Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Sunday, 26 November 2017

About Those Self-Driving Cars . . . .

Filed under: Politics, Resistance, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 8:38 PM (20:38)

One question for those reading this —

How many of you remember this commercial from OnStar that aired a few years ago?

There’s plenty more where that came from —

YouTube search: onstar stolen vehicle slowdown

YouTube search: onstar stolen vehicle slowdown commercial

I’m sure that when your car gets stolen or jacked away from you, this sort of thing sounds fantastic.

With that in mind, there is a downside to giving law enforcement this sort of access.

What happens when they have a warrant out for you, for whatever reason (drugs, terrorism, securities, unpaid taxes or fines, bench warrant, use your imagination here)?

If your car has one of these tracking systems built into it, they can go to the dealer, show their paperwork to whoever is working at the service desk, and not only demand a location for your vehicle, but real-time tracking information about it, and have the dealer rep shut it down when they need it shut down.

If you happen to be driving down the road when they give that order and your vehicle “loses” power, it will be your problem, not theirs.

There are ways around this sort of thing — white-hat hackers to the rescue here:

How to disable Onstar without losing bluetooth and without setting error codes

  1. Remove Onstar Module from vehicle.
  2. Remove the 6 T10 screws from the bottom of the Onstar Module.
  3. Pull up on the main board to separate it from the antenna board.
  4. Remove the Male/Male connector that connects the main board to the antenna board.
  5. Drop the main board back in without the Male/Male connector and reinstall the screws.
  6. Reinstall the Onstar Module in the vehicle and enjoy!

No error codes and no Onstar connectivity.

So when self-driving cars and trucks are mass-produced and in use by the general population, what can we expect?

I won’t be surprised if Congress mandates that the manufacturers include a backdoor to the cars’ operating system for law enforcement use. That way when the cops have a warrant for you, they don’t need to swarm (“stack”, in SWAT element parlance) up at your front door and conduct a legalized home invasion[1], they can just hack your car to deliver you to the local station, and lock you inside upon arrival.

And of course, the how-to on that will never, ever get out to the criminal element.

Is there a solution to this?

Yes — insist that you have control over who has access to your vehicle’s operating system and connectivity, so that anyone wanting this level of remote control has to have your explicit, knowing sign-off beforehand.

Or disconnect your car’s autonomous mode, unless that becomes impractical or de facto illegal[2].

Are you going to have that level of control with outfits like OnStar?

And then there’s the issue of operating system vulnerabilities. What sorts of holes will be exploitable by third parties, officially-sanctioned or freelancers?

At least with a cell phone, you can block the signal when you want by putting the phone into a plastic bag, then wrapping the bag with aluminum foil (a Faraday cage). I’m not sure how that would work with a car.

In the mean time, I recommend getting friendly with your local hacker space, 2600 meetup[3], or Linux User Group [LUG].


  1. Compare and contrast SWAT “dynamic entry” techniques versus home invasions conducted by the criminal element
  2. I refer to the self-driving cars in Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End
  3. As of September 2017: Meetup pages / sites, Meetup list
  4. Published in The Libertarian EnterpriseNumber 950, 26 November 2017
  5. Approximate reading level – 12
  6. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Diaspora* / Ello / Facebook / FetLife / Gab / Google Plus / / Liberty Society / Minds / Tea Party Community / Twitter / VK


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Building Desktop 2: Part 2

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 6:14 PM (18:14)

Tonight I disassembled this old-style Western Digital external hard drive I’ve had sitting around for ages (model WD1200B008[1]). It turns out that the only drivers available for this one are for Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP – NOTHING for Windows 7. Nor does it connect to my Tosh Satellite C55D with Linux Mint 15[2] installed. Really aggravating.

So after I took it apart, I found that the unit is nothing more than a standard internal-type hard drive with a power port and USB port attached to it, so you can connect it to your desktop or laptop. Which means I can use it as an internal drive for the desktop I’m in the process of rebuilding.

Only one “problem” – there’s some data on the drive that I want to recover before I load an operating system onto it.

Solution – after I put the system together (ETA for that is presently mid-December), I’ll run LM 16 from whatever DVD drive I end up installing in the system as a live DVD[3], extract the data, and then have fun.

