We Stayed Dry (This Time)

This is rumor control. Here are the facts: Yes, this site runs WordPress. No, to the best of my ability to determine, we are not compromised by the "SoakSoak" malware that has been infecting lots of WordPress sites. (The link in the previous sentence leads to a description of the malware in question, not an example of it.) No, we don't run the Slider Revolution plugin which apparently contains the exploitable vulnerability ("RevSlider") used by SoakSoak. We have no plans to migrate mythopoeic.org from WordPress to something else, given that 1) the security issue is in a third-party plugin, not WordPress itself and 2) the WordPress team seem to generally act like adults with respect to infosec.

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Spark Core Cloud Makefile

spark-icon-colorI recently acquired a Spark Core, and (after some minor hassle) got it connected to my network and walked through the examples. Neat product, though to some extent it suffers from problems of "trying to make it easier for the noobs, with a failure mode of making it harder for everybody" and "everybody wants to write features, nobody wants to write documentation".

Past the jump, I'll explain how to get around the 32-character wireless passphrase limit, and how to use cloud compilation but with a real Makefile, local copies of your source code and your favorite text editor.

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Magnetometer VI: Working AVR Example

SONY DSCFinally, some progress on my AVR compass project. I've got a program that runs on the Adafruit Trinket and shows real compass headings, all in 3712 bytes. While it's far from being a finished product, it's a big step in the direction of one.

Below, I'll give you the source code, talk about how recent compiler changes impact code size, tell you about a bug I fixed, and make a bunch of excuses for why this took so long.

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MicroView: Lazy Fix

SONY DSCThe MicroView is a nifty little gadget with an ATmega328P microcontroller, an 64×48 OLED display driven by an SSD1306 controller, and an Arduino-compatible pinout. (The General Overview page at the Microview website has more useful information.)  It was produced as the result of a (very!) successful Kickstarter campaign.

Unfortunately, the nice folks at SparkFun had a teensy manufacturing complication. You can read their account of the details, but the TL;DR version is they shipped out something around 2000 MicroViews with no bootloader. It sounds like they're making every effort to make things right, and shipping out a replacement to everyone with an affected unit. But in the meantime, they've got some instructions up if you want to try fixing the problem yourself. (Worst case, you won't make it any more broken; Best case, you end up with two working MicroViews for the price of one.)

I got one of the "bad" MicroViews, and was able to revive it using the instructions. But I think I came up with an easier way to do one of the more difficult steps: connecting three wires to tiny vias inside the case. The punchline: use sewing needles (see picture above; click for larger version). Read on for more details.

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Retina Scan

Right-20140625@155858Left-20140625@155918More medical imaging. I present for your consideration the insides of my eyeballs. (Click thumbnails to view original full-size images.) The images shown were taken on Jun 25, 2014 using an Optomap wide-field retina scanner, probably the 200Dx model.

So now I have plausible deniability for anything that I'm alleged to have done on a system using retina scans for biometric authentication...

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Night Fury

toothlessArtist Mittie Paul created a wonderful interpretation of Toothless (from How to Train Your Dragon 2), inspired by traditional Viking art. You can get prints or merch featuring this image (at which, just look!).

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Magnetometer V: Fixed-Point Math

This is another article in my series about developing a magnetometer-based digital compass. Last time, I talked about estimating code size, and what I might do to fit the application in the roughly 5.25K program space available on an Adafruit Trinket.

In this article, I replace the floating-point math with fixed-point, and make various space-saving improvements to the calibration and rotation code. Read on for more.

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Medieval Manuscripts

MS20BXX-78vWe're kickin' it old-school on SGS today, with a lovely post on the British Library's Medieval Manuscripts Blog. The image to the right is from Royal MS 20 B XX. Click the image to see a larger version, or -- far better -- use the British Library MS Viewer to browse wonderful, high-res zoomable scans of the original.

Warning: All links above are more perilous Internet time-wasting rabbit-holes than Wikipedia and TVTropes combined.

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Magnetometer IV: Code Size

Last time, I presented a working proof-of-concept of a digital compass based on a three-axis magnetometer. That version was running in userland on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, which is a whole lot more computer than the Atmel ATtiny85 I eventually want to target. It was also coded for clarity rather than for speed or size.

In this post, I'll look at some quick-and-dirty ways to estimate program size for an AVR version (as well as some simple things we can do to save space). Read on for more.

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Magnetometer III: Working Prototype

In previous posts, I talked about a method of transforming magnetometer readings to compass headings, then experimented with using those transformations on real (but static) data. In this post, I'll present a working prototype of a vehicle compass using the methods I discussed earlier.
Read on for more details.
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