35C3: Safe And Secure Drivers In High-Level Languages

See the original posting on Hackaday

Writing device drivers is always a good start for a journey into the Linux kernel code. Of course, the kernel is a highly complex piece of software, and if you mess up your code properly, you might take down the entire system with you. User-space drivers on the other hand might not look as good on your CV, but they can help to work around some of the dangers and complexity of the kernel space. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to C to write them, especially if you are concerned about the usual C pitfalls and the …read more

Zombie Dancing Squid!

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I hate to yuck you out before the holidays …

… and I really love Japan …

… but this is just gross.

It’s a Japanese delicacy called “Katsu ika odori-don.”

The squid is deceased when the dish is served. A little soy sauce and he appears to return to life; in other words, a zombie.

Yuki, one of my friends in Japan, assures me that “dancing sashimi” such as this is delicious, and one of the reasons food is eaten this way is to ensure its freshness. Varieties including shrimp and octopus, in addition to squid. But if I saw this in a restaurant, I would run screaming out the door.

And here it is with lobster.

And this is the one that will give you nightmares!

Read the rest

Echo Wall Clock review

See the original posting on TechCrunch

This was the year Amazon went all-in on the Alexa. September saw the announcement of a new Echo Dot, Show and Plus, a subwoofer, an audio input device, an auto dongle and an amplifier. That would have been plenty, but the company also started dipping its toes into the other side of things. 2018 also […]

Noa’s new Alexa skill has human narrators read news from NYT, FT, Economist & others

See the original posting on TechCrunch

News junkies who want something more in-depth than Alexa’s Flash Briefing now have a new option for listening to the day’s news – as well as features and other reporting – right from their smart speaker. A company called Noa has just launched an Alexa skill that uses human narrators to read you the news from […]

35C3: A Deep Dive into DOS Viruses and Pranks

See the original posting on Hackaday

Oh, the hijinks that the early days of the PC revolution allowed. Back in the days when a 20MB hard drive was a big deal and MS-DOS 3.1 ruled over every plain beige PC-clone cobbled together by enthusiasts like myself, it was great fun to “set up” someone else’s machine to do something unexpected. This generally amounted to finding an unattended PC — the rooms of the residence hall where I lived in my undergrad days were a target-rich environment in this regard — and throwing something annoying in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Hilarity ensued when the mark next booted the …read more

The Art of Vacuum Tube Fabrication

See the original posting on Hackaday

Vacuum tubes fueled a technological revolution. They made the amplification of signals a reality for transatlantic telephone cables (and transcontinental ones too), they performed logic for early computers, and they delivered that warm fuzzy sound for high fidelity audio. But they were labor intensive to produce, and fragile, so semiconductors came along and replaced tubes in almost every application. But of course tubes are still with us and some tube applications are still critical — you’ll find them used in high-power RF and there are even satellites that depend on klystrons. So there are still experts in tube fabrication around, …read more

Leaked video reveals new Nokia 9 PureView with five cameras

See the original posting on The Verge

Leaks of a potential Nokia-branded phone with five cameras on the rear have been appearing for months, but a new video suggests that the device could be officially unveiled soon. Evan Blass first posted a photo of the rumored Nokia 9 PureView on Twitter earlier today, and now mysmartprice has published what looks like a promotional video for the unannounced device.

The Nokia 9 PureView looks very similar to the existing Nokia 8 Sirocco, except for the rear. The video shows off a wild penta-lens setup capable of five simultaneous shots and claims of improved efficiency in low-light situations and the ability to re-focus images after they’re taken. HMD also appears to be including a 5.99-inch “PureDisplay” with support for HDR10 and an…

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Video: Red Rose Tattoo offers to cover up racist ink at no charge in a stand against hate

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Billy Joe White, the owner of Red Rose Tattoo in Zanesville, Ohio is taking a stand against hate.

Red Rose Tattoos has an open door policy to anyone who chose to adorn their flesh with swastikas, white power symbols and other racist bullshit: visit the shop and you’ll receive a beautiful piece of body art to cover up your hateful ink, for no charge. It’s a small, important gesture that can change the lives of formerly hateful folks in a powerful way. Read the rest

White Mirror: How did Microsoft’s 2009 predictions for the world of 2019 hold up?

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In 2009, Microsoft produced a video imagining the world of 2019. They did well with the software aspects of touchscreen interfaces and machine vision, but overshot the runway on bezel-less devices and the general ubiquity of touchscreens themselves. There’s a touchscreen coffee mug! All the depicted applications (such as flexible high-FPS color e-ink) are shown without a batteries or other power sources. This is a mandatory omission in all such future fantasies.

