stuff that's been happening

expect a HOPE post soon...maybe...

haskal post something that isn't technical gibberish challenge 2020

in no particular order:

the pandemic

it's still scary. i have continued to always wear a mask everywhere outside, even though around here it's not that likely to run into a lot of people. even at literally midnight, when i carried a telescope to a local park in pitch black (+ light pollution) with a large hill with a decent radius of no lights on one side and there were 0-2 total other people there. cases here are slightly going up and i can only imagine what mass school reopening is going to look like. also, fuck light pollution, it's impossible to look at the sky even with a gigantic 8 inch reflecting telescope. state actors please give me your infrastructure exploits so i can shut off all power to this region for a few minutes thanks1

anyway i have been inside, like everyone else. almost all of the time. there is a nice patch of woods and this park basically right here, but actually going outside into the woods has been more of a "several times per week" activity and not every day. i can spend literally the whole day on my work laptop on the couch and barely get up, then sleep on the couch, which is not really a healthy way to live


work has somehow been a thing. i consider myself lucky because some of my friends lost their work opportunities before they even started. it doesn't pay very well and i consider myself pretty severely underpaid but i also don't really have alternatives right now so /shrug

i was supposed to go study abroad this summer but of course that didn't happen, so i'm glad i ended up getting to be "productive". unfortunately i'm still programmed to only feel good about myself when i'm "productive" according to capitalist ideas of productivity so this was one easy way to avoid not doing that and feeling bad. it's hard to stay motivated to do things, and having work actually only marginally helps with that but it's still better than nothing. otherwise i literally just wouldn't be getting the embedded security experience i want

a lot of people aren't liking how working remotely is preventing interactions that could happen better in an in-person environment but it turns out i don't interact that much with coworkers anyway so i haven't really noticed a difference. interpersonal stuff is weird and it's honestly really hard to connect with most people who are significantly older than me and also not some sort of queer or ND or thumping leftist FOSS person. so it's been basically fine

shark update

at some point it turned out that the smolhaj was being discontinued. this is honestly a war crime, but it made it kind of important to get one before they all disappeared. by the time i found out they were all out of stock at every IKEA location in the US, but i found a random bezos site reseller and got it from there

anyway now i have a tactical blåhaj that actually fits in a backpack (my backpacks are small) which is really good actually !

capture the flag

some point this summer i made a CTF team and there is a satellite sitting on my floor right now because of that. it's called BLÅHAJ and it's intended to be open to everyone and an inclusive environment for learning about security and having fun, hopefully. admittedly it also exists so i can be personally motivated to actually do CTFs because it's hard otherwise. and it's definitely more fun than soloing,

there's a website here that might get updated sometime. if you're interested in joining, contact me. having more people in non-western timezones would be useful i think. experience very not required


being mildly unsatisfied with Plume i am actually very slowly working on my own ActivityPub-enabled blog software which is tentatively going to be called chomp and is in Racket because of course it's in Racket. the intent is that unlike heavy runtime-enabled softwares like Mastodon and Plume (Plume eats a lot of RAM if left unconstrained) it will generate mostly static content which will be served by nginx and only invoke actual backend software for the AP inbox and outbox queues. so for this, i made a sqlite-backed highly reliable persistent queue for the outbox and i also reinvented GNU Make, because reasons. also this is explicitly its own thing and not a Frog mod because NIH syndrome

awoo web services

somehow it stayed up all of last month, which is amazing. but it'll take a while to get the average uptime back up after i had it down for a whole week earlier this year to swap all the disks because i panicked once one of them started failing and the rest were displaying consistently really high read error rates

ok so a bit of a tangent, one day i decided to have infrastructure so i purchased 4x 4TB WD RE drives from Online. now these were mega discontinued even when i got them, and ultimately it's unknown whether they are actually refurb with the SMART data wiped or have just been sitting in a warehouse for 5 years before i got them. but they were dirt cheap and i continue to be a poor college student. but eventually this summer one started failing (and really annoyingly, the RAID controller didn't mark it as failed or even try to recover from read errors by reading the parity data. it simply passed through the errors to the host, so basically not doing its actual job at all which is, uh, dunno. don't do hardware RAID, kids. it's a bad idea). long story short after a week of disk migration one by one starting with swapping the failing one, AWS is now running on brand new WD Golds (which were fairly expensive but fortunately i had just gotten some CTF bux from last year so that helped)

(similarly to CTF, if you would like an account on this R710 in my basement for some reason and you know me then i can make one for you)

skill trees

people are doing all sorts of cool stuff during covid time while i continue to suffer from not being able to do literally anything but i did kind of figure out how to make chocolate from raw ingredients. i made a dark chocolate bar which turned out okay (it was more of a disk, like a silicon wafer) so now i'm clearly qualified to start making bespoke artisan custom chocolate truffles. also tried a few new recipes with generally good results. the current goal with cooking is to actually memorize a bunch of recipes (optionally tweaked as needed) so i can cook good stuff without a phone because that would be ideal. i also re-learned how to use R for some data science work i was doing (that's unrelated to anything)

i have not expanded any skill trees in DSP or electronics, even though i wanted to do that. hopefully soon though


i literally cannot convey how excited i am for this thing. in case you missed it last month pine64 announced plans for a TS100-compatible RISC-V soldering iron which, importantly, is planned for $25 which is absolutely wild and i literally cannot wait

pinecil prototype on a desk (image from pine64)

just look at it!!!

i might also want a pinephone but a friend of mine has offered to lend me hers for hacking while she currently doesn't have time to do anything with it so i guess i'm delaying buying my own for now. i do however, have and currently regularly use a pinebook pro (on the stock manjaro KDE install - which will be replaced with XFCE and actual disk encryption sometime hopefully)

imposter syndrome

i am of course just several blåhajar in a trenchcoat with cat ears who continues to have doubts about being good enough to actually belong in infosec and infosec places that i see as completely out of reach. it always feels like there's a magic cool kids infosec club and i'm never allowed in, which i guess is reflected in making BLÅHAJ a thing and having that be like, ideally a chill place where everyone is welcome. it just sucks that i can be actively working on improving my infosec skill tree and be getting measurably better in a matter of literal weeks and still not actually be satisfied with myself or feel like i actually belong in this field. and i don't really know how exactly to ever be content with myself i guess.
also i'm fairly concerned that like, this whole field is based on essentially just learning really fast as opposed to any set of concrete knowledge, and i believe i'm fairly good at learning really fast but i'm already 21 (that's ancient in haskal years) so this is going to go away soon because brains stop developing. and then i'll have to give up computers and go live on a fruit farm or something. i guess that wouldn't be too bad though
there's no point to this section it's just how i feel


that's all i have for now. remember to drink water, it's praxis. fuck magic bus,


for official purposes this is a joke intended to produce a humorous/comedic effect please don't throw me in an unmarked van