Hackaday Links: Some Sort Of Fool’s Day, 2018

A few years ago, writing for a blog called Motherboard of all things, [Emanuel Maiberg] wrote PC Gaming Is Still Way Too Hard. The premise is that custom building a gaming PC is too hard, because you have to source components and comparison shop. Again, this was written for Motherboard. Personally, I would have shopped that story around a bit more. Now, the same author is back again, telling us PC Building Simulator is way more fun than building a real computer. It’s my early nomination for worst tech article of the year.

Speaking of motherboards, This is a GoFundMe project to re-create the Amiga 4000 mainboard, with schematics. Building PCs is too hard, but the Amiga architecture is elegant. Some of these boards are dying due to electrolytic capacitor and battery leakage. This project is aiming to deconstruct an original A4000 board and turn it into Gerbers and schematics, allowing new boards to be manufactured. Building a PC is way too hard, but with this GoFundMe, you won’t have to design an entire system from scratch. Don’t worry, I already tipped off the Motherboard editors to this one.

Alright, story time. In 6th grade science class, the teacher was awesome. On the days when there was really no chance of any learning happening (the day before Christmas break, the last day of school), the teacher broke out the Electric Chicken. What’s an Electric Chicken? It’s a test tube rack, two wires, and a Wimshurst generator. “Here, grab ahold of this for as long as you can.” It got even cooler when you get a bunch of kids to hold hands and tell them pride is better than pain. Here’s a Kickstarter for a mini Wimshurst generator. It’s made out of PCBs! Hat tip to [WestfW] for finding this one.

It’s no secret that I get a lot of dumb press releases. Most of these are relegated to the circular file folder. It’s also no secret I get a lot of ICO announcements hitting my email. These, also, are trashed. I recently received a press release for an ICO that goes beyond anything else. ONSTELLAR is a blockchain-powered social media network for paranormal and metaphysical enthusiasts.  It’s the crypto for Coast to Coast AM listeners, UFO enthusiasts, and people who think PKE meters are real. This is it, we’ve reached peak crypto.

If you want to decapsulate an IC — and why wouldn’t you? — the usual way of doing things involves dropping acid, ego death, toxic chemicals, and a fume hood. There is another way. Here’s [A Menadue] decapping a quartz watch IC with just fire. The process is about as ‘hold my beer’ as you would expect. Just take a small butane torch, heat up a chip, and recover the die. A bit of ultrasonic cleaning later and you get a pretty clean chip. Microscope not included.

20 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: Some Sort Of Fool’s Day, 2018

  1. I would not support any retro computer schematic / board layout recreation project not in open software such as kicad. PADS/Altium is still out of the hands of hobbiests.

        1. With something like this it’s likely to be a case of “use the tools you know” – it’s already a huge amount of work, adding to that work by adding tool learning time to make files that almost nobody will actually make serious use of is not a good use of time, and could easily flip a project from being viable to not.

      1. Try github.com thesourcerer8 altium2kicad . His online tool works too. You may need to debug a bit if there are “special” characters in your part descriptions, but kicad conveniently tells you what line is buggered.

  2. If you are calling Benchoff from the West of the Rockies, dial 555, 55 ,5555. East of the Rockies, 5555, 555, 5, 555 ,55. If you are calling Benchoff from a bunker created from unclean underwear and WWF ice cream wrappers, call 555, 55, 555555, 5. And now, here is Art Benchoff.

  3. the first pc build is generally hard, but after that it’s really just repetition. just as it is with any mechanical thing. i think the author of those articles just plain doesn’t like doing mechanical things. i haven’t built a new computer in 4 years, but just tore my old build completely down and rebuilt it to clean up the wiring, add fans, and add some extra storage space. there was zero questions about what i was doing during the entire process. i love building pc’s, it’s easy, almost calming for me. too bad it’s such an expensive hobby…

    it’s perfectly respectable to not be mechanically minded, but i think he needs to understand himself better instead of writing articles insulting the parts used.

  4. A group of us are doing a similar vintage pc revival with the Dick Smith TRS-80.

    We have the V1 pcb’s out that are a direct copy of the original, with the next version on the way that is being minimally updated to accomodate modern parts where needed.

    It’ll be good to see that flashing cursor and bang out some BASIC again.

    1. Wouldn’t think so, plastic is pretty chemically stable. So are silicon chips of course. Maybe some horrible fluorine compound, but that’d attack the silicon too. You need something that attacks the plastic but not the silicon, and as I say, they’re both pretty stable.

      If you only want a photo, fire is plentifully available. If you’re wanting something cleverer, you’ll have to get the acids out anyway.

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