Autistic Geek

Autonomous vehicles

by on Jul.31, 2015, under Technology

I was reading a reddit post recently about autonomous vehicles. The article seemed to indicate that maybe the cars were too cautious. I decided to post a comment… it grew to become a TLDR so I posted only the first two paragraphs and put the full content here.

I have a son who will never be able to drive because of a seizure disorder. A self driving car means he will be able to go places without having to depending on the public transit system. Pubic Transit is limited to metropolitan areas. If he, as an independent adult, wanted to travel to a rural area, it would be more inconvenient or costly for him than it would be for others. The sooner these become affordable, the better.

His peers will be driving soon, this is the only way I see him having access to the road system at the same level they do. I personally do not know of any laws preventing these cars, but if they exist I can foresee this becoming ADA issue.

As for hacking of the SD vehicles, I believe thats a problem we will be facing with non-SD cars very soon anyway. At minimum lets keep a means to manually operating a set of brakes on all vehicles that is mechanical rather than computer assisted. On the SDs have it mechanically disengage the means of continuing to pour fuel or electricity into the motor. Have sensors relay to other vehicles that this “emergency brake” has been activated so they slow down, pass, or stop as necessary, but keep a means to manually stop that can’t be affected by the computer. This way the only hack that we should see is everyone stopped. At which point, you switch to manual by killing the power to the autonomous system until the hack can be fixed. Tragedies will occur, yes. But the ratio of deaths/injuries will go down overall.

And in the case of vehicles operated by people like my son; emergency personnel, mechanics, or even ordinary drivers could use a removable steering wheel that could popped into place. The vehicle would only drive a certain distance non-autonomously. This would allow the car to get off the road and if available into a parking lot somewhere close. I’ve seen enough people volunteering to push disabled cars out of the road just so that they could get by easier to know that a running vehicle could be piloted by a volunteer to get it out of the way. Then the vehicle owner could get assistance via cellphone to get the vehicle moved via tow truck if the hack is long term.

There a scenario where people who would trigger emergency brakes to stop nearby vehicles on lonely stretches of road for the purpose of doing harm to to the operator. But autonomous vehicles can pass obstructions. This is why I said notify nearby vehicles, so the vehicle would have a heads up to decide what it needed to do. To stop the target vehicle, the obstacle would have to block the whole road. An obstacle that blocks the whole road world be just as effective against our  driving current system and how often do you hear of that happening now now?

I’d be more concerned with people turning vehicles into autonomous drones to reek havoc than someone taking over my the vehicle if I have the means to engage mechanical brakes that aren’t controlled by the hacked computer.

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IPSec site-to-site on Ubuntu 14.04

by on Jul.28, 2014, under Uncategorized

I recently was tasked with securing a connection between two sites. I knew IPSec was probably the best route to go. However, the tutorials I found online never seemed to garner the same results when I tried them. It seemed like some step was left out of each. So in this article I will cover the setup of IPSec using RSA keys in Ubuntu 14.4 using Openswan. If I leave anything out, leave a comment and I’ll see to the correction.

These steps are heavily influenced by the Redhat documents titled “IPsec VPN Using Openswan”, which can be followed to create an IPSec tunnel in any Redhat flavored Linux distribution. It also presumes a fresh install of Ubuntu 14.4 and that the box is to be you gateway device (no NAT). There are two Ethernet cards in each machine, one for the external connection to the internet and one for the internal subnet.

Unless specified, steps are to be preformed on both servers.

Lets make sure its up to date.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

I chose to reboot after the dist-upgrade, but that should be optional.
sudo reboot

Now lets make some changes to /etc/sysctl.conf. You might want to run these one command at a time to make sure it worked. If you copy/paste these commands, makes sure you check the >> symbols actually copy over properly.

sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf"

sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'net.ipv4.conf.default.rp_filter = 0' >> /etc/sysctl.conf"

sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'net.ipv4.conf.all.send_redirects = 0' >> /etc/sysctl.conf"

sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'net.ipv4.conf.all.accept_redirects = 0' >> /etc/sysctl.conf"

sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'net.ipv4.icmp_ignore_bogus_error_responses = 1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf"

You now have the choice of rebooting or changing the content of the following files to “0”. Rebooting is just easier.



sudo reboot

Install Openswan
sudo apt-get install openswan -y

I chose no when it came to generating an X.509 certificate, because we are using RSA.
No to X.509
And OK on “Old runlevel management superseded”, not that you have a choice.

Now we make some changes to /etc/ipsec.secrets
sudo /bin/su -c "echo 'include /etc/ipsec.d/*.secrets' >> /etc/ipsec.secrets"

Time to create the RSA keys. Normally the following command would pull from /dev/random to get a random string in order to create a key. /dev/random creates random strings by sampeling the current state of the computer. If the computer doesn’t have much going on, /dev/random does not provide enough random characters in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, the following command pulls a random string from /dev/urandom instead.
sudo ipsec newhostkey --output /etc/ipsec.d/ipsec.secrets --random /dev/urandom --bits 4096

Now we need to get the public portion of the key.
On the left machine (site1)
sudo ipsec showhostkey --left

And the right (site2)
sudo ipsec showhostkey –right

Copy your public keys to a text document, you are gonna need them soon.
Use your prefered editor to replace the content of /etc/ipsec.conf with the following. The indent is required!
version 2.0 # conforms to second version of ipsec.conf specification
config setup


include /etc/ipsec.d/*.conf

Now lets create the config file for our connection. I prefer vim.
sudo vim /etc/ipsec.d/site1-site2.conf

Adapt the following to your networks.
conn S1-S2subnet

leftsubnet=<left subnet with notation>
leftsourceip=<left internal interface address>
rightsubnet=<right subnet with notation>
rightsourceip=<right internal interface address>

conn S1-S2

left=<left external interface address>
leftrsasigkey=<left public key>
right=<right external interface address>
rightrsasigkey=<right public key>
# load and initiate automatically

Restart IPSec
sudo service ipsec restart

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So True…

by on Jul.25, 2011, under Cool Stuff, Technology


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Why don’t we have speeds like this everywhere

by on May.11, 2011, under Cool Stuff, Technology

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Tech Support-Tim Hawkins

by on Sep.07, 2009, under Cool Stuff, Technology

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The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D

by on Aug.13, 2009, under Cool Stuff

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It came with Ubuntu!

by on Jan.15, 2009, under Technology, Wat!

Abbie Schubert was a student at Milwaukee Area Technical College. I say was because she dropped out. Why? Because she ordered a $1100 laptop from Dell and when it arrived instead of Windows she found Ubuntu installed onto the machine. She was unable to install Microsoft Office. She was unable to get her Verizon High Speed Access disk to load. And Dell convinced her to stay with Ubuntu until is was too late for Dell to send out someone to give her Windows. “It’s been a mess,” she said. “I regret ordering the computer.” What a mess indeed.

What an idiot! Dell expressly warns users that order Ubuntu on their systems that it is for advanced users. The story at her local news station (of which I’ve noticed changing throughout the day) reads that the OS was defaulted to Ubuntu, this cannot be true because Windows is the default OS with every Dell unless you enter the site looking for Ubuntu (eg. Google-ing “Dell Ubuntu”). No Ubuntu doesn’t come with MS Office, it comes with OpenOffice, which is compatible with documents written in MS Office and can save its documents in such a manner that MS Office can do the reverse. And no that Verizon disk will not run on Ubuntu. It has software that reports user statistics for troubleshooting purposes anyway. You should NEVER use those disk because Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux (of which Ubuntu is a distribution) already comes with everything you need to get online. Find a Verizon user who gets online with their Mac, even they can figure it out. I will not explain the procedures here because if you can see this, do you really need help getting online?

There is absolutely NOTHING that Windows can do that Ubuntu can’t, because if there were, within two weeks some coder would have a Linux equivalent that one could make run on Ubuntu.

This young woman needs to start her classes with the most beginner computer class MATC offers…in a classroom, not online. Lets keep the Internet free of people who are obviously a danger to themselves because they don’t know what their doing. Lets start with an Internet equivalent to a drivers license.

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June 30 marks end for XP…or does it?

by on Jun.17, 2008, under Technology

It appears that people who buy Vista Business or Vista Ultimate have the ability to downgrade to XP Pro, if they have a copy of the XP Pro disk. It seems that these versions of Vista have “Downgrade Rights” in their EULA. All you do is call up Microsoft’s Activation group you tell them you are exercising your downgrade rights. Give them your Vista key and a part number from the XP Pro disk, and you get a XP Key to match your XP part number.

“If the customer uses a product key for Windows XP Pro that they’ve previously activated, that machine will likely fail activation. If the downgraded machine fails activation the customer will be prompted to call the product activation call center to request a key that will enable them to pass activation. The customer should mention that they’re exercising their downgrade rights to the customer service representative in the activation call center,”–David Overton, Microsoft small business specialist.

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by on Jun.12, 2008, under Cool Stuff


I don’t know took this photo, or where they took it. But you can’t argue with its logic!

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Top of Google

by on Jun.02, 2008, under Site

Well I’ve been trying for years and it finally happened. I sit proudly at the top of Google, I’ve been Googling “Autistic Geek” about once a week since I really started adding content about mid-May and today I discovered that I am at the top of Google for that search string,

My problem has always been that I had static content or built my own CMS with the default “index.php?post=12” that Google hates (as of this writing, don’t understand the mod_rewrite part of Apache).

Then Jacob Haug of The Web Squeeze suggested I get use WordPress. I avoided it at first because quite frankly, I associated blogging with MySpace, of which I’m not impressed, because of the default layout, bad background images, etcetera etcetera. I was wrong! I admit it.

During a rebuild I figured what the heck. I installed WordPress and found my favorite layout from Open Source Web Design already done. I will only be expanding on WordPress unless Joomla!’s or Drupal’s next versions really bring massive changes. But, alas I’m venturing (once again) off the subject.

I just need to expand my meta keywords beyond the empty double quotation marks, and see where I rank on other search engines, and since I’m here maybe add links to things that shape my points of view.

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