Hackaday Links: May 6th 2018

Way back in the day, if you were exceptionally clever, you could just solder more RAM to your computer. You did this by taking a DIP, stacking it on top of an existing RAM chip, bending out the enable pin, and soldering everything down. Wire the enable pin to an address pin, and you have more RAM. [Eric] wanted to get a game running on a Tandy 1000A, but that computer just doesn’t have enough RAM. The solution was to stack the RAMs. It’s a human centipede of deadbugging skills.

We’ve mentioned this before, but I just received another copy of either the best or worst press release I’ve ever seen. Dateline George Town, Cayman Islands: Onstellar is a cryptocurrency-based social network focusing on the paranormal. Apparently, you can use a blockchain to talk about UFOs. It gets better, though: Onstellar will be exhibiting at the world’s largest UFO conference at the beginning of June, in the middle of the Mojave, where a bunch of Air Force and Navy planes are flying all the time. It seems like you would want to have a UFO conference where there’s a lower rate of false positives, right?

A Biohacker has died. Aaron Traywick was found dead in a sensory deprivation chamber in Washington DC this week. Traywick found fame as the CEO of Ascendance Biomedical and by skirting the FDA by self-medication; he recently injected himself with a ‘research compound’ that he said could cure herpes. He was planning CRISPR trials in Tijuana.

You’ve heard of Bad Obsession Motorsports, right? It’s a YouTube channel of two blokes in a shed stuffing a Celica into a Mini. It is the greatest fabrication channel on YouTube. They haven’t uploaded anything in six months, but don’t worry: the next episode is coming out on May 18th. Yes, this is newsworthy.

As further evidence that Apple hardware sucks, if you plug both ends of a USB-C PD cable into a MacBook, it charges itself.

Defcon China is this week. Let me set the scene for you. Last year, at the closing ceremonies for Defcon (the Vegas one), [DT] got up on stage and announced 2018 would see the first Defcon in China. The sound of four thousand raised eyebrows erupted. We’re interested to see how this one goes down. Here are the talks It’s a bit light, but then again this is only the first year.

The Swiss Guard is now 3D printing their helmets. The personal army of the Pope also wears funny hats, and they’re replacing their metal helmets with 3D printed ones. Of note: these helmets are printed in PVC. The use of PVC has been repeated in several high-profile publications, leading me to believe that yes, these actually are printed in PVC, or everyone is getting their information from an incorrect Vatican press release This is odd, because PVC will give everyone within a five mile radius cancer if used in a 3D printer, and you wouldn’t use PVC anyway if ABS and PLA are so readily available. If you’re wondering if injection molding makes sense, giving each new recruit their own helmet means producing about thirty per year; the economics probably don’t work.

36 thoughts on “Hackaday Links: May 6th 2018

  1. “As further evidence that Apple hardware sucks”

    Hang on shouldn’t that be evidence of the brilliance of Apple engineers that they have developed an overunity device and quietly introduced it to the world with out fanfare.

    I suspect the lack of fanfare was that knew Tim Cook has no vision so didn’t let him in on it otherwise he would have sacked the team just to make sure some more crappy shit got dumped on the public.

    (Btw I am a long term Apple user just realy pissed at the way we have been sodomised by them in recent years)

    1. In recent years? Their hardware has been disposable and impossible to upgrade for ages. They intentionally booby trap it to discourage repair. And they’ve always charged three times as much as any other manufacturer does for similar specs. They remove useful features seemingly just to enjoy some schadenfreude at their user’s expense.

      I’ve always been absolutely flabbergasted as to why people have considered Apple to be a quality producer of hardware.

      1. Probably because people actually consider them to be a “producer of quality hardware,” according to some definitions of “quality”. That is slightly different as it isn’t influenced by the problems you mention, as long as your particular definition of “quality” doesn’t value ease of upgrades or repairs (which I think is normal for most people).

        1. I would argue that “most people” do not, in fact, ever “upgrade” their computer aside from the occasional software update (and lots of people skip those, too, because they don’t want to mess with something that “works”). People who might actually read this post probably have a MUCH higher likelihood of upgrading hardware than “most people” at large. As others have mentioned, I’ve upgraded Macbooks in the past to increase RAM and hard drive, upgrade battery, and replace screens myself, and it was MUCH easier to find instructions/parts because of the consistency of hardware (as compared to trying to find the same for one of 8 zillion variations on a Windows box).

      2. I’ve never quite understood these claims, my wife has had two macbooks in the past 10 years, both of them have always been easy to repair, and RAM and HDD have been upgradable. And much better availability of spare parts and instructions than for most other manufacturers. Sure, they cost more than equivalent Windows laptop, but if someone feels it is worth the price, what business is that of you or me?

        The latest ultralights and mobile phones etc. are of course much harder to repair, but that applies also to every manufacturer and is just due to the size constraints.

        1. What repairs did you have to do to your wife’s two macbooks that you had to pay more money for than a laptop not made by Apple (“Windows” laptops is an unnecessary naming addition)?

          Have you ever tried upgrading a hard disk in an iMac (it is like a giant mobile phone)?.

          You seem to have not responded to the way Apple removes useful hardware features…..

    2. So if that’s an example of hardware that sucks, where do we find examples of hardware that doesn’t suck in the same test?

      Surely a RasPi is smart enough not to charge a USB power brick plugged into its USB port if it’s also being powered by the brick’s 5V output.. oh, wait.

