E Pluribus Unix, QR-Style

It’s been a long time since we’ve logged into a UNIX mainframe (other than our laptop) but one of our fond memories is the daily fortune: small, quirky, sometimes cryptic sayings that would pop up on the login screen if your system administrator had any sense of humor.

Apparently, we’re not alone. [Alastair] made his own fortune clock which gives you a new “fortune” every second instead of every login. There’s a catch, of course. It’s a QR clock — the fortune is encoded in a QR code instead of being displayed in human-readable form. You have to take a picture of the tiny OLED screen to know what it says. (Watch it sending him Shakespeare sonnets in the video below.)

You probably know QR codes are good for conveying URLs, but their use as general-purpose text containers is underappreciated in our book, so we’re glad to see this example. Now, we’ve seen QR clocks before (here, and here), and this version does have the disadvantage that you can actually tell what time it is. But we’re grateful for the trip down memory lane.

Continue reading “E Pluribus Unix, QR-Style”

Magic 8 of Hearts Plies Your True Love with Cheesy Sayings

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a project out of the LVL1 hackerspace in Louisville that should warm the heart of that special someone in your life. Behold the Magic 8 of Hearts.

The metaphors are somewhat mixed here, what with the heart-shaped box, the mysterious black window of a Magic 8-ball, and the cheesy once-a-year sayings like those printed on Sweethearts candies. [JAC_101] began surgery by punching a hole in the plastic heart for an OLED display. The white on black display evokes the Magic 8-Ball look, although adding a blue filter would have nailed it. A 3-axis accelerometer detects shaking motion and an Arduino Nano selects a message to display. Some white LEDs light up the enclosure and add a little pizzazz. As a bonus, the whole thing is inductively charged – no extra holes needed in this heart.

If your true love would appreciate something a little flashier, try this animated LED Valentine heart. And if you’re successful in your romantic endeavors, you might just find yourself building these ultra-geeky wedding invitations.

Continue reading “Magic 8 of Hearts Plies Your True Love with Cheesy Sayings”

Machine offers cheap advice – charges more for something profound

[Nick Johnson] recently wrote in, sharing a neat project he put together in his spare time.

Our readers are most likely familiar with the ubiquitous “fortune” program that ships with many *nix distros, offering cheeky comments and quotes with the press of a button. [Nick] thought it would be cool to build a fortune telling machine using the app, resulting in the handsome device you see above.

The laser-cut wooden case is home to a Raspberry Pi which does the heavy lifting, a coin acceptor, an LCD screen for displaying the device’s status, along with a SparkFun thermal printer. Upon feeding the machine some money, the user can press the “Advise Me” button, prompting the RaspPi to present a printed fortune from its vast database of sayings. [Nick] took some time to do some rough categorization of the fortune databases, enabling the machine to offer more substantial content as the user inputs more coins.

Check out the video below to see [Nick’s] fortune telling machine in action.

Continue reading “Machine offers cheap advice – charges more for something profound”