Here’s something really wonderful. [Dave Akerman] wrote up the results of his attempt to use a high-altitude balloon to try to re-create a famous image of NASA’s Bruce McCandless floating freely in space with the Earth in the background. [Dave] did this in celebration of the 34th anniversary of the first untethered spacewalk, even going so far as to launch on the same day as the original event in 1984. He had excellent results, with plenty of video and images recorded by his payload.
Adhering to the actual day of the spacewalk wasn’t the only hurdle [Dave] jumped to make this happen. He tracked down an old and rare “Astronaut with MMU” (Mobile Maneuvering Unit) plastic model kit made by Revell USA and proceeded to build it and arrange for it to remain in view of the cameras. Raspberry Pi Zero Ws with cameras, LoRA hardware, action cameras, and a UBlox GPS unit all make an appearance in the balloon’s payload.
Sadly, [Bruce McCandless] passed away in late 2017, but this project is a wonderful reminder of that first untethered spacewalk. Details on the build and the payload, as well as the tracking system, are covered here on [Dave]’s blog. Videos of the launch and the inevitable balloon burst are embedded below, but more is available in the summary write-up.
Hackaday is 13! We’re going through a bit of a rebellious phase. There’s hair where there wasn’t hair before. Thirteen years ago (Sept. 5, 2004), [Phil Torrone] published the first Hackaday Post. [Phil] posted a great writeup of the history of Hackaday over on the Adafruit blog — we were saved from the AOL borg because of the word ‘hack’ — and interviewed the former and current editors of your favorite DIY website. Here’s to 13 more years and to [Phil] finding a copy of the first version of the Jolly Wrencher designed in Macromedia Flash.
Hurricanes are an awesome force of nature. As we learned from Harvey a week ago, livestreamed footage from the eyewall of a hurricane is fascinating. [Jeff Piotrowski] seems to be the streamer of choice. If you’re looking for something to gawk at, here you go.
Another burn is over, and I still have no idea how they moved the fuselage of a 747 from Palmdale to the playa.
You know we’re doing this whole Hackaday Prize thing where we’re giving a ton of money to people for creating cool hardware, right? We’re almost done with that. The last round of The Hackaday Prize is going on right now. The theme is anything goes, or rather there is no theme. The goal of this round is to build cool stuff. This round ends on October 16th, and yes, we’ll have the results for the Assistive Technologies round out shortly.
[Prusa] makes a lot of printers, and that means he needs to make a lot of parts to make a lot of printers. Obviously, a PTFE-cutting robot is the solution to this problem
Hackaday.io has just turned two today and we couldn’t be more excited about how far we’ve come. What started out as a simple proof-of-concept, inspired by ye-olde idea of a “virtual hackerspace,” has truly evolved into a global playground for some of the best, brightest, and most creative minds you have ever met. It also became a home and the place to spend sleepless nights for many of us on the team, and we’re excited to share a few ideas on where we are headed going forward.
But before we do that, let’s look at some data.
We’re thrilled to report that over the last two years, Hackaday.io has grown from zero to a 121,158-member strong community, who have together created a total of 9,736 projects. To put this in context, it is more than a two-fold growth from last year’s milestone of 51,838 users / 4,365 projects. And it doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.
Though these “vanity” metrics sure are a nice validation, the number that gets us the most excited is the fact that the 9,731 projects currently on the site have been created by a total 4,966different users. What’s even better is the fact that 949 projects are a result of collaboration between two or more people. Altogether, a total of 7,170 different users have participated in the creation of the vast body of engineering knowledge currently residing on Hackaday.io.
This morning we logged into Google to find a Barcode instead of the normal logo (how strange that Google would change their graphic!). Apparently today is the anniversary of the Barcode. This method of easily labeling items for computer scanning is used for every type of commodity in our society. But do you know how to get the cryptic information back out of the Barcode?
Here’s the challenge: The image at the top of the post was created by the devious writers here at Hack a Day. Leave us a comment that tells us what the message says and explains how you deciphered it. There are programs that will do this for you and some smartphones can do this from a picture of the code, but we’re looking for the most creative solutions.
The winner will be decided in a totally unfair and biased way and gets their name plastered all over Hack a Day (and possibly slandered a bit). So get out there and start decoding that machine-readable image.
Now, on the eve of Hack a Day’s fifth anniversary, seems like an appropriate time to announce my resignation. Site founder [Phillip Torrone] published the first post, a red box, on September 5th, 2004. On May 7th, 2005 I took over editorial duties at Hack a Day by publishing one of my favorite projects: [Jonathan Westhues]’ proximity card spoofer. Since then, I’ve run Hack a Day with a number of great contributors over the last four years: [Fabienne Serriere], [Will O’Brien], [Ian Lesnet], and current senior editor [Caleb Kraft] just to name a few. I’ve enjoyed watching the site grow, powered by the constant stream of tips from readers. Whether we were turning hard drives into molten goo or putting our hardware designs into production, it’s been a lot of fun. With all the new talent we’ve brought on recently, I have confidence that Hack a Day will continue to be a great resource in the future.
In closing, I’d like to thank you, the readers, for all the support you’ve given us over the years. If it weren’t for all the tips, personal projects, and ideas you’ve sent us, we’d never have made it this far. Thank you.
Christmas has come early for us. This is our 3,000th post since launching Fall of 2004 doing just one post a day. The outstanding stat though is the 50,000 comments in the system. The team at Hack a Day would like to thank you, the readers, for bringing in all of our best tips and being part of this great community.
[Trixter], connoisseur of old hardware, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the PCjr. IBM’s PCjr was killed only 18th months after being revealed and [Trixter] lays out exactly why. Overall, it was designed to be cheap to produce and sell, but many of the choices made it difficult to use. They used the CPU instead of DMA for floppy access; cheaper to make, but you couldn’t do much during disk reads because of it. The video memory scheme left little room for programs that could take advantage of it. It also had compatibility issues that made IBM clones a more attractive choice. [Trixter] ends by pointing out that some good came of it when the Tandy 1000 copyied the good ideas while leaving out the restrictive memory issues. He recommends Mike’s PCjr Page for more information on this classic machine.