I made it to the nostalgia panel on saturday night. It was pretty amusing. Captain Crunch joined the panel along with Dan, dnm, grey and Damon. It was a bit of a popcorn affair puncuated by ascii art(pr0n), and assembly code. Captain Crunch was great. I know he was at Defcon, but I’ve been out of the cons for a while, so it was my first chance to hear him. He talked about how he got into phreaking, his first blue box and the blind kids that inspired his phone line adventures. (Today he’s got a $10 home phone line with an asterix box combined with voipstunt connection that gives him free calls legally.) A couple highlights from Captain Crunch: He wrote a little program and left it for Woz . The next day Steve was really ticked off at him. Woz used his program to set the apple phone board to call Jobs house over and over again. He scored the CIA crisis number that seemed to get Nixon on the line. He traded it and the group that he gave it to called up ‘Olympus’ and reported that they were out of toilet paper. Damon pulled out an apple scripted apple ][e emulator.
[12am] We hit the opening keynote by Cory Doctorow. He had some interesting things to say about patterns in eula agreements and the restriction of rights to enforce business models.
[Simple Nomad] followed up with his talk called ‘State of the Enemy State’ – his observations regarding government security, just how advanced real time encryption cracking probably is and predictions on some forthcoming laws and how they’ll affect the security industry. The most interesting one: encryption key escrow was enacted a couple weeks ago by Blair in the UK, and it’ll probably come to the US next.
The talk on the apple airport security flaw was canceled, so it was replaced by ‘lightning talks’. Think open mic night on the floor of a security conference. Johnny Cache opened it up with some observations about why the talk was canceled. He had to skirt around the issue to keep from getting in trouble, but he was definitely pissed.
There were a few others, but I’ll leave it there for now.
[Sprite_tm] sent in his latest project. It’s a cluster built from hacked Acer WT-300 windows CE terminals. The resulting speed wasn’t too impressive (10 200Mhz Geode cpus) but the road to get it done is interesting. He had to whip up a flash programmer to get the device to boot from ide devices. Then he added IDE headers and IDE Cf adapters.
I’m waiting for my ride on the first leg of my trip to Toorcon. I’ll be there along with Eliot and Fabienne. Dan Kaminsky will be there presenting, so we’ll be having a major HAD get together. My local (tiny) airport actualy has wireless, tables and power readily available. Security will love me – I’ve got my usual tools (soldering iron, wire strippers, meter, etc) in my checked bag. (This is amusing – the security guy is doing laps through the metal detector to dial it in.)
[UPDATE: Eliot] Toorcon is my favorite conference. Have a look at some of the neat stuff we saw last year.
[Dayne] sent in this sweet EV Jeep Cherokee conversion. It was built a while ago, but I couldn’t resist posting it, I dig jeeps. Post conversion it’s still got 4WD. The AX-15 isn’t that great of a transmission, but he re-used the original clutch to avoid shredding it. (I don’t need this sort of encouragement)
We don’t usually go for commercial products, but this one (try the Internet Archive version) caught my eye. This fan is actualy a subwoofer. The blades spin at a constant rate and the blades are servo actuated to produce sound from 0Hz(don’t look at me like that) up to 40Hz according to the spec. I don’t know if I’d want one too badly, it might be dangerous in the wrong hands.
The true test of the amateur astronomer is building their own telescope. Grinding and polishing your own mirrors is a long, arduous process. Instead of lapping the blank by hand, Laurie Hall built this mirror grinding machine from scratch. His site has notes covering his mirror creation machines and other projects.