Simple MIDI thru box

midithru

[Aris] has quite a few MIDI devices that only have in and out ports. To chain together multiple devices, the MIDI slaves must have a “thru” port. Instead of daisy chaining, a better solution is to build a thru box to split the signal from the master. [Aris]‘s thru box design uses an optocoupler on the input, which connected to 74HC14 hex inverting Schmitt trigger. The schematic shows three outputs, but there’s room for adding two more. A useful bit of kit for only a two hour job.

Boxee on Apple TV 2.3 firmware

We heard some fear mongering that Apple had released Apple TV firmware 2.3 to break Boxee and XBMC. It certainly was a side effect of the upgrade, but that doesn’t matter now since a new version of ATV USB Creator has been released to work with the new firmware. So, everything is essentially back to normal for the two media center programs.

25th Chaos Communication Congress schedule

The team behind 25C3 has published the first draft of this year’s schedule. The annual Chaos Communication Congress is happening December 27th to 30th in Berlin, Germany. There are plenty of interesting talks already in place. We’re spotting things we want to attend already: The conference starts off with how to solar power your gear, which is followed by open source power line communication. A TOR-based VPN, an open source BIOS, rapid prototyping, holographic techniques, and running your own GSM network are on the bill too.

We’ll have at least three Hack a Day contributors in attendance. Last year featured two of our favorite conference talks: [Drew Endy]‘s Biohacking and the MiFare crypto1 RFID crack. We hope to see you there.

Notacon call for papers

notaconbadge

Notacon has just announced their first round of talk selections. The Cleveland, OH area hacker conference will be celebrating its sixth year April 16th-19th. When we attended this year we saw talks that ranged from circuit bending to the infamous TSA bagcam. Self-taught silicon designer [Jeri Ellsworth] presented on FPGA demoing. [Trixter] covered his demo archiving process. You can find a video archive of this year’s talks here.

We’re really looking forward to the conference. [SigFLUP] is already on the schedule to cover Sega Genesis development. Get your talk in soon though; they’re already handing out space to the knitters.

Hey, look there, a dancing robot.

People often accuse the computer of cheating when it is the opponent. This could be partially attributed to the fact that you don’t have a physical representation to identify with, the computer seems like an all knowing adversary that divines your moves from the aether. The chief cook actually does try to cheat though. They’ve trained it to play pong, all the while trying to distract you. Upon winning, it lashes out the insults pretty well too. We’ve seen the chief cook before. Last time, he was learning to cook. What will his next adventure be?

[thanks Eric]

Bicycling in the fall

bicycle

Every year, as it gets cold, many of us put our faithful two wheeled companion away for the winter.  Despite that, there have been a veritable smorgasbord of bicycle related projects posted to instructables this last week. In honor of our human powered transportation, lets take a peak at a few projects.

Bicycle safety is always paramount. They can be fairly difficult to see compared to a car. There are many ways to make them easier to spot, such as wrapping them in reflective material, or adding blinking tail lights. Even if people do see us, they often have no idea where we are planning on going. To remedy this, we can always add turn signals. It can also be hard to see where you are going at times. Adding a head light, or helmet light can really help. If you’re not a big fan of LEDs and want a little retro flair, you can always add an oil lamp.

For those who live in warmer climates, or just can’t give up their bicycles, you may wish to add some festive decorations. Covering your bike in Christmas lights doesn’t look too difficult, and a CFL lit wheel is a cheap way of adding some cool effects.

A Basic stamp supercomputer

basic_super

Hobby super computer building isn’t something you hear about every day. This project is even more peculiar due to the fact that it is a supercomputer built with BASIC Stamps. [humanoido] posted some great pictures and detailed info about his project. We’re not completely sure what definition of supercomputer he’s using, but he states that it beats out the others in 10 categories. Those categories are: smaller, lighter, portable, field operable, runs on batteries, has greatest number of input/output, has greatest number of sensors/variety, lowest power consumption, lowest unit cost, and easiest to program. Those sound a little more like features than supercomputing categories to us, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this is one cool jumble of wires.

You may be wondering what it does. Well, so are we. From what he says, it talks in Chinese and English and has a plethora of other input and output devices. It also displays status of its internal communications. Catch a video after the break.

[Read more...]

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