Wireless interception

About a year ago, I read a post on Bruce Schneier’s blog about a team that had intercepted a wireless 802.11 network from a ridiculous distance away. Yesterday, it came up in conversation, but I didn’t remember the distance they’d managed. After a bit of digging, I found the original article again. Time to blog it.

This team set up a run-of-the-mill 802.11 network, and were able to pick up its signal from 124.9 miles away. They used, among other things, homemade custom antennas and surplus 12-foot satellite dishes (note the plural). Not original equipment from the wi-fi manufacturer, but not defense-budget, either.

Schneier took the opportunity to point out:

Whenever you hear a manufacturer talk about a distance limitation for any wireless technology — wireless LANs, RFID, Bluetooth, anything — assume he’s wrong.

Telemarketing counter-script

When telemarketers call you, they have a script to follow. Well, here’s a telemarketing counter-script you can use on them.

A couple of soundbites:

Could you spell your name for me?

Which toothpaste would you recommend?

I can appreciate your concern, Mr./Mrs. … but aren’t you calling me?

They also have a one-page PDF version of the counterscript. Keep copies by your phone!

Racc Tutorial

I’ve done a bit of looking at Racc, a compiler-compiler for Ruby. (It’s vaguely like Yacc, although the syntax is different.)

Unfortunately, Racc has no documentation to speak of. But someone named CMills has put together a PowerPoint introduction to writing parsers in Ruby and Racc (38k download, .tar.gz format). Sketchy but good. I didn’t understand all the slides, but it’s the best Racc documentation I’ve found so far.

Ruby and .NET

There’s a Ruby package called RubyCLR. With it, you can write Ruby code that uses .NET assemblies.

It looks pretty amazing. Charlie Poole has a post on how to use it to run NUnit tests from Ruby, and he has code samples. It’s just like using Ruby classes, except they’re written in .NET. All you need to do is reference the assemblies; the rest is just magic.

Imagine writing a Ruby app that shows a WinForms GUI. Wow.

As Brian just said while looking over my shoulder, “This will have to be played around with.”

The return of ReflectorVsAddin (sort of)

I just heard back from Jamie Cansdale, who used to maintain the Reflector.VisualStudio add-in. I had e-mailed him a while back wondering where the add-in was, because the write-up in Visual Studio Hacks made it sound like a sweet deal, but it was no longer available for download.

Turns out Jamie is also the maintainer for TestDriven.NET, and has released a substitute for the ReflectorVsAddin: it’s now part of TestDriven.NET. With the latest version, you can now right-click and Test in > Reflector. Kind of an odd menu selection to make, but it will pop Reflector open right to the symbol you right-clicked (there’s an animation showing it off on his “Reflector Add-In Lives Again” blog post). So, way better than having to open Reflector, browse to the right assembly, navigate to the right namespace, etc.

I asked him if the original add-in was still available, since having Reflector right there inside Visual Studio would have been really cool. His response: no, it’s not available, because there are Reflector add-ins that don’t play nicely if they happen to get loaded inside Visual Studio. So I guess the world is stuck with popping up a separate instance of Reflector. But I think I can live with that.