18 May 2021

Home WiFi QR code

So I happened across an article the other day which described how to do something that I thought was kind of cool. It walked you through how to create a QR code so that visitors to your house (or business) could simply use the camera in their smart phone to quickly and easily access your guest WiFi network. Yes, it may, be nerdy… But it’s still cool. Here’s how you can do it too!

The greatness of this solution is that scanning the QR code will basically work from any iOS or Android device. However, since I only have Apple mobile devices, I can only show you how easily it is done on an iPhone.

Make the QR code

Get the ‘shortcut’ by clicking this link: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/796cd8de4e344ac6a5b6495a8a2fa333
(shortcut originally created by Stephen Robles for AppleInsider).

It will open the ‘Shortcuts’ app on your phone and display all the steps that will happen once you run the shortcut. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen and click the red button that is labeled “Add Untrusted Shortcut”. It will now get added to your “My Shortcuts”.

At the bottom of your screen tap on “My Shortcuts”. Run the shortcut called “Generate Wi-Fi QR”.
It will prompt you for a Wi-Fi network/SSID name, and it asks if you want to use the Wi-Fi network you are connected to, or it will let you specify another network and type it in. The next step will prompt you to enter the Wi-Fi password.

Once you hit ‘Done’, it will generate a QR code for you. Tap the icon in the upper right corner to save the QR code as an image.

Display & Connect

You now have an image that looks like this…

Print the image out and post it on your wall at home (or work).

When friends come over they can scan your QR code and connect seamlessly, without you ever having to do anything other than point a finger towards whereever you hang your QR code image.

26 May 2020

My Ubiquiti Network

Ubiquiti makes some interesting gear and they are quite well known for their disrupting the status quo by offering top-notch grade network and wifi devices. Their gear ranges from prosumer to enterprise-grade. Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you go, it can become a bit of an expensive eco-system that you are buying into. On the plus side, if you ever decide to leave any Ubiquiti, it shouldn’t be hard to resell the gear as they have a large community of followers.

I was leaving one job and starting another and decided that it was time to upgrade my home network to allow for some more diverse home-lab options. I decided to jump on the Ubiquiti bandwagon and set-up on their Unifi product line. Being new to Ubiquiti and Unifi I have a lot to learn!

I’m starting off my Unifi environment with a Ubiquiti Dream Machine (UDM), a Unifi 8-port POE switch (US-8-60W), and a Unifi AP (UAP-AC-Lite). I’m starting small. 😂 But who knows how large it’ll grow!

Here are some things I’ve setup in my Unifi environment….

30 November 2019

Stop the Ads @ Home – Pi-Hole

Advertising, love it or hate it, truly drives the internet. It is scary the amount of data companies skim about you from the ads that get served to and what you click onto. But with the right tools, you can do a lot to protect your privacy. One of the best thing you can do at home to protect your privacy and those stop unwanted ads, is to deploy Pi-hole.

As described on their homepage Pi-hole is “A black hole for Internet ads”, that is “Easy-to-install”, and “is a DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content”. All of which can be done in a one-time setup, usually on a RaspberryPi, without installing any software on your devices.

Pi-hole acts upon your network. It takes on the role of serving as the DNS on your network, and optionally role of a DHCP server.

In most homes today, both of these roles are usually preform by your router/wifi access point. DNS, in its’ most simplistic terms, acts as the whitepages that helps your devices translate a URL to an IP addresses. DHCP allows your device to get a ‘dynamically’ assigned address on the network so that it can communicate with everythign else. So by utilizing some whitelists and blacklists, the PiHole can simply not serve the address to known advertising URLs. Cutting the ads off before the request ever leaves your house.

I’ve been using it at home for about 3 years now and absolutely love it. There are some ads that still come thru, and sometimes if I click on an ad, I’ll get a “page can’t be reached” message. It was different at first to get used to, but now… I would trade it for the world!

Another great piece of software to install on you RPi is PiVPN. It’s an easy and secure way to create a VPN (a private tunnel) to your home when you are out and about. The best part about it is that it can allow you to use Pi-Hole when your not at home. Check out my article here.