Passwords are terrible. The usual requirements of a number, capital letter, or punctuation mark force users to create unmemorable passwords, leading to post-it notes; the techniques that were supposed to make passwords more secure actually make us less secure, and yes, there is an xkcd for it.
[Randall Munroe] did offer us a solution: a Correct Horse Battery Staple. By memorizing a long phrase, a greater number of bits are more easily encoded in a user’s memory, making a password much harder to crack. ‘Correct Horse Battery Staple’ only provides a 44-bit password, though, and researchers at the University of Southern California have a better solution: prose and poetry. Just imagine what a man from Nantucket will do to a battery staple.
In their paper, the researchers set out to create random, memorable 60-bit passwords in an English word sequence. First, they created an xkcd password generator with a 2048-word dictionary to create passwords such as ‘photo bros nan plain’ and ’embarrass debating gaskell jennie’. This produced the results you would expect from a webcomic. The best ‘alternative’ result was found when creating poetry: passwords like “Sophisticated potentates / misrepresenting Emirates” and “The supervisor notified / the transportation nationwide” produced a 60-bit password that was at least as memorable as the xkcd method.
Image credit xkcd
There’s been a bit of a shakeup at Let’s Make Robots (LMR).
LMR is possibly the most popular DIY robotics website around and was started up by a fun-loving Dane, [Frits Lyneborg]. It grew a large community around building up minimal robots that nonetheless had a lot of personality or pushed a new technical idea into the DIY robotics scene. [Frits] says that he hasn’t had time for DIY robotics for a while now, and doesn’t have the resources to run a gigantic web forum either, so he worked out a deal to let the Canadian hobbyist supply company Robot Shop take it over.
LMR has always been a little bit Wild-West, and many of the members quite opinionated, and that’s been part of its charm. So when the new corporate overlords came in, set up “Rules” (which have seemingly been downgraded to “suggestions”) and clarified the ownership of the content, some feathers were ruffled.
A few weeks later, everything looks to be settling back down again. (Edit: Or has it?!? See the comments below.) We wish LMR all the best — everyone loves robots, and LMR is a tremendous resource for the newbie interested in getting into DIY robotics on the cheap. More than a few LMR posts have been featured here at Hackaday over the years. Among our favorites are this drumming rover, a clever 3D printed gripper, and this wicked bicycle-style balancer.
A serendipitous YouTube video recommendation led [Oona] to a raw copy of a news helicopter car chase video. While watching the video she noticed an odd sound playing from her left speaker. That was all it took to put [Oona] on the hunt. Decoding mystery signals is a bit of an obsession for her. We last saw [Oona] decoding radio signals for bus stop displays. She isolated the left audio channel and sent it through baudline software, which helped her determine it was a binary frequency shift keyed (BFSK) signal. A bit more work with SoX, and she had a 1200 baud bit stream.
Opening up the decoded file in a hex editor revealed the data. Packets were 47 bytes each. Most of the data packets was static. However, thee groups of bytes continuously changed. [Oona] decoded these numbers as latitude and longitude, and plotted the resulting data on Google Earth. Plotting her data against the position of the car in the video revealed a match. [Oona] had a complete track of the news helicopter as it followed the car. The telemetry data is in 7-bit Bell 202 ASCII, and is most likely part of an Interruptible Foldback (IFB) system used by the helicopter news crew and the studio producers. Click past the break for the YouTube video that started this all.
Continue reading “Decoding News Helicopter Signals on YouTube”
A couple of weeks ago one of our engineers woke up and read that HackADay was going up for sale. His first reaction was much the same as most regular readers of HackADay, he was worried and concerned that a site that he has read daily for years was going to be sold to someone who would promptly carve it up and ruin it. So he bumped it up the chain here at SupplyFrame and we decided that HaD would be a good fit for us and so we made an offer and here we are!
Continue reading “Hello from SupplyFrame – your new evil overlords !”
We recently added two subdomains to hackaday.com
We thought we would share our thoughts and goals with these wonderful additions.
Continue reading “Whats up with these subdomains at Hackaday?”
We’re starting a few new things at hackaday. As always, our goal is to share awesome hacks from as diverse a crowd as possible. We’ve played with video a bit before, but now we’re really going to start having some fun with it.
Our first exploration into this area was the hacked portal gun. People enjoyed looking at it, and those seeking more in depth technical knowledge came to the site to get it. Instead of focusing the video on the technology or the build itself, we used it as an interesting way to get the attention of people with relevant interests. This video proved to us that our idea was solid.
We have now stepped up our production in terms of quality and quantity. We will be releasing videos that may be humorous, like a fake commercial or skit, or may be serious in the style of a documentary. They will all have some kind of hack at their core and that hack will be broken down in an article here.
I would also like to extend the opportunity for you to help. There are two ways you can do so:
- Sign up for our email list(it is in the right column). I’ll be sharing behind the scenes info and previews about upcoming video projects and asking for ideas on how to improve them. The list will be very informal, and only deal with behind the scenes kind of stuff it will not be a mailing of the daily posts.
- Submit a project or idea that you think would make a cool video. You can email that directly to caleb@. Of course, we would prefer projects that haven’t been released yet, but that isn’t necessary. We’re looking for things that are visually stunning, or could possibly have highly cinematic potential. Not necessarily the most technically difficult thing.
We hope to start releasing videos next week, so keep your eyes peeled. We filmed all week, and my cheeks hurt from laughing so much.
August 15th 2012, the news was reported that [Hanz Camenzind], the creator of the 555 timer, has passed away. We are all familiar with 555 timer, but many of you may not be aware that [Hanz] also created the first class D amplifier. Actually, he had over 20 patents under his belt as well as a few books.
He is survived by His Wife, Daughter, and three Sons.