The plan is for DT2 to end up with a 16 GB solid-state drive[4] in the “master” drive slot, with this 120 GB drive from the external unit as a “slave” drive (along with another 20 GB drive I have laying around).

Or I could use the 20 GB unit as the “master” drive, and get the job done a little faster.

Using the 20 GB drive in the “master” slot, then all I need is a new motherboard (form factor micro-ATX) with chipset and fan, power supply (about 40) and a DVD drive.


  1. Google search – Western Digital external hard drive WD1200B008
  2. / Linux Mint Wikipedia page
  3. Live CD Wikipedia page
  4. Solid-state drive Wikipedia page


  1. Approximate reading level – 13.3
  2. Reposted –
    1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Facebook / Google Plus / Twitter
  3. Current mood: content, horny, pensive
  4. Listening – Immortalis by Overkill

Copyright © 2014 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with Notepad++ and KWrite.

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    Tuesday, 16 September 2014

    Building Desktop 2, Part 1

    Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , — mikewb1971 @ 9:08 PM (21:08)

    Initial equipment

    Hewlett Packard Pavilion S5000 –

    Motherboard: M2N68-LA Rev. 5.00 –

    Form factor – Micro-ATX: 24.5 cm (9.6 inches) x 24.5 cm (9.6 inches) –

    Repair parts

    Motherboards at –

    Internal drives (hard and SSD) at –

    HP-specifically-compatible motherboards: –

    Power supply (matches HP P/N 504966-001) – ∅39.94 + S&H

    6-IN-1 Memory Card Reader Combo (HP P/N 505163-001) – ∅69.95 + S&H

    Ascendtech motherboard – ∅59.99 + S&H

    Call Ascendtech – ask if their HP motherboard is socket type AM2 or AM3 (AM3 is preferred!). Customer Service: 216-458-1101, Technical Support: 216-458-1104

    TOTAL ∅169.88

    • 1000 – Accepted computer from a co-worker, he said “it’s trash.”
    • 1800 – Got computer home and opened up the side panel — it looked like something had been spilled into the ventilation grille on the top and dripped down across the motherboard. Took a few minutes with Purple Power [MSDS] to clean it all off.
    • The motherboard appears to be a 2005 model. It also appears to be burned out. No fucking way am I plugging it in – don’t want to burn the house down.
    • The 6-in-1 memory card reader appears to be trashed
    • If he had taken some time to clean the inside on occasion, it would probably still be functional (if he hadn’t spilled whatever it was on the vent).


    1. Current mood: pensive, bored, horny
    2. Listening – Ironbound by Overkill

    Copyright © 2014 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
    Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
    This blog entry created with Notepad++ and KWrite.

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    Tuesday, 26 August 2014

    The “Webcam Scare” Fixed

    Filed under: Technology — Tags: — mikewb1971 @ 10:06 PM (22:06)

    I’ve heard the scare about how the webcam built into your laptop or tablet can be remotely activated – without your consent, if you’re not careful.

    I have an easy-to-use, low-cost solution for you.

    It’s called “electrical tape.”

    Simply cut a one-inch length of said adhesive-backed vinyl, and place it over the webcam aperture.

    Problem solved!


    1. Approximate reading level – 14.1
    2. Reposted –
      1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Facebook
    3. Listening – Immortalis by Overkill

    Copyright © 2014 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
    Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
    This blog entry created with gedit.

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    Saturday, 7 June 2014

    From South Korea — A New Way to Unclog a Toilet

    Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 9:32 PM (21:32)

    Someone in South Korea (can’t have been the North side of the DMZ, or it would have Kim Jong Un’s picture on it) developed a new way to unclog a clogged-up toilet, using simple physics.

    I LOVE this idea – I HATE unclogging a toilet.

    And whatever you do to get the porcelain throne working again, NEVER use any sort of Shop Vac – I was working one day a few weeks ago when the building manager brought in a plumber who did exactly that to unblock a urinal in the 4th floor mens’ room. Afterwards, the whole building smelled like piss for two hours.


