Is there such thing as a ‘crap’ PC anymore ?

Like most folks who work in the tech/IT field, people are always asking for my opinion about kit, especailly PC’s.

My reply was usually ‘how much do you want to spend ?’     Today, this got me thinking……. is there any such thing as a ‘crap’ PC any longer ?

With the advent of cheap tablets  (some are just piles of shite that will end up in landfill) the PC makers seem to be giving PC’s away that have better, and better spec.    For instance i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard disks on budget £350 laptops.

Whist the screen will be a crap 1366 x 768 resolution screen and the battery will probably last 3 hours (mainly due to all of the OEM junkware thats installed) you can still do far more than you ever will on a tablet computer device.  Perhaps peoples habbits are changing and if all they do is use email and FaceTwatterBook then good riddance, It means I dont have to fix the bloody thing.

However people who actually need a PC for Media, iTunes, Photo/Video editing then its still the best for the job.   They are eminantly flexible and can still be customised to do what you like.   Depite what the press may say, Windows 8.1 (with the new Update 1) makes switching between the Metro/Modern Start Screen apps and traditional desktop a breeze.  If you are still suffering the $5 spent on Start8 will soon sort you out.

Remove all of the cack the thing comes with.  Whatever you do dont buy or run McAfee or Norton AV.  Remove it and Microsoft Defender will be activated which is fine for most users.  Dont waste your cash….. seriously…

They arent the same as the crap that was pushed when the whole Netbook craze came around.  Bit like 3D TV’s really, it was just a fad.  Luckilly the Atom seems to be have relegated to small headless kit, tablets and even phones.  Its even now pretty good :)

So thats my opinion as of today, even thought I have just dropped the best part of £1800 on an awsome Lenovo T440S fully loaded !

Native Apple iOS Client and Android Client to Cisco ASA VPN using Certificate Authentication Part 4 – More ASA Side

Some parts I forgot from the last few posts.

The ASA also uses Group Policy (not AD group policy!) configuration.  In here you set useful things such as DNS, domain and other properties.  Its also the area to configure specifics for the IPSEC Phase 2 connection.   I normally use a GP per connection as its allows some flexibility when making changes later on.  You can also set some values within the default group policy that will be standard over the whole of your ASA, which depending on if inherit is turned on or not get set.

For Apple iOS devices IP Compression and PFS have to be turned on.  On Android, these are not.  You get a strange symptom (if set) where the Android handset claims its connected (and the ASA even issues an IP address) but the device never shows connected in ASDM.  It was only with use of various debugs that I managed to find this out.

Group policies therefore are:

!Apple iOS
group-policy GP_iOS internal
group-policy GP_iOS attributes
 dns-server value 10.100.200.10 10.100.202.10
 vpn-session-timeout none
 vpn-tunnel-protocol ikev1 
 ip-comp enable
 pfs enable
 default-domain value mydomain.local

!Android
 group-policy GP_ANDR internal
 group-policy GP_ANDR attributes
  dns-server value 10.100.202.10 10.100.200.10
  vpn-session-timeout none
  vpn-tunnel-protocol ikev1 
  default-domain value mydomain.local

That should complete all of the configuration requried to allow iOS and Android devices to connect to a Cisco ASA using the inbuilt native IPSEC client using x509 certificates.   You really arn’t using Pre Shared Keys in this day and age are you ?

Native Apple iOS Client and Android Client to Cisco ASA VPN using Certificate Authentication Part 3 – ASA Side

So based on the last post, you can now start to configure the ASA to support Apple IOS and Andoid devices.

Firstly we need to add an IKEv1 policy to allow the IKE Phase 1 to establish:

!Andoid
crypro ikev1 policy 10
 authentication rsa-sig
 encryption aes-256
 hash sha
 group 2
 lifetime 28800

!IOS
crypro ikev1 policy 12
 authentication rsa-sig
 encryption aes-256
 hash sha
 group 5
 lifetime 3600

This allow the device to at least connect to the ASA to authenticate.

There is an assumption that your ASA already has installed and trust’s the CA’s that the client device certificates are issued by.  This is out of scope for here however its imperative that this is in place.  Its also crazy if you havent got CRL processing in place but you should know that as well.

