Hi, I'm Miguel Mota.
A software developer from Los Angeles 🌴. Learn more »


Rooting an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

・17 min read
This tutorial will walk you through the high-level process of rooting an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (3rd generation of Fire TV Stick, released in 2017). Rooting the stick is possible thanks to an exploit uncovered by user xyz on the XDA forums and user k4y0z who created a nice package for executing the exploit. They called this package kamakiri. Why root Unlocking the Fire TV Stick with root access allows us to install anything we want on it and circumvent the limitations of the stock operating system. Read more...

Getting Started with WireGuard

・20 min read
WireGuard is a relatively new VPN tunnel protocol that aims to be very fast and easy to setup. It follows the Unix Philosophy closely in that it only does one thing (creating secured VPN tunnels) and does it well. If you’ve ever set up an VPN service such as OpenVPN before then you know that it can get complicated because of all the steps you have to go through such as generating certificate authorities, issuing server and client keys and certificates, setting up multiple configuration files, configuring firewall rules, setting up route traffic forwarding, etc. Read more...

Understanding Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)

・22 min read
Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) is a way of making HTTP requests from one place to another. Historically browsers have only allowed requests in JavaScript to be made from the same domain enforced by the same-origin policy which prevents cross-origin type of requests. CORS gives the server authority of who can make requests and what type of requests are allowed. Browsers are the clients that enforce CORS policies. The server can configure: Read more...

Checkpoint git commit objects to Ethereum and verify using merkle proofs

・13 min read
In this guide we’ll go through creating a smart contract on Ethereum that notarizes git commits only if the commit date is within the allocated window of time and offer the ability to verify that a commit was published by verifying with merkle proofs composed from commit hash logs. Then we’ll be using git pre-push hooks to publish the commit on-chain on every tagged release. Here’s some schematics to help visualize the processes: Read more...

Migrating from Jekyll to Hugo

・4 min read
This post will go over how I migrated my Jekyll blog over to Hugo. Top reasons for moving to Hugo are: Faster compile time (it’s the fastest static site generator) Awesome documentation and community Go based templating (biased here) Dependency free (no dealing with ruby versions and gems) Robust theming support and content model Getting started First I created my hugo site: hugo new site mysite Then installed the blank theme: Read more...

Evolution of Blockchain Components to Off-Chain Models

・10 min read
The major components of blockchain are: Consensus Networking Record keeping Computation A blockchain is a shared state database that records outputs from transactions. The inputs for these computations are new inputs and current state from previously computed results. State transition updates are broadcasted via peer-to-peer networking and each node validates the incoming state updates to reach consensus. Blockchain brings the ability to execute programs in a trustless fashion by having every participating node in the network perform the computation and reach consensus on resulting output, where the output is then recorded into an immutable ledger. Read more...

How someone can take screen captures without you ever noticing

・9 min read
Sometimes I get paranoid about people hacking into my computer, and as a way to protect myself I try to think like them. I was wondering the other day how I can detect someone taking screen captures (screenshots) of my computer. After some experimenting, I’ve determined that it’s not so easy to detect this. This post will walk you though some of the ways I was able to take screen captures of my macOS computer without being easily detected (in the shoes of a “hacker”) as I was trying to figure some of the possible ways a hacker might go about it in order for me to try to detect such behavior. Read more...

Getting Started with Secure Scuttlebutt (SSB)

・18 min read
Scuttlebutt was started in May 2014 by Dominic Tarr (dominictarr) as an alternative offline-first invite-only social network that allows users to gain total control of their data and privacy. Secure Scuttlebutt (ssb) was released shortly after which puts privacy at the forefront with more encryption features. If you’re wondering where the heck the name Scuttlebutt came from: This 19th century term for a gossip comes from the nautical Scuttlebutt: “a barrel of water kept on deck, with a hole for a cup”. Read more...

Subtle Psychological Tricks

・10 min read
For focusing Chewing gum helps your brain focus. Blood flow is increased to the brain resulting in an improved ability to focus. Chewing gum while taking a test can help you concentrate better. Look from right to left when scanning a room to slow down search and find what you’re looking for. You’re most likely to miss things when scanning from left to right because your eyes are use to always looking in that direction. Read more...

