Dumb blog spammers

Can you be stupid enough to actually SPAM the default WordPress post that is created at blog setup.

A BreAduino nightmare

This was supposed to be a straightforward build but things started going wrong, and it just continued.


After getting all the parts and putting everything in exactly as it was supposed to be as per the really awesome instructions at http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Standalone and then double checking I go and hookup 12v to the breadboard and poof. Smoke coming out of your only Atmega 328 controller you have is not something you want to be seeing. If you look closely (click on the first image) you can see the melted plastic where the reset button is. I actually moved the Atmega 328 down four rows just in case I had shorted something internally.

FT232 Breakout Board


FT232 Breakout Board



After getting a couple of new Arduino boot loader preloaded Atmega 328’s I popped one in and hit the upload button. The only thing that happened was the following error message

avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect=0x14, resp=0x51

A few searches later and I figured it must be due to not having a “auto reset” on my BreAduino, and it not being a Arduino Uno. After changing the the board to Duemilanove and a bit of experimenting I found that hitting the reset button immediately after Binary sketch size appears in the IDE an upload happened and worked. The RX an TX LEDs blinking at an insane rate is a good thing and made me happy.

HD44780 LCD Display


HD44780 LCD Display



Now that I have a working BreAduino I went through the hookup process of a HD44780 16×8 character LCD display, using the pinouts in the Arduino IDE examples as a guide. Unfortunately I did not realise that I had the positive and negative supply the wrong way around until I had a look at the excellent tutorial at AdaFruit  http://www.ladyada.net/learn/lcd/charlcd.html. The saying a picture says a thousand words applies to electronics as well. At least I didn’t pop the entire display, it is now a 8×2 character to will have to make use of scrolling text more than I would have liked.

At least I am now past stage two of the alarm system for the caravan, next step is to get all the parts working together.

On eBook readers

In October last year I decided against buying a Kindle and ended up with a Sony Reader PRS-600. Immediately I realised I had a problem, it is almost impossible to legally acquire any form of literature. Kalahari.net started to sell eBooks using the Adobe Digital Editions DRM which in my experience is a pain in the arse. I have read over 20 books since purchasing using my Sony Reader, but have used it more to store a library of technical material for easy reference.

This week my Kindle 3 (WiFi edition) arrived which I have been impatiently waiting for since I pre-ordered it over 4 weeks ago, along with the awesome cover with the built-in reading light. I think the cover is necessary to protect is especially with me as I tend to drop things and the more expensive and fragile the more likely that will happen. Continue reading “On eBook readers”

Quickly audit software on a Windows network using the command line

We recently received a notice from one of our Vendors that we must provide them with a software audit of all machines on our network, but we did not have a reliable system in place at the time.

My first thought was to scrape the registry, but I had not played with that too much. Next idea was WMI, or specifically WMIC, teamed with a NMAP scan to get a list of online machines. Continue reading “Quickly audit software on a Windows network using the command line”

NetSH scripting

I have been playing with two windows cli’s lately the first is the NetSH command which ships with everything from Windows 2000 on up. Will write up a post once I am more comfortable with wmic.

The main purpose of the tool is for network administration using the command line. The first thing I thought of was “YAY a way to change my IP for where I am” and that was how the batch file started. Yes I do know there are better scripting languages around, but I went with something that should work on whatever Windows 2000+ operating system it gets dumped in. Continue reading “NetSH scripting”

Google Friend connect

Been playing with Googles Friend connect on the blog today, added the wall gadget to posts as an alternative to the standard comment system, really hoping it works better.

Must say props to the Goog for making something simple and easy yet again, especially when compared to Facebook connect.

Upgrade to WordPress 2.7

Just finished upgrading to the latest and at least this time the theme stayed in tact, well done to the WordPress devs for their hard work and Keith Dsouza for his WordPress Automatic Upgrade.

p.s. Love the new admin Dashboard, things are so much easier to access

Another how to keep yourself safe on the internet post :-P

With the latest phishing scam going around, in South Africa at least, I have written up this post to get my opinion on keeping yourself safe from the scammer. The title of the phishing mail that prompted this is “CNN.com Daily Top 10” from “Daily Top 10”. It caught me at first until I relised this was received on the wrong account as I have a sub to a similar service. All the links in the mail go to a fake CNN site that says you need to download their video player, this video player contains a key logger than will send all keystrokes you make to another party that will probably use it for their own gain. I must say that every time I have tried the site linked it appeared to have been taken down.

There are a few important rules to using the internet, and they apply to many other forms of communication: There are a few important rules to using the internet:

  1. If it seems too good to be true, then it is most likely is!
  2. If you receive email asking for personal or financial information, delete it! They already have your information, and if they really need your information they will probably do it through more personal contact.
  3. Never give out your personal information to anyone, they can and possibly will use it to impersonate you. Continue reading “Another how to keep yourself safe on the internet post :-P”