Apple ][ converted into USB keyboard

Sometimes it’s apparent that there is no practical use for something featured on Hack a Day, but we don’t know if [Andrew Filer]’s Apple ][ USB keyboard qualifies for this.

After reading through the very thorough documentation available in electronic and dead tree formats, [Andrew] decided that Apple ][ would make a great USB keyboard. Unlike modern keyboards, vintage computers like the TRS-80, Commodore 64, and the Apple ][ return the 7-bit ASCII value of the key instead of a scan code. The ASCII codes generated by the keyboard were sent through a Teensyduino running [Andrew]’s keyduino sketch.

Modern PS/2 keyboards use MAKE and BREAK scan codes sent from a microcontroller that reads the keyboard matrix. For example the MAKE code for the letter ‘A’ is 1C, while the BREAK code is F0 1C. There is a reason for this design, but for the DIYer, interfacing a keyboard becomes a challenge without a separate microcontroller. We’re thinking [Andrew]’s keyduino could be a great way to put a keyboard in a project, but we’re not about to tear up our Apples and C64s to get a keyboard.

Texting with some walkie-talkies

[Travers Buda] is giving new life to his abandoned childhood toys. He cracked open a set of Family Radio Services radios he had received for a birthday which work up to 2 kilometers apart. With just a bit of extra circuitry he was able to get them to act as wireless modems. The system functions but it looks like it would benefit from some more refinement, including error correction. In the end [Travers] manages to send and receive ASCII based messages at a whopping baud rate of 10.

Toilet and Figlet

toilet_and_figlet

We thought [Kristofer’s] Tech Tip about using figlet with scripts was kind of fun. It’s a throwback to the days of logging onto a BBS and being greeted by a vertically scrolling ASCII art image that had been meticulously hand crafted (although a lot of the coolest stuff was actually ANSI art). No hand crafting here, just feed (or pipe) your text to figlet and it outputs the message in ASCII style letters.

When we went to try install this in Ubuntu, the toilet package was suggested. This one’s worth checking out too. It works in much the same way as figlet but uses extended characters and has a lot more color and font settings:

hackaday_toilet

Give these packages a try and make character art cool again!

Tradewars 2002 lives

Are you growing tired of playing all those high-framerate first person shooters? Perhaps you long for the days of blocky graphics and text-based play. You’re in luck because Tradewars 2002 is still around. Many of you will remember this 1980’s BBS based game, playing a limited number of turns per day in an effort to rule the galaxy.

The game may be around, but the way you play it has changed drastically. The advent of custom scripts that interface directly with the game system makes this more of a who can write a better script rather than who is better at the game. A hacker’s challenge if you will.  Continue reading “Tradewars 2002 lives”

Laser POV projector

[shakirfm] sent us this LED persistence of vision (POV) laser projector that can display dot matrix style text. The laser projector contains a rotating mirror assembly and 5 lasers. We’ve covered other POV projectors,but this one is a bit different. The mirror assembly rotates using two cooling fans. Controlling on/off times of the lasers along with the mirror speed, it is able to project 8×5 dot matrix ASCII text onto a surface.
Continue reading “Laser POV projector”