Replace batteries with USB power

[Mark Bog] thought it was a waste to use batteries for his desktop touch pad. Quite frankly we agree that if you can avoid using disposable cells you should. He ditched the dual AA batteries inside of his Magic Trackpad and built a battery-sized adapter to feed it some juice. It consists of a dowel of similar diameter with a screw in each end. He scavenged a USB cord, connecting hot and ground wires to the corresponding pole of the adapter. Now his Trackpad is USB powered and never in need of a battery replacement or even a recharge.

We’re not familiar with the inner workings of Apple’s Magic Trackpad. We assume there’s a voltage regulator inside and we hope it doesn’t have a problem working with the 5V regulated power coming in from the adapter. If you’ve got the skinny on the hardware we’d love to hear about it in the comments. One last thing: because the forum linked above requires a login to view the images in the post, we’ve embedded the rest of them after the break for your convenience.

[Read more...]

Reverse engineering Apple’s recharging scheme

[Ladyada] has been hard at work reverse engineering the charging method used by Apple products. This saga takes us through the years as new devices were released and subsequently broke Minty Boost’s charging capabilities. It seems the data lines were gradually adopted as a means for iPhones and iPods to identify the charger that had been connected. By adding voltage dividers to the D+ and D- lines you can instruct the handheld to pull 1 Amp (with data voltages of 2.8v and 2.0v) for wall chargers or 0.5 Amps (2.0v on both data lines) for portable chargers. In the video above [Ladyada] removes the surface mount resistors from a commercial charger in order to measure the voltage divider and discover the secret.

Jailbreak your Apple products

It’s finally here, after being declared completely legal to jailbreak your iPhone, JailbreakMe 2.0 is released.

Now, any and all iDevices can be jailbroken by simply visiting the URL above; however, before you start your devious adventure in the land of apps not approved by big brother Apple, there are a few issues.

The webpage is being slammed at the moment so you’ll have to wait. There is a chance the jailbreak will not work, and you could brick your phone. MMS and Facetime are having complications after jailbreaking. And finally, carrier unlock still needs to be done with ultrasn0w.

But beyond those small stepping stones, jailbreaking is just a touch away.

Top 10 features we’d like to see in Android 3.0

UPDATE:

Hello HaD readers,
Sorry for the delay in updating this. I was on probation while the editors worked with Jason to figure out some things.

Clearly, for my recent debut article, I didn’t research Android OS well enough. After reading each of your comments, I realize that the article fell short of HaD’s and its readers standards for high-quality writing and reporting. Every point I made in the article were problems I noticed in my experience with Android, but I should have done more research on others’ experiences and the capabilities of each version of the OS. To each reader, I am sorry and will do better by you in future posts.

Poor Google. Despite its numerous capabilities with smartphones spread across a variety of carriers, Android still struggles to garner the prestige and positive perceptions of iOS 4. Sales continue to rise, but at the end of the day, the average person is still left lusting for an iPhone. Well, here are 10 features  that should be added to Android 3.0 that could change the tide.
1. A no-brainer task manager.
Google says Android doesn’t need a task manager, that it closes programs efficiently without any user-intervention, substandard apps often suck memory dry. Because of this, Android users are forced to download complicated task-managers, each with its own odd UI, and weigh which one works the best. Google, please fess up to the problem and put something in there a computer novice could use.  Something with big buttons would be nice.

iPhone 4 teardown

iFixit traveled all the way to Japan to bring you this iPhone 4 teardown, only to be shipped the device unexpectedly two days early!

We were surprised that the A4 processor (its naked body displayed for the world this past April) contained within the iPhone 4 had 512MB of ram, compared to the 256MB of the iPad. Other features include the 1420mAh battery (201mAh more than the 3Gs), 5MP rear camera and front VGA camera, and the use of micro-sim.

Frankly, we don’t see ourselves getting the device immediately, but how excited are you for the iPhone 4?

iPad hacked to include a Verizon MiFi

Finally, some hardware hacking on an iPad.  Finding the 3G connection that came with the iPad lacking, this industrious hacker yanked it out and replaced it with the guts from a MiFi. At the cost of his GPS, he’s gained a better connection and is now a wifi hotspot. It wasn’t horribly complex, but he did have to do a tiny bit more than just plug and play.

[thanks Smilr]

Nike + iPod as a tracking device

[Thomas] found a paper from 2006 that describes using the Nike + iPod system as inexpensive tracking devices. Yep, it’s old as dirt but we think it’s fascinating reading! [Scott Saponas] and his fellow authors take a hard look at the lack of security in the system in a twelve-page PDF. They cover several different ways to capture and track one of the $29 tags in someone’s shoe, including using the Gumstix reader above, or a slightly modified 3G iPod. If the sensors are not removed or manually switched off when not in use they can be picked up by any RF reader within range. Because the tags are cheap and available, one could be planted on an unsuspecting victim James-Bond-style. Maybe this is what prompted Apple’s half-hearted attempt to restrict hacking the devices to do things like unlock doors.

Of course if you don’t want to do the reading you could download their video presentation or just stream it.