Hackaday Links: Sunday, May 26th, 2013


The warmer months cometh and it’s time to think of this year’s Burning Man. [Matt’s] already set himself up with a sound-reactive LED project he calls the Seed of Life.

Older readers, and those who really know their hobby electronic history, will know the name Heathkit. Many readers tipped us off about their triumphant return. We’re not sure what form this reincarnation will take, but you can help shape it by participating in the survey.

Dust off that MSP430 launchpad and turn it into a composite video Pong console.

Here’s a way to use your Android phone as a computer mouse.

We’re not quite sure what this is, but turn your volume down before watching the video about a modular sythesizer hack.

[Arkadiusz Spiewak] wrote in to share some of the printing success (translated) he’s had recently with the H-bot style printer we saw a while back.

Strap an Arduino and an Electric Imp to your arm (and everyone else’s) and it’ll remember everyone you meet. You know, kind of like Google Glass but with geeky arm-wear instead of geeky headgear?

And finally, [Nerick] has just finished a thermometer project using Nixie tubes (translated).

56 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: Sunday, May 26th, 2013

      1. What a bunch of whiners. I like the content and the format doesn’t bother me. I would expect someone is spending a lot of time bringing me things I enjoy reading about, obviously it is not the complainers of this site.

      1. I’m clicking less articles and will stop using the site altogether if, after all these complaints, they still continue to do this.
        I thought the reason of these summaries was to avoid having too many posts. With the new layout it’s twit-a-hack-a-day.
        I refrained from writing until now because I though common sense will prevail.

        1. to get more clicks and know the number of reads for each article. webmarketing 101 for dummies. But not something to change when readers liked the previous layout.

    1. What I miss the most was reading the write up and clicking what is now the “Read the rest” ‘button’ to find my browser perfectly lined up with the following text (if it was an ‘in house’ article) or the linked video. It feels like the flow of the site has been lost.

    2. The new layout is making me visiting less this website. I must say it is disgusting… Nobody is talking good about it. Maybe the owner of the site wants it because the clicks duplicate and they get more money for banners, but in any case, this really sucks.

      1. Get over it folks… If your too lazy to click on a link, then you cannot be very productive. People say that it generates more money for the site. Happy days, I’m sure that means that Caleb can keep doing what he does best. And if this new layout makes his life that much easier and costs you an extra mouse movement every now and again, maybe it evens out the balance. That is all.

        1. I think you are right. hackaday should introduce subscription, you should only be allowed to read first 3 lines of every post if you are not a paying customer, like instructables!
          and popups, LOOTS of popups

  1. It will be interesting to see if Heathkit can come back as a MODERN electronic/microcontroller kit company or will just be a rehash of an old farts ham radio club.

      1. I think the difference would be on projects, not modules. I love spark fun, makes my prototyping, proof of concepts, and one offs easier. But they don’t have any full project kits. That’s what Heathkit had back in the day.

    1. While it probably was hams that where Heathkit’s bread and butter customers, Heathkit did have kits other than amateur radio gear. The Heathkit was built on the model that consumers could have electronic equipment at a less than retail price, in exchange for effort in time spent assembling the items. I’m not sure how that will play given modern manufacturing techniques, and consumer expectations. Given the low cost of new TV at Walmart, few will be building color TV kits, and I doubt many will be building microcontroller projects either

  2. “Here’s a way to use your Android phone as a computer mouse.” <-links to a site using an Arduino and an iphone….
    on the other hand Unified Remote already works as a mouse/keyboard etc for my Android phone

  3. Ugh… not only was the description and content a little lacking, this front page layout needs to revert or be revised to show the full post (or at least a USEFUL chunk of it). There isn’t even enough information on most articles to be intriguing.

  4. Didn’t Heathkit already try to make a return in 2011, then immediately go bankrupt? Now they’re back again, with some survey that can’t even be accessed from the main page?

    Plus a link to something that you can’t tell me what it is other than I should turn my volume down?

    I feel like it’s April Fool’s Day.

