X-Carve CNC

This past Black Friday I jumped on a great offer from Inventables and picked up a new CNC setup.  Inventables is a company out of Chicago which offers just about everything to get started in manufacturing.  Aside from their great CNC machines, they offer slick design software, materials, and...

Cozy Coupe Retrofit

Hot Dog! http://www.brentmorelabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/hot_dog.m4v   Concept The Little Tike Cozy Coupe, a children’s classic made of soft hollow plastic (LPDE), is a blank canvas for tinkering and customization.  While the car comes with some entertainment options, such...

Star Topper

This tree topper shows that the holiday season is always a good opportunity to practice one’s making skills.  Usually I’m focused on woodworking because cutting boards are always in style, but this season presents a new opportunity for learning.  Combining a number of skills and...

Helmet Larson Scanne...

Now that I’m biking more, I’ve begun outfitting my helmet with lots of useless practical tech in the name of safety.  Not long ago, I found the helmet-mounted flashlight that I used during my deployments.  With a little finagling, it fit nicely on my bike helmet as well.  To...

Make: Wireless Secur...

I wrote a special article in the latest issues of Make: where I discuss wireless security and drones. The article, Build a Wi-Fi Drone Disabler with Raspberry Pi, explores the risks of using unsecured wireless communications with a step-by-step guide to disable a popular toy drone which uses...

El Capitan on ESXi Mar21

El Capitan on ESXi

Installing new operating systems on ESXi is usually very straightforward, but there are a few extras steps to take when installing the latest version of Mac OS X.  For this installation, you’ll need the following: ESXi 6.0 Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan A Mac Unlocker...

Iconic Memories

Computer hard disk drives are amazing feats of engineering.  Encased in a metal box, several perfectly flat platters spin at 5400 or 7200 revolutions per minute thanks to a powerful spindle motor.  When these drives fail – and they always do – I love taking them apart to get a...

Installing ESXi on a TS440 Dec17

Installing ESXi on a...

I recently picked up a new server to run VMware’s ESXi, a free type 1 hypervisor.  Here are the steps I went through to get the machine ready to run all those virtual machines. First, download the latest version of ESXi from VMWare’s site.  Note that the download is free but...

ThinkServer TS440 Dec15

ThinkServer TS440

This past Black Friday I splurged on a Lenovo Thinkserver TS440, an affordable 5U tower that’s also very capable.  I purchased a few upgrades at the same time, to include a fast solid state hard drive and dual gigabit NIC.  Here’s a quick rundown of the specs: Intel Xeon E3-1225...

Synesthesia in the L...

Literally meaning “sensations together” in Greek, synesthesia is a very interesting condition where the stimulation of one sense triggers a perception in another.  Those who experience synesthesia might “hear” the color red, or “see” a loud noise. When...

The Vault Apr19

The Vault

I was invited to put on an hour-long workshop on cyber as part of a STEM weekend program for high school students. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a lot of resources to make this completely hands-on for them, but I had an interesting idea that I wanted to try out.  I presented...

Da Plane! Da Plane! Apr15

Da Plane! Da Plane!

Ever look up at the sky while you’re sitting at home, wondering where all of these planes are going?  No?  I do. Many of life’s deepest questions, such as the one I posed, can be answered with – you guessed it – a Raspberry Pi.  I use the Pi, a $20 USB TV dongle and...

Echoes from Kithairon Mar03

Echoes from Kithairo...

The machines are always listening, or at least we’re hoping they are with Amazon’s new product Echo.  Echo is an internet-connected “virtual assistant” that tries to find answers to questions or perform actions based on the input after the codeword “Alexa”....

Installing Cisco Unified Call Manager on VMWare Fusion Dec07

Installing Cisco Uni...

I had the idea to use some of my Cisco IP phones in an internal home communications system.   I have a couple of Synology NAS boxes that are capable of running Asterix, the open source PBX (phone management) software.  However, my Cisco phones have the SCCP (Skinny) firmware.  I had two...

Fire TV Stick Dec01

Fire TV Stick

Amazon recently announced a smaller version of the Amazon Fire TV, its streaming media device similar to the Apple TV. I love my Apple TV and have modified it to be a very capable media streaming machine, playing media from both my local network and the internet at large.  I figure it would...

Yosemite USB Drive Oct24

Yosemite USB Drive

I’ve been running Apple’s newest operating system Yosemite ever since the public beta was announced. It’s a brave proposition to have a beta operating system on my main machine, but it’s worked out so far. Now that that final version is released, many more will be...

Onion Pi Oct15

Onion Pi

Privacy has been in the news for a while now.  As Carnegie Mellon’s Norman Sadeh, professor of computer science, mentions, “privacy breaches, whether through poor design or as the result of attacks, have become a staple of the daily news.”  Protecting personal privacy...

Yosemite Jul25

Yosemite

Apple recently released the public beta of its newest operating system, codenamed Yosemite.  The experience with the unfinished OS has been pretty good so far, with no major interruptions to my regular workflow.  In its announcement earlier this year, Apple revealed that the interface would...

Cantennas Apr14

Cantennas

Antennas come in all shapes and size.  Sometime they’re very advanced, but often they can be made with just about anything.  Aside from housing delicious cookies, Pirouline cans make for great homemade directional waveguide antennas called cantennas.  The materials needed are a female N...

New iOS 7 Released Sep18

New iOS 7 Released

Apple’s latest iOS release is a major upgrade to the operating system software that controls all the basics of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. This covers everything from the app interfaces to system settings. It’s the biggest change since iOS debuted in 2007. However, it still...