Welcome to episode 1 of Cyber Dump, a weekly round up the most interesting things happening in this insane age of technology that we live in. Expect coverage on open source software and hardware, VR, AR, AI, P2P, biohacking, bitcoin and internet freedom.
This is something new for NODE, so let me know what you think in the comments below. All source links are also in the description. Alright, let's do this!
BambooWifi is a startup which brings mesh networked wifi to parts of Philadelphia. The unique ad-supported model means that in return for watching a 30 second ad from a local business, the user is allowed on the network for an hour. They currently have around 300 daily users connecting, and are looking to expand in the coming months. The startup says that their service helps users save money by not using cell data when out and about. It'll be interesting to see whether something like this can scale.
Oculus opened pre-orders for the Rift VR headset on Jan 6th. Priced at $600, you'll get the Rift, an Xbox One controller, and two games, EVE: Valkyrie, and Lucky's Tale. Users will still need a fairly powerful setup to actually use the hardware, but I think this is a very cool development. Units will be shipping in May 2016.
- EVE: Valkyrie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amtBUkmHS0w
- Lucky's Tale https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KezCxrrchGE
1Block just launched their authentication protocol, which uses bitcoin key generation and QR codes for passwordless logins. This open source project looks early in development, but it could be promising. The 1Block client is currently available as an Android app and Chrome extention, with iPhone app and Wordpress plugins coming soon.
INTERNET OF THINGS
Andy Greenberg and Kim Zetter over at Wired wrote “How the Internet of Things got Hacked”, an interesting overview of the various hacks to IoT products last year. From barbies, to cars and even sniper rifles, it details how the trend of putting networked computers in literally everything is opening up lots of security holes. This new wild west is something we've spoken about on NODE before, and it's only going to get much crazier in the future.
Speaking of the Internet of things, Julian Oliver released DropKick.sh, a bash script which detects and disconnects any Wifi cameras on the same network as you. Created as a response to the increasing stories of AirBnB hosts spying on their guests with hidden cameras, this script provides swift justice. Be careful actually using Dropkick though, as it may constitute signal jamming, which is illegal in some places.
The recently formed OpenAI team will be doing an AMA on the /r/MachineLearning subreddit on Jan 9th. The non-profit artificial intelligence research company, which gained $1 billion of funding from Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel amongst others, aims to research how the technology could benifit humanity in a more positive, less Terminator hellscape sort of way.
HRL Labs recently announced their new 3D-Printed Ceramics technology which can print tough ceramic objects that can withstand heats of up to 1700c. It combines stereolithography technology with HRL's newly developed pre-ceramic resin. Its potential applications vary, from parts in jet engines, down to the tiny packaging on electronics. Maybe down the road, this technique will be a part of the fabled desktop factory, allowing anyone to print anything.
The Chaos Computer Club recently uploaded lots of new videos from their latest gathering, 32c3. There are tonnes of great 30min to 1hour presentations on their channel, with everything from hacking, to 3d printing, technological philosophy, robotics and lots more covered.
Collin from Adafruit also uploaded another great video this week. This one is an overview of the various hand tools that any discerning hardware tinkerer should have in their toolbox. Simple and informative like always.