The Problem with Software Defined Radio

There’s a problem with software defined radio. It’s not that everyone needs to re-learn what TEMPEST shielding is, and it’s not that Bluetooth is horribly broken. SDR’s biggest problem is one of bandwidth and processing. With a simple USB TV Tuner, you can listen in on aircraft, grab Landsat images from hundreds of miles up, or sniff the low-power radios used in Internet of Things things. What you can’t do is make your own WiFi adapter, and you can’t create your own LTE wireless network. This is simply a problem of getting bits from the air to a computer for processing.

At HOPE last weekend, the folks behind the very capable LimeSDR and a new company working with Lime’s hardware laid out the possibilities of what software defined radio can do if you make a link to a computer very fast, and add some processing on the SDR itself.

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Yes, You Should be Hacking Your Car’s Data System

If you own a car, I would wager it’s the most complex device you own. Within you find locomotion, safety systems, and an entertainment system that may be using technology from several decades ago (but that’s a rant for a different article). Jalopy or Sweet Hotness, your ride has an underlying data network that is a ton of fun to hack, and something of a security dinosaur. Both were discussed by Craig Smith and Erik Evenchick during their talk on Car Hacking tools at Hope XI.

You should recognize both of these names. Eric Evenchick is a Hackaday contributor who has been traveling the world presenting talks and workshops on his open source car hacking hardware called CANtact. Craig Smith is founder of OpenGarages and author of the Car Hacker’s Handbook which we highly recommend. The pair made a great joint presentation; both were charismatic, using wit to navigate through the hardware, software, techniques, and goals you want to have in mind to jump into car hacking.

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Hackaday Links: July 24, 2016

Right now HOPE is dying down, and most of the Hackaday crew will be filtering out of NYC. It was a great weekend. The first weekend in August will be even better. We’re going to DEF CON, we’ll have people at VCF West, and a contingent at EMF Camp. If you’re going to EMF Camp, drop a line here. There will be Hackaday peeps wandering around a field in England, so if you see someone flying the Hackaday or Tindie flag, stop and say hi.

Raspberry Pi’s stuffed into things? Not all of them are terrible. The Apple Extended keyboard is possibly the best keyboard Apple ever produced. It’s mechanical (Alps), the layout is almost completely modern, and they’re actually cheap for something that compares well to a Model M. There’s also enough space inside the plastic to fit a Pi and still have enough room left over for holes for the Ethernet and USB ports. [ezrahilyer] plopped a Pi in this old keyboard, and the results look great. Thanks [Burkistana] for sending this one in.

We’ve been chronicling [Arsenijs] Raspberry Pi project for months now, but this is big news. The Raspberry Pi project has cracked 10k views on, and is well on track to be the most popular project of all time, on any platform. Congrats, [Arsenijs]; it couldn’t happen to a better project.

A few months ago, [Sébastien] released SLAcer.js, a slicer for resin printers that works in the browser. You can’t test a slicer without a printer, so for the last few months, [Sébastien] has been building his own resin printer. He’s looking for beta testers. If you have experience with resin printers, this could be a very cool (and very cheap) build.

Anyone going to DEF CON? For reasons unknown to me, I’m arriving in Vegas at nine in the morning on Wednesday. This means I have a day to kill in Vegas. I was thinking about a Hackaday meetup at the grave of James T. Kirk on Veridian III. It’s about an hour north of Vegas in the Valley of Fire State Park. Yes, driving out to the middle of the desert in August is a great idea. If anyone likes this idea, leave a note in the comments and I’ll organize something.

HOPE X: Commodore 64’s Are Back, Baby


Maybe they weren’t really ever gone but even so Commodore enthusiast [ALWYZ] is here at HOPE X spreading re-awareness of the Commodore 64 and that there is still a community of Commodore fans out there who have been up to some pretty cool projects.

One of those projects is a Quantum Link-esque service called Q-Link Reloaded. Quantum Link was an online service available for Commodore 64 and 128 users that offered electronic mail, online chat, file sharing, online news, and instant messaging. It lasted from the mid-80s to the mid-90’s and later evolved into America Online. In 2005, a group of folks reversed-engineered the original server code and the resultant Q-Link Reloaded lets the Commodore folks once again communicate with each other.

Also on display is a Raspberry Pi running a C64 emulator complete with a controller to GPIO adapter. Hackaday has covered this emulator just a few months ago and it is great to see it working in person.

C64 emulator on raspberry pi


HOPE X: Hackaday Shirt Gets Hacked at Hacker Convention


In my last post I mentioned that we are meeting a lot of interesting people here at HOPE X. One of those interesting people is [Miriam] who is performing Logo Removal in the vendor area. If you don’t know what that is, you are not alone, neither did we. She doesn’t much like the idea of being a walking bill board for any ole company and has been removing logos from cloths for a while now.

[Miriam] did us a solid and removed a logo from one of the shirts we are giving away. The process starts by flipping the shirt inside out. A piece of scrap fabric larger than the logo is pinned in place in the logo area. The shirt is then flipped right side out and a shape is sewn around the logo, joining the shirt with the scrap fabric. Scissors are then used to cut the logo out of the shirt being careful to only cut the shirt and not the fabric underneath. The shirt is then flipped back inside out and the excess scrap fabric is trimmed away. That’s it.

What about the shape? [Miriam] likes to make them up as she goes along and admits that they aren’t anything specific. She likes the design to be whatever the viewer feels it is. It’s a fun project that invites conversation.

Leave us a comment below telling us what you ‘see’ in the now non-HaD shirt shape.

Logo Removal at HOPE X

Logo Removal at HOPE X

Logo Removal at HOPE X









HOPE X: Lock Picking and Lock Sport


HOPE X is happening. There are tons of people here. Tons. So many that people (including me) have been turned away at the door for popular talks. Overall, we are having a great time and meeting some interesting people.

I admit to having zero lock picking experience. It’s something I’ve thought would be neat to learn about for a long time. Well, today was the day…. I attended the “Lockpicking, A Primer” presentation and it was great. They started with the basics, discussing the appeal of lock picking and where organized Lock Sport started. The presentation consisted of excellent graphics and clear explanations of the lock picking process. They went over the anatomy of a lock and how they work as well as the tools used and tool types. The talk also progressed into more advanced topics. There is even a lock picking village where you give it a go. I’ll be trying it out for sure.

Couldn’t make it to NYC for the event? All of the talks are streamed live. You’ve probably heard that Hackaday has a booth at HOPE this year. Swing by and say hi. You could probably convince us to give you a shirt!

hope x lockpicking

We’re at HOPE X

For the next three days, Hackaday will be live, in the flesh, at Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC. It’s HOPE X, the biennial conference for hackers, code crackers, and slackers put on by the awesome folks at 2600.

Highlights of the event include a keynote from [Daniel Ellisburg]a video conference with [Edward Snowden], and a whole bunch of other stuff. Hackaday has a booth (thanks, overlords!) on the mezzanine right with the other vendors, right behind the Club-Mate table.

We’ll be putting up random updates from HOPE the entire weekend. If you’re visiting, stop by and we might have a t-shirt for you.