Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 08 2017

Tuesday Sweep: 8 August 2017

Your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and to go to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn

Where do you scan for news?

Any one who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin. 

— “Various techniques used in connection with random digits” by John von Neumann in Monte Carlo Method (1951)

The Wired the article “Meet Alex, the Russian Casino Hacker Who Makes Millions Targeting Slot Machines,” brought to my attention via Schneier, highlights what some observational legwork, patience and a big payout can accomplish.  The failure to use a proper random number algorithm put these machines at risk, but what constitutes “proper random number algorithm”?  In security there is the concept of  practically or semantically secure vs perfectly secure. Your system is “secure enough” if it would take an obscene amount of time and effort, that you don’t think anyone would bother to spend, to crack it. As computer speeds ramp up, and well paying jobs for people go down, it will be hard to overestimate just how much work people will be willing to do for a payoff.  What the folks were doing IN the casinos was pretty mind numbingly boring.  Better get some better random number generators (Or, you know, make it easier to get more interesting, better paying work. Security isn’t just crypto). To understand what “better” means in this context – check out the following resources.

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

August 05 2017

Artemis 1 – Getting a Closer Look at Totality

Some fellow hackers and makers (and former PS:One members) shared an exciting project with us and we’d like to help them get the word out.

The Artemis 1 is on a mission to send a high altitude balloon into near-space on August, 21st, 2017 to film the total solar eclipse.  It’s a collaboration between the South Side Hacker Space and Chicago’s Remote Astronaut Crew.

 

 

The team is one of many participating in this NASA sponsored program, where launches all across the country will simultaneously capture video and still images of the eclipse from altitudes of 100,000 feet and more.  You can learn more about the program here:

http://eclipse.montana.edu

Artemis 1, like many before, is looking toward the sky for opportunities to teach, learn, and grow.  Leading by example through hands-on experimentation with measurable results is the best way to instill a passion for learning and a drive to reach higher.

 

Artemis 1 seeks your vital support on this campaign and the fundraising page can be found here:

https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/experience-the-2017-eclipse-with-us-artemis-i/x/16686555

 

More information can be found on the Artemis 1 website:

http://artemis.one

The post Artemis 1 – Getting a Closer Look at Totality appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

August 03 2017

Designing A USB Breakout Board!

I often need to intercept USB signals for decoding and measurement purposes.  I cut a cable apart last time I needed one but to be honest I much prefer doing things properly.  I also noticed that nobody seems to sell a similar product on Ebay, Aliexpress or Amazon!  I did find a vendor in the USA on tindie:


USB Inspector Image Copyright - Misperry via Tindie
https://www.tindie.com/products/misperry/usb-inspector/?pt=full_prod_search

I also found this product on tindie which is similar but has a current monitoring circuit built in:

https://www.tindie.com/products/Kaktus/usbuddy-usb-development-tool/?pt=full_prod_search

A friend of mine and blog reader found this one:

https://friedcircuits.us/50?search=usb

Either of these products would work for my purposes but the first product's shipping costs from the USA seem a little extravagant and I only wanted one or two.

The second product uses pin headers to allow connection which are a bit close together for my liking. It's often the way of things.  When I cannot obtain what I want I make my own!

The circuit is very simple:


The PCB layout is a little more complicated.  I would like to keep the board as small as possible but maintain the recommended conductor impedance that a USB cable should have.  By maintaining the impedance it means that signals can be correctly measured and power is not needlessly wasted.  The USB specification document is possibly one of the hardest pieces of technical literature I have had to read.  I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary:

http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/usb20_docs/#usb20spec

There is also a standard for USB cables which dilutes the information into a slightly more readable format (note - I am being overly sarcastic):

BS EN 62680-2-3:2015

The standard is not free to read however...but memberships to local and university libraries yields useful results.

A USB 2.0 cable must have many specifications but the two most critical that I am interested in are:

  • Cable impedance - 76.5 Ω to 103.5 Ω
  • Current carrying capability - 500 mA (standard) or 1.5 A from a dedicated charging port.

