The Nintendo NES Classic Edition

I happened to see a tweet floating by, a friend asked if anyone was interested in buying her Nintendo NES Classic Edition, I thought for a second or two .. I was interested! Requested approval from wife and got it!

Since I had never owned a NES console, just played at friends places and thought our 3+ year old son would enjoy it, I replied back, “I’m interested”.

One or two days later, I picked up the console. It spent another two or three days on a shelf as I did not have the energy to unbox and hook up the system, tough week.

This morning, a Saturday morning, I unboxed and connected the system, played a few games, some muscle-memory still present and it was really fun. I have not had the time to try out all games yet, it’s packed with 30 games where I have played most of them but not all, some are “new” to me. I have not touched a NES console, the original, since around early 90’s.

Tried to teach son to play Pacman, his attention span is too short and within a minute he was doing other things.. but at least I have the console and it will be used the next couple of weeks. Hopefully he will eventually discover it and spend some time on it, enjoying the games.

The only downside with this little console is the length of the controller cable, too short, will get an extension cord and possibly by another controller + extension cord.

ESPduino

Yup, got myself an ESPduino which is a combination of an Arduino-compatible with an ESP8266 on-board.

This will be the platform for my little project, where I aim to run interference to disrupt the WiFi-based visitor-counting system the local town has installed.

As preparation I’ve been walking around town, trying to identify and photograph the installed devices and I have found 6 or 7 this far, rumor says they have 15-20 devices installed around busy walking streets and squares. I have also done some research and happened to find that a friend has been involved in a similar project previously, through my research I got a bit better picture of what they are doing and how their measurement of visitors/people are moving through town.

With my ESPduino and some clever coding, I can spray the air with faked frames, to make it appear as many people are walking by, through lists of popular OUI prefixes I can generate millions of what looks like genuine phones with WiFi from popular brands, with some focus of a particular fruit brand. This will probably screw up and skew the measurements so much that the data they collect will become pretty much useless.

I’m guessing the setup will be simple, after deploying the code to the ESPduino, the hard work is pretty much done, now the fun starts. With a powerbank of reasonable capacity, you could run the ESPduino for hours. As broadcasting the same MAC-addresses over and over would not be very useful, the program would change a few of them every minute, if you got 50 faked MACs and 5 of them got changed every minute, it would look like a busy street, people coming and going. This is going to be parameters you can tweak in the program.

Why am I doing this? Well, there is the privacy angle, I do not like to be monitored, I think I should be able to walk through the city without becoming a number or a hash in a database somewhere unless I participate with consent. All smartphones today has WiFi and unless you turn it off when leaving your home, you can and will be tracked and some point or another, most people aren’t even aware of this fact and won’t even give it a thought. I want to protect them as well as myself by throwing grit into the machinery, to make the tracking data less valuable as they can not trust it completely.

Furthermore, I aim to release the full source code along with a list of OUI-prefix, so everyone interested and able, can roll their own configuration in their copy of the source code, to minimize the risk of duplicate entries at the same time. Source code with instructions on how-to setup, configure and run the ESPduino.

Makerspace Västerås

Yesterday I did something I’ve been thinking about a lot the last couple of months, I started the Facebook group Makerspace Västerås to have a discussion platform for the possible creation of an actual makerspace in Västerås.
Now, some 30 hours later, there is about 35 members and we have discussions about the vision, I described my vision to get discussions going.

I’d really like to have access to a local makerspace, furnished with equipment and people with knowledge of how to use the equipment.

The information about what makerspaces are date the start of makerspaces to around 1995.

A few friends and I rented a basement in a regular apartment building and started programming, building and hacking devices in mid 1993, just among friends. When we shut it down a few years later, mid 1997, we counted in about 50 friends and probably as many that just came along with them. At the time we were just kids with soldering irons and assembly language on the screens, running BBSes (plural) from the basement, we had no jobs but we spent time and collaborated on pretty much everything, many of us have massively technical jobs today.

I’d like to bring my son to a functional makerspace, to teach him how to repair stuff, to repurpose things, basically to hack his world. I like the idea and would love to see it become a reality.

To buy a book

I went looking for a book I read thousands of years ago, Clifford Stoll’s The Cuckoo’s Egg. Found it on printed media, no problem. But I mostly listen to books now a days, so I went looking for the audio book, because it exists… on tape.

The price for used tape is about $40.

That would trigger a few other costs if bought, like a USB-tape deck which is another $40 .. to just get it onto my phone.

I wish the book would get recorded as an audiobook again, either Mr Stoll himself narrating the book, or a professional at Audible. I’d buy it in a blink.

Update:
Found the C-SPAN video from 1989 where Clifford Stoll is interviewed about his book. Clifford Stoll.
Clifford Stoll: The call to learn
Tech Icons: Cliff Stoll

Telia – not so netneutral

Telia, not so netneutral
Telia, not so netneutral

I first received an SMS telling me that Telia now provides free surf on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Kik and so on, sounds good at first .. but this is how they want you to think, “what a great deal, now my measly 2G surf plan will last longer”. This is where you need to do some more thinking, to achive this they need to listen and filter your traffic to know which traffic is “free” and what traffic to count against your surf plan, let that sink in for a while.

