Headspace: Inner Truths

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Headspace

I’ve been a single man again for a little over 7 years, and living with only myself and my daughter for about 4 and a half years.

I’ve briefly attempted a couple of relationships in that time, but found nothing that inspired me to want to stay in them for any extended period of time. It was clear I was not ready either.

Seven years is a lot of time to think about what you want in life, and what is important to you.

I would like to think I’ve figured many or all of those things out by now, but as time goes by I realise that that simply isn’t the case.

Yet.

In recent weeks I’ve been working through in my mind what I consider the “truths” in my life – travelling the road to my own personal truth, if you like.

  1. Family – my family – and in particular my daughter – are the one true constant in my life. Like any family, there are always bumps in the road from time to time, but I’m fortunate to have a loving and supportive family.
  2. Creativity – I’ve always tried to think about and learn about new things, to keep my mind active and healthy. I’ve gotten away from that a lot in recent years, so I’ve been engaging myself in the restoration of my first computer. This has definitely given me something to feel occupied with and inspired by.
  3. Work – I’ve had a little bit of a bumpy ride in my working life in recent years – but find myself in a job that I love and find new challenges in every day. Perfect.
  4. Love – this one is a little harder to define. I’m reasonably sure that I am not ready to be in a relationship again yet, but I know I still want that eventually, because I miss the companionship all of the time. Trust is still my main issue. There are some wonderful women in my life who I’d love to end up with, but I don’t trust myself yet. There is one amazing person who has been a part of my heart for many years who I could trust myself to be in a relationship with, but that’s a complicated situation in itself. She is cared about deeply, but I don’t really know how I feel about her. She’s absolutely a truth in my life, but I don’t know the question of where, let alone the answer of where she fits in.
  5. Learning – I always want to learn something new every day. I don’t always manage that, but I’m always looking. What point is there to live life if you can’t learn and grow?

So that’s the list I have so far.

I’m still trying to completely rationalise each of them, but if nothing else, I get to think about these things and figure out what I need to do to resolve them in my life.

I’m getting there.

Privacy: Counting – But Who’s Watching?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Musings

Regular road travellers between Geelong and Melbourne will have noticed something new in the last couple of months.

The addition of a pair of overhead structures between Little River and Werribee.

One over the Melbourne-bound lanes, and the other adjacent to it over the Geelong-bound lanes.

Each carries a pair of cameras and some kind of sensor over each of their corresponding three lanes.

Officially, they are “traffic counters” – at least so say the signs on their nearby control boxes – presumably counting the number of vehicles travelling between Geelong and Melbourne on the Princes Freeway.

Since I drive this route to and from work every work day, I see them a lot. A lot of people seem to have decided they are speed cameras, slowing down to avoid detection.

They do however appear far less complicated structures than known fixed speed cameras, so I doubt they have that capability – but I have been thinking about what capability they might have.

There are far simpler ways to count traffic travelling along a road. You might see pressure sensing cables laid across a road in pairs to count traffic temporarily.

You might also see magnetic field detection wires embedded into the road surface for more permanent data collection.

If you’re just counting vehicles, that’s really all you need.

So why the need for cameras in this instance?

Well, maybe they not only want to count the number of vehicles passing along the freeway, but want to identify different types of vehicles – (eg: cars versus trucks) – and better understand types of usage, and not just raw traffic numbers.

Probably quite a useful collection of data to collate.

But seriously, cameras?

What happens to the imagery after you pass under the boom?

Is it sent somewhere? Is it kept for a period of time? Once there are more of these structures built, can it be used to track people on their travels?

Interesting questions.

I think I will contact VicRoads and/or the Roads Minister and see what they have to say – and I will report back.

Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday

Posted Posted in Sport

The Bathurst 500/1000 has long been an iconic sporting event in Australian culture. While it first appeared at Mount Panorama in 1963, the race actually pre-dates that year, starting at Victoria’s Phillip Island circuit in 1960.

It moved to Bathurst because the 1962 race basically destroyed the circuit, which all but eliminated it from the racing scene in Australia until the mid-1970s.

While the racing today is primarily about entertainment, back in the 1960s and 1970s it was about manufacturers proving their cars to the public, thereby “winning on Sunday, selling on Monday”.

Here’s a fascinating insight from ABC’s Four Corners program about how and why the manufacturers did it back then.

Sunday Nerding: Resurrect Your Old C64

Posted Posted in Technology

Hands up if your first computer was a Commodore 64?

Mine certainly was, but like many examples of this popular computer, it has seen better days. I’m not sure if it even works anymore. The last time I tried it – (about 10 years ago) – the sound chip had failed but otherwise seemed okay.

I would love to get the old beast up and running, but my electronics repair skills are basic at best. Parts for a Commodore 64 are also going to be hard to find.

I don’t even want to think about the state of the mechanical disk drive or tape unit.

Never fear – with the help of modern technology, you can retrofit your old C64 – and it is easier than you might think.

And you know what? I’m going to do it!

Quickshot: Qantas Friday

Posted Posted in Quickshots

An advantage of working near Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport is having the opportunity to do a little plane spotting, and today it was Qantas day.

At lunch today, I watched VH-VZH (Boeing 737-838) take off for Adelaide, and VH-EBC (Airbus A330-202) take off for Perth.

VH-VZH
VH-VZH, operating QF687, Melbourne (MEL) to Adelaide (ADL), 14/09/2018
VH-EBC
VH-EBC, operating QF769, Melbourne (MEL) to Perth (PER), 14/09/2018

Tesla Key Fob Hack – Are We Too Clever?

Posted Posted in Technology

The recently revealed vulnerability enabling hackers to trivially duplicate Tesla Model S key fobs, in my mind prompts an interesting technology question.

The Hack in a Nutshell

This does not apply to all Model S vehicles, but in simple terms, using a few hundred dollars of off-the-shelf radio and computer hardware, malicious actors can intercept transmissions from your key fob when nearby.

Using the intercepted data and about two seconds of computational power, they are able to duplicate your key fob.

This allows them to open your Tesla Model S, start your Tesla Model S, and drive your Tesla Model S away.

Noting that the cryptographic keys in use are only 40-bit keys, quoting from the Wired article:

The researchers found that once they gained two codes from any given key fob, they could simply try every possible cryptographic key until they found the one that unlocked the car. They then computed all the possible keys for any combination of code pairs to create a massive, 6-terabyte table of pre-computed keys. With that table and those two codes, the hackers say they can look up the correct cryptographic key to spoof any key fob in just 1.6 seconds.

The High-Tech Solution

To solve this vulnerability, Tesla are recommending a firmware update to the security systems in the Model S.

After unlocking the car and disabling the immobiliser system with the key fob, drivers would now need to enter a PIN on the console of the car before they can start it.

This provides rudimentary two-factor authentication, and is probably a reasonable solution to the problem, albeit lowering convenience for the owner.

Until the hackers figure out how to bypass the PIN code – and if the carrot is dangled, they will try.

Hackers are typically highly intelligent people who crave the challenge.

So, what else could we do?

The Lower-Tech Solution

As humans, how did we cope with unlocking our cars and starting them up before remote key fobs?

We coped, and we coped very well.

People walked up to their cars, and put the key in the door. They got inside and put the key in the ignition, and were on their way.

Why aren’t we still doing this?

Key systems without radio transmitters can still contain security codes, which could be read by the car when the key comes into physical contact with it.

All without broadcasting the security codes for hackers to scan and potentially use against you.

It would be harder to steal your car – and would our lives be that much more difficult if we stepped back to something like this?

Sometimes simple proven ideas are far better for us than fancy new ideas that haven’t been completely thought through.