Welcome to my digital home! There are lots of articles you might find helpful buried in this site on topics such as modifying an Alfa Romeo 159, rebuilding a Lotus 7 (Robin Hood 2B), not to mention a ton of stuff on technology in general. It's all here somewhere, so use the search function or navigate using the menu structure. if you want to talk, reach out via the contact function, I usually do answer!

Random Post Selection
Alfa 159Part of any major power upgrade includes a Front Mount Intercooler conversion to enable the maximum airflow through the compression system, while maximising the cooling opportunity. The stock intercooler on the 159 is quite restrictive and behind several radiators limiting good airflow to it and also has very restrictive ports for the airflow in and out of it. All due to size and placement options at the factory. The stock pipework has an ID of 60-63mm so isn't exactly huge, but is good enough for 3.5-4bar. Its the intercooler that could use a bit of an upgrade! Once the stock intercooler is removed, all of the other radiators can shuffle around so that it goes (from the engine to the front of the car) Water Rad > Air Con Rad > Oil Rad > Power Steering Rad. All of these items clip to each other so removing the stock intercooler just allows you to put them all back in a different order without any further mods. You will likely need to have the aircon re-gassed and refill the cooling system as doing this without disconnecting those systems is extremely difficult! An optional upgrade is to remove the stock oil cooler and move that to a larger MOCAL unit located where the stock intake is, but this requires removal of the stock intake and all associated pipework and replacing with something like a BMC-CDA or Cone filter under the bonnet like I have done. In terms of the parts needed for this conversion, it isn't that many. Firstly, you need the right sort of intercooler, cheap and efficient! Fortunately, the JDM scene has us covered! They have a standard sized unit that has a 600x300x76mm core that is used in big power Supra and GTR upgrades. Its readily available on ebay for less than £100 delivered. Make sure you buy the “bar and Plate” type rather than the “tube and fin” ones. The bar and plate type have additional internal structure designed to create turbulence in the airflow and maximise the cooling efficiency. One thing I will say about these intercoolers; is they do not age well. While they turn up very shiny and polished, after about 2-3 months on the front of the car they go a horrible grey pitted colour that is quite unsightly! I therefore do recommend getting it painted black to help create the stealth look. Of course adding a layer of paint will reduce the efficiency slightly so make the layer as thin as possible. There are arguments for and against painting the intercooler here: For: Against: While the science is compelling, from experience of running the same setup painted and unpainted, there is nothing in it! I see extremely efficient cooling even with it painted black! This unit, once bought, needs to be mounted. Fortunately, due to the shape of the 159/Brera there is a huge space up front where this can live with ease! I have designed some brackets that attach directly to the lower sub-frame and provide a mount for this, or any other intercooler. You can get these brackets made up at any local machine shop for £20-30. The design can be downloaded free of charge:  Once its mounted on the lower sub frame its very solid, but you will need to make some custom tie bars for the top that secure it to the front crash bar. I used some 1mm steel I had lying around and just cut and bent it to shape: The Intercooler has M8 sockets welded onto it so you will need 4 x M8 bolts @ 12-14mm long to mount it to the brackets and the brackets will need 4 x M8 @ 50-55mm long to go through the lower sub frame. The pipework is custom, so while I can tell you what bits you need, its up to you to measure and cut them! I strongly recommend watching this video on how to cut silicon pipes before starting: You are going to need the following bits: Hot Side (pre cooler) 63mm Joiner (102mm long) 63 – 76 @90 degree reducer elbow Cold Side (post cooler) 60mm Joiner (102mm long) 60 – 63 @45 degree reducer elbow 63 mm joiner (102mm long) 63 – 76 @90 degree reducer elbow Mishimoto Constant Tension T-Bolt Clamps 6 x 2.75″ (for the 3 x joins) 2 x 3″ (for the fmic) Mikalor W2 Stainless Steel Clamps 1 x 49-63mm (Cold side metal intake pipe) 1 x 55-59mm (Hot side turbo connection) I can recommend ASH in the UK for the pipes and the joiners, I used them and they are great quality. They are on ebay