PRetec GPS hack


[Barry Carter] had a Pretec compact flash GPS adapter for his PDA and really liked how it worked. The problem was it took up the CF slot so he wasn’t able to add any flash memory to the device to store larger maps. He opened up the device and discovered that it only had five wires attached to the compact flash portion. The lines came from an NMEA chip and he used a scope to figure out the port settings. All that was needed was an RS232 converter. With the new packaging he was able to plug the GPS portion into the PDA’s serial port and use a larger CF card for storage.

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Audio output from a serial port


Yes, it is possible to get sound output from a serial port. Sure, it sounds terrible, but what did you expect. [markrages] ttyplay program first resamples the WAV file to the baud rate of the serial port. It then uses Sigma-Delta modulation to encode the analog signal into a binary bitstream. You should really try this out. The picture above is from when I was testing it out since it only took a minute to grab the parts and a second to compile. Mark says audio quality could be improved by using a higher baudrate. There is a lot of noise though. Somebody want to put together a simple RC filter/amplifier; I can actually think of a project this might be useful for. Read more about ttyplay here.

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iPod video recap


My 5G iPod arrived yesterday. We previously talked about automatically converting downloaded TV to iPod video. I had found [mike]’s comment odd since it said the iPod doesn’t support Videora’s H.264. Odd because I followed Videora’s conversion guide and that’s the setting they used. Well, it’s true. I was successful using the “SP/320×240/768KbpsStereo/128Kbps” setting Mike suggested. This issue has been acknowledged with the release of iPod Converter 0.81. I haven’t had a chance to test the new version which features more resolutions (not guaranteed to be usable). My Azureus setup seems be working even though the converter coughs up a .NET error every so often.

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How-to: VMware player modification

Last week the free VMware player was released. It lets you run virtual machines, but not create them. [Faileas] contributed today’s how-to for creating your own virtual machines.

Programs required to carry out hack:

  1. Copy of VMware Player

  2. Browser appliance or another virtual machine(browser appliance is the smallest one, by size, and thus I am using that)

  3. Notepad or other text editor

  4. ISO image or CD/floppy of FreeDOS (I’m using the ripcord distribution) or MSDOS 7.1 would work as well, but i haven’t tried it yet.

  5. Replacement OS (must have SCSI HDD support)

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CVS camcorder follow-up

cvs camcorder

It’s been a couple months since the CVS camcorder downloading alpha release. [Matt Gilbert] thought it would be a good idea if we checked up on the community. There has been a lot progress made: from low level stuff like unearthing USB commands to upping the resolution and record length. Modding for macro work and building helmet mounts has also been done. A great overview of how all of this came about is the “credit where credit is due” post. Recently they’ve been dealing with new firmware versions that make the cameras harder to play with (sound familiar?). No worries though, if the solutions maintain the simplicity of jumping one wire there’s a bright future ahead. Congratulations to everyone involved in this project; you’ve done some incredible work.

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Hackaday links

I’ve been getting a ton mail on the tip line saying “You should make the iPod photo do video”. The iPod Linux team pulled this off already.

Another one that comes up from time-to-time is “You should let me plug my PSP into my iPod so I can use all of that storage space”. The reason this can’t work is because USB needs a host. In the case of a PSP, iPod, keyboard, mouse, PDA… a computer is the host device. USB devices can have other devices plugged into them if they feature a hub, but they still require a host device for control. Unless a device is specifically designed for “USB host mode” attaching peripherals won’t work. This is why the iPod photo needs the camera adapter. It isn’t just a gender changer; it performs the USB host magic that is missing from the iPod.

Harald has started a the OpenEZX project to gather information about Motorola’s EZX Linux based phone platform.

I grew up on a dairy farm, but we didn’t have Linux powered robotic cow-milkers. Somehow I still ended up with this job.

From the bored folks who brought you the dancing bug we get the frog racer. [brian]

I think the flash based eBay auction mapper that [Gary] built is really slick.

Making beer with a coffee pot

The tip line

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