How Unix programmers at restaurants search menus for their favorite plate

・2 min read
A Unix programmer heads over to the local diner to get something to eat for lunch. He, or Bob as he prefers, knows better than to manually scan the entire menu with his eyeballs because it’s inefficient. Bob knows that there’s a better way to automate the process in searching for what he wants to eat. Last time he was here he had a pretty good pasta-and-shrimp plate for under 10 bucks. Read more...

Introducing cointop – An interactive terminal app for tracking cryptocurrencies

・1 min read
cointop is a fast and lightweight interactive terminal based UI application for tracking and monitoring cryptocurrency coin stats in real-time. The interface is inspired by htop and shortcut keys are inspired by vim. Cointop in action Features Quick sort shortcuts Custom key bindings configuration Vim inspired shortcut keys Fast pagination Charts for coins and global market graphs Quick chart date range change Fuzzy searching for finding coins Currency conversion Save and view favorite coins Portfolio tracking of holdings 256-color support Custom colorschemes Help menu Offline cache Supports multiple coin stat APIs Works on macOS, Linux, and Windows It’s very lightweight; can be left running indefinitely Try it out brew install cointop For other platforms, check out the releases page or read the installation instructions in the README. Read more...

Getting Started with RxJS

・25 min read
A guide in to the world of Functional Reactive Programming with RxJS.

Exploring Decorators in JavaScript

・5 min read
In Object Oriented Programming, The Decorator Pattern is a popular design pattern that allows behavior to be added, removed, or modified from an object dynamically at runtime. In the latest iteration of the ES2016/ES7 specification, there is a proposal for JavaScript Decorators which lets us annotate and modify classes and properties at design time. I will be going over examples of decorators and how we can start using decorators in our code today. Read more...

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Authentication

・3 min read
Here I am going to walk you through on how to retrieve an access token in order to be able to interact with the Alexa Voice Service by using cURL. I have been getting a lot of requests on how to do this step from people reading the Alexa Voice Service with cURL blog post. Set up AVS Device Type If you haven’t already, go into the Alexa Developer Console and register a new Device as Product Type: Read more...

Getting started with Service Workers

・6 min read
Service Workers enables the ability to cache files for offline use, serve as a network proxy, enable the ability for push notification, and even background data sync. AppCache was an attempt to solve this problem but it made many assumptions about intended uses and in the end just caused more fustration than anything, so it became deprecated. Service Workers is AppCache’s successor, which greatly superceeds it by giving the developer a lot more granular control. Read more...

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) with cURL

・5 min read
The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is an Amazon service which lets you interact with Alexa by sending requests in audio format. This means that we can create our own Amazon Echo by just having a microphone and a speaker available. The easiest way to get started is with a hello world example using cURL. But before we jump to it cURL we have to generate our test audio first. Generate sample audio The audio MUST be mono channel, sampled at 16k Hz, and signed 16 bit PCM encoding. Read more...

Set up Raspberry Pi as a Network Server

・13 min read
The Raspberry Pi has an infinite amount of uses and one of them is using it as a network server. This is handy because people in your home network can connect to this network server and access shared files, such as movies and music, which can be streamed to your TV. I will be going over how to set this up on a fresh RPi. Install Raspbian Raspbian is a light-weight Debian based Linux distro tailored for the RPi. Read more...

Summary of "Think and Grow Rich"

・9 min read
This past weekend I decided to read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. If you are not familiar with Hill, he interviewed hundreds of men with tremendous amounts of wealth, over the span of many years in the early 20th century, to figure out what it takes to bring in riches and fortunes. The findings of his research is what became the book. After reading it I must say that it is one of best books I have ever read in the sense that the value of the information presented is absolutely pricless. Read more...

Generate Self-signed SSL Certificate

・3 min read
Using HTTPS for your web application is a no-brainer, but sometimes it is not intuitively clear on how to get started on using SSL for your website. I’m going to be going over step-by-step on generating a self-signed certficate and testing it out on a Node.js web server. Generating Private Key First let’s generate a private key. The private key is used to decrypt the data encrypted by the public key. Read more...

K-Means Clustering in JavaScript

・9 min read
Clustering is grouping of data or dividing a large data set into smaller data sets of some similarity. A well known clustering algorithm in unsupervised machine learning is K-Means clustering. The K-Means algorithm takes in n observations (data points), and groups them into k clusters, where each observation belongs to a cluster based on the nearest mean (cluster centroid). The distance between a data point and cluster centroid is calculated using the Euclidean distance. Read more...


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