Guitar Hero cymbal remake

drums

[Matt] found, like many people, his Guitar Hero: World Tour cymbals left much to be desired. They were only detecting hits intermittently and starting to crack and fall apart as well. While he was waiting for his warranty replacements to arrive, he just couldn’t help by try to make his own improved version. Using about $25 worth of parts, mainly consisting of plastic plates and some neoprene material, he managed to make some pretty fantastic replacements.  A video of them working might be a nice addition, but the writeup was pretty detailed otherwise.

Geeky tree ornaments

tree-ornaments3

Geekware.ca has some ideas for geeky tree ornaments. This is a great way to add some personality to your holidays as well as recycle some of that electronic junk you have laying around. From RAM stars to floppy disk ornaments there are certainly some quirky ideas here. They would make great last minute gifts for someone who can appreciate your nerdiness. GeekAlerts also has a couple interesting ideas too.

Laser cut pumps

As the video above shows, [Zach Hoeken] is continuing to improve on his peristaltic pump design. The moving parts in peristaltic pumps never contact the fluid being moved. Instead, they interact with the outside of the tubing that’s carrying the liquid. In [Zach]’s design, multiple skate bearings roll across the outside of the silicon tubing, squeezing the liquid through. You can get a better idea of how this works by watching the first video. The newer version appears to be pumping much better. We’re not sure if that’s because of faster motors or from switching to two bearings instead of three. This definitely looks like a good choice if you’re planning on building your own cocktail robot. You can find the plans on Thingiverse.

25C3 international Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag (CTF) is a long running tradition at hacker conventions. It pits teams of security researchers against each other on the same network. Every team gets an identical virtual machine image. The VM has a set of custom written services that are known to be vulnerable. The teams work to secure their image while simultaneously exploiting services on the machines of other teams. A scoring server monitors the match as it progresses and awards points to teams for keeping their services up and also for stealing data from their competitors.

The Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin December 27-30, 2008 will host a CTF competition. Most CTF matches are done head to head in the same room. While 25C3 will have local teams, it will also be wide open for international teams to compete remotely. Remote teams will host their own images on a VPN with the other competitors. Now is a good time to register and familiarize yourself with the scoring system. It will certainly be interesting to see how this competition plays out now that teams that can’t make the trip can still compete.

MBTA drops lawsuit against MIT subway hackers

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has dropped its federal case against three MIT researchers, “the subway hackers”. This happened in October and now the EFF brings news that the students will be working with the MBTA to improve their system. The overall goal is to raise security while keeping expenses minimal.

This whole mess started in August when a gag order was issued against the students’ presentation at Defcon. It’s a shame no one ever saw it because it covers a lot of interesting ground. A PDF of the banned slides is still online. They performed several attacks against both the subway’s fare system and physical security. Our favorites by far were using GNU Radio to sniff the RFID card’s transaction and bruteforcing Mifare Classic with an FPGA.

Finally, a quiet Xbox 360

coolers

Frustrated by the constant din of his Xbox 360, [Janne Ström] took action. The original case wouldn’t have near enough room for the additional cooling that needed to be installed, so he picked up Lian Li’s XB01 case replacement. He followed the illustrated disassembly guide to get the Xbox stripped down to just its motherboard. He then began fitting his coolers of choice: two massive Noctua NH-U9D0 units originally intended for AMD Opterons. The asymmetric heat sinks are intended for applications like this where dual sockets could make other devices difficult to place. Clearly the hardest part of the installation was applying an appropriate amount of thermal compound and then slowly tightening the hold down screws to guarantee even pressure. The resultant system ended up being quieter than the first camera he attempted to record it with and the attached power supply. You can see a video of it below.

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