Tag Archives: tutorial

Chromecast hotel wifi – tutorial


I was on travel just as season six of Game of Thrones was going to air and I didn’t want to wait till I got home 10 days latter. To fix this situation I ran down the street to the Wal-Mart Super store and picked up a 2nd gen Google Chromecast. I had been toying with the idea of getting one for a few years now and I finally had the excuse. Initially happy with my purchase I headed back to my room to set it up.


Initial setup was no problem, grab Google Cast from the play store https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.chromecast.app, plug the Google Chromecast into a free HDMI port on the TV, switch the TV input to that HDMI port, plug the Google Chromecast into wall power or a free USB port on the TV.

I then fired up the Google Cast App and it found my virgin Cromecast waiting for instructions. I named it, Rumble, and setup the backdrop settings, and told it to use the Hotel’s Wi-Fi.


I was then presented with the “What’s On” page of the Cast App and tapped the trailer for the new Bourne movie. YouTube launched and I hit the Cast button, but I didn’t see Rumble. The TV was telling me that Rumble was connected to the Hotel’s WiFi but had no Internet connection. I tried resetting Rumble and that didn’t do anything, I even did a factory reset to no avail. The cause is that the hotel required that I accept their use agreement and log in with the password given to me by the front desk. I figured this was going to be part of setting up the Google Chromecast and a possible problem, but thought that Google would have thought about this and had put in a mechanism to work it – wrong. Fail Google, big epic fail! So I broke out Goolge and searched for “chromecast hotel wifi” to see what my fellow travelers had worked out; I found the following solutions that are well and good but did not prove to be solutions for me for one reason or another.


This one shows how to use Connectify to turn a laptop into a Wi-Fi router to connect the Chromecast to and use the Ethernet cable in the room. Looked to be viable; if I had a laptop.


This one shows how to use a “travel router” to do the same thing as the How-To Geek site but without having a laptop. Again though, I would need another piece of equipment that I didn’t have.


This one sounded like it would really be the hack I needed. Basically when you authenticate with another device that has a web browser you stay on the “thank you” page and look for a part of the URL that looks like a MAC address, then just replace that with the MAC of the Chromecast, click go, and boom the Chromecast would be authorized to access the Internet through the Hotel’s Wi-Fi. This didn’t work for me because the Hotel’s authentication didn’t present this opportunity.


This one goes over the travel router solution and the using another device as a Wi-Fi router, namely a smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Again didn’t have the router and using my phone as a hotspot wouldn’t work because to serve out Wi-Fi it wouldn’t be able to be connected to the Hotel’s.


This one just lists out the issues that I had been experiencing and listed a few features requests that the community should raise to Google. This did nothing but make me feel like I had company and stole five minutes of troubleshooting time.


This one is probably the best of them as it has a lot of good tutorials for different situations, combinations of the travel router and sharing other device network connections. But I would need another device.

After looking at these I came to the conclusion that the best option for me would be to go find a travel router, as getting a new laptop just to stream some Netflix and HBO would not be acceptable to the wife … that’s not fair it wasn’t acceptable to me too. A few shops popped up on Google Maps when I searched for “electronics” so I headed out on a second shopping trip. At my third and final stop I settled on an Apple Airport Express. I was rather sceptical about getting it; first off it was $100 bucks and second it’s an Apple product and despite the general consensus of Apple’s “It just works” mentality I didn’t think it would play nice with my HTC One M8 Android phone. Aaannd it didn’t! I wound up taking it back the next day.

Solution 1 – Tell the truth:

I called the support desk of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and explained that I was trying to get my Chromecast to have Internet access but it didn’t have a web interface to let me authenticate. The tech asked what property I was at and room I was in. I then gave them the MAC and boom Rumble could see the Internet.


Solution 2 – Social engineering via sympathy:

I was mid way through my trip and I had to switch hotels. I tried to call the ISP support for the new hotel with great hopes that things would go as smooth as the last hotel, I was wrong. I was told by the tech that they did not allow devices like Chromecasts on their network for security reasons, to paraphrase, the interconnection the these devices are capable of can cause privacy concerns. That is a lame excuse in my opinion giving any network connection to individuals poses the same level of risk in a public setting no matter what device is connected. If I were to be malicious then I would have tools onboard that would get me around a login website. I don’t even know of any hacking that can be done via Chromecast or Roku, etc. but now my interest is peaked so I will do some searching. Anyway it was late so I just watched the Game of Thrones season 6 premier on my time phone display while cursing the lame excuse given by the ISP. The next morning I started thinking about what other type of devices require or at least have a Wi-Fi connection that they wouldn’t give me a lame excuse for. Thanks to #TheInternetOfThings there are lots of devices that should work for me. Also thanks to a recent purchse made by my parents which lead to their calling me for help and giving me the product that I would use. A Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine. See they have Wi-Fi now so it can send info that it collects about your sleeping trends, then a Doctor can adjust the machine to get an optimum setting without the patient going in for further sleep studies. So back from that tangent. I called up the ISP again and gave pretty much the same story about the device I had not having a web interface but needing an Internet connection, only this time the device is my CPAP that helps me breath at night and get a good night’s sleep. I figured hotels are supposed to help you get a good night sleep so it would be shared for them to refuse. I also figured that they wouldn’t have a MAC lookup table to see the manufacturer of the device. I was right and the tech hooked up the MAC of my Chromecast. The lesson learned is when you don’t get your way by telling the truth, slightly change the truth and you will probably make it through.

