Software, hardware, wetware

Tuesday Links

Back to Sydney. Good to travel and see my delightful coworkers, but good to be home too.

DEFCON Badge Challenge

As has been tradition for the past 4 years, I attended DEFCON thanks to (and in honour of) my employers Bugcrowd.

The first year I went I joined a team that was trying to solve the annual badge challenge - the prize for which is a black badge, granting the holder perpetual free entry to DEFCON.

As usual, it was a doozy, and this write-up demonstrates part of how difficult it is. Actually being at the event, wanting to see everything, and simultaneously trying to work out what is and what is not a clue makes this puzzle a real head-scratcher.


I continue to experiment (lightly) with VR projects. I have no particular love of javascript, but I do love the web; getting up and running with my Vive and A-Frame only took about 20 minutes (you’ll need an experimental build of Chrome).

2 hours after that I’d found aframe-vive-cursor-component and have two fully-functioning Vive controllers in VR. I’m attempting to use that plus aframe-draw-shader to create a whiteboard that a user can draw on, with the goal of making that multi-user and putting it up on Github.

Possible earth-like in orbit of Proxima Centauri

Not entirely confirmed yet, but hugely exciting. Finding a planet in the goldilocks zone of such a (relatively) nearby star opens some interesting scientific missions.

Sadly it would still take us a long time to get there, so short of a complete revolution in physics, massive breakthroughs in fusion technology, or engineering on an unprecedented scale that gives us laser sails, visiting another star system is still just a dream.

Sunday Links

In SF for work. Time to start blogging again, albeit probably only weekly, and probably only a short-form list of links to things I think are interesting.


Desktop automation for OSX, in Lua. Easy scripts to position windows, fire commands, and respond to events (e.g. wifi changes, hotkey combinations).

Potentially useful as an opsec tool; a sufficiently configured laptop might lock if the wifi network changes (among other things). (Remember: DPR was caught at a library, and even though his HDD was encrypted, they managed to grab him away from it so it was left open and therefore unlocked.)

(Though if you’re in that much trouble already… yikes.)

Chrome can run WebVR at 90 FPS making web browsers a viable platform for VR development. Given the ease of using the network from a browser (xmlhttprequests / web sockets / etc) this is pretty cool, at least for prototyping.

Latest builds seem to support full SteamVR (including the SteamVR controllers) and there’s even a hardware emulation plugin if you don’t yet have VR gear (or like me, are away from it for a time)

Lunar Language

I’m fascinated by new programming languages, especially those that break some of the fundamental conventions of most languages (chiefly: that code goes in files, and that the files relate in some way to the structure of the code)

Lunar is interesting in that it’s a hybrid of visual and text. A lot of languages that go down this road err on the side of visual or flow-based programming (Blueprint in Unity, for example) - which I find limiting and slow to work with (lots of mouse-clicking)

Lunar looks fairly (dare I quip…) ‘pie-in-the-sky’ but I’m eager to try it.

Skynet Paranoia

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are both seemingly on the record as being worried about a technological singularity; positing a runaway super-AI that could destroy humanity.

I’m not sure they should be.

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