ENTRIES TAGGED "hardware hacks"
The Internot of Things, Explainy Learning, Medical Microcontroller Board, and Coder Sutra
- A Cyber Attack Against Israel Shut Down a Road — The hackers targeted the Tunnels’ camera system which put the roadway into an immediate lockdown mode, shutting it down for twenty minutes. The next day the attackers managed to break in for even longer during the heavy morning rush hour, shutting the entire system for eight hours. Because all that is digital melts into code, and code is an unsolved problem.
- Random Decision Forests (PDF) — “Due to the nature of the algorithm, most Random Decision Forest implementations provide an extraordinary amount of information about the final state of the classifier and how it derived from the training data.” (via Greg Borenstein)
- BITalino — 149 Euro microcontroller board full of physiological sensors: muscles, skin conductivity, light, acceleration, and heartbeat. A platform for healthcare hardware hacking?
- How to Be a Programmer — a braindump from a guru.
Insecure Hardware, Doc Database, Kids Programming, and Ad-Blocking AP
- Researchers Can Slip an Undetectable Trojan into Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs (Ars Technica) — The exploit works by severely reducing the amount of entropy the RNG normally uses, from 128 bits to 32 bits. The hack is similar to stacking a deck of cards during a game of Bridge. Keys generated with an altered chip would be so predictable an adversary could guess them with little time or effort required. The severely weakened RNG isn’t detected by any of the “Built-In Self-Tests” required for the P800-90 and FIPS 140-2 compliance certifications mandated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
- rethinkdb — open-source distributed JSON document database with a pleasant and powerful query language.
- Teach Kids Programming — a collection of resources. I start on Scratch much sooner, and 12+ definitely need the Arduino, but generally I agree with the things I recognise, and have a few to research …
- Raspberry Pi as Ad-Blocking Access Point (AdaFruit) — functionality sadly lacking from my off-the-shelf AP.
Constant KV Store, Google Me, Learned Bias, and DRM-Stripping Lego Robot
- Sparkey — Spotify’s open-sourced simple constant key/value storage library, for read-heavy systems with infrequent large bulk inserts.
- The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling (Ted Chiang) — story about what happens when lifelogs become searchable. Now with Remem, finding the exact moment has become easy, and lifelogs that previously lay all but ignored are now being scrutinized as if they were crime scenes, thickly strewn with evidence for use in domestic squabbles. (via BoingBoing)
- Algorithms Magnifying Misbehaviour (The Guardian) — when the training set embodies biases, the machine will exhibit biases too.
- Lego Robot That Strips DRM Off Ebooks (BoingBoing) — so. damn. cool. If it had been controlled by a C64, Cory would have hit every one of my geek erogenous zones with this find.
REST Interfaces, Browser History, Crappy Textbooks, and Wireless Babies
- Designing RESTful Interfaces (Slideshare) — extremely good presentation on how to build HTTP APIs.
- Manipulating History for Fun and Profit — if you want to make websites that are AJAX-responsive but without breaking the back button or preventing links, read this.
- Why Textbooks Are So Broken (Salon) — Let’s say a publisher hires a developer for a certain low-bid fee to produce seven supplemental math books for grades 3-8. The product specs call for each student book and teacher guide to have page counts of roughly 100 pages and 80 pages, respectively. The publisher wants these seven books ready for press in five weeks—over 1,400 pages. To put this in perspective, in the not too recent past at least six months would be allotted for a project of this size. But publishers customarily shrink their deadlines to get a jump on the competition, especially in today’s math market. Unreasonable turnaround times are part of the new normal, something that almost guarantees a lack of quality right out of the gate.
- exmobaby — wireless biosensor baby pyjamas send ECG, skin temperature, and movement data via Zigbee. (via Jo Komisarczuk)
MIND CONTROL COPTERS!, Better Security, Ratings Systems, and Lightweight Reference
- Continuous Three-Dimensional Control of a Virtual Helicopter Using a Motor Imagery Based Brain-Computer Interface (PLOSone) — direct brain control is becoming a reality, tiny step by tiny step. Also: HELICOPTERS!
- Forward Secrecy for HTTPS — Google contributed a better HTTPS cipher suite to OpenSSL, one that doesn’t share keys between conversations. Yay the Goog for giving back.
- Ratings Systems (Quora) — very good answer from the VP of Engineering at Netflix about the purposes and effects of different ratings and feedback systems. Full of pithy and true guidelines like: Your users have a certain mental budget they will invest in your rating system. The more work you make each decision, the fewer decisions you will get. This is true in many contexts other than rating systems as well. You can’t randomly throw feedback mechanisms into your app, you must design them as deliberately and thoughtfully as the rest of your site.
- InstaCSS — very simple very useful reference site. Grod like simplicity.
