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The Detection of Promiscuous Network Cards February 9, 2018

Back in 2010 I finally finished University. For me, University for some reason wasn’t a choice, but a last resort. After struggling to get through my GCSEs with a head cold, and then fumbling through college (or sixth form as it seems to be called now in the UK) I had a choice to make. I could either try to find a job, or go onto Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

I got into Teesside University through the clearing process, and just as I had struggled to get into college by having to re-sit my GCSE Maths, I got onto the ladder of University with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Computing, Software Development. When I finally got around to finishing it, some 4 years later than intended, I was determined to get a degree, only to be told by the University lecturers that they felt I wasn’t a capable C Programmer, even though the undergraduate degree module and course was aimed at people with no prior knowledge.

After Teesside University lost and re-found my grades, I got into another University where I rode the programming and networking train through my Bachelor of Science degree through to Masters of Science.

Sometimes you shouldn’t listen to lecturers, and often the path isn’t easy.

So in 2010 I was meant to publish my dissertation in an article in a journal. If I’m honest with myself, I had anxiety issues, and sometimes I still do. I never published the article and I was pretty burnt out from University. Suffering mostly from what I now recognise as ‘imposter syndrome’. My work was also downgraded because I didn’t discuss the mathematics behind my findings so well, you can perhaps see why I struggled and I blamed myself for that.

Here I’ve been looking through my old hard drives and files, and lo’ and behold I find my 2010 MSc Dissertation, “The Detection of Promiscuous Network Cards”.

You’ll likely have used similar techniques to this in tools such as Nessus, however perhaps not to this extent. There are some good findings in this report, and some details omitted, such as the discovery that the behaviour of promiscuous mode network adapters are changed if you’re running a VMWare Virtual Machine – I still have the stats and evidence of that one somewhere. I was advised not to release that information into my dissertation at the time, VMWare wouldn’t have been happy, apparently.

If you’re interested in some coding (it’s in there too), Z-Statistics of network packets, and also comparisons between Microsoft Windows, Linux and OSX and identifying them on an enterprise network, then you’re in for a treat.

Please do enjoy, finally ‘published’, my report on the Detection of Promiscuous Network Cards.

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3D Printing a Tool to find your Veins June 16, 2016

I find that the best projects start with a purpose, however what most people don’t tell you is that the purpose doesn’t always have to be prophetic, necessary or groundbreaking. For a lot of people starting a project can be as simple as the intention:

“I want to blink an LED”

When I joined Leeds Hackspace this was the first concept I was introduced to, along with the Arduino platform. This small and, to me, humble beginning has led me down a path which resulted in a change of job, an introduction into an entirely new community and a world of Technological interest and learning that has took me from an interest in computing and network programming to electronics, 3D printing, scanning and more.

My recent project started with a purpose, (if you’re squeamish you may want to clench, skip a sentence or look away) when you visit the doctor for a blood test and they struggle to find a vein, usually there’s one nurse that can manage it. You don’t expect to be told:

“Usually when it’s this difficult, we would go in via your neck, but we can’t justify it for this test”

To say that’s horrifying is an understatement, so the response that came naturally was obvious to me. I must find a solution to this problem. How on earth can I make my veins easier to find so that I can prevent this in future?

Almost coincidentally, in some occurrence reminiscent of the telephone or television being invented at the same time in two sides of the world, I found my solution quickly. After exhausting the thoughts of ultrasound, radiation or other forms of potentially lethal solutions I happened upon an instructables.

3D printing is only as simple and easy as the tool that you’re using, and I quickly discovered that the printer at Leeds Hackspace required some tweaking. Those who’re familiar with their own built 3D printer will be no stranger to this concept. After a number of nights tinkering with the settings and observing the temperatures, the ‘hot end’ required cooling and the heat bed required heating. I feel that I’ve written stranger sentences.

Finally, the basis of the device is completed. However, now I have to populate it with components! Well, a few online searches and ordering later and I would have the crux of the job. LEDs of the correct wavelength to be able to be absorbed by non-oxygenated blood but reflected by the rest of my skin. Soon, I’ll be able to see my own veins.

 

The hardest part, I soon discovered, was that this portable design for a vein finder was not designed with an internal layout in mind. After a few rather hand-warming shorts later I managed to acquire suitable heat-shrink and seal up the device appropriately. Yes, it runs on two double-A batteries at 1.5volts (rechargeables don’t quite have the voltage/current for a setup like this, but that could be adjusted).

