Home directories have been a fundamental part on any Unixy system since day one. They’re such a basic element, we usually don’t give them much thought. And why would we? From a low level point of view, whatever location
$HOME is pointing to, is a directory just like any other of the countless ones you will find on the system — apart from maybe being located on its own disk partition. Home directories are so unspectacular in their nature, it wouldn’t usually cross anyone’s mind to even consider to change anything about them. And then there’s Lennart Poettering.
In case you’re not familiar with the name, he is the main developer behind the
systemd init system, which has nowadays been adopted by the majority of Linux distributions as replacement for its oldschool, Unix-style init-system predecessors, essentially changing everything we knew about the system boot process. Not only did this change personally insult every single Perl-loving, Ken-Thompson-action-figure-owning grey beard, it engendered contempt towards
systemd and Lennart himself that approaches Nickelback level. At this point, it probably doesn’t matter anymore what he does next, haters gonna hate. So who better than him to disrupt everything we know about home directories? Where you _live_?
Although, home directories are just one part of the equation that his latest creation — the
systemd-homed project — is going to
make people hate him even more tackle. The big picture is really more about the whole concept of user management as we know it, which sounds bold and scary, but which in its current state is also a lot more flawed than we might realize. So let’s have a look at what it’s all about, the motivation behind
homed, the problems it’s going to both solve and raise, and how it’s maybe time to leave some outdated philosophies behind us.
Continue reading “Pack Your Bags – Systemd Is Taking You To A New Home”
OK, let’s start this one by saying that it’s useful to know how to break security measures in order to understand how to better defend yourself, and that you shouldn’t break into any network you don’t have access to. That being said, if you want to learn about security and the weaknesses within the WPA standard, there’s no better way to do it than with a tool that mimics the behavior of a Tamagotchi.
Called the pwnagotchi, this package of artificial intelligence looks for information in local WiFi packets that can be used to crack WPA encryption. It’s able to modify itself in order to maximize the amount of useful information it’s able to obtain from whatever environment you happen to place it in. As an interesting design choice, the pwnagotchi behaves like an old Tamagotchi pet would, acting happy when it gets the inputs it needs.
This project is beyond a novelty though and goes deep in the weeds of network security. If you’re at all interested in the ways in which your own networks might be at risk, this might be a tool you can use to learn a little more about the ways of encryption, general security, and AI to boot. Of course, if you’re new to the network security world, make sure the networks you’re using are secured at least a little bit first.
Thanks to [Itay] for the tip!
Brushless motors and lithium batteries were a revolution for remote control aircraft. No longer would nitro engines rule the roost, as flying became far cheaper and more accessible almost overnight. The same technology has also found its way into power tools, leading to [Peter Sripol] deciding to build a powerdrill into a flying aircraft in this video, embedded below.
An unmodified DeWalt drill is the heart of the build, serving as the propulsion unit of the craft. A servo is used to actuate the drill’s trigger to serve as the throttle. As power drills are geared down significantly compared to a typical hobby brushless motor, it was necessary to use a much larger prop than would be usual. This was custom machined out of wood with the help of [William Osman], and despite some mishaps, came out (mostly) in one piece. The airframe consists of foam wings with poplar spars, and an aluminium extrusion serves as the tail boom. A few 3D printed parts then tie everything together.
Despite the weight of the drill, the hacked-together craft is able to fly quite easily. The large wings and propeller help to make up for the shortcomings of the powertrain. Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite enough surplus lift to carry a payload of smartphones to capture in-flight footage, but overall the project could be considered a resounding success.
We’ve seen [Peter]’s work before, too – sometimes even putting himself in the pilots seat! Video after the break.
Continue reading “Cordless Drill Sprouts Wings And Takes Flight”