Is there an unsecured wireless network near you?
HDMI Extender Reverse Engineered
Friday, 10 June 2016 04:01

[danman] has been playing around with various HDMI video streaming options, and he’s hit on a great low-cost solution. A $40 “HDMI extender” turns out to actually be an HDMI-to-RTP converter under the hood.

He’d done work previously on a similar extender that turned out to use a quirky method to send the video, which he naturally reversed and made to do his bidding. But non-standard formats are a pain. So when he was given a newer version of the same device, and started peeking into the packets with Wireshark, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the output was …read more

O2 chief techie: Light up dark fibre and unleash the small cell army
Tuesday, 07 June 2016 20:27

When it comes to improving mobile network coverage and increasing capacity with small cells, the UK needs more access to dark fibre and easier planning permissions. So says O2 CTO Brendan O’Reilly.

Speaking to El Reg recently, O’Reilly said dark fibre was a prerequisite for small cells and heterogeneous networks (HetNets) as well as being able to get access to the infrastructure where the smalls cells can be located. But in the UK, dark fibre is not widely available and local planning permission can be a lengthy process.

“We know that small cells work,” said O’Reilly. “Now it’s about how

Continuous Delivery for Your ESP8266
Thursday, 09 June 2016 11:30

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a problem we all have. You change your code a lot — you can’t help it, you just need to tweak one last little bit. And then you have to go downstairs, fetch your ESP8266 module, plug it in to your computer, flash the new firmware in, and then run back down and re-install your wine-cellar temperature monitor. If only there were a way to continuously update your ESP8266 over the air, pulling new code down from your GitHub repository, automatically running your test suite on it, and then pushing it off to …read more

Poetic SSIDs
Tuesday, 07 June 2016 11:00

Artists see the same world that the rest of us do. They just see it from a little bit off to the left. Where you see picking an ESSID for your router as being a hassle, or an opportunity to insult your neighbors, [Dmitry], alias [::vtol::] sees a poetry-delivery mechanism.

Based on ESP8266 units, each “poet” has a battery and a switch. Turn it on and it changes its SSID once every ten seconds, feeding everyone who’s listening the next line of a poem. You can’t connect to the network, but you can occasionally hit refresh on your WiFi scanner …read more

Controversial opinion time: Comcast sucks a tiny bit less this year
Thursday, 02 June 2016 04:24

Comcast sucks less than last year, but still has a pretty miserable customer rating, according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

The organization's new report [PDF] for 2016 shows a remarkable increase in satisfaction with the cable company – up 15 per cent, or eight points. But then it was starting from pretty far down: it went from 54 to 62 per cent.

Perhaps it's a little unfair to pick on just Comcast, because as a whole ISPs and cable companies continue to provide the lowest levels of customer satisfaction across the 43 industries covered by the ACSI.

Minimal MQTT: Power and Privacy
Friday, 03 June 2016 13:01

In this installment of Minimal MQTT, I’m going to cover two loose ends: one on the sensor node side, and one on the MQTT server side. Specifically, I’ll tackle the NodeMCU’s sleep mode to reduce power and step you through bridging MQTT servers to get your data securely out of your home server and into “the cloud”, which is really just other people’s servers.

If you’re just stepping into this series now, you should really check out the other three posts, where I set up a server, then build up some sensor nodes, and then flesh-out a few ways to …read more

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