Homemade Tube Screamer clone


[jonboytang] documented his construction of a clone of the famous Tube Screamer overdrive pedal from a set of plans found at tonepad. The tonepad site says you can use the plans to build either a TS-9 or a TS-808, both of which have been classic staples in every guitar player’s setup since the 70s. Although the old parts are no longer available, these new variants still have a really nice sound.

This project is really just a look into [jonboytang]‘s etching and enclosure building process, but it may be useful for someone. The build and the circuit look really simple so this would be a great project for guitar players looking to learn how to etch their own PCBs. If you need more information on etching, we would suggest starting out by reading our How-To on etching single sided PCBs. If you are lazy and would rather spend a little money, check out tonepad’s online store. They have a board for this project and many others.

Burning in the Siftables


[Curiouslee] put up some pictures of his Siftables burn in. He got them in the mail with all their accessories and decided to make a special box to carry it all. He started with an ArtBin parts box and cut out dividers where necessary to make everything fit nice and tidy.

The Siftables are quite interesting. They are an information interface that is supposed to be more physical and natural. The analogy they use is a container of nuts and bolts can be sifted through quite easily using your hands. They envision us being able to sift through data similarly. They also mention that it could be used as a gestural interface as well.

[Read more...]

RGB monome clone


[Julien Bayle] has posted this great breakdown of building an RGB monome clone. He is a musical performer using Ableton Live. He wanted to do away with the need for a computer screen and found that the monome would have been perfect had it been RGB. So he decided to build his own.

The parts list for the entire project is as follows:

  • 1x Arduino board
  • 4x Sparkfun breakout PCB
  • 4x Sparkfun buttons pads (like our door lock)
  • 4x Sparkfun buttons bezel
  • 64x RGB LEDs common cathode
  • 64x Diodes Small Signal (1N4148)
  • 1x MAX7221 (LED Driver)
  • 1x 74HC164 (8-Bit Serial-In, Parallel-Out Shift Register)
  • 1x 74HC165 (8-Bit Parallel-In, Serial-Out Shift Register)

He also has files for the schematics and source code as well as information on how to assemble and test it.

The RGB aspect is still under development. He is using the LEDMatrix-Serial Interface-RGB from Sparkfun Electronics to run it. It is expensive, but is exactly what he was looking for.

There aren’t very many pictures of the project, and none of the working RGB unit. He makes up for it in sheer information. Many parts have links to manufacturers or support forums. Hopefully he’ll post some pictures and video of the final product soon.

Arduino Tux plant care


Some of us need a little help keeping our green leafy friends happy. The Arduino Tux (translated) plant care system was built to make things a little easier.

The author had a broken tux toy laying around and wanted to do something fun with it. He cut a hole in the front to mount an LED matrix and connected it all to an Arduino. A couple of metal rods serve as a resistivity sensor in the plant’s dirt.

When you water the plant, tux flashes some hearts and a smiley face. As the moisture drops, tux gets less happy with the end result being a big frown.

These are the same people who brought you the Arduino Photolab.

[via Hack a Day Flickr Pool]

Black Hat 2008: NIC based rootkit


While Black Hat and Defcon have both concluded, we’re going to post a few more talks that we think deserve attention. [Sherri Sparks] and [Shawn Embleton] from Clear Hat presented Deeper Door, exploiting the NIC chipset. Windows machines use NDIS, the Network Driver Interface Specification, to communicate between the OS and the actual NIC. NDIS is an API that lets programmers talk to network hardware in a general fashion. Most firewalls and intrusion detection systems monitor packets at the NDIS level. The team took a novel approach to bypassing machine security by hooking directly to the network card, below the NDIS level.

The team targeted the Intel 8255x chipset because of its open documentation and availability of compatible cards like the Intel PRO/100B. They found that sending data was very easy: Write a UDP packet to a specific memory address, check to make sure the card is idle, and then tell it to send. The receive side was slightly more difficult, because you have to intercept all inbound traffic and filter out the replies you want from the legitimate packets. Even though they were writing low level chipset specific code, they said it was much easier to implement than writing an NDIS driver. While a certainly a clever way to implement a covert channel, it will only bypass an IDS or firewall on the same host and not one on the network.

[photo: Big Fat Rat]

Russia vs Georgia, the online front


While we’re sure that just about everyone has heard about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, few have probably heard about the role of cyber attacks in the conflict. Shortly before Russia’s armed response, Georgian state web servers were attacked by individuals assumed to be Russian hackers. This attack almost completely obliterated Georgia’s online presence by shutting down the website for the Ministry of Defense, and the Central Government’s main site. The Russian attackers seem to be using some form of sustained DDoS to keep many Georgian sites offline. In an effort to preserve some web presence, the Georgian Government transferred [President Mikheil Saakashvili]‘s site to a US hosting provider in Atlanta. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs even created a BlogSpot page after their website initially went down. While politically motivated DDoS attacks have not been rare in past months, this seems to be the first time where the attacking party can be clearly identified. This seems to be the start of a trend where the unconventional methods of cyber warfare are used to gain an advantage over the enemy.

[photo: somefool]

Possible entrapment scenario in hacking case

[Brian Salcedo] made headlines a few years ago as a hacker who attempted to break into Lowe’s corporate network. He is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence, one of the longest sentences for a computer hacking offense. Recent events surrounding a different hacking case have revealed that the buyer he worked for, [Albert "Segvec" Gonzalez], was a Secret Service informant. [Salcedo] claims that were it not for [Gonzalez]‘s threats, he would not have committed the hacking offense. While the Secret Service may not have even been aware of [Gonzalez's] activity with other hackers, [Salcedo] could make a case of entrapment by arguing that [Gonzalez] threatened him as a government agent in order to make him plant the sniffer in Lowe’s network.