LG TV hacking via serial connection or IR codes

[Brendan Robert] has been sending us forum thread links outlining the things he’s learned while hacking LG televisions. They were a bit hard to follow for the uninitiated, so we asked if he could give us an overview of what he’s been working on. Not only did he do that, but he made a little Hackaday shout-out seen above by adding the skull and cross-wrenches as one of the menu overlays.

He’s using a TV as his computer monitor, which he picked up at a discount because it was a display model. Without the original remote, and wanting to have features like power-saving mode which is standard on monitors but not on this TV, he decided to see what he could accomplish. A couple of things made this quite a bit easier. First, there’s an RS232 port built into the back which removes the need to investigate and solder your own onto the board. Secondly, since LG built on the Linux kernel for the set, you can download some of the firmware sources from their website.

What he came up with is a script that will find and communicate with the TV over the serial connection. The test script used during development polled every possible command, looking for valid return values. Once [Brendan] established which commands work and what they do, he was able to take command of the unit, writing scripts to adjust brightness based on the ambient light in the room as seen from the computer’s webcam. Make sure you check out the sub-pages to his post that detail the brightness adjustments, stand-by functionality, custom overlay graphics, and the extra commands he uncovered.

Crash course in HTML manipulation from a shell script

Automating something involving data from the Internet can be confusing when it comes to pages generated by user input. For instance, let’s say you want to scrape data from a page that loads after using a search box. [Andrew Peng] posted a quick and dirty example to help you write your own scripts. The example he used checks stock on one of the websites he frequents. His process outlines finding the link that all searches are submitted to, establishing the method used to send the search string, and grabbing the resulting data. He parses it and sends off an email if it finds what he’s looking for. But this could be used for a lot of things, and it shouldn’t be a problem to make it alert you in any way you can imagine. Maybe we’ll use this to add some functionality to our rat.

Reddit hacking for votes and profit

Looks like someone figured out how to game the Reddit system. This probably has been done before, but as far as we know nobody’s actually shared the methods in detail. [Esrun] wrote some scripts that allow him to register multiple accounts and use them to up-vote stories.

The hack goes something like this. A script registers a group of accounts. Each uses a different IP and the only part that requires intervention is typing in the Captcha. This doesn’t take long. You can see the script interface above as well as a demonstration video after the break.

Once the accounts have been acquired a story is submitted and the new accounts vote on it. They’re not all up-votes though, as having both up and down votes puts the article into the controversial section of Reddit (which is desirable), and doesn’t rouse as much suspicion from the moderators. He ran a few tests that he shares and it seems that as long as the article is interesting, this can be quite successful.

Great, more spam with our social media please.

[Read more...]

Now you see me, now you don’t, face detection scripts

Straight out of Ghost in the Shell, the Laughing Man makes his appearance in these security camera shots. [William Riggins] wrote us to let us know about his teams Famicam scripts. After taking a screen shot, faces are detected and counted, ‘anonymized’, and the final image is uploaded to Twitter.

The process is rather simple, and sure beats wearing a bunch of white reflective camouflage. All that’s left is detecting specific faces to make anonymous, and of course uploading the script to every camera in the world. Easy, right?

Digikey sort by price script

Does anyone else find it a little ironic the electronic retailer SparkFun is advocating scripts to help Digikey have a Sort By Price function? Regardless, to reiterate now Firefox (and we hear Google Chrome too) users with the Greasemonkey plugin can sort Digikey items. Personally, some of us here are just Mouser fans at heart.

[Thanks Charper and Mohonri and Satiagraha, image credit Make]

Trim the fat from Gmail

minimal gmail

Google’s Gmail is a highly viable option for email. With numerous features and options like widgets, a task list, labels, and chat, Gmail has a slight tendency to get overwhelming and might force us to loose focus on what it is really all about: email.

What can make Gmail better? For starters, how about no ads; they are cluttering and distracting. What about getting rid of the widgets and unnecessary features like labels and chat that we think are supposed to make us more productive but really only make us lose our focus to send, read and reply to email? Nobody knows Zen better than [Leo] at Zen Habits. We weren’t surprised that he and his friends (with Firefox and Greasemonkey) have found a way to trim all the unnecessary elements from Gmail and make it into an email powerhouse that focuses on a basic productive email client. The minimalist inbox for Gmail consists of Greasemonkey scripts for:

  • Removing gadgets
  • Hiding labels, chat and footer
  • Removing ads
  • Removing stars
  • Getting rid of the Gmail logo and searchbar
  • Removing menu navigation bar
  • Cleaning up and removing unnecessary buttons

To get started focusing on email, and only email, head on over to ZenHabits for a list of associated scripts and what exactly they can do to help you on your road to the minimalist Gmail.

WiFi theremin

The fine folks at Midnight Research Labs have put together a new toy for you to play with. It’s a Python script that makes your WiFi hardware behave more like a theremin. Based on the pyaudio library it monitors the signal strength of the AP you’re connected to and changes the tone accordingly. There’s a sample embedded above (direct link). If you have a second interface, you can use it to modulate the volume. It’s an interesting trick, but they say that there’s enough latency that it would be hard to play actual music with it.

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