Hackaday Links: January 5, 2013

Do not aim laser at remaining eye


Over on the reddits, [CarbonGod] thought he had a slightly overpowered laser pointer. His red laser pointer had a label that said it outputs less than 5 mW. The only problem is it melted black plastic and heated a thermocouple up to 140°F. [CarbonGod] is begging, borrowing, or stealing a power meter from an engineer friend, but until then we’ve got measurements from [The_Sourgrapes]. His lasers put out 105 mW (red), 56 mW (blue), and 53 mW (green).

While <5 mW lasers are fairly safe, these lasers that are labeled as having < 5 mW of output are not. Now if we only knew where to buy these overpowered lasers…

 It’s impossible to find this video in HD


[Zach] created a physical rickroll device. It’s an Arduino and an MP3 shield hooked up to an ultrasonic sensor. When someone walks within six feet of the device, the Arduino starts playing Never Gonna Give You Up. When that person walks away, the song is paused only to start again when something else is detected by the ultrasonic sensor. There’s a hilarious video of [Zach] triggering his physical rickroll device, or you can check it out on the build page.

Hey, you! Write some code!


[William] wrote in to tell us about a project called ReactOS. The goal of the project is to create a free and open source operating system that is binary comparable with Windows XP. Yes, this project has been around for a very long time, but with Microsoft dropping support for XP, the ReactOS team could really use a few devs to get a beta out soon. If you know a bunch of low-level Windows stuff but haven’t ever contributed to an open source project, check out the developer’s wiki.

I’m [Johnny Knoxville] and this is electrostatic discharge


It looks like [Mehdi] is making a few instructional videos for EEs and those tinkering around with electricity. So far he has tutorials for making proper wiring connections, what not to do with ESD, how to take capacitors for granted, and demonstrating how electricity can kill you.

Penitent man shall pass…. Penitent man shall pass…


If gift giving were a contest, [Bradley] would win. His sister’s favorite movie is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so when he needed to wrap a gift (a coffee cup, fittingly), he went all out. All the challenges required to obtain the Holy Grail are present in this present including the breath of God (needs more circular saws), the name of God (why was the letter ‘J’ even in the movie?), and the Leap of Faith (sand included).

Coming up for his sister’s birthday, a face-melting hair dryer.

29 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: January 5, 2013

  1. I’m just amazed ReactOS is still in development.
    Honestly with how large windows xp piracy is, and how poorly ReactOS currently runs (yes, I’m well aware its nowhere from finished) I think most people will pirate xp before running this os.

    I tried ReactOS once about 4 or 5 years ago, it was interesting but it crashed constantly..

    idk, I guess I’ll take a look at it and see if its any better.

    1. I had a similar feeling, Harold. I have wanted these guys to pull it off for some time now, it just feels like swimming lessons with my dad where he just kept walking backwards. Here’s hoping 2013 will have the folks they need to get ReactOS off of the ground :)

  2. @hyperlogos : I too have those exact lasers and I’m pretty sure mine aren’t that high powered, either. I ended up with two greens as the first one had a defective battery compartment, total agreement on how bright it seems in comparison to the red and blue/violet. And that violet one… it really messes with your sense of focus because of how poorly we resolve details in that end of the spectrum.

      1. @Bradley
        Don’t get me wrong, your idea and gesture is great !
        It’s just the way it’s sold by Brian in the article got me excited and waiting for something much more elaborated.

        The important thing here is your sister’s happiness :)

        1. Indeed. I wish I could have gotten better video and took more time putting it together, but I have other projects to do… Now my brother’s gift for his birthday… that should be amazing.

          It was hard to make the movie directly into a 2foot cube, but all the ideas for this came to me within like 5minute span with less than 3 days to build it. Hopefully the next gift will have more time to be built and a bit better thought out.

  3. I imagine that ReactOS will go down in history as the first Generational OS every made (you know, like the Scifi stories of Generational Star ships filled with colonists and pointed at some star plodding away at sublight knowing it would take generations and generations to arrive at its destination – read Tau Zero by Poul Anderson for a classic example).

    I look forward to the point where enough generations of ReactOS developers have passed and they forget that they’re on a Generational OS and start to worship the original XP progenitor. Should be good times for all.

  4. Bloody rickrolled. While I’ve been following reactos superficially for a while, I’ve always slightly suspected that investors are not quite sure whether it’s worth the risk of pissing their money against the wall if MS finds some proprietary code or patentable technology within reactOS that’s owned by MS and decides to sue them to kingdom come.

  5. When I first saw the PRR (Physical Rick Roller) I thought “Neat!”, but then I thought what if this technology was applied to evil, like advertising in supermarkets, I don’t want to be walking down the isles and every 5 seconds hearing the cereal saying to me “Hey, you, yes you! BUY CEREAL!”

  6. ReactOS aim to be compatable with not just XP, but every darn version of windows they can. It already has bit of 2003/vista/7/8 in it (all open source clean room implementations of bits) in the last couple years they’ve really done a lot of API work, software support is now as good or better than wine for 99.9999% of stuff and hardware support, networking, and marketing are the major hurdles.

    1. Not to mention a more secure OS built from the ground up Binary compatible with Windows XP and they plan on or have added aslr (Address space layout randomization) which linux has had for years and vista was first to get get.
      Imo ReactOs is what Xp should have been in the first place in regards to security that and they are re-using and sharing a lot of wine code too. I for one would like a secure XP alternative compared to the upgrade cycle every 1-2 years that MS seems to have grabbed a hold of as a viable growth strategy.



  7. When measuring a green pointer you need to use a green filter in front of the power meter. Most green pointer make the green light by frequency doubling an infrared diode (green diodes exist, but expensive and low power). After the crystal the infrared light should be filtered out, but many chinese pointers don’t do that. So it’s well possible you have 5mW green and >100mW of infrared. Look at it with a webcam, you will likely see a very bright spot (not as focused as the green dot) around the beam.

    1. Ah, makes sense! Explains a lot about how the situation comes about, and logically I would’ve thought the frequency-doubling crystal would have been the weak link. And easy for the mfrs to get away with using old chocolate wrappers as the green filter, especially since you can’t *see* the IR leakage!

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