    1. Reposted –
      1. Personal blogs and micro-blogs – Facebook / Google Plus / Twitter
    2. Listening – Powerslave by Iron Maiden

    Copyright © 2014 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
    Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
    This blog entry created with Notepad++.

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    Saturday, 12 March 2011

    About Amateur “Ham” Radio

    Filed under: Networking, Preparedness, Technology — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 3:14 AM (03:14)

    Recently (10 March 2011), I went to a meeting of a local amateur “ham” radio club. While there didn’t seem to be any formally-established leadership, there were quite a few people who pointed me in the direction of getting started.

    Way, way back in high school, I was one of three people (one was the faculty “advisor” who ran it) participating in the school’s Amateur Radio “club.” As with the group I met with above, there was no formal organization, just that “leadership” was on the basis of who was competent with the necessary technical skills. I didn’t go further with it then because you had to start off as a Novice operator, with Morse Code privileges only – no voice privileges until you passed the Technician test. A modern analogy would be getting on the internet by manually sending, receiving and interpreting the digital ones and zeroes that ultimately make up the relevant content.

    Since then (1988 / 1989), the FCC licensing process has been simplified a bit, and the Morse Code requirements have been dropped from the tests. So when one of the members of the New Mexico Survival meetup group expressed an interest in “ham” radio, my own interest was rekindled.

    Apologies for the digression there – back to the present.

    At the meeting, I was told that resources for beginners are abundant, online[1], in print form[2], and from more experienced users willing to help out the newbies (“elmers”).

    The testing seems relatively straightforward – it runs 14 to take the test for a Technician license, the bottom level of amateur radio operators. (The ∅14 test fee was what one of the attendees quoted to me as what it costs when he runs the test. Others may charge more.) IF you pass the Technician test, you then have the option to take the test for the General license at no additional charge. Should you pass the General license test, you then have the option to take the test for the Extra license, again at no additional charge.

    I was also told that the Technician, General and Extra tests cover different material – you can’t just study for the Extra test and expect to pass the Technician or General class tests.

    Club meetings – As I wrote above, club I met with doesn’t seem to have any sort of formal leadership – it’s just a group of retirees who enjoy amateur radio. (I was the youngest one there, at 40 years old.) They show up when they show up, there’s no formal agenda for the meeting. They just show up, have coffee and breakfast, and spend some time talking amateur radio, among other topics. This club meets on Thursdays at 7:00 AM at the McDonalds on the southeast corner of NM-528 and Coors (Alameda Blvd and Coors NW). Breakfast is on the no-host, pay-as-you-go plan.

    The people who showed up there didn’t seem to have any hostility towards other clubs or groups – for example, they told me about another club that meets at the Krispy Kreme near IHOP, behind Kohls on Alameda NW, on Fridays at 1:00 PM.

    If you are looking for a formal club, you can always search the ARRL site.

    P.S. – If you’re a user of citizens’ band (CB) radio, it’s probably not a good idea to mention it too much at a ham radio club until you’ve already established your bonafides. Unless you don’t mind being ragged on and “dissed” a bit.


    1. Online resources
      American Radio Relay League (ARRL) (Wikipedia page)
    2. Print resources
      QST magazine – Official Journal of the ARRL
      CQ Amateur Radio magazine
      Amazon search for ham radio books
    3. Equipment suppliersTexas Towers and Ham Radio Outlet are examples.

      Items available for sale include, but aren’t limited to, transceivers (portable, vehicle-mountable and the base-station variety), guy lines, antenna masts, aluminum conduit piping (for do-it-yourself antenna builders), cabling, connector parts, frequency tuners and analyzers.

    4. Reposted –
      1. Personal blogs – Xanga
      2. KCUF Media
      3. Partisans of the American Southwest

    Copyright © 2011 Partisans of the American Southwest. All rights reserved.
    Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises. Webmaster Mike Blessing
    This blog entry created with Notepad++

    Thursday, 30 September 2010

    Tom Knapp on DIY Think Tanks

    Filed under: Networking, Organizing, Politics — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 9:09 AM (09:09)

    Tom Knapp always has interesting things to say. In this case, it’s do-it-yourself professional issue advocacy:

    Project Outline: Think Tank / Policy Institute in a Box

    In this article, Tom lays out a plan for someone wanting to set up a think tank or policy institute for peanuts. Well, not literally peanuts, but you get the idea.