From a ASA profile perspective its simple.  As stated before both Andoid and IOS only support IKE v1 so you have to create IKEv1 profiles for these connections.  The strange part of defining an IKEv1 profile is that is has to have a AAA entry set.   In my case I normally define a new AAA group that has no authentication.

aaa-server NO_USER_AUTH protocol http-form

This can then be applied to a new profile.  Its not used for authentication (remember – you are using Cerificates only) thus

tunnel-group IOSandAND type remote-access

tunnel-group IOSandAND general-attributes
 ! Clients will use addressing from the named pool shown
 address-pool IOSandAND-Pool
 ! Dont use any client authentication (other than Certificate)
 authentication-server-group NO_USER_AUTH
 ! Group policy applied for connection
 default-group-policy GP_IOSandAND

tunnel-group IOSandAND ipsec-attributes
 ! Define CA that client connections will be signed by
 ikev1 trust-point MyCA.key
 ! Define no user authentication
 ikev1 user-authentication none

Depending on if you use DAP etc (and you really should) you will have to add basic policy to allow Andoid and IOS devices to connect.  There are no posture checks availible for native clients due to what the clients expose.  If you want to do this then the client will need to use the AnyConnect client (free), will need a AnyConnect Mobility licence for the ASA (circa £500) and you can then use IKEv2 which negates a lot of this configuration.

Anyway hope it helps some of you

My beef with Apple

I have been thinking about just putting some thoughts down for a while. I’d also like to say I don’t have a favourite vendor or affinity with a manufacturer. I work with Microsoft, Google and other companies stuff all the time. The right tool for the job is my ethos.

Recently I have got a real hump with Apple in general. We have had (in total) in our house:

  • iPod classic
  • 2 x iPod touch
  • iPhone 4
  • iPad 2
  • Unibody MacBook
  • So you can’t say I can’t talk about their stuff as they have certainly taken my money.

    My main problem is how quickly they seem to abandon products and stop releasing upgrades/patches. My old first gen iPod Touch is stuck on iOS 3 something which has known security vulnerabilities and at the time they could of fixed. In the end it helped as I could use the PDF flaw to install Cydia but that’s another story. My iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are more than capable of running Siri but no you need to upgrade. ( Turns out its crap anyway but that’s not the point ). iOS 6 maps are a joke and don’t get me started on there ‘Enterprise’ features such as VPN that I’m currently fighting with.

    Their lock in also annoys me. The only method of playing stuff purchased on iTunes’s is to use a MacBook with iTunes and let that download purchased tunes so you can extract MP3′s from its file system. So iCloud won’t let you access anything of use using a browser. Not even my bloody photos taken with iDevices. Even my MacBook running OSX Lion can’t unless I pay £10 for an iPhoto upgrade. And iTunes is still a spreadsheet smothered in excrement.

    Don’t get me wrong. The industrial design is mostly beautiful and has helped inspire/ kick the industry into making decent products. However they also make some stupid decisions like the new lightning connectors on the new kit. 1000′s of aftermarket devices just going to end up in landfill or lots of £20 adapters being sold……

    I’m astounded that normal folks will pay a lot of their hard earned money to buy their devices. Perhaps they don’t care about some of the things I have said but its very difficult to explain to them that no I can’t get your pictures off easily or no you music can’t be played anywhere else

    Me. Well the iPad and macbook are going soon. The iPhone went a while back so I have nearly purged my life of their stuff. Not good riddance but more ‘go away, get your sh1t together and don’t bother me for a while’

    iPhone-less

    Yay. I’m finally free of my iPhone 4 as of a couple of days ago. They may be fairly decent portable computers but IMHO are second rate phones. Also once you are outside of the standard apps most of the others are pretty crummy

    I’m now the proud owner of a Nokia Lumia 900 running Windows Phone 7. If you want to see something really well thought out with beautiful hardware then check one out. The integration the OS has with Twitter and Facebook is really good and sets a standard iOS really needs to catch up to

    Plus im not an iSheep (well apart from the iPad, Mac and old iPod Touch) but im working on that!

    Orange + iphone4 + 3G = pile of shit

    I have been a loyal (?) customer of Oranges for over 15 years but am at the end of my tether with their network

    I have an iPhone 4 and yes I know it’s a crap phone but why is there 3g network so bad. I am working in a ‘new’ town so would expect decent coverage but no. 3G lies like a cheap watch and is slower than manually setting GPRS, calls continually drop even when the phones showing 3 bars. The place I’m working for even uses Orange as a supplier for 3G and I’m not sure how they put it with the shoddyness.

    I have the same issue at home but made even worse by continually swapping between Orange/T Mobile. Supposedly the result of their ‘everything everywhere’ initiative that feels like ‘nothing nowhere’

    Take my advice. Leave or avoid Orange at all costs!!!!!

    Gadget or Useful Mobile tool

    Picked up on this from one of the MS UK teams blog http://blogs.technet.com/eileen_brown/archive/2007/10/09/communicator-mobile-2007.aspx

    Essentially a 3D barcode and app software for mobile devices with cameras. 

    Heres the barcode generator http://reader.kaywa.com/ and mobile device reader code http://www.quickmark.com.tw/En/basic/download.asp

    Not sure of uses but like the idea of ‘tagging’ objects – posters, ad’s, screens etc