Recently in Geekdom Category

A limerick

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From the book of face:

20170520-math.jpg

This is unreal - from Sky News:

HP laptops secretly recording user keystrokes
Security researchers have discovered that a feature installed in a number of HP laptops is recording all of the keystrokes that the laptop users make.

In capturing everything users press on their keyboards the software is recording sensitive information, and by saving that information in an easily accessible file the researchers claim that it is potentially exposing users' passwords to attackers.

According to the Swiss cybersecurity group behind the research, Modzero, the feature wasn't designed to spy on users - but it was implemented in such a way that it records everything users type.

This means that from the moment a user logs into Windows on affected HP laptops, every key they press, including to enter passphrases for online banking and email accounts, is recorded and stored.

Got an HP laptop? Visit these links: How-to Geek and ZDNet

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for the links.

The Dark Crystal returns

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The original was a movie by Jim Henson - amazing vision and creativity.

Netflix just announced that they have ten episodes in development for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance - a prequel to the original.

I loved the original - it will be interesting to see how the new ones hold up.

Oh Yes!

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Perry Metzger has some excellent advice at Samizdata:

How not to be a victim of computer malware
For my friends who don’t know much about computers:

I do computer security work professionally. People always ask in the wake of yet another internet attack “what should I do to protect myself.”

The advice is always the same. Do what computer professionals do. Don’t do what you imagine computer professionals do, because you’re probably wrong.

    1. Always run the latest version of the OS and software.
    2. When security updates appear for your operating system or software, apply them as soon as possible, meaning that day. Configure your system to automatically apply updates if possible.
    3. Back up your computer frequently. Since normal humans cannot remember to do that, get software and/or a service to do it for you.
    4. Don’t use the same password with two different services, period. Since you cannot remember hundreds of different passwords, use a password safe, and remember only the password for it.
    5. If a web site offers two factor authentication (that is, you can set it up so it both requires a password and a code your phone generates), turn that on.

Every professional security person does those things.

If you ignore my advice, you’re going to get screwed one day, period. You might still get screwed even if you do follow my advice because the world is dangerous, but I can guarantee you’ll get screwed if you don’t.

Every organization that got infected recently by the ransomware worm was ignoring (1) and (2). Their suffering was avoidable. Do you want to suffer like them? Those that forgot (3) are really suffering because they have no way to recover. Why do you want to suffer? Every day, people get badly, badly screwed because the password that they use everywhere gets stolen and it is de facto impossible to remember every place you use it. Why set yourself up to suffer?

As to the question “who would attack me? No one is going to attack my computer, I’m unimportant”, the answer is that it isn’t individuals doing the attacks, it’s machines that are programmed to try to attack other machines by the hundreds of millions. You’re not being personally targeted, but that hardly matters when everyone on earth is being attacked. Your obscurity will not protect you. Even if you think there is nothing for the attacker to gain by taking over your machine, they’ll want it anyway, so they can set up a botnet to send spam from it, or use it to bring down other people’s web sites, or to take over yet more people’s machines.

Much more at the site - be sure to look through the comments - lots of good stuff there too.

Now this looks like fun

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New series on Fox: The Orville

From Space.com:

SpaceX Launches Super-Heavy Communications Satellite
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from launch pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center here today (May 15) with a communications satellite that will complete Inmarsat's fifth-generation broadband network.

The 23-story-tall booster soared off its seaside launch pad, which once hosted NASA's space shuttles and Apollo moon rockets, at 7:21 p.m. EDT (2321 GMT). It was the sixth of more than 20 missions SpaceX plans to fly this year.

Perched on top of the two-stage rocket was the 13,400-lb. (6,100 kilograms) Inmarsat-5 F4 communications satellite, the heaviest spacecraft yet to be delivered by a Falcon booster into a geostationary transfer orbit some 22,300 miles (35,800 km) above Earth.

Delivering 13,400 pounds to geosynchronous is some incredible heavy lifting. It took all of the rocket's fuel so they were not able to land back on Earth. They seem to be running a good business:

SpaceX, which has now flown the Falcon 9 six times successfully since the launch pad accident, has a backlog of more than 70 missions, worth more than $10 billion. Inmarsat has an option for another future flight with SpaceX.

Beats having to beg rides from the Russians. NASA did get us to the moon as well as developing some incredible technologies but it is time to get big government out of the picture and privatize the space industry. Bring competition into the mix.

