1. Non-ordinary states of consciousness and the NIA.

    09 June 2009

    One of the reasons the NIA fascinated me so is due to the fact that it operates as a sort of poor-lifeform's EEG coupled with an EMG picking up the electrical activity of the muscles of the scalp and forehead. Another of my interests (of which I have far too many) is non-ordinary states of consciousness. I'm reasonably experienced with meditation and biofeedback techniques so once I got the data collection utility and visual analysis software working (yes, I keep linking to them; the one time I don't, I'll be flooded with requests for it the way my luck goes …

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  2. A dataset to play with.

    09 June 2009

    Just for fun, I captured a couple of minutes of electrical activity into a text file, which is suitable for running through nia_eeg_chart.py. I wasn't doing a whole lot, just listening to a podcast and flipping between e-mail and Firefox tabs, so it's not terribly interesting stuff. Either I'm more brainless than usual when browsing the Web, or it says something about exchanging one way of turning your mind off (television) for another (too many websites to keep track of at once).

    Anyway, have some fun with that data set if you like.

    Download it here.

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  3. Flexible solar panels now large enough to be practical.

    08 June 2009

    Back in the 80's Edmund Scientific used to sell an amorphous solar cell educational kit: a small lozenge of flexible plastic that contained a pinkish purple solar panel, a couple of lengths of wire, a small light, and a tiny electric fan. The nifty thing about that little solar cell was that it really was flexible; unlike the rigid crystalline solar panels we've all seen you could curl that little sucker around your finger and it would still work if you set it in the sun. While they don't appear to sell that exact kit anymore (and if I'm wrong …

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  4. This isn't quite a William Gibson/Near Stephenson cyberpunk world, but you can see the lights of it from here.

    08 June 2009

    There's a certain feeling a system admin gets when they find out that one of their boxen has been pwned. You can't really compare it to anything else but it seems to combine the worst symptoms of cardiac arrest, realizing that someone's just shot at you and not missed, being busted by military police while carrying, and discovering that you slept through your thesis defense. A personal website falling is bad enough, but when you're talking about an operation that's worth six or seven digits in American dollars you just know that heads were rolling.

    Over the weekend a post …

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  5. nia_eeg_chart.py - Convert data captured from the NIA into an EEG chart.

    07 June 2009

    Well, I finally got it working. After a lot of trial and error I was able to figure out how to set up a panel of six strip charts, one per channel of electrical activity in the brain that the OCZ NIA picks up. The application I wrote takes output captured from nia_number_dumper.py and displays it as one would expect an EEG to look. Python is required to run this software.

    Next up: turning it into a realtime display from the NIA.

    of the app in action.

    Download nia_eeg_chart.zip here

    Test data set for nia_eeg_chart …

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  6. Python: as simple as possible but no simpler.

    06 June 2009

    When coding something in Python, it's said that your logic should be as simple as possible because the language does the heavy lifting for you. The nice thing about Python is that it makes it very easy to implement complex functionality because all the fiddly stuff that you normally spend ages coding and debugging (like linked lists and sorting algorithms) is already done for you. Also, the basic data types/objects that Python gives you are as orthogonal as you can get without throwing your hands up and using sticky notes instead.

    In short, I spent two weeks debugging a …

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  7. European ATMs struck by hacksploitation movie plot.

    04 June 2009

    When manufacturers of ATMs started using Windows to run them, you just knew that no good would come of it.

    Eastern European banks discovered this the hard way when the security companies Sophos and SpiderLabs discovered strains of malware tailored for automated teller machines that record the second data track of banking cards inserted into the reader slot along with the PIN entered by the machine's user. That's really all you need to make a copy of the card and loot the account. As if that's not enough, the malware also makes it possible for anyone carrying a specially encoded …

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  8. Peter W. Singer at HacDC.

    03 June 2009

    Forget moblogging. It’s too much hassle to be workable because it never works, and it wrecks my formatting.

    I just got back from HacDC, where tonight Peter Singer, author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century presented on the topic of applied military robotics. While it seems a bit cliche’ to say this, they aren’t science fiction anymore, military robots are actually recent history. Drones and teleoperated robots have been in use in Iraq and Afghanistan since the get go, and the last official count has over seven thousand robots in use …

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  9. If only the private sector got turnaround times like this.

    03 June 2009

    Not too far away from where I live is Tyson's Corner, Virginia, a veritable hotspot of commerce, .com site headquarters, overpriced stores, and shopping malls of assorted shapes, sizes, and funny looks given if you walk in wearing ripped jeans and a "DIE YUPPIE SCUM" t-shirt. Since I moved into the DC metroplex back in '05 the Tyson's Corner area has been in one stage or another of the planning and construction of a new Metrorail station. Obviously, this involves a certain amount of disruption of daily life from crews busily tearing up the roads, highways, sidwalks, and parking lots …

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  10. Moblog test post.

    02 June 2009

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 This is a test post to see if I've got <a moblogging support in <a Pivot set up correctly. Expect this to be a boring and orchestrated post while I fool around with HTML markup. I don't think that tags can be embedded in moblog posts like they can in PivotX, which I haven't gotten around to setting up yet.


    The Doctor [412/724/301/703] PGP: 0x807B17C1 / 7960 1CDC 85C9 0B63 8D9F DD89 3BD8 FF2B 807B 17C1 WWW: http://drwho.virtadpt.net/ Who are you? -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.9 …

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