May 2017 9
EVENTS, ADVANCES, AND NEWS
Post comments on this article at www.nutsvolts.com/magazine/issue/2017/05.
COMPUTERS and NETWORKING
Turn Your Pi into a Stereo
One of the reasons why your Raspberry Pi computer didn’t cost much is that it wasn’t designed to provide audiophile-level sound
capabilities. You get good quality via the HDMI link, but
what comes out of its 3. 5 mm stereo jack is not so much.
However, a few companies are now offering products
that can be piggybacked on the Pi to configure a pretty
good sound system, among which is the HiFiBerry (www.
You can go basic with the simple HiFiBerry DAC with
RCA jacks, but if you want a complete solution in one
package, you might prefer the HiFiBerry Amp+, which
includes a Class-D power amp and creates a complete
stereo system minus the speakers.
The Amp+ works with the Raspberry Pi mode A+,
B+, or the newer Pi 2 (but not with the older model
A/B), and is controlled directly through the Pi. You get
up to 25W of audio power (into 4Ω), built-in digital-to-analog conversion, and 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rates. It
connects directly to the Pi (no soldering required), so you
don’t need any additional cables, and only one 12V–19V
power supply is needed for both the Pi and amp. For a
few bucks more, you can add a case and various other
Note that the online store is in Switzerland, so it may
simplify things to go through the US distributor, Chicago
Electronic Distributors ( chicagodist.com). ▲
How to Beat Ransomware
Most of us have never suffered a ransomware attack, whereby malicious software encrypts tored data and makes it inaccessible, after
which crooks demand a hefty payment in bitcoins to
hand over the encryption keys. Many larger businesses
have been hit and, in fact, computer security firm
Malwarebytes ( www.malwarebytes.com) claims that
ransomware “is fast becoming a ubiquitous threat, with
nearly 40 percent of all businesses experiencing an attack
in the past year.”
The firm surveyed 500 companies in four countries
in coming up with that number. Ransom demands
occasionally topped $50,000, but one-fifth of them
were for $500 or less, so the criminals are not limiting
their targets to entities with deep pockets. This type of
malware is increasingly spread through vulnerabilities in
such applications as Adobe Flash and Windows, so if you
have either one installed, you could be next.
The good news is that you can protect yourself
pretty easily by following standard security procedures
As noted on the site, “Since it is much easier to
avoid the threat than to fight against it once the system
is affected, the project ... aims to educate users about
how ransomware works and what countermeasures can
be taken to effectively prevent infection.” Nevertheless, it
also offers decryption tools for victims of a dozen or so
viruses, including Dharma and Crysis. ▲
HiFiBerry Amp+ adds high quality audio.
Screenshot of a ransomware attack.