An hour or two of YouTube

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Been watching YouTube most evenings - here are a couple of my favorite channels in no particular order:

Some great stuff there.

Storage Lockers

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I am on an electronic music email list and one of the members was spending a few months in-between houses and was asking people about renting a storage locker to house his music equipment. One of the list members had this to say:

Usually these storage locker business, at least in the States, have extra-curricular activities in the evening after the lights are off and they are ostensibly closed.  Various cultists will meet in the basements and preform rituals. I found it interesting to observe some of these after a hard day of moving gear. Then in the morning they clean up the residue of candle wax, blood, and contraception and clear out...leaving no trace behind. I offered them use of my modular but found that they tended to like LA synthesis and FM instead, which was surprising. One has to be careful about this though, as the various storage locker companies belong to different sects, which have been locked in mortal warfare since ancient times.

Someone has been reading the Illuminati a little bit too much...

Make sure you always update your Windows - it's free and can be automatic:

From The Intercept:

LEAKED NSA MALWARE IS HELPING HIJACK COMPUTERS AROUND THE WORLD
In mid-April, an arsenal of powerful software tools apparently designed by the NSA to infect and control Windows computers was leaked by an entity known only as the “Shadow Brokers.” Not even a whole month later, the hypothetical threat that criminals would use the tools against the general public has become real, and tens of thousands of computers worldwide are now crippled by an unknown party demanding ransom.

The malware worm taking over the computers goes by the names “WannaCry” or “Wanna Decryptor.” It spreads from machine to machine silently and remains invisible to users until it unveils itself as so-called ransomware, telling users that all their files have been encrypted with a key known only to the attacker and that they will be locked out until they pay $300 to an anonymous party using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. At this point, one’s computer would be rendered useless for anything other than paying said ransom. The price rises to $600 after a few days; after seven days, if no ransom is paid, the hacker (or hackers) will make the data permanently inaccessible (WannaCry victims will have a handy countdown clock to see exactly how much time they have left).

Ransomware is not new; for victims, such an attack is normally a colossal headache. But today’s vicious outbreak has spread ransomware on a massive scale, hitting not just home computers but reportedly health care, communications infrastructure, logistics, and government entities.

Reuters said that “hospitals across England reported the cyberattack was causing huge problems to their services and the public in areas affected were being advised to only seek medical care for emergencies,” and that “the attack had affected X-ray imaging systems, pathology test results, phone systems and patient administration systems.”

The worm has also reportedly reached universities, a major Spanish telecom, FedEx, and the Russian Interior Ministry. In total, researchers have detected WannaCry infections in over 57,000 computers across over 70 countries (and counting — these things move extremely quickly).

The patch to eliminate this was issued by Microsoft in March - be sure to run Windows Update on a regular basis.. This ransomware does not need any action on your part to install, it can install itself in the background without you being aware of any untoward activity on your machine.

Do regular backups of your data on a drive that otherwise remains disconnected from your computer.

We have been practicing with one digital format but there is another one that has several features not found in Winlink. This is called fldigi and it has a lot of very cool bits. So much to learn and having a wonderful time doing it.

Warming up some of the bean soup and settling down for an hour or two of surfing and a glass or two of red wine. Nothing scheduled for tomorrow - it will be raining so will be working at the store and at home.

Back home again - new toys

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I have been having a lot of fun with the Raspberry Pi computers and Amazon was running a screaming deal on some Arduino boards so picked up four of them. The Pi is an actual computer running Linux (although it can run older versions of Windows just fine - 95 and 98. Only one Gig of system memory). You program it in a high-level language (C) or any of the scripting languages (Lua or Python).

The Arduino is a microcontroller - it does not use an operating system and you must use its own high-level language to create your programs. The advantage is that there are tons of pre-built applications that you can swipe and edit to fit your own needs. Lots of libraries for controlling lights, input (both on/off and variable), motors, sensors, etc...

Fun stuff to do now that I can't go and play outside. We are now at two tenths of an inch of rainfall in the last ten hours.

Yikes - be careful

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There is a technique using salt water (or Borax disolved in water) and high voltage and current that can create gorgeous patterns on wood. I am planning to try this at some point but all of my electrictronics experience is telling me to be very incredibly careful. A lot of people are doing gorgeous work with this but there have been some horrible accidents too - here is the most recent from the Walla Walla, Washington Union-Bulletin:

Local man electrocuted using dangerous wood art process
A Walla Walla man died from electrocution while attempting a dangerous technique for sculpting wood, authorities said this morning.

