The Mac9000 — A Photo Frame with Style (Maybe?)


Digital photo frames — as tacky as they may be — are a handy way to show off photos, especially considering how few photos get printed these days! [Rene] decided he could really use one at work, but he wanted it to look cool as well. Feeling a bit nostalgic with the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh Classic II, he decided to gut one and turn it into this awesome linux based “Mac9000″!

He started by picking up the Mac off eBay and cleaning it up a bit. It had definitely belonged to a school considering how worn it was. A bunch of sandpaper, bleach wipes, and elbow grease later, and it almost looks like new again! The next step was gutting the insides to make room for the new hardware. This is a bit tricky because you are dealing with high-voltage equipment! Make sure to discharge it safely before sticking your hands in!

Once the unit was empty, he began upgrading it with some more recent technology. A 7″ LCD, a Raspberry Pi (with PIR sensor), and a WiFi adapter to name a few. In addition to his blog, he also has a great photo gallery of the entire process over at LYTRO. He’s set up Raspbian “Wheezy” to automatically snag photos off of a DropBox directory, making this one of the easiest to use photo frames we’ve ever seen. He also plans to show videos on it, but alas, that is a project for another day.

The Ottoman Empire

ottomon empire

Remember the good old days in the 60′s and 70′s when stereos were built right into the furniture? No? Well, that’s where the inspiration for this project comes from. Introducing the Ottoman Empire — a pun so bad we’re not even going to repeat it here.

[Alec] was inspired by Blaupunkt, which is a German manufacturer of electronics who used to make a line of very nice cabinet stereos (examples) which blended furniture and electronics quite exquisitely.

He had recently finished off a rather cool 8-track data backup system, and was left with a spare BSR record player – or as he likes to call it, the “Ford Pinto of record players.” He decided to turn it into something useful by integrating it into a Naugahyde Ottoman that he picked up from a local vintage store. The problem with old furniture like that? No structural elements — it was actually just packed full of shredded wood! He cleaned it all out though and then proceeded to make his own wooden frame to support the BSR — he’s done a great job modifying it to fit, and even hiding all the electronics to make it very presentable.

Now all he needs to do is add a pressure switch in the top so when he kicks back to relax it starts playing some Chopin.

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Yo Fish, We Pimped Your Tank


[Studio Diip] a machine vision company based in The Netherlands has created fish on wheels, a robotic car controlled by a goldfish. The idea of giving fish mobility on land is nothing new, but this definitely is a novel implementation. A Logitech 9X0 series camera captures overhead images of the fish tank. The images are then fed into a BeagleBoard XM, where they are processed. The image is thresholded, then a centroid of the fish-blob is determined. With the current and previous blob locations known, the BeagleBoard can determine the fish’s swim direction. It then and commands the chassis to drive accordingly.

The system appears to work pretty well on the video, however we’re not sure how much of the input is due to the fish swimming, and how much is due to the water sloshing and pushing the fish around. We definitely like the chrome rims and knobby tires on the fishes’ pimped out ride.  This could become a trend. Just make sure no animals or humans are hurt, and send your animal powered hacks to our tip line!

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Developed on Hackaday: the Current Project State

It has been quite a while since we updated our readers with the current state of the Mooltipass, the offline password keeper project developed by the Hackaday staff and community.

A few weeks ago we presented you the designs that our mechanical contributors had thought of. We organized a poll to get a feeling of what the favorite designs may be and around one thousand people expressed their opinions. The first three favorite designs with their corresponding votes were:

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Retrotechtacular: Where the Linux/UNIX TTY Came From


From time to time we realize that sayings which make sense to us probably will have no meaning for future generations. Two of the examples that spring to mind are “hang up the phone” or in a vehicle you might “roll down the window”. And so is the case for today’s Retrotechtacular. Linux users surely know about TTY, but if you look up the term you actually get references to “Teletypewriter”. What’s that all about?

[Linus Akesson] wrote a fantastic essay on the subject called The TTY Demystified. We often feature old video as the subject of this column, but we think you’ll agree that [Linus'] article is worth its weight in film (if that can be possible). The TTY system in Linux is a throwback to when computers first because interactive in real-time. They were connected to the typewriter-mutant of the day known as a teletype machine and basically shot off your keystrokes over a wire to the computer the terminal was controlling.

This copper pipeline to the processor is still basically how the terminal emulators function today. They just don’t require any more hardware than a monitor and keyboard. We consider ourselves fairly advanced Linux users, but the noob and expert alike will find nuggets and tidbits which are sure to switch on the lightbulb in your mind.

[Thanks Chuck]

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.

From vacuum cleaner hacking to weather station reverse engineering


[Spock] wanted to do a little reverse engineering of his Miele brand remote control vacuum cleaner, so he broke out his DVB-T SDR dongle to use as a spectrum analyser. Sure enough, he found a 433.83Mhz signal that his vacuum cleaner remote control was using, but to his surprise, he found a stray QAM256 signal when he expected an ASK  only one.

After a little detective work, [Spock] eventually tracked it down to a cheap weather station he had forgotten about. The protocol for the weather station was too compelling for him to go back to his vacuum cleaner, though. After downloading an rc-switch Arduino library and making a quick stop at his local radio shack to get a 433.92 radio receiver to decode the signal, he reverse engineered the weather station so he could digitally record the temperature output. The Arduino rc-switch library proved unable to decode the signal, but some Python work helped him get to the bottom of it.

With software defined radio becoming more accessible and common place, hacks like these are a nice reminder just how wired our houses are becoming.

Super Mario Lamp Encourages Physical Activity


What better way to encourage jumping around in the house than by adding your own Super Mario style question block lamps?

It’s a fun and easy project to do because it makes use of an IKEA Sangen lamp — it just needs some slight modifications and a bit of art work to turn it into this iconic question block. You will be working with mains voltage though, so please be careful!

The lamp itself is made out of fabric which means it can be taken apart easily, and then dyed that classic orange hue. Using a stencil you can spray paint on the question mark and then it’s just a matter of adding a springy-latching-pressure-switch (that’s the technical term for them right?) in line with the light bulb. Results may vary, but [Anred] has a great guide on how to make it to get you started.

Now all that’s missing is a sound effect to go with the switch!

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