Daily Archive for November 23rd, 2011

And we’re (more or less) back…

Wow. My last post was in late July. I’m not really sure what happened in August, but this semester has been hitting me repeatedly with a bag of bricks. Every time I think that I can spend a few hours working on personal projects, it turns out that I just forgot about something else that I had to do. I thought senior year was supposed to be easy. 🙁

Anyways, this post is a general update on what’s been going on and where some of my projects are headed.

LED Controllers

I’m so sad that I’ve essentially left ACRIS untouched since the beginning of the semester. Also, I haven’t even come close to finishing documentation for it yet. SADNESS

‘sokay though because I’m finally getting back to working on it, even if I should be doing other things. I found a couple of bugs in the first boards that I made, but they should be fixed for the next revision. I’m hoping to start selling them as kits at some point, but I need to work out a few details before I’m ready to do that. In particular, the parts are expensive. I really wish I could make the board modular somehow so that you could add any number of LED controllers onto the board. Also, I’m tying the outputs of the LED driver together in groups of 3, but that may not be what a user wants. What’s the best solution for that? IDK yet.

To whet your appetite:

At any rate, I’m hoping the project will be good enough for Hackaday. I’ve been working hard on it, but I never really know if the work I do is good enough for others to find interesting.

Tor for Microcontrollers

For the computer security class I’m taking, I’ve decided on a kind of weird (and probably a bit stupid) final project: Tor for AVRs. The idea is that if you have a mesh network of devices, you may want one device to securely communicate with another without knowing who the source really is. To demonstrate this, I need an array of AVRs… I was hoping to get some funding, but it looks like I’ll need to buy everything myself. I’ll be documenting this over the next few weeks. (I also need an entertaining name.)


Two of the classes I’m taking this term are particularly interesting. 6.828 is an operating systems engineering class. It’s basically a lot of C, but I particularly like it because it balances classroom instruction with a lot of coding. The labs in the class have you implement core aspects of an exokernel-like operating system. The most entertaining part is that when you run into a bug, it’s usually because you implemented something wrong 3 labs ago. It makes for fun times.

Proficiency with gdb is pretty much essential. A while ago, a coworker pointed me to this article on how to pimp your gdb with a few features that allow you to see how your code is running.

Also, I’ve recently added cscope support to my vim configuration. My productivity has skyrocketed when coding in C (ctags is still useful for other languages).

6.858 is a computer security class. I’m also enjoying the labs in this class, which are approximately split evenly between teaching methods for attacking systems and defending them. The first lab, for example, taught a few buffer overflow attack techniques.

Other Stuff

I’ve updated my blogroll a bit. I also plan to recategorize a lot of my older posts to make searching and so forth easier.