Illuminate your wallet

(via LifeHacker)
Got a little spare time and a desire to better see your wallet’s contents at night?  It’s time to mod that sucker and put some night-lighting in.

I first got exposed to the glorious field of illuminating wallets when shooting Gear Live’s The Bleeding Edge ( ), a weekly video show. They had been sent the Walit ( ), an electroluminescent glowing wallet, to review. I was excited at the idea – I had personally never thought of a glowing wallet and was eager to see how it worked.

I was, however, completely disappointed. The Walit was terrible. It was dim, the batteries took up too much space, and it had a flimsy clip to turn the light on and off.

. . .


Parts list:

  • A leather wallet
  • At least four small surface mount LEDs (Search eBay for “white smt leds” or salvage them from an old cell phone)
  • Two colors of thin, flexible wire (I used wire wrapping wire)
  • Two CR1616 watch batteries
  • A small amount of sheet brass, or something to make the battery holder out of :
  • A 1/8 watt 100k-ohm resistor (though anything betweek 10k and 1 megohm should work)
  • A generic PNP transistor
  • A small tactile snapdome button

Now go, mod, and come back with pictures.

[tags]Wallet mods, Light your wallet, Night-light for money[/tags]

Cool Tool – Fluke VoltAlert

(via Cool Tools)

The Fluke VoltAlert is a non-conductive device which beeps in presence of an energized conductor. As noted on the Cool Tools web site, there are other manufacturers of similar devices – with the Fluke, you’re getting a known quality provider, which is why this is the specific tool recommended. Some details from Amazon:

  • Quickly locate the hot, neutral and ground terminals in any receptacle
  • Just touch the tip to a control wire, conductor or outlet
  • Made of injection molded PVC & ABS that’s high-impact & non-flammable
  • Detects line voltage from 90VAC – 600VAC

Priced at $22.95 at Amazon. This product is actually provded by an Amazon partner, so is not eligible for free standard shipping nor Amazon Prime shipping prices.

[tags]Cool Tools, Fluke VoltAlert, Fluke[/tags]

The robots, they do all the work now

I know we all dream of the future when the robots do all the work (and prior to the robot uprising in which they cleanse the earth of us miserable puny humans, of course) and we get to sit on the porch, sipping lemonade, chatting amicably with our neighbors, and just generally enjoying the bounties of the mechanical workers we command.  But would it interest you to know that we’ve already passed that time?  Yes, we had robots doing the work, and we flat missed it.

You don’t believe me, do you?  Well here, let me prove it to you.


While its owner sits comfortably on his porch, a new farm tractor operated by radio control plows his field for him. Radio impulses governing the tractor’s movements are supplied by an automatic radio transmitter, and are picked up by an antenna on the tractor. A receiving set starts the tractor’s engine, works the throttle and controls the steering. The new robot, exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair, is an improved model developed after earlier experiments.

See?  I told you.  This happened all the way back in September 1934, according to Popular Science magazine (thanks as always to the Modern Mechanix web site for  providing this delightful look back on the world as it was).

[tags]Modern Mechanix, Popular Science, Robots do the work, The robots before the uprising in which they crush all the puny humans[/tags]

How to get robbed

Well, if you’re going to be ballsy enough to steal a laptop in front of several employees, this looks to be the way to do it.

At 3:30pm today, I asked one of the other guys at work to setup a new machine we’d had delivered, he goes out to do it, and noticed that one of the laptops we have on display is missing, which he thinks is odd, because if anyone was going to sell one they would have sold one of the ones we have out the back, so he comes and asks me if I had sold it, or lent it to anyone, yadda yadda. We search the shop, workshop and our store, and can’t find it anywhere, so we resort to the video camera footage.

So we’re searching through the footage, rewinding hour by hour, at 2pm, it’s not there, at 1pm, it’s not there, at 12pm, it’s not there, but at 11am, it bloody is there! So we watch from there on in. We have a lady that works out in the shop, mainly receipting stock into our POS system, sales, accounts, banking, that sort of thing, and shes helping a couple of people with a hire purchase agreement, when this old dude, probably early 50s, walks in with a large coat on. I go out to serve him.

. . .

I go back out to the workshop, and think nothing of it. He walks around the shop a bit more, looks out the back to where he can see our security monitor, so he can see exactly what we’re recording, and then heads over to one of the laptops. He folds the lid down, then looks up at the counter where there’s still the couple and our retail lady are. He gets in between the line of view from those three and the laptop. He picks it up with one hand, walks away with it a bit, does a kinda swing around motion, and then slips it into his jacket, grabs his cellphone out of his pocket, and pretends to talk on it as he walks out of the shop!

So this video is all over the net now, and hopefully someone will know who this guy is and they’ll get the laptop back soon. The kicker for the thief is that this is a brand-new laptop with no battery. He didn’t get the charger, and because of a higher power drain and a new plug, the older HP laptop transformers don’t work, nor do current generic transformers. The laptop won’t work for this guy until he gets a battery and a transformer, and HP has put an alert out for any orders of batteries and/or transformers, and warned all their retail shops to do the same.

[tags]Laptop thief[/tags]

Your Blackberry can expose your company’s soft underbelly

(via Engadget)
That would be the internal company network, by the way.  Discussed at DefCon 14 was some information on the newfound attack via Blackberry.

Jesse D’Aguanno, a consultant with Praetorian Global, has developed a hacking program that exploits the trust relationship between a Blackberry and a company’s internal server to hijack a connection to the network. Because the data tunnel between the Blackberry and the server is encrypted, intrusion detection systems at the perimeter of the network won’t detect the attack.

The technique is successful, D’Aguanno says, because most companies aren’t equipped to detect someone trying to deliver an exploit from inside the network. It also works because few companies view the Blackberry as a plausible attack vector.

Continue reading “Your Blackberry can expose your company’s soft underbelly”

Historic events in gun-control history

This one is for all of you who support gun control. Check out the great things that gun control has brought other countries, and keep fighting the good fight.

  • In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1935 China established gun control . From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1938 Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1956 Cambodia established gun control. From 1975 to 1977, one million ‘educated’ people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1964 Guatemala established gun control. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated
  • In 1970 Uganda established gun control. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

“But Randy,” you might protest, “those things were all so long ago. We know better how to do gun control now to make society better.”

OK, how about this tidbit, then?

It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.

The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!) In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!)

While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.

There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in “successfully ridding Australian society of guns.” The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

Wake me up when someone gets it right.

[tags]Gun control, Historic events[/tags]

Firefox inline autocomplete

One of the very few things I like about Internet Exploder Explorer is inline autocomplete. Every time I install Firefox on a system, I have to go look up how to turn on inline autocomplete for my Firefox install. Since I can never remember, I figure some other folks out there have the same problem. For those that have this issue, here’s the method necessary to turn it on. Damn, it’s simple.

  1. Type about:config in the Location Bar
  2. Right-click on the page and create a new boolean value
  3. Type browser.urlbar.autoFill
  4. Set the value to true

And you are done. I turn this feature on so often that I wish it were an built-in option so I didn’t have to manually add it. That, or have it default to on, and include instructions on the web for turning it off. But I’m guessing I’m in the minority for preferring it on, or it would default to on.

[tags]Firefox, Inline autocomplete[/tags]