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thank you for calling your local bofh, what did you break this time?

thank you for calling your local bofh, what did you break this time? published on No Comments on thank you for calling your local bofh, what did you break this time?

So, BOFH is shorthand for Bastard Operator From Hell. It’s a series written and published via El Reg.
A true BOFH should be a master at not only scripting languages, systems administration, and troubleshooting, but also bullshitting people into seemingly self-inspired avoidance of the IT guy.
Continue reading thank you for calling your local bofh, what did you break this time?

eat a steaming bag of fetid trouser-appendages

eat a steaming bag of fetid trouser-appendages published on No Comments on eat a steaming bag of fetid trouser-appendages

Dear Microsoft,

Kindly eat a steaming bag of fetid trouser-snakes.

There is no good reason for an email client to spawn (erroneously) a browser unprovoked. Further, it fails to do so, only causing an APPCRASH.

Fix your duct-tape ware, you’re risking what little hold you still have on the majority market share… You simple-minded, beta-releasing fuckbuckets.

-Signed
One very annoyed systems administrator.

seriously? (edited)

seriously? (edited) published on No Comments on seriously? (edited)

AT&T router vulnerabilities

Sorry for the short post today, I’m flying home around lunchtime. This article that I stumbled on via YNC blew my mind.

And here I thought TWC had dropped the ball by making their WPA keys out of BSSID and a few characters of garbage.

Turns out, AT&T wants to be the next Deutsch Telecom more than TWC.

L U L Z

Continue reading seriously? (edited)

updat… no, upgrad…. no… ‘news’?

updat… no, upgrad…. no… ‘news’? published on No Comments on updat… no, upgrad…. no… ‘news’?

Quick upda… no… a bit of news, both personal and not.

I’m traveling this weekend for work, posting from the hotel wifi (ugh). Just me, the macbook of doom, and for some bizarre reason a double hotel room.
Continue reading updat… no, upgrad…. no… ‘news’?

rub some salt in that

rub some salt in that published on No Comments on rub some salt in that

So Rust is a pretty great game. Fully addicting with tons of replay value. If you haven’t tried it, the best description I can give is “Naked & Afraid: The Home Game”.

You start naked, half-starved, with a rock and a torch. Not a flashlight, a proper stick wrapped in oil-slicked burlap.

If you join any one of the majority of servers, you’ll likely experience a short and startling existence. Someone will bludgeon you to death with their rock, or someone who managed to survive long enough will shoot you full of holes. Maybe you’ll get to run around and gather enough wood to make a campfire… Until a bear charges your camp around 2am and eats you. Perhaps you’ll even get to spear a boar, right before it gores you to death with its tusks.
Continue reading rub some salt in that

stem, steam, it’s all just teaching kids math.

stem, steam, it’s all just teaching kids math. published on No Comments on stem, steam, it’s all just teaching kids math.

If you tell a kid, time for “math” they’ll probably groan unless they’re a bit of an “odd duck”. Math, traditionally, has been viewed by schoolchildren as boring, tedious, and often difficult to understand. STEM, now STEAM educational materials now provide the ability to convey the concepts of mathematics in a tangible way. The seemingly ubiquitous raspberry pi is partially responsible for this explosion in education related to technology. One such example of this is Kano OS.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kano. It’s a great platform for the ~5 year olds that want a computer. Less than $200 in a branded kit, or around the same price to build your own. It’s a Raspberry Pi with a custom linux build that “kidifies” the whole look and feel. It does more than just make everything pretty, though… They’ve included “HACK/Minecraft” an educational version of the game, art tools, an adventure game that teaches the layout of a raspberry pi, and more.

What do you do when the same kid turns 8, two years into having a Kano computer? “I’m boooored. My computer locked up again”… You could schlop a Raspbian desktop imaged SD into the thing, sure. You could put Minibian on it if the kid is really interested in making it theirs, and you have the time to help them with EVERY step. Keep in mind, kids under about 10 in the U.S. usually don’t quite grasp “I could google that.”.

What I did was the hard part for them ahead of time. Minibian is the lighter version of Debian for Raspberry Pi. Almost exactly like a Debian minimal install, it doesn’t even include the firmware for bluetooth by default. But, it does have apt-get and the Raspbian repositories.

Here’s a very brief rundown of my method:

Minibian – boot to console with no network attached
Change root password, create sudoer (me) and user (kid) account
Attach network
apt-get update; apt-get upgrade -y
Reboot.

Install packages as desired:
xOrg
FluxBox
minetest (it’s in the repos, and runs ok on a rpi3)
browser of your choosing
other games, educational apps, etc

Now, FluxBox is the one package I want to touch on to finish this up. It is a Window-Manager. You see, Linux doesn’t have a GUI by default, like Windows does. Instead, we run X on top of our perfectly-fine-without-it OS. X comes in a couple of flavors, but it’s the part that gives you a Graphical Interface. The Window-Manager makes that interface pretty, by giving you menus and such. Window-Managers vary, but FluxBox is one of the smaller ones. I’ve tried running Raspbian desktop as it comes; it locks up, chokes for CPU, chokes for I/O throughput, and applications hang when given to a child or other poorly behaved user.

Smaller in this context means less memory utilization, less storage for the window-manager software itself, and less headache. The menu system for it is entirely plaintext, the layout and theme styling is as well. So much of this window-manager is plaintext that you can spend a great deal of time fine-tuning everything to suit your tastes. Should it fail to composite things correctly after an application closes, there’s a menu item (scriptable btw) that cleans it all up for you. Even tidies up the handles on windows that are still attached to running processes.

The end result is a raspberry Pi computer with:
a pretty, clean GUI
kid-friendly menu system
parental monitoring
games
educational software
shortcuts to common web/cloud things.

rc stunt car

rc stunt car published on No Comments on rc stunt car

I’ve begun designing and 3D printing a RC stunt car. RC racing as a hobby supports many classes, including buggies, trucks, and aircraft. While these are just a few of the categories of RC racing you can participate in, there is one that I have enjoyed since I was young. Stunt driving involves driving your car through loops, over jumps, intentionally performing rollovers, wheelies, and other death-defying feats.

RC permits us to perform these stunts without any of the risk to life and limb. However RC is an expensive hobby to participate in. Many kits range in the hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars. Bear in mind that a kit will be little more than a box full of plastic and metal parts requiring the user to assemble and tune their own machine from the ground up.

3D printing permits us to rapidly iterate a design while evaluating individual design characteristics and adjusting for them with a rapid turnaround. Considering this, the next logical thought is to 3D print an RC car from scratch.

I am currently bootstrapping one such vehicle. The plant layout is an independent lower a-arm with camber link front suspension, combined with a trailing arm live axle rear suspension. This will permit most suspension adjustments to be performed on the front of the car while the rear is primarily providing forward motion. For the application of a stunt vehicle this layout permits adjustment for a variety of intended stunts and surfaces. Additionally an open layout bootstrapped with a given purpose in mind, such as stunt driving, gives the flexibility Of ensuring that the platform is perfectly suited to its intended purpose.

At one point in my youth, I purchased a Bolink “Digger” car. This overly simplistic RC car chassis is little more than two plates of carbon fiber with spacers to stand them in a ladder chassis configuration. With a rigid rear axle and minimal front suspension the vehicle was very susceptible to rollovers, and wheelies. The chassis was also nigh-indestructible. Add the included Volkswagen Beetle body and you have a car that is nothing but laughs. That is my ultimate goal with this project… an RC car that is nothing but laughs.

And now I leave you with a short video of me ranting about the benefits of rapid prototyping.