Posts in Hackery

Downloading Azure Media Services Videos With FFMPEG

March 4, 2021

I encountered a very unique challenge today - I needed to cut a part of a video hosted online with Azure Media Services for reference. The video in question is Into Focus, the 'show within a show,' that aired at Microsoft's Ignite conference earlier this week.

Get GitHub User Contributions With GitHub Skyline API

February 17, 2021

2021 turns out to be a good year for folks like myself, that love collecting their own personal metrics. Earlier, I chatted about collecting air quality data, Twitter data - and now, GitHub contribution data. In this post I will describe a simple approach to grabbing your own GitHub contribution statistics without having to jump through too many hoops.

Running Scheduled Data Collection with Synology and Docker

February 11, 2021

I've used my Synology NAS for some time now - about two years and counting, and it's been a great tool to backup information locally (e.g. from my phones or shared computers). Then, I got to thinking - it's pretty much a mini-computer. It has a quad-core 1.4Ghz CPU, a whopping 2GB RAM, and _plenty_ of storage. I can do more with it than just use it for occasional data dumps. That is - I could use it for frequent data dumps.

Using Nikon D3100 As Webcam

February 4, 2021

Back in 2010, Nikon built a nice 14.2MP entry-level DSLR camera - the D3100, which I was using for some time now. It's a nice camera, and for 99.9% of cases it works perfectly well. It takes nice shots, supports interchangeable lenses, can film decent quality (by that I mean 1080p) video, and has some extensibility points.

Launching Windows Store Apps On Stream Deck

January 21, 2021

I just recently got a Stream Deck - it's a wonderful tool to automate some of the more boring (read: routine) tasks. Literally with a click of a button I can kick off a bunch of automation. Apparently it can do everything _but_ launch Windows Store applications.

Hosting Your Own Notes On Synology NAS With Docker

January 19, 2021

As I was fiddling with some automation scenarios at home, I thought of putting the Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) to good use. That is, in addition to all the photo backup stuff it's already doing. At the end of last year, I wrote a blog post about building a simple system to maintain evergreen notes, based on Hugo, Docker, and, well, that's it - there are only Markdown files in the mix. Evergreen notes in this context are nothing other than a personal Wikipedia of sorts.

Automatically Finding A Short Twitter Username

December 30, 2020

I had a chat with a friend the other day, and he mentioned off-hand that in his life there is a very unique problem - lack of a short username for their Twitter account. Seems like everything good is already taken, which makes sense considering that Twitter itself is 14 years old. You can bet that in 14 years, a lot of people did get very creative with usernames.

Freely Accessing Your Own Nest HD Camera Stream

December 30, 2020

Way back in 2018, I coded up a little project that allowed me to record my Nest camera stream in a _very_ hacky way. I wanted to get the raw video off of the camera without paying for a Nest Aware subscription.

Unlocking My Air Data Through API Analysis

December 28, 2020

I am naturally curious about the APIs that the devices in my house use, so when I got an air quality monitor, one of the first things I did was fiddle with the REST APIs that were made available through the device.

Building Evergreen Markdown Notes

December 24, 2020

Some of the more traditional approaches to taking digital notes work quite well in 99% of cases - I think most of the tools on the market are doing a marvelous job. But I often caught myself needing something more, specifically for notes that I wanted to write once and frequently refer to later (e.g. details about specific projects that don't change often).

I Launched A Personal Site Directory

December 6, 2020

In 2020, it might seem like the art of crafting your own personal site became a thing of the past. Most of the engagement happens on social networks or inside walled gardens.

Caffeinate Windows With PowerShell

November 12, 2020

It's the perfect time to drink coffee, sit inside, and code. There was just one problem with that for me - I actually need to step away from my machine from time to time to brew some coffee, and while I was gone, the computer would go to sleep, and I needed to wake it up, enter my credentials.

I Built A Desktop Computer

November 7, 2020

It finally happened - after almost five years of sticking with macOS and a MacBook, I gave up and built my own desktop computer.

Installing Windows 10 With A Large USB Drive

November 25, 2017

Got an interesting problem today - had to re-image a Surface Pro 3, but only had a 64GB flash drive handy. Following the typical dance, I installed the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, downloaded a Windows 10 ISO from my Visual Studio subscription download site, used WUDT to put the ISO on the flash drive and… nothing. My Surface Pro 3 would just refuse to even look at the USB for boot information.

Intercepting iPhone Traffic On A Mac - A How-To Guide

September 27, 2017

Curiosity got the best of me about a year ago when Pokemon Go came out, so I had to dig up ways to inspect traffic from iOS on a Mac. Since then, time has passed and today I decided to do it again, but couldn’t find a decent guide on how to do that (clearly I was missing some steps), so once I figured out what goes where, I thought I would do a write-up for posterity, and so that I can re-use it later.

Building Docs For NuGet Packages With VSTS And GitHub Pages

May 27, 2017

This is one of those questions that gets asked every week or so - I want to build documentation for my package the same way docs.microsoft.com does, but on my own server/cluster. While today we do not provide the entire infrastructure as a single open-source entity (but you can certainly read up on what we do behind the scenes), I thought I would write a short guide on how you can document your own NuGet packages and then publish the documentation on GitHub pages.

View Photos With Windows Photo Viewer on Windows 10

January 8, 2017

With the release of Windows 10, all photos are now opened by default with the help of the Photos app. I like the Photos app, but I also enjoy the UI of the traditional Windows Photo Viewer.

Ubiquiti EdgeRouter As Level 2 Switch

November 7, 2016

I recently overhauled my network setup to get better WiFi coverage as well as get more data as to what traffic actually happens through my local network. After some relatively short conversations with my colleagues, I landed on Ubnt gear.