Robert Riggers, 47, died outside his home in the 1400 block of East Alder Street sometime Thursday night, according to Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood.

His death was reported to the Walla Walla Police Department around 3:37 a.m. Friday, according to police spokesman Officer Tim Bennett.

Riggers had been attempting to create a picture frame using a process called fractal Lichtenberg wood burning, Greenwood said. The process involves running an electrical current through a block of wood soaked in salt water, causing it to burn and fracture into unusual patterns.

Riggers, Greenwood said, had likely used the method before, as many pieces found in Riggers’ residence were apparently products of the technique.

While the process can create fascinating art, it is very dangerous, Greenwood warned.

Here is a video of the process - the action starts about one minute in:

I feel truly sorry for Mr. Riggers accident and his death but this is a known dangerous activity and there are safety procedures that can be taken.

Cutting edge audio

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There is a good-sounding sound system and then, there are the off-the-deep-end audiophiles who think nothing of spending $1,999 for a power cable or a mere $10,000 for 12 meters of ethernet cable (and I'm not even mentioning the $485 Volume Knob made from the finest beech wood)

There is a kind of testing called double-blind which audiophiles detest (here, here, here, and here to start) because their supposed high end gear fails more often than they like. From Infogalactic:

Blind experiment
blind or blinded experiment is an experiment in which information about the test is kept from the participant until after the test. Bias may be intentional or unconscious. If both tester and subject are blinded, the trial is a double-blind experiment.

Blind testing is used wherever items are to be compared without influences from testers' preferences or expectations, for example in clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of medicinal drugs and procedures without placebo effect, nocebo effect, observer bias, or conscious deception; and comparative testing of commercial products to objectively assess user preferences without being influenced by branding and other properties not being tested.

Well, some people did a double-blind test with violins and the results are very interesting - from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Listener evaluations of new and Old Italian violins
Old Italian violins are routinely credited with playing qualities supposedly unobtainable in new instruments. These qualities include the ability to project their sound more effectively in a concert hall—despite seeming relatively quiet under the ear of the player—compared with new violins. Although researchers have long tried to explain the “mystery” of Stradivari’s sound, it is only recently that studies have addressed the fundamental assumption of tonal superiority. Results from two studies show that, under blind conditions, experienced violinists tend to prefer playing new violins over Old Italians. Moreover, they are unable to tell new from old at better than chance levels. This study explores the relative merits of Stradivari and new violins from the perspective of listeners in a hall. Projection and preference are taken as the two broadest criteria by which listeners might meaningfully compare violins. Which violins are heard better, and which are preferred? In two separate experiments, three new violins were compared with three by Stradivari. Projection was tested both with and without orchestral accompaniment. Projection and preference were judged simultaneously by dividing listeners into two groups. Results are unambiguous. The new violins projected better than the Stradivaris whether tested with orchestra or without, the new violins were generally preferred by the listeners, and the listeners could not reliably distinguish new from old. The single best-projecting violin was considered the loudest under the ear by players, and on average, violins that were quieter under the ear were found to project less well.

Now this is going to ruffle a few feathers. The full text is behind a paywall but the abstract tells us what we want to know. Technology marches on and the advances that it brings extends to violins as well as everything else.

Big book - The Klencke Atlas

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How do you digitize a book that stands 5' 9" tall. The British Library is doing just this and have done a short timelapse for posterity:

No word as to what camera they are using. Here is a description from the British Library: The Klencke Atlas including a prior, much lower resolution scan of its pages.

Computer Graphics

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Every year, the SIGGRAPH (Special Interests Group - Graphics) conference showcases the advances in computer imaging - here is the demo reel for this years conference:

CNC machines and beer

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Is there nothing that they can not do?

Getting my inner geek on

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Had a lot of fun at the Linux Fest - attended two seminars (Anonymous Communication via E-Mail and Democratizing Wireless Networks with Software Defined Radios) and saw the exhibitors booths.

A couple of new vendors caught my eye for fun Raspberry Pi projects. Did not see anyone doing anything with radio (except for the second seminar) - a bit of a surprise as there is a very vibrant community in Northwest Washington. Nothing really catches my eye for tomorrow so staying home.

