IKEA Linux cluster


Building a render cluster doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money, even if you’re buying brand new hardware. [Janne] built this 6 unit cluster inside of a 6 drawer IKEA Helmer cabinet. He wanted the cluster to be low power and low cost. After finding a good price on 6 65nm Intel Core 2 CPUs, he found 6 cheap Gigabyte motherboards. The memory on each board was maxed at 8GB. With 24 2.4GHz cores consuming 400W, the power consumption and cost isn’t much more than a high end PC. Each board is running Fedora 8 and mounts an NFS share. Dr Queue is used to manage the render farm’s processes. [Janne] says jobs that previously took all night now only require about 10-12 minutes. The estimated capacity is 186Gflops, but plans are already in motion for a12Tflop version.

His site also has plans for an underwater camera housing like our recent post. If you want to see more IKEA abuse, check out IKEA Hacker, even if it’s not very technical.

[via Hackzine]

[UPDATE: yep, we duped ourselves]

iControlpad, iPhone gamepad


[CraigX] has been dabbling in iPhone accessories lately by adding a gamepad. Called the iControlpad it surrounds the iPhone making it look very PSP like. As anyone who has jailbroken and installed emulators probably knows, without feedback the touch screen based buttons are less than great.

The unit is currently a prototype however there are plans to produce and sell the units. They have received support from Zodttd, an organization that has created iPhone apps like snes4iphone and genesis4iphone. The developers also state they’ll provide source and SDK support. The sparse development blog announces their success using a hacked up SNES controller over the docks serial connector, but they provide absolutely no details.

[via Engadget]

Google Android application challenge winners

The Google Android team recently launched a challenge to encourage development for their new cellphone based platform. Part of the first phase was to narrow down the 1,788 submissions to the best 50 application ideas. They’ve posted the complete list of winners on their website and put together a little slide show(PDF) as well. As part of the challenge some $10,000,000 is up for grabs from Google.

We browsed through the list and found a lot of social this and family that; nothing overly exciting honestly. There were a few interesting application ideas in there though:

  1. BioWallet - Biometric authentication system that uses iris identification.
  2. Talkplay – Video and voice message system, see and talk to your friends while on the go.
  3. Writing Pad – A unique way to enter text into your phone where common words are replaced by simple strokes.

The Android platform will probably cause the largest adoption of Linux based cellphones yet. We can’t wait to see what the homebrew community does with the platform and so much development for an unlaunched phone is amazing. Apple seems to go out of their way to lock us out, where this platform couldn’t be more open. With 3G support, WiFi, SQlite, Virtual Machines, GPS and much more what’s not to like.

Have any of you experimented with the Android SDK?

[via LinuxDevices]

AudioCubes by Percussa

[Peter Nyboer] has written an extensive post about his experience with AudioCubes from Percussa. Aside from their unique glowing exterior, these cubes are an innovative way to control and even produce audio tracks. Four faces of each cube are equipped with IR sensors to detect distance and communicate with other cubes. The cubes also have USB, a rechargeable battery, and audio in/out. Moving your hands around the sensors changes the MIDI output of the cube. Changing the cubes’ orientation and distance from each other also changes the signal. Max/MSP and Live are both supported out of the box, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to get started. [Peter] makes an important point: unlike traditional instruments, there’s no obvious way to get started. At 400euro for 2 cubes and 650euro for 4 cubes, these devices aren’t exactly being given away, but it’s great to see new interfaces being imagined. A video of [Peter]‘s first experiments with the cubes is embedded below; read his full post to see more footage of the cubes in action… and naturally we’d love to see any DIY versions of this you can come up with.

[Read more...]

Twittering from the command line

Twitter users often have trouble explaining just exactly what the service is for. The site specifically asks “What are you doing right now?” A simple interface and multiple ways to update means people have started hooking it to different real world objects… objects that aren’t reporting what they had for lunch. After the break, we’ll cover a couple devices that have interfaced Twitter to the real world and how you can update from your command line.

[Read more...]

DISH wins $1050 in satellite cracking case

Who doesn’t love a good corporate espionage story? We certainly don’t mind them, especially when they involve hiring a notable hacker to do the company’s dirty work. It seems this is exactly what happened in the case of Dish Networks vs NDS Group. Last month, Christopher Tarnovsky admitted he was paid $20,000 in cash to crack the security protocols used on DISH Network access cards. NDS Group claimed the reverse engineering was simply for comparative reasons while DISH is said it resulted in $900 million in damages.

The trial came to an end this week with the court finding NDS group guilty of cracking 1 card (a fine of $49.69) and liable for an additional $1000 in damages. Not quite the big payoff DISH was hoping for, but both companies have expressed feelings of vindication about the decision. DISH Networks says that the jury ruled in their favor, proving that they were right all along (just not $900 million dollars right). NDS maintains that Tarnovsky’s work was never publicly shared and that they never intended to flood the black market with cracked cards as DISH has implied.

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