Flipper Zero Hacker Tool Gets UI Editor For Custom Apps

[Mikhail] released a handy GUI editor/generator tool for the Flipper Zero multipurpose hacker tool, making layouts and UI elements much easier and more intuitive to craft up.

Those who decide to delve into rolling their own applications or add-ons will find this a handy resource, especially as it generates the necessary code for the visual elements. It’s not limited to placing icons, either. Boxes, lines, dots, text, and more can be freely laid out to get things looking just right.

To use it, simply drag and drop icons of various sizes into the screen area. Non-icon UI elements like frames, lines, text, and others can be placed with a click using the buttons. To move elements around, click the SELECT button first, then drag things as needed. To fine-tune positioning (or change the text of a string) a selected element’s properties can be accessed and modified to the right of the simulated screen. When things look good, switch to the CODE tab and copy away to use it in your Flipper application.

Unfamiliar with the Flipper Zero? It’s a kind of wireless multitool; a deeply interesting device intended to make wireless exploration and experimentation as accessible as its dolphin mascot is adorable.

Remote Screen Viewer Is Text-Only

Have you been slowly falling down a rabbit hole of Stallman-like paranoia of computers ever since installing Ubuntu for the first time in 2007? Do you now abhor anything with a GUI, including browsers? Do you check your mail with the command line even though you’re behind seven proxies? But, do you still want to play Minecraft? If so, this command-line-only screen viewer might just be the tool to use a GUI without technically using one.

This remote screen viewer is built in Python by [louis-e] and, once installed, allows the client to view the screen of the server even if the client is a text-only console. [louis-e] demonstrates this from within a Windows command prompt. The script polls the server screen and then displays it in the console using the various colors and textures available. As a result, the resolution and refresh rate are both quite low, but it is still functional enough to play Minecraft and do other GUI-based tasks as long as there’s no fine text to read anywhere.

The video below only shows a demonstration of the remote screen viewer, and we can imagine plenty of uses beyond this proof-of concept game demonstration. Installing a desktop environment and window manager is not something strictly necessary for all computers, so this is a functional workaround if you don’t want to waste time and resources installing either of those components. If you’re looking for remote desktop software for a more specific machine, though, take a look at this software which enables remote desktop on antique Macs.

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Gaming Mouse Becomes Digital Camera

Ever since the world decided to transition from mechanical ball mice to optical mice, we have been blessed with computer pointing devices that don’t need regular cleaning and have much better performance than their ancestors. They do this by using what is essentially a tiny digital camera to monitor changes in motion. As we’ve seen before, it is possible to convert this mechanism into an actual camera, but until now we haven’t seen something like this on a high-performance mouse designed for FPS gaming.

For this project [Ankit] is disassembling the Logitech G402, a popular gaming mouse with up to 4000 dpi. Normally this is processed internally in the mouse to translate movement into cursor motion, but this mouse conveniently has a familiar STM32 processor with an SPI interface already broken out on the PCB that could be quickly connected to in order to gather image data. [Ankit] created a custom USB vendor-specific endpoint and wrote a Linux kernel module to parse the data into a custom GUI program that can display the image captured by the mouse sensor on-screen.

It’s probably best to not attempt this project if you plan to re-use the mouse, as the custom firmware appears to render the mouse useless as an actual mouse. But as a proof-of-concept project this high-performance mouse does work fairly well as a camera, albeit with a very low resolution by modern digital camera standards. It is much improved on older mouse-camera builds we’ve seen, though, thanks to the high performance sensors in gaming mice.

Where Do You Want To Go Today? Perhaps To A Linux With A Familiar Interface?

Sometimes we cover works of extreme technological merit here at Hackaday, other times we cover interesting projects that while they might not lie at the bleeding edge are interesting enough that they deserve a wider audience. Sometimes though, we bring you something in this field simply because it amuses us and we think it will you too. Such is the case with [Bryan Lunduke]’s look at making a Linux desktop look like Windows 95. And lest you think that it might be yet another skin to make Windows users transition to Linux a bit easier, the aim and result is to make it look exactly like Microsoft’s mid-90s desktop.