Triboluminescence

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Triboluminescence? From Infogalactic:

Triboluminescence is an optical phenomenon in which light is generated through the breaking of chemical bonds in a material when it is pulled apart, ripped, scratched, crushed, or rubbed (see tribology). The phenomenon is not fully understood, but appears to be caused by the separation and reunification of electrical charges. The term comes from the Greek τρίβειν ("to rub"; see tribology and the Latin lumen (light). Triboluminescence can be observed when breaking sugar crystals and peeling adhesive tapes.

Destin from Smarter Every Day 2 demonstrates this phenomenon with Peppermint Life Savers and records it at 28,000 frames per second:

Smarter Every Day 2 is his backchannel for informal videos, his primary channel is Smarter Every Day where he produces longer and more formal videos of his experiments.

From Amazon - EMP-Hardened Radio Communications

The link is to the e-Reader Kindle edition. Just the reference material you want to have when we go through an Electromagnetic Pulse which wipes out our electronics - either another Carrington Event or when fat-boy Kim decides to toss a nuke in the air over our heads. Just clicked to buy the paperback version...

Very cool idea

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From Hackaday comes this wonderful project:

HELP WANTED: OPEN SOURCE OSCILLOSCOPE ON RIGOL HARDWARE
We’ve often heard (and said) if you can’t hack it, you don’t own it. We noticed that [tmbinc] has issued a call for help on his latest project: developing new firmware and an FPGA configuration for the Rigol DS1054Z and similar scopes. It isn’t close to completion, but it isn’t a pipe dream either. [tmbinc] has successfully booted Linux.

There’s plenty left to do, though. He’s loading a boot loader via JTAG and booting Linux from the USB port. Clearly, you’d want to flash all that. Linux gives him use of the USB port, the LCD, the network jack, and the front panel LEDs and buttons. However, all of the actual scope electronics, the FPGA functions, and the communications between the processor and the FPGA are all forward work.

Why the Rigol? [tmbinc] says they are cheap, have decent hardware, and use parts that have accessible tool chains. Plus, the Rigol is popular among people likely to hack their scope. The Xilinx FPGA and the ARM processor are reasonably easy to work with using either open source or freely available tools.

The Rigols are a great little scope for the money - I bought one to replace a very old Tektronix and I love it (still keeping the Tek for backup - love it too). Going to keep tabs on this project as there is a lot of signal processing that could be done if you had access to the operating system - lots of great math libraries out there for Linux.

They finally got all of their images and videos in one central place - from Ars Technica:

Finally, NASA has its universe of images in one happy, searchable place
When the Internet came along in the 1990s, like a lot of government agencies, NASA kind of scratched its head and wondered what to make of all this freely shared information. But unlike a lot of other agencies, NASA had a trove of images, audio, and video the general public wanted to see. After all, this was the agency that had sent people to the Moon, taken photos of every planet in the Solar System, and launched the Hubble Space Telescope.

So each of the NASA field centers—there are 10 of them—began digitizing their photo archives and putting them online. Johnson Space Center in Houston, for example, had thousands of images of space shuttle astronauts training and flying in space. Kennedy Space Center had launch photos. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory had planets, rings, comets, and more. Unfortunately, these images were spread across dozens of NASA.gov sites, with no good way to search the different databases.

"It was, to be honest, pretty frustrating because you had to have a lot of knowledge about NASA itself to know where a particular image might be," said Rodney Grubbs, imagery program manager for NASA. The space agency made some efforts with commercial companies in the 2000s to organize its image collection, Grubbs said—but mistakes were made. "It did not result in something that helped us," he said.

A few years ago, NASA tried again, working with a company called InfoZen. The challenge wasn't quite up there with landing humans on the Moon, but consolidating 140,000 images, videos, and audio files that existed in more than 100 collections was not exactly a simple challenge.

The website is here: https://images.nasa.gov/

Going to spend a lot of time here - this puppy is deep and wide...

A new music group

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From the intarwebs:

There's this new band named 1023MB
They haven't had any gigs yet.

Oroville Dam - the post mortem

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Three preliminary reports are supposed to be published sometime today. Juan Browne has been releasing some great videos all throughout the disaster.

From Jalopnik:

The Three Hours Of LeMelons Is The $300 Crapcan Dirt Race Of Your Dreams
Get a dirt track cut into a field. Take $300 beaters and race them for 3 hours, or until they all fail. That’s the Three Hours of LeMelons, Canada’s take on the epic beater race. Holy crap, this looks like fun. 

