I was approached by Tektronix about their need to obtain professional feedback on some oscilloscopes they are developing. If you are interested, you would be compensated.
Here's the type of background they are looking for:
If you have any experience in any of the following: Embedded System Design, Automotive Engineering, Engineering and/or Engineers designing power converters/systems/PMICs for Mobile and Datacenter applications.
It is my understanding that you would be given the documentation. Think of this as a sort of "paper" RoadTest.
You would be interviewed on the phone for an hour. for your time, they will give you $100 Amazon card.
If you are interested, please message me at rscasny
Other posts are here:
Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration << You Are Here
In the video and blog below:
We will quickly discuss implant migration and placement.
then in my next blog the experimentation begins!
During the initial encapsulation period my tag had spun about 45 degrees and moved back a few mm from the initial implantation site as you can see in the image below.
I was very worried that this could have been an installation issue or it could become an issue in its self.
The angle and movement was not uncomfortable at all, but it was a mobile about 1mm in each direction.
After noticing it was an issue I asked the "RFID Implantee" Facebook group and checked the Dangerous Things FAQ.
The FAQ was fantastic as always:
If your tag does migrate, move, or misalign during this healing process, it is not necessarily unsafe. The primary safety issue would be if the tag moved very close to any of your bones, which would increase the risk of breaking should your hand receive serious blunt force trauma that could present significant external pressure to the tag in such a way that it be caught between a bone and that external force. To date we have never had a customer report an installed tag breaking, and we've performed various physical tests our x-series tags (see durability section).
The CEO of Dangerous things messaged back after a few hours saying the same and that it looks like my pronounced grip muscles in my hand are responsible.
A quick clench of my hand confirms this, the tag has moved just behind mass of the flexing Thenar Muscle Group.
This new position does not cause me any problems, it is away from my bones and joints and still has enough cushioning to experience a bit of abuse.
Now that we have covered the biological and Implantation side of Life as a Cyborg, we will discuss my first experiments and durability.
WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE SAME BAT TIME & THE SAME BAT PLACE!
Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it
Other posts are here:
Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it << You Are Here
In the below video and blog:
Holly gives us her rundown of her first few days as a Cyborg
I misread instructions on how the Dangerous Things app works. (please read the clarification below the video)
We explore the apps I use
I will dive a little into locking bytes.
So... I got the wrong end of the stick in regards to have the Dangerous NFC (BETA) app works.
I was under the impression it allowed me to lock the tag and only I can write to it, but this is not quite the case.
The CEO of Dangerous Things responded directly to my youtube video with the following:
Correction in regards to app and the locking mechanism:
Just to clarify how the Dangerous NFC app works - it does not lock the tag, it disables the one-time-programmable lock bytes so it cannot be locked (by accident or maliciously). It also protects the configuration blocks and password block itself. More information on exactly what it does can be found here; https://forum.dangerousthings.com/t/dnfc-and-password-protection
This is the beta version of our Dangerous NFC app for Android. It will ensure your xNT has been protected against accidental locking or malicious attack. It does this by doing the following;
1) Analyze the tag to ensure it is set up in a standard configuration and assess risks
2) Conform the capability container to latest NFC standard (E1 12 6D 00)
3) Lock the capability container against accidental or malicious modification
4) Freeze static and dynamic lock bytes on the tag, locking user memory pages in a permanent read/write state
5) Set non-default password and password acknowledgement bytes to user defined password
6) Write protect configuration bytes against accidental or malicious modification using password protection
The app does not yet do any of the following;
- Write protect any of the user memory contents, only configuration bytes are protected
- Unlock the tag or disable the password
- Write any data to the tag (for now use NXP's TagWriter app for this)
Now I am out of the heady thrill of day one, I have taken time to read the documentation better and understand the apps purpose a little better.
Instead of "Locking the tag so only I can write to it" the app stops people from setting my tag to read only.
This is VERY important as I can always re-flash my chip with new data, but if some one wanted to flash my chip with a link to, for example, Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, Then locked my tag to Read Only..... I might have to chop my own hand off.
This is a preemptive process to lock your tag to Read / Write and stop the tag being forced into Read Only.
The Dangerous Things Support Tool is a stroke of genius, while the community of people with these tags is below 7000, support is still actively available from the creators of the tag.
I have also found their forums and facebook group to be amazing for support.
The use case of this support tool is when you have flashed it with new code or commands and it is not doing as intended. Did you flash it right? Are all the sectors responding correctly? Is your formatting correct?
Download the tool from the Play Store, give your tag a scan, and it will dump the sectors as below:
"[--------------------------Start of Memory Dump--------------------------]
Block 0 8E 02 6F 66 85 08 04 00 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 ?.of?...bcdefghi
Block 1 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 2 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 3 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ
Block 4 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 5 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 6 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 7 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ
Block 8 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 9 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 10 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 11 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ
Block 12 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 13 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 14 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
Block 15 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ
(Sectors shortened for practicality)
Then you have the option to send the support info direct to the creators of the chip.
If the chip is at fault, they intend to send you a replacement.
If worst comes to worst you can remove the tag, unlike the ones used in animals, the manufacturer does not coat the tags in Biobond or Parylene which would normally help the tags stay put in mans best friend. Humans are more likely to need a replacement due to a miss placed hammer swing or a bad day with the car door where as animals are more active during the encapsulation process and more susceptible to migration.
I will talk more about tag migration in my next blog and video.
The process of removal is a little more painful but follows the same process; find a registered body mod expert, poke a hole, press it out.
They can even replace the device at the same time.
NEXT BLOG: Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration
Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman <<You are here
It was the day after the night before and my partner and I wake up to our first morning as Transhuman.
First thing we do is give our hands a wiggle, Yep, still attached!
Aftercare procedures that are published by "Dangerous Things" is as follows
First few days:
Once an x-series tag is placed under the skin, you can expect some bruising and slight swelling.
The skin wound should scab over and stop bleeding within 5 to 30 minutes.
The swelling should go down within 2 to 24 hours, but bruising may remain for a few days. After swelling goes down, you should notice slightly better read range performance.
