A few years ago I went back to school to get a degree in a field I had already been working in for years. I know, genius right? I originally started this blog as a way to go over important ideas I was learning in said aforementioned, to wit, school. Since then I’ve long graduated, have not posted anything about school, and frankly have not posted much at all. So now, being the worlds laziest blogger, I thought I might post some of the papers I wrote in school. I might even add commentary and updates, but probably not.

So the first paper I’m going to post is my capstone project for my final IT security class, IT603: Overview of Information Security. I realize anyone working on a real CS degree will find this laughable, but I’m a phone guy who went into debt to get a degree that was outdated before I ever needed to use it, so what can I say?

edit: After posting I noticed that wierd things happened with my footnotes when I converted from docx to pdf. They’re still there, but spread across multiple pages. And I left out an apostrophe on attack’s. It really bugs me, but not enough to delete the pdf, edit it in the original docx, reconvert and reupload it.

SSL Vulnerabilities

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Stories

Posted: August 12, 2014 in Fiction
Tags: , ,

I haven’t posted any more stories because it has come to my attention that the company I work for has had people arrested for posting violent comments on social media. Apparently one of my co-workers was tackled by police when he came to work after making a comment about how much he hated his boss and that he wished said boss would come to a violent end. 

Writing violent workplace stories, about a guy who could be mistaken for me, might not be the best idea right now. Granted I’m not known for my good ideas, so I may restart them. 

I have an electronics work bench. Every electronics work bench must have three things at a minimum; a soldering iron, a multimeter, and an oscilloscope. Don’t ask me why, just accept it as gospel. I can understand the first two but it seems to me the third item might be a little superfluous for a minor hobbyist. Being an on again off again minor hobbyist I of course went and bought one last year. Now I didn’t get anything super fancy, they can run into the tens of thousands of dollars after all. I bought the relatively sanely priced Rigol DS1102E after seeing a few videos about them over at the EEVBlog. I went ahead and just spent the few extra bucks for the 100MHz one instead of doing the hack, you never know when a firmware upgrade is going to make the hack obsolete. 

Apparently when you have an oscilloscope you need a function generator also. It’s another one of those arcane items that go on your bench to add ambiance. Some people use it to send signals to their oscilloscope too but since I have no idea what I’m doing I just wanted more buttons and lights. You can get a used one on Ebay for fairly cheap but I haven’t done any projects for awhile so I decided to build one from a kit. I went with the one from Jyetech, the model FG085. It seems to have a lot of features for the price, good reviews on Amazon, and will allow me to actually build some of my own test equipment. 

The parts just came in a Ziploc style bag inside a padded envelope, which seems to have been the biggest concern in the comments I read. I guess it was fairly common to have the surface mount inductor, that was pre-soldered to the PCB, break off. As far as I can tell all of the parts on mine seem to be intact. 

The instructions aren’t the easiest to read because of their size but you can view them in the Jyetech web site so I just put them on iPad and I can zoom in to whatever panel I want.

Instructions and Bag O’Parts.

As you can see it’s not the fanciest of enclosures but who needs another beige box

Once again I didn’t think about making this a blog post until after I started so I only had my phone camera with me.

I’ve got my tools ready. My Aoyue 937+ bit the dust when I moved. It still turns on but the base sometimes doesn’t recognize that an iron is plugged in so it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. I used this as an excuse to buy me a Hakko FX-888D

New Hakko

I was able to get the first few components installed without too much hassle, though I’ll admit that USB port got a little hot to the touch when I was soldering it. I probably should have switched to a smaller tip. I think it’s got a 1.6 on there now. I think I’ll switch it out for a 1.2. Luckily for me my old Aoyue and the Hakko use the same tips so I have a pretty good selection. The 1.6 was fine for everything but the USB though. The USB mini has some pretty small pins.

Mini USB

Through step 4

I told myself i wasn’t going to do a whole lot with it tonight. Just the first panel of instructions, steps 1-5. I even tested the caps with my one other piece of DIY test gear, my Blue ESR meter.

I got carried away and decided to do the second block, which was adding the LCD screen.

LCD

Probably should have just gone to bed.

oops

Looks like I’ll be breaking out the ol’ de-soldering iron. I was really hoping to avoid that for once. That’ll have to wait for next time though because on that note I’m calling it a night.

I’ve always thought I was the king at breaking things. Then my daughter came into her teenage years. She breaks stuff with out even touching it, just ask her. 

#1 Daughter – “Daddy my X is broke. Could you please fix it?”

Ever suffering sire – “How did you break it?”

#1 Daughter – “I don’t know. I wasn’t even touching it. It worked fine when I went to sleep but was broken when I got up.”

