Amazon Dash Buttons

Amazon dash buttons are devices that you can have in your home which are connected to the internet, and since each dash button is connected to a corresponding product on Amazon, with each press of the button a new supply of that product is reordered for you. This is more of a convenience item. If you install it next to the item in your house that it is connected to such as your toilet paper dispenser, you will not forget to reorder when the time comes.

A more interesting question however comes up of what else could you make these dash buttons do, if say you were to hack them. In August of last year, a guy named Ted Benson hacked one of these amazon dash buttons to record how many times his baby woke up or how many times he changed the diaper. By pressing the button, all of the account were longed into a google spreadsheet with timestamps so that later he could go back and look at the data. Ted simply wrote a few lines of python code, that would sniff the network for the button’s ARP requests each time the button is pressed, and could in that way learn the MAC address of the button. Then, by coding in the addresses of the buttons into the Python program, Ted was able to get a message pop up from the button in his program each time the button was pressed. After that, Ted used a software that provided a URL which would link the buttons to a google spread sheet. After adding a few more lines of code, with each press of the button, data from the button was entered into a google spreadsheet.

The Amazon dash buttons have opened up endless possibilities for experimentation. Some common hacks of dash buttons include: adding items to your phone’s shopping list each time you run out of a grocery item in your fridge, as well as a silent doorbell that would notify you each time your doorbell rings by text but not make any actual sound.

View story at Medium.com

https://www.amazon.com/Tide-Pods-Powder-Dash-Button/dp/B0187TMRYM

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

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Biometric Solutions

There are three main biometric solutions that can be installed and used with most personal computers that would provide greater security for the owner. The first such biometric solution is the fingerprint scanner. The software these fingerprint scanners can be downloaded off of the internet, however the physical scanners themselves would have to be separately purchased through an outside vendor. Most of these fingerprint solutions however are only offered for Windows and Linux operating systems. Although a fingerprint solution would be perfectly suitable to the average user, users with important and highly classified information on their computer should potentially opt for a more secure solution since a simple copy of the fingerprint lifted from a service would potentially work for a login attempt by a hacker. Bio-key offers a very good software in with which you simply purchase a usb finger scanner that you can plug into any computer. Fingerprint scanners are the most popular and widely used of the possible biometric solutions for personal computer security.

The next biometric solution to consider is face recognition software. Many companies offer such a software and this software can be installed on Mac OS, and Windows operating systems. This solution is good for security purposes and providing identification. This is not a very popular solution for login purposes on personal computers as this solution sees most of its use in government, and criminal identification purposes.

And the third biometric solution that can help provide verification is a dynamic signature software. Such software compares signatures based on the stroke, pressure, shape and direction. Again there are not many companies that offer this solution for personal computers for login identification. This biometric solution sees most of its usage by banks to verify customers’ identities.

http://www.bio-key.com/

UPC

A UPC is a Universal Product code. In order to get one, a manufacturer has to apply to the Uniform Product Council and has to pay an annual fee to get a unique code for their product. The code that a manufacturer in turn will receive consists of a scannable bar code as well as a 12 digit UPC code number. The 12 digit code number consists of 3 parts. The first six digits are the manufacturer’s identification number. The proceeding five digits are the Item id number. And the final digit serves as a check digit to make sure that the right item was processed. Every single item produced by a manufacturer regardless of size, or packaging needs a unique item number. So even the same products in a different box will need different UPC codes. A UPC coordinator is responsible for giving each product by a certain manufacturer a unique UPC code, as well as getting rid of a UPC code when a certain product is no longer in production or use. A UPC coordinator is hired by each manufacturer. The final check digit in a UPC code has a fairly complex calculation which is performed by a scanner to make sure the right product was scanned. The first step is to sum the digits in the odd positions for the first eleven digits of the UPC code. Then, find the product of that sum and 3. After that, sum all of the digits in the even positions. Next, find the sum of steps two and three. And finally, figure out the smallest number when added to the sum found in step four, results in a multiple of 10. If that number matches the final check digit of the UPC code, then the scanner has successfully scanned the product code.

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/upc.htm