[Cyberspice] informs us she likes snakes. Hey, who doesn’t? She’ll soon be adopting a lovely ball python and wanted to keep close tabs on the sensitive creature’s environment. To that end she assembled a network-enabled vivarium monitoring system based on Adafruit’s Boarduino (a minimalist Arduino clone), a TMP36 analog temperature sensor, Saelig’s WIZ810MJ Ethernet interface, and a common LCD screen. The Arduino rig periodically issues updates to a web server, which can then generate informative graphs using a set of PHP scripts (what, no Python?).
Okay, so we could probably count on one hand the number of readers in need of fancy reptile monitoring and still have fingers left over. There are countless other applications where networked sensor monitoring of this sort is a frequent necessity, so the article could be a good starting point for your own projects. There’s lots of source code to work with, on both the Arduino and web server sides. And the parts list demonstrates serious frugality: the Boarduino, the generic LCD, and especially the Ethernet interface; even with the breadboard adapter, this unit is about half the cost of the usual Arduino Ethernet shield, leaving more funds available for the snake food budget!
[Guilherme Martins] rose to a challenge to build a robot with a single servo. His robot is a puppet controller, called talkie walkie. In real time, it will move its mouth to the sound of what you are saying. For those really curious, he’s speaking Portuguese and he roughly says “Hi, how’s it going”. He’s using an Arduino with a custom sound sensor, a single servo, a box, and a folder paper mouth.
Building a single servo robot shouldn’t be that much of a challenge, we’ve even seen walking robots with a single motor. There’s this 2 legged crawler, and we recall seeing a 4 legged B.E.A.M. walker with a single servo, but can’t find it right now.
In an attempt to create more interaction with our vehicles, researchers have created AIDA. AIDA is basically a car computer and GPS that has some well designed personification. That cute little face will learn your daily habits and schedules and make recommendations to keep you out of traffic. We really like the idea, and the little bit we see of AIDA already has us falling in love, but won’t the placement be a distraction? We already know some people who give their car a name and treat it like a person, we don’t want to imagine what would happen if their car actually had some interactive personality. AIDA’s motion and emotive display are worthy of the crabfu challenge for sure, but do we want AIDA on our dashboard? Yes, most emphatically. She can sit right by the little hula girl.
Sure making a robot that plays the game RockBand for you seems a little cheap at first, but no human can possibly hit that 30 triplet note straight ending in a button mashing contest. To finally get his high score [Joe] made a setup to play the game for him, on the iPhone. We’ve seen some very different Guitar Hero hacks before, but none that had to get around the touch capacitance screen on the iPhone. What version of the game should be hacked next? We think Football Hero would be a good start.
Today is the official release of the latest version of Ubuntu, the most popular Linux-based operating system. Someone mentioned that there had been a new release of the Windows OS recently and if you’re thinking of going with that one, we feel you should a least give Ubuntu a try. Now in its 11th official release and codenamed Karmic Koala, this version of Ubuntu continues the traditional six month development cycle by succeeding Jaunty Jackalope which was released in April of this year.
We’ve been running the beta release of Ubuntu Netbook Remix for several weeks now. It cut boot time down to between 5-10 seconds and WiFi is already connected by the time the Desktop loads. Speed isn’t the only new feature, graphics have been redesigned, there is a new app store that serves as a front end for the extensive free software repositories, and the newest kernel and software versions are included.
We’ve been using this open source operating system since its third release, Breezy Badger. We love it for the quality, convenience, and the fact that we can get our fingers into the code and hack around a bit.
[Emuboy] lets us know about some software advances that will make iPhone and iPod Touch syncing possible under Linux. Apple made big changes to how the iPhone syncs compared to legacy iPods. Locking out all communications other than through iTunes was surely part of their motivation. This has left Linux users out in the cold with shoddy sync capabilities which should be coming to an end. If successful, syncing will be be possible with phones that have not been jailbroken.
One of the biggest hurdles in reverse-engineering the new protocol is the non-standard way in which the devices communicate over USB. The usbmuxd developers have been working to implement communications and now have a Release Candidate for the 1.0.0 version. Along with testing of this package, libgpod is now being updated to play nicely with the new database format and hash of the iPhone.
This isn’t quite at the plug-and-play level of convenience yet but if you’re comfortable working with Linux packages you should be able to get this working and help report any bugs you might find. But if you’re tired of open source playing cat and mouse with Apple you can always switch over to a device based on Android.
[Cory Doctorow] has published a novel about the near future and a couple of hackers who can make anything from the stuff lying around. We like a good sci-fi novel, and have no shortage of recommendations (go read Snow Crash) for those who need them. We’re adding ‘Makers’ to our must read list.
Not only is this book about you, but its release most likely agrees with your life philosophy. You can download this book, right now, for free, legally. This is because it has been release under the creative commons license. Best of all, if you like the book and want to make a donation, you are directed to purchase a book on behalf of a school or other program that has requested a copy but doesn’t have the funds to acquire it themselves.
So, buy the book if you want a physical copy, download it if you prefer that method, but either way we think this is better than stealing the printed word.