Behind the scenes of a 1K graphics demo

Programmer/designer [Steven Wittens] has posted a fantastic write-up on the black art of producing compact demo code, dissecting his own entry in the 1K JavaScript Demo Contest. The goal is to produce the best JavaScript demo that can be expressed in 1024 characters or less and works reliably across all standards-compliant web browsers.

[Wittens] details several techniques for creating a lot of visual flash in very few bytes, including the use of procedural graphics rather than fixed datasets, exploiting prime numbers to avoid obvious repetitions in movement, and strategically fudging formulas to save space while adding visual interest. These methods are just as applicable to other memory-constrained situations, not just JavaScript — some of the contest entries bear a resemblance to the compact microcontroller demos we’ve previously showcased, except running in your browser window.

The contest runs through September 10th, allowing ample time to come up with something even more clever. Whether he wins or not, we think [Steven] deserves special merit on account of having one of the most stylish blogs in recent memory!

Adding a microphone jack to a HAM radio handset

[dajjhman] wrote in to show us how he added a microphone jack to the handset of his Yaesu radio while retaining the DTMF functions. He states that there were some adapters available on the market, but they are non standard and didn’t really fit his needs. The modification itself is pretty simple, especially with his great documentation and clear pictures. For anyone else who might need this setup, this should be a great resource.

Chainsaw/flashlight overkill

[Robbtoberfest] has earned our admiration with this crazy chainsaw powered spot light. It looks horribly dangerous, extremely inefficient, and woefully under engineered. We absolutely love it. This could be plucked from a video game or a movie and seems to be one UV bulb away from being the ultimate post apocalyptic zombie vampire Armageddon weapon. He has taken apart a chainsaw and attached it to a DC treadmill motor using a couple of bike sprockets and a chain. That DC motor then feeds a car headlight directly. As you can see in the video, when he cranks the gas, it shines pretty brightly. The unfinished nature of this is due to a deadline for a contest on instructables, so he plans on adding a protective cowl, some fancy paint work, and a voltage regulator down the road.

While this may be inefficient, it is certainly a step up from a steam powered spud gun.

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