Creating GIFs For The Channels Between Channels

In the United States, analog TV broadcasting officially ended in 2009. While the transition wasn’t without hiccups, we did lose something along the way. For [Emily Velasco], she misses the channels between channels — where an analog TV isn’t quite tuned right and the image is smeared and distorted. A recent bug in one of her projects led to her trying to recreate the experience of the in-between on a CRT.

One of [Emily]’s other projects involved generating composite video signals from an ESP32 microcontroller. While experimenting with adding color to the output signal, the image came out incredibly scrambled. She had made an error in the stride, which smeared the image across the screen. This immediately brought back memories of old analog TV sets. A quick potentiometer allowed her to control the stride error and she wrote some code to break the GIF up into discrete bitmaps for display since the GFX library handles GIFs differently than static images. Next up was vertical hold, which was accomplished by shifting the Y coordinates. With some help from [Roger], there was now a handy GIF library that would draw GIFs line by line with the composite video effects.

She used a Goldbeam portable CRT, soldered the tuning potentiometer to the ESP32, and set up 10 different GIFs to act as “channels” with space in between. It’s a fun and quirky idea, which is exactly the sort of thing [Emily] has been encouraging people to do.

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This Week In Security: Kali Purple, Malicious Notifications, And Cybersecurity Strategy

After a one-week hiatus, we’re back. It’s been a busy couple weeks, and up first is the release of Kali Purple. This new tool from Kali Linux is billed as an SOC-in-a-box, that follows the NIST CSF structure. That is a veritable alphabet soup of abbreviated jargon, so let’s break this down a bit. First up, SOC IAB or SOC-in-a-box is integrated software for a Security Operation Center. It’s intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, data analysis, automated system accounting and vulnerability scanning, and more. Think a control room with multiple monitors showing graphs based on current traffic, a list of protected machines, and log analysis on demand.

NIST CSF is guidance published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a US government agency that does quite a bit of the formal ratification of cryptography and other security standards. CSF is the CyberSecurity Framework, which among other things, breaks cybersecurity into five tasks: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. The framework doesn’t map perfectly to the complexities of security, but it’s what we have to work with, and Kali Purple is tailor-made for that framework.

Putting that aside, what Purple really gives you is a set of defensive and analytical tools that rival the offensive tools in the main Kali distro. Suricata, Arkime, Elastic, and more are easily deployed. The one trick that really seems to be missing is the ability to deploy Kali Purple as the edge router/firewall. The Purple deployment docs suggest an OPNSense deployment for the purpose. Regardless, it’s sure to be worthwhile to watch the ongoing development of Kali Purple.

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Virgin Orbit Pauses Operations, Seeks Funding

It looks as though things may have gone from bad to worse at Virgin Orbit, the satellite carrying spin-off of Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic. After a disappointing launch failure earlier in the year, CNBC is now reporting the company will halt operations and furlough most employees for at least a week as it seeks new funding.

It’s no secret that company has struggled to find its footing since it was formed in 2017. On paper, it was an obvious venture — Virgin Galactic already had the White Knight Two carrier aircraft and put plenty of R&D into air-launched rockets, it would simply be a matter of swapping the crewed SpaceShipTwo vehicle for the LauncherOne orbital booster. But upgrades to the rocket eventually made it too large for the existing carrier aircraft, so the company instead purchased a Boeing 747 and modified it to lift their two-stage rocket out of the thick lower atmosphere. Continue reading “Virgin Orbit Pauses Operations, Seeks Funding”

Fish Tank Dosing Pump Built Using Pi Pico

When you’re maintaining a fish tank, it’s actually quite important to get all your basic chemistry right. Mismanage things, and you’ll kill all the helpful bacteria in the tank, or kill your fish when things get too alkaline or too acidic. To help him get things just right, [yojoebosolo] built a custom dosing pump to maintain his fishtank.

The pumps themselves are small peristaltic pumps sourced from AliExpress. They can be had for under $10 if you look hard enough. Two of these are assembled into a PLA housing. Meanwhile, the brains of the operation is a Raspberry Pi Pico. It’s charged with running the pumps to a regular schedule, ensuring that just the right amount of chemicals are delivered when they are needed. It delivers 2 mL of Kalkwasser solution into [yojoebosolo’s] reef tank every ten minutes.  The pumps are switched on and off with a simple 5V relay.

If you’ve got a delicate and complex fish tank that demands only the best, building your own dosing pump may be the way to go. Off-the-shelf versions can be expensive, after all, so sometimes it makes sense to roll your own. Video after the break.

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