I Haven’t Been Lazy, I’ve Just Neglecting The Blog.

I haven't posted anything since July, 2023. Almost a year ago. Even though I didn't write about anything that hasn't stopped me from working on various projects. Here are some of those things.

Flipper Zero

I'm still playing with my Flipper Zero but not as much as when I first got it. I added the WiFi devboard and the Video Game module to my collection. I also bought the parts to build a Mayhem board but haven't assembled it yet. I want to have that ready by August for Defcon 32.

Defcon 32

I'm going to Defcon this year. I've wanted to go for years and I finally pulled the trigger.

3D Printer

I also got a 3D printer a few weeks ago that I've been having fun learning about. I got the A1 mini from Bambu Lab In addition to learning the how to physically print, I've been learning to digitally create. I've been playing a bit with FreeCad and trying some of my own designs rather than just printing downloaded files.


I tried to build a Pwnagotchi but never got it to work. I haven't given up yet. Once I have a bit of extra time I'll try again.


Meshtastic is my new jam. I bought my first node from someone on Etsy and after that I built two of my own. I made a few upgrades to the ones I built (better antennas, larger batteries, and GPS) and plan on building at least two more.

So these are the main things I've been messing with lately. I plan on writing about a few of these in the near future and posting more frequently.

I Got A Flipper Zero – Here Are My Initial Thoughts After One Week. Part One.

After being curious about the Flipper Zero for a while I finally decided to order one to play around with. The internet has a lot of information about the Flipper Zero and unfortunately a lot of it is wrong and deceitful. Most of the videos on YouTube and Tik Tok show people doing things the Flipper Zero isn’t capable of or misrepresenting things it can do. Even with all the people posting nonsense for internet points the Flipper Zero is still a fun little device that is capable of many cool things.

The Flipper Zero is a small device that can read, store, and replay different radio frequencies. It will interact with sub-GHz, RFID, NFC, infrared, and iButton. It also can act as a BadUSB device and a U2F token. That’s a lot of toys in a single, portable device. So here is everything I’ve done with it sofar.


I don’t really understand what to do with this and need to do some more research. I tried to scan the door unlock button on my cars remote but I couldn’t get it to work.


To the best of my knowledge I don’t have anything with RFID in my home and not sure where to go to scan things without getting into too much trouble. I ordered a RFID kit for my Arduino and it should be arriving soon. I look foreword to playing with it soon.


I got a few things to work with NFC. I scanned everything in my wallet and got a lot of hits. All my tap to pay cards were readable. I scanned the NFC from my phone. My work ID was readable as well. I stored all those cards and tried to emulate some of them.

I tried to buy something from the vending machine at work with my debit card and phone being emulated from the Flipper Zero. Neither worked. There’s some security magic happening and that makes me happy to know that it isn’t that easy to clone a payment method. After my vending machine fails I was to afraid to test my work ID. I assumed there was some security built in that would call B.S. and alert someone that I was trying to get in with a bogus ID and I didn’t feel like losing my job. As popular as this blog is, I can not support my family with it. I did scan a NFC tag that opens a bathroom door and that worked. I finally got a win.


It has universal remote feature that will just throw codes at a device until something works. I was able to turn of the TV in my bedroom. This is what people use to turn off screens while out in public. It’s just a universal remote brute forcing the power button. I also scanned a button from the remote and replayed it. Win.


GPIO is general purpose input/output (I googled it so you don’t have to). It’s a series of pins you can use to connect external hardware. I haven’t used this at all. Flipper Zero sells a board that you can attach to give the device Wi-Fi. I regret not getting one of these but it’s probably a good thing. One less thing to confuse me.


I’m not sure how this technology works but I see these buttons all over the place at my job. I scanned one and it worked. Another win?


I probably played with this the most. Once you plug this into a computer it will run a script and do whatever you set it up to do. Most of the scripts you find online are for Windows and macOS. I use Linux so none of these worked for me. I had to create a few custom scripts to run on my computer. They are very simple but demonstrate what this can do. If you want to see the scripts I wrote they are on my very under used GitHub at https://github.com/heavymetalhero/flipperzero-stuff.

In the near future I might set up a virtual machine running Windows to explore some of the other scripts out there.


Think YubiKey. Its a token you can use for two factor authentication. I haven’t used this at all but it’s cool that it is included.


Over all I am happy with the device. It packs a lot in a small package. It does a lot of cool things and probably a lot more that I don’t even understand yet. In my next post I will talk about some other things I did with my Flipper Zero including m

Little Single Player Board Games

I love video games and I play them daily. I always have one of my portable systems in my work bag to play on my breaks. As much as I love my digital games I feel like something has been missing in my life lately. I miss shuffling the cards and rolling the dice. I miss real, physical games.

I have an unconventional work schedule and getting a group of people to play is difficult even under normal circumstances. I’m in a Pathfinder 2E group that plays weekly but we use a virtual table top (VTT) to play. It’s still very digital. Recently I discovered a new option. Single player board games.