We’ve got the 24 Hours of LeMons down here in the States, but that runs at faster speeds on tarmac, and requires all kinds of fancy safety gear.

LeMelons isn’t quite that hardcore, keeping the slow cars running slow on far less grippy mud where even the most miserable, underpowered wrecks can enjoy getting gloriously sideways. It can still ruin your car, though, as one Audi team in particular found out mid-race.

Cars run hilarious, beater-worthy themes and “paint transfer happens” is their attitude on contact. You can even take passengers along!

It all starts off with an old-school Le Mans-style start, where competitors run to their cars. I daresay a few of them can run faster than their cars can drive.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to look up beaters on Kijiji.

Great resource for Knifemaking

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If you are interested in Knifemaking at all, be sure to check out  D. Comeau Custom Knives

Lots of great projects as well as toolmaking - 2X72 belt grinder, shop tips, etc...

From Reuters / Yahoo Tech:

Bose headphones spy on listeners - lawsuit
Bose Corp spies on its wireless headphone customers by using an app that tracks the music, podcasts and other audio they listen to, and violates their privacy rights by selling the information without permission, a lawsuit charged.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

Not good at all. My main reason for disliking Bose is that they use very cheap speaker drivers and correct for the frequency irregularities by using active (ie: powered) equalization. This is using phase to solve a frequency problem and the trouble here is that it completely messes with the sound stage. Close your eyes and listen to a guitar solo with a Bose system and that poor musician is flying all around the stage. A symphony orchestra or ensemble turns to mush.

One of the ways that Bose promotes themselves is by selling cheap systems to large theaters - Sound by Bose - the systems there are all monaural so the lack of solid sound-stage is not an issue.

As they say: No Highs? No Lows? Must be Bose.

Their noise cancelling headphones are very effective and good - there you are not concerned about high fidelity, you are just concerned with noise reduction and using active electronics allows you to do that well.

From Ars Technica:

NSA-leaking Shadow Brokers just dumped its most damaging release yet
The Shadow Brokers—the mysterious person or group that over the past eight months has leaked a gigabyte worth of the National Security Agency's weaponized software exploits—just published its most significant release yet. Friday's dump contains potent exploits and hacking tools that target most versions of Microsoft Windows and evidence of sophisticated hacks on the SWIFT banking system of several banks across the world.

Friday's release—which came as much of the computing world was planning a long weekend to observe the Easter holiday—contains close to 300 megabytes of materials the leakers said were stolen from the NSA. The contents (a convenient overview is here) included compiled binaries for exploits that targeted vulnerabilities in a long line of Windows operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows 2012. It also included a framework dubbed Fuzzbunch, a tool that resembles the Metasploit hacking framework that loads the binaries into targeted networks. Independent security experts who reviewed the contents said it was without question the most damaging Shadow Brokers release to date.

"It is by far the most powerful cache of exploits ever released," Matthew Hickey, a security expert and co-founder of Hacker House, told Ars. "It is very significant as it effectively puts cyber weapons in the hands of anyone who downloads it. A number of these attacks appear to be 0-day exploits which have no patch and work completely from a remote network perspective."

I bet a lot of people are going to be working late at Microsoft over the next couple of weeks.

Just beautiful

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A high-speed racing drone with a razor blade slicing fruit in slow motion:

Some gorgeous photography and a minute or so of fun outtakes at the end. Boutique slo-mo cameras are still $10K on up. It will not be long before we can get an 8,000 frames per second camera at 1024 by 768 resolution with lens mount for under $1K - this is where I and a butt-load of other people will buy in. Bring us that and we will give you a lot of money.

Where is my Slow-Pro - they promised me a Slow-Pro right next to my Jet-Pack dammit!

Heh - alt.energy fail

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This was a nutz idea from the beginning. I bet that there were no engineers on the payroll. From The Daily Caller:

Idaho’s $4.3 Million Solar Road Generates Enough Power To Run ONE Microwave
An expensive solar road project in Idaho can’t even power a microwave most days, according to the project’s energy data.

The Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways project generated an average of 0.62 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day since it began publicly posting power data in late March. To put that in perspective, the average microwave or blow drier consumes about 1 kWh per day.

