Australia’s Second Largest Telco Went Dark, And Chaos Reigned

Engineers tend to worry about uptime, whether it’s at a corporate server farm or just our own little hobby servers at home. Every now and then, something will go wrong and take a box offline, which requires a little human intervention to fix. Ideally, you’ll still have a command link that stays up so you can fix the problem. Lose that, though, and you’re in a whole lick of trouble.

That’s precisely what happened to Australia’s second largest telecommunications provider earlier this month. Systems went down, millions lost connectivity, and company techs were left scrambling to put the pieces back together. Let’s dive in and explore what happened on Optus’s most embarrassing day in recent memory.

Continue reading “Australia’s Second Largest Telco Went Dark, And Chaos Reigned”

Keeping A Mazda’s Radio On After The Engine Shuts Off

Have you ever pulled into a car park with your favorite song blaring, only to lament the fact that the music cut out when you stopped the engine? Some modern cars are smart enough to keep the radio on until you open the door. [ssh16] decided to hack that very functionality into their Mazda MX-5.

The device uses a microcontroller to read the CAN bus of the vehicle. The microcontroller also has the ability to keep the vehicle’s ACC (accessory) relay energized at will. Thus, when the engine is turned off, the microcontroller keeps the ACC relay on, maintaining power to the stereo and infotainment system. Then, after ten minutes, or when it receives a CAN message that the driver’s door has been opened, it cuts power to the relay, shutting the accessories off. It’s a simple build, but one that [ssh16] executed cleanly. By putting the microcontroller on a neat PCB with a harness that can clip into the stock Mazda one, it’s possible to install the hack without needing to cut any wires. Plus, with a small modification, it was even possible to use the same hack with a Mazda CX-5.

Whether you’re jamming out to a cool song, or you just want to finish a phone call over Bluetooth, it’s a nifty feature to have in a vehicle. We’ve seen some other neat infotainment hacks before, too. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Keeping A Mazda’s Radio On After The Engine Shuts Off”

A Brand-New Antique Radio

This beautiful little radio may look like an art deco relic from a hundred years ago, but it is actually from 2023. When [Craig Lindley] first saw this design on these very pages a few years ago, he just had to build one eventually. Turns out, all he had to do wait until he bought a laser cutter.

Built with hardware on hand, this radio runs on an ESP32 WROOM and uses an Adafruit VS1053 CODEC breakout. Song information is displayed on an SPI LCD display, and output comes via a 1/8″ jack. It can play songs streamed from Internet radio stations, [Craig]’s website, or directly from an SD card.

The lovely cabinet is made from 1/8″ Baltic birch, with a living hinge for a roof and sides. The amber shellac goes a long way toward establishing the antique aesthetic.

Not content with this cute radio, [Craig] went ahead and built a speaker system to go with it out of a pair of small, external laptop speakers. [Craig] says this project had a lot of ups and downs, but we are quite happy to see it come to fruition.

Do you have an antique radio you’d like to restore? Be sure to check out our guide.