Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 08:48
Well, the holiday season is upon us once again. Not that you could fail to notice unless you've been living in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and your only link to the outside world is a 300bps modem connection over shortwave radio
. As it's wont to be down here, the weather in the DC metroplex is a little erratic, swerving drunkenly from shirtsleeves comfortable to bone-chillingly cold to damp and rainy almost on a daily basis. Lyssa and I took a few days off last week to drive back to Pennsylvania and visit our respective families for Thanksgiving and came back a day early to recuperate and get ready for the home stretch of 2011. Everybody at home seems to be doing well, and things are going swimmingly on the home front. Much of Thanksgiving Day was spent lounging around the house trying to stay out of the way and working on our respective projects. Lyssa spent much of her time working on a couple of time-sensitive knitting projects while I got some work done on the Byzantium codebase (more on that later). At one point, my father-in-law Bill sat me down to see if I could get him past a particularly tricky part of the game Battlefield 3
; unfortunately, I don't really play video games (Portal 2
is more my speed, and even then I only play sporadically) but even after digging up a couple of walkthroughs I had to admit defeat. I guess it's time to turn in my "Child of the 80's" membership card and delete the InSoc
discography from my iProduct.
At my parents' place, everybody seems to be doing pretty well. Lyssa and I had dessert there on Thanksgiving Day and got the fifty cent tour of the house, post-remodeling. The basement (my old lab) has undergone a sea change, and is slowly being converted into a usable gameroom of the sort common in older Pittsburgh houses. My grandfather's getting up there in years (93 - a good age, no doubt) and is still up and around. At one point on Saturday he decided that a breath of fresh air would do him some good, and so went for a short stroll around the back yard, walker be damned. On Friday afternoon, while Lyssa and her mother braved the Black Friday crowds I drove back home to visit my family again, and spent the afternoon pulling the model train platform out of the shede, eating too many cookies than is really good for me, and searching for a few choice components (namely, a power supply for my old public address system and some replacement parts for the train (which wound up not happening and turned into an eBay scavenger hunt)). For the first time in many years (since college in the late 1990's, actually) I went out for dinner with my mother, and we caught up on everything's that's transpired in the past decade or so.
More under the cut...
Thursday, 17 November 2011 at 11:29
For the past couple of years sonic weapons called LRADs
(Long Range Accoustic Devices) have been increasingly deployed against protestors
in the United States (here is footage from Pittsburgh
shot in 2009 (warning: remove your earphones!)). A step up from mere marketing tricks that make you suspect that you're going mad
, these sonic weapons pump out enough sound pressure to cause permanant hearing damage at a distance of a couple of hundred feet. Earplugs don't work because the sound is loud enough to be conducted into one's inner ears through the bones of the skull. Getting behind hard cover probably won't help much because sound reflects off of solid objects in other directions consonant with the laws of physics.
Last night, a very talented hacker of my aquaintenance named Maradydd went on an OSINT
spree and assembled approximately 135 megabytes of data from around the Net pertaining to LRADs, including high-resolution images, technical documentation, and sales information and put all of the information online
. Some of the PDFs are password protected (they're encrypted with 128-bit AES and will need to be cracked), some aren't. Unfortunately server this archive is hosted on has a very slow link so I've asked for and been given permission to put up a copy of the documents to take some of the load off of her provider.
You can download my local mirror of the documents from here
to help save Maradydd's bandwidth. Please uncompress the archive, go through some of the docs, and post what you find for the education of all and sundry.
If anyone wants me to uncompress the archive and put the individual files up to make it easier let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to do so.
