Body heat sensing PC security system

lockifnothot

[Didier Stevens] wrote in to tell us about a little piece of PC security software he put together recently. His application, LockIfNotHot, works in conjunction with your PC as well as an IR temperature sensor in order to lock your computer the moment you step away.

The theory behind the system is pretty simple. Basically, the IR temp sensor monitors when you are at your desk, sensing your presence by the heat your body gives off. As soon as you step away however, it locks the computer since the temperature of the surrounding area immediately drops. It’s pretty simple, but as you can see in the video below, it works quite well.

The software has configurable set points and timeout values, which make it flexible enough to adapt to your specific situation. He happens to use an off-the-shelf IR sensor, but we assume any USB temperature module will do the trick. If you happen to work with sensitive information but often forget to lock your workstation, this is the program for you!

Continue reading to see a quick demonstration of his software in action.

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555 Timer circuit simulation software

ltspiceiv_demo

[FightCube] wrote in recommending a very helpful piece of circuit simulation software for those of you still constructing entries for the 555 design contest.   LTSpiceIV, available from Linear Technology, allows you to construct moderately complex 555 driven circuits including common components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, FETs, and more.  Once you have constructed your circuit, you can view the results in an easy to use visualization window, without ever having to touch your soldering iron or a breadboard.  According to [FightCube], the software is fairly easy to use, and best of all, it’s free.

He has shared one basic circuit he built as a demonstration of the software’s capabilities, and promises to share more in order to motivate others to enter the contest.

Android Development 101 – Part 6:Getting ready for Market!

In this tutorial we are going to cover packaging one of our applications into an .apk file and getting it ready for the Android Market.  After we have completed this tutorial you should be able to use the tools provided in the AndroidSDK to sign your application, put the application on your phone and install it or send it to the Android Market.  These will be great assets to have if you decide to develop applications that you may want to charge for.  This tutorial will also be a change from the normal ones because it will include little, if any, code.

Extra extra: Now legal to jailbreak iPhone

For those living under a rock, the latest ‘greatest’ news to hit hacking front page is the the Copyright Office granting Six Exemptions Regarding the Circumvention of Access-Control Technologies. Of the six the one of the two regarding iPhones is as follows,

“(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

Which (along with section 3) really just means that you can unlock and crack cellphones and companies can no longer fine you $2,500. Not that many ever have but the threat was there. Apple however, can and still will void your warranty if you jailbreak.

The 4 other areas not involving phones are the ability to circumvent DVDs for portions of video, video games in order to better the security of said game, computer programs that require dongles but dongles are no longer available, and literary works that prevent read-aloud or rendering to a specialized format.

One tidbit I keep hearing about in these exemptions is the ability to now break DRM on music, as much as I wish this were true, I can’t seem to find any sources on it, sorry pirates.

Regardless, now that the world is one step closer to an open framework, whats changed? For me, I’ve been jailbroken for years so sadly nothing. If you agree with the ruling, disagree, or just want to tell about your now legal jailbreaking joys, please leave a comment.

Additional Sources: FOXNews and CNNMoney thanks to [Voyagerfan99], [Ryan Knight], and [Steve S.] respectively.

[Image credit: Fr3d.org]

Android Development 101- Part 2:Graphical Elements

In this tutorial, we will be continuing from where we left off with the “hello world” application.  This time adding a graphical user interface (GUI) and a “toast”. The GUI will consist of a button, textbox and a label. The “toast” will be issued onto the screen when the button is pressed.

Some may wonder what a toast is.  Well, for non-programmers, a toast is a text notification that for the most part is used only to display an error on the screen (I am a big fan of using toasts instead of an alert on the screen as its less intrusive).  For this article we will use a toast to display a message on the screen that will take the text in the textbox and issue a “Hello Greg” onto the bottom of the screen.  After this article completed you will be able to successfully make toast commands, design the layout of the hello world program, and pull text from a textbox.

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Get started with speech recognition

Speech recognition makes it easier for us to be lazy with our devices – or perhaps set up the coolest voice-controlled project around. After the voice controlled home automation post, we received a lot of emails asking “how can I make it recognize my voice?”. Whether your project involves a PC or an Android phone, a high-budget, or no budget at all, there is a solution out there.  Join us after the break for a complete set of instructions on setting up speech recognition, and some of the best software options out there to meet your needs.

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Punching out parts

If you’re more of a code monkey than artist, it may be tough to transform your ideas into the 3D models necessary for fabbing. The folks working on openSCAD apparently feel our pain.

openSCAD uses a language somewhat reminiscent of C for creating models. A preview of the model is rendered alongside your code. Fully cross-platform, it runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows. Much like SketchUp, openSCAD can also extrude 2D outlines into models. This feature comes in very useful if one already has a set of technical drawings for a part. With no price tag, it’s pretty affordable during this costly season.