Nintendo DS mini USB plug


Noting that so many of his electronics are using the mini USB plug for charging, [Xavier] decided to modify his Nintendo DS to charge via the same adapter. It looks like the existing adapter is basically a proprietary mini USB plug, so replacing it was actually almost a perfectly clean swap job. He has nice pictures of the process and some helpful tips as well. If you’re thinking of consolidating your charging devices, this looks like a step in the right direction.

Mail-E email checker

[Totoro] sent in this cool little email notification device he made. Using a paper model of Wall-E, he added some servos and connected it to his computer using a PIC. Mail-E has independent arm rotation and head rotation. He admits that the PIC processor is major overkill and plans some upgrades such as making it wireless and using a little better suited chip to control it. Not bad for a proof of concept.

Software pulse width modulation


Pulse Width Modulation is a topic that tends to give a lot of beginners trouble. [Daqq], whose nixie plasma ball we covered a few days ago, has a simple but effective PWM project that you should take a look at. The circuit used 9 LEDs clustered together into 3 sets of RGB modules and connected them to an AVR ATtiny2313 through some current limiting resistors. Most of the time the PWM function of the AVR’s timers would be used to generate the signal but this application calls for 9 signals which is more than can be produced by this chip. The workaround is to generate the signals using software PWM. [Read more...]

Arduino command interpreter shell


A lot of people like fancy GUIs and nice graphics, but some of us just feel more at home in a command prompt. [nevdull] is one of those people. Instead of just using the Arduino dev tools that are available for download, he wanted the ability to shell into his Arduino, so he created AVR Shell. AVR Shell is a UNIX-like shell that allows you to “log in” to your Arduino/AVR and see what’s really going on; letting you read registers, scale the CPU speed, create/edit/delete variables, and even set up timers. The shell is even user-customizable! Those of you interested in Arduino shells might also check out bitlash, another open source CLI. Someone ought to hook this up to the Internet enabled Furby and get Flite compiled on there, letting us shell into a Furby from miles away to make it talk.

[Thanks Leesam]

Build your own joystick


What can you build with a ballpoint pen and some extra parts? [gzip] found himself with a bonus box of right angle switches and other miscellaneous parts and set out to build a joystick. Simple arcade joysticks use switches that are actuated by the movement of the stick and this design embraces the concept. The four tactile switches are mounted on protoboard facing each other with part of a ballpoint pen in the middle. When the pen is moved it presses against one or more switches to close, completing a circuit. For good measure he even incorporated a fire button into the top of the “stick”. Now we just need someone to make this work with a tiny Ms. Pac-Man emulator.

iPhone cop-cam


[Tim] wanted to make some recordings of himself driving similar to those made by the dashboard cameras on police cars.  In a simple two step hack (1. Measure, 2. Drill), he altered his iPhone windshield mount so that it didn’t block the lens of the camera. We will admit (sheepishly) that at first glance we thought this might be connected to the outside of the windshield but it’s not. Take a look at his drive to work after the break.

[Read more...]

Xmarks helps polish Chrome


The guys over at Xmarks are working hard to bring their bookmark synchronization service to all browsers and platforms. They’ve recently begun a closed alpha test for their Google Chrome/Chromium extension. We got an invite and decided to give it a test run. Since extensions aren’t yet fully supported, and still a bit buggy you’ll need to use the latest build in the dev channel of Chrome, which means at least version or newer. We tested it on version for Ubuntu with great success. The extension is still pretty basic since it’s still at an alpha stage, but works very well with synchronizing bookmarks across different platforms and browsers. Some of the things left out from the Firefox version are profiles, smarter search, site info and suggested tags. For an alpha release, it’s very well done and functions great, and we’re certainly looking forward to this extension as it develops further.