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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!

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GeneralBeing a technologist and a DJ, 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 Audio 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 ÂŁ500 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 ÂŁ750, only ÂŁ250 more than the TraktorScratch V3 Package. You will of course need to get a set of control records at ÂŁ15 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! Related Images: [...]
GeneralBack in 2008 I wrote an article on an idea for a new deck stand. After a few years of not needing one as I migrated to a midi based solution that fitted on my desk, I added a few more bits of kit and ran out of space. So about mid 2012, I ended up with 3 days free in my schedule with no family or work and decided to build a new platform. I designed a fresh platform from scratch but used the same MDF sheet approach to keep costs down. The plans are here: (visio)   The build process ended up requiring me to invest in far more tools than I actually owned, so it cost way more than anticipated, but it was worth it. The build process can be viewed below: ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″] Related Images: [...]
InfoSecI have seen some comments of late about the PSN hack being due to Sony having no firewalls in place and out of date Apache instances. A brief amount of research defuncts this assertion, however, I was genuinely surprised at the level and voracity of the comments around it. Most of which related to people essentially “living and dieing” by their firewalls. This position is ludicrous to say the least, as a firewall is but one control, not the be all and end all of security, and in my own personal experience, sometimes, they are simply not up to the task and you need to think outside the box. So here is the problem…… You are designing/running a global gaming platform that is highly latency sensitive, your planning on having all the worlds gamers use your platform and push it to its limits. If you even drop one packet, you could frag someone in game and cause the most heinous flaming you have ever experienced resulting in lost customers for the company, but, it needs to be secure. What next? Believe it or not, I have personally been in this scenario during my time at EA. I had to design, build and deploy the EMEA Online Web & Game Platform, as well as co-develop the global gaming platforms for the wider business. What I can share with you is that firewalls, no matter how big/good/expensive they are suffer 2 problems…. 1) They are a bottle neck into your environment that when you scale up to millions of users, is a problem, and 2) they introduce latency by doing their job. So what are the options? Well on the one hand, you could design around the problem, spend a large amount of cash on the “biggest and best” firewalls money can buy, create smaller firewalled segments and multi-layer your network to cope with the limits of the firewalls perhaps? True, yes you could, but this additional complexity introduces more routing hops and more kit for the packets to flow through, which increases latency & degrades the overall experience for the players. Another option is to not use firewalls….. So what do you do, when you cant put a firewall in place? easy 🙂 All a firewall is doing is a) controlling the flow of IP using an Access Control List & b) looking at the packet for something malicious in it (please note, I am specifically talking about a basic statefull inspection firewall (L3) and not anything extra in the UTM (L7) space, as these add way too much latency to packets for gaming consideration). Given that the firewall is performing these two simple tasks, all you need to do is replicate them elsewhere. Firstly, all your existing network infrastructure can handle the ACL function, easier and faster, and given the packets are already going through this kit, it doesn’t add any latency to the path. Next, its all about understanding the attack and being vigilant….. Essentially, if your gonna break into a computer system, you need a few basic components: A Threat Agent (Bad guy with motivation, we will call him Fred) An Attack Vector (Something Bad he cooked up, like an SQL Injection) An Attack Surface (Your infrastructure, applications etc) A Vulnerability (Something you missed that matches Fred’s attack) So, if Fred needs all these things to line up before he can achieve success, its all about making sure that you minimise your attack surface, and keep it vulnerability free.This is going to mean that you design your environment to be simple and easy to manage, and that you have some solid, well executed vulnerability management programmes in place, typically including real time (or near real time) monitoring of services for vulnerabilities, and excellent patching programmes, fully automated. Essentially, you want one system to identify a vulnerability in one of your web services, and tell the other system to patch it. It is possible to do and works well, but your gonna have to clean up the odd system failure, so make sure your system is highly resilient (by definition of the type of environment, it would be anyway). Now, I appreciate that a 0Day is going to pwn you, but guess what, it still would even with the firewall, so don’t get all upset about it, just have your CSIRT ready to go and make sure it is well oiled! On that subject, this is one of the key controls you should have anyway, but wont. Your ability to respond to an issue, and appropriately deal with it is what people will observe. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how well you have designed something, at some point its all going to hit the fan. The other key control your going to need is monitoring, so you know when you need the CSIRT! You will need to implement full monitoring and alerting for the environment, from availability and security perspectives. You need to know everything, every device is doing at all times, because correlating this information can help you identify attacks in progress before they get anywhere near success. All your kit is already logging issues silently to itself, so your not going to add any extra burden on the environment, and typically, you would create a separate network to handle management traffic to keep it off your primary network anyway, so its not going to impact service delivery. Also, when your talking about the gaming industry, typically, aside from the usual raft of web services running, your talking about very specific, proprietary services running on random ports to facilitate multi player gaming, so your “Threat Agents” are a limited pool of elite gamers, who’s typical motivation is not to pwn your systems and steal your data, but is usually limited to 1) administrative control of the game so they can kick who they don’t like out, and b) the ability to alter scores and leader board positions! I would like to finish my brief rant/educational spout on a simple truth, firewalls don’t make you secure, they make you lazy. Related Images: [...]
