Blinkenlights’ Stereoscope goes live in Toronto

We’re happy to present this guest post from History Hacker’s [Bre Pettis]. Today [Bre] catches up with the Blinkenlights team, who turn entire buildings into displays. Their current project is Stereoscope which goes live in Toronto, Canada today.

Earlier this week, I posted about the beginnings of the blinkenlights project. It started in 2001 in Berlin, but now Seven years later, in May 2008, blinkenlights is back. The City of Toronto asked the blinkenlights team if they would be interested in joining another Nuit Blanche (as they did in Paris in 2002). Short on time and with a lot of ambition, they decided to redesign and push the envelope on the project to make it wireless for The Toronto City Hall since there would be 960 windows split up in two towers. In the above photo, you can see Stereoscope in all its glory. Continue reading “Blinkenlights’ Stereoscope goes live in Toronto”

Avoiding OS fingerprinting in Windows

[Irongeek] has been working on changing the OS fingerprint of his Windows box. Common network tools like Nmap, P0f, Ettercap, and NetworkMiner can determine what operating system is being run by the behavior of the TCP/IP stack. By changing this behavior, you can make your system appear to be another OS. [Irongeek] started writing his own tool by checking the source of Security Cloak to find out what registry keys needed to be changed. His OSfuscate tool lets you define your own .os fingerprint file. You can pretend to be any number of different systems from IRIX to Dreamcast. Unfortunately this only works for TCP/IP. Other methods, like Satori‘s DHCP based fingerprinting, still work and need to be bypassed by other means. Yes, this is just “security through obscurity”, but it is something fun to play with.

Another IKEA linux cluster

In a bit of serendipity, reader [Tim Molter] had decided on the IKEA Helmer cabinet for his new cluster right before seeing the previous IKEA cluster we covered. He and his coding partner recently completed building their own version of the IKEA Linux cluster. The cabinet was $30 and holds six headless boxes. Each board has a quad-core AMD processor for a total of 24 cores. They also feature 1GB of RAM and an 80GB laptop SATA drive. The latter was chosen because of space limitations in the case. [Tim] describes the Helmer cabinet as being almost perfect. The power supply lines up with the top edge of the drawer and the motherboard fits with a millimeter to spare. Power buttons were added to the front plus slots for airflow. It looks like a really clean installation and at $2550, incredibly cheap for the processing power.

Space tech helps athlete attain world record

German athlete [Wojtek Czyz] set a new world record for the long jump at the Paralympics 2008 in Beijing, with the aid of his space tech enhanced prosthetic leg. He jumped a record 6.5 meters, 27 centimeters more than the previous record. Prior to switching to his new prosthetic leg for athletic competitions, he was prone to breaking the prosthesis when he performed to the best of his abilities. [Czyz] and his trainer met with ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) technology broker MST Aerospace to assess the most important parts of the prosthesis. According to [Dr. Werner Dupont], MST Aerospace Managing Director, the crucial element was the connection angle, or L-bracket. Working with German company ISATEC, they developed a new L-bracket using a much lighter and stronger material from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is an instrument that will be installed on the ISS to study extraterrestrial matter. We find it interesting and pretty cool that space technology can help enhance a disabled athlete’s performance, and think that this could lead to interesting possibilities, even for those who aren’t athletes.

[via Boing Boing]

Techspansion closes it’s doors

Techspansion, creators of the popular media conversion programs VisualHub and AudialHub, have called it quits. Company founder [Tyler Loch] explains that the decision to stop the development of these popular Mac based utilities was due to personal reasons.

Unlike the numerous media converters available for Windows based computers, there are only a handful of good media conversion applications on the Mac and Techspansion’s applications were some of the best.

VisualHub makes it easy to convert one video format to another, while AudialHub does the same for audio files. We found AudialHub very useful when converting WMA files for import into iTunes as the Mac version of iTunes does not have the ability to convert WMA files like its Windows counterpart.

Registered users who don’t have a copy of the latest build will find direct download links removed from the Techspansion website. All is not lost as one very enthusiastic individual has made the downloads available at The Pirate Bay.

Xbox 360 battery pack teardown

Reader, [Fox9p3400], opened up an Xbox 360 controller battery pack so we could all see what goes into one. It contains two Sanyo 2100mAh NiMH AA rechargeables (Model HR-3U 1.2V). In addition to that, there is an Atmel microcontroller (not pictured) and the copper temperature probe you can see above. He has more pictures on Photobucket.