Hackaday Links: April 9, 2023

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When it comes to cryptocurrency security, what’s the best way to secure the private key? Obviously, the correct answer is to write it on a sticky note and put it on the bezel of your monitor; nobody’ll ever think of looking there. But, if you’re slightly more paranoid, and you have access to a Falcon 9, you might just choose to send it to the Moon. That’s what is supposed to happen in a few months’ time, as private firm Lunar Outpost’s MAPP, or Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform, heads to the Moon. The goal is to etch the private key of a wallet, cheekily named “Nakamoto_1,” on the rover and fund it with 62 Bitcoins, worth about $1.5 million now. The wallet will be funded by an NFT sale of space-themed electronic art, because apparently the project didn’t have enough Web3.0 buzzwords yet. So whoever visits the lunar rover first gets to claim the contents of the wallet, whatever they happen to be worth at the time. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a human who visits.

Speaking of crypto, it looks like anyone who owns a Macintosh has a copy of the original Bitcoin whitepaper. Mac user Andy Baio claims to have made the well-timed discovery of the easter egg while trying to fix his printer. A PDF of Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous whitepaper, entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” is stashed away in an obscure location and may have been used as a test document of some sort. Andy asked around and found a dozen Mac-using friends who confirmed the PDF on their machines too, so it’s probably pretty universal, at least for certain versions of macOS. Why is it there? That’s anyone’s guess.

Also in Apple-adjacent news, while we obviously don’t condone criminal activity, we can’t say we don’t love a good heist story. And the theft of a half-million dollars worth of iPhones from an Apple store in Washington certainly bears all the hallmarks of a Hollywood-worthy heist. The caper was obviously well-planned, because the thieves gained entry to the mall-based Apple store through the adjacent store, an espresso machine shop. The burglars pried open the door of the Seattle Coffee Gear store, made their way to the store’s bathroom, and cut a hole in the drywall right next to the toilet. The thieves knew what they were doing, or at least brought a stud finder, because the hole was exactly between two studs and narrowly avoided the plumbing for the toilet. They even made it easy to fix the drywall, which was pretty considerate. Less considerate was making off with 436 iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, as was leaving little in the way of evidence.

Good news for STM32 developers who like using Visual Studio Code as an IDE: there’s now a VS Code extension for STM32. The extension adds an item to the activity bar at the left edge of VS Code and allows developers to import STM32Cube projects into VS Code. You can also create new application projects for STM32CubeMX, and clone STM32Cube firmware directly from GitHub. We don’t do a lot — OK, any — STM32 development, but it’s still nice to see more extensions for the VS Code ecosystem.

And finally, if your development tends more toward the hardware side of things, you’ll be happy to learn a few simple but clever digital caliper tricks from a real machinist. The machinist in question is Adam the Machinist, who shows us a simple way to measure the center-to-center distance between two equal-sized holes: First, measure the ID of one hole, then zero the calipers, and finally measure the OD-to-OD distance between the holes. The reading will automatically be the center-to-center distance. The other tip involves measuring the depth of a counterbore using a gauge pin. We’re sure these tricks are old news to some, but we found them clever and will keep them in mind for around the shop.

17 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 9, 2023

  1. What happens if it undergoes a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly) at launch or landing. To me it sounds like there will be always backup copy of the private key here on earth, at least until it is in place on the moon and the funds are claimed. Because what if an asteroid vaporises Nakamoto_1 while it is waiting on the moon.

  2. Surely Apple knows the ESNs of the phones that were lifted. Wasn’t there supposed to be some sort of stolen phone blacklist the industry created to remove the value of stealing phones?

    Or is it that these phones are going to just be parted out? In which case what the thieves likely _actually_ got was a fraction of the actual value of them to Apple (yes, I realize that that doesn’t necessarily make the venture unprofitable seeing as how it’s crime and all).

    1. I’m guessing that the phones will be sold via OfferUp and/or Craigslist to unsuspecting buyers.

      Because I’m guessing that there’s no shortage of people who will gladly hand over $hundreds in exchange for a new-in-box iPhone.

      By the time the buyer discovers the problem, the seller / thief / broker will be long gone. The fact that the phone can’t be activated will be the buyer’s problem, not the seller’s problem.

        1. What makes you think that the thieves will bother shipping them to China?

          That would require time and money, and the thieves don’t care if the buyer ends up with a useless phone. That will be the buyer’s problem, not the thieves’ problem.

    1. But it can still crash before anyone is able to recover it. It might be worth $6.20 by the time it gets back to Earth. Someone’s going to have a McUnHappy Meal with those.

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