According to [Venn Stone], technical producer over at LinuxGameCast, the Sony a5000 is still a solid option for those looking to shoot 1080p video despite being released back in 2014. But while the camera is lightweight and affordable, it does have some annoying quirks — namely an overlay on the HDMI output (as seen in the image above) that can’t be turned off using the camera’s normal configuration menu. But as it so happens, using some open source tools and the venerable telnet, you can actually log into the camera’s operating system and fiddle with its settings directly.
As explained in the write-up, the first step is to install Sony-PMCA-RE, a cross-platform suite of tools developed for reverse engineering and modifying Sony cameras. With the camera connected via USB, this will allow you to install a program on the camera called Open Memories Tweak. This unlocks some developer options on the camera, such as spawning a telnet server on its WiFi interface.
With the a5000 connected to your wireless network, you point your telnet client to its IP address and will be greeted by a BusyBox interface that should be familiar to anyone who’s played with embedded Linux gadgets. The final step is to invoke the proper command, bk.elf w 0x01070a47 00, which sets the specific address of the camera’s configuration file to zero. This permanently disables the HDMI overlay, though it can be reversed by running the command again and setting the byte back to 01.
As you might expect, the Sony-PMCA-RE package is capable of quite a bit more than just unlocking a telnet server. While it might not be as powerful as a firmware modification such as Magic Lantern for Canon’s hardware, those looking for a hackable camera that won’t break the bank might want to check out the project’s documentation to see what else is possible.
[Power Engineering] took a trip to the Westinghouse facility that provides maintenance for nuclear reactors. The research division there has a new microreactor called eVinci and — according to the company — it is a disruptor. Technically, the device is a heat pipe-based passive cooling design that can generate 5 MW of electricity or 13 MW of heat from a 15 MW heater core. You can see a video about the device below.
The company says its initial targets are remote areas like mines that usually depend on diesel generators. Hundreds of passive heat pipes inside a graphite core which contains TRISO (tristructural isotropic) fuel pellets. The heat pipes allow efficient transfer of thermal energy with no pumps.
The most popular computer ever was the Commodore 64 with its computer-in-a-keyboard form factor. If you have a longing for a keyboard computer with more modern internals, one of the easiest solutions today is to pull the screen off a laptop.
[Umar Shakir] wanted to see what the fuss was about regarding a recent Apple patent and took the top lid off of his M1 Macbook Air and turned it into a “slabtop.” The computer works great wired to a monitor but can also be used wirelessly via AirPlay. The approach doesn’t come without its downsides, of course. Newer MacBooks can’t access recovery mode without the built-in screen, and some older models had their WiFi antennas in the top lid, so making one into a slabtop will leave you desk-bound.
While [Shakir] focuses on MacBooks, this approach should work with any laptop. Apparently, it’s a cottage industry in China already. Back in the day, my own daily driver was a Pentium-powered laptop with its broken LCD (and lid) removed. It worked great with whatever CRT was nearby.
If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf keyboard computer of your own, you might want to check out the Raspberry Pi 400.
A growing trend is to mount a borescope “inspection camera” near a 3D printer’s nozzle to provide a unique up-close view of the action. Some argue that this perspective can provide valuable insight if you’re trying to fine tune your machine, but whether or not there’s a practical application for these sort of nozzle cams, certainly everyone can agree it makes for a pretty cool video.
[Caelestis Cosplay] recently decided to outfit his Prusa i3 MK3S+ with such a camera, and was kind enough to share the process in a write-up. The first step was to find a community-developed fan duct, which he then modified to hold the 7 mm camera module. Since the duct blows right on the printer’s nozzle, it provides an ideal vantage point.
The camera module included a few tiny SMD LEDs around the lens, but [Caelestis Cosplay] added holes to the fan duct to fit a pair of 3 mm white LEDs to really light things up. While modifying the printed parts took some effort, he says the hardest part of the whole build was salvaging a 5X lens from a handheld magnifier and filing it down so it would fit neatly over the camera. But judging by the sharp and bright demo video he’s provided, we’d say the extra effort was certainly worth it.
Should a clock be round? Depends on the style of clock, we suppose. After all, we wouldn’t expect to see a digital clock with a round readout just for fun. But a binary clock — that’s another animal altogether. Whereas [JohnThinger] made just a few weeks back a linear binary clock using an RGB LED strip and an ATtiny, he decided it would look much better in the round.
Before you go decrying the fact that there are numbers other than 1 and 0 on the thing, those are simply the power of two by which one must multiply to get the time. And naturally, it’s done in three phases, with the yellow-green numbers representing the seconds, the pink-red representing minutes, and the blue standing for the current hour. No, the point is not to make life easier. But it’s a good-looking clock, no?
Just as before, an ATtiny85 is the brain, with an RTC chip and an oscillator to keep time. But now, the display involves negative space 3D-printed numbers and an RGB LED ring. Be sure to check it out after the break.
This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos fumbled through setting up Mumble on Kristina’s new-ish computer box before hitting record and talking turkey. First off, we’ve got a fresh new contest going on, and this time it’s all about the FPVs. Then we see if Kristina can stump Elliot once again with a sound from her vast trove of ancient technologies.
Then there’s much ado about coffee roasters of all stripes, and you know we’re both coffee enthusiasts. We have many words to say about the subject, but none of them are any of the 7+ dirty ones that the FCC would probably rather we didn’t. Finally, we take a look at a bike frame that’s totally nuts, a clock that seemingly works via magic, and a drone made of rice cakes. So find something to nibble on, and check out this week’s episode!
Do you need a cheap, small computer for a low power computing project? Historically, many of us would reach straight for a Raspberry Pi, even if we didn’t absolutely need the GPIO. But with prices elevated and supplies in the dumps, [Andreas Spiess] decided that it was time to look for alternatives to now-expensive Pi’s which you can see in the video below the break.
Many simply use the Pi for its software ecosystem, its lower power requirements, and diminutive size. [Andreas] has searched eBay, looking for thin PC clients that can be had for as little as $10-15. A few slightly more expensive units were also chosen, and in the video some comparisons are made. How do these thin clients compare to a Pi for power consumption, computing power, and cost? The results may surprise you!
Software is another issue, since many Pi projects rely on Raspbian, a Pi-specific ARM64 Linux distribution. Since Raspbian is based on Debian, [Andreas] chose it as a basis for experimentation. He thoughtfully included such powerful software as Proxmox for virtualization, IOTstack, and Home Assistant, walking the viewer through each step of running Home Assistant on x86-64 hardware and noting the differences between the Linux distributions.
All in all, if you’ve ever considered stepping out of the Pi ecosystem and into general Linux computing, this tutorial will be an excellent starting point. Of course [Andreas] isn’t the first to bark up this tree, and we featured another thin client running Klipper for your 3D printer earlier this month. Have you found your own perfect Pi replacement in these Pi-less times? Let us know in the comments below.