[bunnie] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g dongles. There’s no GUI for this trick, so you’ll be doing most of your configuration via SSH. That shouldn’t be a problem for this crowd though. The Chumby One just got a lot more appealing.
Hard drive speakers aren’t anything new, but they have yet to be done very professionally. Most hard drive speaker hacks are awesome, but aren’t meant to be a showpiece. [Oliver] took the opportunity to put together a set of 20GB drives and a custom-built acrylic case with a horizontal VU meter up front. The project is well-photographed and documented and can be recreated without the use of laser cutters or other expensive tools. The only thing it’s missing is an iPod dock!
Related: Giant bulb VU meter
[Moldover] decided to change up the way CDs are packaged for his album release. Yes, you still get a CD with some pretty sweet music, but the case can also play sounds. He custom printed a circuit board containing some LEDs, buttons, photoresistors, and what looks to be a piezo transducer which all combine to produce a strange whine like noise. But with the included headphone jack, he shows it can be used to produce some very interesting music – reminds us of circuit bending.
Western Digital recently released a media player that attaches to your TV and allows you to play HD media straight from an external USB drive to the television. With a price point of about $100, it’s strange that the device hasn’t made more of a stir in the consumer electronics market. Of course, if it exists, someone will hack it, though. Clever hardware and software hackers have already managed to get an alternative firmware running on the device, allowing for packages like a web server, RSS reader, Apple trailer viewer, and other linux-based packages. It’s good to see a device with so many software mods so early into production.
Related: OpenPogo, an alternative to Pogoplug software
[Edo] wrote in to show us how he added RDS decoding to a radio made in 1957. RDS or Radio Data System is a protocol for data transmission. This allows date, time, artist info, and more to be broadcast along with the music. Its a nice feature that many new cars come with from the factory. [Edo] wanted to add it to his old radio though. He kept the radio stock looking, choosing to use an external LCD to display the data. He has posted the information on where to splice in to add this unit to pretty much any FM radio as well as posting the schematics and source code for the unit itself. Look at the very bottom of the page for the download link, its a bit hidden with the advertisements.
[Graham] bought a new stereo for his Peugeot 406. Unfortunately, the built in radio controls in his steering wheel didn’t interface directly with the head unit, but rather with the vehicle itself. His solution was to build a device to decode the button presses and send them to the head unit in the appropriate fashion. All source code and schematics are available on his site. He states that this should work on any PSA/Renault vehicle with a 125Kb VAN bus. We’re curious how similar some of the American systems are. We have seen something similar where someone wanted to control their Zune from the steering wheel.
The new Palm Pre cellphone has a “media sync” feature which lets the device sync with iTunes in a fashion identical to an iPod. Last week [Jon Lech Johansen] speculated that this was not done in cooperation with Apple and that Palm was spoofing the iPod’s USB controller. This was confirmed today when a tipster sent him a screenshot of what the device reports in both standard and media sync modes. The Palm Pre reports its Product ID as iPod and Vendor ID as Apple with a few other changes. [Jon] notes that it doesn’t change the root USB node, so Apple should be able to block this behavior with an iTunes update. With Palm already pulling tricks like this presumably through software we wonder if this will become a full-on arms race.