Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Interesting times. Hitting a bunch of topics that are more than a little divergent but interesting.

Networking Security

Work keeps me deeply involved on this front. Down in the TLS RFCs, certificate stuff, algorithm and cipher suite options and some lower level work. This may sync well with some home project work as well at some point..later once I’ve gotten some other things back rolling.


I’m digging deeper into WPF coding for some of the simpler home-front tools. I’ve done a decent amount of JavaFX coding and MFC work but java doesn’t give me access to the low level APIs these tools need and MFC is old, crusty and much harder to work with.

WPF is a bit of an odd critter but seems to fit my needs decently. I’m still working through many of its oddities and figuring out what works well with its design but I’m optimistic that it will remain a good tool for prototyping on windows and for small home tools development.


Last year I did a good bit of Unity VR programming with a couple of friends.

The year since has been busy as I changed jobs and took on a very challenging set of problems at my new work (cybersecurity, networking security design and fitting it all into an existing architecture that goes back quite a way). I’m hoping that with the fall I will be able to put some more effort into home projects in off hours. Till now I’ve been working during work hours and digging into technology and background issues in off hours.

I’ve got the VR system downstairs back together and calibrated to the room. I’m still eyeing headset upgrades but don’t feel that I’m at the point where I want to throw the money at the systems that are out there.

I need to get back into the basic details needed to build out a VR Unity app. I know I have notes on this blog that will get me there. Once I have that together I’ll move forward with some ‘stretching exercises’ in VR.

I’m also realizing that both the VR environment and the flat screen environment Unity could be a nice environment for some amount of tooling so I’ll probably try to see if PInvoke and similar are supported. Being able to pull information out of a system and then render it and manipulate it in a Unity managed space seems potentially very interesting. With a bit of TLS and networking support and this might get even more interesting. Things to think about.

Rest of it…

I will almost certainly bite off more than I can chew on the home front. Hoping that some interesting bits will make it to a level where they’re useful. I’ll keep blogging here (and on my personal blog and pandamallet for more detailed game stuff). Hoping to reconnect with the friends I was working with a year ago and that a covid vaccine lets us all get back closer to normal life in 2021.

And a Look Back at WPF

Hmm…WPF VIewport3D or Unity 3D rendering. Being able to build a simple-ish windows program rather than something that requires a VR headset does have a sort of charm. Hit testing mouse clicks into the 3D view could be interesting. Choices, choices.

I expect to bump around here a bit.

I really like having the GPU handle display list rendering for me and then being able to change the world while the hardware handles keeping the user’s view consistent.

Seems like it may be worth playing with Unity VR, Unity on a monitor, WPF 3D viewports and perhaps even MFC hosting OpenGL or DIrect3D (Vulkan?). If I can make this stuff work it should prove helpful in many places. Making it work in a more general purpose environment (mostly meaning not Unity) seems alluring as it permits tools to be built with full access to native APIs and facilities.

I think this gives me a direction to head off in that is interesting. I’ll probably still start with a Unity VR implementation as that gives the most ‘bang for the buck’ and should be fun to play with.

THinking that VR Solves Everything :)

After a bit of thought and some time looking at WPF canvas and related items I realized that the same VR environment I planned to use for the random dungeon generator (toy program to play with Unity some more) would make a good environment for putting together an interactive room layout editor.

I was going to try to put together a room drawing tool in WPF. I would prefer to build something like that with interactive drawing as the user moves the mouse. Looking at WPF drawing primitives it seems as if that would get ugly quickly as I really want something closer to a rendering environment. Each frame should be redrawn with updates from any user input reflected.

The 2D APIs seem much more oriented towards static drawings. Update on clicks rather than the 3D style display lists where the image on the screen gets updated continuously. Given the hardware available on even low powered modern computers there is no good reason not to provide this sort of constant, interactive feedback (the equivalent of WSYWG for office tools 30 years ago.

Unity VR provides all of the tools to make this sort of thing happen and should actually provide a very pleasant UI experience along the way. I think I’ll try putting together a map drawing tool as an interesting exercise soon. It may or may not be the final approach but it seems worth trying.

VR Chat

My friend Malcolm suggested using VR chat.

He mentioned and VR Chat as options. I registered with both of these as KyleWilson.

So far it looks as if does not support any of the PC based 6 DOF room scale devices and since my primary VR system is an HTC Vive this limits my options on that front.

VR Chat looks more promising and I’ll install the windows application tomorrow to see how it looks (it appears to be a steam app).

Just queued it for download on jabberwock (the VR system in the basement). Looks like it already installed…more tomorrow.

Playing with WPF Canvas

I need to put together some 2D-ish editing tools for some home project work I’m doing.

I’m still working my way through WPF panels and controls so that seems like a good place to go with this.

Tonight I’m probably just going to try to get some basic mouse controlled drawing going in this thing. A throw-away toy program with some limited functionality to get familiar with the functions here.

In the end I may very well look at using 3D functions (and perhaps not WPF) to make this happen. Being able to do full renders would allow for some nice effects but if the 2D WPF functions are click enough I may make do.

Cybersecurity and Cryptography

It has been a wild ride this last year.

I’ve gone from someone who pays attention to cryptography and cyber-security to developing network cybersecurity architecture.

I’m always up for a challenge and this one has been a big one. So far things have gone well though.

It certainly has kept me busy as the lack of blog posts or significant GitHub commits will show.

I’m not far more deeply aware of the inner details of:

  • TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3
  • TLS pre-shared key algorithms
  • TLS 1.3 session resumption
  • AES implementation choices.
  • Cryptographic random number generation and primary entripy source selection (this last a work in progress)
  • Elliptic curve cipher suites for TLS
  • SSH/SFTP protocol details and security implications in there.
  • Modern password hashing algorithms (BCrypt, SCrypt and PBKDF2)
  • Lots and lots of trade-offs between security, performance, implementation time and cost.
  • X.509 certificate details and ways of creating, managing and distributing certificates. PKI both big and small.
  • Some fun with trusted platform modules.

A wild ride indeed and not over yet. If this all keeps coming together though it should lead to a very satisfying conclusion.

This has certainly added a lot of tools to my toolbox. I’m now much better equipped to deal with secure networking issues and implementation. Once thing with network cyber-security work is that there’s always one more detail that needs to be addressed.

I am hoping to free up some time on the home front to get back to some of my home VR software projects this fall. Still dithering on whether to buy a resharper license. I’ll probably pick up ‘cluster’ again and try to move that to a more complete state. Might also play with some smaller VR toy programs…tempted to put together a very small gravitational system simulator in room scale. We’ll see how all that goes. I really need to get back in touch with Malcolm and Sam and see how they’re doing.