To recap - at the Equator, with clear skies, at high noon, you can get about 1,000 watts per square meter of collection area -if- that panel is optimally alligned and pointing directly at the sun. I had looked at the proposal for the roadways. Only about 20% of the roadway surface has solar panels on it, the surface is textured glass so figure about 70% of the solar energy is lost by absorption. The roadway is -duh- mounted flat so there is no optimal aiming.

To make things worse, Idaho is at 47° Latitude so you are looking at 73% available total insolation given all the conditions above, clear skies, high noon, etc... Figure 730 watts per square meter at best. Needless to say, these conditions are very rare so I am not surprised that the yields are so low. Couple to this, the developers were adding LED street markers, a communications system and online monitoring so these will suck up even more power from what little trickles in.

I feel sorry for the low-information voters who approved this. AN engineer would have shot the idea down for the folly it is in a few minutes. Of course, the developers will probably double down and say that more research is needed. The problem there is that the energy is simply not available for use. Basic mechanics and physics dictate how much energy can be drawn from a solar cell and this dog don't bark.

Shit welders say

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Been there, done that, got the tee shirt:

Next week gets even busier!

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I thought that next week was a busy one with meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and an earthquake drill on Thursday morning.

At tonight's meeting, I was informed that the Search and Rescue communications class is Friday night and there is a drill on Sumas Mountain that following Saturday morning. I want to participate in SAR activities so I will be attending these functions. Looks like I get to sleep in Monday and that is it - no rest for the wicked...

A fun meeting

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Just a small group so we got a lot accomplished. This will be the second annual field day that my group is hosting. First one went pretty well so this one should be even better (or much much worse).

From the Amateur Radio Relay League:

New to Field Day? START HERE!
Field Day is ham radio's open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

More here (PDF): What is field day?

It is a 24-hour event. In our time zone and daylight savings, it runs from 11AM Saturday through 11AM Sunday - you can rack up various points based on number of contacts, site conditions (number of stations, etc...), power (more points for running off a generator, even more points for solar), etc... I'll be doing the food again this year - it was very well received last year. A lot of fun.

Very trippy - I would like to see more.

Too much fun - Nerf John Wick

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Got them to say it is in Sweden - thank God otherwise I would be overrun. Ever wonder what is inside Black Mountain?

Bruce Schneier is one of the top ten computer security people in the world. There are a lot of hackers out there but when you get really really good, there are very few people at that level. Bruce is one of them. He wrote this wonderful article about the internet of things for New York Magazine:

Click Here to Kill Everyone
Last year, on October 21, your digital video recorder — or at least a DVR like yours — knocked Twitter off the internet. Someone used your DVR, along with millions of insecure webcams, routers, and other connected devices, to launch an attack that started a chain reaction, resulting in Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, and many sites going off the internet. You probably didn’t realize that your DVR had that kind of power. But it does.

All computers are hackable. This has as much to do with the computer market as it does with the technologies. We prefer our software full of features and inexpensive, at the expense of security and reliability. That your computer can affect the security of Twitter is a market failure. The industry is filled with market failures that, until now, have been largely ignorable. As computers continue to permeate our homes, cars, businesses, these market failures will no longer be tolerable. Our only solution will be regulation, and that regulation will be foisted on us by a government desperate to “do something” in the face of disaster.

In this article I want to outline the problems, both technical and political, and point to some regulatory solutions. Regulation might be a dirty word in today’s political climate, but security is the exception to our small-government bias. And as the threats posed by computers become greater and more catastrophic, regulation will be inevitable. So now’s the time to start thinking about it.

We also need to reverse the trend to connect everything to the internet. And if we risk harm and even death, we need to think twice about what we connect and what we deliberately leave uncomputerized.

If we get this wrong, the computer industry will look like the pharmaceutical industry, or the aircraft industry. But if we get this right, we can maintain the innovative environment of the internet that has given us so much.

This is an excellent thorough article on what we can face in the future and what we should be doing now to deal with it. Bruce is not only a top white-hat hacker, he also writes very well - this article should be read by everyone who uses technology.

For the umpteenth time - from Fortune:

RadioShack Is Officially Going Bankrupt Again
U.S. electronics chain RadioShack Corp (RSH) filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday for the second time in a little over two years, faced with a challenging retail environment and an unsatisfying partnership with wireless provider Sprint Corp.