Thursday, 17 November 2011 at 08:38
I'm not going to recap the Occupy Movement because there is, quite simply, too much to it to pack into even a one paragraph summary. Suffice it to say that the political system has, if I may be blunt, failed too many people one too many times, and the reaction of the people has been to gather and camp out anywhere and everywhere. Town squares and city parks are occupied. Colleges are occupied. Big cities (like New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, DC) are occupied. Little cities (I really don't know what constitutes 'little' in the United States, so whatever city you consider little applies) are occupied. Police raids have been swift, violent, and ultimately ineffectual. Protestors were not the ones to throw the first punch, and even when rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas were fired into groups of people by police they raised not a hand in retaliation, instead turning to offer first aid and a helping hand to their fellow sapients. Protestors have been crippled by riot police and a number of protestors were involved in hit-and-run vehicular attacks; in Washington, DC the police escorted the perpetrator away and refused to file charges or take statements from witnesses.
How, exactly, do we know that the protestors are not starting the violence? How do we know what, if anything is going on? Where's the proof?
The proof is all over Youtube
. Everything happening at the Occupy camps as well as the protests they organize is streamed live
where thousands of people are keeping one eye on the video and one finger poised over the rewind button. Links to footage are tweeted and retweeted within seconds of their hitting the Net. Videos are not only being watched but mirrored to be put back up later in the event of legal shenanagains
(the so-called Streisand effect
). In the event that something does go down (such as the hit-and-run
I mentioned) analysis and extra evidence is compiled and released
(local mirror of the license plate and driver
) to tell the other side fo the story. The one you're not getting on the evening news.
is how we know.
More under the cut...
Monday, 07 November 2011 at 09:18
As I mentioned late last week
(done so because it took that long to finalize some details), Ben the Pyrate and I were invited by Bread for the City
to take part in what they called Broadband Bridge
, a technology discovery faire for the public. Broadband Bridge contacted us because one of their major projects - adding broadband Internet access to the services offered by Bread For the City - dovetails with the spirit of Project Byzantium
if not the two use cases we had in mind when we started building it. In truth, there is absolutely no reason that one could not build and maintain a community mesh with Byzantium. Anyway, Ben and I polished our presentation
up a bit by working on it in Google Docs during the week and we got everything pulled together for Saturday afternoon.
We milled around a bit while figuring out who was who and where everything was, a slightly uncomfortable turn of events. I felt as if everything was organized around us but we weren't actually privy to the layout of things. Presently, two of the organizers who had invited us found us in the crowd (maybe it was our standard issue black trenchcoats) and after describing what we had on us (a presentation on mesh networking and Byzantium in particular) we figured out where and when we could present. The tech faire was standing room only, with other projects' tables arrayed around the building's lobby and attendees milling around all over the place. As we are wont to do when out and about, Ben and I had to be very careful about turning around too fast lest our backpacks accidentally knock something over. On the one occasion that there was an unintended gravity test (which wasn't our fault, incidentally), we took a few minutes out to improvise repairs on the apparatus in question.
More under the cut...
Friday, 04 November 2011 at 10:35
DISTRIBUTION: Washington, DC and surrounding areas. If you're outside of this area please boost the signal!
This weekend in Washington, DC as part of Digital Capital Week Broadband Bridge
will be holding a Discovering Technology fair
so that people active in the local community can exchange ideas, find out what has to be done, show off what they're working on, and build something great for the DC metroplex. The DiscoTech is a free event which starts at 12:00pm on Saturday, 5 November 2011 and will run until 5:00pm at Bread For the City (1525 7th Street NW, Washington DC). Among the activities at the DiscoTech will be stations where you can ask questions about commonly-used and cutting edge technologies, personal electronic devices, and most of all learn how policy and the Net both impact and help build local community. Workshops will be held that afternoon starting at 1:00pm on a variety of topics from robotics to broadband policy and tech projects active in the DC metroplex. It is suggested that those who are interested RSVP at broadbandbridge.org
but the way the announcement is written it seems as if anyone can drop in. Ben the Pyrate and I will be there speaking about mesh networking and Project Byzantium
We hope to see you there!
Friday, 04 November 2011 at 09:40
Every effort which goes out of its way to describe itself as cyberspace
will come to nothing. See also "suicide by marketing."