Making the decision to give up and call tech support is one of the hardest things to do, especially for us techies. I lucked out and the techs I got at both helpdesks were in the US, I assume this because they all spoke English like it was the only language they knew. They also didn’t waste my time by having me “Turn it off and on again”, or tell me it couldn’t be done – at least after I found the soft spot for the type of devices they would allow on the network. So if you can bring yourself to do it give tech support a call first and let them have 5 minutes, that is unless you can plan your trip to include the hardware you need.

In the future I plan on getting that TP-Link router mentioned in the Work Smart and Travel article which should be a good solution that will let me avoid the randomness of calling tech support. I do agree with John Falcone in the CNet article that Google needs to add the capability to supply authentication credentials for the Chromecast to use. How about embedding Chrome Browser into the Chromecast.


Basic Windows 10 Install

So Windows 10 was just released so I thought I would make this video of installing it and poking around a bit. I used the ISO I downloaded from Microsoft using their download tool. I had it download the 32bit and 64bit versions in one ISO, kind of nice. I then set my VM to use that ISO as its boot media, the rest is in the video. Enjoy!

Special thanks to http://www.bensound.com for the music in the video.


Like all of my projects I scoured Google and through the reading of many tutorials I was able to piece together the settings and configurations I needed. I was originally inspired by this article written by Lee Hutchinson URL = http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/06/how-a-total-n00b-mined-700-in-bitcoins/ I had also read about the Raspberry Pi project and wanted to get one but couldn’t think of what I would do with it other than increase my dust collector collection, but with butterfly labs releasing their hardware I now had something to do with a Pi. Anyway here we go and remember “Don’t Panic.”

Getting the Pi up and going with an OS and connectivity:

I followed the first three Raspberry Pi lessons over at learn.adafruit, great site with other good tutorials. I don’t remember making any obscene changes to the steps in the lessons other than those to personalize my box like I did sudo apt-get install vim cuz I like it better than nano which most of the tutorial use.

Lesson 1. Preparing an SD Card for your Raspberry Pi URL = http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-lesson-1-preparing-and-sd-card-for-your-raspberry-pi

Lesson 2. First Time Configuration URL = http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-raspberry-pi-lesson-2-first-time-configuration

Lesson 3. Network Setup URL = http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-raspberry-pi-lesson-3-network-setup

Setting up cgminer:

I started with the tutorial “Super Tutorial Raspberry Pi+Raspbian+CGMiner+TightVNC+WIFI at boot” URL = https://forums.butterflylabs.com/bitcoin-discussion/3238-super-tutorial-raspberry-pi-raspbian-cgminer-tightvnc-wifi-boot.html by jafc76. You can go back and forth between that one and mine but I will put everything I did here so you don’t really have to.

I skipped everything that was redundant from the adafruit lessons mentioned above like initial setup and network configuration. I actually skipped over his TightVNC section the first time I read this and cost me more time finding the right VNC combination, but it was here all along. I have included my VNC setup at the end of this so don’t worry. I put things in here in the order that I did them with the goal of getting the end result working first then move on to ease of admining the box.



First depencancies


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install build-essential git autoconf libtool libcurl4-openssl-dev libncurses5-dev pkg-config yasm make libusb-1.0-0-dev

Clone latest stable version of cgminer source files


git clone https://github.com/ckolivas/cgminer.git cgminer

Compile cgminer


cd cgminer


sudo ./autogen.sh


sudo ./configure --enable-bflsc


sudo make


sudo make install

Auto start cgminer

1. Make and edit the cgminer.conf file in the /cgminer directory by

sudo vim /cgminer/cgminer.conf

The cgminer.conf file is what holds all your mining account specifics. Mine looks like this … well sort of, I sanitized it so it doesn’t have my actual account names and passwords.


The slush pool has updated. You can get more info from the place I got it from, here. Basically they have added more operation sites so you can replace the URL with one that is geographically closer to you.

