Timeout with the Raspberry Pi 2

There is a website called EstateSales ( https://estatesales.org/ ) where you can bid for all sorts of stuff (new, used, etc.) and I believe they have a presence in most US states if not the larger cities.

I bidded on a Raspberry Pi 2 (status not tested) and got it for $2. If I add the gas to drive to the pickup location and back, maybe the total would come to about $8. I then bought a USB WiFi card for $4 on Ebay since the Pi 2 does not come with a WiFi inbuilt chip on the board.

Below are my notes from the “experience”:

– – – – This section is only if you can’t get the Pi on the network via its Ethernet interface – – –

– My first issue was that the Pi came with a HDMI port for which I didn’t have the cable, but fortunately my German friend left a Monitor with a VGA-to-HDMI cable attached. I connected it to the Pi as well as a USB keyboard and powered the Pi using its USB port connected to a USB port on my desktop PC.

– Second issue was that I didn’t know the password of the pi user since it was pre-owned so I had to intercept the boot process (the splash screen says to press the SHIFT key), append “init=/bin/bash” to the “kernel” line, and then issue a “mount -o rw,remount /” followed by a password reset for the pi and root users.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

– Connect through a console (HDMI Monitor and USB keyboard). If you decide not to get a WiFi card and you don’t want to attach the Pi via an Ethernet cable to your router, you can do the following to get access to the Pi from a Windows PC that you have connected to it via its Ethernet port (I couldn’t get it to access the Internet via ICS for some reason).
– Set ethernet interface eth0 to dhcp in /etc/network/interfaces
– Connect it to a Windows PC via an ethernet cable
– Configure ICS on say the WIFI interface of the Windows PC with the Ethernet as the “home network” (ICS then pops-up the message that it will assign to the Ethernet interface on the PC)
– Run “arp -a” on the Windows PC and look for all IPs in the 192.168.137.x (one of them will be the IP assigned to the raspberry by ICS)
– The interface on this specific Pi has the MAC address b8-27-eb-90-b3-30 which is also visible in the “arp -a” output
– SSH to the Pi IP address and login with the root or pi user

– NOTE: ping the broadcast IP of the IP address assigned to the Windows Ethernet interface may help get the MAC/IP assigned to the Raspberry Pi to show up in the output of the “arp -a” command e.g., “ping”

– NOTE: if you can’t get the Pi to be assigned an IP address via ICS, do the following:

  1. Make sure ICS service is running on the Windows PC (restart it if necessary)
  2. Disable ICS on the NIC that is being shared via ICS (e.g., the WiFi NIC) then re-enable ICS

NOTE: watch out for the SD card on which the O/S is installed. It is very easy to eject it without noticing – if you are on the console, you will see it start to display “read errors” on the SD card and essentially stops working. If you are just attempting to boot up the Pi, it won’t boot at all since the O/S is on the SD card.

Issue three: The much older kernel on the Pi (I think it was 3.18 from year 2016) did not have drivers for the Ralink WiFi (USB) card I got off E-Bay. I was able to upgrade the O/S to a 4.19 kernel, but later decided I would just install a completely new Pi distribution by using the https://www.raspberrypi.org/software/ Windows Raspberry Pi Imager (there is a version for Ubuntu as well). The Imager prompts to select a O/S distro/version and the target Storage (I inserted the SD card into my Windows laptop using a Micro SD Adapter) and it will then download the selected image and (over)write it to the the SD card so backup its contents first if you need them.
The latest version as at 05/26/2021 is the 1.1GB Raspberry Pi OS (32-bit) released 2021-03-04 (includes the Pi Desktop).
There is also a 0.4GB Raspberry Pi OS Lite (32-bit) with no desktop environment released on the same date (2021-03-04)

– In order to access the instance via SSH, you need to enable the SSH service first:
sudo systemctl enable ssh
sudo systemctl start ssh

– I decided to configure the Pi to boot into multi-user mode (CLI with network services) instead of graphical mode which will consume more system resources:
sudo systemctl set-default multi-user

My particular Ralink WiFI USB card had the MAC address 00:E0:2D:90:70:34
Sample network interface file content: https://gist.github.com/spikeheap/7857064

– Configure the WiFI network you intend the system to join in the file /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf :

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


– Configure the network interfaces in the file /etc/network/interfaces

source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

alow-hotplug wlan0
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

– Reconfigure the WiFI start the card:
sudo wpa_cli -i wlan0 reconfigure
sudo ifdown wlan0
sudo ifup wlan0

– Restart the networking service if necessary:
sudo systemctl restart networking

– Troubleshooting: To scan and check WiFI networks, use the command “sudo iwlist wlan0 scan” and check the essid field. This field should be the same as what you entered in the ssid field in the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file .

