my Piratebox project

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The PirateBox project has been on my radar for sometime now. I like the idea of a unique wireless network sharing data to anyone in range. Think pirate radio but with a server. Don't know what I'm talking about? see the wiki Having dabbled with it on a Debian  I wanted dedicated hardware.

On the technical side of things: my PirateBox is a simple TP-Link MR3020 router flashed with OpenWrt. It's portable, lightweight, and low powered; above all cheap. Everything works smooth, even the forum and shoutbox. You can download the custom OpenWrt image from David Darts website

When the install was finished I was left with wondering what to share. Books are the main media I share with friends, so I bundled a few books like A Brief History Of Time and The Hobbit.

Socially though, my project/experiment is a failure. I left the PirateBox running several days at home with not one upload from anybody. I think the problem is that my home is located in a ordinary town, in an ordinary suburban cul-de-sac. Tech savvy geeks don't exist here and the ipad kids and smartphone addicts will run away from anything labelled "Pirate". In the end I got bored, I changed the SSID name from 'share box' to 'starbucks wifi' in the spirit of

Tricks and tips I found.
Change the SSID via SSH terminal.
uci set "wireless.@wifi-iface[0].ssid=<enter your ssid here>"
uci commit
You can also edit the landing page via /opt/piratebox/www/. I slimmed mine down and tweaked it here and there. 

Things to do:

  • Make it portable and take it to a busy public place.
  • Try out repeaters.

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