Hackaday Links: January 28, 2018

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In case you haven’t heard, we have a 3D printing contest going on right now. It’s the Repairs You Can Print Contest. The idea is simple: show off how you repaired something with a 3D printer. Prizes include $100 in Tindie credit, and as a special prize for students and organizations (think hackerspaces), we’re giving away a few Prusa i3 MK3 printers.

[Drygol] has made a name for himself repairing various ‘home’ computers over the years, and this time he’s back showing off the mods and refurbishments he’s made to a pile of Amiga 500s. This time, he’s installing some new RAM chips, fixing some Guru Meditations by fiddling with the pins on a PLCC, adding a built-in modulator, installing a dual Kickstart ROM, and installing a Gotek floppy adapter. It’s awesome work that puts all the modern conveniences into this classic computer.

Here’s an FPGA IoT Controller. It’s a Cyclone IV and a WiFi module stuffed into something resembling an Arduino Mega. Here’s the question: what is this for? There are two reasons you would use an FPGA, either doing something really fast, or doing something so weird normal microcontrollers just won’t cut it. I don’t know if there is any application of IoT that overlaps with FPGAs. Can you think of something? I can’t.

Tide pods are flammable.

You know what’s cool? Sparklecon. It’s a party filled with a hundred pounds of LEGO, a computer recycling company, a plasmatorium, and a hackerspace, tucked away in an industrial park in Fullerton, California. It’s completely chill, and a party for our type of people — those who like bonfires, hammer Jenga, beer, and disassembling fluorescent lamps for high voltage transformers.

A few shoutouts for Sparklecon. The 23b Hackerspace is, I guess, the main host here, or at least the anchor. Across the alley is NUCC, the National Upcycled Computing Collective. They’re a nonprofit that takes old servers and such, refurbishes them, and connects them to projects like Folding@Home and SETI@Home. This actually performs a service for scientists, because every moron is mining Bitcoin and Etherium now, vastly reducing the computational capabilities of these distributed computing projects. Thanks, OSH Park, for buying every kind of specialty pizza at Pizza Hut. I would highly encourage everyone to go to Sparklecon next year. This is the fifth year, and it’s getting bigger and better every time.

14 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: January 28, 2018

  1. “This actually performs a service for scientists, because every moron is mining Bitcoin and Etherium now, vastly reducing the computational capabilities of these distributed computing projects. ”

    The “if they weren’t working on this, they’d be working on that” reasoning. Didn’t work during the KDE vs GNOME debates either.

  2. What other conventions are there like Sparklecon? I hadn’t heard of it til now (when it’s over), and I’d like to see what things like it might be around. Not sure what to search for other than “hacking convention” (which gets more security stuff than hardware hacking).

    1. I got good results from “conferences similar to defcon” which contains (among others) a link to a Reddit page-o-links of possible use to a retired nerd with a substantial travel budget.(Seriously though, many, many conferences I’d not heard of – I’m a Def-Schmoo-Toool kinda guy, though, so not necessarily well informed. YMMV.)

    1. Yes, I was sad that the Hackaday folks left before my performers started on the chiptune stage at Sparklecon. We had Bleeds, Trash80, and myself as Timon Marmex.
      They also missed Sunday’s “Powered Couch” hack, where one of our rolly couches was combined with an electric wheel-chair scooter base to create the ultimate in lounging transportation! Next up: Turbo Ottoman!
      Also, we had our own radio “numbers station”, FM radio kits, and fancy decoder wheels to decode the messages with.
      Badges had the “Hall of Just-Ice” and “Region of Doom HQ” options, but you were randomly assigned good or evil… you didn’t get to choose!
      There were lots of amazing talks in the nice theatre, including a crazy projection mapping demo by famous VJ Tim Abad, who raffled off an actual mini projector!
      Not only was there the Hebocon for shitty, impromptu robot battles, but on Saturday there were actual serious flyweight robot battles too!
      Did anybody mention the giant pile of scrap electronics that was available for smashing with large hammers, flails, etc. ?
      Or the folks making armor out of old computer parts?
      Sparklecon is very hands-on, and everybody was welcome to participate in all of these things.
      Sparklecon may list hours as ending at 6pm, but really the party runs well into the wee hours of the morning.
      If you weren’t there, you missed out!

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