Binding Dynamic Build Definitions To GitHub Repos

November 4, 2016

As part of the project that I am working on, I need to make sure that I allow the user to specify what GitHub repository they want to bind to their Visual Studio Team Services build definitions. As part of the project that I am working on, I need to make sure that I allow the user to specify what GitHub repository they want to bind to their Visual Studio Team Services build definitions. I am using the library for that, but no matter what I tried, the repository just did not show up.

Serve Your WordPress Blog Via HTTPS On NameCheap (For Free)

May 30, 2016

Gone are the days when you no longer have to worry whether you want to fetch a website through HTTPS. No matter whether you are handling private information or not, there is no excuse to have a site residing in plain HTTP land. That said, this tutorial assumes that you, the reader, already have some knowledge as to why HTTPS is necessary.

Getting Windows Phone Apps Back Into The Zune Desktop Client

April 25, 2012

The Windows Phone team recently announced that it will remove the Windows Phone apps section from the Zune Desktop client due to the fact that users mostly access those through the web interface or the mobile client directly on the device.

Setting Up A Network Capture Box With Ubuntu And Wireshark

March 22, 2012

For a college project I had to set up an Ubuntu box and work on a network analysis assignment. I worked with this kind of tasks on Windows, and got some pretty interesting results by sniffing Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8 traffic with Wireshark. Ubuntu is a new environment for me, and I figured that the actual capture process is set a bit differently.

Dell Venue Pro EM App - Version 1.12

December 15, 2011

With the new update, Dell also updated their EM application. Which is still pretty horrible, surprisingly. It didn’t change much – some functionality is gone while other parts were unnecessarily hidden.

Windows Phone 7 Guide – Unlock Apps In A Locked Emulator

August 7, 2011

I just released a new video that shows how it is possible to access system applications inside a locked emulator image. I already described the details in one of my articles, so this video is more of a proof and a hands-on demo.

Access Blocklisted Apps In The Windows Phone Emulator

August 5, 2011

As you probably know, the Windows Phone SDK comes with an emulator that is locked down to the maximum – the developer only has access to Internet Explorer and to a limited number of settings. However, today I found out an indirect (and maybe not that optimal) way to access various applications that are blocklisted, but are still available on the device.

Windows Phone 7 Guide – Part 6 – ISETool

July 31, 2011

The Isolated Storage Explorer Tool is new with the Mango SDK (7.1). In this video I am talking about general capabilities of the application and why you should use it if Isolated Storage is a component part of your application.

Custom Accelerometer Motions For The Windows Phone Emulator

July 28, 2011

The new Windows Phone Mango SDK introduced a testing tool, that is tied to the device emulator, allowing developers to simulate location data and readings from the accelerometer sensor (now it also allows taking screenshots).

Dell Venue Pro – Working With The Native Layer

June 25, 2011

Each Windows Phone OS – powered device has its own way of communicating with its hardware. In a non-public environment, this is done through a COM (Component Object Model) layer. A DLL providing this layer is usually shipped as a part of the OS or an official OEM application. When it is distributed the second way, it is fairly easy to intercept the XAP and extract the DLL. And that’s when the experiments begin.

Windows Phone Emulator In Airplane Mode – Unintentionally

June 2, 2011

For those who were developing for Windows Phone for quite a while, you probably know that the emulator itself exposes quite a few gems. The one I found today is rather useless at this point, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Querying The Xbox Live Game Marketplace – From Anywhere

May 18, 2011

I found out that the Xbox Live Game Marketplace content is syndicated via a web service tied to the Xbox Live CDN. The service returns enough information to build my own syndication client, which will be able to read game data about various titles that are currently available to be downloaded through the Xbox Live Marketplace. Here, I will explain some details on how exactly the queries can be built.

Trick Windows Phone OS Into Believing Your App Is The YouTube App

May 17, 2011

Have you ever wondered if the default YouTube application can be replaced? With tight system integration to the level where it has its own URI scheme registered, it seems like it’s a sealed deal and developers can’t do anything about it. What developers don’t know is that it is possible to fully replace the default YouTube application as long as you take it’s identity. Apparently Windows Phone OS recognizes applications by IDs only.

Dis-(And Re-)assembling The Default Windows Phone YouTube Library

May 11, 2011

Windows Phone 7 comes with built-in support for YouTube. The system has a dedicated URI scheme registered for it, and I talked about it a while ago. It is pretty cool if the developer knows the URI scheme so that the application can be initiated from inside another application, but it is even cooler to disassemble the default YouTube application itself and attempt to integrate Microsoft-built capabilities in your own application.

A Better Sample For The Netduino ShieldStudio 4-digit Shield

April 30, 2011

I recently started working with the Netduino microcontroller and one of the initial projects I decided to tackle was creating a better sample for a LED matrix shield. It wasn’t really complicated – overall, it took me around an hour to put everything together and test it on a real device. Image lost since transition to new blog Here are some things that I added to the updated sample: Automatically initialize the I2CDevice instance when the LEDMatrix class is instantiated.

Launch The Maps Application Inside The Windows Phone Emulator

April 24, 2011

By default the Windows Phone emulator is pretty limited in terms of applications that are available out-of-the-box. In fact, Internet Explorer is the only application that is available – the rest are apps that are side-loaded. I already talked about a way to invoke the default YouTube application and about some other hidden call-related features. Today I found an interesting new access point that allows me to work with the Maps application without actually having the app accessible in the main menu.

Using The Zune Web API On Windows Phone 7

April 7, 2011

I use Zune a lot, having started with the 4GB player, and now it’s available on Windows Phone 7. Though the WP7 player is labeled as Music Hub, it appears under the Zune icon and incorporates Zune’s organization, providing many of the same capabilities as the desktop client.