what to to, when a dude smashes a harddrive from a mac? the new drive dosnt have a clue about the ingredients of the machine, the firmware/bios is like a sissy to not let the owner accessing the system. several ways to get into the mac osx, but over the years, the rules went harder and one should explain the story to the support at some point.

top view


apple puts a lot of energy into their politics, to seal the borders of that system and to save the mac from other influences, except theirselfs. icloud is nowadays a default package, the most services, like imessage, is backed up in the cloud. no way to use such devices without such id for that storage and control of puzzlepiece. the mac is locked until the code of consumption is entered or penalty is payed to apples money-machine via customer care. fucking with assemblercode, to tweak the bios with u/efi and all that shit, is not even a plan. the firmware to restart the system is hidden within some hashes from the mainboard and the password itself, reverse engineering was not my plan for today.

windows programmer
ready or not, depends on the configuration of buttons and lights. this picture indicates a working chip.

if the mac is hanging on the four number code, to get back to live, one could call the customer care to get a scbo file or try typing the nearly 9999 combinations by hand. others are lazy to do so, a small processor, based on arm with 64kb ram, can do the same, much more gently. the tiny pcb ( printed circuit board ) with a size of 35 x 17mm holds a usb-connector, the cpu with 256kb rom and a lot of connectors to participate with others.

the firmware tells its a v.1.03, flashed with the customized arduino ide   ( integrated desktop enviroment { development tool } ) within seconds on the freescale MK20DX256, but with some difficulties. arduino is not just a misswritten word, they could be seen as major pusher behind that uprising developer-board-scene. that teensy is a clon in some way, but in fact, arm or atmel had a product line over the past years, so one can find several configurations, sources and dealerprices, to get into the rush of diy, for a fistful flies. another eclipse plugin should be named, but i had so-so results on the download site, all files were incomplete,  i guess the traffic limit is taken, on the end of the month. the project should move to the next level then.

chip is ready to reboot
update cycle finished

as i hadnt much experience with avr/atmel chips at all, i decided, to put everything in a virtual box, on windows 7 for some reasons. but suprise suprise, the winavr-toolkit wants to lay inside the default folder ( ${winDrive/winavr } ) instead of being sorted with others in the standard folder for program files (x86). anyhow, the masterpiece of microsoft is, that the usb port and parameter is buffered/saved within the registry and due to other lacks of their understanding of software design, the programer wont flash the hex.code from the arduino software into the chip. excellent, couple of hours later i gave up on this, as i wanted to use eclipse for larger developments.

so, burning the working code to the chip was only possible, with a direct connect to the host-system.  some years ago, i played with a atmega ( think was …32 ) for a laser-tester, that one had started with basic-code. the arduino enviroment has its own syntax and file-extension.ino and with gnu, c/c++ software the architecture could be cascaded.

happy hour for the chip
upgrade sucessfullly, the new code is flashed to the soc

so, the chip is now ready to stupidly check each number, from 0000->9999 until the mac agrees to work again, when the correct passcode is clearly analyzed, by try& error. oh yeah, the soc could do much more then this, but the case was just there, to check the stuff with a goal to reach. some dozen projects and use-cases for that little machine is visible on the web: dj-controller, measurement boxes with lcd displays or game-engines are out there and many other ideas are just eyeblinks away.

bigger or larger projects will clearly need some more attention and notes to be realized, but with a sd-card-slot in dollar-distance, the bugs for a unique or genuine solution is definitly no high steak or far away. things can be made and grown with developer kits, analog or digital interfaces, up to the samplerate of a oscilloscope or analyzer by mean.

windows programmer
ready or not, depends on the usb connection and windows is a sissy in that area, after 15 years of existance, a unhappy programmer with no chance to pump new bytes into the chip.


after 4 weeks of drying the boards on my heating, i tryed to arrange a date with doogie, who helped on the phase one. not knowing, how the pitch-wheel and the floppy was connected, the synth was just closer to be doomed. but, after 6 weeks or 7 we arranged a double day, to slowly rebuild the kurzweil from its parts.

first test run
kurzweil loose connected

reassembling … how to start without a manual on that level. so … isolating the parts from the case and other connected parts, was in the focus here. the power supply was also not to trust, but with a headphone, we went sure, that no noise nor sine waves came from that part, beside the expected voltage.  it looked good for the moment, power was there, no cable was missing, the defect buttons were easy to change … so lets try it.

second test run
kurzweil loose connected

nope, nothing to see on the display, not lights on, no sound nor growling from a short cut were to hear, so we ripped all parts of the case and connected each cable to a part, that was numbered or signed in somehow. but … fail. some 2-3-4 ends of cables were without a mark. hm, …. we tried to start the engine, but one of the ribbon cables starts smoking, a sure sign of a short cut, that was not the right port for that cable.  we stoped and looked on each board, not seeing the difference, we have had to made. so we started again, and the cable went hot instantly – again.

kurzweil inside
upside down inside the kurzweil

the engineers on kurzweil showed us, where the fork is hanging around. pumping current over a tiny, 0.14 mm² of cable, couldnt be more worse. they used big cables for big wattages, but why did they did that different, on the engine board then? we looked closer after some minutes, or was it hours of cluesless talkings. we suprisingly found 2 connectors without a cable, so we switched something between the sampler, i think the scanner and the engineaudio analog or digitized, anyhow, could be the case. we stoped breathing when we switched on the power plug again … and … the display starts working. but, as i estimated on old-fashioned-hardware, each part of the system needs to be connected the way it should, so we couldnt check part by part, we had to stuff all together, with the hope, its allright then.