The information on the current carrying capability is confusing as there is mention of 5 amps on the wikipedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#Power-use_topology

So based upon the above information we need to ensure the board layout has tracks capable of carrying 1.5 Amps of current at 5 Vdc and that the data pairs D+ and D- are routed as a differential pair with 90 ohms impedance.  I picked 90 ohms as a reasonable middle value and it was cited in this application note from Silicon Labs:

https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/application-notes/AN0046.pdf

Here is a useful article on layout guidelines for differential pairs:

http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1144365

Basically I want to make sure my breakout board doesn't ruin the USB signals by interrupting them. USB cables are actually proper transmission lines and the cable should be screened and the internal cables twisted to maintain uniform impedance.  The D+ and D- tracks which are differential signals will need to be routed close together above a solid ground plane (Microstrip transmission line) ensuring that both tracks are exactly the same length.  Most PCB routing software like eagle have built in calculators and tools to assist with this.

Here is an excellent (and free) online trace width calculator:

http://www.4pcb.com/trace-width-calculator.html

I entered the following information into the calculator:

  • Current: 1.5 Amps (I'm going with the lower value specified)
  • Copper thickness: 35 µm (Standard 1 oz copper thickness for FR4 PCB material)
  • Temperature Rise: 10 °C (Just a guess)
  • Ambient Temperature: 25 °C (Just a guess)
  • Trace Length: 35 mm (just a guess for now)

I'm only going to have a two layer PCB so I'm only interested in external traces.  Here is what the calculator came up with:

  • Required Trace Width: 525.491 µm or 0.525491 mm
  • Resistance: 33.612 mΩ
  • Voltage Drop: 50.419 mV
  • Power Loss: 75.628 mW

So that sets the PCB track thickness to be at least 0.6 mm.  I may well go with 1 mm as space should not be a problem.

Next we need to set the track impedance above a ground plane which is otherwise known as a microstrip transmission line.  Here is another very useful (and free) calculator:

https://www.eeweb.com/toolbox/edge-coupled-microstrip-impedance

If people need to read up on what an edge coupled microstrip layout is then please check out the link below.  It is essentially a method of setting the impedance of PCB tracks based upon the thickness and width of the track, the thickness of the dielectric material (FR4 PCB) and Wheeler's Equation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microstrip

Transmission line theory is complicated and to be honest I have no intention of attempting to simplify it...I'm not sure that I could.  Basically this is some of the RF black magic people talk about.... I'm trying to keep things simple.  I would suggest that anyone who is serious about electronics and electrical signal propagation needs to have a basic understanding of transmission line theory and how to layout PCB tracks to properly interface connectors with circuits.

Here is what I fed into to the calculator:

Trace Thickness: 35 µm (Standard 1 oz copper thickness for FR4 PCB material)
Substrate Height: 1.6 mm (Standard FR4 PCB)
Trace Width: 1.5 mm (I chose 1 mm value above but went for 1.5 mm to get the right impedance)
Trace Spacing: 0.12 mm (I chose this value as a guess after trying a few different values)
Substrate Dielectric: 4 (This is the relative permittivity of FR4 PCB material)

The calculated result gives a differential impedance of 89.8 Ω - close enough!  So all that's needed is to set the D+ and D- tracks to be 0.12 mm apart and 1.5 mm thick and try to keep the tracks the same length...If we manage that we have the 89.8 Ω impedance needed to ensure that the USB signals remain unaffected when we use the PCB.

