Before I get too far in this project, I really ought to write about it before it fades into the aether of a blogless life, much like the Modern Telegraphy Interface Apparatus I built in 2013. I had delusions of writing lengthy and debatably interesting blog posts complete with videos for that one. Well, at least I took pictures.
This will be the introduction or overview, if you will, of the project, with several updates to follow in the coming weeks and months. To start us off on the right foot, here’s a video of some preliminary functionality, for kicks and giggles:
The Synology Surveillance Station app has so much to love about it and is still probably the best available non-enterprise surveillance NVR software, but the few things with which it’s been failing the past couple of years fail spectacularly. Most Surveillance Station users know the pains of having to work around the NPAPI plugin, something one has to install on his or her machine before anything remotely related to video streaming will work in Surveillance Station, and even then it no longer works in Chrome and has problems in other browsers, not to mention that there is zero Linux support. Well, I’ve been in contact with Synology support regarding this glaring issue, and they’ve given me some good news.[Read further…]
In the course of writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate computer virus threats, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that has since been commonly accepted as the world’s first computer virus. What Wikipedia and the rest of the internet will tell you is that Creeper was created to “infect” computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet, the predecessor to the internet. It would cause the machine to print “I’M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.” Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from the machines it had “infected”– so all at once, the first virus (more accurately a worm, if that) and the first helpful worm were created. However, I’m beginning to think journalistic sensationalism has turned Creeper into something it’s not, especially by today’s standards– that is, malware. Regardless, this was all still interesting.
I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance? Should it really be considered the first virus? So I found contact information for Ray Tomlinson, asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper, and he very kindly obliged. Below is an email Q&A session with Ray himself, and I think the details he reveals about this piece of history are very interesting and enlightening; they also cast it in an entirely different light. Also, Ray sent me a link before I asked him my questions that contained the best information I could thus far find online; this information helped me form some of these questions in a better way as it helped me realize that Creeper wasn’t a malevolent or even jovial practical joke as it is sometimes painted. The link he sent is available here.
I happened to lose the five-digit code for a SentrySafe (model KSW0510) that we had bought. Looking up the company’s website let me know that I could get the factory default combination from them again with a notarized form proving that I am who I say I am as well as $30. I knew of a couple of other things on which I could spend that $30, and I knew that the safe’s electronics were likely rather simple, so I opted to take the funner way out and use my programming and electronics prowess to crack the combination myself. This post outlines in good detail how I cracked the combination using a brute-force combination cracker I programmed in Python that interfaced with the safe using a Raspberry Pi. If you’re not very tech-savvy and just want to see the safe cracker in action, click here to skip ahead to the video of the finished product.
An essay written to appease the general education requirements of the BS in IT Software degree at Western Governors University. Luckily for me, I enjoy writing, and especially about archaic technology. Needless to say, the essay passed the requirements with flying colors, and it’s likely that we have one new telegrapher joining the ranks.
Some larger businesses have machines and switches running on 10Gbps networks– CAT 7 or fiber cable and some expensive switches and NICs are all you need, after all. Well, that’s a little beyond my budget (and needs, for that matter), but I’d settle for 2Gbps on my Synology DiskStation web/file/media/&tc. server.[Read further…]
All ISPs are evil. Finding the least evil ISP is the trick. It’s the same principle as picking a new president or congressman or choosing a cell phone service. You need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of all the available connections in the area where you live, find out the promotional and regular-after-12-month price for the tier you’re looking for, check for hidden fees they don’t tell you about until later, consult your own past experience, read reviews from others in the area, and just hope and pray you actually get what you’re paying for. It’s half research and half luck, to be quite honest: your next door neighbor may absolutely abhor his Comcast service for extremely justifiable reasons, but you may be extremely happy with what you’ve got because your service and experience have been completely different than his.[Read further…]