  5. I remember Heathkit from the late 60’s and 70’s. The main thing that I remember was that you could buy a kit to build something that cost about 40% more than buying off the shelf as a finished product. Sure it is cool to build your own, I love that but, as a business model, I don’t think it works too well.


    1. Not sure what Heathkit products you are referring to, but my recollection is that wasn’t the case with the made in USA Amateur radio transceivers, and color TVs.

      1. I think Pirate Labs was basically referring to anything non HAM. Their radio stuff was competitive in pricing but not by much. I remember feeling much the same way and still do when I see a “kit” that has $8.00 worth of components, an improper schematic, and insanely lax support for any beginner, sell for 120 bux. I think that is why some folks went to hackable devices (along with dumbing down of model specific features). I will say that one could buy a Doepfer filter section for less than the kit. It is one of those things that sticks in my crawl: learning vs profitability. I see a whole new batch of hobby sellers going the same route. I have had severe issues with Make, Jameco, tindie, and sparkfun as they all take their money and leave ya sitting. I think it would be in all of these kit makers interest to actually have someone build the thing from time to time (in house) and test everything.
        And agreed, the new HaD layout could be better. It always cuts off the article blurb just before the good part :( Found myself back at ghacks, catching up on 3 years of lost posts lol.

  6. Add my vote to those hating the new layout. The article is cut before any useful idea of the project is given. Either change back or change writing style to give a useful summery in the first few lines

  7. I admit Hackaday links is my least favorite aspect of Hackaday, but it seems to create a bitch fest every week. I guess I’m not noticing the same new layout other are. The only different I noticed is that “Read the rest” replace previous phrases to indicate where to click to read more, but the function seems to be the same, and is not confusing when displayed here. I do have ad block disabled for Hackaday, but I’m have seen an ad for some time now.

    1. Yeah, that’s pretty much the only visual difference.

      It’s not that it’s confusing or non-standard, it’s that I don’t like spending time and effort to do something that used to be simpler and much more direct. I (and apparently others) think it’s an unnecessary UI layer.

      Workflow for me use to be:
      1. Read (or skim) article blurb
      2. Do I want to know more?
      2a. If yes, click project link or open in new tab
      2b. If no, keep going.
      4. Return

      Now it is:
      1. Read first four lines of text
      2. Is it somewhat interesting?
      2a. If no, keep going
      2b. If yes, click and read more
      3. Is it still interesting?
      3a. If no, click back, keep going
      3b. If yes, click project link (or open in new tab)
      4. Return

      So since the change, my average click count just about doubled while taking me longer and netting me less information.

      C’mon, Hackaday! Get nerdy and help Save the Therbligs!

      1. uh…
        “So since the change, my average click count just about doubled while taking me longer and netting me less information.”

        they just doubled click through, page views, and time spent on site. I doubt your are going to convince them that this is bad.

        1. Probably not. I think the people having problems just don’t web browse very well. Personally I am not interested in most of the articles posted so it saves me time. If I do happen to be interested in something making a bit of effort and spending a bit of time doesn’t really bother me either. I’m just weird that way I guess?

  8. What is it you want from us, Hackaday? Did we, the collective readership, do something that warranted this butchering of usability in retaliation? Is this some kind of “New Coke” conspiracy and in a month or two you’ll offer “Hackaday Classic” for a subscription fee? If so, fine; I’m ready to pay now.

    Next week’s most popular Hackaday post: The Scriptish/Greasemonkey script that un-fucks the layout.

    1. Hackaday 3.0 will have each word as a hyperlink on a separate page in a separate window, with the final period as a link to the project, only if all preceeding windows have remained open. More on Hackaday 3.0 after ….

        1. Old method of reading Hackaday: 1. Open front page. 2. Skim article. 3. If interesting, open hackaday post page in new tab to read in detail later. 4. Continue down page.

          New method: Exactly the same, except the likelihood of a post having something interesting showing on the front page has been cut in half. I suppose, technically, my work productivity has gone up as a result.

      1. So? Why should readers have to wade through what they aren’t interested in on the main page? I mean if you can’t tell before that shows up whether you want to read more then I don’t know what I can tell you. Does clicking on a link really put you out that much?

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