iPhone 3G: Under the hood


TechOnline has cracked open the iPhone 3G to find out what makes it tick. They’ve released detailed diagrams as well as some videos of the dissection.

Calling this an incremental update, they note that the changes seem to be additions and improvements rather than a total rebuild of the original platform. They get into the nitty gritty, discussing not only the layout and structure, but even the importance of each chip manufacturer.

Some of the improvements are obvious, like 3G. Others include the battery not being permanently attached, and the headphone jack being flush mounted. Most of the changes were in who manufactured each chip.

[via TUAW]

PSPSeq 3.0, PSP sequencer release and interview


DSPmusic.org has just released the latest version of its homebrew PSP music sequencer PSPSeq 3.0. With PSPSeq you can create songs with up to 16 independent audio tracks, use WAV audio clips of your own and then modify them with a number of settings, or even use some of the built in synthesizers to generate sounds. There are strong looping and recording features as well. If you are into homebrew music apps on the PSP, then this will give you a strong offering of features. We had a chance to catch up with the author, [Ethan Bordeaux], and ask a few questions. You can check out the short interview after the break.

[Read more...]

Exposing and photographing silicon

Have you ever wanted to break open your IC and see where those pins really go? [nico] goes through his process of dissolving ICs to their core and photographing the tiny die. The technique involves liquefying the package in sulfuric acid until all the packaging material and pins are gone. He even explains how to use sodium bicarbonate (common baking soda) to neutralize the solution thus allowing for simple sink disposal. Although silicon hacking is generally done by funded hackers with a really nice lab, it is certainly possible to execute some of these techniques with limited equipment and chemical access. For instance, if you can’t get sulfuric acid, send your IC off to a failure analysis lab like MEFAS. For more information and stories on silicon hacking, check out [Chris Tarnovsky]‘s process for hacking smartcards and [bunnie]‘s talk Hacking silicon: secrets behind the epoxy curtain.

ATmega88 webserver

If you are an Atmel fan, you may enjoy this webserver built around the ATmega88. Since it has full TCP and HTTP support, communication can be done using a standard web browser on any system. We also noticed that the code uses AVR Libc and the processor can be replaced with an ATmega168, both used on the Arduino platform. Honestly, we think the most interesting part about this project is the firmware. The author has assumed that the webserver will only be sending one packet per request and the code is optimized for this setup. This leaves around 50% of the memory for the web application.

[via YourITronics]

Scavenging a WWVB module from an RC clock


[Chris Kuethe] shows how to scavenge what could be a pricey WWVB module from a radio controlled clock. WWVB is a special radio station in Colorado that transmits an atomic-clock-derived signal to RC clocks. The clock model he uses, the Atomix 13131, goes for less than twenty bucks. He also shares the link to another tear down of a Sony branded radio controlled clock for similar purposes. So if you’re looking for a cheap way to obtain a WWVB module, the scavenging method could be the thrifty solution you seek.

(Disclaimer: A sticker for an event I organize is in the background of the photos, it’s not meant to be there as product placement.)

SenseSurface: Custom inputs on your lcd screen


[Lindsay Williams] has come up a novel way of constructing custom physical inputs for your programs. SenseSurface is a viable alternative to building a new interface for each application. Simply place the dials, buttons, and sliders on your screen wherever you want them.

A sensor board, placed behind the display, picks up the signals from the inputs. The only limitation to the number of inputs available is the size of your screen. Inputs are held on magnetically, and have a low friction backing to avoid scratching or gouging your screen.

[Read more...]

Install Debian on the Nokia N810


The Nokia N810 tablet is a great buy, especially for hackers. It already ships with a Linux-based operating system, called OS2008, which is based upon Maemo 4.0. However, for those who aren’t fans of OS2008, you can install Debian easily with some patience and an extra memory card. The Debian install includes OpenOffice, Firefox 3, AbiWord, and IceWM. You should be aware that there are pitfalls. Some of the applications run slowly, and you may be in danger of losing data if you run into problems.

[via Unwired View]