The Chapter 11 filing comes after RadioShack, owned by General Wireless Operations Inc, tried to revitalize its business by co-branding stores with the wireless carrier in an effort to compete against their largest rivals.

General Wireless, an affiliate of hedge fund Standard General LP that acquired the RadioShack brand in 2015, filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization and listed assets and liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million in the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Delaware district.

RadioShack will close approximately 200 stores and will evaluate options on the remaining 1,300, the company said in a statement.

Sad - they were true industry leaders for so long but the last 20 years of management has been inept. I noticed this because my local store was having a 20-50% sale. Most of their stuff is very overpriced these days so I didn't get much - a few battery holders and some hardware - but it is the end of an era. These days, I am able to get things online from China in two weeks.

One giant leap - SpaceX

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From Bloomberg:

SpaceX Pulls Off First Reused Rocket Mission in Musk Triumph
Elon Musk’s SpaceX flew a rocket that had previously been in orbit to space and back again, a key milestone to reducing spaceflight costs and enabling people to one day live on other planets.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rumbled aloft Thursday, deposited a customer’s satellite into orbit and stuck its landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, drawing raucous cheers from the crowd gathered at the company’s California headquarters. The moment was 15 years in the making for Musk, who founded SpaceX with the eventual goal of colonizing Mars.

“This going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” Musk, 45, said from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Very cool - all other rockets were disposed of after one use. This will bring the cost way down. More faster please!

May 2017

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Environment and Climate
AccuWeather
Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Climate Audit
Climate Depot
Green Trust
ICECAP
Jennifer Marohasy
MetaEfficient
Planet Gore
Science and Public Policy Institute
Solar Cycle 24
Space Weather
Space Weather - Canada
the Air Vent
Tom Nelson
Watts Up With That?


Science and Medicine
Derek Lowe
Junk Science
Life in the Fast Lane
Luboš Motl
Medgadget
New Scientist
Next Big Future
PhysOrg.com
Ptak Science Books
Science Blog


Geek Stuff
Ars Technica
Boing Boing
Don Lancaster's Guru's Lair
Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
FAIL Blog
Hack a Day
Kevin Kelly - Cool Tools
Neatorama
Slashdot: News for nerds
The Register
The Daily WTF
TYWKIWDBI


Comics
Achewood
The Argyle Sweater
Chip Bok
Broadside Cartoons
Day by Day
Dilbert
Medium Large
Michael Ramirez
Prickly City
Tundra
User Friendly
Vexarr
What The Duck
Wondermark
xkcd


NO WAI! WTF?¿?¿
Awkward Family Photos
Cake Wrecks
Not Always Right
Sober in a Nightclub
You Drive What?


Business and Economics
The Austrian Economists
Carpe Diem
Coyote Blog


Photography and Art
Digital Photography Review
DIYPhotography
James Gurney
Joe McNally's Blog
PetaPixel
photo.net
Shorpy
Strobist
The Online Photographer


Blogrolling
A Western Heart
AMCGLTD.COM
American Digest
The AnarchAngel
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
Babalu Blog
Belmont Club
Bayou Renaissance Man
Classical Values
Cobb
Cold Fury
David Limbaugh
Defense Technology
Doug Ross @ Journal
Grouchy Old Cripple
Instapundit
iowahawk
Irons in the Fire
James Lileks
Lowering the Bar
Maggie's Farm
Marginal Revolution
Michael J. Totten
Mostly Cajun
Neanderpundit
neo-neocon
Power Line
ProfessorBainbridge.com
Questions and Observations
Rachel Lucas
Roger L. Simon
Samizdata.net
Sense of Events
Sound Politics
The Strata-Sphere
The Smallest Minority
The Volokh Conspiracy
Tim Blair
Velociworld
Weasel Zippers
WILLisms.com
Wizbang


Gone but not Forgotten...
A Coyote at the Dog Show
Bad Eagle
Steven DenBeste
democrats give conservatives indigestion
Allah
BigPictureSmallOffice
Cox and Forkum
The Diplomad
Priorities & Frivolities
Gut Rumbles
Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
MegaPundit
Masamune
Neptunus Lex
Other Side of Kim
Publicola
Ramblings' Journal
Sgt. Stryker
shining full plate and a good broadsword
A Physicist's Perspective
The Daily Demarche
Wayne's Online Newsletter

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Geekdom category.

Food is the previous category.

Guns is the next category.

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