Science Repository, Dancing Robots, Retro Jobs, and Bluetooth Bow
- Beethoven’s Open Repository of Research (RocketHub) — open repository funded in a Kickstarter-type way. First crowdfunding project I’ve given $$$ to.
- KeepOff (GitHub) — open source project built around hacking KeepOn Interactive Dancing Robots. (via Chris Spurgeon)
- Steve Jobs One-on-One (ComputerWorld) — interesting glimpse of the man himself in an oral history project recording made during the NeXT years. I don’t need a computer to get a kid interested in that, to spend a week playing with gravity and trying to understand that and come up with reasons why. But you do need a person. You need a person. Especially with computers the way they are now. Computers are very reactive but they’re not proactive; they are not agents, if you will. They are very reactive. What children need is something more proactive. They need a guide. They don’t need an assistant.
- Bluetooth Violin Bow — this is awesome in so many directions. Sensors EVERYWHERE! I wonder what hackable uses it has …
Relativity in Short Words, Set Math, Design Inspiration, and Internet of Things
- Theory of Relativity in Words of Four Letters or Less — this does just what it says, and well too. I like it, as you may too. At the end, you may even know more than you do now.
- Effective Set Reconciliation Without Prior Context (PDF) — paper on using Bloom filters to do set union (deduplication) efficiently. Useful in distributed key-value stores and other big data tools.
- Mental Notes — each card has an insight from psychology research that’s useful with web design. Shuffle the deck, peel off a card, get ideas for improving your site. (via Tom Stafford)
- The Internet of Things To Come (Mike Kuniavsky) — Mike lays out the trends and technologies that will lead to an explosion in Internet of Things products. E.g., This abstraction of knowledge into silicon means that rather than starting from basic principles of electronics, designers can focus on what they’re trying to create, rather than which capacitor to use or how to tell the signal from the noise. He makes it clear that, right now, we have the rich petrie dish in which great networked objects can be cultured.
Web Stack Catalogue, DIY Microscopes, Open Source Covenant, and Moore's Law Redux
- StackParts — catalogue of different parts of the open source web stack, from Joshua Schachter. He’s looking for helpers.
- DIY Microsocopes — Keeling’s lowfi contraption, featured in MAKE magazine and virally spreading across science classrooms the country over, is bringing microscopes not just to eye level, but street level. Blowtorch and pipette glass makes for a Leeuwenhoek microscope.
- The Covenant — Lexis Nexis are open sourcing their Hadoop-alike. They want to dual-license, requiring contributor copyright assignment, but copyright assignment and dual-licensing have a bad rep in the open source world because companies can subsequently abandon the open source component. Bruce Perens crafted a covenant: each copyright assignment of a patch can only happen if the company agrees not to abandon the open source project for three years. This document is a good read, though, for a lot more of the thinking behind the agreement. Unfortunate name, though: The Covenant were the villains in the Halo game.
- Ben Hammersley on The Future — Moore’s Law means anything that is dismissed on the grounds of the technology-not-being-good-enough-yet is going to happen. In a fantastic talk (I linked to Ben’s notes), this sentence jumped out. I hadn’t really appreciated this before, but it is absolutely true.
Waning Interest, Infrastructure Changes, eBook Stats, and Retro Chic Peripherals
- Comparing Link Attention (Bitly) — Twitter, Facebook, and direct (email/IM/etc) have remarkably similar patterns of decay of interest. (via Hilary Mason)
- Three Ages of Google — from batch, to scaling through datacenters, and finally now to techniques for real-time scaling. Of interest to everyone interested in low-latency high-throughput transactions. Datacenters have the diameter of a microsecond, yet we are still using entire stacks designed for WANs. Real-time requires low and bounded latencies and our stacks can’t provide low latency at scale. We need to fix this problem and towards this end Luiz sets out a research agenda, targeting problems that need to be solved. (via Tim O’Reilly)
- eReaders and eBooks (Luke Wroblewski) — many eye-opening facts. In 2010 Amazon sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperback books. 65% of eReader owners use them in bed, in fact 37% of device usage is in bed.
- VT220 on a Mac — dead sexy look. Impressive how many adapters you need to be able to hook a dingy old serial cable up to your shiny new computer.
Post-PC Numbers, OS X Admin Tool, C Templating, and Real Life Minecraft Cube
- Data Monday: From PC to Tablet (Luke Wroblewski) — some great stats here. Sales of Apple’s iPad pulled in 30% more than all of Dell’s consumer PC business in just the first half of the year.
- Munki — munki is a set of tools that, used together with a webserver-based repository of packages and package metadata, can be used by OS X administrators to manage software installs (and in many cases removals) on OS X client machines.
- Crustache (GitHub) — a fast C implementation of the Mustache templating engine. (via Hacker News)
- Minecraft Cube in Real Life — clever hardware hack with projection and Arduino sensing.