Announcing: International Hack Day, August 11th.

There is no single and definitive definition of what hacking is. We all have different versions of similar ideas in our head, but depending on your background and area of enthusiasm, hacking means something different. While dictionary.com has many definitions of the word itself, none seem to cover what we see on a daily basis.

We set out to define “hacking” ourselves. We tossed around words like “modify”, “kludge”, “explore”, and “create”. Each time we committed an increasingly vague definition onto the page, we decided it was too narrow and tossed it in the proverbial trash. The variations were just too many.

What we do know is that “hacking” seems to breed advancement and innovation. Much like mutations in an evolutionary chain, each hack pushes the topic in a slightly new direction, inspiring others and thereby perpretuating the evolutary event. In a very short time we’ve witnessed hacking bring forth the evolution of wagons to cars, kites to airplanes, and the creation of the computer.

We at Hackaday would like to declaire August 11th to be “International Hack Day”. A day to celebrate hacking in all of its diverse forms. From soldering to sewing, coding to carbonating, knitting to knurling, we want you to keep on hacking. Take August 11th as a day to show pride in your hacking. Waive your hacker flag high and educate those around you.

We have asked many of our friends to contribute their personal definition of hacking. Here they are, in the order they were received.

Continue reading “Announcing: International Hack Day, August 11th.”

Chiptune player uses preprocessed .MOD files

[Kayvon] just finished building this chiptune player based on a PIC microcontroller. The hardware really couldn’t be any simpler. He chose to use a PIC18F2685 just because it’s big enough to store the music files directly and it let him get away with not using an external EEPROM for that purpose. The output pins feed a Digital to Analog Convert (DAC) chip, which in turn outputs analog audio to an LM386 OpAmp. The white trimpot sandwiched between the chips controls the volume.

The real work on this project went into coding a program which translates .MOD files into something the PIC will be able to play. Because of the memory limits of the chip it is unable to directly use all of the instrument samples from these files. [Kayvon] wrote a program with a nice GUI that lets him load in his music and page through each instrument to fine-tune how they are being re-encoded. The audio track from the video after the break doesn’t do the project justice, but you will get a nice look at the hardware and software.

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Miniaturized N64 controller fits the tiniest of hands

n64-controller-mod

The controllers that came with the Nintendo 64 don’t exactly measure up to the “Duke” of Xbox fame, but they’re not the smallest in the world either. Made by Bacteria forum member [Bungle] says that his girlfriend has incredibly tiny hands, so he thought he might try trimming some of the fat from an N64 controller by cramming its components into an N64 cartridge.

He tore down a 3rd-party N64 controller, tossing out the D-Pad, plug, and rumble motor, retaining all of the other buttons. After gutting the game cartridge, he heated the back side under a lamp and stretched the plastic over a roll of electrical tape to make room for the N64’s trademark “Z” button. Having only removed the rumble motor due to size constraints, he found a suitable replacement at Radio Shack, which fills in for the original nicely.

After a good amount of careful trimming, wiring, and mounting, he came up with the little gem you see above. We’re sure [Bungle’s] girlfriend is pleased with his work, and he seems happy with how it came out as well.

Continue reading to see a short video showing off [Bungle’s] latest creation.

[Thanks, Chris Downing]

Continue reading “Miniaturized N64 controller fits the tiniest of hands”

“Extrem Konsolen Modding”

Not to be outdone by their North American counterparts, these German-speaking hackers have come up with a truly unique console mod. Although modding one system may be OK for most, the builders of this console decided to combine three systems into one clear plastic box. A stripped down Xbox360, Playstation3, and Nintendo Wii were all put together to form this “Extrem” system.

The build style should be very appealing to those interested in video game hardware. Combining the look of a tower PC with a clear plastic allows one to see all components in action. Since the box is lit up with electroluminescent lighting, one is able to show off this system in the day or at night. Continue reading ““Extrem Konsolen Modding””

Compaq Portable III rises again for a noble cause

[Autuin] found a Compaq Portable III destined for the scrap bin at Free Geek Vancouver. Upon seeing it he realized that it could still fight;  fight against the tyranny of hipsters and their shiny Macbook Pros at his  local coffee shop. Unfortunately, being a 286, the computer couldn’t do much. He could take the usual route; which is to remove all the internals, and use the vast amount of space to fit a more modern computer inside. However, he decided to go a different path and save the internals, leaving it in original working order. The computer didn’t have enough power to browse the web, but it had just enough room to fit a small single-board computer inside; to which he could connect through serial. He hasn’t taken it down to the coffee shop yet, but we’re hoping for a few horrified hipsters and a full mission report when he does.

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Project Apex, Apad mod

[Carnivore] tried to break as many (unofficial) records as possible when he modified his Apad/M002 into what he calls Project Apex. Record number 1: [Derek] claims this is the first Apad mod, ever. Record number 2: 8500mAh battery, giving the device a 12 hour life which is longer than any other Android slate. Record number 3: beautiful factory-looking finish. Okay, so that last one isn’t really a record, but we thought Project Apex deserved it anyway. There are a few other modifications done to the device as well; click the link or catch a video of him showing off the slate after the jump.

[Thanks Derek Hughes]

Continue reading “Project Apex, Apad mod”

Modded C64 eye candy

“Everyone needs a hobby,” they tell us. For the blogger mysteriously identified only as “R,” that hobby would be an almost fanatical nostalgia for the Commodore 64 computer.

At first we thought this was a fan community site, but apparently it’s all the work of a single person. [R] has tweaked, extended, repackaged and resurfaced this 1980’s icon in nearly every imaginable way. They tend to gloss over the technical aspects of these mods, but that’s okay – the C64 is such an exhaustively documented system now that the site dwells mainly on the aesthetics and meaning of these reborn devices.

The 64 has made an indelible impression on electronic music, and the machines are still sought after by collectors, composers and circuit-benders. [R] pays homage by housing these vintage systems in styles reminiscent of even vintage-er synthesizers. Any one of these would warrant a post here, yet there’s a whole collection to browse. Check it out!

[via Retro Thing]