Hackaday Links: August 6th, 2017

We get a lot of Kickstarter pitches in our email, but this one is different. First of all, it’s over. No biggie there. Secondly, it’s a laser-cut hurdy gurdy. What’s a hurdy gurdy? It’s a musical instrument that uses a wheel to vibrate strings. It has drone strings and a rudimentary keyboard for the melody. Think of it as ‘string bagpipes’ and you’re not that far off. This means you can laser cut (or 3D print, someone get on it) a hurdy gurdy, and that’s just awesome.

I wrote the previous paragraph without referencing Donovan. You’re welcome, Internet.

[Spencer] found a few very small seven-segment flip display units. This, of course, meant he had to build a clock. Right now [Spencer] is in the PCB design stage of the project, with the hope of finishing it before school starts. There is still an open question here: where do you get really tiny flip segment displays?

Perhaps we’ve said too much about the number one badge at this year’s DEF CON, but this is really the project that just keeps giving. [Hyr0n] thought it would be a great idea to have a shirt printed with the design of this year’s official Hackaday DEF CON badge. This seemed simple enough — all he needed to do was send the design off to a custom printed t-shirt place on the Internet and wait a week or two. This is where things got a little nuts. [Hyr0n] stole my intellectual property. My very intellectual property. Here’s a great tip for when a t-shirt place puts your order on hold because of a copyright: just say it’s creative commons, they’ll send it right on through.

The DIY-VT100 is a miniature VT100 (and VT102) terminal, because sometimes you need a standalone serial terminal. Soon, it’s going to be a Crowd Supply campaign. Who’s going to be the first to 3D print a look-alike VT100 enclosure for this little thing? Where can you get pre-bromiated filament?

We all know what the Atari 2600 is, but what is the Atari 2700? It’s an exceptionally rare prototype that used wireless controllers. One was found in a thrift store recently. [L064N] bought it for $30, and sold it on eBay for $3000.

Here’s a weird thing [Yann] sent in. The Rise mP6 was a non-Intel, non-AMD, non-Cyrix, non-VIA, x86 compatible CPU sold in the late 90s.  What’s cool about it? Three parallel MMX instructions, and an easter egg hidden in the microcode. The principal engineer on the project, [Chris Norrie], decided he wanted to hide his name in the CPU, and managed to do it without anyone else catching on. If you put ‘NZ’ into eAX and execute CPUID, it returns “* Chris Norrie *”. That’s a hack, and it’s amazing.

11 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: August 6th, 2017

  1. Every time I look at that DIY-VT100, I think, “Hey, what a great idea! I could totally use one of those!” Then I think more, and conclude that everything I could use it for, I could also use my laptop for, and my laptop lets me copy and paste to other applications. So, in short, I’m not really sure why you’d sometimes need a standalone serial terminal when small, more general-purpose computers exist.

      1. But you can go on Ebay and get an old netbook that’s completely overqualified for the job for $30, which is probably a lot less than the DIY-VT100 will cost. If you’re concerned about boot times because you use it for nothing else, install a minimal Linux distro and use lightweight everything. You could even not run a GUI, and still retain the ability to copy and paste to text files.

    1. As much nostalgia as I have for the VT100, I have not used a standalone terminal in more than 20 years, and the last I did was an Xterm, which is not really a terminal anyway. I grew up with Televideo units as the upgrade from ASR33 and first gen Decwriter (300 baud. Woot! Light speed, baby! 9600 baud! wow! A full screen in only one second!) The VT100 was a definite configuration and option improvement, but, in the grand scheme, terminals with at least minimal intelligence were the real leap. This includes the IBM 3270 and 5250 series (except the 5252…. Mirrors? Really IBM?)

      When I can get hardware today for less than US$50 that is more capable by several orders of magnitude and can run an emulator (say, a basic netbook running my favourite Linux), with a +/-25V tolerant USB connected RS232 compatible port, I have no idea why I would pay more to build a poor replica.

      1. I forgot to mention the execrable keyboards on the VT100. Great comm scheme, horrible keyswitches. Nasty feel and keybounce or bad contact like crazy once they were worn in.

  2. I had actually forgotten about the Rise mP6… but now you mention of it, I’ve heard rather unflattering remarks about their performance. Wikipedia seems to confirm this… I guess not a lot of software was able to make use of the extra MMX pipelines the CPU offered.

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