Sunday, 29 December 2013

Nelson Mandela Funeral Plane Spotting

During the recent funeral of our best leader ever Nelson Mandela, I managed to spot a few aircraft as they entered South African air space, including:

USAF Air Force 1
USAF Air Force 2
USAF Military Airlift Command - C17

Very cool indeed!

How has the NSA changed the world?

The Internet has been abuzz since Snowden leaked some really precious information about the way the NSA has infiltrated the world. To be honest I never suspected the level of spying to be quite as bad as it's turned out to be... being a non-US citizen it concerns me even more as they seem to have no limit and do this all in the name of keeping the US safe while we now know it goes far beyond this...

The economic impact must be huge for the US overall, some of the additional security steps we've taken as "foreigners" and I'm sure many other's also have:

1. Secure only access to our site - all unencrypted traffic is automatically redirected to SSL
2. Additional web application security and code reviews
3. Making mainly use of a non-US approved open source cipher or open source ciphers regarded as highly secure for all communications
4. Moved all hosting away from US companies
5. Replaced PPTP VPN links for all sensitive VPN traffic
6. Secured e-mail transfer by enabling and encouraging encryption
7. Secured webmail and changed all e-mail passwords
8. Discountinued use of Dropbox, Twitter and many Google applications like gmail, google+ and chrome
9. Replaced all Cisco devices suspected of backdoors
10. No closed source software allowed, everything must be open source.
11. Android phones changed to Cyanogenmod and firewalled
12. Many additional changes planned...

How has your ways of communicating changed, leave me a comment?

Thursday, 26 December 2013

$2.36 SSL certificate ranking on Qualys SSL Labs test

I spotted a holiday sale on SSL certificates for $2.36 and dashed to grab three for $7.09, ironically even less than what I've paid GoDaddy in the past for a single certificate. My next task was to see what ranking I could get on the Qualys SSL Labs test (thank you Qualys for the test, it's great), the result shows what can be done with a low cost certificate:

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Old CCTV camera revamped with a Raspberry Pi - Version 1

A couple of months back our CCTV IP camera got smacked by lightning, shopping around for a new one never reached the point of buying as I couldn't find anything in South Africa that really matched what I wanted to do...

Recently I started thinking of using my Raspberry Pi to replace the CCTV camera and finally got some time this weekend to play around with version 1. So my journey started... I painted the old exterior of the camera housing for a shiny new look, added an old Cisco 1700 series router fan into the mix for some cooling, added a heatsink and Real Time Clock (DS1307) to the Pi. The network cable provides the 5 volt to power the fan and the Pi while connecting it back down to the router.

I plugged in an old webcam I have lying around (Lifecam NX-3000) and got motion up and running on Raspbian 7 to send all motion files to a remote server using sshfs, so far the setup is working like a charm!

Version 2 will include a GPS (for use as a stratum 1 time server), Arduino board for all sorts of sensors (temperature, humidity etc), additional webcams, 3G dongle for backup connectivity, SDR for ADS-B and a USB hub so stay tuned for the next CCTV version post...

Moday 23rd December 2013 Update - Added a second webcam to the Pi, the Logitech C270 3MP, both are working great and the C270 has a great image quality, will post some photos in my next blog update.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Updating GoDaddy and other CA certificates on Linux Mint

Linux root CA certificates sometimes require an update, especially if your getting untrusted issuer errors while using wget etc...I tend to get them for my GoDaddy certificates, to update certs on Linux Mint:

wget -O /etc/ssl/certs/cacert.pem && c_rehash

Drones Drones Everywhere!

Meanwhile in the marketing departments:

Dominos Pizza: We have a pizza delivery drone as a marketing stunt
Amazon: Hey we should also do some "dominos like" drone marketing
DHL: Hey amazon give us some of that drone publicity too...

Are drones truly the future of the corporate product delivery? I'm convinced it's not a real solution to making delivery faster/easier etc although so many people have immediately swooped up the idea as being true and become part of this marketing stunt without questioning it at all...

Drones (especially like the one's shown by the companies) have a few problems, namely my list of why-this-is-purely-a-stunt:

1. Drones carry one item at a time, a delivery truck carries many along a preplanned route, therefore say Amazon, would need a huge amount of drones delivering in parallel - simply not feasible, imagine the maintenance and charging issues.

2. Battery power - most drones, especially the one's sported by the companies listed only have a few minutes of battery power, most between 9-18 minutes, excluding the weight of large parcels - not exactly great for long distance delivery...

3. Heavy products - most products are heavy, you wouldn't need much for a small drone to not be able to fly, perhaps only a book or two?

4. Weather Conditions - controlling the drone's directions especially with wind/snow/rain, and then landing it safely at what you hope it the correct address - pretty hard to replace the human factor here.

5. Laws - It'll take years and buckets of money to get drones to be compliant with laws around the world for this type of delivery.

6. Hacking/"Stoners" - many drones are reliant on line-of-sight communication, this can be overcome but imagine how many people will try to hack the signal to/from these drones and as many have stated why not simply knock it out of the air with a stone...

7. Last but not least - Why? currently it's easy to outsource the problem to a delivery company, after you give them the package it's their responsibility, seems much easier than starting a drone logistics/maintenance/etc department.