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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!


Custom Launchers in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

I know that I'm straying into Lifehacker territory here, but this is a tip I couldn't help but share. I've always wanted to create customer launchers for the Unity dock, and I've finally found how. I'm going to apply this to Minecraft, but you can use to create an icon for just about any program or command that you might need to run in Ubuntu. Read on for instructions...


HDTV Cooling Mods

Well over a year ago, my Uncle gave me an older 26" 720p LCD HDTV. Clearly, it is one of the first-generation flat-panel screens, as it has some quirks. The color isn't very consistent, and it temporarily burns in static images. Other than that, it's been a great TV, and we've gotten a lot of use out of it. We were very dismayed when we discovered that the sound was cutting out after 15-30 minutes of use, and we really didn't want to spend $200+ on a new TV. I quickly traced the problem to heat, as the problem only appeared at the beginning of the summer, and the sound seemed to last longer with a small fan propped up behind the TV. See how I revived our HDTV after the break!


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...


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


Testing the Apple iPod Nano Recall, Part I

Apple has recalled the first-generation iPod Nano, due to battery issues. Several of my family members and fellow potato-hackers own such iPods, and have been returning them. So far, they have each received a replacement in the form of a refurbished sixth-generation iPod Nano.

While the rest of the interwebnets rages that they didn't receive an exact replacement, we at Hacked Potatoes are giving Apple a well-deserved thumbs up. Their product failed (barely), so they opted to provide a free, technologically superior replacement. We will miss the click wheel, but we will enjoy all of the extra space.

The only question that remains is this: what condition does your iPod Nano need to be in to qualify for replacement? Does it have to be working? In one piece? Read on to see what we dare to send in to Apple.


Tangled Webs of Trust

As most of you know, this week Defcon, BlackHat and bsidesLV are going on, with a lot of amazing talks. I hope to be able to listen to the audio / check out the slides once they come out, sadly I'm out of the country and could not attend these cons.

One talk that I really want to hear was by Moxie Marlinspike concerning a new tool that he released. The concept is to move much of the certificate validation to the client side, rather then from a regular Certificate Authority. Over the past several years CA's have had quite a few attacks that proved to compromise their intended goal. This is inevitable for everything. There will be a flaw that someone will find and exploit. Period.


Aircrack-ng WEP Crack Walkthrough

For some who are curious, here is a short high level walkthrough of the Aircrack-ng tools needed for sniffing packets and cracking WEP networks. I'll go over all the commands you will need to crack the average WEP key and some direction for further digging into WEP encrypted networks.