Semi-autonomous software agents: Practical applications.

In the last post in this series I talked about the origins of my exocortex and a few of the things I do with it. In this post I'm going to dive a little deeper into what my exocortex does for me and how it's laid out.

My agent networks ("scenarios" in the terminology of Huginn) are collections of specialized agents which each carry out one function (like requesting a web page or logging into an XMPP server to send a message). Those agents communicate by sending events to one another; those events take the form of structured, packaged pieces …

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Software agents under the hood: What do their guts look like?

In my last post I went into the the history of semi-autonomous software agents in a fair amount of detail, going as far back as the late 1970's and the beginning of formal research in the field in the early 1980's. Now I'm going to pop open the hood and go into some detail about how agents are architected in the context of how they work, some design issues and constraints, and some of the other technologies that they can use or bridge. I'm also going to talk a little about agents' communication protocols, both those used to communiate amongst …

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Spectrum analysis on the cheap.

If you’ve ever hacked around with wireless communications, in particular data networking chances are you’ve come across the oh-so-nifty USB spectrum analyzers that operate in the gigahertz range (which 802.11a, b, and g networks, among other wireless applications, operate within). The idea is simple: you plug the analyzer into a USB port on your laptop, fire up the software, and you can see the whole spectrum broken down into channels with relative signal strengths representing activity on the screen just like in the movies. While granted this can be a useful tool for anyone doing serious RF …

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

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.

Here's a screenshot
of the app in action.

Download nia_eeg_chart.zip here

Test data set for nia_eeg_chart …

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OCZ NIA hacking, now with Python!

Disclaimer the first: I don't know a whole lot about USB or device drivers. Those of you who do will no doubt point and laugh.

Disclaimer the second: Where applicable, I've given credit for and linked to the work of others. I've independently discovered a few things that others have already figured out, so one or two things may not be attributed. In that case, please let me know and I'll put a reference where applicable.

Over the past few weeks I've been playing with my OCZ NIA on and off. My first attempt at getting anything out of it …

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New project for RPM-based distros: YUM Web GUI

(ObDisclaimer: I work for these guys.)

Developers at The Prometheus Group recently announced a new open source project on their forums, a web-based interface for YUM that will make it easy to add, remove, and update packages on servers running Redhat-like distributions of Linux. The GUI will be implemented in PHP and Python, and will make use of the RPM modules already present in Fedora Core, Redhat, and like distros. To make it more attractive to sysadmins (who usually have too much to do and too little time to do it all) the web interface is designed to integrate with …

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Two heads-up posts from the infosec world that could hit close to home.

First off, someone's created a trojan horse program that affects unlocked Apple iPhones. By definition, you can't install anything on an iPhone unless you crack it, so the impact of this is potentially smaller than it could be. At any rate, it pretends to be a patch for v1.1.3 of the iPhone firmware. It doesn't do anything until you try to uninstall it (because it doesn't look like it does anything), at which time it will take any copies of OpenSSH and Erica's Utilities with it when it goes. While the original website that offered this utility is …

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Shell script: truecrypt-1.0.sh

To scratch a frequently encountered itch, namely mounting and unmounting Truecrypt volumes on USB keys and external drives on a number of systems in a day, I wrote a shell script that automates the command line arguments that I use most often as well as making it simpler to assume root privileges to do so. The script is designed to be kept on the key along with the encrypted datastore, though it could also be placed on each system in a publically accessible location (such as /usr/local/bin)

The script assumes that it'll be run on a UNIX (-alike …

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