A Chrome Extension for Being a Jerk

What do you do to someone you want to make suffer, slowly? Specifically, at around 70% speed. To [Stephen], the answer is clear, you hit them where it really hurts: YouTube.

Creatively named “Chrome Engine,” [Stephen]’s diabolical Chrome extension has one purpose: be annoying. Every day, it lowers playback rate by 1% on YouTube. It’s a linear progression: 100% the first day, 99% the second day, 98% the third day, etc. It only stops 30 days later, once it hits its target rate of 70% the original speed. This progression is designed to be slow enough not to be noticed. Its icon is nothing more than the standard Chrome icon as [Stephen] firmly believes in the tactic of hiding in plain sight.

But that’s not all, it’s the minute details that drive the ball home. For instance, rather than using local storage to keep track of playback speed, the Chrome sync storage is used. This ensures that, as long as the extension is installed, playback rate will be synchronized between all of your friend’s(if you can even call them that) devices. It even targets casual YouTube users: [Stephen] has specifically designed their extension so that it won’t drop playback by more than 1% at a time. If the victim goes on vacation, the playback speed won’t drop when they’re away and will resume as soon as they’re back.

The last feature, the one [Stephen] is the proudest of, is that the extension manages to keep the YouTube speed controls working as intended. If the victim tries to play at half speed, their videos will be at half speed … of the slower playback rate set by the extension. And it gets even better! You may not know this if you don’t dally around with playback rates, but the audio tends to stop playing when videos are reduced below 50% of their original speed. Fear not! [Stephen] has accounted for this idiosyncrasy! If the victim selects a speed at or above 0.5x, a minimum cap is added so that the actual playback rate will be equal to or above 0.5x. If they select slower than this, they don’t expect sound anyway, so all bets are off.

Check it out here, may your friends (frenemies?) beware. We’re adding it to our April Fools arsenal, even if it is a bit early.

Fabulous Magic 8 ball prank

Hackaday forum user [arfink] has shown us a brilliant practical joke he built. This is a magic 8 ball that will blind you with a flash when you flip it over. Have you ever been in a room with one of these and not flipped it over? Neither have we. Using a basic flash circuit ripped from a disposable camera in conjunction with a mercury switch, this project took him about 2 hours to make. Admittedly, most of that time was just trying to split the 8 ball in half without completely destroying it.  The circuit is pretty simple. Just figure out what 2 wires need to be crossed to trigger the flash and install your tilt switch there. He added a power cut off so you could disable it as well.

UPDATE: video added after the break! Continue reading “Fabulous Magic 8 ball prank”

Archie the helper bot

We noticed this article on BotJunkie about Archie the helper bot. Archie is supposed to help out around the house with cooking, cleaning, and other mundane tasks. [Evan] makes a very good point though. Why do people insist on putting creepy heads on their robots. They aren’t making them any more endearing, it’s just creepy. While that is a very astute observation, we would like to add some more.  Watch the video above, and study the image after the break. Archie doesn’t seem to be a functional bot. He never moves in the video under his own power. The scene where they “walk” him along is comedy gold. His head keeps falling backwards,or possibly off. And what use is a helper bot that doesn’t have actuated hands? The video is in German, so maybe we’re missing something. Maybe Archie is a mock up or a joke and we just needed translation.

Continue reading “Archie the helper bot”

Bucky’s animal spirit

When an unsuspecting person walks up to [Rob Ray’s] ATM machine, they are greeted with a surprise that doesn’t involve giving them their money. When they insert their card, the video above plays followed by a game where you control a beaver trying to save money during a recession. Surprisingly, people usually found it humorous and didn’t immediately freak out that their card was in a machine that wasn’t their ATM. His site has all kinds of pictures of various users as well as the construction of the project.

[via Wooster Collective]

Capslocker 2

caps

Almost exactly a year ago, we posted the random USB capslocker. [Garrett] has revisited the idea to build a smaller, neater version. He has posted the build process to give us an idea how he goes about building things. The overall build is quite nice, but part if its neatness can be attributed to the fact that he had access to an Epilog laser cutter. If you think you might be using one in the near future, this is a great writeup for you.

[via the Hack a Day flickr pool]

Hack a Day goes autonomous

cuborg

After declaring our independence last fall, complete site autonomy seemed like the next logical step. Using some clever coding we have developed a system that will let Hack a Day run without any intervention. The first layer in this system is topic selection. All tip line submissions are sent through a series of filters. These look for keywords like “firmware”, “POV”, “microcontroller”, “video”, “linux”, “WRT”, “GPS”, “PCB”, “TLA”. Each submission is given a l33tness ranking based on these words and the best tip is immediately thrown away. The second highest link is then passed through our advanced anti-duping engine that confirms the link hasn’t been posted in the last week. The post text is generated using Markov chains in what top scientists suspect is a miracle. The story is then automatically cut and pasted into Digg without credit. To foster discussion the reader comments are automatically seeded with “first post” and “this is not a hack” on every post. This system is implemented using a large quantity of duct tape (code and literal) on our brand new Linksys WRT54G beowulf cluster. We hope this system serves you well. We’ve been working on an “auto-hacking robot” to generate how-tos as well, but on its test run it instinctively disassembled itself.

Related news: Team Hack a Day merges with Team Engadget
[photo credit]

Continue reading “Hack a Day goes autonomous”