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Improving the Motorola Blink Baby Monitor/Camera

So we recently purchased the Motorola Blink1 Wifi Baby Monitor (Is this the first blog post acknowledging the baby? He's due any day!) and it's neat hardware with SHIT software. Straight up, it doesn't do most things you would want. I'm working to reverse engineer this and make it workable...particularly on linux.

Before I start...MAD PROPS to Simon Aldrich, whose article laid the foundation to what I'm trying to do here. This got me started: Hacking the Motorola Blink 1 Baby Monitor (Part 1) and Hacking the Motorola Blink 1 Baby Monitor (Part 2)

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Movie Theater Room Sound Panels

So we're making a movie theater room and it's set up and going well. The walls need some panels to break up the sound reflection, and rather than do curtains I wanted to do something geeky. I saw some bleach shirt techniques in reddit, but since I got felt for the texture and you can't bleach that, I used white fabric paint. I made 11 canvases, then cut black felt to fit, then traced out the logos on parchment paper, cut them out, ironed them onto the felt, then sprayed the relief pattern on. After painting, I had to wait 72 hours, then washed them, then mounted them to the canvas frames I built.

Take a look! Here's the room all together, see if you can guess the logos!

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IMG_20131126_211013

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This is the blank canvas; I ran out of paint for the Matrix one before the first movie in the room.

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Using Firefox as a Thin-App for a Specific Web-Site

Objective:

Certain websites were coded to use features and be optimized for Mozilla?s Firefox Browser. These websites utilize strict W3C HTML components which do not render properly in Internet Explorer, or rely heavily on javascript code which runs sluggishly across all versions of Internet Explorer (and impacts the system performance in other applications). Due to the organization?s security policy, the only browser allowed is Internet Explorer. Firefox is specifically disallowed for the following reasons:

  1. Patching ? Firefox updates frequently (every 6 weeks) and as a result keeping it up to date creates support overhead for the various desktop teams.
  2. Management ? Firefox is not natively customizable through Group Policy, and Mozilla?s recommendation is to configure the browser through scripting. This conflicts with our existing management and DSO compliance policies.
  3. Compatibility ? If Firefox becomes the default browser on user machines, it may create compatibility issues with other apps that require Internet Explorer, specifically certain clinical applications.
  4. Testing ? All existing production applications have been tested against the enterprise standard browser. Compounding on previous compatibility concerns, existing production applications may have to undergo testing against an additional production scenario.

Some of the above mentioned concerns are mitigated with a modified installation of Firefox that prevents the user from opening other pages, navigating away from hard-coded URLs, and removing identifying information that the program is actually running inside Firefox. The procedure for creating such a Firefox Thin-App for a web-app is defined below.

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Building a Security Cam/Time-Lapse Video/Auto Webcam System on Linux

I left for the weekend, and left my dog at home (he has a doggy door and an auto food/water thing, he's ok). I leave a webcam on so I can check on him; the way I have it set up is that I want a picture copied to my public dropbox folder then embedded in an html page, so I can check on him from anywhere. Also, my family/friends like to look in on him.

To make this work, the dependencies are dropbox, fswebcam, and cheese. fswebcam does the actual picture capturing, cheese is used to auto-calibrate the camera (you can set settings with fswebcam, but it's a pain...I find if you open cheese for 10 seconds then kill it every 30 minutes, its auto-adjust sticks and works great). Here's my script, called autocam.sh:

#!/bin/bash
case "$1" in

recal)
  cheese &
  sleep 10s
  killall cheese
  exit 1
;;

*)
  now=$(/bin/date '+%Y%m%d%H%M')
  mv /Path/To/Dropbox/Public/RygelWatch.jpg /Path/To/Pictures/RygelWatch/RygelWatch.${now}.jpg
  /usr/bin/fswebcam -d v4l2:/dev/video0 -i 0 -r "640x480" --deinterlace --no-banner "/Path/To/Dropbox/Public/RygelWatch.jpg"
  exit 1
esac

This is then called using the following cronjobs:

*/2 * * * * sh /Path/To/Scripts/autocam.sh
1,31 * * * * sh /Path/To/Scripts/autocam.sh recal

Boom, works great!

So, then to turn it into a timelapse, I cd into the ~/Pictures/RygelWatch folder and run:

ls -1tr | grep -v files.txt > files.txt

I then build the video using mencoder with the following command:

mencoder -nosound -noskip -oac copy -ovc copy -o 2013.08.25.RygelWatch.avi -mf fps=15 'mf://@files.txt'

This works great! Finally, I opened that up in openshot, polished it a bit, and submitted it to youtube:

The autocam function is something I've been meaning to expand on. I actually have raspberry pi's in several of the rooms in my house; I'd like to set up about 8 of them and use it as a security cam from a web interface I'd access on an internal web server (over vpn); it'd be very expandable very quickly. By symlinking from shares and cutting out the whole "upload to public dropbox" step, it won't use a ton of bandwidth and if I drop to grayscale I think it could be an adequate security cam system or something. The only obvious limit is that the auto-opening of cheese selects /dev/video0 for the auto-configuration, but I'm sure I can figure that out once it's actually an issue. For now, it's just webcams while we leave the dog home.

Hope you enjoy!

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My D&D Character Results

I Am A: Chaotic Neutral Human Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-15
Dexterity-13
Constitution-12
Intelligence-18
Wisdom-15
Charisma-15

Alignment:
Chaotic Neutral A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal. However, chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

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