how to hack the veralite to get ssh root password

Home automation hardware are some of the worst products security wise.
Today I wanted to log into my veralite, but I forgot the root password.
In no more than 30 minutes, I found a way to gain root.


First go here

Then go here

Then cry, because I just realized my home devices are open to anyone…

Goodbye 2014 – the year of falling behind

While my life is always hovering at great, 2014 has been on the lower spectrum of greatness.

It’s best illustrated with this experience I had in 2014.

So on my 31st, I was driving around to do some errands. I was feeling pretty good. I was thinking to myself, I have great friends, family, and fortune. Nothing to complain about.

Just at that moment, five Ferraris past me up on the freeway.

While I don’t think that expensive cars are an adequate barometer of success, that experience perfectly illustrates how I’ve felt all year — falling behind.

Many of my peers are now doctors, lawyers, and internet millionaires. Others are on their second kid, building that perfect nuclear family.

Me. I just want 2015 to be the year for my success.

The Roosevelts

I am watching this new Roosevelt documentary on PBS and I am blown away by how great the Roosevelts were, especially Eleanor.

In the 1930s, a time before civil rights or any sort of real social awareness, she was working for civil rights, women’s rights, economic equality, international aid, and even perhaps a hint at acceptance of homosexuality.

I am also blown away at how Obama’s presidency mimics FDR’s presidency, right down to the kind of insults they hurled at him. Apparently the bankers refused to call FDR “president” and referred to him as the man in the white house.

It’s also interesting that they used the Supreme Court to obstruct FDR. We have the exact same problems today.

ISIS is to Obama as Hitler’s Germany is to FDR.

Oh yea, but they were terrible parents.

Bill and Melinda Gates commencement speech at Stanford

You don’t even have to leave your computer to see that people have no idea what poverty and suffering looks like outside of our borders.

Go to a liberal new source like: reddit, nytimes, npr, etc.. and read the comment section of stories about the new influx of illegal minors crossing the border.

You will see that the top comments are something like “these people are terrible parents”.

That kind of sentiment shows a complete lack of understanding about the degree of suffering people are facing.

The desperation that forces parents to send their children to make a perilous trek across the desert should not be perceived as bad parenting, but as a horrific reminder that those people’s normal lives are WORSE.

Like Melinda Gates said, “there is no difference at all in what we want for our children”.

I did not arrive at this understanding because I possess some sort of superior capacity for empathy. In fact, I am usually chided for lacking empathy.

The only reason I understand this dilemma so well is because I know many Vietnamese parents who’ve made the same choices.

They put their entire family, fortunes, hopes and dreams in small boats and headed out to sea risking starvation, drowning, and piracy. But at that time, it was the “better” alternative.

The power of prayers

One thing that I miss about being religious is having the option to pray.

For non-religious people, the act of praying may look awfully weird. Like a child writing a Christmas wish list to Santa Claus.

But that’s not how I experienced prayers. It was more like having a quiet moment to sit down and talk to a close friend and counselor who is a great listener.

And the power of pray did not come from the hope that God would use his power to make your problems go away. I never believed that God would answer my prayers by letting me win the lottery, or strike down my enemies. But instead, the power of prayers came from the peace of mind that you get after praying.

Religious people have a great imagery for this: Footprints in the Sand.

For example, when something sad happens in my life, like when a family member get sick, I used prayers to deal with the sadness and powerlessness of the situation. Or when something exciting and unpredictable happens like when I applied for college. I relied on prayers to assure myself that everything is going to be ok and it will all work out.

I understand that it’s all psychological and there are many alternatives such as therapy, drugs, or even yoga…. and that’s fine. But prayers work and it’s free.

Nowadays, I don’t have that option in my toolset.

When shitty things happen, I just stare blankly into space. I don’t know who to turn to, or what to think. The uncertainty of life is just that: uncertain.