root@raspberrypi:~# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0424:9514 Standard Microsystems Corp.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp.
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 1c4f:0002 SiGma Micro Keyboard TRACER Gamma Ivory
Bus 001 Device 005: ID 0bda:c811 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. <—- needs drivers
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 148f:7601 Ralink Technology, Corp. <—- supported out of the box by the 2021-03-04 distro

Just for fun: I also had a Realtek WiFi USB card as well that is normally connected to my Windows Desktop PC so I can avoid using an Ethernet cable to connect it to the Internet router which is somewhere else in the house. You can see it is detected from the output of the “lsusb” command above but the Pi OS did not have in-built drivers for it. You can install the drivers as follows:

sudo wget http://downloads.fars-robotics.net/wifi-drivers/install-wifi -O /usr/bin/install-wifi
sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/install-wifi
sudo /usr/bin/install-wifi
(this script detects the card, downloads and install the appropriate driver and configures the card. In this case, it downloaded the driver file 8821cu-5.10.17-1403.tar.gz)

– Some Links

http://downloads.fars-robotics.net/ (lots of commands related to setting up networking on the Pi)
http://downloads.fars-robotics.net/wifi-drivers/ (drivers for Realtek cards)
https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1133815#p1133815 (where I got the reference to the install-wifi script)

Pi 2 with the WiFI USB card

Mark the date!

Mark the date!

It’s Monday morning. I sit quietly at the tube station watching the hustle and bustle going on around me. While waiting for my relations to show up, I decided it was a good time to put down what I was thinking about yesterday night.

Since the “date” is around the corner, I think I should pitch in my bit to stir up the pot a little.

Let’s start by what is known about the date 21-Dec-2012. The date ended a 5,000-year Mayan calendar. The Mayans were known to have accurately predicted several events that took place in history. The Mayans only indicated that something of great global impact will happen on 21-12-2012: not necessarily the destruction of the world.

Personally, I don’t believe the world will end on that day.

By now you are probably asking yourself “Where is the controversy he promised?”.  If you belong to that group, I say “Patience. In a second you rumor monger :-)”

Stay with me now. Let’s go with the second scenario i.e., something “huge” happens but we still get to wake up the day after, and do whatever it was we had planned.

But wait a minute, what happened? You went to bed on the 21st and woke up on the 22nd. The wars in various parts of the world are still going on; the protesters didn’t miss a beat; and the most newsworthy item in the morning papers was the politician caught with his hands in the ministry’s cookie jar?

Glad you wondered, and here is where it starts to get interesting.

The “real” Anti-Christ will be born on the 21-Dec-2012. How do I know? Well, if you asked that question, I can only respond by asking you (like a true Nigerian – a question for a question), “I hope the cold that is freezing my face is not slowing down your brain?”. Fact is, I mentioned from the beginning I am just putting an alternative hypothesis out there: one with an equal chance of being true – just as any of the beliefs of the “Preppers” out there. If someone can believe some superior alien being is going to fly by the earth in an intergalactic space ship (“Beam me up Scotty!”) and whisk them away before the world is reduced to a burnt out pile of molten rock, we can give my proposition an equal chance of occurrence eh?

I am sure most people will agree with me that such an event (the Anti-Christ being born) has global significance.

So what has that got to do with the average Joe on the street, you may ask (or wonder)?

Well, if the Anti-Christ is alive, the end of this system of things can’t be far behind. But before you go selling all your property and putting it all on one final “around the world in 80 days” holiday, consider this: the fellow would still be a baby, and since the Devil’s precedence is to “fake” the originals created by the big “man” in the sky (the creator of all things), we shouldn’t expect to see any action from his “son” until the boy is at least 30 years old.

So barring something else killing you such as age, accident, disease or a localized meteor strike, that is some good news for sinners (which many of us are :-). That’s 30 additional years for people to get their sh*t together and choose (hopefully) the right side (before events make the decision for you).

Well, that’s enough bulls*it for one day.

And since everyone has (long since) taken to putting up all the mundane sh*t that happens to them online, here are a few from me. Besides this is an online diary so I can put up anything here right?


It’s not like I am twitting it or facebooking it, is it?

1. I got a new electric toothbrush.

2. I am expecting a scaler in the mail soon. I want to do some damage to the plaque (and hopefully not to my gum) before my next visit to the dentist.

3. I am bidding for some stuff on ebay.

4. I got on a scale this morning. The scale was accurate, but I didn’t agree with the figure on the digital display anyway. I think I am smarter than some digital thingsmadoogle whose “brain” is not bigger than my big toe and who can’t even speak to boot. So who you gonna believe – me or that immobile thing on the floor?