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The Party was Bumping, then the Fire Dragon Showed Up

Epic Party.

I don’t use that label lightly. After the Red Bull Creation’s day of show and tell was over — winners having been presented with trophies and stuffed with barbecue over at Bert’s — people started to trickle into OmniCorp Detroit for the party.

Like all of the best parties we didn’t really see it coming. I grabbed a folding chair on the street out front with a beer in my hand and enjoyed a rotating variety of interesting people to talk with. Brian Benchoff trys out the team choice trophy -- a modified toddler's tricycle [Brian] rolled up riding one of the trophies, a modified toddler’s tricycle that proves his future with a travelling circuit is still viable. They roped off the area and set up huge speakers for the DJ. Then two guys game lumbering down the street sharing the work of hauling a tub full of ice and 12-ounce clear glass bottles with colored liquid inside. Turns out they just opened a distillery down the street and decided to donate some vodka infusions for the festivities. Yum!

Upstairs, a couple hundred square feet of area was ringed by a bar (with wide variety of kegs, slushy drinks, and one of those hot dog rollers), couches, a few work benches, a second DJ booth, and a photobooth. We only got one picture before the smoke machine reduced visibility.

Unlike a lot of ragers I’ve been at, it was easy to start up a conversation with just about anyone. Living expenses are so low in Detroit and artists are flocking to the area. This is who made up most of the group. Fascinating people who are working on a multitude of different projects and have stories of building community on their streets while rehabbing houses that cost $1-2.5k to purchase but didn’t come with most of what you’d assume a house should.

Then the fire dragon showed up

Inside was packed and outside was starting to get crowded. Then the fire dragon showed up. Named Gon KiRin, it’s the collaboration between [Teddy Lo] and [Ryan C. Doyle] who was on Team Detroitus and is artist in residence at Recycle Here!, the build venue for the Red Bull Creation. Couch on the back above the propane tankThe beast is built on the frame of a 1960′s dump truck and most of the building materials were found on the sides of the highway. The huge propane tank on the back allows it to breathe fire. I love that three daisy-chained 9-volts and two bare wires are the control mechanism for this. One thing became readily apparent; you don’t stand in front of Gon KiRin while it’s breathing fire.

The crowd piled onto the couches on top of the tail and at either rear hip. The dragons back also bore a continually rotating set of people. After midnight the guests really started to flood in. [Caleb] and I tried to close down the party but a few hours after midnight it didn’t seem to be getting any slower.

Capping off the weekend like this really proves that you need to get your team into next year’s Red Bull Creation. I got in the easy way — judges don’t have to stay up for 72 hours building stuff. Despite the sleep deprivation for contestants I didn’t come across anyone who wasn’t having a blast during the build, while goofing off, or trying to stay awake as this party got moving.

Bravo Detroit, you’re now on my short list of best party towns. Who else wants to be added to that list? Hackaday’s going to be in Las Vegas for DEFCON in a few weeks. Anyone know of parties planned that weekend and how we can get in?

Beams of Light: An Oscilloscope Demo

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The demoscene is alive and well, with new demos coming out on a multitude of platforms, including oscilloscopes. Beams of Light is a new demo released at @party in Boston by [TRSi]. Beams isn’t the usual .EXE file format for PC based demos. It’s distributed as a 4 channel wave file. The rear left and right channels are stereo audio. The front channels, however, are vector video to be displayed on an oscilloscope in XY mode.

Beams of Light isn’t the first demo to use an oscilloscope. Youscope and Oscillofun preceded it. Still, you can see [TRSi] pushed the envelope a bit with his creation. He used Processing and Audacity to create the vector video, and his own line tracing algorithm to reduce flyback lines.

[TRSi] included an updated copy of a python based oscilloscope emulator so you can play the demo even if you don’t have the necessary hardware. We wanted to run this the right way, so we powered up our trusty Tektronix 465 and hooked it up to a 1/8″ stereo plug.

Sure enough, the demo played, and it was glorious. We did see a few more retrace lines than the video shows. This could be due to our scope having a higher bandwidth than the 10MHz scope used in the YouTube video. XY demos are one of those rare cases where an analog scope works much better than a low-cost digital scope. Trying the demo on our Rigol ds1052e didn’t yield very good results to say the least. Sometimes good old phosphor just beats an analog to digital converter.