Now that we have all of the track properties calculated we can design the PCB layout.  There is a tool in Eagle for doing this that ensures that the differential tracks are routed together.  You have to label the net names with an 'underscore P' and an 'underscore N'.  I set the label for my D+ and D- nets to 'TEST_P' and 'TEST-_N' but any sensible names will do.  I then routed the +V and GND tracks manually and then set the autorouter to route the top layer.  I cannot seem to get the differential pair tool to work otherwise.  Here is what the board layout looks like:


Edit - I have updated the design after some valuable feedback from Aamir Ahmed Khan (Thank you!) - I did not remember to set the track separation distance in my original layout, I have rectified that and my calculations.  Here is the new and now hopefully correct layout.  (Note to self - I should not rush when designing PCB layouts and writing informative blog posts!).  I found the easiest way to do this was to set the grid to 0.2 mm spacing with the alternative at 0.1 mm and route the differential tracks by hand one after the other.  That enabled me to ensure the tracks were correctly separated and of the correct thickness.  I also set the ground plane isolation to be 0 .2 mm to ensure the track on the bottom layer was correctly isolated...Lets see if this works!  I hope the PCB fabricators are able to etch the board for me with such precise track isolation...I can always run a scalpel down the gap though.

I will probably get the whole thing manufactured by Elecrow and for that I will need a bill of materials.

Qty Device Package Parts Vendor Part Number Description






1 USB 2.0 Socket USB X1 Farnell 2134385 AMP USB 2.0 connector 4 Ring_Test 1X01_LONGPAD +V, D+, D-, GND Ebay.co.uk 292175228920 Ring Test Connector 1 M02PTH3 1X02_LONGPADS JP7 Farnell 3418285 Standard 2-pin 0.1" header pins 1 USB 2.0 Connector USB-A-H JP1 Farnell 1696544 USB Connectors







Here is the PCB render:




My plan is to have ten boards made, keep two for myself and flog the rest!

That's all for now - Langster!

August 02 2017

Tuesday Sweep: 1 August 2017

Your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and to go to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn

Where do you scan for news?

I’ve been in a self imposed deep news diet this week. This scattering of links represents a pretty decent sample of what we’ve been up to…

Enjoy.

 

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

July 26 2017

Hackspace 2.5 Update

Every Tuesday night, our brave group of volunteers spend their evening developing the downstairs of Hackspace 2.5.

See the latest update thanks to Dominic Morrow and Howard Smith:

Would you like to help out with Hackspace 2.5? Come along on Tuesday night, or find out more on the #hackspace2point5 channel on the Nottingham Hackspace Team Slack (available to members via HMS).

Get started with DevOps at the Notts Dev Workshop!

Notts Dev Workshop

Nottingham Hackspace is happy to host the next Notts Dev Workshop on Friday, 4th August, from 5:30pm until 8:30pm.

DevOps (a portmanteau of “development” and “operations”) is a software development and delivery process that emphasises communication and collaboration between product management, software development, and operations professionals.

In this workshop, Matteo Emilli will be helping attendees put a small application in the cloud, including the creation of a pipeline, the definition of your Infrastructure as Code, the packaging process, and the release. More advanced practices will also be discussed, like silent deployments, feature flags, and the use of telemetry in your application.

Matteo is an Application Lifecycle Management and DevOps advisor, as well as a Microsoft MVP for Visual Studio and Development Technologies, with a passion for Agile Methodologies and Processes.

For this workshop, you’ll need:

  • Laptop
  • Visual Studio 2017
  • Azure Tools for Visual Studio
  • Azure PowerShell
  • Azure Account
  • VSTS Account

To sign up for this free workshop, join the Notts Dev Workshop Meetup group.

Burlington Hacker Book Club!

We're excited to add a new event to the Lab's roster: the BTV Hacker Book Club! The group will be meeting monthly to discuss a book drawn from a list built by Lab members, with members voting on which book from the list to read each month. While Lab members pick the books, all who have read the book are welcome to the discussions, and attendees are welcome to bring munchies and beverages to share.

Our first pick is A Hacker Manifesto by media theorist McKenzie Wark, and we'll be gathering for the discussion on Thursday, 8/17 at 6pm in the Couch Room. For more details and updates, RSVP to the Facebook event.

We'll be discussing setting a recurring monthly date at the August meeting, and Lab members are presently voting on the September book pick. Cyberpunk classic Neuromancer by William Gibson currently holds a narrow lead, but there are a few more days for members to weigh in...

The post Burlington Hacker Book Club! appeared first on Laboratory B.

