Cisco AnyConnect Essentials still crushing it

Seems my original post about the AnyConnect Essentials license is still quite popular. So why not capitalize on that! 🙂

The license does work as advertised. It’s a replacement for the IPSEC based client that Cisco seems to have stopped development on. I’ve been using it in numerous situations and it works great!

I just have a funny situation though where my client was exploring alternatives to Cisco. We got pricing for a couple of competitors including Sonicwall and Juniper and let me tell you…whoo-boy! I guess the others haven’t felt compelled to follow Cisco’s lead and they are still charging ridiculous sums for the SSL VPN clients. Of course there were howls of protest about how their clients did so much more and that if you wanted the same level of functionality you had to pay for Cisco’s full SSL VPN solution. All true, but who cares????

I want a simple client based SSL VPN to replace the IPSEC clients of old. I don’t need all the fancy clientless stuff. I suspect that’s true for a lot of customers. Cisco’s pricing strategy for the AnyConnect Essentials is smart not just because they don’t want to continue to develop the IPSEC client but because it drives business away from their competitors.

Cisco, your choice in focus these days mostly pisses me off but this is a real winner. A small bright spot in an otherwise dreary path you’ve taken. Now, if you could find a way to ship ASA’s before the summer I’d be happy.

Breadboard Arduino with FTDI cable and no reset button

So, here’ my coming out for the other project I’ve been working on lately. Learning about Arduino’s. More later about why I’m doing this but for now…

I got a regular Duemilanove from Adafruit a couple of weeks ago. These things are so nice that they include all of the basic necessary components like the USB to RS232, the automatic voltage input switching, pin headers etc. I’ve been fiddling with that and learning some of how it works. I wanted to get a second for the purposes of having the two Arduino’s talk to each other. Naturally I decided to do this the harder way and assemble one on a breadboard.

This is actually pretty simple. The components you need are the Arduino flashed Atmega328p, a voltage regulator for getting your power source to a steady 5v, a clock source and a programming method. A couple of LED’s are good for power and the pin13 status. Based on several resources around the web including:

I’ve managed to get my Boarduino up and running without the use of a reset button and hopefully with a few extra rows available on my breadboard. I’m using an FTDI cable from Adafruit since I had to pick one up for the XBee modules I got. Yes, more to come on that as well. The FTDI cable includes the chip for USB to RS232 conversion but it does not pull out the DTS pin. Thankfully Arduino supports auto-reset using the RTS pin. I had to struggle a bit to figure out why it wasnt’ working but the fix was pretty simple. You need to enable “Set RTS on Close” on the serial port that’s tied to the cable. Check out the LadyAda article for more details:

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