Recently a lot of companies have been releasing games that include rules for a single player. Many members of the gaming community have created their own rules for solo play. As great as that is, it’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about games specifically designed for a single player.

My favorites are very portable and simple. They include games that fit inside an mint tin and games that fit in small wallets. I love that I can just grab one, throw it in my bag or pocket, and it’s available whenever I have a few minutes. It scratches the itch for me.

Some of my collection.

The two mint tin games I ordered from The Game Crafter and the wallet games are from Button Shy Games. I have more on the way from both sites.

Doom Machine in action.

I also learned about print and play (PNP) games .Games that let you download the the game files at a cheaper, sometimes free price. Just add your own dice and game tokens. I haven’t played with PNP much but I’m interested. I will be adding some of these games to my collection and posting about the experience shortly.

So while Doom Machine may not be the same as an epic Gloomhaven session, in many ways it’s much better. I actually get to play it and it doesn’t consume hours of my day.

What I Like About Mastodon

I’ve always been an early adopter. I signed up for Twitter at the beginning. It was cool. You would have conversations with people you wouldn’t normally get to to interact with. The saying was “Facebook is people you knew. Twitter is people you will know.” Then things changed. Social networking became social media and interacting went away. It was all about fake internet points. A bunch of other things happened and I didn’t enjoy Twitter anymore.

Then I found Mastodon and it was like Twitter used to be before it was corrupted. In my first week on Mastodon I had more interactions with people than the last year on Twitter. I haven’t been on Mastodon for a long time but long enough to have an opinion about it. So here are a few things I like about Mastodon that convinced me to stick around.

It’s decentralized.

No one owns it. You pick a server and live happily ever after or you don’t and pick another server. Servers have their own rules and etiquette so pick one that works for you.

No adds or trackers.

Do I really need to elaborate on this. It’s just awesome.

People are nice.

All the toxicity of Twitter doesn’t exist on Mastodon or if it does I haven’t seen it. The few times I’ve seen someone start to step out of line, the community quickly reminded them that this is not Twitter and certain behavior is not tolerated. When that is unsuccessful it very easy to block or mute the person.

Filter hashtags.

I don’t care about the World Cup but a lot of people do and they post about it. Just like you can mute a person you can mute a hashtag and remove all that unwanted nonsense. The flip side is you can follow hashtags. When someone posts using a hashtag you follow, those posts will appear in your feed.

These are just a few of the top things I really like about Mastodon and I might elaborate in the future. Next post I’ll be writing about some tips I learned to make your experience a better one. In the meantime feel free to follow me on Mastodon. https://twit.social/@heavymetalhero

I Gave Up On The Advent of Code.

I made it through 3 days before giving up. My daughter got sick, I fell behind, and I realized I was in way over my head. Challenges that took me a couple of hours were done in a few minutes by others. But I still learned a lot.

Even though I stopped doing the challenges, I still watch videos to see how others are doing them. I'm learning what I still need to learn and learn better ways to do things I already know.

In addition to all my programming failures I realized a few life lessons I learned doing the few challenges I did.

Pay attention to the details.

I've always been a big picture guy. Programming and AOC has taught me the importance of focusing on the details.

Break big problems into smaller ones.

I guess that's all programming really is but AOC really hit me over the head with this lesson.

Read all the directions.

A lot of my time being frustrated was because I didn't read ALL the directions. I wrote a solution, entered my answer, and got told I was wrong. Looked through all my code and every thing seemed fine. After about an hour reread the directions and realized I was solving the wrong problem.


So even though I failed at the AOC it wasn't a total failure. I still learned a lot and found many topic that were new to me that will require further study. In the last post I said I was going to post my code to GitHub but I'm not. My code is too embarrassing and understanding GitHub better is one of the many skills I need to improve upon.

Advent Of Code 2022

The Advent of Code starts tomorrow and I’m excited. I can’t wait to see how far I can get with the challenges.

Advent of Code home page.

Advent of Code is a new programming puzzle every day until Christmas. I will be doing the challenges in Python but you can do them in any language.

I’m not good at all when it comes to programming but I think it will be fun to try and solve some puzzles and get away from following a book or website. I feel like this will improve my problem solving skills and I’ll get a lot more proficient in searching and reading documentation.

I plan on posting my code to my GitHub page. You can look at it and feel better about your programming skills. Let's see how far I can go. If you're doing it too feel free to comment and share your code as well.

SSH Into Your Steam Deck

I have a dock for my Steam Deck but often it is just easier to login and transfer files remotely. It is quick and easy to set up and once done makes transferring files and other tweaks a breeze.

Setting up SSH.

  • Enter Desktop Mode by holding the power button and selecting Switch to Desktop.
  • Click the Application Launcher and select Konsole.
  • Set a password for the default user “deck”by entering “passwd”and entering the password you want to use on the Steam Deck.
  • Start SSHD
sudo systemctl start sshd
  • Enable SSHD to run after you reboot.
sudo systemctl enable sshd

If at some point you want to disable SSHD, enter the following commands.

sudo systemctl stop sshd
sudo systemctl disable sshd

Once you completed all the steps above you will be able to access your Steam Deck. Most of the time I use Filezilla to transfer files.

