Processing, the open source programming language designed for artists and other creative types, finally went 1.0. Processing inspired numerous outpourings of creativity and beauty, from interactive art installations to sound sculptures. Improvements to Processing include OpenGL anti-aliasing, an extensible Tools menu, and the XML library included by default. You can read up on the changes or download Processing and start playing with it yourself.
[via Create Digital Motion]
Tellart turned an iPhone into a duiPhone with its latest Sketchtools kit. Combine a 3G iPhone, an ordinary store-bought breathalyzer, and the NADA Mobile, which consists of a communication board, sensors, and actuators, and get a useful iPhone application. Blow into the mouthpiece, and the iPhone will inform you if you can safely drive, or if you should call a cab.
We’d like to find out more about the NADA Mobile, since it looks like it could be the start of a lot of fun projects. It’s the latest of Tellart’s Sketchtools line, which can only be accessed if you work with Tellart as a consultant, or if you work with them to organize a workshop for your organization.
German designer [Michael Schoner] of NL Architects turned an ordinary street bench into a public sound system that can be accessed by passersby with iPods and cellphones with Bluetooth. Boom Bench features 60 watt co-axial speakers, two subwoofers, and a bass shaker in the seat that’ll allow you to feel the vibrations of your music choices. It was on display in Amsterdam last month for the Urban Play event. It remains to be seen whether this new urban development will make your daily wait for the bus more entertaining or aggravating.
NASA just completed the first deep-space test of what could one day become the interplanetary internet. Images of Mars and its moon Phobos were sent back and forth between computers on Earth and NASA’s Epoxi spacecraft. Instead of TCP/IP a new protocol, named “Disruption/Delay Tolerant Networking” (DTN) was used. Information is only sent once with DTN, and stored at each node until another node is available to receive the information. To prevent hackers from interfering with the network, information that is transmitted over DTN is encrypted. The team at NASA is hoping to get the protocol accepted by the international community and setup a permanent node at the International Space Station next year.
[via Warren Ellis]
The Guardian’s technology department hosted its first Hack Day last Thursday. Developers were freed from the drudgery of their everyday jobs to make fun toys and tools. Many of the hacks that developed played around with the website, like the Guardian commenter blocker, or the Guardian Button integrated into the Google Toolbar. We liked the Guardian Politics Page LED Swingometer, created by [Tom Armitage], which scanned the Guardian’s politics RSS feed for mentions of “Conservative” or “Labour” to yield the “swing” of a page to an Arduino. We wanted to see more of the Java-enabled Robot Dude. You can track Fhe Guardian’s Hack Day activity on Twitter with the tag #ghack1 or check out their photos on Flickr.
If you want to participate in a Hack Day, Last.fm is hosting one this December.
Not all hard drives fail the same way. DataCent, a data recovery service based in Canada, has an impressive archive of failing hard drive sounds. If you’re ever in doubt about whether your hard drive needs help, this is your guide. From bad heads to stuck spindles, bad hard drives click, grind, hum, and scratch. It’s almost musical in its regularity. Who will be the first person to string of these samples together into a ringtone or techno song.
After being inspired by our previous posts on a microcontroller-powered missile launcher and the wireless fireworks controller, [Adam] at Additronics.com decided to build his own microcontroller launcher. He combined elements from each of the prior projects, and included some of the advice from the Hack a Day comments. His multi-rocket/fireworks launcher is configured with an Arduino Diecimila, and requires a whole boatload of batteries. [Adam] claims there’ll be another video at New Year’s of the microcontroller in action, which we’re definitely looking forward to watching.