After the first day, you should be in pretty good shape, happily using your tag. You can wash your hands normally and take showers, etc.
Luckily, I did not experience any bruising just a bit of tenderness.
One thing everyone was, understandably, very worried about was infection.
The way I see it is that RFID / NFC implantation is as less of an infection risk than an ear piercing, my reasoning is that when you have your ears pierced, they leave you with two constantly open holes in your skin that your body has to scar around, and then scar right the way through to the other side, leaving lots of surface area and exposure points for infection. The process of implanting leaves you with a single tiny scab where your body has sealed the hole. Watertight. Bugproof.
As previously discussed the implant is provided in a sealed glass vial the size of a grain of rice, within a preloaded implantation needle, within a sterilized package.
As long as you trust the serialization processes of the manufacturer and your registered piercer, the actual moment of implantation is the last time bacteria could be introduced to your system.
Over the two to four weeks post installation, the body will begin to encapsulate the tag with fibrous collagen tissue. To help this process along, you can take pre-natal vitamins35, which help build collagen and connective tissues. During this time, it is important that you not perform any strenuous activity, put pressure on the tag, play with or poke at the tag, work out, spar, rock climb, shoot firearms, or grip anything with significant force as it can cause the muscles in your hand to apply unequal pressure to the tag and cause it to migrate under the skin. If your tag does migrate, move, or misalign during this healing process, it is not necessarily unsafe. The primary safety issue would be if the tag moved very close to any of your bones, which would increase the risk of breaking should your hand receive serious blunt force trauma that could present significant external pressure to the tag in such a way that it be caught between a bone and that external force. To date we have never had a customer report an installed tag breaking, and we've performed various physical tests our x-series tags (see durability section).
I have a video and blog coming up about chip migration, SPOILER ALERT: mine migrated a few mm and a few degrees.
We will explore this another day.
You may also experience momentary tingling, pinching sensations, or itching at the installation site for the next 12-24 months. This is normal, as it indicates your body is healing around the tag and damaged nerves around the install site are reconnecting.
After the first encapsulation process you can get back to fighting bears and rock climbing as normal.
I used NXP NFC Tag Writer on my Android phone (with NFC).
iPhones are not an option in this case, even though they have NFC onboard) as Apple have "Nerfed" their NFC in the same way they have bluetooth, only certain applications and devices can interact with iPhones and then only with basic protocols. I speculate that this is to stop people from sharing MP3 files with each other, possibly downloaded from other sources that are not iTunes, another Apple product.
NXP NFC Tag Writer is a set of amazing NFC tools. You can program any writable NFC chip with your Android phone.
As listed below you can use their template creator to program an action to your tag, that when scanned would launch a business card, weblink, email address or even a plain text document.
My partner set hers up to advertise her art page and mine has been set up to open my twitter account, for the moment.
You can save as many tags as you want and it only takes 10 seconds to switch between them.
For example you could scan the RFID fob for your gym, your house, your work, your discount card as well as your business card, your personal and work email addresses and have them all stored on your phone to switch out when you want.
For example when business networking I flash my work business card to my hand and the rest of the time I keep it as my twitter account.
I will be registering the ID of the card with my access control systems so I can still interact with peoples mobile phones and access doors without having to re-flash the chip.
More on this to follow in later blogs.
To energize the coil within the chip the phone or door tag reader maintains an magnetic field around it, when a copper coil passes through the field it generates enough electricity to power up the chip on board causing it to spit out its data sets and ID number.
This means the tag never needs a battery and only powers up when it passes through a 13.56MHz field.
As a general rule of thumb, Liquid absorbs RF energy more than air, so when my hand was a little swollen from the implantation it was hard to read and write to the chip.
These chips, coupled with a mobile phone have about a <1.5cm effective range in air, but when you include swelling and a padded dressing, that range drops dramatically.
Until we switched our dressing out for a tiny bandaid we were consistently having read / write issues that made us both very nervous.
Happily we discovered our tags DID work perfectly.
As per the end of the video above I did worry about the implant pushing against my steering wheel or the handlebars of my bike.
The placement of my tag (as detailed in the previous blog) proved to be no issue, I did not feel the chip on the wheel, even on what could have been the most sensitive day.
I think the recommended choice of placement is about as optimal as you can get.
Next time on Life as a Cyborg, we will discuss my first experiments with using the chip, and how I think I broke it.
WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE SAME BAT TIME & THE SAME BAT PLACE!
Scenes of piercing are show below but No Blood or Gore is shown in this blog or any of the accompanying videos,
Other posts are here:
Life as a Cyborg - Day 0 - Implantation << You Are Here
It was the 22nd of April 2017 15:00, my phone lights up with facebook notifications, change of plan, it’s GO time.
My partner and I change out of our casual clothes into something a bit more presentable, grab my camera, with a shade of cowardice I pop a few painkillers in the hope to defend against some of the perceived (but false) impending pain.
What I didn’t know is that I would be introduced to my new cyborg family and our joint 2nd birthday, 22/04/17.
We were not to become Human 2.0 but something closer to Human 1.2.
This is not a work of fiction, on the 22nd of April 2017 my partner and I got dressed and jumped into my car to attend a so-called #implantParty where we were implanted with a Dangerous Things xNT NFC chip.
Leeds International Festival, a tech and art festival in the North of England, had invited Hannes Sjob (@hsjob) and Keren Elazari (@k3r3n3) to fly in from Israel and Sweden respectively. They flew from their own countries to give a talk on Biohacking, Cyberpunk & Hacker Culture.
I had known of this talk was for me since the first week it was announced, I, like Keren was massively influenced by 1995′s “Hackers”, “Ghost in the Shell” and 1999′s turn of the millennium western cyberpunk classic, “The Matrix”.
From the moment I heard this talk was going ahead, I booked tickets. On the booking page, there was one line that blew my mind:
“If you’re brave enough, you’re able at the event to get a live chip implant onstage too.”
I had watched the Vice documentary about Dangerous Things:
The Man Biohacking Encryption From His Garage
I had watched Keren’s Ted Talk:
Hackers: The internets Immune system
I had just finished rewatching Ghost in the Shell and reading the manga in anticipation of the Scarlett Johansson’s remake.