  • Host is the IP address of your Steam Deck.
  • Username is "deck" by default.
  • Password is the password you just set in Konsole.
  • Port is "22" by default.

If you don't know the IP address of your Steam Deck follow these steps.

  • Press the STEAM button
  • Select Settings
  • Select Internet
  • Select your network
  • Your IP address is listed below.

Simple Steam Deck Mods

I recently got my Steam Deck and in addition to playing a ton of games, I also made a few modifications.

A new skin.

One of the few things I dislike about the Steam Deck is the smoothness and lack of grip. I added a skin from https://dbrand.com/shop/steam-deck-skins/details and it feels much better. I won’t go into the details of applying the skin since the videos they provide are better than I could, but I do have a few tips.

  • Take your time. What they did in the 12 minute video took me just over an hour.
  • Use heat. It will make the material more pliable and easier to work with.

A custom boot screen.

I also added a custom boot video and I’ll share the steps below.

  1. Change System Update Channel.
  • Press the STEAM button and scroll down to Settings
  • Select System
  • Set Beta Participation to Preview
  • Update and restart the Steam Deck
  1. Go to Desktop Mode.
  • Hold the power button until the menu appears
  • Select Switch to Desktop
  1. Create the file to store your videos.
  • Open Dolphin by clicking the file icon on the bottom left side of the screen
  • Select the hamburger icon (3 lines) and select Show Hidden Files
  • Navigate to ~/.steam/root/config
  • Create a folder called “uioverrides” and open it.
  • Inside the uioverrides folder, create a new folder named “movies”.
  1. Get you video ready.
  • Rename the video you want to use as “deck_startup.webm”
  • Move that file to the movies file you created earlier. I use FileZilla to transfer the file.
  1. Restart your Steam Deck and watch your new boot animation.

I get my videos from https://www.reddit.com/r/SteamDeckBootVids/ and https://steamdeckrepo.com/. I’m currently using https://steamdeckrepo.com/post/ZYqjP/handheld_history_ultimate_edition_home_ui

To the best of my knowledge you can use any video under 10 seconds. There are also rumors that Steam is adding the ability to add videos in the Steam Points Shop.

I’ve Been Distracted

Last Monday I received my Steam Deck and it has taken up a lot of my time. After playing with it for a while here are my first impressions.

It’s Big.

The Steam Deck is huge. It’s not uncomfortable to hold or play on, but it is much larger than any other portable I used. Unlike my 3DS which mostly lives in my backpack, the Steam Deck fits but is too bulky to leave in unless I plan on using it. The casing is very smooth so I will be adding a skin soon.

Most of my games work.

I’m sure the fact that my main PC is Linux (Pop!_OS) is a factor but most of my games work on the Steam Deck with little or no modifications. Steam cloud saves seem to work flawlessly. Proton DB will be your friend.

You need a memory card.

You will probably need a few. I have the 256GB model and space gets used up fast. GTA IV takes up most of it. There are better cards out there but the SanDisk 1TB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card seems to work good for the price.

Get a dock.

I don’t plan on playing the Steam Deck while docked. I can just use my PC, but a dock is helpful while using Desktop Mode. It’s possible to use Desktop Mode without a dock but that is not ideal. If you want to do anything in Desktop Mode you will want to attach a mouse and keyboard. I have used the Anker USB C Hub and the JSAUX Docking Station. They both work fine.

More to come.

In the near future I plan on the following:

  • Custom boot screen
  • Add emulators
  • Add skin

How I’m Learning Vim

Recently I have been learning Vim and this how I’ve been doing it.


Vimtutor is just what it sounds like, an interactive tutorial that teaches Vim. In about 30 minutes you can complete the tutorial and have a basic understanding of how Vim works. You will be nowhere near an expert after the tutorial but you will be able to function if you have to use Vim. If you already have Vim installed, all you need to do is enter “vimtutor” in the shell prompt and follow the instructions on the screen. I did this daily for about a week until I was comfortable with everything there.

$ vimtutor

Learning the Vi and Vim Editors – Arnold Robbins and Elbert Hannah

I get it. Learning from books isn’t cool anymore. There are blogs, videos, online classes, and so many ways to find the information you need. Why read a book? Here’s why. A lot of blogs and videos will only give the basics. A book is more robust. You will be exposed to things never covered in a 5 minute video. Even if the information exists online, would you even know what to google to find that extra information?


I know I just spoke poorly of videos but hear me out. I don’t actively watch videos. I have them on in the background and listen as I’m working on other things. Every now and then I hear something that peaks my interest and then I may look further into the topic. That’s how I learned about the relative numbers setting.


It’s not my thing but if learning by playing games is you style, the link bellow has a few options for you.