Turning a one-armed-bandit into web slots

[Kyle Kroskey] just finished his first Arduino project, adding web control to a slot machine. He started with an IGT S+ model which were extremely popular in Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for years, but are now being replaced with more modern versions. His grand idea was to modify the machine so that it can be controlled from a PC, then unleash a live stream so that the Internets can play.

This turned out not to be too hard, there’s just a few controls he patched the Arduino into; the button for maxing out the wager amount, and sensors that measure coin inserts and payouts. In order to keep the peace he disconnected the speaker but rerouted the audio into a PC so that it can be played over the streaming feed. This make sure it’s quiet in the room without sacrificing the online fun. The PC is running Ubuntu and controls the video feed, a screen detailing jackpot data above the machine, and facilitates passing webpage player requests to the Arduino for machine control.

For another fun slot machine hack, check out this gaming device turned bartender.

Building Linux images for ARM architectures

Want to try your hand at building a Linux package for an embedded device? [SnowBot] decided to give it a try and set out to build Ubuntu for a GumStix. The single-board computer will cost you about $150 to get started, plus a way to connect to the device’s serial port. But once you’ve got your hands on it there is a lot of power in a tiny package.

He’s using the RootStock package to assist in the build. This is a suite of tools that generates the root file system that can be loaded onto an SD card for use with the Gumstix. It’s not quite building from the ground up, but there’s already enough hoops to jump through that this package is a welcomed shortcut.

Already rolling your own Linux packages for embedded hardware? We want to hear about it.

Nexus one gets Linux

Considering how hackable the Nexus One is already, we can only imagine a whole new host of interesting things thanks to Ubuntu running on the device. [Max Lee] set his heart out on getting not just Ubuntu on the Nexus One, but also Debian, and he wrote a perfect install guide to help out those wanting to give it a shot.

He cheated a little bit by having Ubuntu run in the background while the X11 interface is simply VNCed, but he still did an awesome job with plenty of pictures and details to help you achieve Ubuntu on your Nexus One.

Ubuntu on the ClarionMIND MID

[DeadHP1] has been rolling and optimizing his own Ubuntu distributions for the ClarionMIND. He calls his work Mindbuntu and he’s squeezing out quite a bit of performance from the mobile Internet device. The video is running at 800×400, as well as wireless, sound, Google Earth with GPS support, and even compiz. Install the image using unetbootin to place it on a thumb drive and you’ll have Ubuntu 9.04 to go in no time.

[Thanks Bob]

[ClarionMIND Photo courtesy of Mobile Tech Review]

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

ubuntu-karmic-koala-splash

Today is the official release of the latest version of Ubuntu, the most popular Linux-based operating system. Someone mentioned that there had been a new release of the Windows OS recently and if you’re thinking of going with that one, we feel you should a least give Ubuntu a try. Now in its 11th official release and codenamed Karmic Koala, this version of Ubuntu continues the traditional six month development cycle by succeeding Jaunty Jackalope which was released in April of this year.

We’ve been running the beta release of Ubuntu Netbook Remix for several weeks now. It cut boot time down to between 5-10 seconds and WiFi is already connected by the time the Desktop loads. Speed isn’t the only new feature, graphics have been redesigned, there is a new app store that serves as a front end for the extensive free software repositories, and the newest kernel and software versions are included.

We’ve been using this open source operating system since its third release, Breezy Badger. We love it for the quality, convenience, and the fact that we can get our fingers into the code and hack around a bit.

Ubuntu 9.10 beta now available

ubuntu_karmic_beta

The latest version of the world’s most popular Linux distribution is now available. Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala continues the six-month development cycle of this free OS. We’ve used Ubuntu since 2005 and, after a short adjustment period, never looked back at those other operating systems.

Never used Linux? This distribution is for you but we recommend waiting until the release makes it out of beta to the stable version on October 29th.

Comfortable with Linux and want to get your feet wet? The Hack a Day team is calling on all of you to test, report, and improve upon this community driven project. Get yourself a copy of the beta (we recommend using the torrents) and start reporting bugs. You can help fix them by joining the bug squad, or use your coding skills to become a developer.

Toilet and Figlet

toilet_and_figlet

We thought [Kristofer's] Tech Tip about using figlet with scripts was kind of fun. It’s a throwback to the days of logging onto a BBS and being greeted by a vertically scrolling ASCII art image that had been meticulously hand crafted (although a lot of the coolest stuff was actually ANSI art). No hand crafting here, just feed (or pipe) your text to figlet and it outputs the message in ASCII style letters.

When we went to try install this in Ubuntu, the toilet package was suggested. This one’s worth checking out too. It works in much the same way as figlet but uses extended characters and has a lot more color and font settings:

hackaday_toilet

Give these packages a try and make character art cool again!

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