Location, location, location — what’s critical to real estate is also critical to eclipse watching, and without sounding too boastful, those of us atop South Menan Butte, an extinct volcano in southeast Idaho, absolutely nailed it. Not only did we have perfect weather, we had an excellent camping experience, great food, a magnificent natural setting, and a perch 800 feet above a vast plain stretching endlessly to the east and west. Everything was set up for a perfect eclipse experience, and we were not disappointed.
As much as we like addressable LEDs for their obedience, why do we always have to control everything? At least participants of the MusicMaker Hacklab, which was part of the Artefact Festival in February this year, have learned, that sometimes we should just sit down with our electronics and listen.
With the end of the Artefact Festival approaching, they still had this leftover color-changing LED from an otherwise scavenged toy reverb microphone. When powered by a 9 V battery, the LED would start a tiny light show, flashing, fading and mixing the very best out of its three primary colors. Acoustically, however, it spent most of its time in silent dignity.
As you may know, this kind of LED contains a tiny integrated circuit. This IC pulse-width-modulates the current through the light-emitting junctions in preprogrammed patterns, thus creating the colorful light effects.
To give the LED a voice, the participants added a 1 kΩ series resistor to the LED’s “anode”, which effectively translates variations in the current passing through the LED into measurable variations of voltage. This signal could then be fed into a small speaker or a mixing console. The LED expressed its gratitude for the life-changing modification by chanting its very own disco song.
This particular IC seems to operate at a switching frequency of about 1.1 kHz and the resulting square wave signal noticeably dominates the mix. However, not everything we hear there may be explained solely by the PWM. There are those rhythmic “thump” noises, shifts in pitch and amplitude of the sound and more to analyze and learn from. Not wanting to spoil your fun of making sense of the beeps and cracks (feel free to spoil as much as you want in the comments!), we just say enjoy the video and thanks to the people of the STUK Belgium for sharing their findings.
Chaos Communication Camp 2015 is over, and most everyone’s returned home to warmer showers and slower Internet. In this last transmission from Camp 2015, we’ll cover the final two days of talks, the epic thunderstorm, and give a brief rundown of the challenges of networking up a rural park in Brandenburg.
FUBAR Labs in New Jersey is one of the finest and most productive hackerspaces in the US. They have homebrew rocket engines, the eternal gratitude of semiconductor companies, and a broken Makerbot nailed to the wall: everything a hackerspace should have. Now they’re moving to a new space, and they’re looking for a little funding to turn their lab into what it should be.
There have been a lot of cool builds that have come out of FUBAR Labs including a Power Wheels racer, [Rick]’s Minecraft Circuits In Real Life, the now-obviously named Fubarino, a 3D printed balance bot. a gaseous oxygen and ethanol rocket engine.
Their 890 square foot space was already fantastic, but with a new space that’s 2300 square feet, they’ll be able to expand New Jersey’s finest hackerspace into what it should already be.
The guys at FUBAR put up a gallery of pics of the new space. You can check those out here. Next time Hackaday is in Jersey – or when we forget how to pump our own gas, whatever comes first – we’ll do a hackerspace tour of the new space.
The [Hacker Dojo], as you might have suspected, is a California based hacker space that would like your money to help with renovations. Sure, there is nothing wrong with a little dust on the ground, but half of this space was apparently deemed unfit to use for it’s member hackers. For this purpose, they are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $250,000 for renovations. If this seems a little steep to you, keep in mind that this looks like a pretty massive space by most standards, and land prices aren’t exactly cheap in that area.
If you’re not that generous, (Who can resist the sad faces around 0:35 in the video on their Kickstarter?) they are also offering some sweet prizes. Unfortunately, the original Super Pong Machine signed by creator Al Alcorn is already sold, but for only $2 you can have their eternal gratitude! For something a bit more tangible, they have stickers for $8, shirts for $32, and other prizes up to $10,000 for the most expensive of them, “creative input” on a mural.
Since the previously-posted stills can’t quite convey the chaos of last weekend’s Maker Faire, here’s some video from the event to help get you through hump day. It’s like three liters of Jolt Cola in a two liter bottle.
One thing even video can’t adequately capture is our gratitude toward our readers at the show who took time to express their appreciation for the blog. You guys and gals rock our world. Thank you!
Through the years, our reader base has grown like we never could have imagined. We thank everyone for reading, and owe our gratitude to all who have sent in submissions. We live for them. The more high quality submissions you send in, the more we’ll post. Along with you, we’ve taken part in some really great projects and enjoyed the writing of some really great people.
Now it is time to share our plans for the future with you. We have two announcements that we would like to get your thoughts on.
Hack a Day first started as an offshoot of Engadget. It was a place where we were able to look at things from a hacker perspective. Contrary to what some people believe, it wasn’t all hardcore electronic engineering. It wasn’t even all projects. We had fun, and discussed our thoughts on many things that weren’t that complicated.
As we move forward, we will be covering a wide variety of posts. From simple things, like teardowns to the amazingly complex projects that inspire us all. We intend to get you original content from the perspective of people who are not just consumers, but hackers of all different skill levels.
We are working to make it easier to browse the site, with your specific interests in mind. Our first motion was to add the “Classic Hacks” category which gathers up the more complicated projects. We’re open to other ideas of how to best categorize the content to make your experience better.
#2. Social Interaction:
Since the beginning of Hack a Day, we have been inundated with questions and requests. People are asking for help on existing projects as well as trying to break into the complexities that can lay in front of a beginner. We’ve seen unofficial Hack a Day forums come and go, but we think it is time that we did something ourselves. We’ve been working behind the scenes on a really slick system which allows people to ask questions, get answers, and even rate and give feedback.You will hopefully see this appear in a matter of weeks as we finish up the last bits.
We look forward to seeing some of you shine, sharing your knowledge with the hacker community.