Check out this jumbled confirmation window. At first glance the message appears to contain a bunch of gibberish, but it can actually be read if you start at the right side and read each character moving left. The text displays like this because it is prefixed by a special Right-to-Left override Unicode character. The technique is being used in malware to obscure the actual extension of the file being launched. Notice that when written backwards your eye can still pick out the string “pdf” which may be enough to trick the uninitiated into approving the launch of the file.
This confirmation screen is launched when clicking on a piece of malware found in the wild a little over a week ago. If you do choose to run it, a decoy PDF file is opened in order not to arouse suspicion. But at the same time the program — which is signed with an Apple Developer ID — is installing itself in the home directory and making a cron job to launch at each boot. Sneaky!
[Mitchell Johnson] wanted to develop for the STM32F4 Discovery board on his Mac. There are a few ready-to-use options when it comes to the ARM toolchains, but he couldn’t find one that satisfied all of his needs. After working out all the kinks he wrote a guide and tweaked a script to install the ARM tools on a Mac.
The problem he had with some of the pre-packaged tool chains is that they didn’t support the hardware floating point functionality of STM’s Cortex-M4 chips. To get around this without doing his own ground-up build (which can be quite a challenge) he forked the Summon Arm Toolchain script and modified it to include ST-Link support in the build. One of the things that we like about that script is it installs the tools in a sub-directory of your home directory. This way if you already have another ARM toolchain you can switch between the two by tweaking your PATH variable.
[Ricard Dias] wrote in to tell us about his guide for developing Linux applications on a Mac. He really enjoys the development environment provided by XCode, and it doesn’t take much to make it work as an all-in-one solution for Linux development.
The real trick here is the use of SSH to access a Linux environment. In this example he uses Ubuntu running as a virtual machine, but also mentions that the same thing can be done just as easily with a separate box as long as it is on the same network as the Mac. SSHFS (the SSH Filesystem) lets him mount the development directory on the Linux box locally. This is where the XCode project and files will be stored, but building the program will be done by the Linux machine via a script calling the make comand via SSH. To test out the newly built program, [L] tunnels in using X11 forwarding for ssh, and the application will be shown as a window in OSX, even though it is running on the Ubuntu machine.
We love SSH and use it all the time. It’s amazing how hand it can be.
[Steve] over at Big Mess O’ Wires has never been so happy to see the “Sad Mac” icon.
A little over a month ago, he decided to take on the task of building his own Mac clone using modern technology. Not to be confused with Mac emulation on modern hardware, he is attempting to build a true Mac clone using an FPGA that is functionally identical to the original.
He is calling his creation the “PlusToo”, with the goal of producing a modern version of the Macintosh Plus. The Plus shares a good amount of hardware with its other original Mac brethren, allowing him to replicate any of the other machines such as the Mac 128K, with a few simple configuration changes.
Building this clone is an incredible undertaking, and it’s a lot of fun to watch the construction progress bit by bit. [Steve] has been diligently working for a little over a month now, recently getting the clone to run 68000 code from the Mac ROM, resulting in the Sad Mac image you see above. While the logo has been dreaded among Mac users for years, it signals to [Steve] that things are coming along nicely.
Provided you haven’t been toiling away in a secret lair somewhere (we’re looking at you [Jack]), odds are you may have seen the news that [Steve Jobs] stepped down as CEO of Apple this past Wednesday.
This earth-shattering news even eclipsed that of the East Coast Megaquakeapocalypse. It sent the blogosphere into a tizzy, sparking a whirlwind of news posts and retrospectives on his career. It’s been impossible to ignore the coverage (we’ve tried), and since we see everyone else writing about it, we feel the need to be at least somewhat up on our current events as well.
At the end of the day though, we don’t care how many patents [Steve] owns, how many failed products he has dreamed up over the years, or that he and [Woz] used to wear matching thongs to the beach in the 80s*.
Nope, we just care about the hacks. So here’s a trip down memory lane highlighting the Apple-related hacks we’ve seen so far in 2011, which will forever be known as the year [Steve Jobs] gave up the reigns at Apple (again).
XBMC on iOS Devices
Overhauling an old Apple keyboard
Mac Pro serial terminal
Taking secret photos of Apple Store patrons
Apple ][ USB keyboard conversion
Apple ][ Weather Display Parts 1, 2, 3
If you find a crusty old IT guy and give him half a chance, he’ll probably regale you with stories of how things were done “in the old days” where no one had their own computer and everyone worked on mainframe-connected dumb terminals. [JSTN] yearned for a true to life terminal display that he could attach to his 2010 Mac Pro, and since there’s no chance anybody is bringing one to market any time soon, he pieced one together on his own.
He dug up a digital VT220 terminal, and got to work trying to interface this office relic with his shiny new Mac. He found a few helpful tips from someone who did the same thing with an Apple ][c, though that solution relied on emulating a terminal – something he did not want to do.
He connected the VT220 to his computer using an off the shelf USB to serial adapter, but the software side of things still needed attention. A quick gettytab tweak later, he had his hardware terminal up and running without much trouble.
He says that he is more than happy to help anyone do the same, so let the mad eBay scramble for old terminals begin!
[via Adafruit blog]
[Phillip Torrone] gave us a heads up about a project he and [Limor Fried] along with [Mike Doell] have just wrapped up. Their aptly-named “iCufflinks” softly pulsate with light the same way in which you see many Mac products do.
The cufflinks are made from machined aluminum and have the ubiquitous “power symbol” milled into the face. Inside the cufflinks, you will find a small circuit board and a battery, which powers the device for up to 24 hours. The team reverse-engineered the soft LED pulse found in Mac products in order to deliver the exact same visualization in their cufflinks.
Ignoring for a minute, the name and the inspiration for the product, we think they are pretty darn cool. There’s nothing like a set of softly glowing cufflinks to spark conversation at any social gathering.
Like anything else you’ll find on Adafruit.com, the cufflinks are completely open source, so you can feel free to tweak and remix the design any way you’d like.
Continue reading to see a video of the cufflinks in action.
Continue reading “Electronic cufflinks for the discerning hacker”