How to Make a Bootable USB

There are many different ways to create a bootable USB drive both on Linux and Windows. The method I prefer is using a Windows program called Rufus, I find that it is the easiest and most reliable method of all of the different ones I tried. You can obtain Rufus by going to  To make a bootable USB do the following steps:

Step 1:
After starting Rufus use the device drop down menu to select your target USB drive. If you only have one USB hooked up to your computer it will default to that drive.

Step 2:
Click on the disk icon next to the ISO image drop down menu which will pull up a explorer window and select the ISO image you want to use.  Select the .ISO image file then click open.

Step 3:

The partition scheme and target system type, file system cluster size and new volume label settings are determined by the .ISO image and should not need to be changed unless required by you.  Click on Start.

Step 4:

You will then get the following dialog box. Click OK to begin the process.

Step 5:

You will get a warning message below. Make sure you are using the correct device and then click OK.

The process of creating the bootable USB will begin.

That’s all there is to it, when the process finishes you will then have a bootable USB drive!






KL-7 Cipher Machine

This software is an accurate simulation of the KL-7 Cipher Machine. The KL-7, codenamed ADONIS or POLLUX, was an off-line rotor cipher machine, developed in the late 1940’s by the American Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and introduced by the newly formed National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952. The KL-7 served in the United States and several NATO countries until 1983.

The KL-7 simulator provides authentic handling with its hands-on approach. All switches, buttons and even the sound function exactly like the real KL-7. Its rotor and cage wiring are fully customizable. With most surviving KL-7’s sanitized, this simulator is the only remaining way to actually work with this beautiful machine and the simulator serves as an attempt to keep this machine and its history alive. The simulator comes with an extensive 20 page manual (view here ) that includes the use of the simulator, the KL-7’s technical details, its history and sample messages.

The development of this simulator is based on publicly available information on the KL-7. It’s principles of operation and most of the technical details are known. However, the internal wiring of the ciphering rotors, which is considered part of the secret key settings, is still classified. The KL-7 simulator operates with the same cryptographic principles as the real KL-7 but consequently uses its own rotor and stepping wiring.

Runs on Windows™ 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Win7/Win 8/Win 10 and on MAC with Parallels Desktop or WINE on Linux.

Download KL-7 Simulator
Download Manual

For more detailed information on the KL-7 and other encryption machines visit the Cipher Machines and Cryptology page.

220 Mhz Sat-Comm Antenna

Here is my  220 mhz sat-comm antenna that I recently put together so I could monitor Navy fleet satellite communication birds.  The antenna is a Arrow II hand-held portable model 220-3 yagi that I use to work my club’s local 220 repeater. I was in the Dollar store with my wife when I noticed this neat little blue wire mesh colander (two for a dollar) when the light bulb went off. Not only can I strain my pasta with it but it makes a perfect reflector for my 220 yagi. While testing it I picked up some Brazilian pirates on FLTSACOM 8 255.550 mhz using it as their own private CB. The coordinates for FLTSACOM 8 (USA 46) is as follows if you want to listen in:


NORAD ID: 20253
Int’l Code: 1989-077A
Perigee: 35,756.9 km
Apogee: 35,831.6 km
Inclination: 12.9 °
Period: 1,436.1 minutes
Semi major axis: 42165 km
Launch date: September 25, 1989
Source: United States (US)
Track the satellite in real time


M-125 Fialka Cipher Machine

The M-125, codename Fialka (Russian: ФИАЛКА), was an electromechanical wheel-based cipher machine, developed in the USSR shortly after WWII. It was first introduced in 1956 and soon became one of the favorite machines of the Warsaw Pact and some allied nations, such as Cuba. The machine is similar to the American Sigaba, the KL-7 and — to a lesser extent — the Enigma. For this reason the machine is sometimes called: the Russian Enigma. The original M-125 was succeeded by the M-125-3 in the mid-1960s and remained in use until the early 1990s.

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, marked the decline and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the retreat of the Russians from the countries behind the Iron Curtain, the remaining Fialka machines were taken back and have subsequently been dismantled or destroyed.

Each country of the Warsaw Pact had its own customized Fialka version, adapted for the local language. This means that each country had its own keyboard and print head. Furthermore, the wiring of the coding wheels is different for each country. The rest of the machine is identical.

Each country of the Warsaw Pact had its own customized Fialka version, adapted for the local language. This means that each country had its own keyboard and print head. Furthermore, the wiring of the coding wheels is different for each country. The rest of the machine is identical. Fialka M-125-3 with open lid

Most machines were capable of communicating either in Latin or Cyrillic (Russian) writing. Although the Latin alphabet was specific for each country, the Cyrillic alphabet had no punctuation marks and was identical on all machines, making them interoperable when a mutual set of wheels was used. A standard – Russian-only – version also existed.

