A couple months ago we posted [Ben Heck]’s in-progress photos of his Xbox 360 laptop (with links to his other versions). He’s just put the finishing touches on it, and dubbed it the Xbox 360 Portable. It has a removable hard drive on top and memory slots on the side. The webcam is embedded in the frame and there’s internal WiFi. With chatpads available now, he’s decided not to include a keyboard. It’s really a nice machine. Check out the video below for a tour of the system.
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Python 3000 has officially been released. The final bug, Issue2306, “Update What’s new in 3.0″ has been closed. Python 3000, py3k, Python 3.0, is a major release for the community. [Jeremy Hylton] pegs the earliest mention of the beast to January 2000. The new release has grown from PEP 3000, opened April 2006.
Py3k breaks backwards compatibility with previous releases in order to reduce feature duplication and promote one obvious way of getting things done. The first major change is that
print is now a builtin function and not a statement.
long have been unified, and integer division now returns a float. Py3k uses concepts of “text” and “data” instead of “Unicode strings” and “8-bit strings”. You can read about many of the changes in What’s New In Python 3.0. Some new features have been backported to Python 2.6 so you can start implementing them in your current code to ease the transition. 2.6 also has the
-3 command line switch to warn you about features that are being removed or changed. Finally, the tool 2to3 is a source-to-source translator that should automate a lot of the changes.
Documentation for the new release is online. Source packages and binaries are available now.
Like everybody, we sometimes get a little frustrated with our cellphones. Probably one of the most annoying things is when we drop our phones once and they stop working. At Nokia’s hardware damage labs in San Diego, they physically test their phones for extreme uses. They test things like flip tension, water resistance, and even UV resistance. Recently, the folks over at MobileCrunch were given a tour of these labs and were nice enough to post an in-depth article about what they saw. In addition to the impact testing video above, there are many more videos posted that demonstrate the tests they perform.
[HE Zao] sent us this sweet Wiimote Drum kit. You’ll nee a Wiimote, a Nunchuck, and a Balance Board to use with the the Wii Drum High software. You get a Hi-hat, snare, bass drum, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, mid tom, and low tom. You can even connect multiple sets, up to 4. Download the software from the site and get started.
[sixerdoodle] sent us this nice firefly project that serves as an intro to charlieplexing. We’ve mentioned charlieplexing before, in our LED Life post and the Breath Controlled LED candles post. This project is quite simple and focues mainly on how to make a charlieplexed circuit work.
The goal was to create a tiny firefly bottle with SMD LEDs and as few wires as possible. In the video, after the break, it is hard to tell just how small this thing is until we see the battery. There are clear directions and fantastic pictures detailing exactly how to set up a charlieplexed circuit with 6 LEDs.
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[unusualelectronics] posted this animated LED snowflake. It has 61 LEDs, is controlled by a PIC microcontroller, and can perform about 30 different effects. The instructions are quite thorough, including diagrams for soldering and source code for the microcontroller.
The Amazon MP3 Store may have the lowest prices on DRM free music, but for some people 79 cents for a song is just too much, especially when [john] and the folks at pirates-of-the-amazon.com can help you get that song for free. Pirates of the Amazon is a slick Firefox addon that inserts a “download 4 free” button next to the “add to cart” button in the Amazon MP3 Store. After clicking on the button, the addon refers users to a thepiratebay.org search page with bittorrent download links for the song or album. While there is no question that this makes getting your music easier, by using this addon you do run the risk of violating copyright laws, depending on which country you live in.
There isn’t much here that hasn’t been thrown into Greasemonkey scripts in the past and we wonder if they’re marketing this to anyone at all. People who absolutely love using Amazon but hate buying stuff perhaps? They cite a couple interesting projects in their about section: Amazon Noir robotically abused the “Search Inside” feature to reconstruct entire books. OU Library searches your local library to see if it has the Amazon book you’re looking for.