k2500 boards
k2500 display and scanner board

the five knobs or buttons on the input board, which were dead as distances holder, they were quickly replaced by some from the a-z/+-# keyboard. five pieces, let one cost 50 cent, made that accident happen, that we started to enjoy then later. the system came up, the boot-cycle went successfully done and the thing came to life. but having everything upside down, not knowing what buttons to push, we tried some intuitive haptics by accident, but after everyone of us three tried it, some preset with playable pattern suprised us thru the headphones and speakers with sound. the rest was routine to not mixup the three packs of screws and as we nearly closed the parts of the case, the kdfx board went back to my mind.

i had spare parts to drop in, with more power, more harmonic distortions and bigger rooms to simulate. but first, i wanted to get warm a bit with that tier, to check, if its worth the switch from software-based production to this kind of hardware. i would notice, it is it worth, but fiddling the menue was not funny, so the vast.programmer needs to be setup … next or the very next weekend … some day. that reopening, droping in, updating the firmware with a floppy drive, then stimulating to live once again will need a long way to get warm with that idea. one nice part is, that after that years, the software is still online on kurzweils server, that is a big plus in that whole story.

crunching on arm

as far as it looks like, iam not the only one, crunching on arm. dzone got a article from thailand, where some guys connected 22 cubieboards, runinning apache spark, for in-memory-computation.

but ive seen the bottleneck of a 100 mbits network connector on cubieboard pretty much earlier. so ive decided to buy the cubietruck, which includes a 1 gbits adapter, which brings theoretically 128 mbyte/s a sata drive for saturation.

a cluster from france was presented before on cubieboard.org with the same idea, to fit as many cubieboards within a standard rack server enclosure, as possible.

i calculated 8 cubieboards in a 1 he server rack as maximum amount of boards and hard discs last year. the price is then something like 1600-2000 € for the hardware. for that price tag, the memory of 16 gb ram and 16 tb of hdd is not that much, but the theroretical bandwith between the nodes ( within the cluster ) is something like 8 gbits 🙂

8 nodes
8 boards in a 1 he standard rack server

the picture above shows the former choosed boards from hardkernel, called odroid, but the price for that board is above the budget, so i sized it down to a dual-core, from the quad-core.


da festplatten zwar immer günstiger und größer werden, die dateien und formate aber auch, bleibt das ewige spiel mit dembackup. wie möchte man eine 2-3-4 terabyte platte sichern? wie kann man 10 oder 20TB sinnvoll wegschaufeln? was tun, wenn das haus abgebrannt oder abgesoffen ist – was ist dann mit den eigenen daten. klar, man kann sie brennen oder auf usb kopieren, aber ab einer bestimmten größe macht das alles keinen spass mehr. nun hab ich heut beim g+ ein paar interessante beispiel für verfügbare clouds aufgeschnappt:

tarsnap fällt durch schlichte leistung und geringe kosten auf. 0.30us$/gb-monat für den space und 0.30us$/gb beim traffic scheinen günstig zu sein. der wesentliche punkt aber ist, dass nur veränderte daten hochgeladen werden, ein inkrementelles backup sinngemäß. aes-256 wird angeboten und kann, da linux-basierter-client, durch eigene maßnahmen ergänzt werden. als infrastruktur wird amazon ec2 verwendet, also nichts aufregendes.

crashplan sieht wesentlich ausgereifter und professioneller aus. die verschlüsselung beträgt 448-bit für die dateien und 128bit-aes für die verbindung. 4us$ für einen rechner, total-backup, klingt ok – eine konkrete größe vermisse ich aber dann doch. für firmenkunden werden auch pakete mit 200 oder 1000 und mehr angeboten. die infrasturktur ist nicht auf den ersten blick ausgeschildert.

der vollständigkeithalber wären noch die üblichen  verdächtigen zu nennen:


klar kann man sich auch ein nas hinstellen, doch es geht ja um ein offsite-backup, also eine sicherungskopie ausserhalb der eigenen vier wände. sicher, im bunker, tief im rechenzentrum, dupliziert, verteilt, gespiegelt – einfach bombensicher *hust*. was die einzelnen betreiber jedoch im kleingedruckten für regeln und leistungen haben, muss man dann doch genauer evaluieren.


so dat wordpress is nun wohl mal druff. ne handvoll plugins noch dazu … eventuell noch n theme .. dann reicht ditt für heut och schon gleich mal wieder …. zumindest für den augenblick.

  • wp super cache ( php / mod_rewrite caching – excellent )
  • wassup real time analytics ( see users online, without log-file )
  • xml sitemap & google news feed ( webmaster-tools will make seeking people happy )
  • math captcha ( stop bots with math to solve )

mal sehen, wie lang dat ding hier hält und wie ofts abschmiert….und wie oft der installer dann wohl läuft, bevor was anderes her muss. für die <code> fragmente muss ich auch noch ein gescheites plugin finden, ebenso ein hübsches, aber schlichtes template.

nun noch

  • wp easy backup ( complete backup of db, plugins and files )
  • broken link checker ( checks inherit links for availability )

installiert, dann klappts auch mit der restauration und der gebannten gefahr, das jemand in tote links rennt. einfach die namen bei der plugin-installieren eingabe reinkopieren und suchen lassen, dann sollte sich das korrekte teil schon finden lassen.