Projector & Screen

DIY Projector Screen & Accessories

I wanted to build a projector setup on the cheap… I am still designing a portable unit for the projector to sit on and to contain the wires… But here is the start of it. I built two screens, one is approx 60″ and the other is 110″ which I mounted on the wall in a spare bedroom. Both are framed out of wood with metal brackets for support and then wrapped with black plastic. The black covering helps with projected image clarity, as the bed sheets I put on top for the screen are quite thin. For the spare bedroom, i’m considering making a hanging mount for the projector with hooks for easy set up and storage.

For speakers, I found a relatively cheap 2.1 speaker bar. I had never heard of the brand, but the reviews on amazon were good. The projector is also cheap, but can support 720p and has HDMI output as well as a 2 year warranty. All in all the results were better than expected considering the entire project was under $200. I will post back once I have expanded the project to include transportation and possibly battery power for the true mobile projection experience.

Parts List

Cheap LED Projector – $110
Cheap 2.1 Sound Bar – $60
Wood & Brackets/Screws – $15
20ft AUX Cable – $5

Triple Threat Macbook

Triple Threat Macbook

I am in the process of creating a powerful laptop for my on the go needs. I got a 2011 13″ Core i5 2.3 GHz from eBay, and maxed it out. I followed some guides on and added 16GB of ram, and two 250GB solid state drives, by removing the super-drive and adding a hard drive caddy.

The goal is to boot Yosemite as the main operating system on drive 1 and have drive 2 split between Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS and Windows 7. I will use Virtualbox on the Yosemite partition to experiment with some Linux distros, but I still want a native install of Linux to avoid any issues that sometimes arise from using USB on a virtual machine. The first step after installing Ubuntu (The Macbook was preloaded with Yosemite) was to determine what bootloader to use. After experimenting with some OSX bootloaders, I decided to just stick with a classic, GRUB. (GRand Unified Bootloader)

The annoying part about this setup, is that the primary drive is OSX… So every time a major update comes out, the boot options are overwritten and GRUB does not load. After every updates to OSX (which is not often) I have to hold the option key, boot to the Linux drive and run an update on GRUB.

Install Kali Linux on Nexus 7

Nexus 7 with Kali Linux

I saw a Nexus 7 2012 GSM 32GB on for a steal. Having read about a setup called a PwnPad, that uses external wireless, Bluetooth, and Ethernet adapters to do network security testing on the go; an project was imminent. I previously tested out Backtrack Linux distribution in Virtualbox to crack WEP (years ago). I found it to be useful, but require a lot of command line tinkering to execute an attack. The tablet based tools seemed to be packaged in a way that had lots of functionality ready to go out of the box, so I gave it a shot.

Parts List

ASUS Nexus 7 ASUS-1B32-4G 7-Inch 32 GB Tablet
Single OTG USB Cable

If you wish to do this with multi OTG USB support:
Multi OTG USB Cable
Battery Pack for Wireless Card

Installing NetHunter manually was pretty straight forward, but there is a mostly automated way to install from a stock or freshly wiped device. Check out the NetHunter website for step by step instructions.

The TP-link WN722N with OTG cable worked with the out of the box install of Kali NetHunter… No configuration needed. I tested a few tools and then did a full wipe of the device to get all my space back. The Kali install on a rooted Kitkat 4.4.4 was successful. The next steps will be to try the latest version of Nethunter 2.0 with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop as well as getting support for charging and external wifi simultaneously.

Steps Taken

1. Flash stock Android 4.4.4
2. Root using toolkit
3. Install TWRP Recovery (clear cache)
4. Flash Photonic Geek Kernel (link below)
5. Copy Kali Nethunter 1.2 onto nexus & install with TWRP

Command Line

Launch Kali Shell

ifconfig wlan1 up

This will enable the external wireless card. TP Link should have a green light flashing on it. When you launch Wifite, you will see “WLAN1 FOUND”
Have fun!

Useful Tools / Links

Nexus Root Toolkit
MultiRom Manager
Offensive Security Site
Offensive Security GitHub Repo

Mastering Kali Linux for Advanced Penetration Testing – pdf
Nexus Root Toolkit v2.0.5
PhotinicGeek Kernel for KitKat


Retro Pie Gaming Console

This was pretty easy to get working. I ran into a few issues getting certain games to work (especially Arcade ROMS aka MAME) and enabling save states to work correctly with the different emulators. Having some Linux command line knowledge is helpful… Once I have time to better document this, I will do a step-by-step detailed guide for people going into this blind / with no experience.

Parts List

Rasberry Pi 2 – CanaKit
2x USB SNES Controllers
2x USB Extenders

Basic Setup

Download the Retropie SD card image and use the Win32DiskImager to put it on the card. I tried out the Raspberry Pi 2 Version 3.0 BETA 2 image. Fortunately there seems to be a decently active community and regular updates to the versions.

Put the card in your Pi and turn it on, there is not much else. Once your Pi is connected to your local network, you should be able to SSH/SFTP to it by using pi@retropie and the password you set up when prompted during setup. I use the FileZilla client for transferring ROMS and Cygwin to SSH onto the Pi and edit configurations.

Help / Resources

RetroPie Setup Wiki (lots of good video tutorials here)
Raspberry Pi Forum
RetroPie Blog


Macbook a1181 Build

Macbook a1181 Build

I wanted to see how hard it would be build out a Mac and get the most out of it. I started with an older version a1181 2008 2.4 GHz Macbook, as I did not want to spend too much money on my first attempt.  Turns out it is pretty easy.

Parts List

  • Macbook a1181 2.4GHz Core Two Duo, 4GB, 2008 – $74
  • Kingston 120GB SSD – $57
  • Mushkin 1x4GB & 1x2GB 667 (PC2 5300) 200 pin Ram – $113
  • Generic 3rd Party MagSafe T 60W Charger – $18
  • 2x (10.8V, 5600mAh/61Wh, Li-Polymer) Laptop Battery – $39
  • OSX 10.7.5 Lion – $20

Total Cost: $321

The Process

The laptop came with 4GB Ram, a dead battery, no hard drive, and no charger. It was pretty dusty, but I disassembled it and gave it a good cleaning. Adding the hard drive and new ram was very simple, only had to remove the battery and a couple screws.  There are detailed guides for how to replace every component of any Apple product on iFixit.  I found a tool called TransMac to create a bootable USB drive from my newly downloaded OSX.  I plugged in the drive and held the option key while booting, selected to boot from USB, and installed the OS.  It installed in about 20 minutes, I confirmed all 6GB of memory were detected, and then I downloaded the latest updates.


This particular model can support up to 6GB of Ram, but as I ordered all of the parts in one shot, I could not confirm the latency of the memory that came with the machine.  They ended up being the same, so I could have saved $40 and just purchased one 4GB stick.  It runs pretty hot as far as laptops are concerned, but there is no noticeable decrease in performance after several hours of use.  The retail for a stock, used, a1181 is about $500.  There seems to be some on eBay for over $1000… not sure if anyone is actually buying those…  I’ll post details back here if I end up selling this one.

EDIT: Sold at cost to a friend in need of a laptop.