This is not what we want done to the internet, road tolls or rather favoring selected services which skews the landscape of the internet, all internet traffic are created equal, traffic to and from sites and services should not be treated differently.

Now, about a day later I got a promotional mail from them as well, yet again I feel like screaming.

If anyone at Telia marketing department would read this, please go home, sit down and think this one through again, go back to work and pull this campaign back, dig a hole and throw it in, fill the hole and get another job. You are clearly not mentally fit for the job.

GTFO of my social media participation, it is my business what I do online and you should not treat it differently than anything else, your job is and should be to provide DUMB PLUMBING.

FPGA + VHDL

I somehow bid on a FPGA development board the other day, thinking that someone would over-bid me in the last couple of seconds, snatching the item out of my hands. I won it.

Winning bid was 1 SEK and additional freight of course, checked the sellers other auctions and found a VHDL book, which I put a bid on as well and won that too. Another 1 SEK bid, with additional freight.

2 SEK + freight makes 127 SEK. That is about a sushi meal with a few extra rolls.

Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Blocking 1 IP

Just by blocking a single IP, I managed to choke the amount of spammy comments on this blog to a minimum, zero spam comments to be honest.

An IP originating in Russia, from an ISP that can be described as non-responsive. I gave them about two weeks to resolve the issue, reporting the IP to them like an up-right citizen, got a immediate response and thought things will be sorted out, no such luck, days passed and I got tired of waiting, mailed abuse@<isp name>.ru and got the same exact answer back again, with the same ticket number as the first time. Waited another few days, nothing, the spam bot kept pounding my comment fields. Wrote them a new email, pretty much telling them that since they were so slow, I’d contact their up-link provider if it continues .. and it continues.

But, I don’t bother with it anymore, I just blocked the single IP and no spam comes through.

Frustration och julångest

Frustrationen består i att jag just nu försöker få ett recept förnyat, då behöver min nya vårdcentral min journal. Min journal är “fast” i ett annat landstings journalsystem, så de (det gamla landstinget) föreslog att jag skulle ta ut ett utdrag ur min journal, transportera det på döda träd för att låta den nya vårdcentralen i det nya landstinget digitalisera det som skrivits ut på de döda träden.

Nu har jag pratat med den gamla vårdcentralen, som bekräftade att min journal inte alls var låst som den nya vårdcentralen hade sagt, men att det kan vara så att de olika landstingens journalsystem inte pratar samma språk och därmed kan man inte flytta en journal på annat sätt än att göra en analog kopia i ena änden, transportera den fysiskt ~40 kilometer för att sedan göra om in formationen från analog till digital igen i det andra journalsystemet.

Som integrationskonsult så skapar det här problemet våldsam klåda.

Jag sitter och vänder och vrider på orden, det kommer ut mycket och många fula ord jag vill använda, skriver i affekt.

FIXA PROBLEMET! HUR SVÅRT KAN DET VARA?!

Sedan minns jag varför jag har ett jobb, jag skapar och underhåller integrationer där man löser problem som dessa, skyfflar data mellan system.

Julångesten kryper på när man rör sig i stan och det är 3 gånger så många människor i omlopp, alla med det där jagade i blicken, “måste hitta den perfekta klappen”. Jag försöker behålla lugnet men påverkas, som tur är pågår detta endast ett par dagar till, sedan infinner sig post-jul och pre-födelsedagar som i sig är en stressfaktor.

Update 2015-12-23:
En sköterska från den nya vårdcentralen ringde idag och frågade om medicin och dos, svarade och gav kort bakgrund, hon skrev ut den medicin jag behövde. Känns lite som att den nya vårdcentralen och jag kommer ha ett bra förhållande.

Self promotion

I’ve been working a little on my christopherisene.se site, adding sections and filling them out with contents, Contact is how to contact me, Current and Past is about jobs I currently hold or have previously had and Skills is short blurbs about what I have achieved some sort of skill in and brief information about what I have used it for.

I don’t really have an idea about what to do with the domain, besides filling it with some relevant content. It might be useless at the moment but may become useful some day.

Some day I might migrate all the contents here to christopherisene.se as the current b19.se isn’t really relevant any more, since B19 was a short name for Blåklocksvägen 19, our previous address. I have tried to move MediaCreeper off the domain, there is probably a few who still link the old location but I gave them some 5 years sun-down period to moving to the “new” location.
I dunno.
Time will tell.

 

Update (2016-02-24): Several months later this single post has generated well over 5000 hits alone, but only a few on the promoted site that I linked. Makes me wonder if I hit some magic combination of words that drives all these visitors here. christopherisene.se is still there.

ChristopherIsene.se

Yeah, I got this domain christopherisene.se a while ago, about a year to be specific and as it was about to expire or get renewed, I renewed it and decided to have it pointing at something, so I got some web space and put up a simple presentation site for myself.

It’s supposed to catch the ones googling me, either read up about me or just find contact information.