I was ready to join Major Kusanagi.
I bought tickets for my partner, knowing what and opportunity this was I proceeded to assault the Facebook and Twitter feed of the organisers trying to find a method of signing up to get what would have been a $100~ implant for free, zero, zilch, without shipping, import tax, even without having to pay a piercer or a private medic to “install” it in a safe manner.
I heard nothing.
The day before the event I read a post on social media, from one of the lovely organisers, that the chipset WOULD be xNT NFC model from Dangerous Things in the USA.
I got butterflies at hearing this, I knew of their pride in their products, their high standard of construction, their extensive (if a bit ghetto) testing procedures including Amal (the owner of Dangerous Things) having the first model he produced implanted in his hand for 11 years and counting.
On top of this, the NFC model was the one I wanted for two reasons:
1) I have a Google Pixel phone with an NFC reader, I could use this to hand out my business card in a futuristic technical manner.
2) The 13.56MHz frequency is what my current hackspace card registers at,
TL;DR I COULD USE IT TO GET IN AND OUT OF DOORS WITHOUT KEYS!
The day of the event rolls around, I get up, have lunch and wait nervously for 18:00 to roll around so that I can head to the University of Leeds lecture hall, watch two amazing speakers and, presumably, thrust my hand in the air and hope to be selected as one of the few people who could get implanted as my wonderful partner waves on from the stands.
.. now.. some of you may have noticed my time discrepancies above, that is because it did not unfold as such:
Sat waiting for 18:00 to roll around, we eat and as it hits about 15:00 my phone lights up as if all the posts on the event page I had made over the past month had been replied to... it turns out they had:
“Hey folks! Due to complications with the venue, we're unable to do the piercings there BUT DONT WORRY as we are still able to do them but before the event. 10 places are available”
Followed by instructions that it would happen at 16:30 in the north of the city at a well-known piercing parlour.
I had a Sherlock Holmes out of body moment as I planned our route from the south to the north of the city, what to wear, logistics of keeping my hands clean, messaged a fellow Leeds Hackspace member about the change of plan, I threw a dress at my partner and ran into the shower... Let's do this!
I had spent enough time thinking about infection, my family history of auto-immune diseases, not getting tattoos or piercings.
If I trusted anyone to implant me with a sterile microchip the size of a grain of rice, it would be these speakers, this brand, this event and this studio. It felt like the metaphorical moons had aligned.
This year I am 30 years old and had an experience with a severe spinal injury that really made me think about how safe I have been playing life so far, I could be run over by a bus tomorrow or become paralyzed, so let’s do something a bit dangerous for the progress of science and my cyborg street cred.
16:30, I step into Rude Studios in Leeds, I scan around the room, 5 people, MADE IT!
One, I know, the others I do not, but they will become part of my Cyborg Family and share in an experience I never thought I would have.
After a quick chat with Hannes, fresh off his flight from Sweden, we sign a consent form, get a quick briefing and are directed into the piercing room, where we meet Luke, the first man to stab me, just a little bit, FOR SCIENCE!
(Photo Credit Ben Bentley)
Luke, wearing nitrile gloves, sterilises his work surface, lays fresh paper down and asks which hand I would like my implant in, as I am right handed I opt for my left hand
Luke mentally finds the trapezium and trapezoid bones where the metacarpal bones of my thumb and index finger meet.
Next he finds the first proximal interphalangeal joint (first knuckle) of the index finger, then halves the distance between the bottom of that joint and the top of my carpometacarpal joint. Then taking a biosafe pen, marks the insertion point.
This point is chosen because:
1) low risk of damaging major radial and median nerves
2) low risk of damaging major blood vessels
3) low risk of damaging tendons or their synovial sheaths
4) plenty of soft tissue to help absorb blunt force impacts
5) good distance from bones to avoid pinching and crushing
Once this is has been marked, he opens the sterile package containing the sterile NFC implant within a sealed injector, gauze and importantly sterile gloves.
Lukes professionalism and hygiene best practices show as I notice him move from the standard piercing and tattoo gloves to the sterile gloves included in the implantation kit.
The nitrile gloves protect him from any biohazard coming from the person that is being implanted or tattooed, whereas the sterile gloves protect me from infection as he breaks my skin with the needle.
Big breath in.
Slow breath out.
My cowardice is unfounded, the implantation is no worse than any time I have had blood drawn at the doctors, just a little bit more of a sting.
I am now a cyborg.
A piece of technology is now part of my body, working to compliment my other features.
This is an upgrade of choice, I am Human 1.2, unlike people I like to class as Human 1.1, upgraded by doctors to help fix defects such as pacemakers, insulin pumps.
I am lucky to have been able to choose my upgrade and it that my upgrade be purely for scientific interest and life improvement rather than forced life extension.
I get a sticky plaster and the proverbial lollipop for good behaviour.
Luke looks to my partner Holly and says “Next!”, motioning for her to sit down. Wires had been crossed, she had not intended to be next, never mind be anything but a supportive partner (and very good looking camera stand).
She grabs hold of the moment, she asks if there is enough for everyone... and within 2 minutes ...
WE are cyborgs.
We step into the waiting room where Hannes is waiting to give us a lesson on programming our NFC chips.
I type HELLO WORLD. /Write
We step out onto the streets of Leeds new, upgraded and excited with the possibilities ahead.
I will be documenting our ongoing adventures in cyborg in a series of Blogs and Vlogs.
Make sure you subscribe to my e14 account and Youtube channel to hear more, also more technical nitty gritty experimentation to follow!
A global leader in semiconductor design and manufacturing, Texas Instruments has had a significant presence in Germany for over fifty years. Of particular significance is their association with the city of Freising, where they first started producing diodes at their Kepserstrasseplant in 1966, and where they now act as one of the major employers in the region. We asked TI Germany's General Manager Andreas Schwaiger about why Germany has played such a historically important role in the success of Texas Instruments.
For a quintessentially American company, Texas Instruments has a notably strong presence in Germany. How and why has this become the case?
