Summer vacation is rapidly coming to an end.

Aug 31 2019

It seems as if another summer is rapidly coming to an end.  The neighbors' kids are now back in school, school buses are now picking their way down the streets, and due to Burning Man coming up it's now possible to eat in a real restaurant in the Bay Area for the next couple of days.  I've been pretty quiet lately, not because I've been spending any amount of time offline but because I've been spending more time doing stuff and just not writing it up.  I've been tinkering with Systembot lately, adding functionality that I really have a need for at home, namely, remotely monitoring a wireless access point running OpenWRT in the same way that I watch the rest of my stuff.  Due to the extreme system constraints on your average high-end wireless access point (2 CPUs, 128 megs of storage, 512 megs of RAM) it's not feasible to install Python and a Halo checkout, so I had to figure out how to get the system stats I need remotely.  What I wound up doing was standing up another copy of the standard OpenWRT web server daemon and writing a bunch of tiny CGI scripts which run local commands and return the information to Systembot for processing and analysis.  It wound up being a fun exercise in working with tight constraints, though I think there are still some bugs to be shaken out.

I also mentioned that I'd been doing a bit of travel lately.  Week before last I flew down to San Diego, CA to attend the Linux Security Summit on the recommendation of a colleague.  While there were some interesting talks at the conference I found most of them not really useful, either because they involve stuff I don't do anymore or are outside of anything I normally do.  The talks about improving container security, the history of mandatory access control, and writing kernel modules in Rust were fairly interesting, but by and large I didn't get much out of many of the talks. That's not to say that the subject matter isn't relevant, or useful, or meaningful, it's just outside of my baliwick.  I probably won't be returning in the future because I didn't get enough out of it to justify the cost, but it was fun hiking around downtown San Diego for a couple of days.  I did get to do some networking while I was there and did a little exploring.  I still have to sort through and organize the pictures I took while I was down there, and I'll eventually get around to putting them online.

Not content to just sit around (still CPU fans gathering dust puppies and all that), I'll be going on travel again in a couple of days.  I'll be flying back to the East Coast for the Please Try This At Home unconference in Pittsburgh, where I hope I'll be sharing some of my work on the software side of personal augmentation.  I'll then be doing a bit of driving around to visit some folks and check up on some stuff I left running when I moved.  It's looking like I'll have a full week ahead of me so communication will probably be asynchronous.  I definitely plan on hitting up some of my old haunts to see what's been going on in my absence.

I try not to dwell on the news too much these days.  Between another hurricane hitting the southeast that the US government will do less than nothing about, the president committing a serious breach of security by bringing a cellphone into a SCIF, photographing classified IMINT, and posting it on Twitter (causing every counterintelligence officer in the country to facepalm so hard they gave themselves concussions), the death of Jeffrey Epstein dominating the news for a couple of days (spoiler alert: people with a reputation for hurting children do not typically have long and healthy lives in prison, with guards and prisoners throwing rock-paper-scissors to see who gets first crack at the inmate in question), and people vacationing to places expected to be destroyed by climate change in a couple of years... things are looking pretty bleak, you know?  When people think of cyberpunk they usually think of everything that happens after all the heinous shit that went down to get them there, and not said heinous shit in the backstsory.

In other news, because I don't have enough things to occupy my time (read: take my mind off of the world ending) I ordered a PyBadge from Adafruit a few days ago because spending a couple of hundred bucks on #badgelife every summer is way the hell too much money, plus I can do interesting things with the hardware the rest of the time.  I flashed Circuit Python onto the board and I'm now in the "dicking around to see what does what" stage of hardware hacking.  I'll probably do something like an interactive business card or a little game or something.  I'll figure something out eventually and post the code when I do.  Because this is going to be fun, dammit.