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David Kramer’s high-entropy blog

Event: Boston Linux and UNIX Meeting: Rooftop Mesh Networks

I’m an officer in the Boston Linux and UNIX group, and have been a member for over a decade.  Here are the details of the Wednesday, 06/17 meeting:

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: MIT Building E51, Room 315

Presenters: Kurt Keville, SDC Coordinator, MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (kkeville alum mit edu) and Brian DeLacey, (bdelacey gmail com)

Kurt Keville, Brian DeLacey and others discuss the 802.11s (Mesh) standard and what it means for embedded Linux distros such as OpenWRT and Robix, the distros of choice for the upcoming local Muniwireless rollouts. Kurt gave earlier talks on Muniwireless at our February 2008 and August 2006 meetings

Note that Brian and Kurt will be holding an all-afternoon pre-meeting, beginning at noon in E51-063. This afternoon session will build a multi-node solar-powered super computer as a clustered web-server using fast flash and Marvell’s SheevaPlugs. Rabeeh Khoury of Marvell will be onsite for lots of Linux and SheevaPlug Q&A. Sage Radachowsky will be showcasing his latest solar circuitry. The working SWARM system will be demonstrated at the main meeting, but anyone is welcome to drop by and pick up a soldering iron or keyboard to work with earlier in the day.

Also, this month is BLU’s 15-year anniversary, and we will be celebrating with a cake at 7:00 PM.

Failure Is Essential

Scientists understand this.  If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.  But you have to be careful how you define failure.  To a Scientist, not getting the results you want is not failure, it’s success.  That is, as long as you get reliable, consistent results.

One of my family’s favorite TV shows is MythBusters. Of course, much of what they do is horrible science in the name of entertainment.  I’m OK with that.  But it certainly gets fun science out there.  Adam Savage, one of the two main hosts, recently appeared at Maker Faire (run by Make), where he gave a wonderful talk (video from fora.tv can be found here), mostly on this topic.

Firewire Security Hole

This is not a new issue, but I just found out about it from this article on TechRepublic.com (yes, their URL is technrepublic.com.com).   They state that Firewire (IEEE 1394), unlike USB, was designed more as an external system bus connection, not just for external storage.  That allows Firewire devices to sneak in under the covers and do pretty much whatever they want, waving the “I’m with the band!” badge at any secuirty, including logging into the system.

Since this is part of the design of Firewire, it’s not a bug that can be fixed.  You cannot protect against security breach by firewire device and still adhere to the standard.  This isn’t to say it’s time to weld a metal plate over your laptop’s Firewire port and a tin foil hat on your head, because this isn’t something that you hear about happening in the wild, even though there’s a program out there to do it.

I Haz A Black Belt In Mathematics

Someone sent a link to this image, which is real funny, but I can’t find how to get to the parent page. Click on the read on… link to see it.

Read on…

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Science Tatoos

From Discover Magazine: The Science Tatoo Emporium.  Cool stuff.

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Dr. Who Fan Buried In Tardis

From The Mirror: Dr. Who Fan Buried In Tardis.  The article says he bore a striking likeness to David Tennant, and was buried in a copy of David’s suit, with a sonic screwdriver in his hand.  The coffin even had the blue light on top.  What a way to go…

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