40 years of NERF

nerf3 (Custom)

In 1968 a guy by the name of [Rey Guyer] came up with an idea for a game. It involved foam balls as game pieces. After failing to sell the game to Milton Bradley, he approached Parker Brothers. They bought his idea but ended up tossing the game itself and just marketing the foam ball. Named after the padding used on rollbars in offroad vehicles, Nerf balls were an instant success, 40 years ago, in 1969. Many of us have fond memories of Nerf, even before everything they produced was a weapon. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the Nerf weapons. We certainly have seen some hackers do some fun stuff with them.

[via neatorama]

In-depth MAME cocktail cabinet build

mamebuild31_sm

Recently, a friend of ours got married who is a Ms. Pac-Man fanatic. His best man set out to fulfill the groom’s dream of owning a Ms. Pac-Man cocktail cabinet. The problem is that the unit he was after was selling for $2500. It’s great to buy the real thing (and with guest contributions he did,) but if it’s not available consider building your own.

[Alex] has put together a comprehensive guide for building a MAME cocktail cabinet. Unlike the mini-cabinet we saw last week, this is intended to be used sitting down and features controls on more than one side. His guide details the use of an original arcade CRT or an LCD flat panel, high-end controls via an I-Pac 4 controller, and a PC running MAME and MaLa software for Windows. The result is a professional looking build with controls on three sides of the table.

[via Gizmodo]

How to download books from Google

google book downloader

If you want books, but don’t want to pay for them, there is a better way than walking into your local book store and pocketing them. Try grabbing them online, from Google!

Everyone must be aware of the Google Books Library project by now. If you’re not, it’s basically a way for Google to ensure all of the world’s book content is accessible and searchable. Through the Book Project, Google works with libraries to scan and archive their older and out of print materials. Up until recently, viewers of books in the Google Library Project web space were limited to viewing books within the browser. Not any more. Google Book Downloader is a utility that rips books from Google and saves them as PDFs so you can view them with any device or desktop that can view this file format. Using Microsoft’s .NET framework, the Google Book Downloader application allows users to enter a book’s ISBN number or Google link to pull up the desired book and begin a download, fishing off with exporting the file to a PDF. Full setup instructions and download are available on Codeplex.

12kW solar collector

Though not much info is readly available about it on the web, [Joe Carruth] is trying to build publicity (and venture capital) for his home-built solar electric generator. At its essence, it is a Stirling dish system with an adjustable composite mirror surface. This means that instead of having to rotate the entire contraption in order to follow the Sun, [Joe] only has to make  the mirror segments pivot. A Stirling steam engine at the tip converts the energy into the movement used to generate electricity. Solar power plants (or ‘farms’) that are emerging are beginning to consider the advantages of using more efficient Stirling dishes rather than less efficient solar panels. If anyone has an idea as to how [Joe] can automate sun tracking for the mirrors, please post it in the comments. A couple more videos on the topic (in general) are available below: [Read more...]

Drilling precise grids

precision_hole_drilling

Drilling precise grids without a CNC machine can be tough to pull off. [Ookseer] has come up with a nifty method for dilling aligned holes with a drill press. He uses a right-angle jig on a Dremel drill press with stacks of business cards as spacers. The same number of cards is added between the substrate and the jig to space each new hole evenly. This method comes in handy when drilling grids in an enclosure for speakers, temperature sensors, or for an aesthetically pleasing design.

Apple gives c64 emulator the boot

apple_boots_c64_emulator

After making it to the top 20 in most regions, Apple has removed the c64 emulator for the iPhone from the App Store. Apparently the thorough app review process didn’t discover that the BASIC system had not been removed from the app, but was instead merely hidden.

Another revision of the emulator has been submitted for review but how long will that take?  What is the review process for if they’re not looking deep enough to find specific functions they don’t want an app to have? Approving apps and pulling them a few days later is another Hot Coffee waiting to happen.

[POCKET GAMER via Slashdot]

Rotating iPhone dock from Legos

lego_rotating_iphone_dock

Hot on the heels of the aluminum dock and the Lego camera mount, [Steve] sent in his iPhone/iPod Touch dock made out of Lego bricks. It’s very stylish with a black and grey theme but we think the function makes this DIY spectacular. In the design [Steve] has included the ability to rotate the cradle so that the iPhone can be presented either vertically or horizontally. A step-by-step guide is not yet available but resourceful Lego lovers should be able to build this using his flickr set.

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