Using your Amazon Web Services Summit 2011 card under Linux or MacOS #awssummit2011

Submitted by Falken on

For reason's best known to some brain dead marketing monkey, I got given a USB device that only works correctly on Windows. Have you ever seen a ghost in the machine open the run box, type in a web address and launch a browser with out asking ? Neither had I, and fortunately Linux and MacOS users don't have that problem. But how to get your free credit from the AWS Summit 2011 ?
I found a way.

Firstly, if you just want to access the white papers, slides and video, the URL is You had best mirror that to hell and back because it's not hosted by Amazon so may vanish in a few months just when you need it. It throws a Flash error for me but otherwise works fine.

How it works

When you insert the Web Key it pretends to be Mac USB keyboard !

#lsusb|grep 05ac
Bus 005 Device 002: ID 05ac:020b Apple, Inc. Pro Keyboard [Mitsumi, A1048/US layout]

If you are unlucky you'll have a shell window or something open when you connect it, and it'll be full of gibberish within a few seconds.

The fix

Step one is to capture the gibberish. I did this by opening a new Kate window and clicking in the text area. You could use LibreOffice or any other plain-text editor. Just make sure the window is focused and then insert the Amazon Web Services Summit USB thing.

Step two is to make sure you have the right text. You should have a single long line of text in the editor. It might start 'r' but you want the bit that starts '1191191' and goes on for 92 more random numbers or so to the end.

Step three is to copy that string.

Step four is to download the attached shell script. You'll also need the 'uni2ascii' package or it's equivalent installed. It's a standard part of Ubuntu, and only the ascii2uni command is actually used.

Step five - open the script and paste the string from step three into line 3 of the file, after the equals sign in 'number='.

Step six - run the script and it'll decode the number into a web address that'll look like ''

Step seven - copy that into web browser and claim your credit at last !

Attachment Size
decodeWebKey.sh_.txt311 bytes 311 bytes

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 22:19


I got a similar thing, but it printed normal text into Qt apps, so no decoding was necessary.