Some days you just gotta hack

For whatever reason yesterday was a good hacking day.  Wasn’t exactly what was on my to do list, but just got in a flow and things were working so I kept at it.  I am not a developer, nor do I play one on the internet.  But I do think of myself as a hacker.  I have jobs I want to get done and think that I can piece some pits of hardware and code together to get them done.  I taught myself enough PHP to extensively customize K2 in Joomla.  I’ve have at least 10 different PCs at home running everything from MythTV on Ubuntu to the latest versions of OS X (on 7 year old hardware).

The first project I finally knocked off last night was turning the Raspberry Pi I had sitting around into a target camera.  I first saw some of the commercial versions about a year ago and thought that they were a pretty good idea.  Not only where they cheaper than a good spotting scope, but you had the advantage of being able to record images of the target as you go through your shot sequence to analyze later (of course you have the disadvantage of having your equipment down range so you have to be sure you are in the neighborhood before you would use one of these).  Despite being cheaper, they were still a little too rich for my blood until it occurred to me I could just build one.  I assembled all the pieces (Raspberry Pi, Raspberry Pi Camera Module, Housings for both, USB battery, Long Range WiFi USB dongle) a few months ago, but they were just sitting on my desk.  All that changed last night. I got it setup in a few hours and was able to test it briefly outside.  I connected to it from my phone and was able to reliably get images from the camera over wifi from at least 250 yards away.  I will do a more detailed write up once I get a housing worked out for it (not sure if I’m going with the acrylic or 3D printing) and actually get it on the range to see how it performs sitting in front of a target.
With that out of the way, I decided to set my sights on an old Mac Book that had been sitting in the corner of my office for at least 6 months.  It had the dreaded NVDIA video board solder issue that caused it to basically not boot 90% of the time and the 10% of the time it did it would flake out within the first 10 minutes.  So I went all in and removed the logic board, baked in the oven at 375 for 7.5 minutes and reinstalled it.  Voila! Working Mac again.
Next I did some quick home server maintenance and figured out that a whole new version of Owncloud had come out.  After a quick apt-get diet-upgrade I’m now running that new version.  Have to find some time to figure out what they’ve added.
As the coup de grace I decided to finally figure out personal email encryption.  I had tried before with GPGTools, but that broke when I upgraded to OS X Yosemite a few months back.  They came out with an updated package a month ago, so I downloaded and installed the update and created a key pair.  I sent myself a test message and it all seemed to work.  So I added Glenn Greenwald’s public key to my keychain…you know, just in case ;-).  If any of you have public keys and want to exchange them, let me know.  Mine is now posted on my site and uploaded to a few of the public directories.
With that all out of my system, I think I’ll go back to reading today.






2 responses to “Some days you just gotta hack”

  1. Brandon Avatar

    So does this mean you can fix my playstation 3 suffering from the red light of death? Maybe we could work out a trade?

    1. Chris Avatar

      6 pack of schlitz?

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