Scrabble keyboard


Here’s another bizarre keyboard mod to add to the pile. Unlike previous typewriter style mods, this one uses Scrabble tiles. All of the tiles were hand beveled and attached to a clicky keyboard. The Num, Cap, and Scroll lock buttons have their letters’ hollowed out so the LED light will shine through.

[via Gizmodo]

Using Bittorrent on Amazon EC2

Bittorrent is a great distribution method for large files, but its heavy bandwidth usage can be disruptive to both work and home networks. [Brett O'Connor] has decided to push all of his torrenting activity into the cloud. Amazon’s EC2 service lets you run any number of Amazon Machine Images (AMI, virtual machines) on top of their hardware. You pay for processing time and data transferred. [Brett] put together a guide for building your own seedbox on the service. First, you set up the Security Group, the firewall for the machine. Next, you specify what AMI you want to use. In this example, it’s a community build of Ubuntu. Once you have your SSH keypair, you can start the instance and install Apache, PHP, and MySQL. TorrentFlux is the web frontend for bittorrent in this case. It manages all the torrents and you just need to click download when you want to grab the completed file.

Even if you don’t plan on setting up a seedbox, the post is a straightforward example of how-to get started with EC2. He’s not sure what the cost will be; the current estimate is ~$30/mo.

[via Waxy]

[photo: nrkbeta]

Malware posing as


PandaLabs has identified a botnet running a malware campaign impersonating president-elect Obama’s website. The front page of the site features a sensational story titled “Barack Obama has refused to be a president”. Clicking the link will download the malware and make the target’s machine part of the botnet. They’re using fast-flux to assign the malicious domains to the massive number of compromised nodes that are hosting the actual site. The team has contacted the domain name registrar in China to get the domains removed. Using a sensational headline is not new to malware; it’s how the Storm Worm got its name.

[via lithium]

iPod Touch 2G jailbreak demoed


Now that the iphone-dev team has unlocked the iPhone 3G they’re moving onto jailbreaking the iPod Touch 2G. While they have a fully working jailbreak, it’s not yet in a user friendly format. [MuscleNerd] did a live video demo this afternoon to show what progress they had made. It starts with him showing the iPod on but not booting. He’s already patched the kernel, but it’s failing the signature check in iboot. He then uses the team’s recoverytool to exploit a hole in iboot and patch out the signature check. The ipod then boots normally and he shows non-App Store software like Mobile Terminal, Cydia, and an NES Emulator (which makes use of the iPod’s internal speaker).

The redsn0w jailbreak works, but it has to be applied via tether every time the iPod boots. The team won’t release anything until they’ve found a way around this problem. For more insight into the boot process, check out our coverage of their Hacking the iPhone talk at 25C3.

CUIduino, Arduino with true USB support


The CREATE USB Interface (CUI) was a project that came out of UC Santa Barbara around the same time the Arduino was being developed. It has a USB port, a PIC18F4550, and a prototyping area. It was designed to enable easy interfacing with the real would through many A/D inputs and general I/O ports. It supports both OSC and MIDI-over-USB natively. The biggest difference between the CUI and the Arduino is its USB support. The Arduino uses an FTDI chip to create a serial interface to its onboard AVR. The CUI’s PIC has native support for USB. That means you can have the CUI appear to be any USB HID device you want: keyboard, mouse, game controller, etc.

The Arduino has a friendly development environment and a large following though. CUI create [Dan Overholt] decided to add an ATmega168 to his board to get the best of both worlds, the CUIduino (scroll down). It can be programmed just like any other Arduino compatible device, but the having the CUI parent means your Arduino project can behave like a native USB HID gadget.

[Thanks Peter]

RepRap pinch wheel extruder


What you see above is the culmination of [Zach Smith]‘s work building a pinch wheel style extruder for the RepRap. The current RepRap 3D printer uses a screw mechanism to push 3mm polymer filament into a heating barrel where it is melted and then extruded through a fine nozzle. [Zach]‘s new version uses a drive gear from SDP/SI mounted directly to the DC motor we saw him teardown earlier. He’s redesigned the carrier for the extruder as well. It’s now much lighter and has provisions for mounting current and future controller electronics along with a magnetic rotary encoder. In the last two days, he’s been doing real world testing. It’s been doing well, but he’s learning to do things like always using a full spool and not trying to run short lengths back to back.

Cat5 camera flash extension


Network engineer [Mario Giambanco] recently purchased a cable to move his flash off camera. Unfortunately, it ended up way too short for his purposes. Instead of purchasing a slightly longer proprietary cable, he decided to employ what he had around him: a lot of cat5e cable and ethernet jacks. He cut the cable close to the center in case things didn’t work out and he’d need to repair it. His post on building the custom ethernet flash extension cable goes into heavy detail to make sure you get it right the first time. He’s tested it using both five and 50 foot pieces of cable with no apparent lag.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen cat5 repurposed: composite video through cat5, vga cat5 extension, and cat5 speaker cables.

[via Lifehacker]