Sticky tape emits x-rays

Wired posted a gallery covering an interesting phenomenon. When you unroll regular sticky tape it emits visible light, but what was recently discovered is that under vacuum it actually emits x-rays as well. They’re still trying to nail down the cause. Have a look at the gallery of UCLA’s research lab to see what kind of equipment you need to unroll tape in a vacuum.

Microsoft anti-piracy solution backfires in China

There’s no doubt that software piracy is rampant in China. Microsoft attempted to remedy the problem with its new version of Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program, which will turn the screen black every hour if the system fails the validation test. Previous versions just notified the user that they were using pirated software. You can imagine this didn’t go over too well with the Chinese, who were outraged by the inconvenience and more than one even accused Microsoft of hacking into their computers. A genuine, unpirated version of Windows costs over 1000 RMB, which is more than most Chinese make in a month. Contrast that with the 5 RMB (less than one US dollar) for the pirated version, and you’ve got a no-brainer.

[via MetaFilter]

INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY


As you can plainly see, we’re embracing International Caps Lock Day with full gusto. Go ahead, try it out in the comments. Caps lock is the cruise control for cool. Surprisingly, there are quite a few full time haters of the key running campaigns: CAPSoff and anticAPSLOCK actually united to form CAPSoff.org to further development of a caps lock free keyboard.

Once you’re tired of yelling at people online (like that’ll happen), you might attempt to do something useful with the key. In OSX, you can remap the caps lock key in System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Modifier Keys. You can make it an extra Command, Control, Option, or select No Action. If you want to map it to another key entirely, try a program like fKeys. You could map it to Esc to make Vim—THE BEST TEXT EDITOR EVER—easy to use. In Windows, try this handy guide from TechRepublic for remapping your keys.

If ease of use is not your goal, you could always make a random caps locker hardware dongle.

[photo: catcubed]

Mini-POV hat

Viddy yourself this Halloween standing out amongst your droogs with this Mini-POV bowler. We’ll quit with the nadsat so as to avoid a kick to the yarbles, you have our sincerest appy polly loggy for starting in the first place. [cheeto4493] modified a Mini-POV to sit atop the bowler with an extension hanging out toward the brim that houses the lights. A motor, mounted inside the hat spins the entire device. Some counterweight was necessary to keep the whole thing from wobbling too much.

It is worth noting that, in person, the message scrolls slowly by. The refresh rate on the camera causes it to seem to jump around in the video.

Reflowing with a toaster

This Reflow toaster oven project(pdf) was part of a contest back in early 2007, but it is new to us.  We’ve seen several approaches to reflowing, but a bread toaster hasn’t been one of them. This has a nice controller with a large Nokia 3310 display too.

[via Projects-Lab]

USB authenticated deadbolt lock

The Makers local 256 sent us this USB authenticated deadbolt prject. For roughly $60 these guys built an authentication system that reads the serial number off of the chip in a USB storage device.  The actual content on the memory in the USB device is not used at all. They are using a Freeduino board to control its behavior. It has a magnetic sensor that keeps it from initiating the lock when the door is open.  They mention that they are using Transparent Aluminum as an enclosure, we assume they mean the Star Trek variety, not Aluminium oxynitride. Be sure to check out the video after the break.

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-hard plAYer- 8 bit tunes hardware player

For people who miss the golden age of Atari music, you can recreate the magic of 8 bit music with the -hard plAYer-. [Tolaemon] put a lot of thought and work into this hardware player. From the AY-38912 programmable sound generator, which used to be in old computers like the Atari or Colour Genie, to working with the YM file format, each piece is put together with the utmost care. [Tolaemon] also provides his design, firmware(ZIP), and parts list so that you can make your own hardware player.

[via Matrixsynth]