Tuesday Sweep: 25 July 2017

Okay okay, so I have a cat-addled brain, but here… JUUUUUUUSSSST under the wire is your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and I hope you went to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn

Where do you scan for news?

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

July 25 2017

Having electronic breakout boards manufactured in China by Elecrow

I have an online shop where I sell some of the items I have designed and written about.  I normally have the PCBS made in china and then populate them and test them myself at my local hackspace or when I'm in a rush on the kitchen worktop - Note to young engineers: a surer method of annoying your significant other I have yet to find!

It is often quite stressful and difficult for me to hand solder surface mount components. I have to test and fault find the circuit and get everything working....after that shipping the orders in good time only compounds the issues.  It's all about being prepared and patient...I am not always good at being prepared and then my patience wears thin!

I get my PCBS made in China by a company called Elecrow:

https://www.elecrow.com/

They sell all sorts of useful bits and pieces for the electronics hobbyist and also have a PCB manufacturing service and now more recently a PCB assembly service.

I have had at least fifty PCBS made by Elecrow and the quality has always been excellent.  The price has always been acceptable and the service excellent.  I may have also quietly lost my temper with my ineptitude in assembling surface mount components on small printed circuit boards and decided to see how much it would actually cost to get the whole product made by Elecrow.

I saw the new service advertised on the site and clicked on the appropriate page:

https://www.elecrow.com/pcb-assembly-p-366.html

Next I uploaded the gerber files for the project in a zip file along with the bill of materials with at least two sources for the components and the package sizes.  Ensuring the design is correct and the bill of materials is correct is critical...I cannot stress this part enough!

The initial price I paid to have the project assessed and the printed circuit boards and solder stencil made was £32.05 or $41.76 USD. This all started on a Sunday night on the 23rd of June.

A very helpful lady named Shelley got in contact within a day to say the order had been received but production would not start as they couldn't open the bill of materials spreadsheet I had sent with the gerber files.  I made the mistake of not uploading the bill of materials in the Microsoft Excel format, very quickly resolved by resending the BOM in the correct file format.

Shelley got in contact within a few days to provide a quote for fitting the standard components or for fully populating the PCB.  The full cost was another £61.41 or $80 USD for ten fully completed PCBS which I thought was quite reasonable so I sent the money over and hoped for the best.

I also sent through some basic instructions and tips on how to populate the PCB gained from my own experience in doing it - I didn't want anyone else to struggle populating the PCBS like I had and I also wanted to be sure that when the boards arrived they worked first time!

On the 12th of July Shelley emailed to say that the boards had been manufactured and that component population was about to start.  She did say that they had issues with the Op-Amp I had chosen but this was sorted pretty quickly....luckily my circuit will work with just about any Op-Amp so I wasn't too worried.

On the 18th of July I got an email from someone named Sunshine to say that the my order was complete and shipped by DHL.  I didn't actually bother tracking it but it arrived today on the 24th of July, well packaged in a sturdy cardboard box and bubble wrap.  Each PCB was individually wrapped in a zip lock anti-static bag with some anti-static foam on the header pins.

Every single one of the boards worked perfectly.  Here are some photos of the PCB etc...I didn't take any of my smiling face!!!  The coin is a one pence sterling coin for scale.

Populated Pressure Sensors From Elecrow! Check out the reflow soldering!
For the price (£93.46 or $121.76) I am very happy with the service that Elecrow provided and I will be getting more of these boards and other boards fully populated when I need to.  Shelley did say that If I get a higher quantity of PCBS made up the price quoted would reduce.  I just hope I manage to sell them all so that I can get more things made...maybe I should spend more time advertising over designing and blogging?!??

I doubt that I will ever sell enough of these to retire but I do enjoy keeping my hand in the manufacturing process - it is very useful to know how to get things made and if I ever do come up with a cunning plan...I mean product I can realise it fairly quickly and efficiently with Elecrow's help.

That's all for now - Langster!



