Why we mod


[Codejunkie] has written up a great explanation as to why we mod. He’s specifically talking about the Sony PSP, but many of the points he makes carry over to any modding. Though the “why” question may seem like a no brainer to most of us, we do hear it a lot. We strongly suggest you take a few moments to read his article.

Who hasn’t been asked this question? We all have different reasons to mod things. Some people do it to make improvements, some people do it just for the fun. He lists some of the more practical reasons and makes some insightful comparisons.

For example, he likens some modding to making personalizations to your car. Has anybody asked why you put a custom shifter knob on? No, because we are used to this, just as they are used to being locked out of their electronics. He also talks about products that are crippled from the factory. We’ve covered this situation on Hack a Day before. Is it wrong for you to want your product to function to its built in potential?

He covers a few thoughts on homebrewing software for the PSP as well. There’s no reasonable explanation for why you shouldn’t have full control over something you own.

Nodeblinky, rechargeable and full of blink


Over 2500 unique patterns and up to 25 hours of winky blinky fun, that’s what you get with Nodeblinky. This contraption was designed by the Image Node crew as a learning platform and a way to raise money for their upcoming Burning Man display.

The kit measures 4″ square and has 28 LEDs spread across its surface. An AVR ATmega168, rechargeable 9 volt battery, and two LED drivers power it. One section of their site states that it has over 2500 unique patterns, while another area says 5000 combinations of patterns. Either way, its pretty trippy as you can see in the video above. There are 4 brightness levels as well as 4 running modes to keep you amused. The kit can be purchased for $40 or the assembled unit for $80. They do freely give out all the details though, so if you really felt like building one yourself, you probably could.

Should you get a seedbox for your bittorrent needs?


Torrentfreak offers up a few reasons why you should get a seedbox if you’re a bittorrent user who likes to share a lot of files. A seedbox is a dedicated private server used exclusively for torrent transfers. [sharky] discusses a few pros and makes a few claims that we think might be a little overblown. Although the seedbox will speed up your downloads and allow you to bypass ISP limits on your bandwith, we’re a little leery of the claims that the seedbox is completely safe and secure, or that it’ll protect you from getting sued by the RIAA or MPAA. As pointed out in the comments, paying for a dedicated hosting service and paying for cable is no different. Of course, the seedbox also costs money, so you’ll have to weigh whether you’d rather have speed or risk getting throttled by your ISP. Torrentfreak does list a few hosting solutions that may be reasonably priced.

[photo: nrkbeta]

Maximize the iPhone 3G’s battery life


Gizmodo has posted a guide for extending the battery life of your shiny new iPhone 3G. Apple is notorious for pushing products with unimpressive battery life, and the new iPhone is no different. The battery isn’t user-replaceable, which means you can’t keep a spare, and the energy needs of the 3G chipset adds to the problem. Apple provides some useful tips on maximizing battery life for your iPhone. The tips include common sense advice that applies to nearly all electronic devices – turning down the brightness on your LCD screen, turning off radios not in use like Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, and 3G, and setting Auto-lock to a minute or less will keep your devices running smoothly for longer.

We like to carry an extra USB battery like this one; you can also make your own like this one with an Altoids tin.

XBox controller USB labotomy


[sprite_tm]‘s back with one of his excellent Atmel projects. This time he decided to turn an original XBox controller (cause he likes ‘em) into a standard USB HID device. He gutted the custom USB chip that Microsoft installed and replaced it with an Atmel ATMega88. The ATMega required a few changes to the board, but nothing too off the wall.

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