Drawdio, designed by [Jay Silver], is a fun, simple toy that uses the conductive nature of pencil graphite to generate different sounds. When you use the Drawdio pencil to draw or write, you also simultaneously create music. The entire kit is available for sale at Adafruit Industries, or for the more adventurous, separate components and parts are listed. The circuit is fairly simple and we wonder what other devices people can come up with based on this theme.
Gizmodo’s in-depth look at smartphone OSes provides you with the pros and cons of each, allowing you to make an educated decision, if you’re in the market for a phone that also has email, a web browser, a calendar, and a decent contacts manager. If you’re attracted to the open source Linux-based Android by Google, you’ll also have to keep in mind that there aren’t that many business features. Other contenders include the Blackberry by RIM, which is great for email, but is completely closed and proprietary. The Apple iPhone is very pretty but lacks some basic features. They cover Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Palm Garnet too. It’s certainly a handy guide since most people haven’t used all six.
[David Kernell], the 20-year-old son of Democratic politician [Mike Kernell], turned himself in for hacking into Vice Presidential nominee Governor [Sarah Palin]‘s Yahoo! email account. He was indicted on one felony count of violating the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Although the charge would normally be a misdemeanor, the indictment invokes another statute, the Stored Communications Act to beef up its claim. Some lawyers are of the opinion that the U.S. Department of Justice overreached in charging [Kernell] with a felony. They claim that the government’s justification is flawed and relies on “circuitous logic”. [Kernell] has been released without bond, and instructed not to have any contact with [Governor Palin], her family, or any witnesses to the case. If convicted fully, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. We also discovered that this isn’t [Kernell]‘s first time in trouble. In high school, he received detention for guessing the password of the school server and obtaining access to some lesson plans.
Who knew that a silly comic strip could be so influential? XKCD’s strip focusing on the inanity of YouTube comments inspired someone to actually add the Audio Preview feature to YouTube. It’s provided us with much amusement, especially where one commenter mentions that the “preview of my own post sounded moronic!”
Speech synthesis software is nothing new, of course. While it’s not the most sophisticated software, it’s an invaluable resource to those with disabilities, language learners, and others. This tutorial on Festival, a Linux-based text-to-speech software framework, would be a great place to start. You’re just moments away from finding out how stupid email, IM, and IRC sound read aloud.
Some of the Eee Box PCs have been shipped with viruses on board and ready to go. The virus was sitting on the D: drive, labeled as recycled.exe. As soon as that drive is opened, the virus is unleashed on the other drives and removable media attached. Strangely, Microsoft has come to the rescue as their Malicious Software Removal Tool detects it and removes it. This was only on some models, and apparently mostly in Japan.
Before you denounce ASUS for this oversight keep in mind that they make things that we really want, such as the touch screen Eee PC promised in 2009.
[Andlier] sent us this cool little project. He has built a wireless accelerometer controlled RGB LED lighting system. Based on what a mouth full that is, it sounds complicated right? The end result looks fairly intuitive. Simply pick up the controller and tilt your hand to change the color of the light.
The controller consists of an Atmel AVR168 microcontroller. He doesn’t specify what transceiver he is using, but if you look in the comments, he notes that he added an antenna to it to extend the range. The part that controls the LED is based off of an Atmel AVR169 microcontroller hooked to some shiftbright LED modules.