Hack a Day goes autonomous


After declaring our independence last fall, complete site autonomy seemed like the next logical step. Using some clever coding we have developed a system that will let Hack a Day run without any intervention. The first layer in this system is topic selection. All tip line submissions are sent through a series of filters. These look for keywords like “firmware”, “POV”, “microcontroller”, “video”, “linux”, “WRT”, “GPS”, “PCB”, “TLA”. Each submission is given a l33tness ranking based on these words and the best tip is immediately thrown away. The second highest link is then passed through our advanced anti-duping engine that confirms the link hasn’t been posted in the last week. The post text is generated using Markov chains in what top scientists suspect is a miracle. The story is then automatically cut and pasted into Digg without credit. To foster discussion the reader comments are automatically seeded with “first post” and “this is not a hack” on every post. This system is implemented using a large quantity of duct tape (code and literal) on our brand new Linksys WRT54G beowulf cluster. We hope this system serves you well. We’ve been working on an “auto-hacking robot” to generate how-tos as well, but on its test run it instinctively disassembled itself.

Related news: Team Hack a Day merges with Team Engadget
[photo credit]

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Reversing extension tube for macro photography

extension tube

Reversing the lens orientation is common practice in macro photography. To get even more magnification you can increase the distance between the film and lens by using an extension tube or bellows. [Kevin] built this variable length extension tube by modifying a bunch of cheap used filters. When I say “modify” I mean he “broke the glass out with a hammer”. The base of the extension tube is a body cap that has had the center removed. Glued on top of body cap is a filter ring with the male threads pointing forward to act as the reverse lens mount. You can add any number of additional rings to change the length. It’s very important to be thorough when cleaning your filter rings otherwise you might damage your camera internals.

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