Happy Birthday GIF!

On this day in 1987 Steve Wilhite while working at CompuServe developed the GIF format.  Thanks to the internet and the fact that internet speeds continue to accelerate they have become the defacto animation format.  Hooray!  It is importent to point out that although the GIF is 30 years old today, the animated version that we are so familiar with did not become available until 1989.  Don’t tell me how to pronounce it. Enjoy my collection.

be3n bangs a gong

Incredibly impassioned performance from The Mountain Goats!

The Mountain Goats at Mayan Theatre  - May 31, 2017

John and the gang performed a pile of new work intermingled with classics and a few unrecorded tracks.  It was an awesome show full of precious moments and supposition about drug enforcement or a legendary heavy metal club in Long Beach.   We met some great people and had a wonderful evening.  Thank you Carlos!

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And then there were four!

Drobo 5c StatusI have been experiencing an excess of failures with my own equipment this week.  Mostly aged drives who’s working lifespan is winding down.  Often the preverbal cobbler with no shoes, I rarely have time to maintain my own equipment. My usual quick fix is to throw more drives at the problem. Although that would certainly get me running again, it was more of a stop gap then a real solution.  I have a number of aged drives and i wanted a solution not just for today, but something to make a difference moving forward.  Enter the Drobo 5c.  I have been a fan of Drobo for years.  I have an 8 bay that holds my media library in it’s warm RAID-6 embrace.  I had been eyeing the Drobo 5d for years waiting for the price to sink or my need to raise.  Turns out the 5c is incredibly priced with only minor disadvantages over the 5d.  One reason i love Drobo and the reason it was perfect for this project is the Drobo’s ability to expand in the future while operating at diminished capacity.  I bought this enclosure with only 2 drives.  Started up with mearly one 4TB drive and another 3TB.  This got me started with about 2.7TB of usable space.  Then i got to the task of offloading data from my healthy external drives. As each drive emptied into the Drobo’s volume, it was then fed into the Drobo enclosure to continue to expand the capacity.  Now i have over 8TB of usable storage with both failover protection (a single drive can fail and I loose nothing) and expandability.  It’s one big volume makes organizing and tidying a snap.  That last bay will get a 4TB eventually and it’s doubtful the most recent 3TB i installed will be working this time next year.

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Got my first MRI today. . .

The purpose of the scan today was investigating back pain, nothing serious.  In keeping with my tradition of publishing too much information, enjoy this animation of a flight through my spine.

The experience was actually much easier then I anticipated.  The machine did not move me as much as they show on medical television shows.  Not as loud either.  30 minutes in the tube was a bit much, by the end, i was ready to get out.

Modernizing a lifebook from 2003 with Lubuntu

Lubuntu 11.04 My doc was a bit confused about the age of this computer when he gave it to me to setup.  We spoke about a 5 year old laptop. It turned out to be a beast from 2003: a Lifebook n series by Fujitsu.  I’ve always said that Fujitsu must be run by a supervillain or at the very least, a rebel billionaire.  They make industrial equipment and infrastructure, while at the same time making laptops and other select home electronics.  Like someone just wanted their ideal laptop and then as an afterthought sold it as a product.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to disparage Fujitsu in any way.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I have relied on their hard drives for my most precious data and their Lifebooks have always been some of the best out there.  The fact that this 13+ year old laptop is operating with all original parts and a working battery is testament to Fujitsu’s commitment to quality.

My first clue was the XP sticker.  I decided to go with Lubuntu, a minimized variant on the popular Ubuntu Linux.  Ubuntu is a wonderful distribution, especially for those new to Linux, but it’s built on top of Debian, so it’s not just for beginners.  For years, I’ve used some of the older (still supported) Ubuntu versions for old machines.   I hate to see workin computers fail because of a lack of software support.  Thanks to the good people at Lubuntu, Ubuntu, GNU/Linux, this is a thing of the past. This guy is running all the latest in security and cryptographic technology, a fully modern web browser and a full suite of productivity software fully compatible with the latest MS Office.

 

Played with PoisonTap network hijacking tool

Poison Tap in Action

@SamyKamkar made an impressive and terrifying tool.  This simple USB device steals your cookies, poisons your cache, and even persists a web backdoor.  On a locked machine no less!  It depends much on the trust that our computers take for granted.  Trusting a USB device is not up to no good.  Trusting the local network not trying to confuse. We must reexamine this trust going forward.  It didn’t take long to get it up and running, however once you do, you can spend hours tinkering.  (i was working to combine it with @mubix‘s work here)

I am also delighted to have my first Raspberry Pi as a USB device rather then host.  it is certainly exciting to create some new doodads using this dangerous toolkit.

UPDATE

I have since made a version without the cache attack.  I completely failed to steal the poisontap visuals, but TheCodePlayer offers a delightful matrix animation.  next step is to man in the middle ssl too.  I’m turning it into a device that logs everything while connected, but doesn’t persist.