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Published on: September 13, 2013 / Comments: None

Defeating a cheap infra-red security system with Arduino

Security researcher Silvio put together his process for defeating a cheap infra-red based security system.  The security system uses an infra-red remote to arm and disarm the alarm.  The alarm is triggered by any motion that happens while it is armed.

In his first attempt he tried to use an off the shelf learning remote to record the signal and play it back.  For whatever reason the remote didn’t like the signal and didn’t even try to learn it.  So in his second attempt, he whipped out a frequency counter and an oscilloscope and was able to replicate the signal using an Arduino and an infra-red LED.  For fun he also made a third attempt using a more hacker friendly open source board called a USB Infrard Toy made by Dangerous Prototypes.

A good read if you want to learn the process of simple reverse engineering.  Full article here.

Published on: September 9, 2013 / Comments: None

The BFG3X is a boss killer

bfg2Any fan of the DOOM series of video games remembers the BFG‘s or Big Fucking Gun.  You know you wanted one, and so did Andrew.  The only difference is Andrew decided to build one, and I’m guessing you didn’t.

From the beginning of Andrew’s build, it looks like your normal prop build.  Start with a trip to home depot, grab some pvc pipes, solder a few leds, spray paint the whole thing, yadda yadda.  But then you see towards the end of the video that Andrew put some beefy wires and a grill igniter inside… oh yeah…  It’s actually a 3 chamber potato gun!  And sure, you put enough fuel in it and it will do some flame thrower tricks as well.

The lighting effects by themselves look pretty good, the flash light mod, and the home-made acrylic light tubes… I bet this would keep those damn kids off my lawn!

Be sure to watch the video after the break.


Published on: September 8, 2013 / Comments: None

Lazy Sunday Links – 9/8/2013

It’s sunday, time for a barrage of quick links.

First up, muxberrypi.  Control your Raspberry Pi via node.js and websockets.  Similar to the heimcontrol.js project.  Source repo here.  Video below.


A quick acetone vapor bath rig made from goodwill parts.  Image tutorial here.  The end results didn’t turn out that good, but I have faith in the process.  Tutorial is brief but you can get the idea.



Build a mini USB powered soldering fume extractor.  Steps here.  Can also be used as a personal cooling agent when you get really hot.  Good to have with that USB soldering iron.

OpenWRT support has been added for the Raspberry Pi.  Source repo here.  Might end up being a quality distro for turning your Pi into a router.  OpenWRT is pretty well established, I appreciate they already made the decision not to include XBMC in it.

Looking to make battery powered devices ?  Then you should probably learn more about batteries.  Calculating Amp Hours, Capacity testing, etc.

And finally, a quick crash course to programming the serial port in windows and linux.

Published on: August 26, 2013 / Comments: 1

Receive weather satellite imagry with your SDR

Around 800 km / 500 miles above your head, weather satellites circle Earth, continuously sending back what they see.

You may or may not know, but there are weather satellites pushing un-encrypted images down to earth all the time.  With the right equipment and know-how you can capture these images and take a look.  The guys over at SDR for Mariners put up a little write up on how to do so.

They’re using the infamous cheap RTL-SDR dongle, but almost any SDR would work as long as you can capture the right frequency and have enough bandwidth.  This is being done on windows using SDR Sharp.  This is a great way to learn more about using your SDR, besides aren’t you tired of tuning FM with your SDR ?

Read the full post here.

Published on: August 22, 2013 / Comments: None

Upgrade your Commodore 64 with S-video

While I’m having a retro commodore 64 flashback day, I came across this really sweet mod for adding S-video to your C64.  Arto has a great write-up on doing this.  He’s got a schematic on building the circuit, it looks like you should have most of the parts already in your parts bin.

The article suggests disconnecting the RF sub-circuit which–while I think is probably a smart move if you are looking for the best video quality–is going to be a deal breaker for some people who don’t want to make any permanent modifications to their board.  I say do it!

Published on: August 22, 2013 / Comments: 1

A few tips for getting (or re-getting) into Commodore 64

If you used to own a commodore 64 back in the day, or you’re a new-school hipster enthusiast into retro computing… you’re going to need some help getting started.  First thing you’re going to need to do is get a decent working unit.  Here’s some tips on what to look for.  According to the article, the item you want to look at is the power supply.  And while disk drive’s are cool to look at, let’s get real and replace it with a SD card adapter.

In part two of the getting started guide, we’re trying to go quasi-modern with our commie right?  So let’s get a fast load cartridge. There’s also some commands to get you going.  I wish the guide had a little more to the series, but don’t fret you can always revert back to the original user’s guide or just pull up a command cheat sheet.  Either way you’ll be playing maniac mansion in no time and re-living those old memories I’m sure!

Published on: August 20, 2013 / Comments: 1

Google Glass as a tool for the visually impaired

At first glance it seems like an unlikely use candidate for Google Glass but after watching the video I’m a believer.  As part of the Open Glass project, researchers create some applications that aid visually impaired users.  What a really cool project.

The two applications demonstrated are Question-Answer and Memento.  Question-Answer works by having the user take a picture of what’s in front of them, and through means of mechanical turk and twitter, someone answers it.  The response is then fed back to the user through audio read back to them.   Memento works a little different.  Verbal annotations are left in the environment by someone else.  As the visually impaired person navigates the environment, images are streamed back to a server and matched against a database.  When a match is made, the annotations are read to the user.