Obsolete technology band


Radiohead held a contest for fans to remix the single Nude from their album In Rainbows. Frontman Thom Yorke mentioned on NPR that the contest was essentially a joke, since the Nude track is recorded at 6/8 timing and 63bpm, much slower than traditionally mixed music. The above video from [James Houston] is one of the most creative entries. Using old computer hardware he has recreated the track in a very unique way. He uses a Sinclair ZX Spectrum for the guitar track, a dot matrix printer for the drums, a scanner for bass, and a hard drive array for vocals.

Want to make your own band with obsolete technology? Click through for a few pointers to get you started.

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One handed controller available for pre-order


You are probably familiar with the work of [Ben Heckendorn]. His latest commercial project, the one handed Access Controller, is now available for pre-order. A well known modder, he has created several unique video game console adaptations including a scratch built one handed Xbox 360 controller.

A unique feature of this controller is that it allows you to change the location of the buttons/joysticks. This modular design can be swapped and customized depending on your needs. Ben is including a guide for creating your own modules, should you be so inclined. The device uses 2.4Ghz wireless to communicate and is available for $129.99.

Since we know you are more interested in hacks than gadgets, be sure to checkout Heckendorn’s nice collection of how-tos on Engadget.

[via Engadget]

3 liter homebrew beer keg


Beer kegs are several things. They are expensive, heavy, but most importantly delicious. We found a nice guide for creating your own 3 liter beer keg. This is an inexpensive solution for homebrewers looking to keg their own beer.

The guide goes into detail on assembly and parts needed to create the bottle adapter. Most of the parts can be picked up locally or through MoreBeer.com. CO2 cartridges are used to pressurize the bottle. To keep everything cool you can use a standard water cooler with a few simple modifications. The 3 liter bottle is too tall for some coolers so you’ll need to cut a hole in the lid. Add a piece of aluminum covered styrofoam to the top and bottom, toss in some ice, and your brew should stay cold for about 3 hours.

The author does note that this is not recommended for long term storage. So drink up!

Gaming with Roombas


Yesterday we looked at the Pac-Man Roomba casemod. In the video, creator [Ron Tajima] expressed interest in seeing Roombas participate in real life games. So we did some digging around and found some used in an interesting augmented reality game. From Brown University, these modified Roomba Create units play various games, like tag, with an underlying goal of developing smarter robots.

The setup consists of a Java powered client/server arrangement. The game server coordinates the Small Universal Robot Vehicles (SmURVs) and builds a database of events for future use. Players can also control the robots through a Java telepresence client.

The units themselves are made up of the iRobot Create with a Mini-ITX computer strapped to the top. They run Linux and communicate over WiFi with the server and players. They also have an IR emitter used in the games to “shoot” other units.

Gameplay has the server acting as the referee and humans only acting as instructors. The humans come into play when the robots are unable to respond based on their existing database of decision making policies. Through the client, players are able to see exactly what the robot sees with the addition of 3D overlays. Future plans for the game include removing the camera view and replacing with nothing but these overlays. One of the final goals of the project was to create a 24/7/365 gaming experience similar to what is found in MMOs and Xbox Live applications today.

Roomba Pac-Man


[Ron Tajima] fashioned a Pac-Man casemod for his Roomba using 448 LEDs and a SH2 MPU control unit. It features the correct arcade sounds and even the death animation. The bot has Bluetooth access thanks to his previous Wiimote hack. He hopes to use this platform to create a real world version of the game.

For more Roomba hacking, check out the Hacking Roomba book and our previous Roomba related posts.

[via Geekdad]

Using multiple browsers for security


[Rich] over at Securosis takes us through some of his browser paranoia exercises. He uses different browser profiles for different types of web activities. Based on potential risk, various tasks are separated to protect from CSRF attacks and more. Everyday browsing with low risk passwords is done in one. RSS reading with no passwords is done in another. He runs his personal blog in a browser dedicated just to that.

For high risk research, he uses virtual machines to further minimize any potential nasty code getting through. Very high risk sites are browsed through a non-persistent read-only Linux virtual machine. While these techniques can be less effective if the entire OS is comprised, they can still provide a few layers of additional security.

Fellow browser paranoia sufferers may want to consider Firefox plug-ins like NoScript and memory protection from Diehard.

DIY ballistic gel


Earlier today, we looked at DIY ballistic glass, so we decided to look into DIY ballistic gel as well. Anyone who watches Mythbusters is probably already well familiar with their extensive use of this wonderful gel. Turns out the stuff is beyond easy to create at home. With some gelatin molds (and firepower) you could have a lot of fun with it.

To get started, pick up a box of gelatin powder from your local supermarket. Using 8 oz. of the powder and 2 quarts of cold water, stir together until the consistency is thick and all powder moist. Then, place the mixture in the fridge to chill for two hours. You will then need to heat the mixture until melted; be sure the liquid does not exceed 130 degrees. Finally, apply a layer of nonstick spray to your favorite mold or tupperware, and pour the mixture in. Allow to set in the fridge for 36 hours before use.

If you want even more DIY ballistics, check out this nice guide to creating your own chronograph, for measuring bullet velocity. After the break are videos on making and, of course, shooting the final product.

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