Last week we mentioned an article to cover up that ugly iPod dock; [Jozerworx] did one better by creating his own iPhone dock entirely. He had access to a machine shop where he combined some spare aluminum with an existing iPhone connection cable, but mentions the dock could probably be created with basic hand tools and a power drill. The design is quite minimalist and we would go as far as to say it has that shiny-and-made-by-apple-so-I-have-to-buy-one look. Alternatively, frosted acrylic with some leds would probably look pretty cool too, maybe it would blink whenever there is activity. What kind of dock would you hack?
September 5th marks the fifth anniversary of Hack a Day. We hope you’ve had as much fun hacking, reading, and sending us stories as we’ve had sharing them with everyone.
Whether you destroyed your hard drives or built your own web server we tried to keep things interesting over the past year. It was easy at times because of cool parking meter hacks, great advances in the world of hackintosh, and steam powered pleasure devices. But we couldn’t have done any of it without you. So keep reading, don’t forget to send us your hacks, and we’ll serve up the latest and juciest as we find it. We thought about putting up a list of the best hacks we’ve covered over the last five years. We’d rather hear what you think, so please leave a comment to let us know what your favorites have been.
Why settle for the standard home icon on your browser? If your home button brings you to hackaday.com, why not make the icon reflect that destination? This hack is quick and simple. We’ll take you through it using Firefox 3 and the default theme with standard sized icons. Continue reading “Firefox CSS hack: change navigation icons”
Those brainy folks over at Stanford are working on an open source digital camera. This is an effort to advance what they call “computational photography”. Basically they’re looking to combine some of the functionality of Photoshop or Gimp right into the camera. One example they discuss is utilizing an algorithm to even out the light levels from one side of the picture to the other. Another trick they’ve already accomplished in the lab is increasing the resolution of full motion video. They take a full resolution photo once every few frames and use the computing power of the camera to incorporate that information into the low-res frames around it.
We like the idea of being able to get at the firmware that runs on our digital cameras. Going with open source would certainly provide that access, but cost will be an issue. The Stanford team hopes to produce a model of what they now call Frankencamera that sells for “less than $1000”.
[Tixlegeek] used a Motorola 68HC705J1 development board to remotely control his home through his cellphone. The video above, as well as [Tixlegeek]’s website, is in French, though the video has been captioned. The development board (called the ERMES125) is controlled by a PIC externally. It has an array of LEDs, and apperantly a few high voltage relays. The PIC is connected to a laptop through a serial interface. The laptop is running a small web server, which uses CGI to control the PIC from a webpage. This system allows [Tixlegeek] to log onto the webpage from his web enabled phone, click a few buttons, and have appliances turn on or off through relays controlled by the PIC (via serial signals from the laptop).
The need to conduct laboratory-style experiments runs deep in some people. [Freddyman] built an apparatus to test out several commercial and homemade thermal pastes, including the DIY diamond thermal grease we reported on last month. He setup each experiment in the middle of an air conditioned room, ran the heat sink fan for 30 minutes to equalize the temperature, then turned on the DIY heat generator that the paste and heat sink were connected to. He’s got a lot of data from tests he ran with the eight thermal conductors; air (using no paste), Arctic Silver 5, Ceramique, Dow thermal fluid, pure silicone oil, silicone and diamond slurry, Dow fluid with diamonds, and the Inventgeek.com remake.
One of the big problems with DIY paste is the air bubbles that are introduced into the slurry as you mix in the diamonds. All of the homemade pastes except one were put in a vacuum chamber in an attempt to remove tiny bubbles. The one that wasn’t put in the vacuum performed the worst of all the thermal conductors. In all cases, the commercially available products performed quite well while the DIY solutions delivered mixed results.
[Guus] screwed together this coffee table which doubles as a scale. No welding was required to put it together – just some bolts, pulleys, miscellaneous fittings, and an original design. The weight is indicated through the (unlabeled) position of the counterweight arm. Currently it is limited to measuring 10kg (22 pounds), but can easily be boosted by adding a heavier counterweight. It looks pretty robust, maintenance-free, and fitting for any living room workshop’s weighing needs. [Guus] is also the proud inventor of the rock radio, and he is working on creating Man-Y-Man: a modular play system allowing children to create up to 1520 unique creatures.