At work we have a couple of info kiosks (we call them terminals) that we bought from some company many years ago, but the support has ended also many years ago, so they abandoned them. The kiosks were running some custom software that the company had thrown together, it didn’t seem very professional from an IT guy’s perspective, because those kiosks were lagging and eventually would hang and would need a manual restart. We were living with this for some years until eventually both kiosks just hanged and didn’t properly boot for no reason.
After this we decided to look for a solution and whadya know – there is one free and simple solution with plenty of customization options for our needs. It fits our situation perfectly and it’s called “Porteus Kiosk”
“Porteus Kiosk” is a kiosk edition of Porteus, a portable Linux OS based on Slack and it seems to be popular enough to have a Wiki article for it…
Our kiosks have a “Elo TouchSystems 2515” monitor (meaning there’s no mouse or keyboard) and a “ZOTAC ZBOX ID13” mini-pc which has very low specs like an old Intel Atom CPU and 2GB of RAM.
I quickly downloaded the latest ISO (4.7.0 at the time of writing) and installed it to a flash drive, booted it up on the kiosk to test out and right away noticed some issues that I’d need to fix. The issues were that the system didn’t have a virtual keyboard, like it wasn’t primarily targeted for touch info kiosks (but PK supports most touch devices out-of-the-box) and also in my case, Elo touch screen doesn’t support multi-touch (for scrolling for ex.) and so you’d need to drag the scrollbar, but Firefox scrollbar for that Linux version is very thin and were out of touch bounds, therefore most pages couldn’t be scrolled down the traditional way. I had to find solutions to these.
Linksys routers, and I’m talking about WRT54g series, are not so popular anymore. In fact they are pretty much dead, as a technology, at this point. Technology that once were notorious among routers with their endless capabilities router-wise. Projects like DD-WRT and OpenWRT started with these WRT54 routers and now look at them. But because of their slow wifi and ethernet speeds, lack of modern wifi standard support and old chips they became obsolete, but among hackers and makers the name wrt54g is known very well. And when wrt54gl came out in 2005 it was the best-selling router of all time.
Today these routers still can be used for some projects (because of their extensive hackabilities software- and hardware-wise) where network speed is not the top priority. They can probably be compared to small raspberry computers with wifi and ethernet ports already available.
As it happens, I have a couple of these laying around at work (more specifically wrt54gl v1.1) and I thought maybe I could make a piratebox out of one of them. So I started gathering information if that would be possible. I didn’t find any info if piratebox would install properly, so I thought I could just try anyway and see how that goes… and the first thing I needed to do was to install USB ports.
Slingshots are fun. They have always been fun, many years ago they were more of a tool for hunting small animals than fun, though. Now we have huge communities, YT review channels and all that stuff oriented around slingshots and they are very passionate about them.
For me a slingshot was just a fun thing to launch rocks with and I haven’t used one in quite a while, I think since I was a kid even. But now with my recently acquired hobby (airsoft) that need to use one came up when I saw in a couple of games that some sort of a grenade launcher would be highly beneficial because I could reach longer distances, throw much more accurately and make it fly to the target faster. A slingshot is the perfect solution to this problem, however I wanted a foldable one for easy carrying in a backpack or a pouch on my tactical vest.
To my surprise there wasn’t any to buy, well except one from AliExpress, but it was made more to look good than be practical to use, also it was a bit too expensive and I didn’t want such a fancy thing. It’s sold without rubber tubes/bands and without a pouch and is too small to shoot my home-made airsoft grenades.
So I thought I could make one myself – a foldable slingshot.
Earlier I wrote that I like to play airsoft and that I made a gun case here. Naturally when doing something competitive, with time, a need for more/better accessories grows, and one is the UHF radio (or walkie-talkie for some) which is really handy when communicating with your teammates in the field.
At work a long time ago I found a pair of Kenwood TK-3101E radios that were long forgotten in an abandoned room gathering dust in the dark – one was missing a battery pack and one had a dead battery pack, but I didn’t have a need for them at the time so I didn’t do anything. Now I thought I could revive these radios for a second life and use it for myself, so I took them out and tried to use.
By them I mean just one that still had a battery pack. Seems that Kenwood has a model name for anything they make (or made, not sure how it is these days), so the battery pack has a model name KNB-14, which originally is a 600mAh Ni-Cd. Needless to say that Ni-Cd is shit and battery was dead – didn’t hold a charge of 5 hours for more than 30 minutes while being turned off.
But that didn’t surprise me, since this model was released around 1999…
Lighters have gone a long way since traditional ones. Now we have things like a so called “Tesla lighter” – which is actually an electric arc generator and you can ignite stuff with it.