TI has a long established history in Germany, being present and manufacturing here for more than 50 years. Industrial and Automotive are key markets for TI as they offer strong growth potential, and Germany is at the center of this.
When did TI first establish a presence in Germany?
Our presence in Germany began in Darmstadt in 1961, followed by the 1966 purchase of our Kepserstrasse plant in Freising. In 1969 the first construction of our Haggertystrasse plant, also in Freising, was completed, followed by continuous investment over the years. In 2016 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our presence in Freising.
How important is this presence in Germany to TI’s identity as a whole?
Our Freising site is TI’s EMEA headquarters. It's one of our most important R&D and Innovation sites, and also a key manufacturing location.
What are the factors that continue to make Germany an attractive market for TI to operate in?
Germany is a key market for automotives and industrial. Due to our location in Freising, we also have access to a wealth of new talent from the Munich area.
How has your German presence influenced TI and the products you make?
Our famous MSP430 microcontroller was invented here in 1992. The site also has a long history of innovation in power management.
Why do you think Germany endures as such a powerful engineering hub on the world stage?
This is clearly driven by the importance of the local markets, particularly Industrial and Automotive, coupled with the fact that many of the leading companies in these segments - from large corporations to SMEs - are located here.
How does TI in Germany support local talent?
We have a dedicated University Program that supports engineering educators, researchers and students both locally and worldwide. We also offer attractive graduate programs and support local STEM projects and initiatives.
Tell us about your German headquarters. How involved are you in the local community?
TI Freising works closely with local organizations such as St. Klara’s children’s home, Lebenshilfe Freising e.V. (working with disabled in the community), Stadt Jugendpflege (caring for youth in the community), Freiwillige Feuerwehr (voluntary fire brigade). Our “Texins” sport club also ties sporting events and activities with philanthropy, for example with a charity soccer tournament on the occasion of our 50th anniversary. As one of the largest employers in the region, it's very important to us that we're giving back to the local community.
What does the future hold for TI in Germany?
Overall, Germany offers great business opportunities in our key market segments automotive and industrial, and we believe it will continue to do so. We're aware that innovation is key in order to compete in the market. This hunger for innovation is shared by all of our employees, and will continue to drive our future success in the region.
Premier Farnell is a major supplier of Texas Instruments products. You can explore their range here.
For more information about Texas Instruments' history and current activities, visit their official website.
Just saw this on Kickstarter, and I have to say I quite like the idea.
It doesn't look like it's very programmable, and the modular design is pretty basic, but that's no bad thing if it gets the kids interested in the idea of building cool electronics projects.
Kind of reminds me of Big Trak, in the way you can set the individual rotors to follow set commands
Sub-$100 too, which is always a good price point for a new device aimed at kids (not literally aimed at kids -- that'd be dangerous. Kids! Don't fly drones at each other!).
Feels like a good contender for hooking new kids (and parents, for that matter) on electronics, like we've been discussing over on the How Were You 'Bit by the Bug' of Engineering & Technology? page (have you all told your story about how you got into electronics yet? Post it here if not).
Okay, you guys are all pretty good with electronics, right? I mean, that's why you hang around at element14 in the first place.
Therefore, you'll all be acutely aware of the following affliction, that I un-lovingly call "Tech Support Syndrome":
/' tek səˈpɔːt sɪn.drəʊm/
when a technologically adept individual is unwittingly established as the personal, on-call, 24-hour, 365-days-a-year free tech support service for friends and family, usually against their will:
"Dude, remember when you set up my wi-fi six years ago? Well, it's not working again. Can you fly back from your holiday and fix it immediately?"
You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure.
Well, this Christmas we have an opportunity to take our tech lives back, and save you some present-shopping money in the process! We're going to create a range of coupons that you can download, print out, and compile into a coupon book that you can give to friends and family as a gift. They can then redeem the coupons for the tech support you're somehow obliged to provide as part of your existence.
And I'm hopeful that these coupons will serve as something of a contract, and make those freeloading leeches friends and family think a little more carefully before requesting tech support, as there'd now be a conceptual cap on their demands.
But first, I need your help (and no, the irony of that isn't lost on me).
To the right is an example coupon (Maker Money, jwatson and I have been calling them). Before we create the rest for you, we need to figure out as many eventualities as possible to ensure there's a coupon for all the major Tech Support Syndrome symptoms.
I'll get things started off (drawn from my own experience) and I'd like you guys to add more of these common requests in the comments section. We'll make sure the coupons are uploaded and ready for you in plenty of time to make yourself a last minute DIY Christmas gift for your "loved" ones!
Okay, over to you guys! What are the things you're always getting pestered for by the technologically illiterate in your life?
Edit: The Maker Money coupons are now available, so go make yourself an easy, last minute Christmas present that you'll regret giving to family and friends for the whole year! Click here to go get 'em!
Probably the main reason Computer Security Day (which is today) exists, is because we -- as a species -- tend more toward cure than prevention. Most of us only ever change our passwords once the last one has been discovered and put to ill use.
Naturally you've taken heed already this year, and run through the Computer Security Day checklist to revisit your online life and update your digital door locks. But was it always thus?
We've probably all fallen foul of hackers, viruses, malware or some manner of online scam at one time or another. I've a couple of stories on this front, one of which you might recognise, while the other is a bit more of a head slapper.
An insecure password, which was made public via a completely different site being hacked (I used the same password for both), let someone into my flimsily protected Google account. Naturally there was a credit card attached to the account, and someone kindly allowed me to buy half a dozen pay-as-you-go mobile phones for them. Awesome.
Aggravating as it all was, this security slip up on my part highlighted something interesting about paying for things using an online platform, like Google Checkout or PayPal. You see, I received an email receipt immediately after the purchase was made. Not from the bank, because they don't offer that feature even today, but from Google. So I immediately jumped on the phone to the nice credit card folk, and reported the fraudulent transaction.
What's interesting was that it hadn't even gone through yet. The credit card company hadn't even received the transaction info. Google's automated email system was significantly faster than the banks payment system, so they were able to block the card before anything had even gone through.