    One of the plans he lays out totals up to Ø10,000, while the other adds up to Ø2,500.


    1. Reposted —
      1. Personal blogs — WordPress / Xanga
      2. KCUF Media / New Mexico Liberty / Southwest Partisans

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    Friday, 30 April 2010

    Harry Brown (the movie)

    Filed under: Philosophy, Self-Defense, Viewing — Tags: , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 12:54 PM (12:54)

    Current mood: ecstatic

    After I saw the link to trailers for this movie on Facebook, I was intrigued because of the name — Harry Browne was the LP’s presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. What this movie appears to be is a British version of the1974 movie Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson.

    The official movie poster — click to enlarge (or for a PDF version
    The official movie site

    The movie’s American site

    The movie’s Facebook page

    The Wikipedia page

    Well, what do you do when the cops give you the blow-off, as they do with Mr. Brown in this movie, as played by Michael Caine?

    Click to enlarge

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    Thursday, 20 March 2008

    Replaced My Radiator . . .

    Filed under: Life — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 5:26 AM (05:26)

    Last Saturday (8 March 2008), as I arrived for the day job, I noticed a cloying, sweet smell. When I backed into my favorite parking spot, my engine was smoking. After turning off the engine and getting out of the car, I noticed coolant fluid (“the green stuff”) gushing out of the front left side of the car. When I finished my shift, I took a look and thought I saw that the radiator drain plug was missing. (I later found out that the plug is on the right-hand side of the radiator. Ha-ha — very funny.) Hoping for the best, I called Pep Boys, Autozone and Checker, all of whom have stores within walking distance of where I was parked. I asked each of them if they had on hand a radiator drain plug for a 1996 Saturn SL-2 — I figured that I’d replace the plug, refill the coolant, and be on my way. No dice — none of them had the plug in stock.

    So I was stuck bumming rides for a few days. On Monday, 10 March, I called the Saturn dealership on Lomas here in Albuquerque — their parts guy said “No problem — we’ll overnight it in.” On Wednesday, 12 March, I picked up the drain plug (5 bucks) and went up to check on my car. One of my co-workers recommended checking local junkyards for replacement radiators — I called about ten such places after getting back home, and none of them had what I needed. So I went up to the Checker store at the Montano Plaza — not only did they give me the best price, but saved me ten bucks off that price (140 bucks).

    On Friday, 14 March, I walked over to Home Depot before reporting to work and picked up some J.B. Weld from the glue section (in the Paint Department). I figured that if I could plug whatever leak there was, I could return the new radiator and save 140 bucks. On Monday, 17 March (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!), I applied the stuff before going to work. J.B. Weld is one of those two-tube kits, where you have to squirt out some from each tube and mix equal amounts of each together, then apply it with something disposable (I chose toothpicks). Just squeezing the stuff out of the tubes was a workout, and it starts to harden fast. Hey — the tube said it was rated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and there were testimonials on the package about people who used it to fix their engines . . . . I was rather surprised that the stuff came off extremely easily in the shower. The package said to allow the stuff 15 hours to cure before using the item it was used on, so I went to work.

    The next day (Tuesday, 18 March), I went out and poured a bottle of water into the coolant fill port. When it didn’t come out of the bottom of the car, I assumed that everything was OK. So I poured some coolant in . . . and watched it gushing out about a minute later, from the same area that it had on Saturday, 8 March. That’s when I started pulling things apart to swap out the old radiator for the new one.

    Actually, I was surprised at how easy the whole operation was — I only needed one socket (3/8-inch), one wrench (1/2-inch), a flat-head screwdriver and a pair of channel-lock pliers. The hose connections and mounting brackets were easy to access, and the hardest part was the actual extraction of the old unit, and the placement of the new one. The whole job took me about three hours, blasting Overkill CDs the whole time. And I saved myself about the 300 — 400 bucks that a mechanic would charge for the job in the process.

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