Hackaday Links: April 20, 2012

Introducing Hackaday: how it’s made edition

Ever wonder how the make the forms for marine propellers? Now you have. It turns out they use a bunch of plywood, Bondo, and sandpaper. Awesome viewing for a coffee break.

Finally a new way to hurt yourself!

[Darrell]’s solder flux pen was filled and capped at sea level. When this pen made it to his work bench high in the mountains of Colorado there was a significant amount of pressure in that pen. The flux squirted out right into [Darrell]’s eye. Better get some Visine on that, man.

The most accurate television portrayal of hacking ever

[Russell] was watching TV last night and saw an interesting commercial. It’s a bunch of electronic components, then a nook color showing the front page of Make: Projects, an Arduino schematic, and finally a happy robot. Two observations: firstly, someone in media and advertising doesn’t think ‘hacking’ is WarGames stealing bank accounts. Secondly, an ad exec looked into current users.

Here’s the official YouTube video of the commercial.

In a world… where components aren’t soldered… one man… uses a soldering station.

Adafruit linked to the most outrageous promo video ever. This Weller soldering station provides 240 watts, battles alongside Agamemnon at Troy,  has rework tweezers, and travels to Italy to wage war against the Latins.

An IDE for the 21st century

[Chris] is currently developing a new paradigm for programming. He calls it Light Table, and it’s designed to be an improvement over a simple text editor and project manager. All the documentation is at your fingertips, you can make changes on the fly. It reminds us of the zzstructure emulator we saw last year. It’s something to keep an eye on at least.

20 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: April 20, 2012

  1. Not visine…medical attention. As in, regular flushing with saline solution. Do NOT mess around with your eyes!

    Also: any time you’re working with chemicals, you NEED EYE PROTECTION. This is why.

    1. A little kid (not even in school, yet) got exposed to someone’s soap-making tub by tipping it over. They washed it out ASAP and he can see just fine several years later. If his parents hadn’t been damn quick, he’d be blind and scarred from the lye. Yeah, they probably should have had latches or hooks on the tub out of his reach… Or better yet, not let him in there without supervision, but if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Lesson learned.

    2. Another think that people have figured out from custom VM’s (say, obfusication engines) and programs like Cheat Engine/Game Hack/Artmoney is to program not using just the instructions and functions, but the data. Let’s say you had a simple program that you wanted to cheat to get infinite lives. Instead of figuring out which instruction to modify to stop decrementing a counter, you just modified a variable so that you had 10000 lives. You could also just keep writing to that location. This is kind of programming-by-variables. It’s similar to machine-language programming of a state machine by changing instructions, ironically. You could use a programming language designed to let you change state machine definitions and create a custom assembler/compiler for the resulting ‘instruction set’. This would be great for some projects where you later intend to create a real hardware implementation of that state machine. Say, for MPEG/VOB(DVD) decompression, as one example.

      1. Oops, meant on the bottom and not as a reply.

        Imagine one CPU programming the first CPU’s variable spaces, and itself being nothing but general purpose CPU. Gee, where have we heard of this concept before? I think they call it a hypervisor when it’s done the way Intel does. ;)

  2. Watch out for tubes of superglue that you have to pierce with included metal pin for first use. When you pull that pin out best not be squeezing on the tube or “Squirt” right in the eye. Happened to a neighbor of mine.

  3. What’s the advantage to LightTable again? The way “flow” was demonstrated is what all programmers should have in their head in the first place. Is it designed to be an educational tool, then?

    Without understanding the abstractions shown in LightTable, you cannot write code effectively in any IDE or language.

    I had a hard time differentiating it from what IntelliSense does for Visual Studio.

    1. Imagine LightTable with a real touch surface. That would be like “building blocks” while programming.

      It’s an easy on the fly debugger for scripting languages, without the need of setting debug prints. And finally it is a cool way of documenting your code.

      (It looks nice, though ..)

  4. The Weller WX2 is pretty amazing and the video even more so. Still, I find it hard to believe many people in this community who struggle to afford a Rigol Oscilloscope are going to plop $300 for just the base power unit and $140 for an iron to plug into it. Alas, it’s always nice to dream!

    1. Yes, but it is a great tool for a company with hundrets of irons .. maybe for prototyping or testing or somewhat. You can store your personal settings in the iron and plug it into a colleague’s base station at his office and solder right away without changing your settings. It may help the people monitor power usage, etc ….

      Sure, it’s only an eyecandy for amateurs, but it may be quite attractive for lager companies :)

    2. Hmmm… Maybe too expensive for a new unit, but a monitarily deficient person should be able to afford such equipment on the used market. I got my wonderful Metcal setup for $150US….

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.