Underneath it all is the relatively familiar xUbuntu distribution, with a deliciously troll-worthy project called Chicago95 atop it. This takes some existing Windows 95 theme and icon projects, and adds GTK themes, an MS-DOS shell theme, the ability to install those cheesy ’90s Plus! themes, and a Microsoft Office 95 theme for LibreOffice. It really does deliver an experience very close to the Redmond original.

So, what’s the point here in 2022? In the first instance it’s an excellent opportunity to troll open-source enthusiast friends with a crusty laptop seemingly running ’95 and showing YouTube videos on Netscape Navigator 3. But beyond the jokes there is a serious use for it. There may be many criticisms that can be leveled at Windows 95, but it’s safe to say that its GUI was a significant success whose echoes can be found in many desktops here in 2022. There are a huge number of people in the world who are completely at home in a Windows 95 environment who might struggle with a Linux desktop, and this gives them a way to be immediately productive.  Would you give your grandmother a Linux box with this desktop?

Simple GUI Menus In Micropython

Love ’em or hate ’em, sometimes your embedded project needs a menu system. Rather than reimplement things each and every time, [sgall17a] put together a simple GUI menu system in Micropython that can be reused in all sorts of projects. The approach uses tables to define the menus and actions, and the demo program comes with a pretty good assortment of examples. Getting up to speed using this module should be fairly easy.

The hardware that [sgall17a] chose to demonstrate the concept couldn’t have been much smaller — it’s a Raspberry Pi Pico development board, an OLED 128 x 64 pixel display, and a rotary encoder with built-in push-button switch (it’s also been tested on ESP32 and ESP8266 boards). The widget under control is one of the commonly available Neopixel development boards. The program is hosted on GitHub, but beware that it’s under development so there may be frequent updates.

This is a good approach to making menus, but is often rejected or not even considered because of the overhead cost of developing the infrastructure. Well, [sgall17a] has done the hard work already — if you have an embedded project requiring local user setup, check out this module.

Start Me Up: What Has The Windows 95 Desktop Given Us 25 Years Later?

We’ve had something of an anniversary of late, and it’s one that will no doubt elicit a variety of reactions from our community. It’s now 25 years ago that Windows 95 was launched, the operating system that gave the majority of 1990s PC users their first taste of a desktop-based GUI and a 32-bit operating system.

To the strains of the Rolling Stones’ Start me up, Microsoft execs including Bill Gates himself jubilantly danced on stage at the launch of what was probably to become the company’s defining product, perhaps oblivious to the line “You make a grown man cry” which maybe unwittingly strayed close to the user experience when faced with some of the software’s shortcomings.

Its security may seem laughable by the standards of today and the uneasy marriage of 16-bit DOS underpinning a 32-bit Windows operating system was clunky even in its heyday, but perhaps now is the best time to evaluate it unclouded by technical prejudice. What can we see of Windows 95 in the operating systems we use today, and thus from that can we ask the question: What did Windows 95 get right? Continue reading “Start Me Up: What Has The Windows 95 Desktop Given Us 25 Years Later?”

Linux Fu: Python GUIs For Command Line Programs (Almost) Instantly

Not every programmer likes creating GUI code. Most hacker types don’t mind a command line interface, but very few ordinary users appreciate them. However, if you write command line programs in Python, Gooey can help. By leveraging some Python features and a common Python idiom, you can convert a command line program into a GUI with very little effort.

The idea is pretty simple. Nearly all command line Python programs use argparse to simplify picking options and arguments off the command line as well as providing some help. The Gooey decorator picks up all your options and arguments and creates a GUI for it. You can make it more complicated if you want to change specific things, but if you are happy with the defaults, there’s not much else to it.

At first, this article might seem like a Python Fu and not a Linux Fu, since — at first — we are going to focus on Python. But just stand by and you’ll see how this can do a lot of things on many operating systems, including Linux.

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