So I’m going to reduce the information about myself here and let the new domain get those hits.

Unstoppable Learning

Host Guy Raz talks with TED speakers about the different ways babies and children learn — from the womb, to the playground, to the web. (Original broadcast date: May 3, 2013)

* Duration: 52:23, Played: 11:01

* Published: 9/4/15 6:38:51 AM

* Episode Download Link (48 MB): http://podcastdownload.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/ted/2015/09/20150903_ted_tedpod.mp3?orgId=1&d=3144&p=510298&story=434385644&t=podcast&e=434385644&ft=pod&f=510298

* Episode Feed: NPR: TED Radio Hour Podcast – http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast.php?id=510298

The Comments

The only comments I get nowadays are the spammy kind, not many but a constant trickle of spammy comments about SEO or fake high-end watches/bags or enhancing medication. Fortunately I have Akismet catching them, with a high success rate and I check them manually as well before tossing them.

Wrote an email

It had been marinating for a while. First dumping thoughts and then a few circles over it to touch and tweak parts of it, to get the right tone and attitude across. It was one of the most difficult mails I have ever written, directed to head of a company where I used to work, described my experience and impressions, being brutally honest and dropping thought that has only been ventilated between friends.

It feels good to have sent it, it has been swirling in the back of my head ever since I wrote it, almost a month ago.

Happy 300

Yes, I’ve written 300 posts. This is the 300th post and the first was written back in May 2008. In the beginning I wrote mostly in Swedish but since most people on the intarwebs do not understand the language it is better to write in English, which at least many more understand.

Some posts has been marinating as drafts for months or even years, stuff that I wanted to think through and circle back to a few times before posting them, other posts has been written in frenzy and posted minutes after being done or having THAT thought I needed to formulate in words.

I’ve had a few blogs through the years, the first one was just flat html, later on I was an early adopter of LiveJournal and are still holding a permanent account there, I held a blog under pseudonym, wrote about my current job situation under a faked name as I could not do it under my real name. Tried different blogging platforms until I stumbled upon WordPress and got stuck. It works.

I enjoy writing, dumping, describing and formulating thoughts and opinions.

Thoughts about RAKEL (TETRA)

[This post has been marinating as a draft for a while, I wrote it up as I got the idea some time back in 2013.]

In Sweden we have an encrypted (though encryption is not always on, for performance issues) digital radio network (based on and essentially the same as TETRA used by throughout Europe and US) for authorities, like police, customs, fire brigade, ambulance, for inter-communication between them in case of emergencies and major events.

Between 2006 and 2010 the Swedish network RAKEL (RAdioKommunikation för Effektiv Ledning, roughly translated to something like “radio communication system for effective governance”) was rolled out and effectively quieting the analog networks S70 and S80, though they are still in place as fallback. Many swedes had radio scanners (radios that swept through lots of channels in rapid succession, scanning for broadcast) and listened in on police/fire brigade/ambulance activity, some people also helped the police by being alert to broadcasts in and about their neighborhoods. With the digital radio system, they effectively shut out everyone not directly tied into that network.

I’m one of those swedes with a scanner, this has irritated me a little that we’re no longer “trusted” to listen in on the police (they work for us, the public, the taxpayers).

So, I’ve been playing with a thought for a while.

As electronics of different flavors has become readily available in many areas, no one has come up with a publicly available scanner for RAKEL/TETRA yet. The reasons is several, digital radio with encryption is one, authorized devices is another and there is probably more.

My thoughts has focused around the fact that they are radio-based, every radio broadcast and thereby it’s also locate-able by triangulation, two or more receivers can pinpoint a general location of a broadcasting device, add more and you get even more accuracy.

As radio waves are unidirectional (unless focused like microwave radio-links) they broadcast in all directions, which is possible to pick up with “simple” receivers. With a sectorized (passive) or a spinning (active) antenna one could passively listen for specific frequencies between 380Mhz – 430Mhz (where Swedish RAKEL resides) and register in what general direction (with a sectorized antenna) or specific direction (with a spinning antenna). If these “directions” are pooled together with other peoples readings, one could pinpoint individual devices pretty accurately.

Another use for such a set up could be to scan for flying drones (popular in the US) as they communicate in both directions too, commands for flying and/or telemetric/video-feedback.

To set up such equipment for listening, would require a few simple things;

GPS-device / Compass
Active/Passive antenna for a specific frequency-range
Analog/Digital receiver
Computer / Software for processing/analyzing signals
Internet-connection

It would only require to find a certain signal on a specific frequency to point out that it is something “there”, you would not need to know what the broadcast was about, just the presence of the signal is enough.

Taking it a step further, would be to analyze the signals, as it is digital, it is “packets” within a protocol, which could be broken down into headers and payloads for further analysis. Packets contain information about which device broadcasting, which makes it possible to point out a single device – along with triangulated position and second-by-second updates, it would be possible to passively following a single device/car/person around on a map.

This could be done on a massive scale to crowd-source data like this, with historical data, spanning several days, weeks or months, patterns would emerge.

Little brother could be watching Big brother.