Ukrainian programmer Vyacheslav Chernov (Чернов) has written a beautiful graphical simulator for Windows TM, that emulates all known Fialka models and countries. It supports the old wheels as well as the later adjustable wheels, and supports different wheel-wirings for the various countries. Furthermore, the wiring cores can be installed, flipped and rotated in any of the other wheels.


Download Fialka Simulator
How to set the keys (and card)

For more detailed information on the M-125 visit the Crypto Museum.

How to build a Uber UPS Backup Sytstem

Here is how to build my Uber UPS Backup System on the cheap. First you will need to obtain a suitable UPS unit to start with,  I recommend at least a 350 watt unit.  I picked up mine at the Goodwill store for $6.00. After that it’s quite simple. Remove the stock battery, that is usually bad if you get one at a 2nd hand store like I did, and crimp on two quick release connectors to the red (+) and black (-) battery connection wires. Then do the same with the wires going to your new batteries. The wire size for the battery connection should be no smaller than 12 gauge for this project.  I suggest that you always go male/female to the UPS unit and also on the battery cables so you won’t be able to accidentally reverse polarity.  If you are using more than one battery like I am it’s also a good idea to put a in-line 10 amp fuse between the batteries for overload protection.  For the batteries I use two AGM 35 amp sealed lead acid batteries.  You should be able to get these from your local battery speciality store or if you live in the St. Petersburg, FL area go to Electro Battery  where you can pick up a refurbished battery for around $25.00.  I also recommend that you use your soldering iron and tin all of the wire connections for circuit reliability.  When you are finished, put a load on the system and test it by unplugging the UPS unit from its electrical source. As always if you have any questions on this build you can contact me for assistance.


Making backups of your Pi images is essential but restoring them to a new SD card can sometimes be problematic when the image is the same size or larger than the target SD card. You will get the message that the image is too large for the target device when the image won’t fit.  The solution is a simple bash script called

The first step is to backup the image that you want to shrink.

Step 1:
Startup the “Win32DiskImager” program, Here’s the opening screen:
Notice you will need to select which drive is your SD card. in this case my SD card is H:\ then click the NAVIGATE icon just next to the H:\ pull down box, this will open a file-explorer window.

Step 2:
Select a folder on your hard-drive where you want to SAVE the image file of your SD card. In my example, i have a folder named “rpi_backups”.
Also type in a filename of the image you’re about to create, and click SAVE to continue to next step.

Step 3:
Confirm the folder/filename are correct, and now you can click the READ button to start reading your SD card into your (about-to-be-created) image file.

Step 4:
Here’s my image file being written, almost complete at 90% .

Step 5:
It will indicate “Read Successful” and  “Done” when the image has finished writing.

Step 6:

The next step is to shrink the image you just backed up.

PiShrink is a bash script that automatically shrink a pi image that will then resize to the max size of the SD card on boot. This will make putting the image back onto the SD card faster and the shrunk images will compress better.

Usage: ./pishrink [-s] imagefile.img [newimagefile.img]

If the -s option is given the script will skip the autoexpanding part of the process. If you specify the newimagefile.img parameter, the script will make a copy of imagefile.img and work off that. You will need enough space to make a full copy of the image to use that option.


If using Ubuntu, you will likely see an error about e2fsck being out of date and metadata_csum. The simplest fix for this is to use Ubuntu 16.10 and up, as it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


[user@localhost PiShrink]$ sudo ./ pi.img
e2fsck 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
Pass 2: Checking directory structure
Pass 3: Checking directory connectivity
Pass 4: Checking reference counts
Pass 5: Checking group summary information
/dev/loop1: 88262/1929536 files (0.2% non-contiguous), 842728/7717632 blocks
resize2fs 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
resize2fs 1.42.9 (28-Dec-2013)
Resizing the filesystem on /dev/loop1 to 773603 (4k) blocks.
Begin pass 2 (max = 100387)
Begin pass 3 (max = 236)
Begin pass 4 (max = 7348)
The filesystem on /dev/loop1 is now 773603 blocks long.