July 14 2017

Our elevator is broken :(

July 13 2017

Shine on You Crazy KiCAD — and Other Tales from Chris Gammell

Chris GammellOn Monday July 17th, NERP will host Chris Gammell. Chris is an analog electrical engineer and product manager. He may be known to some of you as co-host of The Amp Hour, and as the charter member of Contextual Electronics. CE offers subscription based electronics courses with different levels of project-oriented learning and personal interaction with an instructor. The Amp Hour is a non-scripted off-the-cuff format show that usually airs every Thursday evening US time. It is the worlds largest and most respected electronics oriented radio show. Discussions range from hobbyist electronics to the state of the electronics industry, components, circuit design, and general on and off-topic rants.

At the NERP on Monday, Chris will present a free rendition of  the Contextual Electronics course titled Shine On You Crazy KiCad. NERP has talked about the open source electronic design program called KiCAD before, but this presentation is different. It’s designed for simplicity and fast execution to give a quick win for new users who follow along on their own laptops. The course is designed as an end-to-end art-to-part experience using KiCAD.  amphour logoWhen I say quick, I mean just 20 minutes start to finish to draw an electronic schematic and then translate the schematic into a printed circuit board PCB layout. (It’s possible to spend lots of days working on a complex circuit board design…) After that, the last step in the process will be for everybody who’s following along to pack up their KiCAD PCB layout files and send them off to OSH Park to actually be made into atoms and snail-mailed back to you. Chris’s demo board is a small, but useful add-on for a Raspberry Pi. The PCB is about 1″ square, so the cost at OSH Park is very small.

made with kicadEven if you don’t plan on actually making the circuit, go ahead and load up a copy of KiCAD  http://kicad-pcb.org/download/ so you can at least have a look and ask questions. It’s open source and free. Win, Mac, & Linux. Kicad is a pretty piece of software in my opinion, and I have a few good reasons for preferring it to Eagle (KiCAD’s freemium competitor).

Chris tells me there’s one thing that NERP might be able to help him with. Contextual Electronics is getting a new course for “absolute beginners” in electronics. This would be along the lines of “what do you need to know about electronics before even thinking of a course like CE”. When you first encounter a subject as broad and deep as electronics, it’s very hard to sort out the signal from the noise. You can spend a lot of effort on something that doesn’t matter while at the same time missing some small Rosetta stone or simple concept that’s perhaps in easy reach. conceptual electronics logoAfter we move past those first trembling steps, we can forget what it was like just building a knowledge framework. To make the best connections with absolute beginners, Chris wants to hear about your conceptual roadblocks or things you wish you’d known from long (or not so long) ago, and how they resolved (or didn’t resolve) themselves. I’m sure he’ll be happy to talk about it at NERP, but consider signing up for CE and visit the Building an absolute beginner course page and add your thoughts.

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

www.meetup.com /NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/­
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/­

Tags: Beagle Bone,electronics,embedded,hackerspace,NERP,Open Source,Pumping Station: One,raspberry pi,OSH Park,The Amp Hour,Contextual Electronics

The post Shine on You Crazy KiCAD — and Other Tales from Chris Gammell appeared first on Pumping Station: One.

July 12 2017

Net Neutrality Day of Action 2017

Today’s the day folks! Once again, the FCC has targeted Net Nuetrality. Today’s the day to speak your mind, if you haven’t already.

On Cats and Typing: An Intersection of Machine Learning and Robotics

Guest speaker Elecia White will describe the twists and turns on the path to making a voice-controlled typing robot for her own education and amusement. She’ll show a slightly scary demo of the state-of-the-art machine learning platform then describe the applications of machine learning to robotics (and some of the steps necessary to do so). She will discuss the architecture of her system in its current and plans for the future. Finally, she will demonstrate control of a small, affordable robot arm.

Follow Elecia’s adventures in the worlds of machine learning and robotics.

Elecia White is the host of the Embedded.FM podcast, author of O’Reilly’s Making Embedded Systems, and founder of Logical Elegance, an embedded systems consulting company.

