Make a Mac on the cheap

We’re not usually the type for PC case mods, but when we received the tip for the Macbook Mod of hiding a Macbook inside of two Linksys routers, we decided to make an exception on three accounts. [Tyler's] original intent was acquiring a Mac, the total price for a full functioning system was a little over $200, and Macs aren’t PCs.

[Thanks Bluewraith]

But what if you want the mac experience and not the nitty gritty hassle of fixing logic boards, searching for long lost components, and modding a case? Then buy a Mac you might like [Useless Ninjas'] super cheap modification of an MSI Wind into Leopard running brute for only $240.

[Thanks Flyordie2]

Crushtoberfest – can you pwn Tom Selleck?

On rare occasion, the celestial bodies that control engineering and design awesomeness move into alignment and cast their blessed star dust upon a hacker. Today, we can witness the glorious outcome of such an alignment. Although almost unheard of, it’s a good omen that such a blessed hacker also be adorned with a wickedly furry face.

[Joel] wanted to up the ante for a yearly work gathering. He set out with the concept of Crushtoberfest, a test-your-strength game where a stake is hit with a mallet and the resulting force rings a bell. But bell ringing is for normal projects, [Joel's] muse required LEDs and fire as a reward for success. In fact, Tom Selleck (god of all things mustache) becomes angry at successful contestants to the point that his eyes will flash red and flames shoot out of his ears.

The mechanical input is a clever design. The stake used as the target is a 6×6 block with some old tire tread affixed to the top of them. The stake rests on a piece of radiator hose that is sealed on one end and connected to a pressure sensor on the other. Radiator hose is resilient, so it takes quite a blow to cause much compression, which is then translated into a value by an Arduino via the pressure sensor. [Joel's] gone to the effort of building gravitational deceleration into the progress tracker of the vertical string of LEDS. Too bad he didn’t have access to an addressable LED rope to make this easier, but he did pull it off nicely. He also goes into detail about prototyping and building some fireball modules.

Go now and read his blog (oldest at the top, newest at the bottom). We can call the experience nothing short of delightful.

Internet enabled cat feeder

When travelling, it can always be a pain to have your cats cared for. There are some commercial automated solutions out there, but they tend to be pricey, especially when there are two required. These two cats don’t need to worry though. They have an internet enabled monster of a system.

The system used is pretty unique. They wanted internet connected relays, but didn’t want to put an entire computer in line just for the cat feeder. Instead, a Cisco router was hacked to run relays hooked to the status lights on the ports. Not only can it be controlled over the internet, there is also a live feed so you can see the cats as the binge. These are some pretty lucky cats. They also have an automatic cat door.

[via Hackedgadgets]

Phone controlled solar charged tank

This looks like a fun little project. [Chris] has built a tank that he is controlling using his iPhone.  Constructed mainly of off the shelf parts, like an Arduino and an Xbee wireless unit, the tank is controlled via processing. You can see that it is fairly responsive as he changes the speed of the motors. You don’t need an iPhone for this, really to do exactly what he’s doing any multi-touch input would work. You can download the code for it from his site.

We’re a bit curious about the solar charging. How much power does this use? Doesn’t that panel look a bit small? How long does it take to charge?

[via HacknMod]

Ask Hack a Day: Touch Screen Hack

Reader [Chad Essley] asked us:

“I’m wondering if the vast knowledge base of HackADay’ers out there might know of some way to turn almost any laptop into a touch screen of some kind. Actually, any surface.”

He has an older Wacom Tablet, and would like to be able to add resistive touch screen capabilities so that he isn’t forced to use the Wacom pen. Being an artist and part time hacker, he even summed up the question in a comic-style post.

[Read more...]

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