Now when I break something I generally know what happened. I’m hard on stuff. If I can drop from three stories and still work (albeit a few days later), I expect my equipment to be able to do the same. I break a lot of stuff. I can’t tell you how many hard drives I’ve gone through in my ruggedized Panasonic CF30

But apparently my daughter can do the same damage without even coming into contact. Recently she came to me with her phone and told me the power button was broke, and asked if I could fix it. Once again the gadget gremlins had struck during the night. “It was fine when I went to bed, but not working when I got up.” “I rarely even use the button, and I always have the case on.”

Some how my wife and I have never managed to even scratch our phones, and I’m no easier on my phone than I am on anything else.I drop it several times a day, never even cracked the case. My daughter has gone through two backs and now a power button. My nieces phones and other iDevices all have cracked screens. I don’t get it.

I was hoping it would just be a stuck button or misaligned spring. I took the back off, cracked once again, and tried to pry the button up. No such luck. After randomly taking out a few screws, and getting nowhere, I thought I’d better get some help. Thanks to the wonderful guide over at ifixit.com I was able to take the phone down to its constituent parts with out breaking anything. Of course after going through the hassle and headache of taking the thing apart, the button was just fine. There’s nothing that can really go wrong with it, it’s just a stud. The actual button is an almost microscopic drop on a tiny little flat cable, so I had to put everything back together until we can order the part. Amazingly it actually all went back together, and I only dropped one of those nano scale screws on the floor twice.

The look on my daughters face when she saw the phone scattered in a million pieces over the kitchen island almost made the hassle worth it though.

Sorry, I hadn’t planned on making this a blog post so I didn’t take a lot of pictures.

Tiny screws everywhere!

 

A Good Read

Posted: July 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

I just finished listening to the Audible version of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. If you are at all interested in the history of telephony, or even much of modern technology, I highly recommend this narrative. The book doesn’t focus so much on the technical aspects, but rather on the human ones. The stories of the technologies that we take for granted today are told via the people that drove them.

Things I learned:

  • Under the heading Never Meet Your Heroes: William Shockley was a complete ass.

         It seems his ego was even too great for a building full of Nobel Prize winners.

  • It was a very good idea to know, and impress, Robert Millikan.

         Pretty much everybody who was anybody in the early communication field, in some way or            another, owes some of their success to a word or suggestion from him.

  • Along a similar vein, eating lunch with Harry Nyquist was good for your career

         The greatest common denominator between patent awardees at Bell Labs is that they had            lunch with Nyquist on occasion.

  • Claude Shannon probably devoted more time and energy to developing scientific papers about juggling than he ever did information theory.

         Where would the field of juggling uni-cyclists be now if he had actually published any of his            work?

Further Reading:

http://www.wired.com/2012/04/the-idea-factory-bell-labs/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Idea-Factory-American-Innovation/dp/0143122797

Tour de Cure

I’m getting read for my third Tour. I’d love to have you come join Team Red, or donate to the effort to find a cure for diabetes.

Image  —  Posted: May 4, 2014 in Diabetes
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There are times when my characters will be cussing. They may be cussing a lot. I’ve been known to cuss like a drunken sailor who stubbed his ingrown toe nail after a week long bender. Words are just groups of phonemes that have been assigned meaning by us over time. Outside of Dune I don’t think the utterance of a specific sound, or group of sounds, has ever directly brought irreparable harm to anyone.

If we think about it ‘cuss‘ is just a modification of the word curse. A curse is ‘a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one’ (Merriam-Webster). The word profanity derives from profane; the act of treating something sacred with abuse. Both of these words describe an act. My thought then is that one arbitrary grouping of sounds should mean no more than any other arbitrary grouping. There should be no difference between /f/ /u/ /k/ and /f/ /u/ /ng/ /k/, after all three of the phonemes are the same. So why should we prefer the word funk to fuck? Both have their places. What we should have a problem with is intent. Remember that definition of curse?

When I, or my characters, curse we don’t intend harm to anyone (unless I’m voicing a bad guy). For me ‘bad words’ are just another tool in my descriptive language tool box. What I find offensive is that someone would wish harm or injury on another person. Somehow the phrase “fuck this fucking shit” has been seen as more taboo than telling young children that they will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for simply uttering that phrase. Or, Cthulhu forbid, they dare to have the audacity to love someone that bothers you. If that isn’t wishing harm on someone, I don’t know what is.  Often the same people who have a problem with the word ‘fuck’ see absolutely nothing wrong ‘God hates X’. Personally I find the word ‘hate’ to be way worse than any curse word I’ve ever heard.

If you still can’t deal with it blame my mother. I could cuss in four different languages before I could do subtraction.