Is there such a thing as « hackerspace burnout » ? [en]

janvier 28th, 2012

After the awesome Chaos Communication Camp 2011, i had some difficulties to get involved with projects in the space for about a month and half: it’s like i lost something.

To put in context, i’ve been co-driving the truck that carried the material and luggage of 3 belgian hackerspaces and one dutch space up to Finowfurt and back. My co-driver did all the paperwork for the truck, made the whole pickup schedule, did the initial loading at the starting point, and even did the cooking every day since we arrived at the camp, while also taking care of his son. Hats off to that guy that will certainly recognize himself when reading this. On my side, i was busy coordinating the set up of our party tent (we barely had enough hands to raise it), doing all the wiring and light setup, and helping installing the tables and the network. The weather was not friendly either. After the camp was the teardown, packing and filling the truck, Then the driving back and final delivery to the different spaces, all on a very compressed schedule.

Now i feel the same thing again: i’ve been working in the space over the last month on a quite regular basis: drink shopping, moving shelves, filling fridge, garbage collection, rebuilding the electric installation nearly from scratch and dealing with the sharp aspects of socializing.

I want to work on my own pet projects and stop working on infrastructure and janitorial stuff for a while. For the ByteNight, i already made it clear that i will not get involved in any aspect of it. I’ll be there as a customer, sipping my drink on the sofa.

Once i finish the last missing bits on the electric installation, i will freeze all infrastructure projects (Zoppas, Parallel port interface, last power circuit and relay board) for some time.

Reboot in March 2012 ?

Wall wart hunting [en]

janvier 17th, 2012

I found in my apartment about 10 wall warts and two linear power supplies that give the same (or similar) voltage for my equipment.

Spools of red and black wire with a power supply

Let the hunt begin

I would like to get rid of those power bricks and have a more consistent and centralized setup. I hope to make some savings in the process by using a more efficient oversized switch mode power supply. Another advantage is that if i want an UPS on that line, i just need to connect a SLA battery.

My apartment will be wired with 6 mm² wires carrying 12VDC: one branch go to the networking area, the other two go to my desk.

Let’s lay down some wires !!

1 minute hackjob: bicycle light battery [en]

octobre 30th, 2011

I needed a battery to power the front light of my bicycle last night, here is my solution. You will need:

  • A 4,5V flashlight battery
  • A zip tie
  • An adhesive pad for the zip tie
  • A nose pliers

  • Bend the battery terminals in two, crimp the hinge area.
  • Slightly lift the free side to facilitate the insertion of a wire
  • Attach the adhesive pad to the battery, slide the zip tie in the pad and attach the whole contraption to the bicycle
  • Insert the wires in the clamps you made earlier: let there be light. 🙂
If you can’t find the adhesive zip tie pad, you can still use the good old fashioned duct tape. 🙂

Typiquement belge [fr]

octobre 23rd, 2011

Vu il y a trois jours, près de l’avenue de Cortenbergh. Je me demande ce que dit le code de la route Ă  ce sujet: 🙂

wtf ??  wtf ??

Pour les curieux, voici l’endroit oĂą se trouve cette magnifique aberration:
View Larger Map

Summer is over !! [en]

octobre 18th, 2011

Three months of silence, but not of inactivity.

The CCC Camp was the big event in august, there are no words strong enough to describe the level of awesomeness i experienced during the camp. I needed a lot of time to prepare before and a lot of time after to bring things back to normal. It was really worth the energy i spent for that. Co-driving the truck was an interesting experience in itself. I have some video footage that still need editing.

Once i was back home, whenever there was sun shining, i wanted to be out: enjoying what’s left of it or cycling around.

With the summer now gone, i can work on the low season/winter projects:

  • Bicycle suitcase: The suitcase i carried on my bicycle got damaged after my fall in may, now i have no remorse gutting it. 🙂
  • RottenWRT router: A special VPN box for bad networks run by nazi sysadmins. It already received an internal sound card extension
  • I also have a couple of things to do at home, like finishing the network wiring, pulling a 12V central power supply, install the electricity and plumbing for a dishwasher, doing the schematics of my electric installation, a bit of cleanup and getting rid of old things.
  • Do something of the video rushes i have sitting on my disk
  • Clean up the photo gallery: it’s getting messy
  • Parallel port universal interface: I stopped working on it when BIFFF started.
  • Some hackerspace projects, like the door lock and a relay board.
  • ??? 🙂
Will the winter be long enough ?? 🙂

copiepresse vs google [fr]

juillet 16th, 2011

Le niveau de connaissance d’internet de la presse francophone est au niveau du caniveau. Et j’apporte la preuve.

