"hardware hacks" entries

Four short links: 28 April 2014

Four short links: 28 April 2014

Retail Student Data, Hacking Hospitals, Testing APIs, and Becoming Superhuman

  1. UK Government to Sell Its Students’ Data (Wired UK) — The National Pupil Database (NPD) contains detailed information about pupils in schools and colleges in England, including test and exam results, progression at each key stage, gender, ethnicity, pupil absence and exclusions, special educational needs, first language. The UK is becoming patient zero for national data self-harm.
  2. It’s Insanely Easy to Hack Hospital Equipment (Wired) — Erven won’t identify specific product brands that are vulnerable because he’s still trying to get some of the problems fixed. But he said a wide cross-section of devices shared a handful of common security holes, including lack of authentication to access or manipulate the equipment; weak passwords or default and hardcoded vendor passwords like “admin” or “1234″; and embedded web servers and administrative interfaces that make it easy to identify and manipulate devices once an attacker finds them on a network.
  3. Postman — API testing tool.
  4. App Controlled Hearing Aid Improves Even Normal Hearing (NYTimes) — It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the latest crop of advanced hearing aids are better than the ears most of us were born with. Human augmentation with software and hardware.
Comment
Four short links: 15 April 2014

Four short links: 15 April 2014

Open Access, Lego Scanner, Humans Return, and Designing Security into IoT

  1. Funders Punish Open Access Dodgers (Nature) — US’s NIH and UK’s Wellcome Trust are withholding funding from academics who haven’t released their data despite it being a condition of past funding. It’s open access’s grab twist and pull move.
  2. Digitize Books with Mindstorms and Raspberry Pi — Lego to turn the page, Pi to take photo.
  3. Humans Steal Jobs from Robots at Toyota (Bloomberg) — Toyota’s next step forward is counter-intuitive in an age of automation: Humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.
  4. Implementer’s Guide to Security for Internet of Things, Devices and Beyond (PDF) — This white paper outlines a set of practical and pragmatic security considerations for organisations designing, developing and, testing Internet of Things (IoT) devices and solutions. The purpose of this white paper is to provide practical advice for consideration as part of the product development lifecycle.
Comment
Four short links: 24 December 2013

Four short links: 24 December 2013

Arduino Robot, LIDAR for Phones, Climbing Bots, and OS X Emulators

  1. Arduino Robot — for all your hacking needs.
  2. LIDAR for Smartphones (DIYdrones) — The device attaches to the back of a smartphone and combines a built-in laser range finder, 3D compass and Bluetooth chip with the phone’s camera and GPS.
  3. Bridge Inspection Robot Equipping Magnets — 7.8 inches/second, magnets, can scuttle up walls and along ceilings.
  4. OpenEmu — nice-looking emulator framework for OS X. Make your Christmas present a trip back in time.
Comment
Four short links: 28 October 2013

Four short links: 28 October 2013

The Internot of Things, Explainy Learning, Medical Microcontroller Board, and Coder Sutra

  1. A Cyber Attack Against Israel Shut Down a RoadThe 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.
  2. 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)
  3. BITalino — 149 Euro microcontroller board full of physiological sensors: muscles, skin conductivity, light, acceleration, and heartbeat. A platform for healthcare hardware hacking?
  4. How to Be a Programmer — a braindump from a guru.
Comment
Four short links: 20 September 2013

Four short links: 20 September 2013

Insecure Hardware, Doc Database, Kids Programming, and Ad-Blocking AP

  1. 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.
  2. rethinkdbopen-source distributed JSON document database with a pleasant and powerful query language.
  3. 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 …
  4. Raspberry Pi as Ad-Blocking Access Point (AdaFruit) — functionality sadly lacking from my off-the-shelf AP.
Comment
Four short links: 10 September 2013

Four short links: 10 September 2013

Constant KV Store, Google Me, Learned Bias, and DRM-Stripping Lego Robot

  1. Sparkey — Spotify’s open-sourced simple constant key/value storage library, for read-heavy systems with infrequent large bulk inserts.
  2. 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)
  3. Algorithms Magnifying Misbehaviour (The Guardian) — when the training set embodies biases, the machine will exhibit biases too.
  4. 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.
Comment
Four short links: 28 February 2012

Four short links: 28 February 2012

REST Interfaces, Browser History, Crappy Textbooks, and Wireless Babies

  1. Designing RESTful Interfaces (Slideshare) — extremely good presentation on how to build HTTP APIs.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. exmobaby — wireless biosensor baby pyjamas send ECG, skin temperature, and movement data via Zigbee. (via Jo Komisarczuk)
Comment
Four short links: 25 November 2011

Four short links: 25 November 2011

MIND CONTROL COPTERS!, Better Security, Ratings Systems, and Lightweight Reference

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. InstaCSS — very simple very useful reference site. Grod like simplicity.
Comment: 1
Four short links: 4 November 2011

Four short links: 4 November 2011

Science Repository, Dancing Robots, Retro Jobs, and Bluetooth Bow

  1. Beethoven’s Open Repository of Research (RocketHub) — open repository funded in a Kickstarter-type way. First crowdfunding project I’ve given $$$ to.
  2. KeepOff (GitHub) — open source project built around hacking KeepOn Interactive Dancing Robots. (via Chris Spurgeon)
  3. 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.
  4. Bluetooth Violin Bow — this is awesome in so many directions. Sensors EVERYWHERE! I wonder what hackable uses it has …
Comments: 2
Four short links: 14 October 2011

Four short links: 14 October 2011

Relativity in Short Words, Set Math, Design Inspiration, and Internet of Things

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
Comment