When the need for speed overcomes you, thoughts generally don’t turn to 8-bit computers. Sure, an 8-bit machine is fun for retro gameplay and reliving the glory days, and there certainly were some old machines that were notably faster than the others. But raw computing power isn’t really the point of retrocomputing.
Or is it? [Bernardo Kastrup] over at The Byte Attic has introduced an interesting machine called the Agon Light, an 8-bit SBC that’s also a bit like a microcontroller. The machine has a single PCB that looks about half as big as an Arduino Uno, and sports some of the same connectors and terminals around its periphery. The heart of the Agon Light is an eZ80 8-bit, 18.432 MHz 3-stage pipelined CPU, which is binary compatible with the Z80. It also has an audio-video coprocessor, in the form of an ESP32-Pico-D4, which supports a 640×480 64-color display and two mono audio channels. There’s no word we could find of whether the ESP32’s RF systems are accessible; it would be nice, but perhaps unnecessary since there are both USB ports and a PS/2 keyboard jack. There’s also a pin header for 20 GPIOs as well as I2C, SPI, and UART for serial communication.
The lengthy video below goes into all the details on the Agon Light, including the results of benchmark testing, all of which soundly thrash the usual 8-bit suspects. The project is open source and all the design files are available, or you can get a PCB populated with all the SMD components and just put the through-hole parts on. [Bernardo] is also encouraging people to build and sell their own Agon Lights, which seems pretty cool too. It honestly looks like a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to seeing what people do with this.
Continue reading “This Snappy 8-Bit Microcomputer Brings The Speed To Retrocomputing”
Up first this week is a quintet of vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel’s wireless code. It started with [Soenke Huster] from TU Darmstadt, who found a buffer overwrite in mac80211 code. The private disclosure to SUSE kernel engineers led to a security once-over of this wireless framework in the kernel, and some other nasty bugs were found. A couple result in Denial-of-Service (DOS), but CVE-2022-41674, CVE-2022-42719, and CVE-2022-42720 are Remote Code Execution vulnerabilities. The unfortunate bit is that these vulnerabilities are triggered on processing beacon frames — the wireless packets that announce the presence of a wireless network. A machine doesn’t have to be connected or trying to connect to a network, but simply scanning for networks can lead to compromise.
The flaws were announced on the 13th, and were officially fixed in the mainline kernel on the 15th. Many distros shipped updates on the 14th, so the turnaround was quite quick on this one. The flaws were all memory-management problems, which has prompted a few calls for the newly-merged Rust framework to get some real-world use sooner rather than later.
Much of Fortinet’s lineup, most notable their Fortigate firewalls, has a pre-auth authentication bypass on the administrative HTTP/S interface. Or plainly, if you can get to the login page, you can break in without a password. That’s bad, but at this point, you *really* shouldn’t have any administrative interfaces world-accessible on any hardware. Updated firmware is available.
More than just a couple days have passed, so we have some idea of the root problem and how it was fixed. It’s a simple one — the Forwarded HTTP headers on an incoming request are unintentionally trusted. So just send a request with
Forwarded:by set to 127.0.0.1, and it falls through into code logic intended for internal API calls. Add a trusted SSH key, and pop, you’re in. Whoops. Continue reading “This Week In Security: Linux WiFi, Fortinet, Text4Shell, And Predictable GUIDs”
Whether you’re shooting video or photos, having a camera remote can really improve your productivity. No longer do you have to run back to the camera to press its tiny buttons! [Frank Zhao] is a Sony user, so decided to whip up a custom remote using the ESP32 for his Alpha camera, adding special features along the way.
The build communicates with the camera over WiFi, but can fall back to Infrared if there’s an issue with the radio link. It’s built around the M5StickC, which is a pre-built device featuring an ESP32 and a small display in a handheld form factor. It let him build the remote in half the size of the official Sony device. With limited buttons on board, though, he relies on the IMU to control many advanced features with motion gestures.
The remote enables a bunch of functionality that Sony didn’t bake into its cameras from the factory. There’s a sound-activated shutter release, dual shutter mode, and several timer-based tools including astrophotography modes. There’s also a big knob you can add for focus pulls, and a mode to reset the auto-focus when you’re frustrated that it isn’t working properly. Some of the features work better than others, as sometimes, the camera doesn’t respond to commands quickly enough. Regardless, it’s pretty neat that [Frank] has unlocked so much extra functionality with his custom $20 remote.
We’ve seen other homebrewed tools open up new creative possibilities for cameras before, too. If you’ve got your own nifty camera hacks, let us know on the tipsline!
If you have an HP-41 — arguably the best calculator ever made, you might not have noticed that there’s a version of Forth for it. The code was written a while back in assembly and will work on anything that actually emulates the device properly, such as a SwissMicros DM41X. [Calculator Clique] shows you how it works in a recent video that you can watch below.
The original code dates back to 1984, but some recent detective work by [Angel Margin] has the code running again. If you know about synthetic programming on the 41C and the oddities of its internal architecture, you can’t help but be impressed.
Of course, Forth is meant to be easy to port over, but if you read about some of the architectural challenges, you start to realize this could be one of the more difficult implementations you’ve ever seen. Don’t forget you have what is, by today’s standards, an extremely limited amount of resources.
That being said, calling the HP41C a calculator is almost a crime. It is really a tiny computer hiding inside a calculator case. Then again, the best calculators always are.
We wonder if the code would run on an emulated 41C? Were you part of the TI calculator gang? No problem.
Continue reading “HP-41C, The Forth Edition”