When: July 19th, 8pm
Where: Crashspace!
Cost: FREE
Other: There will be some sort of pastry or baked goods!

Typing cats care of Giphy and does not represent any material expected in the talk.

Tuesday Sweep: 11 July 2017

Welcome to your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and to come to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn: Weekly Round Up

Where do you scan for news?

  • Eirik Brandal makes instruments from structural circuits. Wow. So cool, with an aesthetic that reminds me of Duchamp a little.  Watch the video (via BoingBoing again!)
  • EFF “Who has your back?” List is out for 2017. This annual list reviews several large companies based on each company’s policies on how, when and whether to comply with government data request.  A shout out to the companies that aced this particular test:  Adobe, Credo, Dropbox, Lyft, Pinterest, Sonic, Uber, Wickr, and WordPress. I highly recommend not just scanning the pretty chart, but reading at least the executive summary as well.
  • Want to perform a billion billion calculations per second? Then you want an exscale super computer. The US has just gotten serious about being first again. The New Yorker, of all places, had an interesting discussion about what massive computing power means in the cryptoworld using Quantum Computing as the bugbear. TL;DR? IEEE puts it in the headline “Quantum Computer Comes Closer to Cracking RSA Encryption,” but I like the Quartz media article better because it quotes Poe.
  • Speaking of an Arms Race. I’ll admit I’ve been low level freaking out ever since I watched Adobe unveiled VoCo by making Keegan-Michael Key’s voice talk about making out with Jordan Peele. I’m glad that the folks at Wired have given themselves leave to freaked out the potential for forgeries, (via Schneier) too. If fake news is bad now… WHEW. We’re in for it. Time to update all those guides on how to assess a primary source… That said, humanity did live in a time BEFORE video was widely available, and this time it wasn’t that long ago. We can at least forward to the increased quality in video/AR games.
  • I missed writing much about NotPetya, and its motives, but apparently, once again, it could have been avoided by keeping updated. That said, many firms have legacy software they’ve custom rolled at great expense and honestly don’t know what the consequences will be for updating. If this is you or someone you love, try out Wine “a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems”. In other words, you can run .exe files directly without launching an emulator. If your CXO’s like paying for things try the commercial version CrossOver which purportedly takes the some of the pain out of the equation of configuring Wine correctly. You can keep your Linux up-to-date without harming the ability to keep running the old software running on that old hardware.
  • This all said, Jake Williams had an excellent point in the SANS Newsletter 54  “Infosec basics like principles of least privilege would have done more to protect networks [from NotPetya]more than disabling SMB1.”  That Phrase “Least Privlege” was coined in a 1975 paper by J.H. Saltzer and M.D. Schroeder called  ‘Basic Principles of Information Protection’  I’m squarly in the camp that security is a process, not a product, and discussions of technologies should not be at the exclusion of design patterns. So I’m just going to leave some links here, partially for my own reference.

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

July 05 2017

How to make a ring out of scrap copper.

IMG_20170702_165616661

I found a piece of scrap copper pipe and decided to make a ring out of it.

Note: This article has also been posted on the NineWaysToLife blog. All the media included is personal. I am a member of PS:One and made this project on its premises. 

IMG_20170702_165630513

I sawed the copper pipe into a width that I thought would work well for a ring. Don’t forget that the ring will widen a bit when you will hammer it out later.

I used a file and some rough-grit sandpaper on the sawed edge of the ring in order to ensure that the edge was straight.

IMG_20170702_174146796

I then performed the annealing process with an acetylene torch. Heat the copper up until it is cherry-red-hot. Immediately quench the red-hot copper in a container of water. The sooner it is quenched the better.

The annealing process is an important step and changes the molecular structure of the copper. This change reduces the hardness of the copper and causes it to be more easily worked. It also reduces the chances for the metal to crack while being worked upon.

The softening of the metal’s crystalline structure by annealing is not reversed by time or temperature but is only reversed by working on the metal. This reverting of the metal back to its original state due to the stresses placed upon it by the work you perform is called “work hardening”.