The clip is a general reminder of how predictable developments in basic consumer technology were over this time period. Microsoft was on solid ground exaggerating what were already, in 2009, obvious and entrenched trends, and then imagining what the rich would be doing with touchscreens on everything. Consider that a 2009 iMac is virtually identical, from the front, to a 2018 model. The evolution is in the details: thinness, high-DPI panels, faster hardware, software refinement, and so on. Still no touchscreen Macs, mind you…

Yet everything has changed with how we use this technology, and Microsoft didn’t imagine any of that. Check out the Harry Potter newspaper: they went for blandly positive business headlines. This safe bet (also constrained by having to avoid controvertial predictions) turns out to be the most ironically inaccurate prognostication of them all.

But it’s not as if they’re going to show all their wealthy business travelers weeping before their crypto investments, glumly cycling through the same algorithm-selected tweets again and again, or explaining on YouTube that racial slurs are just gamer talk. Microsoft wasn’t thinking of the “beige basement” crowd, after all. Read the rest

In the future we might paint our homes with dead Christmas trees

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Lots of folks celebrate Christmas by stashing their presents under the same reusable plastic and aluminum wire Christmas tree every winter: it’s a thoughtful, cost-efficient way to cut down on the amount of post holiday garbage that winds up in wood chippers or the local dump every year.

However, a lot of people still like to kick it old school with a cut-from-its-roots-and-left-to-slowly-die-in-a-pot-of-water conifer. They smell and look amazing…for a while. Once the presents have been unwrapped and the tree begins to brown, out the door it goes. Upwards of 30 million Americans wind up tossing out these Yuletide corpses every year. Happily, it looks like a scientist has sorted out a the means for making better use of these discarded trees once folks are finished getting their holly-jolly on with them.

The process involves breaking down a chemical called lignocellulose in needles of dead pine trees into a useful substance that could be used to make paint or artificial sweeteners and other wicked useful products.

From Futurism:

Lignocellulose is ugly. No, really. Its chemical structure makes it difficult to use for biomass energy, and it serves little industrial purpose. Sheffield PhD student Cynthia Kartey’s work has focused on examining ways to make use of this material, and now she may be on to something.

Using heat and glycerol, Kartey was able to break down the pine needles into two components, one of which was made mostly of materials like glucose, acetic acid and phenol. All three have uses in other industries — glucose is used to make food sweeteners, phenol is used in products like mouthwash, and acetic acid for making adhesives, vinegar, and even paint.

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Ion Powered Airplane: Not Coming to an Airport Near You

See the original posting on Hackaday

Not that we don’t love Star Trek, but the writers could never decide if ion propulsion was super high tech (Spock’s Brain) or something they used every day (The Menagerie). Regardless, ion propulsion is real and we have it today on more than one spacecraft. However, MIT recently demonstrated an ion-powered airplane. How exciting! An airplane with no moving parts that runs on electricity. Air travel will change forever, right? According to [Real Engineering], ion-propelled (full-sized) aircraft run into problems with the laws of physics. You can see the video explaining that, below.

To understand why, you need to know …read more

Take a Mini Lathe for a Spin

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[This Old Tony] is no stranger to quality tools, but he started on a mini lathe. Nostalgia does not stop him from broadcasting his usual brand of snark (actually, it is doubtful that anything short of YouTube going offline will stop that). He rates the lathe’s ability to machine different materials and lets you decide if this is an investment, or a money pit.

Lathe parts range from a chintzy start/stop button assembly that looks like it would be at home on a Power Wheels restoration project to a convenient cam locking mechanism on the tail stock which is an …read more

Finding Bugs in Bluetooth

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Jiska Classen] and [Dennis Mantz] created a tool called Internal Blue that aims to be a Swiss-army knife for playing around with Bluetooth at a lower level. The ground for their tool is based in three functions that are common to all Broadcom Bluetooth chipsets: one that lets you read arbitrary memory, on that lets you run it, and one that lets you write it. Well, that was easy. The rest of their work was analyzing this code, and learning how to replace the firmware with their own version. That took them a few months of hard reversing work.

In …read more

RFID Doing More than ID

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RFID is a workhorse in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Passive tags, like work badges and key fobs, need a base station but not the tags. Sensors are a big market and putting sensors in places that are hard to reach, hostile, or mobile is a costly proposition. That price could drop, and the sensors could be more approachable with help from MIT’s Auto-ID Lab who are experimenting with sensor feedback to RFID devices.

Let’s pretend you want to measure the temperature inside a vat of pressurized acid. You’d rather not drill a hole in it to insert a thermometer, …read more

Here’s how to play a game from Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch episode

See the original posting on TechCrunch

If you’ve gone down the rabbit hole with Netflix’s latest Black Mirror release, there’s (at least) one more easter egg out there. As some intrepid Reddit users discovered, you can actually visit two different versions of fictional software company Tuckersoft’s website and… spoilers ahead. On the regular Tuckersoft site, discovered through a QR code embedded […]

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