You have to be pretty ambitious to modify a clock to run for 50 years on a single battery. You also should probably be pretty young if you think you’re going to verify your power estimates, at least in person. According to [Josh EJ], this modified quartz analog clock, which ticks off the date rather than the time, is one of those “The March of Time” projects that’s intended to
terrify incentivize you by showing how much of the year is left.
Making a regular clock movement slow down so that what normally takes an hour takes a month without making any mechanical changes requires some clever hacks. [Josh] decided to use an Arduino to send digital pulses to the quartz movement to advance the minute hand, rather than let it run free. Two pulses a day would be perfect for making a 30-day month fit into a 60-minute hour, but that only works for four months out of the year. [Josh]’s solution was to mark the first 28 even-numbered minutes, cram 29, 30, and 31 into the last four minutes of the hour, and sort the details out in code.
As for the low-power mods, there’s some cool wizardry involved with that, like flashing the Arduino Pro Mini with a new bootloader that reduces the clock speed to 1 MHz. This allows the microcontroller and RTC module to run from the clock movement’s 1.5 V AA battery. [Josh] estimates a current draw of about 6 μA per day, which works out to about 50 years from a single cell. That’s to be taken with a huge grain of salt, of course, but we expect the battery will last a long, long time.
[Josh] built this clock as part of the Low-Power Challenge contest, which wrapped up this week. We’re looking forward to the results of the contest — good luck to all the entrants!
We’ve covered a lot of sketchy USB devices over the years. And surely you know by now, if you find a USB drive, don’t plug it in to your computer. There’s more that could go wrong than just a malicious executable. We’ve covered creative and destructive ideas here on Hackaday, from creative firmware to capacitors that fry a machine when plugged in. But what happened to a handful of Ecuadorian journalists was quite the surprise. These drives went out with a bang.
That is, they literally exploded. The drives each reportedly contained a pellet of RDX, a popular explosive in use by militaries since the second World War. There have been five of these hyperactive USB devices located so far, and only one actually detonated. It seems that one only managed to trigger half of its RDX payload. Because of this, and the small overall size of a USB drive, the explosion was more comparable to a firecracker than a bomb. Continue reading “This Week In Security: USB Boom! Acropalypse, And A Bitcoin Heist”
The world of desktop computing has coalesced into what is essentially a duopoly, with Windows machines making up the bulk of the market share and Apple carving out a dedicated minority. This relatively stable state hasn’t always existed, though, as the computing scene even as late as the 90s was awash with all kinds of competing operating systems and various incompatible hardware. Amiga, Unix, OS/2, MacOS, NeXT, BeOS, as well as competing DOSes, were all on the table at various points.
If you’ve still got a box running one of these retro systems, SheepShaver might be able to help expand your software library. It’s not the sort of virtualization that we’re used to in the modern world, with an entire operating system running on a sanctioned-off part of your system. But SheepShaver does allow you to run software written for MacOS 7.5.2 thru 9.0.4 in a different environment. Unix and Linux are both supported, as well as Mac OS X, Windows NT, 2000, and XP, and the enigmatic BeOS. Certain configurations allow applications to run natively without any emulation at all, and there is plenty of hardware support built-in as well.
For anyone running retro hardware from the late 90s or early 00s, this could be just the ticket to get an application running that wasn’t ever supported on one of these machines. As for the name, it’s a play on another piece of software called ShapeShifter which brought a Mac-II emulator to the Amiga. SheepShaver has been around since the late 90s, too, so we’re surprised that we haven’t featured it before since it is such a powerful tool for cross-platform compatibility for computers of this era. Even if all you are hanging on to is an old BeBox.
Intaglio is an ancient carving technique for adding details to a workpiece, by manually removing material from a surface with only basic hand tools. If enough material depth is removed, the resulting piece can be used as a stamp, as was the case with rings, used to stamp the wax seals of verified letters. [Nicolas Tranchant] works in the jewelry industry, and wondered if he could press a CNC engraving machine into service to engrave gemstones in a more time-efficient manner than the manual carving methods of old.
Engraving and machining generally work only if the tool you are using is mechanically harder than the material the workpiece is made from. In this case, this property is measured on the Mohs scale, which is a qualitative measurement of the ability of one (harder) material to scratch another. Diamond is the hardest known material on the Mohs scale and has a Mohs hardness of 10, so it can produce a scratch on the surface of say, Corundum — Mohs value 9 — but not the other way around.
[Nicolas] shows the results of using a diamond tip equipped CNC engraver on various gemstones typical of Intaglio work, such as Black Onyx, Malachite, and Amethyst with some details of the number of engraving passes needed and visual comparison to the same material treated to traditional carving.
Let’s be clear here, the traditional intaglio process produces deep grooves on the surface of the workpiece and the results are different from this simple multi-pass engraving method — but limiting the CNC machine to purely metal engraving duties seemed a tad wasteful. Now if they can only get a suitable machine for deeper engraving, then custom digitally engraved intaglio style seal rings could be seeing a comeback!
Intaglio isn’t just about jewelry of course, the technique has been used in the typesetting industry for centuries. But to bring this back into ours, here’s a little something about making a simple printing press.