These days everyone talks about data “in the cloud.” However, before that phrase was fashionable, there were a few pioneers and one of the most famous of these is Dropbox — a service that let you store files on a remote server that dates back to 2007. [Vincent Berg] first noticed some odd network traffic on a hotel network, and figured out that it was a feature of Dropbox that allows computers on the same network to update each other. This led him to start investigating the undocumented Dropbox protocol and reverse engineering the Linux client.
We won’t ask why [Vincent] was poking around the hotel network to start with. However, a cursory glance at the Dropbox client gave away that it was using Python. The byte-compiled classes were — at the time — in a ZIP file added to the executable (which was nothing but a modified copy of Python). The files were encrypted, but [Vincent] used a clever technique. He built a shared object using normal Python and put a backdoor in it that gave him access to the Dropbox Python interpreter.
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Since the Chumby servers went offline earlier this year, [Huan] found himself with a few of these tiny, extremely hackable internet devices lying around. He’s also getting tired of his NAS and wanted a way to sync folders between all his computers. Combine the two desires, and you can make a personal cloud with a Chumby, thanks to some help from the people at BitTorrent Labs.
[Huan] is using BitTorrent Sync for his Dropbox-like server. After creating a webkit interface for BitTorrent Sync, [Huan] loaded up his Chumby with new firmware, set up a few folders to be synced, and let the Chumby do all the work.
It’s not exactly fast, given the Chumby’s wireless connection and USB 1.1 for an external disk drive, but it’s more than enough to keep your personal project folders synced across multiple computers. As a bonus, it’s also very, very secure, getting around most of the security problems cloud solutions entail.
We have friends watch the cats when we go out-of-town. But we always leave a server running with a webcam (motion activated using the Linux “motion” software) so we can check in on them ourselves. But this project may inspire a change. It leverages the features of a Carambola2 to capture images and upload them to Dropbox.
In the picture above the green PCB is a development board for the tiny yellow PCB which is the actual Carambola2. It is soldered on the dev board using the same technique as those HC-05 Bluetooth modules. That shielded board includes a Qualcomm SoC running Linux and a WiFi radio. The dev board feeds it power and allows it connect to the USB webcam.
There’s a bit of command line kung-fu to get everything running but it shouldn’t be out of reach for beginners. Linux veterans will know that taking snapshots from a webcam at regular intervals is a simple task. Uploading to a secure cloud storage site is not. A Bash script handles the heavy lifting. It’s using the Dropbox Application API so this will not violate their TOS and you don’t have to figure out your own method of authenticating from the command line.
It’s not roses or jewelry, but we hope [Erik]’s light-up USB heart will be appreciated by his significant other. When the two heart pieces come in contact with each other, each side lights up.
[Erik] started his build by cutting two half-heart shaped pieces out of polycarbonate. After drilling a few holes for LEDs and wires, magnets and reed switches were installed along the ‘broken’ side of the heart. Whenever the hearts come in contact with each other, the magnets trip the reed switches and light up both sides of the heart.
There is USB flash drive embedded in each heart half is loaded with a portable Dropbox. When the USB drive is plugged into a computer, the dropbox steps into action and synchronizes the photo album stored in each heart half. No matter how far apart they are, [Erik] and his SO can share pictures through their glowing LED hearts. Not to come off as a hopeless romantic, but this sounds like something we’d like for Valentine’s day. We’re hoping [Erik]’s SO thinks that as well.
[via Download Squad]