In the space of, consolidated, a week, I have something to take to the doctors with me the next time I visit. Thanks to the wavelength (628nm) of the red LEDs it’s difficult to capture on a digital camera, but hopefully, they won’t be going at me via the neck.

Here are some bonus pictures of the finished product in action:

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Subscription or Pay as you Go Gaming ? May 14, 2014

Edit: Called it: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-29-ea-launching-xbox-one-subscription-service

Double called it: http://evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2417450#post2417450

Technically there’s no difference, I would argue anyway.

A thought struck me while I was reading that Microsoft are altering their XBox Live Gold subscriptions. They’re making them more like the Sony Playstation. You can use applications which are practically out of their control (Netflix, etc.), that you’re already paying a subscription to use, for free so long as you have the app’s subscription.

Though alike Sony’s Playstation Plus; you’ll get access to free games per month as well. However, as we all should know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and what you’re actually doing is paying for the games as part of your subscription in some way.

So what’s my point here?

Let’s use television as an example. In the UK you pay for a television license each year, technically this covers the cost of the BBC channels but thanks to UK law it also means reception of the television broadcasts. The BBC channels do not have advertising, it’s subsidised by the television license fee, but the other channels need advertising to stay afloat.

You’re paying a subscription for the channels; if you’re using Virgin Media or Sky then you’re paying a subscription again for your cable/satellite package to be able to use the technology to view the channels and whatever exclusives the respective provider has garnered for your viewing pleasure.

Alternatively you can just buy your series/show/etc. on media, which I would consider the pay as you go option but the analogy breaks down slightly in that the money doesn’t necessarily go to the television provider unless they happen to have published the media.

Music is also, partly, using a similar model. You can go out and buy your media or download it; but services such as Spotify charge you a monthly fee if you let them to access your music conveniently. Up until recently they put limits on what songs you could access, but music being a more versatile and easier to access and duplicate beast, this model fell down somewhat and so it’s more so the service that Spotify can charge for.

How does this relate to games?

Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold entice you to subscribe and by part of that they give you free games per month only if you’re a subscriber. That’s effectively games on subscription, the OnLive streaming service also provides you access to games if you pay a monthly sum and the library of which extends over time.

Alternatively you can pay as you go by going into the store and picking up your media or digitally downloading and paying online.

The PC, however, if we take Valve’s Steam service is predominantly Pay as you Go. I had a thought, though. Valve do something kinda sneaky, they have regular sales.

So say for example, you’re the type that only ever buys games when you really want them and you wait until they’re sufficiently reduced. You’re possibly starting to be out of the norm for Steam users as studies claim most games in a library aren’t played. Here we possibly hit the crux and the relation to sales. Valve take a slice of every sale on Steam and by providing regular sales which people will be tempted to buy into because of either the game or the price point, they are then paying into the subscription model per month by directly and regularly paying into Steam for the games.

Steam have sales weekly and I think there’re sufficient numbers of people to contribute to make this work. What this is also showing is that the Pay as you Go mentality is also actually a subscription type of basis when you’re paying into the same system, it’s just that the payments aren’t so frequent as monthly, but you’re ensuring that there is a base amount of money coming in that can be quantified while helping to top it up now and again with those people who’re on longer subscription (pay as you go) type of plans.

Now, if we consider that most peoples libraries aren’t played; this is similar to how television is monitored as to which channels and tv shows are popular and what’s being watched. Your game time is tracked and this means that your game provider can tell which ones are popular, which ones to invest in and also push forward or not depending on if they want them to attempt to gain traction or to analyse why they’re not.

I surmise the question arising, at least to myself, is that is anything going to change? are we going to see subscription only gaming?

I don’t think we are, what we will see is a system in place to allow for the tiers of subscription to services. You will still have your pay as you go (long term between payment subscribers), your faster, monthly subscribers and those who pay a premium for instant access.

However what I think we should see to help accommodate these metrics and tempt people into them more for support, is prices coming down and doing so regularly, even EA’s Origin buckled to having sales even though initially they said that they wouldn’t. Playing off the psychology of people that they’re getting a deal and value for money.

So subscription or pay as you go ?

If you’ve bought something more than once then you’re already subscribing, the only winning move is not to pay.

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