Shrunk pi.img from 30G to 3.1G



Enigma Simulator

This software is an exact simulation of the 3-rotor Wehrmacht (Heer and Luftwaffe) Enigma, the 3-rotor Kriegsmarine M3, also called Funkschlussel M, and the famous 4-rotor Kriegsmarine M4 Enigma cipher machine, used during World War II from 1939 until 1945. The sim has a very authentic feeling with its hands-on approach: you can select between the three models, actually lift out and insert different rotors, adjust their ring setting and set up the plugboard. The internal wiring of all rotors is identical to those that were used by the Wehrmacht and Kriegsmarine. This simulator is therefore fully compatible with the various real Enigma models and you can decrypt authentic wartime messages or encrypt and decrypt your own messages.

The program comes with a very complete 22 page help file, containing the manual, some original messages, the history of Enigma and all technical details of the machine. The simulator also has a picture gallery of Enigma machines. With this software you will finally be able to work with the most intriguing machine in military cryptology and examine how it works and how it was operated. A true reference to Enigma, and an educational must!

Download EnigmaSim v7.0.6 (Zip 3.1 MB)
Download EnigmaSim Manual
Enigma Codebook Tool   Create and print your own code books.

Runs on Windows™ and with WINE on Linux or Parallels Desktop on MAC.

Wehrmacht Enigma I

Kriegsmarine M3

Kriegsmarine M4

Enigma open

For more detailed information on the Enigma visit the Cipher Machines and Cryptology page.

How to Convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows 10

I recently purchased a 5TB external hard drive to archive some important media files. After I copied around 2TB of data over to the new drive I realized that it came formatted out of the box in FAT32 and not NTFS. Since I had files that were larger than 4GB leaving the drive in FAT32 was not an option.  I had already spent a considerable amount of time archiving files to the new drive and did not want to reformat the drive and start over.  Since doing a non-destructive partition change in Ubuntu Linux is not possible I booted into Windows 10 and used the convert J: /fs:ntfs  command to change the file system.  For some reason this command did not work so I searched for a 3rd party utility software to accomplish the change. I found a neat little utility called EaseUS partition software that worked like a charm. EaseUS is free for home users.

Convert FAT32 to NTFS in Windows 10 with EaseUS partition software

2. The pop-up dialog box will show the source and destination file system, click “OK” to continue.

3. Click “Apply” to execute the operation.


Open Source Media Center

I’ve started using OSMC for my Kodi No Limits Magic builds. The OSMC image for Raspberry Pi 3 is an excellent choice for building media centers since everything you need is included in the image making setup fast and easy.

OSMC (Open Source Media Center) is a free and open source media player based on Linux. Founded in 2014, OSMC lets you play back media from your local network, attached storage and the Internet. OSMC is the leading media center in terms of feature set and community and is based on the Kodi project.

Vero 4K is OSMC’s flagship device. It’s designed and manufactured by OSMC developers to ensure that users can get the best OSMC experience on purpose built hardware and enjoy the very best performance and support.Simple and easy to use.

Although OSMC is based on Linux, you don’t need to have any experience with Linux to get it up and running in the way you want. Everything is easily managed through the OSMC interface. For those that do want to tinker, you have the full Debian repositories (which bring over 30,000 packages) at your disposal.

It’s free and open source.

It’s not just free in price. You’re also free to do whatever you want with the software. OSMC is licensed under version 2 of the GPL. Anyone is free to use OSMC and its code, but should they make any changes, they should contribute them back to the OSMC project. This fits in perfect with our development philosophy. OSMC is great because it’s built on great software with the same values.

OSMC installs in a matter of minutes

We’re proud that you can install OSMC on a number of devices (find out which ones here) in just a matter of minutes. Our easy installer is what separates OSMC from other media center products out there. We’re always happy to help as well if you run in to any trouble.

Get easy updates and apps

You’ll receive regular updates which make OSMC better every month. You can choose when (and if) you’d like to install updates, as well as install new apps via our app store. Everything in our app store is free. Get a torrent client, web browser and TV tuner up in seconds. All from your remote.

OSMC has a big community

OSMC has a large, bustling community full of users willing to help newcomers get up and running. We’ve also got a wealth of resources to help you get the best of OSMC.

Play anything from anywhere.

OSMC can play all major media formats out there and supports a variety of sharing protocols so you’re guaranteed to be able to stream from other devices. OSMC can stream media and serve files to other devices as well!

It looks fantastic.

A great deal of love and care has been put in to engineering OSMC to be the best media center out there. OSMC’s look and feel is no exception. OSMC is more than just a media center: it’s an experience. Don’t take our word for it though. Give it a spin!

OSMC wouldn’t be where it is without an excellent team behind it. OSMC is developed and maintained by a group of volunteers in their own time. This hard working team bring a multitude of skills and expertise to the table and ensure OSMC stays the leading media center experience out there.

We would also like to thank our community staff. These include translators, forum moderators and everyone else who helps move the project forward.

