Hackaday Podcast Ep21: Chasing Rockets, Tripping On Vintage Synthesizers, A Spectacular IoT Security Fail, And Early Alzheimer’s Detection Via VR

Mike Szczys is on a well-deserved vacation this week, so staff writer Dan Maloney joins managing editor Elliot Williams for a look at all the great hacks of the week. On this episode we’re talking about licensing fees for MIDI 2.0, a two-way fail while snooping on employees, and the potential for diagnosing Alzheimer’s with virtual reality. We also dive into the well-engineered innards of a robotic cheetah, a personal assistant safe enough for kids to use, and how listening to your monitor reveals more about you than you’d think. You don’t want to miss a space nerd’s quest for fire or a hacker’s guide to solder and soldering. And you’ve got to catch the story of a hapless hacker’s contact high from a vintage synthesizer. It’s quite a trip.

Take a look at the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “Hackaday Podcast Ep21: Chasing Rockets, Tripping On Vintage Synthesizers, A Spectacular IoT Security Fail, And Early Alzheimer’s Detection Via VR

  1. First Hackaday Podcast I have listened to and I am impressed. I listen to many other podcasts and have an idea what makes the good ones good. This was great and I will be listening to more in the future. Very informative and conversational. Well done.

  2. The story about the hangover cure using aspirin dissolved in a solvent and applied to the forehead does make sense to me. Let me explain why I think this….

    In 1985 I went through the shotfirer’s (mining explosive) certification.

    At the time, and continuing today, the workhorse explosive was ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil), which requires a powerful primer explosive to detonate. There were a few primers of choice, but the cheapest one was gelignite, which has nitroglycerine as a primary ingredient. When you touch gelignite, even when wrapped in waxed paper as it usually is, your hands feel oily. That’s nitroglycerine.

    Now, the other use for nitroglycerine is as a medicine, as it lowers blood pressure. Indeed, shotfirers who work with nitroglycerine-based explosives usually have lower blood pressure because they’re absorbing it through their skin. When they go on leave and this absorption stops, their blood pressure can normalize, and when they return to work their first few days are bad because they have low BP headaches as they “self-medicate” again.

    So I was at my first day of practicals, at a blue metal mine in Prospect in Western Sydney, and our instructor said “if you touch gelignite, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FOREHEAD. Got it? If you do, you’re going to regret it.”

    Needless to say, most of us didn’t manage to follow this rule. It was a hot day, we were sweating, and it’s an automatic reaction to wipe one’s forehead.

    The headache was SPECTACULAR. It took only a few minutes to hit, and it was one of the worst I’ve ever had.

    Our instructor explained that the forehead is very permeable because the skin is thin, and there are a lot of blood vessels quite close to the surface. While nitro on our hands was fine, on the forehead it went straight into the blood stream.

    While I cannot say that asprin in the solvent mentioned works – and frankly, the idea of that solvent in the bloodstream is terrifying – I can say from personal experience that the forehead was a viable way for accidentally “administering” nitroglycerine.

    By the way, for the second day, everyone turned up with aspirin and paracetamol.

    Curious anecdote about this story: day 2 was at the Homebush Brick Pits in Sydney, in the remains of the “Max Max Beyond Thunderdome” Bartertown set. There were boulders which I think had been placed as set decoration, and our job was to make these boulders into gravel. You really respect gelignite when half a stick of it can turn a boulder which weighs several tons into shrapnel. This pit was later flooded, and is now part of Sydney Harbour. We had to detonate these with fuzes, and I learned rule #2: “If any of you even looks like they’re running, you fail.” The fuzes are time accurate to +/- 10%, and we had plenty of time to get to safety. But someone running could fall and break their leg inside the danger zone.

    You can see some of these rocks (behind the camels) here:


    Not tech, I know, but I also know lots of people here enjoy things which go bang.

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