ShmooCon 2009: Chris Paget’s RFID cloning talk

When we first saw [Chris Paget]‘s cloning video, our reaction was pretty ‘meh’. We’d seen RFID cloning before and the Mifare crack was probably the last time RFID was actually interesting. His ShmooCon presentation, embedded above, caught us completely off-guard. It’s very informative; we highly recommend it.

The hardest part about selling this talk is that it has to use two overloaded words: ‘RFID’ and ‘passport’. The Passport Card, which is part the the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), is not like the passport book that you’re familiar with. It has the form factor of a driver’s license and can only be used for land and sea travel between the USA, Canada, the Caribbean region, Bermuda, and Mexico. They’ve only started issuing them this year.

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Pirate Bay trial starts

piratebay

The first day of The Pirate Bay’s trial has concluded. The prosecution, representing many large media companies, is attempting to prove that the defendants are directly responsible for copyright infringement. The members of The Pirate Bay are treating the trial as a reality TV farce. From TorrentFreak’s coverage, it sounds like it’s off to a great start: “For several minutes, listeners of the live audio could hear mouse-clicks as Roswall [the prosecutor -Ed.], who earlier claimed to be an expert on computer crimes, tried to get his PowerPoint presentation on the screen.”

[via Waxy]

Solar batteries

solarbatt

[Knut Karlsen] put together a prototype set of solar rechargeable batteries. He always seemed to have batteries laying around on his worktable and figured they might as well be charging. The flexible solar cells were given to him by researchers at the IFE and are rated at 1.8V. He used superglue to secure them to the C cells. A silver conductive pen plus flat wires from a Canon lens connect the solar cells to the battery terminals. The batteries just trickle charge for now, but he’s going to try to build cells with built in charge controllers in the future.

Molten metal LED display

firstly, we don’t know why they are doing this, and we don’t care. You are watching an LED panel, controlled by molten metal. The panel has the leads sticking down below the bottom of the board, so the metal can make connections as it flows past. They are using Wood’s metal, not mercury so it has to be heated to about 159 degrees Fahrenheit to be fluid. This has been representing problems as the metal tends to stick to whatever container he is holding it in. That actually seems to be what most of the writeup and discussion are about, rather than, what it will be used for.

[Thanks Andre]

Parts: I2C audio volume potentiometer (DS1807)

ds1807ii

The DS1807 contains two logarithmic digital potentiometers (pots) for audio volume adjustment. Each pot has 64 volume levels plus a mute setting. The volume level of each pot is set over a two-wire I2C serial interface. We’ll show you how to connect and interface the DS1807 below.

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VHS toaster

vhs-toaster

Though the inspiration was said to have come from a clip of The Young Ones, we all know this was bound to happen eventually. [lemonie] has turned a VHS deck into a toaster. They’ve done a fantastic job, it looks almost perfectly stock. We can imagine that maintaining the look of the VCR was pretty difficult especially getting everything to line up correctly. Finally, we have a use for our old VHS deck. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

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