Discouraged at the mounds of packaging you’re throwing away every time you buy new stuff? Artist [David Gardener] may have just the solution for you: design products where the packaging is an integral part of the product itself. We can envision a whole line of IKEA furniture, for example, that turns inside-out and uses the cardboard box as part of its internal support structure. On the whole, this may be just a touch less tacky than making furniture out of packaging not intended to be used as furniture at all (i.e. FedEx boxes).
Picture this scenario: it’s 2 AM, you’re stuck somewhere you’d rather not be, and you’ve lost your car keys. If you can’t call the Auto Club, what do you do? Hotwire your own car, of course. Wired.com has a wiki article detailing all the things you need to do to get that car running: how to identify which wires to connect, potential pitfalls of newer cars that require an RFID chip in the key, and so on. Of course, hotwiring a car that doesn’t belong to you is illegal, but this is one of those skills-like lockpicking-which just might come in handy in an emergency.
[Photo: D.B. Blas]
Hacks come in all forms, and psychological hacks are no different. [Noah Goldstein], a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, has written a book in which he details scientifically proven methods of persuading others. One of these methods stands out as being particularly useful at alleviating one of the most aggravating aspects of modern life: dealing with customer service representatives over the telephone.
The trick? Be nice, compliment the rep on doing a good job, and offer to write a letter of recommendation. Since it stands to reason that the customer service rep is probably having a crappier day than you (imagine having to talk to a hundred annoyed people five days a week and you’ll get the idea), making the rep feel appreciated is likely to make them want to do more for you in return.
Many computer users rely on antivirus software from McAfee and Symantec to protect their computers from malware, worms, and viruses. Since the creation of viruses outpaces the protection abilities of the software, antivirus protection lags behind and may not be as secure as you think. [Gary Warner] provides some examples of current malware making the rounds that continue to be unaddressed by anti-virus vendors, including the recent “CNN Alerts: Breaking News” spam, which morphed into MSNBC alert spoofs. Our advice? Keep your antivirus software updated, but don’t believe that it will catch everything for you. Only open files from sources you know and trust.
A federal grand jury in Boston has charged eleven people with the theft of more than 41 million credit and debit card numbers from retail stores. What makes this case interesting is that, although the defendants stole the data from retail establishments, they did so without ever having to leave their cars; they stole the numbers while wardriving. While the report doesn’t make it clear whether the targeted networks used weak encryption or were simply unsecured, it’s obvious that the security of your data is still not a top priority for many companies.
[toelle] has shown yet another use for the Wiimote by having it auto aim his USB missle launcher. The bill of materials is pretty simple: a Wiimote, a motorized USB missile launcher, some duct tape and glovepie.
Simply tape the Wiimote to the missile launcher, install glove pie and follow his instructions for some custom code and off you go. He goes in depth on how to connect the Wiimote to the PC, as well as details on how the custom code works. It only tracks IR targets right now, which is a bit of a bummer, but that would see TV remotes right?
Is there any way this could be combined with the sonar controlled missle launcher that we covered in July?
[via Hack N Mod]
Check out this awesome tool that [Alfonso Martone] built and wrote in to tell us about: a pin plotter made entirely from Lego (except for the addition of a pin in one brick). [Alfonso] has managed to get 33dpi resolution with a “printable” area of 90x70mm. The NXT device reads 1bit bitmapped images in PBM format and outputs onto a sheet of paper, which is held in place by Lego pneumatics pushing against rubber Lego bricks. Output is not what you might call speedy, though: it takes 35-40 minutes to output a drawing with 1,500 holes.
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