      Could it be that is this just another non-issue that gives Brian a chance to air out the Apple-hate hardon he’s had since the 1980s?

  2. Regarding The Biohacker(s). I saw that guy in a recent segment of Vice News. The crowd made me a bit nervous to watch their antics & think of genetic manipulation together. A combination Drama & Glibness was evident.
    The “lab” appeared to be in a flood plane, as evidenced by rows sandbags stacked in front of -one- of the roll up doors.
    Someone, knowledgable, will have to assess their hazzard containment gear.
    But you Gotta love that flypaper door mat for a shoe cleaner.

    Arthritis & serious cartilage loss makes me hope someone~anyone (very soon) does what “Big Pharma/Tech” hasn’t yet put into the marketplace.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JiNedvN4U8

    1. Ex-molecular biologist here, did my time in the wet-lab salt mines for a number of years.

      It’s not the worst lab space I’ve seen, some properly funded labs run by professors don’t look much better. Certainly not the nicest either, but it probably suffices for simple cell culture and antibody work. There’s not really much to growing cells; sterile containers and media, sterile handling technique, some place warm to grow. Centrifuges for processing, and odds/ends like electrophoresis and western blot machines.

      If there was a flood, there’s probably nothing too hazardous in there. Some minor chemicals but nothing bad. Cell culture media is basically like chicken broth with more sugar. And they aren’t doing any processing/extractions like trying to purify large quantities of antibodies, just expressing the antibodies in cells. Pretty benign.

      The fly-paper thing is silly. You don’t need a CDC-style ebola trench to keep lab spaces sterile… that’s what the biological safety cabinet is for.

      Noticed the guy wasn’t wearing a lab coat while doing cell culture in the cabinet, and reached over open containers. Maybe it was just for the camera, but if that’s their usual technique they probably aren’t great at their job (e.g. high infection rate of cultures with fungus/bacteria). Cabinets are super effective as long as you use the right technique.

      Fun side story. At one point while working in my lab, I noticed an uptick in fungal infections in my cell cultures. We debugged and just couldn’t find the problem: media was good, technique was good, surfaces were sterilized, clean labcoat etc etc. Eventually we realized that I had started baking bread at home routinely, and despite showering + changing clothes + lab coat + sterilizing everything, there was still enough yeast on my body to infect the cultures.

      As soon as I stopped baking bread, the issues went away.

      So yeah, culture is simple but can be touchy. No lab coat == dousing your cells in lord knows what kind of surface fungus/bacteria.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I’ve had some friends tell of anti-antiperspirants contaminating chip dies on the job.
        Of course there’s the walking speed limits in clean rooms too.
        I’ve helped fabricate anti-static cabinets for poly & mylar web lines, a few tool boards for clean rooms where dyes and adhesives were developed (packaging industry).
        Even deburred and polished some hand tools for said rooms.
        Was always interesting to learn about the cross contamination pitfalls and how they were dealt with (some NDA type stuff in there) Clients payed well and on time. Made my employer a cool place to work!

  3. “Let me set the scene for you. Last year, at the closing ceremonies for Defcon (the Vegas one), [DT] got up on stage and announced 2018 would see the first Defcon in China. The sound of four thousand raised eyebrows erupted. We’re interested to see how this one goes down.”

    Great Wall of China breached by hackers.

    “Aaron Traywick was found dead in a sensory deprivation chamber in Washington DC this week. Traywick found fame as the CEO of Ascendance Biomedical and by skirting the FDA by self-medication; he recently injected himself with a ‘research compound’ that he said could cure herpes. ”

    No cure for death apparently.

  4. As further evidence that Apple hardware sucks, if you plug both ends of a USB-C PD cable into a MacBook, it charges itself.

    How long before someone pushes a cable where you plug your laptop into itself, and into a wall socket to charge the laptop and export out to the grid at the same time?

    Yep, we know that the laws of thermodynamics don’t permit that, but there seems to be an endless supply of folk who don’t!

  5. >Tandy 1000A, It’s a human centipede of deadbugging skills

    good old ass to mouth indeed, but the project page confuses me:
    1/ 16 1xbit vintage SRAM chips, $20-50 worth, instead of one $4 AS6C4008
    2/ diagram has AND gate on memrd and memwr? even ignoring this being AND what the F is he doing with read/write strobes in address decode circuit?

    and if you read past first paragraph you will learn chip stacking was nerd clickbait, second iteration was supposed to have smd AS7C4096A….and its a 4 year old abandoned never tested project
    All in all we have bad diagram, bad part selection, never finished, but nice clickbaity chip stacking!!1 ;)

        1. Look again.
          The output of the OR gates feeds the /Enable pins of the ‘139 decoders… active low inputs.
          So if it’s not a memory read or write access both ‘139 chips are disabled thus stopping the ‘245 from messing with data bus or corrupting RAM contents.

  6. As further evidence that Apple hardware sucks, if you plug both ends of a USB-C PD cable into a MacBook, it charges itself.

    Obviously the electrons in the battery were just tired and had nowhere to go. Once the cable was plugged in, they had somewhere to go and ran around and got their juices flowing. I do the same thing when I’m stuck on a problem.

  7. “Bad Obsession Motorsports” – I think it was because of an earlier post here on hackaday that I follow them and there were times where I had to rewatch it once or twice!

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