[John Graham-Cumming] was all set to start a new project based on the Raspberry Pi. Well, that was until shipment was delayed due to manufacturing issues. Not to fret, he transitioned over to a router board which displays the arrival countdown for mass transit bus service.
He based the build on a web page the Transport for London provided. You can load it up and see if your bus is running on time or not. There’s no published API, but by studying the source code from the site [John] was able to figure out how the JSON commands were formatted.
The next step is building a standalone device to pull the data and display it. The board seen above is from a Linksys WRT54GL router. This longtime favorite has a serial port header which can be driven from the Linux kernel. He wired up a jack on the router’s case, and uses an extension cable to get from it to the 7-segment displays mounted in a model of the bus. Since there’s four digits the display can tell you minutes until the arrival of two different buses.
[Thanks Pseudo Lobster]
If you are a frequent reader, you are undoubtedly familiar with hacker [Sprite_tm]. He has been working with fellow members of the TkkrLab hackerspace to get things ready for their official grand opening on May 28th, and wrote in to share a project he recently completed to kick things off.
As part of their preparations, they have been stocking the joint with all sorts of hacker-friendly goodies including plenty of tools and Club Mate, as well as a vintage ‘1943’ arcade cabinet. The game is a group favorite, though every time the power is turned off, it loses all of the hard-earned high scores. [Sprite_tm] knew he could improve on the current paper-based score register, so he pulled the machine open to see what could be done.
He used an AVR to tap into the machine’s Z80 logic board, allowing him to read and write to the entirety of the game’s RAM whenever he pleased. This enabled him to keep tabs on the high scores, restoring them to memory whenever the machine is powered back on. The addition of the AVR also allowed him to add a TCP/IP interface, which is used to send high scores to Twitter whenever someone beats the previous record.
His modular bus tap can be used in all sorts of Z80-based hardware, so if you have some vintage equipment laying around, be sure to swing by his site for a more detailed look at the build process.
shackspace member [@dop3j0e] found himself in a real bind when trying to recover some data after his ThinkPad’s fingerprint scanner died. You see, he stored his hard drive password in the scanner, and over time completely forgot what it was. Once the scanner stopped working, he had no way to get at his data.
He brainstormed, trying to figure out the best way to recover his data. He considered reverse engineering the BIOS, which was an interesting exercise, but it did not yield any password data. He also thought about swapping the hard drive’s logic board with that of a similar drive, but it turns out that the password is stored on the platters, not the PCB.
With his options quickly running out, he turned to a piece of open-source hardware we’ve covered here in the past, the OpenBench Logic Sniffer. The IDE bus contains 16 data pins, and lucky for [@dop3j0e] the OpenBench has 16 5v pins as well – a perfect match. He wired the sniffer up to the laptop and booted the computer, watching SUMP for the unlock command to be issued. Sure enough he captured the password with ease, after which he unlocked and permanently removed it using hdparm.
Be sure to check out [@dop3j0e’s] presentation on the subject if you are interested in learning more about how the recovery was done.
[Knuckles904] was tired of waiting for the bus. His town had installed GPS units on the buses so that riders could track their locations via the Internet so he knew there should be a way to avoid the wait while also never missing the bus. He developed a sketch for an Arduino to check the bus location and notify him when it was on its way.
This method saves him from leaving his computer running. It parses the text data from the public transportation website and updates both an LED display, as well as a Twitter feed. Now he can monitor several different bus lines via the hardware at home, or though a cell phone if he’s on the go.
Check out this visual hardware guide from deviantART member [Sonic840]. It has everything from memory modules, to bus sockets, to power connectors, to an entire array of CPU sockets that have been used over the years. You’re bound to see something in there you didn’t know existed.
[Soren Coughlin-Glaser] runs a mobile photobooth in the Portland area. It’s built inside of an electric Volkswagen bus. The conversion to electric hasn’t been easy though. He’s spent most of the last few months rebuilding it after an electrical fire. Last fall he installed a 9 inch electric motor from Hi-Torque Electric after his smaller one blew up. We really like this project and look forward to seeing it back on the road… once he replaces his stripped transmission coupler.
[via Boing Boing Gadgets]
Bus systems on campus can often be frustrating. You’re standing at the stop waiting and you don’t know if it would just be faster to walk. If you have a WaitLess tracking system at your stop, you can see exactly where the bus is and make that decision much easier. The unit is self contained, solar, and equipped with wireless internet. With an Arduino at it’s core, it displays the current location of the bus by lighting an LED on a map. You can see a video of it in action after the break.
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