here: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/autosiliconehosesoutlet/ Do not underestimate the clamps or the joiners! I have tried several different types of both and have had reliability issues resulting in boost hoses popping off at the most inconvenient times! Spend the money, get the best possible parts.The Mishimoto clamps are the best I have seen and provide an extremely good clamp with a system that allows for heat expansion and contraction without sacrificing grip.They dont make constant tension clamps small enough for the connections on the turbo or metal intake so I suggest using Mikalor clamps instead. A very strong clamp just without the heat expansion capability. You can buy the clamps direct from Mishimoto or the usual ebay sources. The ASH joiners have very significant insertion into the pipes so you can get lots of grip with the clamps and minimise potential movement that can work a join loose over time! I have used other joins in the past and they have failed repeatedly, to put that in perspective, take a look at the difference between a popular silicon joiner and the ASH one: The hot side of the FMIC only needs a single 90 reducer and can be joined directly to the OE pipe with a 63mm joiner. On the hot side you need to trim back the 90 reducer on the 63 side, and join that to the 63 side of the 45 reducer. This will also need to be cut back and the stock pipe will need to be cut back also. These are the only three cuts you need to make but measure twice and cut once! The 60 side joins to the stock pipe where you cut it as its slightly narrower in the middle than at the ends. I'll caveat that the pipes I used here had already been previously cut. Its possible that the stock cold side pipe may join directly with the 90 and not need the 45 if not cut. Its something you are going to have to test fit yourself! Make sure to place your clamps in such a way as they are easy to get to once the bumper is back on as they may need tightening in the future and this will make life much easier! Make sure you do not have any pipes catching on anything sharp. If they do they can eventually fail through the vibrations from the engine. I had a previous OE hot side pipe fail as it was rubbing on the frame and it was £100 to be replaced! Once you have the pipes all done, it should look a little like this. [...]
InfoSecI was recently asked to comment on the new Chip & Pin attack created by Prof Ross Anderson from Cambridge University. In my original comment released to the press I make an assertion in relation to a change in process that “breaks the circuit” of this attack – see below: Jay Abbott, director in charge of Threat & vulnerability Management, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), said:“Essentially, what the scientists have come up with is a very effective and simple way of exploiting weaknesses in the system. However, it is important to bear in mind that the fraud requires a very specific scenario to become effective. “A simple process change by the retailer of asking for the card holder to hand over the card would break the circuit, although this isn't always possible as sometimes the card reader is fixed to a point on the other side of the counter. “At present, the customer is accountable for the fraud as banks argue that PIN verified transactions are secure. Given this attack demonstrates a clear method of bypassing the PIN system, this assertion by the banks stands on shakier ground.” With the original comment came a caveat, which as you would normally expect, was not quoted by the media, this caveat was that the process change suggested brought with it the opportunity for cards to be skimmed, which was in fact one of the original reasons behind the Chip & Pin changes. In fact, the change works in the favour of the retailer rather than the consumer, however, before you hang me, allow me to demonstrate the rationale behind this. Consider first that Chip & Pin is in fact “two factor” authentication, which anyone in the security business will explain is more secure than “one factor” authentication. The first factor is the card itself or the “chip” in this instance, the second factor is the “Pin” which in this context operates as a pass code. Given both elements are authenticators in their own right, both are required, and as such any attack must include them both. The attack designed by Prof Ross Anderson targets the Pin aspect of the authentication, and relies on the original card accessed through a series of technology components that have to be connected together in some way. The method shown in this attack makes use of concealment to hide these components on the person of the attacker, and