Due to the work hardening (caused by the hammering, as will be seen below), I needed to anneal an additional time during my crafting process.

IMG_20170702_174320698

The next step in the process directly after annealing is “pickling”. The “Pickle” is an acid bath that removes the layer of copper oxide and that forms on the copper ring from the heat during the annealing process.

Fun Science Fact: No ferrous metals are allowed in the pickle as that reverses the stripping effect that the pickle has on the copper that you placed in it. Allowing steel or iron into the pickle will cause the copper molecules to bind to whatever you later place in the pickle, instead of removing the stains or impurities. This can be very frustrating, especially for people working with non-copper metals such as silver. Nobody wants a copper-covered piece of silver!

Note: On my first unsupervised pickling I made a mistake and used a pair of steel tongs, that someone had left near the pickle area, to remove my ring from the pickle. That mistake required me to neutralize the acid in the pickle to a pH level of 7 (neither acid nor base) by adding baking soda to the acid bath until it stopped reacting and then flushing it down the sink. I then made a new pickle, much to the delight of my fellow craftsmen, since that obviated them doing the work themselves (I have a hunch that someone planted that pair of tongs to get me to change the pickle… I’m just kidding, I was happy to learn!).

IMG_20170702_180412021

Now that the metal was nicely softened up by the annealing process it was time to work it. I measured my finger size on our ring sizer and determined that my pinky was a size 6.5 – 7. Since the original size of the copper ring was about a 4, I needed to expand it. I expanded the ring by using a hammer (with a shiny head surface since shiny heads transfer their shine to the object being hit, in this case, my ring. Scratched up heads transfer those scratches to the object which is a good reason to be careful with your jewelry hammers.) and a ring mandrel (a tapered piece of metal that has ring sizes marked on the side). I beat the ring until it reached the size that I required, remembering to flip the ring every once in a while in order to achieve a uniform spread. Remember, as mentioned above, the metal will thin and spread a little during this step of the process.

The shiny head on my hammer created this beautiful beaten-metal pattern on the ring which I really enjoyed. I hope to use that gorgeous pattern in further pieces.

IMG_20170702_183507519

Now, most of the difficult work has been accomplished and all that is left is the embellishment and design. I experimented with a piece of scrap copper (above) and a selection of chasing punches to find a pattern I enjoyed. (Note the chasing hammer and its dirty and scratched head in stark contrast to my earlier admonition to keep the heads of jewelry hammers smooth and shiny. Chasing hammers are the one exception to that rule as they are used to hammer on metal tools and utensils like chasing punches and dapping punches and never comes in direct contact with the actual metal being worked on.)

I found this pattern to be one that I enjoyed and hammered it into my ring while it was seated on the previously mentioned ring mandrel.

IMG_20170702_201621662

I then took the nearly finished ring and sanded the edges and inside with fine-grit sandpaper.

(Notice how the marks from the chasing punches are barely noticeable? Let’s move on to the next and final step in this process in order to remedy that.)

IMG_20170702_203931816

I then submerged the ring in a solution of hot water and liver of sulfur (and no, that is not a witches brew, rather a chemical mixture). This darkens the metal and adds a patina. I can choose to what extent the metal darkens by how long I keep the ring immersed in the liver of sulfur and how much I buff it (Scotch-Brite is the preferred tool for buffing).

IMG_20170702_205104401

Ta Da! The One Ring has been reforged! Now, all must tremble befor…. I mean, how neat is this ring that I made!? Now, you can make one too! (With access to high-powered heating tools, specialized jewelry-making equipment, chemicals with funny sounding names, and an awesome Pandora playlist, that is.)

Note: Notice the impressions made by the chasing punch are now much more vivid. That is due to the darkening of the metal by the liver of sulfur and the subsequent removal of much of it from the surface of the ring, but not from within the impressions themselves. This creates a lighter/darker effect which gives the impressions much more depth, perspective, and a greater contrast.

How did you enjoy this project? What did you learn from it? Has it inspired you to go out and make something? Please let me know in the comments below.

