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New zine: let's learn tcpdump!

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tcpdump is a useful tool for seeing what network packets are being sent/received on a computer. I used to be really confused about tcpdump! I’d run tcpdump, it would print a bunch of incomprehensible output, I’d look at the man page, and I’d run away.

I’ve learned a lot more about it and these days, I feel really comfortable with tcpdump! I’ll see a networking problem, think “oh, no big deal, I’ll just fire up tcpdump!”, and be one step closer to figuring it out.

So I decided to write a short 12-page zine to explain tcpdump basics so that you too can realize “hey, this isn’t so bad!!”.

I’m doing an experiment with this one where – you can buy it today for $10 (early access!), and then I’ll release it for free on this blog a little later on. If you’re excited about tcpdump and want to buy it and help support julia’s zine-making enterprises, here it is. As usual it includes both a version you can read online and a version you can print out and give to your friends.


Also, if you’re thinking “this is cool, but I feel like I’m missing some computer networking basics”, I wrote a computer networking zine called Networking! ACK! for you! (here’s the pdf)

Here’s what the cover looks like (I hired an awesome illustrator!):

and the inside pages on tcpdump command line arguments, as a preview – it turns out there are only a few that you really need to know about!

I’m still figuring out what the best way is to sell stuff online is. Gumroad seems reasonable so far but let me know if there are problems with it!

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patshead
9 hours ago
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Plano, TX
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Logs For A Toilet

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The Internet of Things, as originally envisioned in papers dating to the early to mid-90s, is a magical concept. Wearable devices would report your location, health stats, and physiological information to a private server. Cameras in your shower would tell your doctor if that mole is getting bigger. Your car would monitor the life of your cabin air filter and buy a new one when the time arrived. Nanobots would become programmable matter, morphing into chairs, houses, and kitchen utensils. A ubiquity of computing would serve humans as an unseen hive mind. It was paradise, delivered by ever smaller computers, sensors, and advanced robotics.

The future didn’t turn out like we planned. While the scientists and engineers responsible for asking how they could make an Internet-connected toaster oven, no one was around to ask why anyone would want that. At least we got a 3Com Audrey out of this deal.

Fast forward to today and we learn [Christopher Hiller] just put his toilet on the Internet. Why is he doing this? Even he doesn’t know, but it does make for a great ‘logs from a toilet’ pun.

The hardware for this device is a Digistump Oak, a neat little Arduino-compatible WiFi-enabled development board. The Digistump Oak is able to publish to the Particle Cloud, and with just five lines of code, [Chris] is able to publish a flush to the Internet. The sensor for this build is a cheap plastic float switch. There are only three components in this build, and one of them is a 4k7 resistor.

Right now, there are a few issues with the build. It’s battery-powered, but that’s only because [Chris]’ toilet isn’t close enough to a wall outlet. There’s a bit of moisture in a bathroom, and clingfilm solves the problem for now, but some silly cone carne would solve that problem the right way. [Chris] also has two toilets, so he’ll need to build another one.


Filed under: home hacks



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patshead
9 hours ago
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Plano, TX
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It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands

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Sony's cameras seem to be in a league of their own. So why do professionals stick with bulkier models from Canon and Nikon? One answer is glass—often just as pricey as pro-grade bodies, and you need a lot of it to be in business. DPReview's Dan Bracaglia suggests that Sony's latest full-frame model, the $5,000 A9, is so fantastic that many pros are talking about jumping ship, but should be cautioned by the sheer expense of doing so.

Using our example, the cheapest one could go full-on Sony, with most of the same kit is $22,870. After applying the $11,820 discount from having sold off all the Canon equipment, a photojournalist would still have to cough up about $11,050 to make the switch. Or they could simply take that $11,820 and buy a couple of a9 bodies and maybe a lens.

"Switching systems is a headache," he adds, "and sports photography gear is crazy expensive."

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patshead
9 hours ago
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Plano, TX
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The Connected Calculator with ESP8266

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Calculator hacks have been around for a while now and we have seen the most action around the Texas Instruments TI-83 and TI-84. When [johnkimdinh] found a way to add an ESP8266 to a scientific calculator (machine translation) and this time around it’s a Kenko FX-82M calculator which appears eerily similar to the Casio FX-82M.

In his video, [johnkimdinh] demonstrates his hack which has a web interface for transmitting numbers to the calculator. This is accomplished by accessing the keypad using the ESP8266 GPIOs and it is essentially the equivalent of typing remotely. The rest of the circuit remains intact so bit more work and the other functions should be available remotely as well.

Perhaps this hack is best suited as a dedicated display for outputting measurements and other data which requires some type of post-processing to be human readable. If the next iteration delivers the ability to read from the display we’ll really be getting somewhere. We envision such calculators being used as the future of education where the connectivity is used to retrieve an array of real time parameters for assignments. Add a few sensors into the mix and it could be the next big thing for STEM.

In the past, we have had calculators brought to life to do vector and matrix math and ESP8266s connected to TI-84 calculators. After all, everyone has calculators, they simply must be hacked!


Filed under: Microcontrollers



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patshead
9 hours ago
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Plano, TX
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A ‘Do Not Disturb’ Digital Assistant

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Flow requires a certain amount of focus, and when that concentration is broken by pesky colleagues, work can suffer, on top of time wasted attempting to re-engage with the task at hand. The Technical Lead in [Estera Dezelak]’s office got fed up with being interrupted, and needed his own personal assistant to ward off the ‘just one question’-ers.

Initially, [Grega Pušnik] — the tech lead — emailed the office his schedule and blocked out times when he wasn’t to be disturbed, with other developers following suit. When that route’s effectiveness started to wane, he turned the product he was working on — a display for booking meeting rooms — into his own personal timetable display with the option to book a time-slot to answer questions. In an office that  is largely open-concept — not exactly conducive to a ‘do not disturb’ workstation — it was a godsend.

A digital assistant that’s got your back can come in many shapes, sizes, and functions, so if you find yourself in need of a little help to get by, a digital friend may be the ticket.

[Thanks for the tip, Estera!]


Filed under: misc hacks, Software Development



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patshead
22 hours ago
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Plano, TX
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Filament Friday: “Silk Like” Filament Gives Glossy Prints

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Everyone at my hackerspace kept asking what filament I'd used for a print I'd made with Silk Like, because it gives off a shiny lustrous texture that turns heads.

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The post Filament Friday: “Silk Like” Filament Gives Glossy Prints appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

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patshead
1 day ago
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Plano, TX
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