ya know all those cheap $10 disposable cameras a the drug stores? some of them can be used as regular cameras and you can pull the pictures off, it might not be worth the time if you’re a camera-pro, but i might try and make a timer and set it loose.
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the cuecat, which you can still get on ebay and other places, was a neat little device that scanned in bar codes and with a net connection go to sites, offer up discounts, etc
i had an old nes in the basement and was thinking of making a pc case out the nes unit, but then i googled around saw there was a kit you could get to solder up a usb joystick for macs and pcs out of the old nes controller. grab some emulators and you’ve got some up down a b select start action.
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i wrote an article for popular science august 2004 issue on how to change the voice of an aibo ers-7. the reason i wanted to do this is because sony really goofed when they added a “human” voice to latest edition to the aibo robot dog series, what made aibo cool was that it didn’t actually talk in some lame “show me to your leader” voice. but after poking around on the memory card(s) and reading up on the aibo file formats and tools, you can change the voice to something a little more r2-d2 and less c3po.
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i thought i’d start out with this hack while we’re in beta, since it was one of the first ones that really got me interested in the way phones worked and how many consumer electronics can be used for new and educational things. a “red box” was a device that would simulate coins being dropped in to a pay-phone, hence free phone calls for many people until the phone systems changed. the most popular device to modify was a radioshack tone dialer, a simple solder of a 6.5536 mhz crystal was all it took and you could “drop” 5, 10 and 25 cents at a time to make calls.
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