E-Book Project

I have been downloading Kindle books for some time now. Normally I pull them down to my Kindle reading program on my PC. Most of the books were free when I got them. However I bought a few of them that I really wanted. Now I want to do something to organize these books. I do have a folder system in my Kindle program. But I want something better.

I figured I could maybe set up a database to store all the details. This would require me to scrape the Amazon web site for info. How do I grab all the book titles and find their pages. Well first I started with the books I downloaded. Since I run Windows 7, then seem to be stored in location C:\Users\\Documents\My Kindle Content.

The books are stored in an AZW format. Some say that is Amazon Word format, which is the MOBI format with high compression. They might have DRM on them. Or they might not. The DRM, if present, locks the book to the device ID. I imagine the locking only works on real Kindle products, not my Kindle reading program.

I did realize that every time I download a book, I have Amazon send me an email which I catalog. Bingo. Those emails have the book name and link to the book on Amazon. Now I got to dump all those emails out, read them into my database, and code up a Amazon site crawler. This is going to be a very fun project. Feels like my roots ... writing programs to grab stuff off the web.


I saw a book that seemed to be about old school BASIC programming. I put the thing in one of my Amazon wish lists. This seemed like a blast from the past. Upon further review, I figured I should spend my book budget on some more modern texts.

Today I saw an article on this book. The book covers something different than what I thought. It starts with a BASIC one liner that produces a maze on the Commodore 64. A one liner! Still not sure how that works. I downloaded the book and skimmed Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2.

The book seems to be about a lot of things, but not necessarily about old school BASIC programming. The writing is a bit dry. However I am not interested. On a side note, proceeds from the book go towards some type or charity or something. Maybe it is worth a purchase?


I have been reading about the OWASP Top 10. Apparently they are a list of common web security breaches. There seems to be a new list each year. Figure I had better know what they are, to lock down my site and maybe open up others.

OWASP stands for the Open Web Application Security Project. They are a non-profit. They focus on software security. But back to the Top 10. Last year they focused on things like SQL injection (or general injection). Of course cross site scripting was up there. So was miconfigured security.

Good stuff. I wonder what will be on the list for 2014?

Game King Video Poker Hacked

I read a great Wired article on two dudes who exploited a hack in the casinos to win a lot of cash. It was only one of the guys who actually discovered the bug in the video poker machines. He shared the info with his friend to extract the most cash from casinos. Unfortunately, things grew sour between the friends. Then a casino got wise and had the guys arrested.

Turns out these guys found a scenario where they could change their bets after the game was played. They used this to rack up big money when their hands won. It required a certain option switch for mega-money to be enabled on the machine. In the end, their cash was confiscated. And the IRS still wants to tax these dudes.

What was the moral of the story? There were a few. It is possible to hack even the seemingly locked down world of video slot machines. You should not enlist an accomplice. Don't get greedy when milking a cash cow. And so on.

Trouble on the LAN

I got a wireless network running at home. Got a lot of devices on it including a few printers. Recently I found that I could not print to any of our printers. Then I dug further and found I could not access any computers on the network. WTF?

The really weird thing was that I could access the Internet fine. What happened recently? Got a new wireless router that I plugged directly into to configure. Also took my computer to another location and tried to connect to the wireless network there. These things should not have messed me up.

I could not for the life of me figure out what the hell was going on. I contemplated restoring my system back to the factory settings and moving on from there. But I got all kinds of programs installed. So I took a chance to restore the system back to a recent restore point.

I recalled when I last knew the machine was working. Restored Windows back to that point. Bamn. The printing is working now. Got to check any other system changes I made. But I should be good to go. I still rely on printing out stuff. Did not know how much so until I could no longer print.

Hakar at the Gate

I was reading the paper while eating lunch. There was an ad for something titled "Hackers @ the Gate" near the back page of my paper. Not sure what that title even means. There were two featured speakers shown in the ad. One of them was Arati Prabhakar. Umm, is Hakar her real last name?

Turns out it is. She is the head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previously she was head of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). If those credentials are not enough, she has a PhD in Applied Physics from CalTech. Bamn.

I went online to check out the link from the ad. Turns out this was for the Cybersecurity Summit being held tomorrow morning. The funny thing is that the other featured speaker was Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Yeah he might be a big deal. But Hakar is the one that caught my attention.

Making the Master

Sometimes you cannot get access to key blanks. That's okay. You can buy a bunch of locks and study similar keys that work. Or you can go the route of a smart key. This is a key that can potentially open multiple different locks. Just be warned that you might need to use a little force to budge the lock open.

If you do have access to some blanks, you can try a couple times to get through. The key (no pun) is to cut one key depth at a time. You might be able to create a key that works on multiple locks. You produce a master, then you become the master. Sounds like Star Wars, right?