Civic infrastructure hacking: laser-controlled streetlight.

Three more things in my house require a remote control now, and one of them is the streetlight in front of my house. Ever since I heard about a hacked streetlight at the Guerrilla Drive in for Back to the Future in 2009, I have been turning off the streetlight on Darien Street by carefully aiming a laser dot at the light sensor on top of the streetlight. The light sensors on most streetlights face west to catch the last photons from the fading sunset before illuminating for the night—and this one faces right into the third floor of my house. It is very important to me to be able to choose to sit in the cozy dark, save my city some money, and not contribute to light pollution for a minute.
Just recently I revamped the process with a new, permanent laser and remote control system. Here it is in action:
I’ll show you how …
Continue reading “Civic infrastructure hacking: laser-controlled streetlight.”

Phone “hacking” at News of the World

Whenever the word “hacking” shows up in the news, it usually means one of two things. It’s either some government or group breaking into the system of some other government or group, or more likely, someone didn’t change their weak password. Hackem

The recent fuss about News of the World in the UK is the latter, the stupid hack (besides bribing the police and other non-hacking crimes.) This “hack” is just taking advantage of one of two voicemail vulnerabilities. One way in is to punch in the default VM PIN for the carrier, which is sometimes the last 4 of the phone number. The other way is to spoof your caller ID to match the voicemail number so the system lets you in like this. PS: don’t hack voicemails.

We don’t want your personal voicemails to be stolen like this. That’s why this Wednesday for open house, we can help you stay safe. A member can help you navigate the menus on your phone and change or add some security. Or maybe this post just pushed you right now to change your pin to something other than 1478.

Holy petabyte rack Batman

Data storage is expensive, but raw hard drivers are cheap, and with big data centers measuring capacity in petabytes it’s become pretty clear storage is big money and big business. And when something becomes big business or money, some of those customers (who don’t want to pay big money) are going to get into the ‘Open Source The Thing And Make It Cheap For Me’ game. Which is exactly what backblaze has done with petabytes on a budget.

These guys have designed a fracking Rack System with 67 Terabytes of data in 4U for less than a small car. Then, to make sure it’s cheap and stays cheap, they are sharing the design. 45 Drivers in a 4U Rack, with room to spare. Also amazing is that they run their access to the system via HTTPS instead of something like Fibre Channel, SQL, or SCSI. So my main question is: How long till we get one at the hackerspace? For, you know. uuuhhh, Backups?