OSMC would also like to thank all upstream developers for their contributions, in particular Team Kodi and the Debian project.

Ubuntu Mate

If you are looking for a good Raspberry Pi OS for general computing Ubuntu Mate is the way to go.  Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. It is ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern workstations, single board computers and older hardware alike. Ubuntu MATE makes modern computers fast and old computers usable.

If you are new to Ubuntu MATE, or only casually acquainted with Linux based distributions, it can be difficult to understand how a Linux operating system compares with other computer systems that you may already be familiar with. Hopefully this page will help demystify Ubuntu MATE for new-comers.

Ubuntu is one of, if not the, largest deployed Linux based desktop operating systems in the world. Linux is at the heart of Ubuntu and makes it possible to create secure, powerful and versatile operating systems, such as Ubuntu and Android. Android is now in the hands of billions of people around the world and it’s also powered by Linux.

Ubuntu is available in a number of different flavors, each coming with its own desktop environment. Ubuntu MATE takes the Ubuntu base operating system and adds the MATE Desktop.

The MATE Desktop is one such implementation of a desktop environment and includes a file manager which can connect you to your local and networked files, a text editor, calculator, archive manager, image viewer, document viewer, system monitor and terminal.

MATE Desktop provides an intuitive and attractive desktop environment using traditional metaphors, which means if you’ve ever used Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS, it will feel very familiar.

The MATE Desktop has a rich history and is the continuation of the GNOME2 desktop, which was the default desktop environment on many Linux and Unix operating systems for over a decade. This means that MATE Desktop is tried, tested and very reliable.

Powerful Applications

While MATE Desktop provides the essential user interfaces to control and use a computer, Ubuntu MATE adds a collection of additional applications to turn your computer into a truly powerful workstation.

Productivity & Entertainment


Safe and easy web browser


Email client with integrated spam filter


Full-featured office productivity suite that is Microsoft(R) Office compatible.


Music player and organizer


Digital photo organizer.


Play, capture, broadcast your multimedia streams.

Naturally you’ll also find a firewall, backup application, document/photo scanner and printer management all included in Ubuntu MATE. And this is just the start. The Ubuntu Software Center includes thousands of applications suitable for just about any professional or recreational pursuit.


In recent years Linux has become a first class gaming platform thanks to Valve bringing the Steam platform to Linux. At the time of writing Steam has thousands of high quality indie and AAA titles available for Linux. Ubuntu MATE is fully compatible with Steam for Linux.

While Steam is a major step forward for gaming on Linux, there are also many high quality and enjoyable Open Source games titles available for Ubuntu MATE via Software Boutique and Software Center. It doesn’t matter if you like flight simulators, motor racing, first person shooters, jump and run or card games, you’ll find something to keep you entertained.

Open Source

Open Source Initiative

What Linux, Ubuntu and MATE Desktop all have in common is they are Open Source. Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone. In a nutshell Ubuntu MATE is free, in the truest sense of the word.

Although you will find some versions (distributions) of Linux for purchase, the vast majority are provided free of charge, like Ubuntu MATE. Open Source software is licensed in a way that allows anyone to give it away for free, no strings attached. For example, the license gives any member of the user community the freedom to use Linux for any purpose, to distribute, modify, redistribute, or even sell the operating system. If you do modify and then redistribute Linux with your modifications, you are required by the license to submit your modifications for possible inclusion into future versions. There is no guarantee that this will ever happen, but if you have made it better, then your changes just might be included in the next release of Ubuntu MATE.

This is how we can continually improve and grow without having to charge our users money. Many of the users of Linux are corporations that use the operating system to run their businesses, or include it within their products. Many of these corporations provide fixes and new features for Linux as they use the software for their businesses. These improvements are given back to the Linux distribution and the software improves as a result.

Unlike Windows, and OSX, Linux is not created and supported by just one company. It is supported by Intel, Redhat, Linaro, Samsung, IBM, SUSE, Texas Instruments, Google, Canonical, Oracle, AMD, and Microsoft. Over 4,000 developers contributed to Linux over the last 15 years.

Whether you are a home user of Ubuntu MATE, a Ubuntu MATE software or application developer, or an employee of an organization that uses the operating system, you are a member of the Linux and Open Source communities and benefit from the efforts of the developers who contribute to Ubuntu MATE and its related projects, Linux, MATE, and Ubuntu. Members of the community can and do run Linux on almost any hardware, from the prettiest Macbook to the cheapest netbook, from the newest Chromebook to some very old machines designed for Windows, and from the most powerful Internet servers to the smallest smart thermostat.