Ryan M (@fak3r) just posted a great writeup on a new product he’s written called “IRSYNC” ( It’s a totally dope looking project and I look forward to implementing it. In his latest blog post (, he advocates for limiting password less SSH keys. I’ll take that one step further and say that they should be avoided completely. For anyone who hasn’t attended one of my “Advanced SSH” sessions here at HacDC, there are a lot of great utilities shipped with OpenSSH that are designed to make your life as easy as possible. I’ll cover a few of them quickly….


This utility exists to propagate your public keys in a secure way (potentially even setting up the infrastructure for you). This is a quick hit blog post, so read the man page and start using this utility you probably didn’t know existed.


This utility keeps your (unlocked) private key in resident memory so that I can be automagically used for accessing remote machines. Best part? You still have to enter a password to initially unlock the key, but after that you can set an expiration (4 hours? 8 hours? lifetime for daemons?). Think of it like a password on your x509 certs (you DON’T remove those just so Apache will load properly… right?). You have something similar to mod_nss which secures the whole system and raises the bar a little bit. Lazy and STILL don’t want to enter a password? Use GNOME on linux & set the password on your key to the same as your system password. GNOME will contact SeaHorse and attempt to unlock your key and load it into ssh-agent all in one go.

Some of this not making sense? Join us in IRC: #hacdc on freenode and ask away!

Google quietly releases hardware VP8 encoder/decoder

Monday of this week the WebM team quietly released information about the hardware encoder/decoder for the VP8 codec. This is, according to them, “the worlds first VP8 hardware encoder”. What does this really mean? Google is going to have an edge in the consumer devices market due to the low power, low cost, and multi-bus interface they’re offering.

Low cost you say? That’s correct. They’re licensing the VHDL/Verilog sources at no cost. If you’re more of the multi-codec kindof company, there is even a commercial vendor offering RTL based sources to vendors looking to produce their own silicon.

The part that really blows my mind is that to deliver 1080p video at 30fps, it requires “less than 100MHz clock frequency”. At that point, it’s well within a lot of commodity ARM processors. If the bus interfaces were there, i’d challenge someone to take that 2010 ninja badge and do some dirty with it.

Want to read more? Check it out.


Hardware Details:

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What’s currently going on at HacDC?

Things have been fast paced at HacDC recently and it’s good to see great folks working on lots of neat projects. I’ll be breaking out the big stick soon to get folks writing about them, but here is just a sampling of what’s been going on:

stick around for more information as folks write more about the laser work we’ve been doing, the custom power supplies we’ve been designing (and will be kitting up soon), the upcoming classes on game development (on a console you build), the next revision of our spaceblimp project, and the wireless microcontroller mesh network we’re building.

oh, and fun. we’re big on fun.

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