TSA locks … picked?

About a month ago, the Washington Post published an article about the “secret life of baggage” at airports in the U.S.  No problem, right? Not exactly a state secret. Only they accidentally published a photo of a TSA master key that unlocks every TSA approved baggage lock.

The photo was removed, but not before being copied. And used to release exact dimensions were published on Github, enabling anyone with a 3D printer to make their own master key. And apparently it works.

Read all about it via Wired.

OSX – Imaging an SD card for use on a Raspberry Pi

My new Pi and it’s memory card arrived at the house yesterday afternoon. I got everything unboxed, downloaded the latest image from the Pi website and fired up Disk Utility on my Mac and was ready to start imaging. But it’s not quite that simple, the Disk Utility can’t verify the image as being valid, so we have to do this from the command line. But relax, it’s not hard to do.

First insert the SD card into the card reader, open a command prompt and run this command:

elmo:~ jgs$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1 29Gi 2.1Mi 29Gi 1% 0 0 100% /Volumes/NO NAME

You’ll end up with a lot more that what I’m showing you above, but in the interests of keeping it simple, I cropped out the extra disks and drives attached.  You’ll want to locate the SD card you plan on using either by the size of the disk or the name. Mine was new out of the box and was actually called “NO NAME” so it was easy to find.

Next fire up Disk Utility, and under the name of the SD card “unmount” any partitions that are listed, but don’t eject the media.

So we’ve identified the drive as /dev/disk1. It’s very important to make sure you have the correct disk, running the command we’re about to run has the potential to erase your entire hard disk if not used carefully. Always triple check the destination.

Once you’ve done that, go back to your terminal window and run this command – but alter it first to fit your system!!  The if (input file) parameter should point to the .img file and the of (output file) should point to the SD card.

sudo dd bs=1m if=/path/to/file/2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/disk1

From the command line there won’t be any output while the program executes, which is slightly annoying, but there’s a way to force it to show us the progress. There are several ways to do this, depending on the OS you’re running, and sometimes these commands are not interchangeable and can kill the process. For OSX you’ll want to open a new terminal window and run this command:

sudo pkill -INFO -x dd

This will instruct the process running in the original terminal window to pause for a moment, report it’s status, and resume. You can gauge the completion percentage based on the size of the image you’re copying (mine was about 1.9 GB and took around a half hour to copy). The output will look like this:

392+0 records in
391+0 records out
409993216 bytes transferred in 335.052687 secs (1223668 bytes/sec)

And that’s pretty much it. Once it completes, eject the SD card, plug it into the Pi and have at it!

Raspberry Pi Model B on the way…

It’s been a good long while since I’ve written anything techie (or otherwise) here, been busy and lacked motivation.  Today I ordered my  Raspberry Pi Model B along with a Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit and some other assorted goodies.  I’m pretty excited to get my hands on it, unfortunately the estimated delivery date is towards the end of January.

The possibilities seem relatively endless, there’s a myriad of forum posts in their official forums from members of the community that have done some pretty amazing things with them. Yeah, I know, they’ve been on the market for a while now, this is really tie first time I’ve taken the time to do any research on them. More to come on this, guaranteed.

If you’re still scratching your head wondering what it’s all about, check out this Google Tech Talk by Rob Bishop, he’s one of the engineers that has been dedicating their free time developing this product.

It’s a great cause, with a nice side effect of empowering techies to create some cool stuff.