iTunes LP: there’s a hack for that

fantasia

One of the most-hyped features of iTunes version 9 is the addition of “iTunes LP,” which aims to recreate the classic record album experience with artwork and photos, lyrics, and liner notes — provided, of course, that you can pony up the purported $10,000 for production and you’re not one of those filthy indie labels.

Almost immediately upon its release, folks set about dismantling the iTunes LP format and found that it largely consists of an unprotected combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. Such information is now scattered about the web, but a new site, iTunesLP.net, is jockeying to be the one-stop shop both for LP creation tutorials and for fan-made LP downloads (sans the copyrighted music tracks — bring your own). The first LP available for download there is [Walt Disney]’s 1957 release of Fantasia, faithfully reproducing the original 24-page color program in all its politically incorrect glory. Check it out…quickly, before Apple and Disney lay the smack down.

Take the python challenge

python-challenge-level-1

It’s hard to believe that we haven’t covered this one before. If you enjoyed out Barcode challenges from last week, perhaps now is the time for you to take the Python Challenge. We made it through the first 18 levels about a year back but with a total of 33 levels we’re not even close to being finished.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn Python if you’ve never tried it, or test your skills if you’ve already got them. We’d suggest using IDLE which is available as part of the Python language download. Because Python is an interpreted language, IDLE allows you to try out each line of the code you are writing and add it to your program as you get different sections working.

The levels start out fairly easy and require some sniffing around, such as looking at the source code, and dissecting images with Python’s various libraries. As you pass each level, you will be granted access to the Python Challenge forums in order to see how others solved the level. By solving each level and then seeing what different solutions entail you grow your knowledge of the language and reinforce your understanding of how to use it.

Easter Egg Challenge

Beer

Often, hardware designers include nonfunctional additions into designs to make them feel more personal. Commonly known as easter eggs, these additions can often go unnoticed by the public for years. While taking apart an Atari San Francisco Rush: The Rock sound board, reader [Jason] noticed a hidden message on the PCB (see above). Other more recent hardware easter eggs include the inside of the Zune HD, which has the inscription “For our Princess” to commemorate a development team member who passed away, or the Amiga 1000 which features the signatures of the design team on the inside if the case (Pictures after the break).

What we want from you: We want to see the best HARDWARE easter eggs you have found or seen. Leave us a comment with a video, picture, or article that explains what you found, and possibly the background story behind it. Anyone can google easter eggs, and we all know about the easter eggs all over DVDs, video games, etc, but we prefer the kind you find when you are busy voiding your hardwares warranty.

Edit: good catch, that was the Amiga 1000 not an Atari 1000. Thanks to all the commentors.

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Underwater laser, just add shark

underwater-laser-beam

[iskor12] put together a blu-ray laser that is waterproof and packs quite a punch. At 182 mW there is enough power here to pop dark colored balloons (see the video after the break). To make this happen, he found an LED flashlight that has rubber o-rings for waterproofing. Although small, there is enough space in the case to house the battery, driver, and laser diode. A thick ring of aluminum is placed around the laser diode to act as heat sink.

We’ll admit, we don’t know that much about lasers. This is probably the wrong question to ask, but now that he has this what do you do with it? Leave us a comment about your plans for this diabolical creation.

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Emulator in NES cartridge – so clean it looks factory made

nesP_NES-emulator-in-game-cartridge

We extend our congratulations to [airz] over at the ben heck forums. He put together a mod that fits an emulator into an original NES cartridge and utilizes a butchered original NES controller; and he did an amazing job!

He is using a cheap but full featured emulator board. It comes with 4 gigs of memory but also has an SD card slot. NES, Game Boy, and Game Boy color ROMs can all be played on the 2.8″ color LCD but the system also features a TV out connector for use with a larger screen as well.

The cuts that [airz] made in the case are amazing, easily eclipsing the last cartridge emulator mod we saw. The holes for the controls look as if the plastic was molded that way. For realism he also cut off the PCB interface on the business end of the cartridge and glued it in place. Apparently it took three cartridges, two controllers, and two of the emulators to make it this nice, but if you want to make an omelet…

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Halloween props: The honking pumpkin

_honking_pumpkin (Custom)

We see a lot of Halloween projects attempt to scare people. Many of them work with the element of surprise, jumping or flashing lights when triggered. We’ve noticed though, people have come to expect those things. This project is a real sleeper. No one expects a couple car horns to blare in their face  when they push the pumpkin’s nose. We know it would make us jump. You can see it in action as well as get the entire circuit from his site. We doubt his neighbors will find it as amusing as we do.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

Home made rollerbar mouse

4003919989_f0f0c6cd65 (Custom)

[Judyofthewoods] has hacked together this rollerbar mouse. We’ve heard people talk about these in a positive way, going on about how comfortable they are. We haven’t really experimented with one much to verify. This one looks surprisingly nice considering it is made from scrap. The image above is showing it without the cover that hides the hot glue and optical sensor. There isn’t much of a writeup, but as you can see from the picture, there isn’t much necessity for one either.  She seems to have done a great job stating that it is fairly smooth with only minor jittering.