Hackaday Links: June 12, 2016

The Navy is doing some crazy stuff out in China Lake. They were planning to test something out that could potentially make GPS unusable from San Diego to Las Vegas to San Francisco. Those plans were cancelled for ‘internal’ reasons. They will be testing something in Indiana shortly, though. What are they doing? Who knows. That’s what idle speculation in the comments section is for.

3D Hubs, the distributed ‘3D printing service’ thing, now has 30,000 machines distributed around the globe. They also put together the definitive guide to 3D printing recently. For just about everyone reading this, a ‘introduction to 3D printing’ is old news, but this is a very good guide for telling your weird aunt what you’re building in the basement. Forward this one to your family on Facebook.

This one is amazing. Over on Hackaday.io, [Arsenijs] is working on a Raspberry Pi project. It uses a Raspberry Pi, and several accessories and components to make this Raspberry Pi project work. This Raspberry Pi project is already getting far more than the usual number of likes and follows, making this one of the most interesting Raspberry Pi projects in recent memory.

Moog is re-releasing the Minimoog, the original Moog synth from 1970. That’s cool, but what about a DIY Minimoog? That’s what [Scott Rider] is doing with the Crowminius Analog Music Synthesizer on Kickstarter. It’s an analog synth that’s more or less a Minimoog with MIDI, and one of the Kickstarter rewards is a bare PCB.

The future is dancing robots, so here’s a servo-driven Stewart platform that is sure to bring on the robot apocalypse.

What do you do when you need to get your Hackaday fix, but all you have is a laptop from 1995 and a dial-up modem? The Hackaday Retro Edition, of course. That’s a bunch of retro Hackaday posts, posted five at a time, with all the CSS and JavaScript cruft stripped. We’re always interested to see the old machines that are pulling the retro edition down, and [djnikochan] has the latest entry. He found a Thinkpad 380ED from 1997 at the Goodwill store for $15. The RAM was upgraded with a 64MB SIMM, giving this machine a total of 80MB. The Hackaday Retro Edition is viewable with IE 5.5 over a trusty PCMICA WiFi card. Awesome job, and we love to see old iron rendering the retro edition. Send some pics in if you get your old battlestation to load it.

36 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: June 12, 2016

  1. I really wish we knew what they are doing in Indiana. I’m betting a long range GPS jammer and they want real data. They can’t test everything in the middle of the ocean.

    @Arsenijs:
    Good luck on the project. It looks amazing and the project log is the best I’ve ever read! Groundbreaking work going on there. ;)

    1. Apart from real-world testing of possibilities how can GPS be jammed (and how bad of an idea it was to put into service lots of expensive weaponry for which it’s crucial), I fail to see why they would develop this…
      If they really wanted to fuck with the position system, they can just ask the airforce to feed bullshit data to the satellites, which in return would cause bullshit to be displayed on the GPS receiver.

      1. The europeans and the russians and the chinese all have their own GPS system now (or are in the process of setting it up). And all of them use similar frequencies and are near-compatible with the US one.
        So in other words, some systems the US can not ask to be turned off.

        I wonder though how narrow band the tested disruptions are, because obviously there are other things in use near the GPS frequency but the warning doesn’t mention those.

          1. he means the US government telling the airforce to mess it up in an area won’t work if it’s a GPS system controlled by a 3rd country like russia’s system.
            Although I’m sure there are circumstances where the russians would play along, there is plenty of not-in-the-mainstream-news cooperation with russia.

    2. I think it was Tuesday afternoon about 5 I checked the weather and saw something funny on the national weather high res full image. So I went to weather underground and shut of the arrows just to see radar for north of Lafayette. The front was sliding east just north of us, but wait a green blotch is developing and moving southeast coming from southern Indiana. I am riding a bike so I watch radar before leaving and to plot the night better than a word delivered forecast.
      Now it gets weird, I remember hearing the night before on Ground Zero (talk radio) about a big fireball and something about chaff in Indiana. I grabbed the phone and shot video of the screen then went to work. I forgot to look at dawn for the replay of several hours, but the next day 24 hours later I set the loop for 36 hours and never saw any plume. Just now I reviewed the vid and compared it to google maps and guess where it seems to come from? Camp Atterbury.

      1. Ahh! Very interesting! I suppose teeny little bits of chaff that float around for a long time might block satellites in general, which would be useful. Maybe even scatter the signal, since GPS relies on satellites as a point source right? And using explosives rather than electronics means it can be small and powerful, as well as grunt-compatible.

        GOOD work!

      2. A deliberate interference like that would be rather odd to use for the US though, since the US probably has the highest number of military systems that like to use GPS. But hey maybe if they detect a nuclear launch from some rogue nation they could at least not make it hit target if it uses a GPS guidance system.
        Perhaps to protect south-korean/japanese targets form NK?

        I know it would not be perfect for many modern nations since, like the US, they always have backup systems for when GPS isn’t there. So it would be either targeted at not-quite-so-good-at-guidance nations or it would not be for missiles but for large troop movements where various divisions might be relying on GPS for ground troop deployment, but that would be some massive land war then.

    3. Check the AOPA website, regarding these planned outages. Interesting to me is the inverted cone shape of the estimated impacted area, as outlined in the NOTAM.

      1. According to the NOTAM, and looking it up on the sectional chart, the test is centered on Jefferson Proving Grounds just south of U.S. Highway 50 near Butlerville, IN. Camp Atterbury is many degrees off of the VOR direction indicated in the NOTAM.

  2. I’d like to display retro.hackaday.com on a *really* retro computer but …

    The images are 4 times the resolution of the display in the retro computer AND they’re JPG compressed.

    Is hard enough to write code to decompress JPG and then I have to find enough memory to scale the image down to something that CAN be displayed on a old retro computer screen.

    The computer I want to use has (from memory) –
    160 x 200 x 16 color
    320 x 200 x 4 color
    640 x 200 monochrome

    The images are 470 x 353 x true color which translates to 487 kBytes when in a non-compressed format like BMP and that is only one image. The retro computer only has 128kBytes.

    Yeah, yeah, I know it can be done by scaling the image down *while* decompressing but do I want to use bank switching to get all the RAM and write the *code from hell* JPG scaler.

    It would be nice to have a low-res version with a mono space font and small pictures in BMP format, or PNG without compression or even non-copressed GIF (89a) with a palette that suits 4 or 16 colors.

      1. I have a solution to the problem.

        I will get two capacitively coupled bananas. Then I will feed the data into the larger banana and read the translated bytes from the smaller banana.

    1. Maybe have a router as a proxy and do the scaling/conversion and feed it to the retro computer Then you can use standard available libraries for that part and the retro computer can stick to its old stuff.

      1. I thought about various ‘fixes’ and they all seem to biol down to being a cheat.

        If I go down that rabbit hole then why not just do a screen grab on a normal PC and re-render it on the retro computer?? It’s not the same.

  3. why would the government care if gps can be blocked?

    wouldnt it be easier to disable the satellites if they want to stop gps?

    if they want to know how big of a sunspot it would take to strip away the earths magnetic field and get solar storm through to the devices couldnt they just wait until a carrington event and see if people complain of gps outages?

  4. I suspect they are testing GPS Anti-Jam technologies in a range of equipment. Disrupt the GPS signal locally, and see if their equipment can see through it and still get a sufficiently good fix. This allows them to evaluate how impaired the performance of their equipment will be if their adversaries conduct local jamming around it operationally.

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