Hackaday Links: December 21, 2011

The “Little Drummer Boy” On a Scanner and Drum:

There’s little more information on this hack, however, it’s quite interesting seeing an automated drum and a scanner playing a familiar Christmas tune.  Check out the video of the duet in action!

A Radial Engine Model:

Through the process of experimentation, two “radial engine models” were produced.  The engine model shown above uses a gear-reduced motor to power it.  The other model uses CNC-cut gears and a motor from an air freshener!

Tips and Tricks on Repairing LCD Monitors:

So do you have a broken LCD monitor? Using techniques described in his post, [Neoxity] claims to have been able to repair 50 out of 60 broken monitors using techniques described on his blog.

Flex Cables:

While we’re on the subject of [Neoxity's] page, why not check out his discussion on “flex cables” used for DIY.  Like the humble resistor, they’re not glamorous, but you’d be hard pressed to find an electronics assembly without one.

Illegal Numbers:

Although not a hack in itself, the “illegal number” is a really interesting concept (mentioned by one of our readers in the comments).  Since all data and programs can, at their core, be represented by a series of 1s and 0s, this can also be interpreted as a number.  Thus, some numbers actually represent copyrighted or trade secret data that would be illegal to possess.

Comments

  1. Re: the illegal numbers thing, and I’m just going to throw this out there:

    It is possible to copyright the output of a computer program, but as far as I can tell, there’s no need for the computer program to ever finish. IANACopyrightL, but it *might* be possible to hold the copyright to everything that could be expressed with numbers (read: everything from music to books to movies).

    All you would have to do is write a computer program to calculate the digits (probably HEX) of a trancendental number, then send DMCA takedown notices to everyone.

    It’s an interesting though experiment, but I’m sure there’s a flaw in is somewhere.

  2. mohonri says:

    I’ve repaired a whole bunch of monitors, and I have to agree on most of those points. When repairing monitors, though, there’s a point at which the time required to repair a certain fault is more than the monitor would be worth. This is especially true when replacing CCFL bulbs, and you have to take apart the whole freakin’ panel in most cases.

    Some models of Dell Ultrasharps have more easily-replaceable bulbs that just slide out.

    The real trick with fixing LCD monitors is to not get one with a bad panel. You can replace inverter boards, you can replace caps, you can replace processing boards, but there’s nothing you can do about a bruised, cracked, or scratched panel.

  3. Wouter says:

    I have also repaired two samsung SyncMaster 203B monitors using this method. One of the capacitors was broken, somebody else had already replaced it, but it did not fix the problem.
    But there was a radial leaded fuse which looked like a resistor and when I replaced that one as well, the monitor was as good as new (and free :D).

  4. M4CGYV3R says:

    Illegal numbers? Looks like it’s time for a new tattoo.

  5. Gregg Benjamin says:

    I’d like to share with everyone from hackaday an abstract wallpaper I made from the illegal numbers flag.

    You can download the image freely and use it as a wallpaper if you’d like.

    http://guitarist24000.deviantart.com/art/Freedom-of-Speech-Flag-275059938

  6. snowdruid says:

    im not a math wiz or anything but isnt the ilegal number kind of a joke? i mean even normal consumer computer start to push to terrabyte limite storage whise. so asnwer me this how high is the probability to actually own one such illegal number by accident? i think its pretty high if you have 1 tb or more of storage…. but then of couse they could just double the length of the number and be safe for another couple of years…

  7. Slegiar Dryke says:

    Re: to the LCD monitors thing. I’ve never had problems with the standalone ones, but I once had to fix the monitor on my laptop. In the end I tore out all the lighting circuitry, and put a low heat led strip in there and externalized the power source. Not the cleanest hack, but effective

  8. Jim says:

    If the fault with the monitor turns out to be due to a bad inverter then I’ve never ever managed to find a place where I can buy the bare inverter itself. You can if you are lucky find someone selling replacement inverter boards salvaged from other dead monitors, but not just the inverter itself. They just don’t seem to leave China as components.

  9. N0LKK says:

    Interesting topic. I really can’t get upset over the fact that a number can be illegal, because that the fact it can be, could protect my interests someday. The problem is with the *defacto* guilty until proven innocent model in the US,combined with the ignorance of defense attorneys, juries, and justices involved with such cases. Very probable that an exact duplicate of a number could exist, and that a number string could exist in a copyrighted number. The test shouldn’t be mere possession, but does the number execute a particular copyrighted application,image,text,or display anything that otherwise would be illegal. Would be too easy to blame the corporations, and ignore that fact much of the public would figuratively steal a Cent, is a huge problem as well. druid, thanks for the free speech flag offer but my desktop is black, because that’s the color that to my eye allow all icons easier to see. Perhaps I’ll use it as an icon for something.

  10. N0LKK says:

    Interesting topic. I really can’t get upset over the fact that a number can be illegal, because that the fact it could protect my interests someday. The problem is with the *defacto* guilty until proven innocent model in the US,combined with the ignorance of defense attorneys, juries, and justices involved with such cases. Very probable that an exact duplicate of a number could exist, and that a number string could exist in a copyrighted number. The test shouldn’t be mere possession, but does the number execute a particular copyrighted application,image,text,or display anything that otherwise would be illegal. Would be too easy to blame the corporations, and ignore that fact much of the public would figuratively steal a Cent, is a huge problem as well. druid, thanks for the free speech flag offer but my desktop is black, because that’s the color that to my eye allow all icons easier to see. Perhaps I’ll use it as an icon for something.

  11. I got really interested in the idea of “illegal numbers” a few months ago when I read the same Wikipedia page. Inspired, I re-created the AACS Encryption Key as a melody, storing the digits as tones. Perhaps it should be a ringtone to replace the Nokia Tune and iPhone marimba ring…

    http://www.jeffreythompson.org/blog/2011/08/13/illegal-numbers

  12. bob says:

    It is not just a case of the ‘numbers’ , but actually using colours to represent numbers is already patented, so its also a breach of patent rights.
    An example is the use of ‘colour charts’, which were used to protect computer games software in the 80’s.
    Think Software projects, Manic miner etc, what many people failed to realize was that the ‘colours’ were actually part of the computer program and data rather than being generated from a mathematical formula.

  13. Frogz says:

    09 f9 10 02 9d 75 e3 5b d9 40 56 c5 63 57 89 c0
    hackaday flag….

    09 ** 11 ** 9D ** E3 ** D8 ** 56 C5 ** 56 88 **
    AACS encryption key

    so uh… whats the point?

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