Playstation Network breached, no end to downtime in sight

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If you are not a gamer, or simply a casual player, you may not have heard about the recent breach of Sony’s Playstation Network. In short, the network was infiltrated on April 17th, and the service was completely shut down on the 19th as a precautionary measure. Now, more than a week later services have yet to be restored, but Sony is finally starting to talk a bit more about what happened.

At this point, nobody knows the total extent of the data stolen, but stories are emerging that indicate just about everything that could be accessed was accessed. Sony admits that information such as names, addresses, passwords, and security questions have all been accessed by an unauthorized third party. They have also not completely ruled out the possibility that credit card data has been stolen as well.

It seems the situation has turned from a mere inconvenience to PSN users into a full-blown security and PR nightmare. After a breach like this with so many questions left unanswered, and the gaming network rendered completely useless, we have to ask:

When everything is “fixed” and back to normal, what could Sony possibly do to regain your trust?

Be lazy, and get somewhere at the same time

Cruise the beach in comfortable Jamaican style with this motorized hammock. [Stephen Shaffer] and his friends built it for the Red Bull Creation contest which has as its number one requirement, the need to include an Arduino. We’re basically looking at a hammock frame made out of square pipe that has been put on wheels. Watch the video after the break to see the prototyping, construction, and final product. Looks like originally the electric wheelchair base that’s used for propulsion was centered below the hammock. One sharp turn and the rider/operator gets dumped out on the concrete.

The final version includes a couple of wheels that serve as outriggers, keeping the vehicle upright. A PlayStation 2 controller is used for steering and directional control. It’s polled by the Arduino, which then uses servo motors to control the original wheelchair joystick. At least that’s what we were able to figure out by watching the video.

[Read more...]

Data scraping and visualization with Python

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[Greg] built himself a small indicator dial with his laser cutter, and wanted to use it for visualizing server performance and load information. Before he started using it for server monitoring however, he thought he should test out his data parsing skills on a simpler data set.

Pachube has a wealth of information that can be freely used for whatever project you might have in mind, so [Greg] started looking around for something interesting to track. Eventually he located the data feed for a tanker ship and wired his dial to display the ship’s speed. He uses a Python script to interface with the Pachube API, which is fed to his Netduino board. A servo motor then changes the position of the dial based on the feed’s data. Since large tankers don’t change speed often, the experiment was a bit of a letdown. He searched for a bit and tuned into another feed that tracked wind speed in New Zealand, getting much better results.

His future plans include hooking it directly to his network and eventually using it to monitor his servers…at least once the novelty of tracking random data feeds wears off.

All of his code is available on GitHub, and he is happy to make a gauge for anyone who is interested, though he doesn’t currently list a price.

Server room light and temperature monitoring

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[Jaren] is occasionally forgetful, and frequently wonders if he’s left the lights on in his server room. Not knowing if the lights have been left on drives him nuts until he returns to work the next morning, so he decided he had to do something. He figured it would be easy enough to build a small sensor that would allow him to monitor the status of the overhead lights, but he didn’t want to have his micro controller’s abilities go to waste by performing one simple task. Instead, he laid out plans to add an array of other sensors which will allow him to monitor the room’s temperature, sound levels, as well as the current draw of the servers.

Right now the project is in the beginning stages, but he already has part of his sensor network established. He hooked up a TMP421-based temperature module along with a TEMT6000 ambient light sensor to his Arduino, which displays the data on a small LCD screen he purchased. More sensors are on order, so we should expect to see more progress in the coming weeks.

Hopefully when everything is completed we will see a full set of schematics and code so that anyone can buld their own server room monitoring network from his designs.

DIY lightbox repurposes useless scanner

[James] didn’t like losing detail when scanning in photographic negatives, so he repurposed an old scanner and turned it into a lightbox.

The Flickr set of the build shows [James] installing a compact fluorescent bulb in the body of the scanner. Aluminum foil reflects the light, and the scanner glass is painted white for diffusion. [James] is quite happy with the result, and is amazed by the detail seen in the negatives under magnification instead of scanning.

We’re trying to figure out [James]‘s though process in deciding to build a light box, and the best we can come up with is the hackaday mantra of, “Of course I can do that myself.” Even though he seems happy with his project, we’re wondering how hackaday readers would improve it. Maybe several dozen red, green, and blue LEDs to adjust the color temperature? Post your ideas in the comments.

Motion Controlled Reddit Vote Sign.


A little while back I attended the largest east coast gathering of folks from the ever popular social news site, Reddit.com. Those of you familiar with Reddit already know that it is all about link aggregation. Users post links to interesting websites and material, and can then vote up or vote down content based on interest or relevance. Through the magical site algorithms original and interesting content is, as implied, aggregated up to the front page.  The whimsical nature of this big DC event lead many people to furnish signs of all types based on the culture of the site, internet memes, etc… The signs that really caught my attention were based primarily on the stylistic site layout, blowing up mail icons and other Reddit specific graphics.

The concept of using site graphics gave me the idea of being able to personally vote up or down other peoples’ signs. It was far too easy to just make a cardboard arrow, and I don’t have a color printer. I happened to have a shelved coffee table project involving orange and blue LEDs. Same colors as the arrows! Sweet. To make this project work I would have to work entirely from my project pile, there simply was no time to order anything from the internet. I managed to crank out a functional up/down voting sign in 3 days leading up to the gathering (and the morning of), here is what I did:

[Read more...]

Google’s secret perk? A private hackerspace

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Working for Google has always had many perks, and most of them are pretty well known. Google employees enjoy free food, on-site workout facilities, and one free day a week to work on whatever they like – but you knew that already. One Google perk however, has been kept pretty quiet until just recently.

Google has provided a hackerspace on their campus for about four years now, which is open to any employee that meets some pretty strict requirements. A written test is given before an employee can access the facilities, and even then they must be deemed worthy of working on particular pieces of equipment.

The idea behind the hackerspace was to help Google stay rooted in the philosophy that, “all good things start in the garage”. While a lot of the employees embark on fun personal projects, several pieces of familiar Google technology were born in the workshop. For instance, the Google Streetview “trikes” were created there, along with a few smartphone prototypes, autonomous car components, and even some secret projects Google declines to speak about at the moment.

It’s an unbelievably cool job perk, and we would be lying if we said we weren’t jealous. For now, we will just have to be happy with stale coffee from the break room.

[via the Adafruit Blog]

[Image via AP]

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