The Magic Phone: Take Two


We’ve posted Part Two of the Magic Phone How-To over at Engadget. In this Installment, we show you the process behind creating the custom circuit that will live inside the rotary phone. This circuit is as small as possible by making it two-sided and by using surface mount components. Part One of the How-To covered number pad matrix decoding on just about any phone or number pad.

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Thursday Nano Hacks: Getting Power From Your Nano

For this week’s Nano Hack we will cover how to get power off your iPod Nano’s battery. Power can be useful when you need to run other small low power devices in conjunction with the Nano. These devices can be small circuits, lights, etc. In next week’s installment we will use the power we draw to power a glowing sleeve for the iPod Nano.

What you will need:
– an iPod connector cable to cannibalize (we used a Dock Connector to USB 2.0 + FireWire)
– a multimeter
– a soldering iron
– some sort of thin knife or miniature flat head screwdriver to pry open the connector

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Thursday Nano Hacks: Making Black IPod Headphones


We are starting a new feature for Thursdays here at Hack A Day: Thursday Nano Hacks. Our “hack” for the day is more of a mod out of necessity: Those ugly white headphones with a black iPod nano? Ew! Please come back next Thursday for a real iPod nano hack alrighty?

Scroll on for our little stroll through recoloring cables, and please read the conclusion. (Let’s just say that this hack is not exactly the stuff dreams are made of.)

What you will need:
– iPod headphones. They only come in white.
– PlastiDip in black (we used the dipping kind, but we recommend the spray aerosol kind in black)
– a tiny paintbrush you can throw out when you’re finished
– toothpicks
– stick or chopstick to stir the PlastiDip
– coathangers
– masking tape
– lots of time to waste

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How-To Build A Telephone Recording Circuit From An Old Modem


We’ve posted our How-To for the week over at Engadget. Do you have an old modem lying around? Have you been dying to record some of your phone conversations for those podcasts or homebrewed movies or crazy flash animations you make? Wait no longer! Build yourself a little circuit to change the analog phone’s audio to regular line audio to record with your sound card. Remember that it is illegal in many places in the world to record phone conversations without both parties’ consent.

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Google Hacks For Fun And Profit

We’ve all played with Google hacks. Here is a short, quite incomplete list of irreverant uses for our engine of worship. Post your favorite Google hackage in the comments. I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords.

Google cooking, around since 2002 and perhaps even before: simply list the various ingredients in your fridge and your cupboard to google-spit out a recipe

Perl fun with the Google API: $1

PyGoogle for Python fanatics: $2

Being able to Google in your command line: Priceless

A whole book chock full of Google hacks including yummy adwords hacking [pdf]

Craigslist + Google Maps == bliss for apartment hunters

A sobering use of Google Maps: updatable trajectory of hurricane Rita [via BoingBoing and Markie]

When video met Google, DVD Jon wrote a script to use Google’s VLC video player to play non-google-hosted content

Fun for VJ’s and Anit-TV-peeps

A Honeypot for those of you worried about others using malicious Google hacks on your sites

Once again, post your fave Google hacks in the comments.

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How-To: Embed A Wifi Detector Into A Backpack Strap


We’ve posted our How-To of the week over at Take a peep at our cool little mod for embedding a wifi sniffer into a backpack strap or messenger bag strap. Haven’t you always wanted to have squishy switches and LED’s built into your bag? Well, now you can! The How-To even has spiffy Flickr photos for your viewing pleasure.

If you make a cool version of this hack, please let us know. We’re sure you’ll come up with all sorts of ways to make this mod better: super bright LED’s, luminescent wire, fibre optics, etc. Take this How-To and run with it yo

Event Coverage: Dorkbot Meetings And Artbots 2005


Continuing on our streak of Friday coverage of cool hackerly events, we would like to say a few words on Dorkbot and Artbots.  Dorkbot started as a New York City monthly meeting for robot and homebrew interactive device aficionados.  It has now spread to many cities, perhaps even one near you.  Guests are invited to speak and afterwards, the hardware hackers mix and mingle to the geekery beat.  The collection of projects presented in the past are stored on their site with linkage for you to peruse.  We at Hack A Day are a bit sad that neither Paris nor Nebraska hosts a monthly Dorkbot.  That said, you are invited to start a new Dorkbot chapter near you if you so desire.  The next New York City Dorkbot meeting is on Wednesday, October 5th at 7 pm.  Check the listings and/or mailing lists for the city nearest you.

As if Dorkbot’s artsy tech scene wasn’t cool enough, once a year Douglas Repetto also organizes Artbots: The Robot Talent Show.  We had a chance to attend Artbots 2003 at the Eyebeam Gallery in NYC.  Particularly marking that year was Stijn Slabbinck’s scratchbot which has been covered rather extensively elsewhere. LEMUR – the league of electronic musical urban robots — was also in attendance in 2003.  This year’s Artbots was held in Dublin, Ireland and included workshops: a MIDI scrapyard challenge and a 60 minute bot building course.

Some of our favorite artist installations from this year’s Artbots include:

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