Halloween props: Skeleton springs from coffin

skeleton-from-coffin

[Tony's] trying to scare the kids again this Halloween. This year’s creation is a skeleton that springs up from a coffin. His creepy coffin is built from plywood and in the classic style it gets narrower at each end. Inside, there’s a full-sized rubber skeleton affixed to a 2×4. Pneumatic rams are used to lift the lid and spring forth the skeleton from the dead.

He’s planned his performance well. The finished system uses a fog machine and looped audio for ambiance. A motion sensor detects innocent victims approaching, kills the music, opens the coffin lid, and adjusts the lighting. The coffin is right next to the door so when the doorbell is pushed and the skeleton springs upright this should scare the bejesus out of you. See how effective this in the video after the break. [Read more...]

SparkFun gets a cease and Desist

CandD

[Nate] over at SparkFun Electronics has posted a cease and desist letter he received from SPARC industries.  Apparently their legal department feels that his name is close enough to theirs to ignite a legal battle. They are demanding that he transfer his domain to them immediately to extinguish the flames. This all seems a bit silly, his name isn’t really at all like theirs and his product isn’t similar either.  To add to the peculiarity of this, going to their site throws up a big red malware warning for us (in chrome).

[thanks IraqiGeek]

Poddwatt: Tube amp with mp3 in mind

poddwatt

[Bruce] has designed a push-pull tube amp that has enough gain to connect to a portable audio player. The design is closely related to his OddWatt offering from a few years ago. The new amp has many redesigned circuits and the new hardware choices drop the price tag of the parts by about $50.

This little wonder pumps out 5-7 watts and [Bruce] is please with the end result. It doesn’t put out quite as much low-end as the KT88 amp we saw last year, but compared to some other iPod speaker solutions this provides stellar audio.

Make your own SNES games with developer cartridge

snes-developer-cartridge

Have you always wished that you could develop games for the Super Nintendo but couldn’t because you were only 4 years old when it was released in 1990? Here’s a second chance. [Max] and his team have created a SNES developer’s cartridge that allows you to load your own code, run it on the SNES, and debug as needed. At its core is an Atmel AVR ATmega644 that is running a boot loader, allowing for firmware updates via USB. Once the system is powered on, ROM code is sent over USB to the 16 megabits of onboard SRAM. A debug terminal can be connected with an RS232 converter, providing status information and allowing some register manipulation.

We can believe there are a few hardcore SNES fans out there who will take the time to write custom code. We could also see this being used for the purposes of SNES sythesized music. But is there a wide demand for this type of hardware? If you’ve ever looked into developing for the SNES, let us know in the comments.

Hot air pencil for under $20

hotairpencil20usd1

Here’s a project from back in 2001 that might be of interest to some of you. It is a guide on how to build your own hot air pencil for SMD soldering.  He is using a super cheap 45W soldering iron from “the shack” combined with a pump type desoldering tool and an aquarium pump. He says it works pretty well, and we don’t see why it shouldn’t. This is a pretty elegant solution. There are also some more recent versions of this mod, but the idea is basically the same.

[thanks Stuart]

Psystar taunts Apple a second time

psystar

As if bankruptcy shenanigans and an unresolved exchange of lawsuits with Apple weren’t enough, Mac clone maker Psystar is really swatting the beehive now with the release of Rebel EFI, a $50 software package that promises a straightforward installation of Mac OS X on a variety of commodity x86 systems.

Setting up one’s own “Hackintosh” system has traditionally been a painstaking process of duplicating the OS install disc and fiddling around with various kernel extensions. Rebel EFI claims to do away with all this, bringing click-and-drool simplicity to the Hackintosh experience. The package can be downloaded free of charge in order to test compatibility with one’s hardware before committing to buy; in this trial mode, the system is limited to two hours run time. Minimum requirements include an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core i7, or Xeon Nehalem CPU.

Normally we’re all for voiding warranties, challenging EULAs, and sticking it to The Man, but some have been calling Psystar’s underdog image a charade, claiming the commercial Rebel EFI software is simply an uncredited derivative of open source efforts such as the Chameleon bootloader. Whether or not this proves true, it will be interesting to see how this whole surreal skit plays out between Apple, Psystar and the open source Hackintosh community.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91,459 other followers