Jul 06 2019
I haven't actually been on vacation lately, not really. I decided that I needed to go off and do some different stuff for a while. I've been in a rut lately and decided that I needed to shuffle some stuff around. I swapped out the "writing rambling computer nerd blog posts" module for teaching myself a couple of new things and spending some of my downtime offline, curled up with cinnamon tea and a stack of books. Getting away from a screen for a while seems to have done me some good, and I'm almost back up to my old reading pace of five or six books a week. I'd all but forgotten how much dead tree books weigh after the fixed mass of a tablet for so long. The wireless router at home that I set up to replace the astoundingly shitty DSL modem-cum-wireless access point that Annoying, Trying, and Twisted insists we use is starting to act flaky, which suggests that it's reached the end of its functional life, not unexpectedly since this model tends to have overheating problems. A few weeks back I picked up a new router, a Linksys WRT 1200 AC and promptly made a few hardware modifications to it, which is to say I cracked open the case, unbolted the heat sinks, scraped the crappy thermal tape off of the chips and applied decent heatsink grease, and put the router back together. I'm considering wiring a small cooling fan onto the motherboard, maybe on one of the development ports. Lately I've flashed OpenWRT onto the unit and set up quality of service and monitoring so I can keep an eye on things. I'm still working out how to patch it into my exocortex for realtime status monitoring. From a practical standpoint I can install Python on the new router, but doing so leaves next to no room for anything else. I have to think about it some more. I do NOT want to use SNMP if I can help it.
If you thought you were going to escape computer nerd-related rambling, you were sorely mistaken.
Oct 13 2018
Earlier this year I got back into urban hiking by taking up war walking again around home. Not too long after that, I started picking up buzz that upcoming versions of Android are specifically not going to make it easy (or probably possible) to wardrive or war walk by changing how the wifi drivers work. By this, I mean they're making it possible to trigger a wireless scan once every two minutes instead of whenver you ask it to. Unsurprisingly, if you read through that ticket's comments this is going to break a lot of other applications out there, but when you're the 500 pound gorilla you can pretty much dictate terms, and to hell with what your users actually ask for.
Yeah, I'm still bitter about that. Moving on.
Jun 02 2018
It's been an interesting couple of weeks, to be sure. While lots of different things have been going on lately, none of them are related in any particularly clear or straightforward fashion, so fitting all of this stuff together is going to be a bit of a struggle. You may as well kick back with the beverage of your choice in a responsible fashion while I spin this yarn.
I suppose it all started with wardriving in northern Virginia many years ago. In a nutshell, I had loaded Windbringer up with a rather small for the time USB GPS unit, installed Kismet, put the wifi NIC into monitor mode so it would pick up frames from every access point within range, and went driving around for a couple of hours. The idea is that the software records the datestamp and GPS coordinates at which you picked up the strongest signal from a wireless access point. Rinse, repeat for as long as your power cells hold out, or as long as you care to drive, bike, walk, ski, or employ any other means of personal transportation to move around. At the time I was uploading my results to wigle.net to contribute to their crowdsourced global map of wireless coverage. Then I moved, and I seem to have accidentally tripped Wigle's bot detector (probably because I was going out for many hours at a time to cover very large areas). End result, I didn't go wardriving for a very long time.
A couple of months back I decided that I needed to get more exercise than I could get at home (which I'll probably ramble about in a later post) so I joined the local gym. Doing so gave me access to a much more broad selection of equipment to work with, and a lot more space than my office at home. There isn't much to say on that particular point other than it's been a great investment, and I spent a nontrivial amount of downtime there working out. While I haven't lost weight per se, I do seem to be trading some amount of body fat for muscle mass. I don't know how much adipose tissue I've actually lost but my clothes are getting tight against my body in different ways than before. I guess that's something.