TypeError: can’t convert ActiveSupport::Duration into time interval

TypeError: can't convert ActiveSupport::Duration into time interval

One of those stupid bugs that shows up in one environment, but not the other.
Both environments are running the exact same version of Ruby (1.8.7), Rails (2.3.4), and ActiveSupport (2.3.4)

The confusing thing is, on the environment where that works, this does NOT:


Which is the correct behavior. But why would Timeout::timeout work??

Looking through the ActiveSupport source yielded nothing of value.

I know the solution is:


But I just want to understand why.

UPDATE: I was wrong. I was using Ruby 1.8.7 vs Ruby 1.8.7 EE

In Ruby 1.8.7 EE, The Timeout::timeout method is different.

It does not raise from a failed sleep

      y = Thread.start {
        sleep sec
        x.raise exception, "execution expired" if x.alive?

Like Ruby 1.8.7 does

    y = Thread.start {
        sleep sec
      rescue => e
        x.raise e
        x.raise exception, "execution expired" if x.alive?

Google pays ransom

It’s very interesting to look at the list of groups that google donates their money to:

On this list are both left and right foundations, as well as democrat and republican congress members.

There are many groups on this list that I find absolutely disgusting: Heritage Foundation, Ted Cruz, Texas Public Policy Foundation, etc…

But I guess it’s not really fair to say that Google is bias or conservative, since they also donate to groups that I like: Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Brookings Institution.

I don’t know what to think about it. The more I look at it, the more it just looks like this is a list of people Google pay ransom to.

How to use Lenovo OneKey Recovery Factory Restore

I have a Lenovo G450. I wanted to change the hard drive. The recommended way to do it is to use OneKey Recovery and burn a DVD to re-install the OS. Who has DVD-writable discs lying around? Not me.

Here is how to re-install the Windows Operating System that came with your Lenovo OneKey Recovery easily. You can even put this on a USB stick to make it easier.

  1. Unhide the hidden OneKey Recovery partition on your hard drive named “LENOVO_PART”
    • Use
    • When you open PTEDIT32, you will see all the partitions. One of them will be “type” — “12” which is a hidden partition type. Change that to “type” — “07” (like the others)
    • Save and reboot
  2. Find the OS image in the hidden partition. It should be under “LENOVO_PART\OKRBackup\Factory\OS.okr”
  3. Download this tool “Windows Automated Installation Kit” to get the program imagex.exe and bcdboot.exe (you have to install the program, then look around in the program files for imagex.exe and bcdboot.exe)
  4. Format the destination Hard Drive you want to load the OS onto. You could either have this Hard Drive connected as an external HD, or you could have loaded it from WinPE or something…
  5. Run imagex. Tell it to use the OS.okr image to write the OS to your desired destination. Like this:
    imagex.exe /apply C:\path\to\OS.okr 1 D:\
  6. Once it’s finished, make the new OS installation bootable with:
    bcdboot.exe D:\Windows
  7. Reboot and you’re done.

This make it super easy for you to backup and move your Lenovo Factory OS partition. No more stupid OneKey Recovery console, or DVD burning.


Shopping mall in my Davis neighborhood

In the last couple of years, the area around my neighborhood has been slowly developing into a shopping center. It all started with Target, then a Chase bank opened across the street, and now it’s about to grow into a full-blown strip mall with a brand new TJ Maxx and many new un-named stores.

While I am not going to protest these new changes, I do not like them.

Some might say I am a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), but that’s not it. I am not opposed to them being built in my backyard, I am opposed to them being built period.

I understand that this narrow view may hinder economic and social progress. I know many people choose to bring these shopping malls into their towns and cities for economic and convenience purposes, and that’s fine by me. I also understand the inherent hypocrisy in my position because I am a frequent patron to many of these places.

But I personally want to live in a community with like minded people who do not care for these types of businesses. I frankly don’t believe many of us would miss them if they were gone, or only existed in communities where people welcome this type of establishment.

They bring with them a lot of traffic, noise, and trash. While for some people this trade off is welcomed, I personally would much rather pay extra taxes to offset any economic incentives they may bring into the community. And as for the convenience of having them close by, well — we already solved that problem with Amazon.