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Geekology «

Atreus – My First Mechanical Keyboard

A certain geek *coughColecough* picked up an Ergodox some months back. After an initial period of smiling at his purchase while enjoying my work supplied ergonomic keyboard, I decided to take him up on his offer to type on it.

I can only say that in order to understand the draw of mechanical keyboards, you need to use one for an hour. They're pretty freaking cool. Sadly, the Ergodox is a bit out of my price range at the moment - saving up for a roadie while training for a triathalon next year. I also borrowed a Code keyboard using Cherry MX Clears, but decided I liked the ergonomics of the Dox.

Here's where the Atreus comes in. It's a 40% keyboard, so only has 42 keys instead of the 87/104 "normal" keyboards have. All the extra (punctuation, numeric, function) keys are accessed by switching "layers" - essentially shift on steroids. Jump in after the break!


Using Chrome Profiles and FoxyProxy to Keep Personal and Work Browsing Separate

I'm going to build on FuelCell250's previous post regarding SSH tunneling. Most of the time you'll want to tunnel all of your traffic through your home SSH server, but there are instances where that's not the most suitable option.

For instance, working the late shift in IT, I'll sometimes run into periods of downtime. Obviously I am careful about my browsing on a work PC. I'm not convinced, however, that anyone else should see me logging into my online banking; or that my chat sessions should be visible to anyone but myself; or those randomly blacklisted sites that are perfectly SFW.

My solution is fairly simple, and easy to setup. Check it out after the break!


Remote VNC Access

VNC Access to Raspberry Pi


There's nothing quite like being 500 miles from home and having the ability to control your home computer with your cell phone. In the past, I have used PocketCloud in conjunction with the built in RDP server to access my Windows 7 computer.  It was pretty handy for managing my media library from work or my laptop.

I ran into a problem, though, once I completely moved my home computers to Linux: the best RDP server solution for Linux (xRDP) just didn't cut it. It was nowhere near as seamless as the built in utilities for Windows, and I don't like fiddling past initial setup.

I decided my Raspberry Pi would make a great remote access point. No sensitive information, very low power draw for 24/7 uptime, and I can tuck it in next to my router so I never have to see it.

Join me after the break for a quick and easy tutorial for enabling remote access to your own Linux machine! We'll be using TightVNC Server for Linux, a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, and your choice of a VNC client.


Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on HTC Nexus One

The HTC Nexus One is likely the most iconic Android device to date. None of the other Android devices I've used have ever quite felt as good in the hand or looked as good.So it's a shame the onboard ROM is too small to support anything above Gingerbread (2.3). Or, is it? Officially, the system partition is too small, the GPU isn't up to the task of pushing Jelly Bean, etc. But the Nexus S pushes it just fine, and it's essentially the same hardware (granted, a few changes, but the same processing power).

As luck would have it, the awesome devs over at XDA developers have worked out a way to repartition the onboard ROM to allow Android 4.0 and above to be installed.

Join me after the jump for a walkthrough of the installation!


Encrypted Web Browsing With SSH and Ubuntu

Every now and then, you may be forced to use an unencrypted wireless access point to access the internet. Many hotels and coffee shops leave their access points unencrypted, instead relying on other solutions such as captive portals to authenticate customers. This keeps unauthorized users off the network (sort of), but it doesn't encrypt anything between you and the access point. This could allow a malicious hacker to intercept personal information, such as passwords. With an SSH server at home, you can encrypt your web traffic and slingshot it back to your house. Your SSH server will then decrypt it and send it back out to the internet, as if you were browsing from inside your secure home network. Interested? Read on.


Open Lab Idaho

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce a partnership between Hacked Potatoes and Open Lab Idaho, a community hackerspace here in Boise! Only weeks after Hacked Potatoes was founded, we caught wind of the local maker culture and their efforts to start a hackerspace. We couldn't help but get involved and contribute to the rest of the team that made Open Lab Idaho happen. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our members and executive teams, we are now a thriving  community hackerspace. So far, Open Lab Idaho members have worked on a variety of projects, ranging from RepRap 3d printing and robotics to t-shirt screen printing. We welcome projects of any kind. Hit us up on the forums with your ideas! Keep an eye on @OpenLabIdaho on Twitter as well as the blog for workshop and event updates.

So what does this mean for Hacked Potatoes? It means that we have a much bigger community to work with, and more upcoming projects than ever. Now that Open Lab Idaho is off the ground, keep an eye on us! The best is yet to come.


iPod Nano Recall, Part II

In our previous post about Apple's first-generation iPod Nano replacement program, we had the absurd idea to send in a couple of dead iPods to see what Apple would replace. One of them wasn't just dead though.

On the second, I replaced the screen, left the screws out, and then accidentally ran it through the wash! By the time it came out of the dryer, it was in several pieces and the logic board was oval shaped, and we used the whole front assembly to fix another iPod. The first iPod was just dead, and the second only needed to be run over by a car to look any worse.

Laughing the whole time, we sent them into Apple to see what would happen.


$40 Helmet Mounted Camera/GoPro Alternative

FACT: 75 percent of current Hacked Potatoes authors have motorbikes. I've been wanting a helmet-mountable video camera for years now to capture all of our epic knee-dragging adventures, but cameras like the GoPro are pretty cost-prohibitive. Although it shoots glorious 1080p at a buttery 60fps, is weatherproof, and can be mounted just about anywhere, I just couldn't cough up $250 for one.

Enter the "808 #16." What kind of a name is that? I have no idea, but it's from China, is tiny (the size of a key fob), and shoots 720p at 30fps. Also, it's $40. Interested? Read on...


Overhead to LCD Video Projector Conversion

I like to host LAN parties. We mostly play console games, because they are easily accessible. All my friends have consoles, but it's nearly impossible to get people to bring high-definition displays. Usually, they are just too big to move, or are mounted on the wall, or are otherwise inaccessible. I didn't have the room or the money for another HDTV, so I decided to look into projectors.


Projector Requirements

  • Projector needs to be cheap
  • Displays at least 480p
  • Supports component input (optional)
  • Is small enough to transport (other LAN parties!)

I did some research on projectors, but I could never find a solution that was cheap enough. The only truly inexpensive solutions were terrible 480i units. The only option left was to build my own. See how I did it after the break!


Free Wifi Calling from Android – Revisited

Android Calls using Data

Some time ago, our dear deployed hacker @badger32d posted his method of connecting free WiFi calls from most any Android phone. Unfortunately, SIPgate seems to have gone the way of the DoDo, judging by how long they've been "waiting" for new numbers.

I was still motivated to find SOME way of getting WiFi calling setup on my phone, without needing to sign up for multiple services.


You might say wanted to have my Android phone to use Data for calling. #rimshot