Entirely my fault for having a rubbish password (easily fixed) and for leaving a credit card registered on an insecure online account (quickly removed). But as a payment platform, using that digital intermediary worked extremely well, as I found out about the fraudulent payment way before the bank even knew about it! Neither were the details of my credit cared shared with the hacker, as all they could do was make a payment using Google's system, and not a direct credit card transaction. A fortuitous safety net I've made use of ever since.
I've rambled on long enough already, so I'll save my other digital security face plant for later on. It's way better, and involved squatters getting into a Big Pharma sterile area because I effectively opened the door for them. Your turn first, though!
What I'd like to hear now is all about your cyber security horror stories, and how you fixed or overcame them.
Email hacked? Wi-fi inadvertently shared? IoT light bulb letting the North Korean government into your bathroom? What happened, how did you fix it, and what did you learn from the whole thing?
Don't forget! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.
Although this is likely to overrun November 30th, we feel it's no bad thing to raise a bit of extra awareness around World Computer Security Day (CSD), and we've created a badge for all those who are into the idea of locking down their online lives nice and securely.
To get the badge, follow these simple rules:
Naturally it's no bad thing to go through the Computer Security Day motions on a regular basis, but in honour of the official day we'll aim to get everyone in the spirit a little sooner by only making the badge available for one month, so make sure you grab it before the end of December!
And don't forget to tell us all about your ideas for making people safe and secure in the physical world in our brand new Design Challenge once you're done, as well as the digital one.
It's November 30th, which means it's A) Just under one month until New Year's Eve, and B) It's World Computer Security Day (CSD)!
You can find out a little more about the origins of the day itself over here, and tell us about your best practices when it comes to securing your digital life.
This is a long-lived awareness campaign already, but it's changing as fast as the computers it's based around.
CSD is a concept that increases in magnitude somewhere like the element14 Community. Here, we're interested in lots of different types of computers, microprocessors, systems and platforms; and most all of them involve some manner of digital security measures. A campaign that originally looked at encouraging people to change one, or maybe two passwords now involves something of an epic security endeavour for engineers, makers and tech-heads who are into all the available prototyping platforms out there now.
So is it also time to change the password on your Raspberry Pi root? Should your Internet of Things devices get a new login? Are there any concerns around your connected Arduino projects?
Updating a Windows password is easy, but updating a headless single board computer or homemade connected thermostat or wi-fi operated light fitting is something else entirely. Even those of us who take an active interest in these things might struggle to keep up to speed on every item we've built into a maker project.
So I'd like to encourage those of you in the know to pick a platform or process of your choice, and write a blog detailing how to change or update its passwords, logins or security features.
Tag it with "Computer Security Day" (and put a link to it in the comments here, if you like) and we'll compile all your cyber security instructions into a cyber security bible that will help keep our corner of the internet just a little bit safer. If we can enough blog posts together on the subject of cyber security, we could potentially edit these into an e-book that'll become a valuable reference for all of us.
Don't forget! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.
You could win a nice, safe quadcopter with which to "enhance" your neighbour's security and privacy!
There are multiple reasons to celebrate World Computer Security Day (CSD). We'll get to the primary reasons in a minute, but the other thing that's nice about it is there aren't any greeting cards associated with it. Not yet, anyway.
So, what's today's rather nebulous-sounding pseudo celebration all about? Read on.
As woolly as it might initially sound, this is actually a great idea. The purpose behind it is simple; to raise awareness of cyber security, and to encourage us all to refresh our digital security practices, if only once a year. Admittedly even that's probably not quite enough, but it's still an improvement for a lot of people, which makes CSD worth spreading.
The exact origins of Computer Security Day are surprisingly far reaching. It's always held on November 30th, with the first one dating back almost 30 years to 1988.
This, some of you older computer nerds will recall, was when the (in)famous Jerusalem virus first appeared, and spread itself far and wide just as computers were becoming commonplace within homes and offices. It was a pernicious little chap, was Jerusalem, and squirrelled itself away within a minuscule amount of memory to deliver its volatile payload every Friday 13th.
