Abstraction 2012 Shirt

For the first time in some unknown number of years, Abstraction club is finally producing an awesome shirt! Each shirt is $10, which may be paid to any Abstraction leader.

The front of the shirt has an enhanced version of Abstraction’s logo. The back has a famous Internet poem written in or before 1990 (but we’re more faithful to the original version of the Waka Waka poem). Do your homework—start memorizing the poem so that you can recite it for interested followers—and then [post anchor="yes" id="137" text="contact an Abstraction leader"] to order yours!

Abstraction 2012 Shirt Front

One of the first Internet poems composed of mostly non-alphanumeric characters.

Abstraction 2012 Shirt Back

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LAN Party 2011-10-21

There will be a LAN party this Friday.

In the Unix Lab on the third floor of the Science Building as usual.

No pizza will be provided at this event.


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Calvin Campus Wifi on GNU/Linux

The following question has been asked multiple times: How do I connect to Calvin’s wireless network with my GNU/Linux laptop? I connected to wireless_setup_instructions and tried to follow the directions, but the page told me that Calvin does not support GNU/Linux!

It is actually quite easy to connect a GNU/Linux machine to Calvin’s campus wifi. You are not even required to install special software which the page on the wireless_setup_instructions SSID tries to install on Windows boxes. The simple trick is: just don’t connect to wireless_setup_instructions.


For those of you using a graphically oriented distribution or Gnome‘s NetworkManager, simply select the eduroam SSID. When prompted for which certificate authority is being used, you may choose GlobalSign Root CA. When prompted for a username and password, supply the one you use to log into portal, including the @students.calvin.edu. Once connected to eduroam, you merely have to open a web browser, disable any proxy settings temporarily, and type a random address into the URL entry to bring up Calvin’s device registration page. Just follow those instructions, restart the network interface, and you should be browsing :-).

Occasionally, after registering your device with Calvin, the DHCP server which gives you an invalid address and points you to the device registration page will fail to be updated for 10 minutes or so. If you arrive at Calvin’s device registration page a second time, try to register, and encounter an error about your device already being registered, then you must just be patient with Calvin’s infrastructure and try again after ordering a pizza.

If these instructions do not work for you, please contact us at abstraction@calvin.edu so that we may fix this article. Thanks!


If you do not use a graphical frontend to wpa_supplicant, then you need to configure it directly. For installing and initially configuring wpa_supplicant, please read the instructions for your distribution. For example, the Gentoo wpa_supplicant instructions from the Gentoo handbook describe how to install net-wireless/wpa_supplicant and configure it your network adapter in /etc/conf.d/net.

Once you have installed wpa_supplicant and trained it to load its configuration from a place such as /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf, you must add the following block to your wpa_supplicant.conf:



    identity="<calvin portal username>"
    password="<calvin portal password>"

The location of GlobalSign_Root_CA.pem might vary on your system. On Gentoo, this file is provided by the app-misc/ca-certificates package. You have to recognize and substitute the appropriate username and secret phrase in place of the placeholders <calvin portal username> and <calvin portal password>. After configuring this and restarting wpa_supplicant, you will be able to open a web browser and register your device. Unfortunately, in my experience, older versions of elinks do not work with the Calvin device registration web pages. Your Providence may vary.

Potential Problems and Debugging

Also, another short note, the use of GlobalSign started during Interim of the 2010-2011 year. Prior to that, Calvin used another CA for their authentication. They may chose another certificate again in the future. You may check using wpa_cli and issuing the command reassociate and observing the debug output to see if a connection failure is caused by a potential change in the CA Calvin uses in the future. If such a thing has changed, please email abstraction@calvin.edu so that we may update this page.

One additional problem I have noticed while using wpa_supplicant is that having the following block entered in your wpa_supplicant.conf for convenience may cause wpa_supplicant to wrongly connect to wireless_setup_instructions:


I hope that wpa_supplicant has some sort of option to allow this wildcard entry to function but blacklist certain SSIDs from being used by it. However, I have been unable to find such a feature in my short research. Anybody who knows more about this issue should contact ohnobinki@ohnopublishing.net so that he can update this article ;-).

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We are currently in the process of construction but in the meantime be sure to attend our coming events!


  • April 8 – LAN party! 6PM to 12AM in the Unix Lab (SB354)


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