Hackaday Prize Entry: Russian Roulette With A Soldering Gun

You’re driving along a lonely, dark highway with the knowledge that suicide rates are highly correlated with fatal single vehicle car accidents. A highway overpass bridge appears ahead. You might be able to make it around the guard rail. Might is the operative word. You’ve failed at everything else so far, and there’s no reason to believe this would be any exception.

The suffering will not end, but you can delay it a bit. That’s what the Internet is all about. Cat pictures. Memes. Rare Pepes. Distraction is your digital analgesic. Like this post if you agree. The problem with using distraction as a candle of hope in your empty, wind-blown existence is simply finding new things to distract yourself with. This Hackaday Prize entry is the solution to that. It’s a randomizer for Hackaday.io. Russian roulette with a soldering gun.

This Hackaday.io project randomizer works on a property unique to the greatest project hosting site. All the links have a number and the project name in the URL. Remove the project name, and the link still works. It’s a handy pseudo-URL shortener if you ever want to put a link to your project on a PCB, but also a great way to look at all the projects on .io – all you need is a bit of Python, Perl, or some other scripting language

Right now, [Greg] has a Perl script running on one of his servers (sure to be down by the time you read this), that chooses a random number, and tries to grab that Hackaday.io project. If 404 is returned, it tries again until it succeeds.


38 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Russian Roulette With A Soldering Gun

    1. Seriously Brian, this was dark.
      Some of us, me included, have felt (or still feel) these feelings man. I am a worry troll, and I hope this was mostly satire or just a dark joke. Most of us love ya.

      The randomizer is great by the way. :)

  1. As someone who nearly snuffed out in a slightly less than fully random single vehicle car accident, battles depression, and has been fighting those intrusive thought demons, I can’t say I fully agree with the tone of the article.
    I understand it’s a play on russian roulette, etc etc, and that it is supposed to be light hearted dark satirical humor (Which I am usually quite fond of.), but it still hits home in a weird way that is unsettling.
    Not saying it needs to be changed, or anything, I just for some reason needed to vent my opinion.

    On the plus side, my demons laughed at it, and I have family and friends that keep me going.

    I like the randomizer though, that’s the bees knees.

    1. Seriously, I know perfectly well what you are talking about. But I would like to say that this article is here being received as a welcome reminder in the way of “been there, not done that”. It is unsettling, agreed, but it also reminds me that I seem to have overcome a darkness that seemed to be unsurmountable at the time.

      I wish you all the best in your battle against the demons. Please give them a full swing in waist-height from me.

  2. Brian, I gotta ask — why did you write this? Did you get paid? Or, is this really your mode of conversation?

    Either way, that was really weird. I could not even bring myself to follow your links. I’d vote 404 all the way.

  3. Put a wedge under an optical mouse so it’s just at the hysteresis focus point of being able to and not being able to sense the surface. The noise in the sensor then controls the mouse pointer, making it jitter around the screen. It often ends up in one corner because of ambiant light and the non-perpendicular nature of the sensor to the surface. Aligning it well and some software to fix the random walk behaviour. Vwala cheap and dirty random number generator.

  4. I have to agree with what many other comments have already said… it seems to me that this is either an attempt at dark humor that missed the mark (IMHO), or a sort of cry for help.

    If the former, then the parallels to Russian Roulette are a stretch… death is generally the less desirable outcome of Russian Roulette (people hope to win money, someone’s trust, etc…).

    If the latter, then I hope the right people/person notice(s), and that you find the stepping stone you need to climb out of your darkness.

        1. Me too. I was imagining a soldering iron being used as a source of randomness for some undesirable outcome. Or, for the soldering iron to be used *as* the undesirable outcome of some game (by means of burning the loser, or something like that). I couldn’t come up with anything good though.

  5. This post is red flag central, Brian, why not take some time off, go see the people who matter to you, the ones you have always meant to meet up with, but not found the time. In dark days, this changed my perspective on everything, and really helped.

    1. He could go to Mexico and do hookers and blow for a couple of weeks. And painkillers for the comedown. Worked for that other guy, and frankly I can’t think of anyone it wouldn’t work on. They ought to be able to put it on prescription. OK well some of it is on prescription.

    1. No, but I’m too busy congratulating myself on how successful my dark humor can be…

      The last line of this post was, “Unlike you.” That really brought it home, I think, but probably pushed it over the edge a little too much. Now that I see this post is already far over the edge, descending into a black abyss of clove cigarettes and Elliot Smith, I probably should have just kept it in there.

      1. I really liked the article at first I thought you were all suicidal (I felt bad about of disagreement the other day) but as I read more I started to realise it was about Russian roulette and the guilt just seemed to lift away, anyway well done you freaked a few people out and it’s not even Halloween yet.

      2. Perhaps many of us, myself included, just don’t have sufficient appreciation of dark humor.

        As an aside, I wonder if there’s a correlation between writing of dark comedy and attempting suicide. I’ve heard that comedians (in general) often suffer from severe depression.

        I guess the point is that even if it was deliberate use of dark humor, it doesn’t exclude the possibility of needing help with overcoming depression. However, I’m neither qualified nor inclined to diagnose.

        Regardless, good luck Brian, on the use of dark humor, on the battling of depression, or maybe both. After all, some of the best literature comes from the darkest times.

      1. Younger ones too… some of my friends had some hard times in their late teens and early twenties. Actually, mid and late twenties too, but that might just be run-of-the-mill for graduate students.

  6. I am sorry to hear you are depressed and having suicidal thoughts Brian. Please seek help, Hackaday wouldn’t be the same without you.
    Please call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) immediately!
    Suicide by soldering iron claims over 500 victims a year!!!

    1. Maybe we should hack together a camera that monitors his facial expressions and if he looks sad for 5mins plus wusing a bluetooth module we could auto dial those numbers for him?

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