On face value this is a pretty easy question to answer.
Pretty obvious stuff really, and it's where everyone should begin. There's even a brand new element14 badge to go with it all.
Before we delve any further into CSD throughout today, tell me if you've updated your security today or recently, and what are your best practises when updating your computer security. Help us spread the good CSD word!
Looking ̥̗f̙̝̝͍̖͡o̦r̙̤̰͈̭w̰̲͚͙͜a̲͈͇r͙̲͎͎͈d̠̟̘̟ ̻͙̫̝̠ṯ̠̮͕̖̱̩o̗͕͡ ͏͙h̦̰̝̠ḛ̷̼̺̫̜̯ͅạ̸̘͕̪̻̩̘r̝i̦̝̗̰͞n͚̘͍̦̞g̛̱͇̯̠͈̮ͅ y͔̹̮̬͖̫̤ͅo̴̺̖͖̞̘̬ų̷̞͎̮͔̙͇̬r̮͍̠͕̘̙͘̕͡ ̳̯͜͡t̷̡͔͙̩̰̼̪̦̯h̨̙̘̫̗͍̬̮o҉͚͙͈̼͘u̦͉̼̟g͖̬͔̪̫͜͠h͇̤̮̺̭̟́ͅt̝̘̥̦̖̱̀̀͢s̹͜ͅ ҉̨̯͉̩o̶͉͓̞̠̗̝͙n̴̸͍̟ ͚̳͍̭̤͕ͅĆ̬̩̭͙̭̣͎ͅo͏̰͎̕m̶̝͎͙̕͡ͅp͏̨̮̯̩̱͎̼̼ṷ͕̣͉͞t̻̼̠̳̻e͏̢͎͎̬͍̖̰͈r͙̗̯͕͢ S̶͉̟̫̭̙̪̭̻̘͙͕͍͠e̶͘͏̢̗͖̮͓̩̯͕̠̻͇̬̙c̨̛̮̩͈̥̻͉̙̮͘u̴̢̨̪̟͙̘̭͔̜̙r̷̷̡҉͏̻̥̠͉į̶̦̰̟͎͈̕͠t͈̣̘͙̣͚̹̖̳̼͍̝̲̜͎̪̱͙̳͟͜͠y̨̙̜̩̦̳̺͔͖̮͕̖͜͢͜ ̷̛͜͏̷̭̠̝D̫͈͘͝ͅa͏̵͏̛̟̬̻͈̬͎͡ͅy̵͎͕͔̩̙̘͈̙͖̝͢͞ ̵̡̭͖̠̜̫̜̪͕́͡i̡̦͕̭̰͎̜̣͚͠ṉ̸̳͍̼̙̖͍̝̭̀͡͠ͅ ̢̢҉̶̱̪͓̯͈̦͙͙̜̥͎̥͉̞͇t҉͓̬̘̥̞̠͇h̢͡͏̼̞͍̮̩̳̟̮͎̭̰̳̪̹̥̠̪e̵͍̮͖͉̺̕͟͝ ̵̛̯͓͚͙̪͠͠c̷̖̟̳̣̗̦͕̱̝͡͝ò̲͈̳̦̖̤͇̖̘͓̺̳̣̜͘͜m̴̢͈̹̟̲͎͍͚̣͍͉͠m̴̶̢̛̠͕̺̘͍̼͚̳̲̰̳̲̀è̡̛͇̺̳͕͉̹̝̜̟͈̮̪̖̤̫͞ǹ̛͉͖̥̘͠t̴̡͖̝̰̙̯̱̰̼ͅs̡̻̥̹̣̜̩͚͔͙̗̱̖̹̜̯͙͇̹̀͟͜͡ ̸̢̺̠̤̼̺͝ś͎̥͙̮̲̻̱̤͈͎͍͝e̢̧̨̺̼̞͎͎̻̣̞̬̙̘̯̣̬̰̘͢͠ͅç͏͠͏̮̻̙͚͍̪̟͈͉̣̩̖̳̳͈̱̼͟t́̕҉͖͚͚̥͢i̷̧̜̖̪̹̯͙̭͉͈̦̞̯̮͘͞ͅǫ̵̝͍͓̯͟ń̢̼͚̹͖̻̞͚̩̗̜͍͖̙̦̯̞͉ ̷҉̻̘̭͔̥̝̝̙̜̩̳̤̙̭͙̲̥͡b̛́҉̛̠̝̺̺͙̦̣̦̗̘̬̺̝̳̪̹̪e̡̺̻͙̠̮̞̼̙̙͎͙̟͍̝͈͟l̨͠҉͇̰̝͕̼̗̪͉͚͚̺̙̜̰̮̟̫̻̞͝o̬̻͉̺̙̭̜̝̻̹͘͜͞͞ẃ̮̣̝̲̣̫̳̯̳̣͖͚̗̕͠͝!̷̤̥̞̠͠͠ͅ ͝҉͈͇̖̗͓̰̬̞̘͖̥͍̞͚̯̹̯̀ ̢͖̦̩̗͉̬̞͔̱̗̬̳̗̯̞͙͡ͅ ҉́̀҉̫̬͕̥̩̯̞͓̱̦̦̥̻̞͈̖ͅ ̗̰̙̰̟̟͍̹͔͎̕͜͟ͅ ̧̹̘̳̘̮̹͈͍̮̖̮̰̥̙̥̼͡͠ ̢̗͙̬͔͞...
And hey! Now that you've secured your digital self, come and tell us how you can make yourself and others safe and sound in the physical world, in our brand new Safe and Sound Design Challenge.
element14 community members from Germany, Austria and Switzerland include several of our most active and creative contributors, applying their unique skills to our Design Challenges and developing their own personal projects using the technology and innovations we regularly feature.
Here are five of our favourite projects by our German-speaking members.
As part of our Sudden Impact Wearables Design Challenge, member hlipka took inspiration from his son's love of skiing to develop a piece of wearable tech that measures impact forces and calculates Head Injury Criterion (HIC), in order to flag up any falls or injuries that may be cause for concern. The device was also designed to be suitable for use in a wide range of other situations in which a head injury might occur, and the data collected using the wearable would be automatically sent to the parent's phone to allow for a rapid response that could make the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
The German speaking regions have a thriving maker scene that often gets overlooked compared to their English language counterparts. Austrian contributor mayermakes has recently launched the first ever Maker Vlog in the German language, featuring news and discussions on key talking points in electronics and electrical engineers, while also showcasing his own projects and product reviews. He also provides English subtitles on many of his videos for the benefit of non-German speakers.
Our Enchanted Objects Design Challenge tasked members with breathing new life into old household devices using modern IoT technology. Our member crjeder decided to focus on the key hooks that hang in many a domestic hallway, integrating smart technology to provide additional functions including speech messaging, interactive to-do lists and status updates to inform visitors when you're out of the house and when you can be expected to return.
Another creative design challenge submission from hlipka, this time using IoT technology to remind homeowners when they've left a window open, preventing potential security risks and also helping to save on heating bills and potentially reduce a home's carbon footprint. The project was submitted as part of our Forget Me Not Design Challenge.
Retro gaming fanatic hwhardsoft has turned his passion for into an online business with his catalogue of project kits that allow users to build their own versions of classic arcade games using a range of embedded electronics and microcontrollers, including products from Raspberry Pi, Arduino and EnOcean. Using these tools, customers can not only recreate their favourite games from childhood, they can also develop their own creations.
This is just a small selection of the many fantastic projects our German-speaking members have been involved with on the element14 community. If you have a favourite German, Swiss or Austrian community member, maker blog or IoT project, and you think it deserves some extra recognition, let us know in the comments section below.
The term “maker” has been ubiquitous in the tech media for some time – in relation to 3D printers, robots, open workshops and more. But who are these makers, and why is the movement in the heart of Europe gaining such traction?
In the United States, makers have already become part of the mainstream. Events such as Maker Faires have long been not only a meeting point for technology and the makers themselves, but have also become major attractions for everyone.
Every day, thousands of people watch the latest videos by famous faces from the maker movement, sharing this content via social media and following in their footsteps to develop their own projects and gaining a following of their own.
