Sony Ericsson Promotes Android Bootloader Unlocking

Sony Ericsson recently added a new section to their developer world portal called Unlocking the boot loader. They provide all the information and tools needed to root some of their newer Android phones.

Of course, this information comes from Sony Ericsson dripping with warnings, disclaimers and warranty-voiding rhetoric. Once you’ve waded through all of that, you’ll have to enter your phone’s IMEI number, your name and email address in order to get your phone’s unique bootloader unlock key. Here’s hoping they don’t use the form information to instantly void warranties.

Unlocking doesn’t come without consequences, but from UI tweaks and performance improvements to custom apps and tethering, there are probably more reasons to unlock your Android device than there are reasons to leave it alone. In an age where people are making a fuss about companies adding stumbling blocks for would-be jailbreakers, it’s good to see that at least one of them is doing what they can to help hackers take the plunge. Anyone want to clear up why Sony Ericsson feels like supporting hackers but Sony sues people for doing similar things on the ps3?

Thanks to [flip] | remixed image credit (cc by-sa 2.0): [taka@p.p.r.s]

Real-time GPS Tracker With Mobile Phone Uplink

[jayesh] wasn’t actually trying to solve any clever problems when we built his homebrew GPS tracker. He just had the hacker mentality and wanted to build something fun and useful while geeking out with electronics and software.

On the hardware side, he started with an Arduino, then added a GPS module for location detection and a GMS/GPRS module for the data uplink to his server over AT&T’s network. The Arduino uses several libraries and plenty of custom code. On the server, he worked up some wizardry with open-source packages and the Google Maps API. All of the source code and hardware details are well-documented. Put together, it’s a GPS tracker that can update a map in real-time. Sure, there are commercial products that do roughly the same thing, but where’s the fun in that? The principles here can also be put to good use in other microcontroller-based projects.

Analog Scope Stands In To For Laser Light Show

[Joey] likes to dabble in laser projection, building his own hardware and writing the software that drives it. One way that he tests his setup is by replacing the laser assembly with an analog oscilloscope. This allows him to ensure that the driver board is receiving data from the software, and translating it into the correct electrical signals to drive the motors controlling the mirrored redirection of the laser beam.

In the video linked above [Joey] walks us through this process. It starts by connecting scope probes to the digital-analog-converter card that outputs image data for the projector. From there the XY mode is used to map the two channels perpendicular to each other; the motors that these signals are meant to control have mirrors that also move perpendicular to one another. After adjusting the scale and the timebase you will see the pattern the laser dot is meant to trace.

[Joey] entered this in a Tectronix contest. There’s plenty of other interesting entries to browse though. If have an entry that you’d like to see featured, or if you come across any other interesting stuff, don’t forget to tip us off.

Doorbell Hack Makes Coworkers Less Annoying


Hackaday reader [Sprite_tm] works in an office building that used to house several businesses, and as a remnant of the previous configuration, a doorbell sits in the hallway just outside his office. Several of his coworkers get a kick out of ringing the doorbell each time they enter the office. While not annoyed at the practice, he was getting tired of the same old “ding-dong” and decided to shake things up a bit.

He wanted to modify the doorbell to play random sounds when triggered, but he was pressed for time as it was March 31st, and he wanted to get it installed for April Fools’ Day. Without any real plan or bill of materials in mind, he pieced things together with whatever he happened to have sitting around.

He used a design borrowed from Elm-chan in order to play wav files from an SD card with an ATTiny85, and used an L293 H-Driver as an improvised sound amplifier. After sorting out some power-related problems, and configuring the circuit to be as stingy with its battery as he could, he declared the project complete. He originally aimed to deadbug everything on the metal sleeve of the SD card socket (which is awesome), but considering the size of the speaker and the battery he selected for the project, he ended up stuffing everything into a cardboard box.

We don’t care too much about how he packaged it, we just wanted to know what his co-workers thought of his doorbell augmentation. In the end, they loved it, but we imagine this doesn’t do anything to discourage any of them from hitting the doorbell multiple times a day.

Stick around to see a quick video of his doorbell hack in action.

Continue reading “Doorbell Hack Makes Coworkers Less Annoying”