Woot lights and mice transplants

[Nathan Long] sent in two fairly simple mods he’s been working on. The first is the control of Woot-off Lights via LPT port. A computer checks Woot for the Woot-off logo, and if the logo is spotted, on go the lights. It’s really just a twist on the LED/Arduino email message system, but the creativity is nice.

His other modification is the stuffing of a Microsoft Intellimouse inside of a Logitech Wingman. With the goal of giving the old PS/2 mouse USB capabilities and removing the terrible ball. For those that are asking themselves “why bother? Terrible ergonomics, no scroll wheel, etc.” [Nathan] claims it’s for Quake 2 nostalgia, to each their own we suppose.

Leapfrog DIDJ

Since we first mentioned the Leapfrog DIDJ, a lot has happened. A number of avid readers of Hack a Day teamed up with a couple hackers experienced with the DIDJ, and have managed to make some huge progress into making a linux based game console on the cheap. For all the readers who missed out on the last sale on Woot, its about time for a second chance.

The team working over at the HackerFoundry forum have managed to gain serial console access, map the file system, create a fake update server, and are almost at a point where replacing the stock OS and firmware can be done with software alone. They have also designed and tested a homebrew cartridge with a slot for a microSD card and breakouts for expansion and debugging.

Right now they are looking for someone with experience snooping USB protocols to figure out how the device communicates to the computer, as well as anyone who is interesting in just testing or playing around with what they have done so far. There are a number of tutorials and walk-throughs on the eLinux wiki. Its amazing how far this group has come in just two months.

Woot How-to: Let there be Light! (for your Rovio)

Before we get into the how-to, we felt it would be appropriate to explain a little bit about how this came to be. As many of you may remember, a couple of months ago we attended CES 2010. While there, we also attended the It Won’t Stay in Vegas Blogger party and ended up meeting the guys from Woot. After all of us spent a little bit of time appreciating the open bar, a group of us stood ended up standing around and talking shop for a while. All of a sudden, a member of our group, Jeremy Grosser, proposed the idea that Hackaday and Woot form a partnership. Basically, they would give us a heads up on what they are going to sell and we would write up a how-to on how to do something cool or useful with that product. Then, when the day came for Woot to sell the product, we would post our how-to. What you are reading right now just so happens to be that idea in action, the first official partnership between Hackaday and Woot. In this how-to, we’ll be taking apart the Wowwee Rovio mobile webcam robot, adding some super-bright LEDs for better see-in-the-dark action, and see how some software called RoboRealm can give it a little bit of artificial intelligence.

[Read more...]

Leapfrog Didj: Followup

Yesterday we mentioned the Woot! sale of the Didj, and we had some comments and emails from readers who had purchased one. We couldn’t resist either, and ordered a couple to take apart and modify. We will probably be following the work laid out by [Claude Schwarz], who seems to be one of the leading hackers on the scene. [Claude] has done some work in porting the GP2x libraries to the Didj, which gives a tremendous head start to anyone looking to have a working game system any time soon. There will also be a build log for everyone to follow along at home, and contribute what you want and have, as well as a follow up How-To when a working system is attained. Happy Hacking, everyone.

Leapfrog Didj: Handheld Linux on the Cheap

Today our good friends over at Woot! are selling the Leapfrog Didj, a low cost educational toy aimed at little kids. Lucky for hackers out there, the Didj is actually a linux device, and gaining serial console access is as easy as soldering two wires. The documentation out there is a little outdated, with a number of broken links and stale wikis, but $25 for a portable linux device is a hard deal to beat. A list of sites which might be helpful are listed after the break, as well as the hardware specs of the Didj.

Let us know if you have played around with hacking the Didj before, and if you have any tips for other readers. Don’t forget to tell us what you do with the Didj as well!

Thanks to [Mark] for the tips and the hardware details.

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Hackit: Crap modding

When Boing Boing Gadgets posted about this $13 robot hand music box, we immediately thought “OH EXPLOITABLE!”. Over the years, we’ve acquired quite a bit of cheap trash just operating under the assumption that we would turn it into something else. Most of our acquisitions are Woot‘s fault. Just this morning we were dismayed to find out that the purveyor of cheap electronics had already sold out of animatronic Elvis heads. Now that would have been fun. We’ve purchased things like Tony Hawk helmet cams, jumbo remotes, Bluetooth headphones, Gyration mice, IMFree chatpads, and many other items of questionable use thinking that some day we’d use it. How about you? What sort of irrational purchases have you made and what would you do with a $13 mechanized hand?

[Just as we were wrapping this up, Woot posted a $49 HMD; you better believe we bought that.]

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