While in America this wave of technology-conscious culture has long since entered the mainstream, the maker movement at the heart of Europe has had a quieter existence. The inhabitants of the German-speaking countries do not practice the same kind of hero worship often demonstrated by people on the other side of the Atlantic, and while US makers like Jimmy DiResta and Ben Heck have gained fame for their breathtaking works, the exciting projects being produced at regional open workshops, Makerspaces and FabLabs only gain mainstream exposure from time to time.
However, a contrasting picture is starting to emerge in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Makerspaces and community projects are now sprouting like fungi, offering their members ample room for creativity. Many of the best-known examples of recent domestic inventions have come from these collaborative organisations, and very few makers in the region now imagine themselves to be working in isolation.
In the early 2000’s, many of those who took the first step out of the workshop and started presenting their work to the public concentrated on the only market for their multimedia content that existed at the time – namely English language forums, websites and platforms such as YouTube.
But European communities – particularly those in the German-speaking countries – are now beginning to close the gap. In Austria alone, there were three “Maker Faire” events held in 2016, while Germany is seen as a country at the forefront of the European maker movement, with events taking place all over the country.
The German-speaking regions consist of a potential customer base of more than 100 million people, all of whom could theoretically be one-time makers. Particularly in the Alpine region, there is a long tradition of hobbyists who have developed their own machines over many years, contributing significantly to technical development.
To give a more modern example, the FPV racing scene at the heart of Europe is one of the most advanced in the world. Young people are experimenting again with old, almost extinct craftsmanship techniques to improve their product designs.
At the moment there are still too many great projects hidden in the workshops, because of the amount of courage and enthusiasm required to succeed as a maker working with the public. Slowly but surely, electronics and tool manufacturers are recognising the potential that lies in the German-speaking regions of the world and are actively promoting local makers and makerspaces.
But in order to anchor maker culture deeply in the consciousness of the mainstream, the scene requires heroes and role models comparable to their American counterparts. Makers who leave nothing untried in order to realise an idea, women and men who are tirelessly searching for solutions to everyday problems, and children who are drawn to electronics, technology and craftsmanship from a small age. These people form the foundation for a society in which creative design forms a central element.
At the moment, only a few makers are producing online content specifically tailored for the German-language community. Makers face a rocky road in order to make their works and ideas accessible to any audience at all, let alone a non-English speaking one. But whoever now has the courage to become part of the generation that takes Germany, Austria and Switzerland to the next stage in the spread of maker culture could become exactly the kind of hero figure the central European movement is still searching for.
One of the most important functions of the maker is to democratise the production and development of products and ideas. Particularly in the German-speaking world, the technical professions have for a long time been regarded as a closed and elitist community, in which the tedious efforts of hobbyists were likely to be met with a patronising smile. Through the opening up of hardware and software, brands like Arduino have been able to provide powerful tools that are accessible to average citizens, offering similar creative possibilities to the hardware and software utilised by professionals.
This new air of collaboration between professionals and makers is helping to make the development of new products faster and more varied than ever before. All over the world, entirely new concepts emerge every day, and regional problems can only be solved because the solutions are devised by local people. It is therefore essential to offer region-specific content in the language of the country, to bring down language barriers, to impart knowledge in a more complete and accessible way, and to connect the members of the maker movement as closely and effectively as possible.
Maker Faires and repair cafes offer opportunities for makers to meet, but time and space are required for the creative exchange to bear fruit. This means that clubs, communities and open workshops operating at a local level and in local languages are of particular importance.
The individual maker is often a specialist in their chosen discipline. Those who establish themselves as experts are often sources of invaluable advice for the worldwide maker community. But there are also generalists who try to cover as broad a range of projects as possible. It is often these figures who become ambassadors of the movement to the outside world.
In many German cities there are already dozens of meeting places and common areas for makers and hobbyists. In Eastern Austria new clubs are constantly being built and the event calendar is filling up. In Switzerland too, the scene is now beginning to establish itself at a rapid pace. People are thinking back to the values that the generation before them held dear – to create things themselves and to share with one another.
Meanwhile, in a cellar in Austria sits the enthusiastic maker who writes this blog, driven by the motivation that someday professionals will see makers as a truly equal partner, and collaborate with them to change the world.
Can non-English language maker scenes ever be truly competitive on the global stage? Share your thoughts in the comments section below...
About the Author:
Clemens Mayer is a maker from Baden, Austria and an active member of the element14 community. You can find updates on his projects and his thoughts on the latest maker news from and about makers in the German-speaking region at his official website and Vlog.
Der Begriff „Maker“ geistert seit einiger Zeit durch die Medien: Es wird von 3D- Druckern, Robotern und offenen Werkstätten berichtet. Wer sind diese Maker und warum schlägt eine in den USA entstandene Bewegung im Herzen Europas so hohe Wellen?
In den Vereinigten Staaten sind Maker bereits Teil des Mainstreams geworden, die Maker Faires sind längst nicht nur Anziehungspunkt für Technikbegeisterte und die Maker selbst, sondern haben sich zu einem lohnenden Ausflugsziel für jedermann gewandelt.
Viele tausend Menschen sehen täglich die neuesten Videos ihrer Helden aus der Maker-Bewegung in sozialen Netzwerken, teilen diese Inhalte mit ihren Freunden und bauen die gezeigten Projekte nicht nur nach, sie entwickeln diese sogar bedeutend weiter. Damit werden sie selbst zu Helden der Maker-Bewegung.
Während in Amerika die Welle, als die diese technikaffine Kultur erscheint, bereits das Land überschwemmt und im Mainstream Einzug gehalten hat, fristet die Maker-Bewegung im Herzen Europas ein (noch) stilles Dasein.
Die Bewohner der deutschsprachigen Länder,praktizieren nicht dieselbe Heldenverehrung wie die Menschen auf der anderen Seite des großen Teiches.
Während in den USA Maker wie Jimmy DiResta und Ben Heck Berühmtheit für ihre atemberaubenden Werke erlangt haben, hört man nur ab und an von den großartigen Projekten, die die regionalen offenen Werkstätten, Makerspaces und FabLabs produzieren.
In Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz ergibt sich ein gegensätzliches Bild : Makerspaces und Gemeinschaftsprojekte schießen nun mit einiger zeitlicher Verzögerung wie Pilze aus dem Boden und bieten ihren Mitgliedern Raum für Kreativität. Die bekanntesten Beispiele heimischer Erfindungen stammen aus diesen gemeinschaftlichen Organisationen und nur ganz wenige stellen sich dem Abenteuer ein Maker zu sein auf eigene Faust.
Diejenigen, die als Erste den Schritt aus dem Bastelkeller an die Öffentlichkeit gewagt haben, konzentrierten sich auf den einzigen Markt für ihre multimedialen Inhalte, den es damals (Anfang der 2000er) gab, nämlich englischsprachige Foren, Webseiten und Youtube.
Doch Europa, insbesondere Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz, holen den Rückstand in Riesenschritten auf. Allein in Österreich gab es 2016 gleich drei Veranstaltungen der Maker Faire-Reihe und Deutschland steht als Vorreiter mit Events in fast allen Landesteilen als Zentrum der europäischen Maker-Bewegung an vorderster Front.
Der deutschsprachige Raum bildet einen potentiellen Kundenstock von über 100 Millionen Menschen, die theoretisch alle einmal Maker sein könnten.
Besonders im Alpenraum gibt es eine lange Tradition an Bastlern, die seit vielen Jahren selbst Geräte entwickeln und einen großen Teil zur technischen Entwicklung beigetragen haben.
Auch aktuell wird zum Beispiel die FPV-Racing Szene im Herzen Europas am stärksten vorangetrieben.
Junge Menschen experimentieren wieder mit alten fast ausgestorbenen Handwerkstechniken um die von ihnen erdachten Produkte selbst anzufertigen.
Die Radiobastler der Nachkriegszeit haben den Weg geebnet und nun ist es an der Zeit die mitteleuropäische Maker-Bewegung aus ihren Bastelkellern und vor den Vorhang zu holen.
Derzeit bleiben noch viel zu viele großartige Projekte in den Werkstätten verborgen, denn es braucht Mut, Courage und Begeisterung, um sich der Öffentlichkeit als Maker zu stellen.
Langsam aber sicher erkennen Elektronik- und Werkzeughersteller das Potential, das in den deutschsprachigen Regionen der Welt liegt und fördern Maker und Makerspaces.
Doch um den Schritt in den Mainstream zu machen und die Maker-Kultur tief im Bewusstsein der Menschen zu verankern, braucht es Helden und Vorbilder.
Maker, die nichts unversucht lassen, eine Idee zu verwirklichen, Frauen und Männer, die unermüdlich nach der Lösung für alltägliche Probleme suchen und Kinder, die von klein auf spielerisch an Elektronik, Technik und Handwerk herangeführt werden, bilden das Fundament für eine Gesellschaft, in der das kreative Erschaffen von Dingen zentrales Element wird.
Nur wenige Maker produzieren derzeit genau auf die deutschsprachige Community zugeschnittene Online-Inhalte, denn schneller Erfolg ist am Anfang einer Bewegung nicht die Regel.
Es ist ein steiniger Weg seine Werke und Ideen einem Publikum überhaupt zugänglich zu machen. Doch wer jetzt den Mut fasst und Teil der Generation wird, die Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz verhilft die nächste Stufe in der Verbreitung der Maker-Kultur zu erklimmen, der kann selbst einer der Helden werden, die die Bewegung in Europa braucht.
Maker zu sein bedeutet, die Entwicklung und die Herstellung von Produkten und Ideen wieder zu demokratisieren. Gerade im deutschsprachigen Raum galten die technischen Berufe für Aussenstehende lange Zeit als verschlossene und elitäre Gemeinschaft, die die mühsamen Versuche von Hobbybastlern nur belächeln konnten. Die Öffnung von Hard- und Software und Konzepte wie Arduino geben Durchnittsbürgern mächtige Werkzeuge in die Hand, die ihnen ähnliche Möglichkeiten eröffnen wie professionelle Hard- und Software Entwickler.
Die Zusammenarbeit von Profis und Makern treibt die Entwicklung neuartiger Produkte schneller und variantenreicher voran als je zuvor. Völlig neuartige Konzepte entstehen Tag für Tag überall auf der Welt und sind nur fähig regionale Probleme zu lösen, weil sie von den Menschen vor Ort erdacht werden. Es ist daher unumgänglich regionale Inhalte in der Landessprache anzubieten, um Sprachbarrieren einzureissen, Wissen uneingeschränkt zu vermitteln und die Mitglieder der Makerbewegung möglichst eng zu vernetzen. Maker Faires und Repair-Cafés bieten Anläße um sich zu treffen, aber für den kreativen Austausch ist Zeit und Raum erforderlich, daher sind die Vereine, Gemeinschaften und offenen Werkstätten besonderes wichtige Institutionen.
Einzelne Maker sind oft Spezialisten in ihrer Lieblingsdiziplin. Sie werden zu Experten, die von der weltweiten Maker-Gemeinde um Rat gefragt werden. Es gibt aber auch Generalisten, die versuchen ein möglichst breites Spektrum an Projekten abzudecken. Sie werden zu Botschaftern der Bewegung nach Aussen und Innen.
In sehr vielen deutschen Städten gibt es schon jetzt dutzende Treffpunkte und gemeinschaftlich genutzte Räumlichkeiten. In Ost-Österreich entstehen laufend neue Vereine und der Veranstaltungskalender füllt sich zusehens. Auch in der Schweiz beginnt sich die Szene nun mit rasantem Tempo zu organisieren. Die Menschen besinnen sich zurück auf Werte die Generation vor ihnen wichtig waren: Dinge selbst zu erschaffen und miteinander zu teilen.
Und auch in einem Keller in Österreich sitzt ein enthusiastischer Maker und schreibt diesen Text angetrieben durch die Motivation, dass Profis die Maker in Zukunft als Partner sehen und mit ihnen gemeinsam die Welt verändern.
Über den Autor:
Clemens Mayer ist Maker aus Österreich, berichtet über seine Projekte und verbreitet online Nachrichten von und über Maker aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum.