Posts Tagged Rants

Schwab / Symantec VIP Access vs. Yubikey

A Yubikey 5 NFC turns out to be perfectly compatible with any website using Symantec’s (no longer available) hardware key and VIP Access (definitely a misnomer) app to generate TOTP access codes, because the sites use bog-standard TOTP. The only difficulty comes from Symantec’s proprietary protocol creating the token linking an ID with a secret value to generate the TOTP codes, which is how they monetize an open standard.

Fortunately, Cyrozap reverse-engineered the Symantec protocol, dlenski mechanized it with a Python script, and it works perfectly:

python3 -m venv symkey-env
source symkey-env/bin/activate
pip3 install https://github.com/dlenski/python-vipaccess/archive/HEAD.zip
vipaccess provision -t SYMC
deactivate

That spits out a file containing the ID and secret, from which you create a QR code for the Yubikey Authenticator app:

qrencode -t UTF8 'otpauth://totp/VIP%20Access:SYMCidnumbers?secret=longsecretgibberish&issuer=Symantec&algorithm=SHA1&digits=6'

Fire up the app, wave the Yubikey behind the phone, scan the QR code, wave the Yubikey again to store it, sign in to the Schwab site, turn on 2FA, enter the ID & current TOTP value from the Yubikey Authenticator, and It Just Works™.

Of course, you can kiss Schwab’s tech support goodbye, because you’re on your own. If you ever lose the Yubikey, make sure you know the answers to your allegedly secret questions.

Equally of course, you’re downloading and running random shit from the Intertubes, but …

Now, if only all my financial institutions would get with the program.

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Huion H610Pro (V2) Tablet vs. xsetwacom

For unknown reasons, likely having to do with ordinary system updates, both the Huion H610Pro (V2) tablet’s device name and the display output’s name have changed. This came to light when I discovered the tablet’s stylus was no longer constrained to the landscape display, which worked fine when I set it up barely a month ago.

Running the setup command manually:

xsetwacom --verbose set "HUION Huion Tablet Pen stylus" MapToOutput "DP-1"
... Display is '(null)'.
... 'set' requested for 'HUION Huion Tablet Pen stylus'.
 <<< snippage >>>
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus' (11).
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet eraser' (19).
Cannot find device 'HUION Huion Tablet Pen stylus'.

Apparently, the device formerly known as HUION Huion Tablet Pen stylus is now called HUION Huion Tablet stylus.

Fine, I can live with that. Try again:

xsetwacom --verbose set "HUION Huion Tablet stylus" MapToOutput "DP-1"
... Display is '(null)'.
... 'set' requested for 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus'.
 <<< snippage >>>
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus' (11).
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet eraser' (19).
... Device 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus' (11) found.
... Found output 'VGA-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'HDMI-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-2' (connected)
... CRTC (2560x0) 1440x2560
... Found output 'HDMI-2' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-1-8' (connected)
... CRTC (0x0) 2560x1440
... Found output 'DP-1-1' (disconnnected)
Unable to find output 'DP-1'. Output may not be connected.

Apparently, the video output formerly known as DP-1 has fissioned into DP-1-1 and DP-1-8, with only the latter connected. Weirdly, nothing happened to DP-2.

Once more, into the bleach:

xsetwacom --verbose set "HUION Huion Tablet stylus" MapToOutput "DP-1-8"
... Display is '(null)'.
... 'set' requested for 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus'.
 <<< snippage >>>
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus' (11).
... Checking device 'HUION Huion Tablet eraser' (19).
... Device 'HUION Huion Tablet stylus' (11) found.
... Found output 'VGA-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'HDMI-1' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-2' (connected)
... CRTC (2560x0) 1440x2560
... Found output 'HDMI-2' (disconnnected)
... Found output 'DP-1-8' (connected)
... CRTC (0x0) 2560x1440
... Setting CRTC DP-1-8
... Remapping to output area 2560x1440 @ 0,0.
... Transformation matrix:
... 	[ 0.640000 0.000000 0.000000 ]
... 	[ 0.000000 0.562500 0.000000 ]
... 	[ 0.000000 0.000000 1.000000 ]

Well, that worked.

Actually, I had to constrain the stylus to DP-2, then jam it back on DP-1-8, to spread the tablet’s horizontal extent over the entire monitor. Updating the startup script started the tablet properly the next morning.

The new device name certainly makes more sense and, perhaps, the X output connection now recognizes the landscape monitor’s ability to pass its DisplayPort video stream along to a second monitor.

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Blog Summary: 2019

Another year of being the Domain Expert of scam-by-mail gadgets, obsolete ABS codes, and water heater anode rods:

Blog Page View Summary - 2019
Blog Page View Summary – 2019

Plotting the log of page views against posts in descending order of popularity gives a power-law relationship of some sort:

Blog Page View Graph - 2019
Blog Page View Graph – 2019

The log-log view has odd discontinuities:

Blog Page View Graph - 2019 - log-log
Blog Page View Graph – 2019 – log-log

Overall page views are down 30% from last year: 205k vs 290k.

WordPress served 1 million ads (vs 1.2 million in 2018) on those 205k page views, nearly five ads per page view, which seems horrifying. If you’re not using an ad blocker, you surely have difficulty finding the blog post amid all the crap.

The implosion of on-line advertising continues apace, however, as WordPress paid only 63% as much per ad: $0.40 (vs $0.70 in 2018) per thousand views. Obviously, ads on WordPress blogs aren’t worth much these days.

Recommendations:

While I could pay WordPress their upgrade ransom to eliminate the ads, it’s better if you defend yourself by eliminating all ads, wherever they may be.

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Monthly Image: Deposit Slot

The Dutchess County Board of Elections occupies the building at 47 Cannon St which, if I recall correctly, was a Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company office back in the day.

CHG&E accepted bill payments at all hours through a little slot high on the wall:

Pay Bills Here - overview
Pay Bills Here – overview

A closer look:

Pay Bills Here - envelope slot
Pay Bills Here – envelope slot

It’s solid cast brass, neatly milled, and built to last a thousand years. They don’t make ’em like they used to, probably for good reason.

I’m told somebody once stuffed burning trash through the Arlington branch library’s book return slot. Nowadays, the fire code apparently requires the room behind the slot to be fireproof and isolated from the main structure, which may account for the popularity of outdoor book / media return boxes.

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DOT-01 NP-BX1 Battery Status

Back in February, a quartet of DOT-01 NP-BX1 lithium batteries for my Sony HDR-AS30V helmet camera had mediocre performance compared to an older Wasabi battery:

Dot01 NP-BX1 - new 2019-02
Dot01 NP-BX1 – new 2019-02

After eight months of regular use, they’re even further into mediocre:

Sony DOT-01 NP-BX1 - 2019-10-29
Sony DOT-01 NP-BX1 – 2019-10-29

In round numbers, they’re down from 2.8 W·h to 2.5 W·h and now run the camera for about 70 minutes, rather than 90+ when new. Our typical rides go for about an hour, which means I must swap batteries somewhere along the way.

I still dislike the notion of sticking a 16850 cell next to the camera and powering it from the USB charger running the M20 rear camera requires another helmet cable, but it’s obvious NP-BX1 batteries lack enough active ingredient for the long haul.

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Beware the Domain Squatters

A squatter has taken over a defunct domain at the far end of a link buried somewhere in the 3800 posts you find here. In place of the useful page I saw, you’ll see this stylin’ popover:

Domain Squat - engineeration dot com
Domain Squat – engineeration dot com

The “standard security check” is a nice touch, although you should keep in mind the Dilbert cartoon about unexpected side effects.

The actual URL, which I will not make clickable, includes the domain ffgetsplendidapps, which tells you just about everything you need to know about what’s going on.

Because they’re squatting, “continue directly to your destination” means being dumped into a Google search after they’ve meddled with your browser & system configuration. Clicking the inconspicuous × in the upper right closes the popover and dumps you into the search, perhaps before doing anything.

I have no good (i.e., automated) way to find broken links and, as far as I know, there is no way to automatically detect domain squatting, so you’re on your own.

Trust, but verify!

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Warm-White LED Strip: FAIL

The roll of warm-white LEDs I used for the first sewing machine lights has evidently aged out:

Failed warm-white LED strip
Failed warm-white LED strip

They’ve been wrapped on their original roll, tucked in an antistatic bag, for the last five years, so it’s not as if they’ve been constantly abused.

All the cool-white LEDs on an adjacent roll in the same bag still work perfectly, so you’re looking at inherent vice.

I harvested the three longest functional sections and dumped the remainder in the electronics recycling box.

COB LEDs provide much more light, if only because they run at higher power densities, and seem to be much better cost-performers:

Juki TL-2010Q COB LED - installed - rear view
Juki TL-2010Q COB LED – installed – rear view

Admittedly, I haven’t looked at the RGB LED strips in a while, either.

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