These lighters are super cool, some have a coil and a single arc (2-in-1), some have just a double arc tip. They all look pretty nice and cost around 8-15€, depending on whether you want cheap or functional or nice-looking.
Usually Tesla lighters emit a high-pitched frequency sound when activated, maybe it’s just with cheap ones, not sure. They also work in all conditions – wind can’t blow it out (although since it’s all electronic, water isn’t his friend, unlike with flint lighters when you just have to wait for the flint to dry).
Since I play airsoft and use grenades (which are made with firecrackers), I use a cheap jet lighter and sometimes it’s hard to ignite them reliably. It’s resistible to medium winds, but not reliable enough to work on the first try and so I have to keep pressing it to get some fire going. It’s time consuming and enemies can always hear the clicking.
Yes, I could buy a more expensive jet lighter that is much more reliable, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on that. Tesla lighter seems like a good alternative, but I didn’t want to buy one because they are a bit costly for such a thing and also they don’t have any way to hang them the way I want.
Recently I started playing airsoft, I came across it when a friend asked me if I wanted to try it and the game he wanted to go to had a cool backstory. At the start I was skeptical about this pseudo-war, role-playing soldiers and stuff with fake guns but cool looking gear. After a few games with rented equipment, and the first game’s first half hour being somehow awkward until I encountered an enemy and got some bb’s shot in my leg that hurt, after that I started to like it a lot. Now I’m playing it every weekend with my own gear and an AK-47 imitation.
The gun that I bought came in a cardboard box, which isn’t permanent or convenient to carry. There are hard and soft cases to buy, but those, as with many things in airsoft, apparently, are a bit expensive. So I decided to make my own hard case, which is essentially a wooden box with a lid – nothing fancy.
This is a program designed for small Du/Tri-athlon sporting events (but probably more for tri-) where running and biking (and swimming?) can’t be done in the same place, so this program helps with that, and usually for swimming, the pool is not at the same place…
I did this when some guy approached me with such a problem he had when organizing these events, and the solution he was using was rather… poor (though he had no choice at the time). He was using some Excel document which looked like it was made by a mad man. You’d paste in the times and press the start button. Then Excel would freeze completely and eat up 100% CPU for no reason like wtf.
In essence how this works is, when athletes go through one section (i.e. running), the times are recorded in some time-logging program, like a spreadsheet maybe, athletes relocate to where they’ll be doing the next section (i.e. biking or swimming), recorded times are loaded into the program and the program counts down time difference and beeps when it reaches zero for each athlete.
Since the last time I wrote about this original script for license assignment in Office365 cloud there were some changes. Now there are two parts of the script, for different groups of people in the company. And had to add timezone and language assignment also. And some more debugging output too.
For the first part of the script it didn’t change much, just added a line to assign the same timezone and language for everyone and changed a filter template.
Then I added a second part of the script, this one has a bit more logic. This group needs to be assigned the same timezone but different language (for the interface). By different language I mean Lithuanian or English.
I shuddered awake, penetrating cold sending ripples through my body. It was freezing here, and I didn’t know where here was, only that the surface I was laying on had leeched away what little heat I had. The soulless chill of the granite permeated me like the endless cold of death, reminding me of the dream from which I had so recently emerged. I flicked my eyes open and let my vision settle, re-calibrating until the ceiling sharpened into focus. Slowly, I pushed myself up, expecting with every moment to experience a lance of pain, but nothing came.
My hand brushed against the 1911A that I had tried to take my life with. Sticky blood coated the weapon, and dirt and dust had gathered on its once-gleaming finish. I touched the side of my head and felt the matching stickiness. My hair was stiff and matted to the touch, shifting and splitting into smaller strands beneath my fingertips. Trembling, I took the clip out and counted the rounds. One was missing.
I woke in a pool of my own blood, the gun still clutched within my hand. Above me, the sky was a cold and lifeless gray, and around me I heard the keening and rattling of the wind. It howled down the narrow alleyway, scouring the ground for trash and grit and hurling them into the air, a stinging, scourging force of nature in the city. Pop cans clattered across the chipped, uneven brick, coated with a grime that had lasted for an untold count of years, and rats scurried from one bag to the next, clambering over and amongst the refuse. I turned my head to look around, and it was then I recognized the place that I had come to rest.
As I stood the wind whipped back my coat, its icy tendrils battering my shirt and writhing around my chest. They clawed against my skin and penetrated, reaching deep into my bones with mindless, numbing cold. My heart convulsed, stricken by the chill, and I shuddered, feeling as though someone must be walking on my grave.