relies on a custom built “attack” card with wires hidden up the sleeve of the attacker, back to the other components involved. The obvious way to therefore detect and prevent this attack at the retailer is by separating the card from the attacker, thus showing the wires and revealing the ruse. The cloning of cards must be treated separately as the current methods of cloning (that I am aware of at this point in time) only create “yes cards” which would not work in this attack scenario as they are not true copies and would be detected by the PoS equipment as fraudulent. As I understand it, there is no economically viable way of cloning Chip & PIN Cards effectively at this time. Any cloning would still focus on the magnetic stripe data, which can be easily cloned, but is not accepted by the retailers (usually) when a Chip & PIN card is presented. This of course is at the discretion of the retailer and out of the of the consumer or the banks. This brings us to the counter argument, specifically in relation to the increased risk of your card getting skimmed/cloned by the retailer when you hand it over. Een if it were viable to clone the chip cards, given that a card skimmed by a retailer would typically not get the pin as well (this of course is not always the case), using the now cloned card would have to make use of Prof Ross Anderson's attack method, which if the aforementioned process change was implemented, would not work, so in effect increasing the risk of cloning, but decreasing the risk of a successful attack using the cloned card and “breaking the circuit”. This of course relies on the premise that the use of the cards magnetic strip is in fact not viable, and therefore if anything, reinforces the use of Chip & PIN ironically. Of course in real life the Magstrip is regularly used, but that, again is outside the scope of this discussion and considered irrelevant in the face of the specific discussion around Prof Andersons attack. There is always of course the argument for using a small form factor wireless transmission device to remove the need for wires, but given the form factor of a credit card and the inability to alter this form factor without raising suspicion, I am personally unsure that significant enough range for a TX/RX comms loop could be achieved given the power that could be implemented into a credit card sized device. Again, in my original comments to the press I clearly stated that the system needed to be fixed, and that the attack was effective, so this is not me suggesting that we should brush this under the carpet, in fact it is simply looking at what we can potentially do NOW to protect the system, while its eventual upgrade is debated and planned. Don't forget, in this context I am just as much of a concerned consumer as you. [...]
InfoSecOpen post to see coverage: Computer Fraud and Security – February 2009 – Ethics & [...]
Build DiaryThe first job on the agenda for the Hoody was to fix some rather terrible intake trumpets! The independent Throttle Bodies that were installed onto the engine are, well, how do I say this….. a bit shit. While there is a long term plan around changing these I needed a better short term solution to a specific problem. The trumpets kept falling off! Reading the original build diary there is a sentence that reads “Modified Maplin Speaker trumpets as air intakes”. That should be enough to make you shudder, it did me! So first things first was to fire up Fusion 360 and get to work with the vernier calipers! After several iterations I found a design that worked. It has sufficient grip inside the intake to hold itself steady and a small ridge around the outside to stabilize itself. There was of course no where to bolt or secure an intake trumpet to as these ITB's were once a dellorto carburetor and twice as long. (The builder literally cut them in half!) I had to design two types of intake as one of the 4 had to accommodate an air temperature sensor, but it was a simple enough modification once I had a good base design. 4 printed trumpets ready for installation. Several printed iterations, as well as some R&D into the right type of material to print the final versions in was necessary. In the end I opted for an engineering Grade Carbon Fiber infused Nylon composite from Novamid. This material boasted a very high heat deflection temperature, extreme strength and nearly zero shrinkage whcih was ideal for my situation. It wasn't cheap stuff though! All in all the project took a while due to 1) me learning new skills in Fusion, 2) learning how to print composite materials and 3) modifying my printer to cope with the composites. That said, it was thoroughly enjoyable! [...]
GeneralBeing a technologist and a , I often find myself torn between the need for blinking led's and a product that adds value. Take for instance my need to utilise MP3's rather than Vinyl. Its a simple requirement in so much as i just want to: a) mitigate many, many boxes of 12″ vinyl b) get easier access to the latest music c) play tracks of my own creation without having to have them cut to 12″, and finally d) retain the look and feel of my 1210's with all their analogue loveliness! These requirements put me in the digital DJ space, with the key players being Traktor and Serato. As you will have seen in previous posts, I had 100% decided to go with Traktor, simply because it had the ability to run 4 live sources through it, that as well as the fact that the 8 interface is pretty solid, and very versatile. The thing is, an Audio 8 interface is great if your moving from gig to gig, but these days, I work for a living, so the chances of me playing out are slim, so why spend £500 on TraktorScratch V3 when I can get one of these instead 🙂 The Korg Zero4 is simply amazing. It has a multitude of effects, versatility and that all important ability to plug straight into the PC and run Traktor. Now, I already have a Pioneer DJM600, which is an impressive mixer and still considered one of the best on the market today, but, this mixer just exudes quality and functionality. For starters its a Korg product, so your in the realms of world class engineering, but then its got so many features it is unreal. Take a look at this, this is the per channel effect section of the mixer: Then, to complement that you have the same set of effects on the master channel! so theoretically you could apply LFO LPF to Channel A, LFO HPF to Channel B and a Phaser to the master out, all during the same mix. That would sound pretty impressive. Here are the main channel effects: Now, I really want to find out exactly what the effect “Decimator” sounds like! To top all that off, you get a fully featured BPM locked Sampler: So all in all, you get an awful lot of toys for your money. Incidentally, the Korg is retailing at £750, only £250 more than the TraktorScratch V3 Package. You will of course need to get a set of control records at £15 each, and a copy of Traktor V3.2, but despite that, I think its an investment worth taking. So much so, that it is one I am seriously contemplating. The only downside of course, if I ever end up in a situation where someone says, hey, come play a set fro us, its gonna be difficult to turn up with a whole mixer rather than a simple box to interface! [...]
RH2B Build DiaryAnother big issue with the hoody was the tune. It was all over the shop. really rough and just a bit shit. This was an easy fix though, I just needed to add a 14point7 Spartan 2 Lambda to the Megasquirt ECU and get some help! Lambda ready to go in! The main issue with the current engine setup is the horrific ITB's (f you can actually call them that). They are difficult to balance and will eventually be replaced with a whole new setup I am building on a new engine. That said, they needed to work for this summer so I called up a guy called Shaun who runs MS2 Tuning and knew the car from its previous owner. Shaun is awesome. A really friendly guy that gave me, a total stranger, support and advice over the phone and then came over to help me to a basic setup tune on the car for beer money. You dont get much better than that in this game. After about 3 hours playing, diagnosing and fixing some earthing issues, we had the ITB's balanced, the AFR dialled in, and the engine was purring. This was exactly what I had hoped for and the potential I knew was in the car when I bought it. I do love an underdog! [...]
Alfa 159 / ElectronicsWell, I continue to work on this and now have a beta unit in my car on a long term test. It is pretty rough around the edges and has one major(ish) issue that I am working to resolve, but its a good starting point to work from. So what I have now looks a bit like this: (click to enlarge) Its still a very simple design that uses as few components as I can, but as a result it has some issues: As the the LEDs are quite hungry (50Ma each) the ATMega328 & the voltage regulator has to work hard to feed them. The above point causes a small delay in start-up of the unit of around 200-300ms. This delay is a problem as the unit is powered by the feed to the brake light, when the brake is pressed, so in essence it adds a small delay between the stop/tail lights of the car illuminating and the high level brake light. Long term this is unacceptable, but for now its a work in progress so I can live with it. The first generation PCB was designed to fit into the dust cover of the brake light, but after I attached the ribbon cables for the led's it didn't fit so is now wedged under the parcel shelf for now. This gives me easy access form the boot to change the unit as I progress the design to remove the delay and make it instant. Here is the mock-up of the PCB using matrix board (left to right we have the finished design, the component layer, the jumper cable layer on the front, and the soldered join layer on the back):        And the finished article looked like this: In the end I decided to opt to hot glue the LED's into the reflector and wire them back via a ribbon cable to allow me more flexibility on changing the circuits easily: Long term I intend to make a unit that can replace the original light bar, so the LEDs will be mounted direct to a PCB that will be installed into the light bar in some way, or easily attached to the back of the reflector housing, not sure which yet. I am working on a number of new designs at the minute that remove the delay and am getting some help from a true expert in the field of automotive electronics who actually designed stuff  that is used in the Mclaren MP4-12C. The current V3 unit that is in the car looks like this when operated: You can download all of the project files (sketch, layout & schematic) from the downloads section. Watch this space for V4 of the unit. [...]
InfoSecThis is a short video explanation of how the UK cyber security Challenge's launch cipher was put together, and subsequently how to break it! C4Odla8I0Hs [...]
ElectronicsWell I finally got round to purchasing an arduino Uno Open source Prototyping Platform and first impressions are !WOW. I am genuinely impressed with the overall package, its flexibility and quality of the hardware and software. First off, getting up and running on your favourite OS is a breeze, with detailed step by step instructions available on the Arduino site. Aside from the basic Uno itself: I invested in a few extras from a UK outfit called Cool Components that sell the Arduino and plenty of shields and extras. To give me enough to start with, I picked up: 140-Piece Wire Kit Electronic Brick Kit Generic Starter Kit Jumper Wires – Female to Female Jumper Wires – Male to Female Although in hindsight, I should have bought a few more male to male jumper cables as these seem to be the primary cable type! Getting up and running was a breeze, remembering my basic electronics from my childhood stood me in good stead to build a small circuit, and google/youtube filled in the blanks easily! So what did I build? Essentially its 5 LEDs running in a sequence, with the timing controlled by an analogue rotary switch or potentiometer, as I learned it was called. It actually took longer to figure out it wasn't called a “rotary encoder” which is apparently something very different and digital, than it did to code the entire program and build the circuit! The circuit is simple: …and so is the program: /* Jabawoki Light tracer V1.0 22/07/2011 */ int potpin = 0; int val; void setup() { pinMode(12, OUTPUT); pinMode(11, OUTPUT); pinMode(10, OUTPUT); pinMode(9, OUTPUT); pinMode(8, OUTPUT); } void loop() { // Read the Analog Pot val = analogRead(potpin); // Switch the LEDs on digitalWrite(12, HIGH); digitalWrite(8, HIGH); delay(val); digitalWrite(11, HIGH); digitalWrite(9, HIGH); delay(val); digitalWrite(10, HIGH); delay(val); // Switch LEDs off digitalWrite(12, LOW); digitalWrite(8, LOW); delay(val); digitalWrite(11, LOW); digitalWrite(9, LOW); delay(val); digitalWrite(10, LOW); delay(val); } What more could you ask for in a prototyping platform? You can download the code and schematics for this project from the downloads section Watch this space, I have 5 key projects I am planning once I get my head properly around this, some of which will blow your mind. Here is some video of the project working in all its glory! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9rIHjsyiUs [...]
LiveMixesIn honour of the legend that is Deadmau5 this mix is dedicated to his work and the awesome sounds that result from it. 01) Toca Me (Deadmau5 mix) – Fragma 02) I Want You (Deadmau5 mix) – Carl Cox 03) Afterhours – Deadmau5 & Mallefresh 04) Hey Baby – Deadmau5 & Mallefresh 05) Harder Better Faster on Drugs – Deadmau5 vs Daft Punk 06) Dont You Want To Feel (Deadmau5 mix) – Drugstore Era 07) Finished Symphony (Deadmau5 mix) – Hybrid 08) Tiny Dancer (Deadmau5 mix) – Marco Demark Feat Casey Barnes 09) Longest Road (Deadmau5 mix) – Morgan Page 10) Super Skunk (Deadmau5 mix) – Noir 11) Cherry Twist (Deadmau5 mix) – The Crystal Method 12) Dirty Sexy Club music (Deadmau5 mix) – Filter Freq 13) Burn (Deadmau5 mix) – Prime 33 14) No Pressure (Deadmau5 mix) – One Plus One 15) God Is A dj (Deadmau5 mix) – Faithless https://jabawoki.com/wp-content/mp3/Jabawoki_Strictly_Mau5_04042011.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download [...]