InfoSecPeople often ask me whats the best way to get into security as a career. There are of course many views on this subject, but I don’t believe there is a clear answer. So rather than try and map out a path, lets look at some of the elements involved and some options. The first thing I want to say on the subject is that Security is more of a state of mind than anything else. I have a saying, to be good in security you need to be sceptical with a healthy dose of paranoia! This point of view will serve you well when it comes to security as it will allow you to be objective and not accept things at face value. Secondly, you need an inquisitive nature and a thirst for knowledge, To be the best at security you simply need to be able to hunt out the truth and learn the latest concepts and techniques very quickly. Finally, you need to be a good generalist, I realise this point is contentious, but I truly believe that you need to have a good general grasp of everything technology related as well as your preferred specialism in order to cover the breadth of security. Of course you can be an expert in your chosen specialism, but you must have a grasp of how “everything” fits together in order to be good. OK, so where do you begin? Well, for starters, you need to have a long hard think about what you want out of life. What I mean by this is, are you a “techy” or are you a “manager”? I realise you can be both (as I am), but when your starting out, the subject is so broad you need a direction to head. If your a techy,  then you probably heading down the threat, vulnerability and controls path, with topics such as ethical hacking, intrusion detection and firewalls on your learning list. if however, your more of a manager, your probably heading down the opposite path towards topics such as strategy, assurance and governance. Once you have figured this out, you can start to look at the material, courses and support networks available for each road to help you get going. One important factor that should always be included however is your own personal growth and development. What I mean by this are the softer skills such as communication, empathy, leadership, coaching etc. All of these skills are fundamental to your success and should be developed in equal measure with your chosen subject specialisms. The biggest issues I face as an employer in this sector is finding good security people with excellent soft skills. Its too easy in this game to get trapped in a world of regulations or bits ‘n’ bytes, and forget that all your knowledge is pointless if you cannot make use of it and educate the world. Related Images: [...]
Alfa 159I finally got round to installing the Wireless OBD II dongle I bought off ebay into my car the other day and thought I would document the process for those that may be interested. First your going to need to pick one up. I bought a clone Kiwi Wifi dongle off ebay for ÂŁ45 which is a third of the cost of an original branded version so a complete bargain! Its a great little unit and perfect for interfacing with any OBD application you may want it for. Once you get the unit delivered you will notice that it is a simple plug and play job with no configuration. While this is true in its simplest form, one slight issue I found is that the OBD port is always powered up, therefore you would have to plug it in and remove it when you were not using it or it would always be broadcasting direct access to your cars ECU via a wireless network, which in my book is not the best of ideas! So the first job you have is to retro-fit an on off switch to allow for a more permanent installation! Its an easy job and Maplin have micro 12v switches that will fit and do the job well for a few pence. Just slide your fingernails around the edge of the front plastic cover and it will literally pop off in your hands, giving you access to the internals. All you need to do is de-solder the power connection (trace pin 16 on the connector), add a new bit of wire from the board to your switch and back to the original wire where you can splice it back together. To do this nicely you need about 12cm of wire, 2cm of heat shrink wrap, a soldering iron & solder & a small switch. Fit the switch on the side of the unit for easy access and put the cover back on with a dab of glue to hold it in place. Here is an image of my modified unit. Once the unit is installed in the car, you can connect it to your chosen application which for me was Rev2 from Dev Toaster on the iphone. This app is a bit pricey at ÂŁ26 for the pro version, but gives me everything I want in terms of access to key metrics in real time, full data logging and even engine code interrogation and resetting! It can get data on a large number of points including: Vehicle Speed RPM Fuel Consumption Engine Coolant Temp Fuel Pressure Calculated Engine Load Throttle Position Intake Manifold Pressure Air Intake Temp Timing Advance Mass Air Flow Fuel Level Barometric Pressure EVAP System Vapor Pressure Fuel Trim Boost Examples: In terms of the actual connection between the iphone and the OBD II dongle, its as simple as: Connect the OBD II and power on Go to settings > WiFi on the iPhone Press the arrow next to “CLKDevices” network Set a static IP of192.168.0.11 & netmask of 255.255.255.0, save and exit Open Rev2, go to settings, hardware choose Kiwi Wifi, then select custom from the bottom Set the device to 192.168.0.10 and port of 35000 Done. From this point your up and running! You do need to configure a profile for your car, with its kerb weight as this is used to calculate torque and BHP. My kerb weight is documented at 1680KG, but I have the top spec TI version with all the extra trimmings so expect it to be closer to 1750KG. I am of course excluding the 75KGs of lard I personally add to the equation, but I think thats fair! I will actually get it weighed at some point just to be pedantic, but for now 1750kg’s is close enough for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWvbQ1RdHCo Related Images: [...]
LiveMixesA multi-part Electro Pop Mix for the masses 🙂 01. David Guetta – Memories (Bingo Players Remix) 02. Klubbheads – Kickin hard (DJ Solovey Remix) 03. Desto – Crazy (Lindberg And William Remix) 04. Snap – The Power (DJ Pomeha Remix 2010) 05. Gubellini vs Pain feat Darook Mc – Shake It Up (Javi Mula Remix) 06. Sabien And Alim – Naughty Feat Jerique (Shahin Remix) 07. Loleatta Holloway – Ride On Time 2010 (Bruno Ramos & HytraxX Mix) 08. DJ Eako & Morelly feat. Omega Brown – I Can’t Stop (Steel Mix) 09. Queen – You Don’t Fool Me (Dj Denis Rublev & Dj Natasha Baccardi Remix 2010) 10. Andrea Paci feat. Michelle Weeks – Big Mama (Elektro Mix) 11. Crookers Feat. Miike Snow – Remedy (Magik Johnson Vocal Remix) 12. Axwell – I Found You (DJ MikeY 2010 Remix) 13. Robbie Rivera feat. Fast Eddie – Let Me Sip My Drink (Chuckie Remix) 14. Topmodelz – Have U Ever Been Mellow (Rekoilz Electro Remix) 15. Niels Van Gogh And Emilio Verdez – Black Is Black (Club Mix) 16. Soul Puncherz – Speakerz Bumpin Loud (Filthy Rehab Remix) 17. Shadow Stars – Desintegration feat. Sergei Khovanksy (Mario Ochoa Remix) https://jabawoki.com/wp-content/mp3/Jabawoki_Electro_Pop_Part_1_10082010.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download Related Images: [...]
Generalok, I have had an X25 deck stand for years now, and it is actually quite good. Its stable and well put together, and of course, holds enough of the basic equipment to keep you up and running. Of course, as I expand my setup, I have come to basic realisation that what I need, is actually a simple flat surface. So me, being me, I opened up visio and knocked this up: ….essentially  it is 2 sheets of 8ft x 4ft, 3/4″ mdf cut into a number of shapes and sizes, screwed togetehr resulting in two vertical podiums, each wide enough to take a 19″ rack mount perfectley, and a worksurface 2meters by 750mm, big enough for plenty of equipment. the whole thing stands 600mm high, which is the same height as your kitchen sink! so its ideal to stan infront of for long periods of time. If anyone is interested I’ll post up the 2 x cutting guides for the mdf sheets so that you can make your own. To put it into perspective. you can buy somthing similar, but inferior at www.htfr.com for well in excess of ÂŁ130. The total cost for my version, which is bigger and better, is ÂŁ30, yes 2 x sheets of mdf from B&Q at ÂŁ15 per sheet. for the sake of an afternoons work, i know which one i would do! Related Images: [...]
LiveMixesIts been a long time coming, but here it is… a fresh mix on a totally new rig, so excuse the flaky mixing 🙂 https://jabawoki.com/wp-content/mp3/Jabawoki_Rolling_House_Beats_15082009.mp3 Podcast: Play in new window | Download Related Images: [...]
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 ÂŁ100 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 ÂŁ20-30. 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 ÂŁ100 to be replaced! Once you have the pipes all done, it should look a little like this. Related Images: [...]
GeneralThe Problem: Ok, so anyone who has worked with sound equipment before would have been greatly disappointed shortly after taking the M-Audio Xponent out of the box. Essentially, it’s a bit crap. The main bug-bears are the faders, often referred to as being made by “Fisher Price”.They are loose, and generally feel nothing like a proper mixer, so anyone used to using pro audio equipment is going to feel short changed (I know I did!). That said, once you get over them, and there are some tricks you can apply to make them feel less annoying, the other primary bug-bear is Torq. This software can only be described as an epic fail! I gave it a shot, I persevered with it for a long time, and have come to the conclusion that its beat detection engine was programmed using chaos theory. I have mixed on many different platforms, decks (belt and DD), CDJ’s (from first gen to modern) and midi software from TraktorScratch V1.0 through to the usual suspects of today. What all of these platforms allow you to do is beat match with little effort if you’ve got a good ear. Torq on the other hand, seems to want to fight this process and in my own experience, creates a clinical/harsh environment to align beats without getting nasty overlay (beat on beat cancelation). If you persevere I am sure you can personally compensate for this and actually become good at “mixing with Torq” but IMO I don’t think it appropriate to change my mixing style after 20 years just to accommodate crap software. This problem brings us to the solution I have discovered. I don’t take credit for pulling this together, many people better than me have toiled long and hard to make this work and have done some excellent work on the subject. All I wanted to do was have a rant, show you how easy it is to make the Xponent better and then credit those who did the work. The Solution: Native Instruments have invested a lot of time and energy into refining the Traktor product to what it is today. I have used different iterations of it since Scratch v1.0 (the first ever version) and it just keeps  improving! The most recent version is Traktor Pro V1.x, I am using 1.2.4 and it is truly phenomenal. I won’t go into it in too much detail, but will say this much, its intuitive, just like it should be, has some amazing effects available out of the box and “just works perfectly”  What more could you ask for? Of course, Despite the Xponent being a Midi Control Surface and a Sound Card, it’s been locked into Torq to proliferate the spread of the evil program, but, there is a way you can break out of this and turn your midi control surface back into a programmable 2-way midi surface like any other. It’s actually quite simple: While you switch the device on, press and hold the number 2 Queue button + the Lock Button on the left deck. It’s that simple, hold them till it’s all booted up, and to check its worked, press any button, if it lights up then fades away, it’s not worked and you need to power off and try again. If it does not light up, you’re in business and you have a midi control surface ready to use with any Digital DJ software you want! At this stage you have a couple of options, start mapping the buttons yourself or grab a map that has already been put together. Personally, I like to short-cut things, so I would grab a predesigned map. After a good look around and a few failed starts, I found a mapping from HolyCT based on the work of DJ Kad listed in the NI Forums. It is amazing! It has all the mappings you would want, full documentation and even a browser mode so you can use the jog wheels to browse your track lists without the keyboard and mouse! It makes use of the X/Y Pad and is IMO a very well put together map for the Xponent. Bringing the good features from the Xponent to a well written and user friendly piece of software like Traktor Pro, is a marriage made in heaven! I am truly blown away with the usability and playability of the combination, and it has convinced me to stick with my Xponent for the time being. It may not be the best controller in its class, but it has some cool features and once you get used to the faders, it’s not all bad! Related Images: [...]

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