Quick hack brings Wi-Fi to an aging laptop

usb_wifi_adapter

[Jarrod] has an older Compaq laptop he is still pretty keen on, but he has one niggling problem – the laptop doesn’t have a built-in wireless card. He recently changed security protocols on his home wireless network to WPA and realized that his old Linksys PC card only supports WEP. He decided it was time to find another way to connect wirelessly, so he started searching around for options.

It turns out that his laptop does have the ability to accept a LCD-mounted add-on wireless card, but it costs about $100 and doesn’t support WPA. He figured that the card slipped into some sort of glorified USB port, and after disassembling the laptop, he found that he was right.

He quickly soldered a few wires and a USB adapter to the Bluetooth board that already occupied the card slot, then plugged in a wireless mouse to see what would happen. The mouse’s radio powered on without issue, and much to [Jarrod’s] delight, the port was USB 2.0 compatible.

Now that he knows the port is live, he plans on finding a small USB 802.11 G or N adapter to cram into the slot – with the deluge of miniature USB Wi-Fi adapters on the market, that shouldn’t be too hard.

8th ACM Conference on Creativity & Cognition call for papers

acm_cnc2011

[Jim Davies] from the Association for Computing Machinery wrote us to let us know about a conference being hosted this fall, the 8th ACM conference on Creativity and Cognition. C&C 2011 has a lot to offer, providing an opportunity for artists, scientists, designers and educators to gather together and share their expertise via a series of group meetings, tutorials, and workshops.

We wanted to bring C&C 2001 to the attention of our readers as it is likely many of you had some level of interaction with your college or university’s local ACM chapter in the past. [Jim] wanted to point out that though the conference is slated for the first week of November, there is a deadline of April 25th for all papers and proposals. If you are interested in submitting something to the conference, it would be wise to get started soon.

The overall theme of this year’s conference is Creativity and Technology, which fits the hacking community quite well. Good luck to any of you who decide to give it a shot!

Inkscape plugin for engraving fonts

[Windell] developed an Inkscape extension called Hershey Text that helps you process fonts into vector representations. If you’ve tried to 3D print, plot, or mill text in the past you may have run across the problem of generating vector paths that deal with the outline and fill of the text appropriately. The problem stems from how fonts are defined; either by the area that they enclose, or by the path that is used to draw the outline. Check out [Windell's] tutorial for this extension where he explains each of these issues and shows how to overcome them.

The image above illustrates the stroke options, which allow you to vector multiple paths to best fill in the correct parts of each character using path-based hardware. The package includes a wide variety of interesting font sets that are in the public domain, and includes tools such as a glyph map generator that make it very user friendly.

Hackaday links: March 6, 2011

Omnidirectional personal transport

[Dan] sent us a link to this Honda U3-X personal transport device. It’s kind of like a Segway that can move in any direction but our head already hurts from the thought of going over backward on one of these.

How light bulb filaments were developed


Now that incandescent light bulbs are about to be outlawed here in the US, we thought you might enjoy learning how the filaments were developed. This another video by [Bill Hammack], the engineer guy, and we’re big fans of his work.

Wooden stove reflow

Who needs a PID controlled skillet when you can reflow on this wooden stove? Well maybe not reflow, this is more of a salvage operation.

Javascript control

We’ve seen more than enough Arduino controlled outlets. But if you’re interested in using Javascript to control the Arduino this post may be just what you’re looking for.

Sledgehammer keyboard

[Taylor Hokanson] built a qwerty keyboard that you hit with a sledgehammer. Enough said. [Thanks Larry]


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