Note: A special thank you goes to Aushra Abouzeid for painstakingly stepping me through this project and for her wonderful patience in explaining how not to blow myself up with the acetylene torch as well as how to refresh the pickle (which I managed to ruin almost immediately after her back was turned, obviously).

-Baka

July 04 2017

Tuesday Sweep: 4 July 2017

Happy 4th of July! Hey, USA! We’re in serious need of some family counseling, but you’re worth the trouble. Democracy matters. Happy Birthday.

Welcome to your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment.

If you have the day off an no plan until this evening… good chance to make some updates!

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn: Weekly Round Up

Where do you scan for news?

I <3 Fireworks so we’re going to have a fireworks themed post today.

On the history of fireworks I’m turning to the Smithsonian, an amazing American institution that I am very grateful for. Finally established by congress in 1846,  Smithsonian’s call to action for the US was to create as “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” I like the sounds of that. If you do to, call your congressional representatives on Wednesday to let them know.

For videos on on how Fireworks work or are made

Stay safe and enjoy!

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

June 27 2017

Tuesday Sweep: 27 June 2017

Welcome to your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and to come to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • App and Password Gardening: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it. If you’re keeping it, can you move the password to your password manager (delete it from everywhere else) and add two factor authorization?
  • Move to offline archive & delete your histories where you can find them.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Learn: Weekly Round Up

Where do you scan for news?

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

June 26 2017

Fidget Spinner

Gary’s Fidget Spinner made HackADay! Fidget-Spinning Robot Out-Uselesses Other Useless Machines

June 21 2017

Tuesday Sweep: 20 June 2017

Welcome to your weekly reminder to back up your data, update software and otherwise pay attention to your digital environment. (Oh, and to come to the CRASH Space meeting…)

Jump in Here

  • Welcome. If you haven’t been following along, it’s okay. You’re not behind, you’re just where you are.
  • I highly recommend the coach tool at the Crash Override Network has a great step by step break down for many of the same introductory steps we did here.
  • Feeling more ambitious? Review the list of OneThing articles and pick one to catch up on.

Sweep

The basics.

  • Updated software recently? Pick a new device to check on today.
  • Backups still up and running? When was the last time you made a clean disk image? Here’s a new great article on how to design a backup system.
  • Reduce your attack surface: Delete a low quality app from your phone or delete an account that you don’t need that doesn’t make you happy. Digital cruft builds up. Delete it.
  • Anywhere you could add two factor authorization? While you’re at it, move the password to your password manager… and delete it from everywhere else.
  • Double check privacy settings on your phone, social media accounts. The folks running the companies can change the TOS and add “features” before you notice them.

Weekly Round Up

Where do you scan for news?

Excerpt from SANS Newsletter:

Stack Clash Vulnerability (June 19, 2017)
A memory management vulnerability affecting a number of open source operating systems (OSes), including Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSDm FreeBSD, and, and amd64, could be exploited to corrupt memory and allow arbitrary code execution. Dubbed Stack Clash, the flaw was discovered by researchers at Qualys. Patches for seven known affected OSes have been released and users are urged to upgrade as soon as possible. Other OSes may be affected as well. Read more in: – https://threatpost.com: Stack Clash Vulnerability in Linux, BSD Systems Enables Root Access
– https://arstechnica.com: Serious privilege escalation bug in Unix OSes imperils servers everywhere – https://www.scmagazine.com: Stack Clash exploits spotted in Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD and Solaris
– https://blog.qualys.com: The Stack Clash

Reflect

Feeling dumb or stupid about how not-l33t you are? Angsting over some silly thing you “know better than to do.” Stop. That isn’t useful. Regret is only of use if it prompts an actual change in behavior. Maybe it’s NOT you that sucks. Could be it’s the technology and you could come up with a fix that would help lots of people. Look forward and make a plan.

Engage

We are a community. You are a welcome part of it.

  •  Did you learn something cool in your sweep? Make something? Share it!
  • Speak up
  • Give
  • Show up at CRASH Space tonight!

June 20 2017

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl