Don’t say cheese

The paparazzi are determined to get a photo of me double-screening Netflix and Reddit. They post a tantalising link to a website that will try to activate my webcam, take a photo and post it to their file host to be auctioned to the Red Tops for their celebrity gossip pages.

Understanding the answer to stopping this means we have to understand how programs talk to hardware and how the different parts of the computer are connected and how they talk to each other. Otherwise we risk locking the door but ignoring the fact there’s no wall.

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Picking mobile locks

Once upon a time, I bought a mobile Internet modem from Three Mobile for my wife so she could get Internet access while travelling. Once her travels were completed and its duties discharged, I put it in a box and forgot about it.

Some years later I stumbled across it and thought maybe I could put it to use. At least I could get that network lock taken off it now it was well out of contract. Three, for their part, were only too happy to oblige just as soon as I turned up with the receipt. So I put it back in its box and forgot again.

This week I stumbled on it again, just as locked and receipt free as the last time I found it, but this time I decided I wasn’t going to ask anyone if I could get it unlocked.

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Tap replacement

DIY is starting to play a bigger and bigger role in my life and I discover, despite a fairly hands-on upbringing, I’m not sure I know anything.

Today’s problem: The bathroom sink is leaking from a tap. Not your classic drip that everyone knows just needs a replacement washer. In this case the body of the tap seems to be leaking.

It’s not a big leak, but the standing water might be what’s making the budgie sick. It needs to be replaced. Continue reading

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A model request

A colleague has asked me to print some parts for a game he plays. It seems they are available on Thingiverse so getting the model was easy. Let’s have another crack at calibration and printing. Continue reading

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Propping up the barre

My better half enjoys ballet and has some space in the house to practice. All she needs is a little bit of floor space but all she has as a stand in for a barre is a windowsill.

On the other hand, I have a membership at a tool library and a credit card for ordering supplies. Maybe we can do something better. Continue reading

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The Rock was stopped

For one of my birthdays a few years ago, I was given a Nintendo Wii along with the full Rock Band setup. Guitar, of course, drums and a microphone. The game is great, but in the fullness of time the guitar broke down. It was wireless and stopped pairing with the dongle on the Wii. The drums are excellent fun, but team play needs a lead guitarist.

The guitar was put in a cupboard and quietly forgotten until a conversation at work reminded me. It’s already broken. I can’t really make it worse by having a poke around with a multimeter. Continue reading

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The parting of the surfaces

The first model was an education again. It took a few goes but I got there. The next model failed again. Time for some lessons learned. Continue reading

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The real world is *hard*

Printer filament arrived and the print was duly set going. The first dozen or fifteen attempts all had the same problem: The first layer didn’t stick to the print bed. The internet was consulted. The options were myriad. Masking tape. Pritt Stick. Panes of glass and custom chemicals were all suggested. Continue reading

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Not your artist’s 3D modeller

I’ve been interested in 3d modelling since the days of Quake mapping. I always found it difficult because I could never wrap my head around the interface. Moving something in one plane would look perfect but it would have zoomed off into the distance when I checked the others. Fortunately there’s a 3D modeller for programmers Continue reading

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Raspberry Pi Assembly tutorial

I stumbled across this Raspberry Pi assembler tutorial which seemed like a fun thing to try out. Who would have thought you could spend your evening thinking carefully about the ramifications of parameter passing mechanisms.

Not something I plan to do seriously, but certainly interesting. Much in the same way that learning Cobol gave me insights into database query optimisers and variable scoping, this is giving me new appreciation for the underpinnings of C and python.

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