DIY RFID implant

[Quethe] implanted an RFID chip into his hand so that he can access his handgun safe without having to fumble around for keys or buttons. He’s also planning to do more with the chip, including installing readers so he can access his car without keys. [Quethe] claims that inserting the chip hurts less than drawing blood. From the video he’s apparently using livestock grade equipment for the injection. While we applaud his ingenuity, we’re not sure that the convenience of easier access to guns and cars is actually worth the trouble of putting a chip in your body.

We’ve covered quite a a few hackers that have chosen to chip themselves in the past. [Mikey Sklar] did it back in 2005 after constructing a pair of pants to block the signal. [Amal Graafstra] ended up writing RFID Toys after implanting himself. [Larry Pesce] from the PaulDotCom podcast had his chip cloned on stage by [Major Malfunction] at ShmooCon. [Annalee Newitz] had her chip cloned by [Jonathan Westhues] while covering RFID hacking for Wired. It’s interesting to see the practice of DIY RFID chipping gaining traction, and, thankfully, all of the people just listed understand that it’s not a form of security.

[via Boing Boing]

Strunk & White can apply to programming

The Elements of Style by [William Strunk, Jr.] and [E.B. White] has long been a favorite of English majors and great writers. [James Devlin] suggests that it can also be a good reference for programmers. With just a few changes in wording, the same guidance that applies to good writing can apply to good coding. For example, [Strunk] and [White} emphasize the importance of structural design to writing. Replace “writing” with “programming”, and the principles are exactly the same: “Programming, to be effective, must follow closely the thoughts of the writer programmer, but not necessarily in the order in which those thoughts occur.” So keep this guide in mind next time you start a new project.

[via Kottke]

Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, built for the SAUC-E Challenge, is a fantastic example of UAV construction. The competition is to build a UAV that can complete an underwater assault course. This baby has a full computer inside it, based off of the worlds smallest full featured x86 motherboard, the Pico-Itx.  It has a 1GHz EPIA PX 1000 Board, 1 GB of RAM, Wireless Network capabilities and runs Ubuntu server 8.04.

The CUAV suffered from leaks which ultimately cost it the competition, but the information on the build is fantastic. They have detailed pages upon pages of information about the Mechanical, Electronic, and Software aspects of the design.  They even went back in and added notes from what they learned during the competition.  The project is also outlined in much shorter form on the mini-itx website.

[thanks Vesaines]

Fender Bender, weird sound guitar

[danwagoner] recently completed a restoration of his very first electric guitar. Instead of going the normal route, he modded it to be a Weird Sound Generator. The WSG is a popular kit sold by Music From Outer Space. His creation, dubbed Fender Bender, has a custom pick guard cut from an old motherboard. There are multiple knobs on the pick guard plus three buttons on the neck.

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