"pools" : [
"url" : "stratum+tcp://stratum.slushpool.com:3333",
"user" : "bartimaeus.worker1",
"pass" : "C0mpl3xP@$$w0rd"
"api-port" : "4028",
"expiry" : "120",
"hotplug" : "5",
"log" : "5",
"no-pool-disable" : true,
"queue" : "1",
"scan-time" : "60",
"shares" : "0",
"kernel-path" : "/usr/local/bin"

2. Edit the rc.local file

sudo vim /etc/init.d/rc.local

3. Go all the way to the bottom and add a new line

/cgminer/cgminer --config PATHTO-CGMINER.CONF

Mine looks like this

/cgminer/cgminer --config /cgminer/cgminer.conf

4. Wright quit that gem and reboot to test. At boot cgminer should be running the the background as root, which is good because you need root privs to access the ASIC device. If your Pi is configured like mine, which it will be if you keep following all my steps you will run headless most of the time cuz the kids have priority on what’s on the TV, then start up PUTTY and login then run TOP to see cgminer in the list. It won’t be taking up too much CPU, maybe like 1 – 2 %.


Now this is all good and you’re now mining but if you want to check your status you will need to like me ask permission to interrupt Caillou or The Wild Kratts, I won’t interrupt Phineas and Ferb cuz that show rocks! and switch the TV over to your Pi for a few seconds. I don’t like interrupting my kids so I figured there had to be a way to see the session that is configured to boot. I found others that wanted remote capability and they used VNC as the solution. I have used it before for other projects and it works well so I jumped on board but there were a few things that the other tutorials didn’t do or work for me so here is what I did.

I started with and followed a lot from the “Installing VNC” tutorial written by Simon Monk over at learn.adafruit URL = http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-lesson-7-remote-control-with-vnc/installing-vnc

You can use that tutorial and this one together, if you like switching back and forth or if you like to see nice screen shots, or you can just follow what I have I will make my section titles jive with Simon’s so if you need to you can correlate his steps with mine. I will make it a short and sweet as possible and include anything that gave me a hang up during my install.

Installing VNC


sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install tightvncserver -y


vncserver :1

4. Give the prompts what they ask for. Note that the password will be truncated (AKA shortened) to 8 characters so if you put in 123456789 VNC will shorten it to 12345678 so make sure you know how your password will be changed, or just do what I did and pick an 8 character password. If you mess up and forget or fat finger your password just do

sudo rm ~/.vnc/passwd

and redo step 4.

Using a VNC Client

This will come latter, IMO it doesn’t make since to put this right here, it’s better to test at the end.

Running VNC Server at Startup

I could not make VNC server startup the way I wanted to by following Simon … I couldn’t get it to start at all mostly. Unlike Simon’s and other tutorials this will allow you to connect to the user session that starts at boot not an alternate session that would intern run another cgminer instance and whatever else might be in “/etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart”.


sudo vim /etc/rc.local

2. Find the line that is

su -l USERNAME -c startx

and comment it out with a “#” so it looks something like this

#su -l USERNAME -c startx

replace USERNAME with a valid username on your box.

3. Add a new line

su - USERNAME -c "/usr/bin/vncserver :1 -geometry 800x600 -depth 16 -pixelformat rgb565 > /tmp/vncserver.log 2>&1 &"

replace USERNAME with a valid username on your box. Mine looks like this

su - bartimaeus -c "/usr/bin/vncserver :1 -geometry 1280x768 -depth 16 -pixelfomat rgb565 > /tmp/vncserver.log 2>&1 &"

4. Write quit that bad boy and reboot to test.

Using a VNC Client (in the right place this time)

1. Open up your favorite VNC client, I like RealVNC’s VNC Viewer, and put in the hostname or IP of you Pi followed by a :1 in the VNC Server or host or whatever spot, mine looks like this



and click connect or go or open or whatever.

2. You might be prompted about the connection being unencrypted just click whatever is equivalent to the don’t bug me again box and click continue or ok or yes or whatever.

3. Enter the password you set up, remember its 8 characters long MAX.

4. If you followed everything right, and I wrote everything right, you should see the desktop with a terminal running cgminer. You should check top to make sure there is only one instance of cgminer running otherwise you just started a new user session and launched a new cgminer instance which won’t do you much good because they will argue over resources and do less work each.

Now that it all works you should follow good industry standard practices and make a backup of you SD card in the event you mess something up in the future or you have hardware issues or you want to make another one of these. At the very lease you should save a copy of this write up someplace local on your system in the even I take it down or something, not that I plan to but again you never know … isn’t that right Perry?



After having the thing run for over a year I was only successful in generating enough Bitcoins for about $40.00. I have since taken it offline.


After several months of not caring about Bitcoins, the mostly death of my phone, made me go look at my Bitcoin wallet. I was surprised to see that the value of Bitcoins had dramatically gone up so that what was once worth only $40.00 was now worth nearly $300.00. So I turned the JalapinoPi back on. Well I had to redo it so that it was working alongside my Weather Underground reporting. With that I ran back through all of this and verified / updated where necessary.