Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

The AVR Treasure Chest

My friend Kelly built this:

When my boys were very young, I made a treasure chest from a cheap toolbox, placed an electronic lock in it (AT90S1200) and sent them on a treasure hunt, solving clues and ultimately opening the chest to get their pirate booty, a pair of N64 games. Over the years that chest has been used on many such hunts, created by myself or the boys.
Fast forward over 10 years later and I felt it was time for a new chest, one that would run the treasure hunt itself, playing videos, sound effects, and even hand out paper clues. The typical scenario would start with the chest playing a video clue on the iTouch, which would send the treasure hunters off looking for more clues and eventually get a key. Returning to the chest they would insert the key which would signal the chest that they completed that scenario and it’s time to start the next one, which could be another video, or dispensing a paper clue or map. Once the last scenario was completed the chest would release the big spring loaded trunk latch and the treasure hunters could reap the reward of what ever was inside waiting for them.

This is a pretty amazing project and the documentation is top notch. Thanks for telling me about this Kelly! Once you have seen the chest writeup go have a look at his robots, the man is a master of ingenuity and creativity. I’m proud to say that my robots have had their tin cans kicked by his ‘bots a number of times.
Treasure Chest

Posted: November 15th, 2010
at 5:52pm by John


Categories: Computers,Cool,Design,Hacked,Robots,Technology,To be used for Evil

Comments: 2 comments


HDR Video: The Next Overused Effect?


Shoot the same scene through a beam splitter on two Canon 5D MKII digital cameras. Under expose one camera by two stops, over expose the other by the same. Mix in post with some custom software that compresses the brights and shadows and you have what will probably become the next over used video effect, once the hardware gets sorted out… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 11th, 2010
at 9:02am by John

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Categories: Artistic,Computers,Cool,DIY,Film,Photography,To be used for Evil

Comments: 1 comment


Cylon Makeover for the Commodore 64

The venerable Commodore 64 is set to rise again in 2010, or the Commodore USA website would lead you to believe. Apparently it will support various OS, Windows, Ubuntu, Apple (unofficially only), Chrome, Aros, Comodo (whatever those last two are) packs a quad core Intel CPU, 4 GB memory, DVD drive… However, I call shenanigans on the whole thing. Aside from looking like a Cylon from Battlestar Galactica, the critter looks exactly like the Zero Footprint PC offered by Cybernetman. Yeah, I think this is the case of someone wanting to cash in on the classic Commodore name (but where is the ‘C64’ logo we all know and love, eh?). Still, an all in one keyboard/PC would be useful in a small office or a students desk.

Commodore USA Phoenix tech specs

Posted: March 26th, 2010
at 8:27pm by John


Categories: Computers,Dumb

Comments: No comments


Cube.ly 3D Printer

I went to the bi-monthly hackerspace meeting last night. They had a guy there giving a talk about an open source 3D printer that he and his company is working on. I posted photos of it on Flickr. The thing is called ‘Cube.ly‘ and will, once finished, print 10cc of volume per hour, cost under $1000, takes a weekend to build, and is made of off the shelf parts. The frame is made of this stuff called ‘80/20′, think adult sized Erector set and the other bits like motors are available from McMaster-Carr or the guys that build the Makerbot (electronics).

Posted: March 19th, 2010
at 7:34pm by John

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Categories: Computers,Cool,DIY,Mad Science,Robots,Science,Technology,To be used for Evil

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MONOCHRON – Monochome display clock kit


Another very cool clock kit to lust after. I swear, if I had my way my room would look like Doc Brown lived in it…

The second clock kit from ladyada & Adafruit Industries, we present MONOCHRON!

We wanted to make a clock that was ultra-hackable, from adding a seperate battery-backed RTC to desiging the enclosure so you could program the clock once its assembled

  • 128×64 LCD (KS0108) – we special-ordered the black and white display
  • ATmega328 processor (we even stuck an ‘arduino’ stk500 bootloader on there too)
  • Laser cut enclosure in black acrylic
  • Beeping/blinking alarm with 10 minute snooze
  • Battery backed-up real time clock (DS1307) keeps time even when power is lost for years
  • European/US 12 or 24 hour time display as well as date
  • Completely open source hardware, all firmware, layout and CAD files are yours to mess with
  • Plenty of space for mods, a prototyping area for soldering stuff in
  • Soothing animation of retro arcade style table-tennis for two

MONOCHRON – Monochome display clock kit.

Posted: February 27th, 2010
at 11:04pm by John

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Categories: Artistic,Computers,Cool,DIY,To be used for Evil

Comments: No comments


30 Best Practices for Writing HTML

30 Best Practices for Writing HTML
Even if you are not a professional web developer and can only just cut and paste enough HTML to make a web page not totally suck these 30 tips are something that you should read. Lot’s of good practical advice, stuff like closing your tags and if you use inline styles an asteroid will strike you dead (not really but inline styles are still a bad idea). Read it and remember it the next time you are working on your magnum opus ‘Hello World’ page.

30 HTML Best Practices for Beginners

Posted: February 26th, 2010
at 8:02pm by John

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Categories: Artistic,Computers,DIY

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