Read the rest of this entry »

Today in the physical mail box [en]

juillet 14th, 2011
Package content

Package content

Today i received the GSM shield for Arduino from Open Electronics. I rushed to get a pre-paid SIM card to start playing with the new toy.

I just realised that i don’t have an arduino board yet in my personal toolbox, but i can borrow one from the hackerspace to start experimenting.

I have two projects in mind:

  • mailbox watcher: Since the mailbox is far from my apartment and not within my regular walking path, (and i am a lazy person ;-)), i want the board to send me an SMS when a letter is landing in the mailbox. This is also a nice opportunity to experiment aggressive power saving and see how long can a set of fresh batteries last.
  • Hackerspace door opener: I am also building a motorized lock for the local hackerspace. I don’t know yet what kind of remote control we can use, but it has to be democratic enough. This is not the most original project: the Ghent hackerspace already did it.

Assembly

GSM shield assembled

GSM shield assembled

The shield come as a kit, some soldering is required, but nothing too serious (only through hole components, 2,54 mm pin spacing). In my case, only the switch SW1 was tricky to install.

That’s all for the moment, time to write code.

Les sites web casse-bonbons [fr]

juin 21st, 2011

J’ai trouvĂ© ceci aujourd’hui: ce site web demande de diffuser la vidĂ©o sur facebook avant de pouvoir voir ce qu’elle contient. J’ai pour principe de d’abord vĂ©rifier le contenu avant de publier. Est-ce drĂ´le ? Est-ce que ça vaut la peine ? J’en sais rien, mais je veux quand mĂŞme vĂ©rifier et garder le contrĂ´le de ma page. La vidĂ©o semble provenir de Youtube, jetons un coup d’oeil sur le code HTML de la page via CTRL-U:


<iframe width="640" height="389" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IIOIw0SO3CQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Ils ne se sont pas foulĂ©s les mecs !! Un copier-coller de l’URL plus tard, je peux enfin voir la vidĂ©o sans devoir la partager. Et en effet elle n’en vaut pas la peine, elle n’est mĂŞme pas drĂ´le. Toujours est-il que je considère ça comme une technique de spam. Je tairais le nom du site en question car il n’en vaut pas la peine. Le web 2.0 devient le cauchemard 2.0.

Virement bancaire: communication structurée [fr]

juin 5th, 2011

Voici un petit bout de script qui gĂ©nère une communication structurĂ©e valable pour un virement bancaire en Belgique. L’avantage de ce système est que la banque n’exĂ©cutera pas le virement si il y a une erreur lors de la retranscription des chiffres.

# Generate the 'Communication' field for the virement
# Format: +++DDD/DDDD/DDDSS+++
# DDDDDDDDDD: Any number you like.
# SS: Above number mod 97. Set to 97 if zero.
# Banks love obsolete^Wproven technologies. :-)
mkcomm ()
{
# In case of collision, the function can take a salt as an optional parameter.
COMMSTR="$1$RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM$RANDOM"
COMMSTR="${COMMSTR:0:10}" # Trim string length to 10
COMM_MODULO=$(expr $COMMSTR % 97 ) # Get reminder
case $COMM_MODULO in # Padding and/or correction
"0") COMM_MODULO="97" ;;
[1-9]) COMM_MODULO="0$COMM_MODULO" ;;
esac
#echo "$COMMSTR$COMM_MODULO" #Debug
echo "+++${COMMSTR:0:3}/${COMMSTR:3:4}/${COMMSTR:7:3}$COMM_MODULO+++" # Chop into blocks
}

Si votre banque vous autorise à télécharger vos extraits de comptes au format .csv (possible chez Dexia et Argenta), il suffit simplement de faire une recherche sur la chaîne de caractères de la communication structurée pour trouver la trace du paiement.

Possible backscatter spam coming from my server [en]

mai 30th, 2011

Between 20:00 and 23:00 CET, some backscatter spam slipped through my server due to a misconfiguration on my side.

I was trying to set up a secondary MX for the non-profit association BxLUG,an association promoting Free Software in Brussels.

The configuration files have been reverted to their original versions. It might take some time for the DNS entries to propagate.

I am sorry for any inconvenience it might have caused. In the meantime, i have some reading to do…