Nobody agrees what “Right to Repair” actually means

Right to Repair: Almost everyone supports it, it will make our devices more repairable, but if you look closely: the definition of what Right to Repair actually is and entails constantly changes based on who you talk to. Note: This table is an oversimplification of their definitions of R2R and does not include all necessary …

My unlawyered opinion on why AI will legally survive in the US

In the past few months, there have been a surge of AI projects that allow generating images and text: These AI programs are amazing – but they were also trained with publicly-available material; and the owners of that material almost certainly did not opt-in to having their material used for AI training, and have occasionally …

Remote attestation is coming back. How much freedom will it take?

Remote attestation has been a technology around for decades now. Richard Stallman railed about the freedom it would take in 2005, A Senator presented a bill asking for the required chips to become mandatory, and Microsoft prepared Palladium to improve “security” and bring remote attestation (among other things) to the masses. Then it all fell …

The dangers of Microsoft Pluton (updated)

In upcoming Intel, Qualcomm, and AMD processors, there is going to be a new chip, built-in to the CPU/SoC silicon die, co-developed by Microsoft and AMD called the Pluton. Originally developed for the Xbox One as well as the Azure Sphere, the Pluton is a new security (cynical reader: DRM) chip that will soon be …

A Beginner’s Guide to Blu-ray Player Firmware

The world is full of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, and they all run their own firmware – software that isn’t meant to be updated often, if ever. It’s often Linux-based, often insecure, and often a quickly-hacked-together mess with the goal to get it to work and then immediately ship, regardless of how maintainable or …

This weekend, I had some fun and fixed a Blu-ray Player

Recently, I’ve come across an interesting conundrum: I’ve been paying for Disney+ which is $7.99/mo. and we’ve still been renting some other movies, but I’ve been wondering how long this would go on. We watch a lot of the same movies a lot, so if I just bought all the movies we watch… that would pay off …

The Lockdown Browser is not very good at locking down

I’m taking my second semester of classes at Inver Hills, and in my Chemistry class, we have this awful piece of software called the “Respondus Lockdown Browser.” It’s job is to lockdown the computer so you can’t use other programs, prevents copy-paste, and in theory prevents cheating. I understand the motivation. Cheating is a scourge …

Trying out AngelList’s new Assessments

I’m a 19-year-old entirely self-taught programmer, and I’ve documented by experiences with Triplebyte’s Quizzes to get a good estimate at my skill. On Triplebyte, I scored 60th-80th percentile for a Generalist Engineer and 80th-100th Percentile among Entry-Level Generalist Engineers. Pretty good for having absolutely no academic training in Computer Science or programming! Some time after …

Another Certification: Arduino Fundamentals

I was bored this Wednesday when I remembered that Arduino launched their first certification, called the “Arduino Fundamentals Certificate.” With my recent bid to become Co-President of the Inver Hills Engineering Club and my experience using Arduino since Christmas 2011, I didn’t think I would have much difficulty passing. Also, it was only $30 and …

The Parent Portal project: Part One

First, some backstory: For this summer, I tried to get a certain Triplebyte Externship, but it fell through, and I was left with either working for my dad’s masonry restoration and fireplace business, or to find my own job. It started with my dad deciding to sell his scaffolding, and lots of it, because of …