Remember that Apple Wi-Fi Hack Dust-Up Last Year?

From PC World:

More than a year after claiming to have found a way to take over a Macintosh computer using a flaw in the system’s wireless card, David Maynor has published details of his exploit.

The details were included in a paper published in the September issue of, an online hacking magazine. The lengthy paper describes how to run unauthorized software on a Macintosh by taking advantage of a flaw in Apple‘s AirPort wireless drivers.

Read the rest of the piece…

Tech Recycling/Reuse Center Hassled by the Man

At this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire, one of my fave characters was James Burgett of Alameda County Computer Recycling Center. I not only liked him because he reminded me of half of my tabletop wargaming buddies, he also saved my ass in the Mousey the Junkbot workshops. He provided the junk, some 75 analog mice that we transformed into an army of light-seeking robo-rodents.

The ACCRC is a very innovative organization that finds new users, or new uses, for Silicon Valley’s tons o’ techno-junk. James and his cohort have been great friends to MAKE/Maker Faire and I’m looking forward to working with James at future Faires. That’s if he’s still around. Recently, he ran afoul of the Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency. No, he’s not acid-burning parts in vats in the back to extract precious metals or letting motherboards bleed into the Berkeley groundwater. It all sounds like bureaucratic bullshit that may have been exacerbated when James vented his spleen about the whole situation on his blog.

Anyway, he needs help if he’s going to keep his Center in operation. It’s amazing to me — given how much of this waste actually DOES end up in your ground water or melted down in tech-reclamation villages in south-eastern China worthy of a cyberpunk novel (or the Toxic Avenger) — that someone wanting to do something useful and creative with the stuff would be threatened by the authorities.

If you live in California, you can write the DTSC or other appropriate officials. Dale Dougherty did a write up on O’Reilly Radar with more details about the failed inspection. There’s also some good discussion in the comments, including a letter from someone at Yahoo! who volunteers at ACCRC, and a list of CA officials to contact. James has also created a PayPal account to help with any legal fees or fines.The link is on his blog.


Overclocked Bellydancing Corset

Steampunk bellydancers? Now that’s the kind of micro-specific taste tribe that only the interweb could put together. But steampunky women, moving the world on hip-hugging corset belts bangled with all manner of clockwork curios and other techne bits? What’s not to love? I especially love how the belt apparently says “Not Yours.” Gotcha.

By the way, the goth-white midriff seen here belongs to steampunk artist Libby Bulloff. Her show “Pipe Dream” can be seen through the month of September at the Buskirk Chumley Textillery Gallery, Bloomington, IN.


Review of “The Energy Detective”

Danny Mavromatis, of Marvromatic, has a review of The Energy Detective, a.k.a. TED 1000. It’s a 21st energy meter that “Displays current voltage, current wattage (KWH), peak for month, peak day, KWH today, KWH month, KWH Month To Date, KWH Projected. It also has the ability to show real-time cost (you program the rates into the TED).” It costs US$175, but Danny says he saved $50 in the first month of usage. And he writes: “This gadget becomes a game, where you try to see how low you can get your KWH. Before TED… I was running at 1.500KWH, now I’m at .980!!” Cool. I want!


SendPics, iPhone Util for Hi-Res Photo Emailing

It’s easy to send pics from your iPhone to your Flickr account. You just hit this link and you’re assigned a unique address to mail pics to. Do so, and they’re posted to your account. Unfortunately, they’re also automatically scaled during the mailing process, which can be a problem if you want full-grown images on the other end. Erica Sadun, of TUAW, has written a handy utility that maintains the full image resolution. You can get it here, or via your iPhone’s third-party

[Via TUAW]


Everlasting Flight, Here We Come…

From New Scientist:

For the first time a solar-powered plane has flown through two consecutive nights, UK defence research company QinetiQ claims. In a secretive weekend mission, their craft Zephyr took off from a US military base in New Mexico and landed 54 hours later.

The solar craft seems to have taken the next hop towards everlasting flight…

Read the rest (and see video)…

[Via /.]


Adventures in Hollywood & iPod Etching

Our pal Jake von Slatt has a fun piece on the Steampunk Workshop where he tells the tale of his trip to LA, to appear on Wired Science, interspersed with his prepping of the project he planned to demo there, etching an iPod.

The next step in the process was to clean the iPod back carefully with alcohol and spray a couple of coats of the ER-71 Photo Resist Liquid on it. This had to be done in subdued light, particularly avoiding any light in the blue and UV part of the spectrum. Around here that means kerosene lamp light. After the resist was applied the iPod went into a oven at 140 degrees for about 20 minutes to cure.

Back to my story, after several phone conversations I agreed to ship all of my projects out for a “show and tell” segment, but the producers wanted more “science content” so I proposed etching an iPod in a demo since electrolytic etching with it’s anodes and cathodes and electrons and ions is the just about the most “science-y” thing I do.


Mercury, Robot Seeker of Light (Detector of Dark)

One of my favorite BEAM builders, Harold Ilano, has posted a new project on his site. It’s an awesome little bugbot he dubbed Mercury (being a light-seeker that wants to be close to the sun). The design is based on a circuit by BEAM whiz Wilf Rigter, using a single 74AC/HC240 chip to create a reversing photovore (the 74*240 is the same chip family that I used — the HCT — in my single-motor walker from my robot book).

I love the way Harold always builds on established BEAM circuits. Here, he’s made his photovore with two tactile sensors (Wilf’s had one), added a dark-detecting behavior (with two dark-activated LED “predator” eyes), and a stop and go behavior (which makes him seem more organic), all with the single 74*240 control chip.

The Mercury is made from scavenged pieces from a Playstation (including the two motors), a Li-Poly 3.6V cell phone battery, and some misc analog components. Looking at the numerous pics and videos on his site, you might get the impression that this was an easy build, but getting that much “behavior” out of so few components involves a bit of electronic origami. Harold says it took weeks of long hours every day to finally get it all working smoothly. Sheesh. Maybe I don’t have the patience to become a real BEAM master. No worries. I’m more than happy to sit at the feet of guys like Wilf and Harold, and marvel at what they do (and write glowingly about it in cyberspace).

More pics after the jump…


Dorkbot DC Next Monday, Sept 10

The next Dorkbot DC is this coming Monday, Sept. 10. This’ll be our first meeting away from our old home, Provisions Library. This one will be at the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences (6th and E Streets, NW). Above is a PDF flyer you can print out and distribute. See the Dorkbot DC site for more details. I hope to see lots of local Street Techies there!