

A few days ago, some people in Venezuela were shocked by Mark Shuttleworth’s claims against Hugo Chávez Govement and supporting María Corina Machado, a minor opposition leader in the Country.

Today, at 23:59:59, the nationwide open air TV broadcaster RCTV will cease operations. In Venezuela, as in several other countries in the World, the economically profitable portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is State’s property, thus requiring a concession to make use of it. RCTV concession was granted in 1987 for twenty years, and the Govement has decided to deny the renewal, which is quite unusual (right-wing govements in the past simply would have shut up the antennas) Of course, RCTV is not a pro-Govement channel, accounting between 90 and 100 percent of the airtime with anti Govement news and opinions, which is not bad per se, though in Venezuela there’s a law requiring equilibrium in times devoted to political ads.

Both situations (Mark’s comments and the Govement’s decision) pose the threats of a now common situation in our Country: people taking very valid decisions with somewhat doubtful consequences. In the first case, Mark is using his right to freely write what he likes in his blog but it seems that it has damaged a little bit Ubuntu’s image in Venezuela (not that it’s Mark’s fault, of course) In the second case, the Govement is taking a lawful decision, but it has actually raised an important discomfort in the population (polls, which are not always accountable, point out as much as 80% rejection rate), the joualists of other media and most foreign observers, which state that they’re actually closing a TV channel and destroying freedom of speech in the Country.

Expressing political POVs is quite critical nowadays in Venezuela. Some famous etiquette bookwriters, such as the one at Emily Post’s, always tend to promote a be honest, be respectful position while listening or expressing your points of views in order to keep a productive attitude. I do think that politics are important: I just think mixing them with practical daily tasks, including FLOSS development and promotion, is becoming obnoxious and dangerous.


On June 15th., I’ll be departing to DC7 in Edimburgh. I’ll stay a night in Frankfurt, probably in a hostel, and then I’ll stay at one of the hostels in EDI. I plan to carry white cheese to the Cheese and Wine BoF, and I’d love any comments on how to transport them without posing a biological threat for Europe. I’ll be carrying a 65 liters backpack. How long will it take for the cheese to become a lifeform? Any special tips and tricks to avoid that?

Copying files to embedded devices

I’ve been trying to copy some binary files into an Axesstel D800 EvDO modem which runs Linux over a tiny ARM processor on less than 16 MB. of memory. I’m actually trying to get netcat in so I can get more useful stuff such as snmpd in. The modem has telnetd, but it has no zmodem utilities, particularly rz. Neither it has wget, nor ftpd. It has thttpd to serve the administrative webpages, but it can’t process shell CGI programs so I can’t send the file through a CGI form.

Any ideas? I would love to read comments from hackers who have already managed their ways into embedded devices such as 802.11 devices with Linux, and any generic ideas on how to provide new firmware images for devices such as this Axesstel modem.


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