06/04/2018

Burglars around? You can now Blink outside too.

Blink for Home is a nice wireless home security system. It uses a sync module and the wireless camera modules (that record in HD). The cameras are battery powered and should last for around 2 years of normal use (it's not quite clear what 'normal' is, but assume you're not going to be burgled every day).

The cameras are only for indoor use, which might be an issue as if someone's already in your home, it's probably too late.

Welcome to the Blink XT. It's bigger than it's indoor version and it's black (though other cases are available), it's also battery powered, so no need to wire power externally and again it has a long battery life.

The biggest issue installing the camera was getting the screw into the door frame (actually positioning it to get a good signal is imperative too, initially it was installed outside where the boiler was inside - which seemed to block the signals). Once installed it just works.

Various parameters can be tuned sensitivity, how quickly it should re-check, length of clip, should audio be included etc. They are all controlled from the app.

Under the casing there's also a switch which will turn the recording LED on or off (so select that before you install the camera, as the case is watertight it can be a bit of a struggle removing it). You also need to know the serial number of the device to add it to the app, but there's also a QR code printed where the serial number is and the app can scan that rather than having to type it.

The XT also comes with a sticker saying your protected with Blink that you can attach to a window, which might be a legal requirement to let someone know they might be being filmed.

All in all it was pretty simple to install and just works. It's been up for a few days now and not detected anything, which is a good thing.

The Blink XT is available online for around £119.

It can also be purchased as part of a complete system or multipacks.

03/04/2018

Was 8.8.8.8 your default? well there's a new server in town and it's 1.1.1.1

The DNS wars are hotting up (well maybe if there was a DNS war in the first place), but there's a new player in town trying to topple Google's dominance in the domain name serving business.

Up until now, the generic default for putting in your resolv.conf (or equivalent) was Google's 8.8.8.8 public DNS IP service, well now Cloudflare have launched their own public DNS on 1.1.1.1 and it's fast.

The service was announced on April 1st, so many thought it was a spoof, a joke (it also happened to be Easter Sunday and Pesach) but it was real and it works. 1.1.1.1 is actually under the auspices of APNIC (the regional registry for the Asia Pacific region, more specifically their research group) and many a misconfigured service has a DNS entry of 1.1.1.1 - APNIC always wanted to research what traffic was bound there, but every time it was published, traffic overwhelmed whatever network it was pointed to.

Cloudflare offered to handle the traffic and analyse it, and then use it for DNS, which they have done and done it not for commercial gain (though presumably they get a lot of insight into DNS traffic and DNS use) but for the good of a healthy Internet.

As well as supporting standard DNS queries, 2 types of transport layer security are also supported, DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS which are both open standards.

More info can be found at 1.1.1.1