How-to: Thermite hard drive destruction

After the overwhelming response to the Hackit we posted about automated hard drive destruction last fall, we finally decided to test out some thermite hard drive destruction ourselves. This has been done on The Screen Savers but they did not show up close results of the platters. So, aluminum and black iron oxide were procured through eBay, and until it arrived we watched some YouTube videos that showed a lot of fire and no real results. We decided to see what it would take to completely obliterate a drive.

With the amount of personal data stored on your computer, we all understand the importance of destroying the data that is stored on the platters of a hard drive before disposing of it. There are many ways to destroy a hard drive; software, physical disassembly, drills, hammers, magnets/electromagnets, and acid, but none are quite as outrageous and dangerous as thermite. That’s what we’re going to do here today. Follow along for pictures and videos of the results.

[Read more...]

Why I Hate Django

[Cal Henderson] delivered a keynote titled Why I Hate Django at the first annual DjangoCon. Django is an open source BSD licensed web framework written in Python. Google has posted the keynote in its entirety to YouTube, which you can find embedded above. While the talk is humorous (and takes many jabs at Rails developers) it does provide insight into what makes a good web framework. [Cal] is Director of Engineering at Flickr and is an authority on how to make websites scale. He points out that most frameworks are designed to get projects off the ground quickly, but are lacking when it comes to building an even larger service. He talks about several things in Django that need work and improvements that could be made. It’s really an interesting look at what it takes to go big. [Read more...]

Antec Skeleton case

Maybe you saw the previous post and thought, “Well, that’s all well and good, but why is such a stylish case being used to ventilate cat feces?” Antec has heard your cries and has created a computer case with all the lovely curves of a litter box and just as much airflow. The Skeleton case has an open frame design with a 250mm fan on top. You mount the motherboard to a sliding tray. The power supply and hard drives are mounted underneath. It’s an interesting idea and easily replicated, but if cooling had been the goal, it would be a lot more enclosed. You can see the case with components installed on TweakTown.

[via acquire, thanks, xtine]

Hack your litter box


Cat poo stinks.  We all know it. Those of us who have cats, though frequently amazed at the sheer magnitude of stench our cuddly friends are capable of, do little to remedy the situation.  Sure, sometimes we buy the fancier kitty litter or the special food.  [agraham999] decided to be a little more proactive.  He built an automated exhaust system for the litter box. He wasn’t content to just rig a fan blowing to an exhaust vent either, he hooked it up to an automation system and a motion detector.  The total cost for the project was $80, not including the mac mini that serves as the brains.

Be sure to read through the comments for some very in depth discussion about power usage and solar conversions.

[via Boing Boing Gadgets]

VLC media player 0.9.2 released

VideoLAN just released VLC media player 0.9.2. VLC is probably the best known open source media player, and supports most audio/video formats without additional codecs. Before VLC, we usually installed buggy codec packs to watch videos in Winamp or Windows Media Player. We’ve found the nightly builds to be pretty stable for the past month, but it’s nice to see the final version released.

Download Squad gushed over the new interface design, but omitted the real change — VideoLAN switched from wxWidgets to the Qt toolkit. Among many changes, Qt allows video effects to be applied without restarting the media.

One of our favorite new features is an adjustments and effects menu for quick picture, sound, and subtitle tweaks. The new version has better support for flash videos (FLV), and will stream from most online video sharing sites. See the full changelog at the VideoLAN wiki, and help out if that’s your thing.

[via Download Squad]

Arcade cabinet that plays every game in the universe


Ok, maybe we’re exaggerating a little bit. It may not play every game in the universe, but the CMACC gets pretty close. CMACC stands for “Complete – Multi Arcade Console Computer System” and is comprised of a giant pile of gaming goodness. [Mayhem] packed a PC, Xbox, Xbox360, Dreamcast, Wii, PSP, and a DS into the cabinet. He seems to have overlooked the Virtual Boy though.

He’s using GamEx as a front end for a multitude of emulators, including MESS which emulates tons of old desktops like Commodores and Apples. The cabinet, while not as elegant as the Retro Space, wins major geek points for the cup holder.

[via Engadget]

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