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]

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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]

Our favorite XBOX to HTPC hacks

Let’s face it, the original Xbox is ugly. It might have looked cool when it first came out but now most would be embarrassed to display that old beast with the rest of their entertainment hardware. This is unfortunate because the old girl still has some life in her. If you have tools, time, and talent you can give the box a facelift and bring it back to see the light of day. We’ve got six of our favorite Xbox to Home Theater PC hacks after the break to inspire you.

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Repair or improve your NES

There’s a warm place in our hearts for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s too bad we don’t have that hardware sitting around anymore. But if you do there’s a chance it needs some TLC and there’s always room for a blue LED mod. [Raph] has a wonderful collection of NES hardware repairs and hacks that you should take a look at. These include replacing the power supply, fixing the cartridge connector, monkeying with the CIC chip, adding a reset button on the controller, converting the audio from mono to stereo, and yes, swapping in a blue LED. Oh, and as a side note, [Raph] gets a bit of extra hacker ‘cred for including “coded manually using VIM” at the bottom of his page. Classic.

Gorgeous portable N64 built to order

[Hailrazer] is at it again with a new portable N64 build. He’s done the impossible by improving upon his last design. The LCD screen is now mounted flush for a cleaner and smaller case. The controls draw from a lot of different sources; a gamecube stick for durability, a 3rd party N64 controller for buttons, and a PlayStation controller for the shoulder buttons that serve as L, R, and Z (either hand). There is a breakout box that allows two controllers to be plugged in. Combine this with the TV out feature and it acts as a console or a handheld. His in depth demonstration is embedded after the break.

The build log (linked above) details every part of the hack so that you can try to do this yourself. The relocation of the expansion slot requires patience and solid soldering skills. The case work is an art in itself. We speculate that this commission comes somewhere close to $1000 but it’s hard to put a price on quality craftsmanship. We’ve seen smaller, but these features and finished look can’t be beat.

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19th century all-in-one PC

…well not quite, but Victorian-styled nonetheless.

In the same vein as his previous creation, [Jake] decided to steampunk his new monitor. However, this time around, he managed to squeeze a full pc into the retro case. A custom aluminum chassis had to be designed and safely house the disk drives and motherboard behind the monitor.  Since the 350W PSU was a bit too clunky to mount behind the screen, [Jake] rebuilt the base of the unit around it. The P4, 250GB SATA hard drive, and gold painted cooling fan allow the machine to run Kubuntu “Gusty Gibbon” smoothly. Coupled with a typewriter-inspired keyboard, [Jake's] got a cutting edge antique setup.