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Find the Giant Jolly Wrencher at Maker Faire this Weekend

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Check it out, I made something really geeky for Maker Faire. If you’re going to be in San Mateo this weekend for Maker Faire Bay Area, watch for the floating Skull and Wrenches. I won’t be alone, and my compatriots and I will be loaded down with stuff to give away to those who ask for it. If you are hell-bent on finding us, just check this Twitter list as we’ll frequently be tweeting our locations and exploits.

Want to grab a beer with some other Hackaday folk? Even if you’re not attending the Faire, you can take part in the festivities. We’re descending on O’Neil’s Irish Pub on Saturday night. You might want to let us know you’re coming. You can show up unannounced, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to squeeze into the 80-person-pub. If we have way too many hackers overflowing into the street we’ll probably split the party up and go bar hopping. The place is apparently right next to a train stop for your traveling convenience. We just hope to keep things tame enough to make it to Maker Faire again on Sunday morning, but we can’t guarantee that either ;-)

The Gathering: Huge Success!

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In case you haven’t heard, Hackaday put on a little shindig in downtown LA this past Tuesday. It was awesome.

And we had a few very awesome visitors: [Eliot], senior editor of Hackaday for the first five years made a showing, as did former co-editor [Jack Buffington]. Eminent LA-area hackers came out, including [charliex] of Null Space Labs, the guys from Deezmaker, and the long-haired hippie who can be found in a few NASA videos for the Curiosity rover.

Aside from the free drinks and the awesome people, there was some really cool tech on display. The mezzanine of the bar had a laser graffiti rig, and everyone who came received a super collectible NFC card that allowed them to vote on what Hackaday is doing for our next main event (the quadcopter option won but the vote was non-binding so we’ll keep you updated).

On a personal note, this was one of the few times I’ve interacted with Hackaday readers without the use of a keyboard. You guys are awesome. Thanks for coming out, and if you have any pics from the party, post a link to an album in the comments, or share your stories with us on Twitter via #HaDLAGoogle+, and/or Facebook.

Pics below. These were taken by [Edward de la Torre]

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Please Release Your Unused Tickets

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The Gathering is next Tuesday and we are starting to get excited about it! There is a waiting list of people who would like a ticket. If you registered for a ticket that you will not be able to to use, please log in and cancel it.

Cancelling your unused ticket will automatically free up a ticket for someone on the waiting list. Cancellation instructions are below. We want to pack the house and making sure no ticket goes unused is important.

Still want to attend? It’s not too late. Add yourself to the waiting list.

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Hackaday: The Gathering

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1/21/14 – Downtown LA
Come one, come all to a party with [Brian], me, and the Hackaday readers who live in the Los Angeles area. Tickets are free, as is the beer, food, t-shirts, stickers, and other swag which you won’t find out about unless you show up in person.

This is the first official live Hackaday meetup and is open to all ages. During the summer we talked about making Hackaday a virtual hackerspace, and this event is one part of that initiative. We’ll let you in on some stuff we’ve been planning, but in return I expect you to tell us your thoughts on how the Hackaday community can get bigger and better. We’re also using the attendance at this event to judge if we should host more live events (possibly in other cities too). So if you’re in LA get your ticket now and make sure your friends do the same!

UPDATE 3: Get your name on the waiting list… [Read more...]

Automatic beer pourer was hacked together from a bit of everything

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This thing is really remarkable. It’s a beer draft system that automatically fills and distributes to your party guests. The approach is something of an industrial revolution for parties. A hopper feeds cups to the tap; once filled they are whisked off to thirsty guests using a conveyor belt system.

Many of the parts come from a washing machine that the team scrapped for the build — most notably the motor which drives the belt. But pretty much every part of it is salvaged. For instance, the conveyor belt that transports the full glasses was made from gluing sections of bicycle inner tubes together. To help ease the transfer of a cup from the filling station onto that belt a series of very long cable ties were attached to a pole. The tails from those ties act as a brush to stabilize the cup as an arm pushes it onto the conveyor. The best way to see all of this is to watch the entire clip embedded after the jump.

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