Stego for Skrillex: hiding data in dubstep drops

Ben Cartwright-Cox observed that he could modulate the bass frequencies in electronic dance music/dubstep in a way that was easy to detect with a signal processor and inaudible to his unaided ears, so he wrote some code to hide messages in the wubwubwub. Read the rest

MIT students create and circulate open source, covert RFID rings to subvert campus tracking system

A reader writes, "A couple years ago MIT changed their dorm security/student tracking policy. They hired security contractors to work in dorms and required everyone to tap their RFID cards upon entry (no vouching for friends/guests). Most students complied. Some moved out. Some got in trouble ;)" Read the rest

Reverse-engineering Whatsapp, to let us talk to our friends without Facebook's oversight

The lifecycle of technology is fundamentally parasitic: successful technologies are ones that colonize their predecessors, devour them, and burst out of their limiting skins to and grow into new, more ambitious tools -- until they, too, are colonized by a more-evolved successor. Read the rest

Google launches "plus codes": open geocodes for locations that don't have street addresses

In much of the world, addresses are difficult to convey because they refer to locations on unnamed streets, in unnumbered buildings, in unincorporated townships, sometimes in disputed national boundaries (I have often corresponded with people in rural Costa Rica whose addresses were "So-and-so, Road Without Name, 300m west of the bus stop, village, nearest town, region"). Read the rest

An ethical oath for programmers

Nick Johnstone's "Programmer's Oath" is billed as "An oath for programmers, comparable to the Hippocratic Oath." Naturally, it's on Github and you can create a pull request if you think that Johnstone got something wrong. Read the rest

TWANG! A one-dimensional dungeon-crawler that uses a springy doorstop as a controller

Robin Baumgarten's Line Wobbler is an incredibly clever dungeon crawler game based on a single, one-dimensional line of lights, traditionally implemented as large-scale, high-priced public art installations. Read the rest

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

The Quantum Game: like Laser Maze, but built on real principles of quantum mechanics

Laser Maze is a super-fun electronic board game that challenges players to arrange angled mirrors to route a laser beam from an emitter to a sensor, avoiding obstacles; in The Quantum Game, you undertake the same fundamental task, but with a virtual laser that only emits one photon, and virtual beam-splitters, absorbtive polarizers, quarter-wave plates, polarizing beam splitters, Faraday rotators, and other exotic apparatus. Read the rest

Watch how this app uses AI to colorize vintage photos

This fancy interactive deep colorization software harnesses AI to fill in colors on a black and white photo with just a few inputs. Watch this cool demo. Read the rest

Make: a two-button Binary Keyboard

Chris Johnstone's "Binary Keyboard" is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don't worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use). Read the rest

Longstanding, unpatched Bluetooth vulnerability lets burglars shut down Google security cameras

A security researcher has published a vulnerability and proof-of-concept exploits in Google's Internet of Things security cameras, marketed as Nest Dropcam, Nest Dropcam Pro, Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam Indoor; these vulnerabilities were disclosed to Google last fall, but Google/Nest have not patched them despite the gravity of the vulnerability and the long months since the disclosure. Read the rest

USG: an open source anti-BadUSB hardware firewall for your USB port

BadUSB is bad news: malware that targets the firmware in your USB port's embedded system, bypassing the OS, antivirus software and other countermeasures. Read the rest

Trump Executive Order Generator

Are Trump's increasingly unconstitutional executive orders getting more and more ludicrous? Now you can make your own with the Trump Executive Order Generator. Read the rest

Visualizing 24 hours of subway activity in New York City

Will Geary created this colorful and soothing data visualization of a day's worth of subway routes around the Big Apple. Read the rest

California just launched a "Digital Service" based on the amazing UK Government Digital Service

Since 2011, the UK's Government Digital Service has radically transformed the way Britons interact with their government, streamlining bureaucratic processes, opening up data, and making APIs available for community groups and commercial players -- alas, the GDS has become a political football in Westminster and has hemorrhaged talent, becoming a sad reminder of a once-glorious dream of government delivered humanely, with the public in mind. Read the rest

An "ahem" detector that uses deep learning to auto-clean recordings of speech

Train the Deep Learning Ahem Detector with two sets of audio files, "a negative sample with clean voice/sound" (minimum 3 minutes) and "a positive one with 'ahem' sounds concatenated" (minimum 10s) and it will detect "ahems" in any voice sample thereafter. Read the rest

Cryptpad: a free/open, end-to-end encrypted, zero-knowledge shared text editor

Tools like Etherpad and Google Docs are transformative ways to collaborate on text (including code); I've used them in contexts as varied as making unofficial transcripts of statements at UN agencies to liveblogging conference presentations -- but they all share a weakness, which is that whomever owns the document server can see everything you're typing. Read the rest

More posts