For the benefit of all Linux users in China … 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — As I posted earlier, I’ve been online here using Windows for the past week, but the Linux side of my laptop was out in the cold. Today I found the solution, and this Ubuntu user is back in the saddle again. Other Linux users in China have had the same problem, so I’m posting my solution here for their benefit. If you don’t really care, I won’t be offended if you go read something else. Universities in China restrict access to their networks using Ruijie‘s ruijie supplicant protocol, a variant of the standard IEEE 802.1x protocol, with (it seems) a unique implementation of MD5 encryption. In other words, if you don’t have the connection program, you have no Internet access. (Ruijie is a big IT firm here, like Cisco is in the States.) The Windows application, Ruijie Supplicant, works fine. After you input your static IP address, netmask, gateway, DNS settings, username and password, you’re home free. But the Linux client I was given, xrgsu, was not working. It would find the gateway, but authentication would fail. So, no joy. The university IT staff was swamped with service calls from the returning students, so I had to ...

Meanwhile, techno-frustrations abound 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — What do cell phones, washing machines, the Internet and electrical supplies all have in common? Aside from the obvious, electricity, they all added to my frustrations — or shall I say challenges — this week. The cell phone issue was the biggest. I had bought my Treo 600 off eBay ages ago with the understanding that it was unlocked, meaning that I could use it with any carrier as soon as I inserted the appropriate SIM chip into it. Wrong. Sure, the Treo could find China Mobile and China Unicom signals, but without international roaming enabled (not that I could afford it), I could not use those signals. So, senior English students Christopher, Ava and Sophia took me to the China Mobile tents set up for returning students, where they helped me get a China Mobile account and SIM card. Of course, it did not work. Believing my phone to be the all-powerful, unlocked, works-anywhere-in-the-world SuperTreo, I was of course mighty perplexed. The kids took me to the China Mobile store in downtown Jishou, where I got another SIM card that worked the same as the previous one. “SIM card not allowed,” my SuperTreo informed me. “Your ...
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