The design is simple. It consists of a motor which is run from a battery. The two components are installed in a 3D printed housing with a magnet on the bottom. When the device is attached to a metal surface, a switch is activated which turns the motor on. The motor is attached to a large printed “winding key” that would be familiar to anyone who has used a clockwork toy or timepiece before. If the magnetic manner of activation is familiar, you might recall it from [Kousuke Saito’s] chirping cicada project.
It’s a silly build, to be sure. Regardless, when placed on certain appliances, like a simple fan, the motion really does imply that the clockwork winder is connected to the mechanism inside. It’s a falsehood, of course, but a joyous one.
[lexie] is a librarian, and librarians live in the real world. They’re not concerned with vague digital notions about the size of data, but practical notions of space. Thus, she created a tool to answer an important question: how long do your shelves need to be if you’re storing all your information on 3.5″ floppy disks?
It’s a great question, and one we find ourselves asking, well, pretty much never. [lexie]’s tool is also built using modern web technologies, and 3.5″ floppy disks were never really used for bulk storage, either. It just makes the whole thing all the more frivolous, and that makes it more fun.
You can key in any quantity from megabytes to exabytes and the tool will spit out the relevant answer in anything from millimeters to miles as appropriate. Despite the graphics on the web page, it does assume rational shelving practices of placing disks along the shelves on their thinner 4 mm edge.
Buying new doors was the easy part because the door frame and hinges were not standardized back then, so there was nothing on the server cabinet to his mount doors. He walks us through all the steps but the most interesting point was the 3D printed door hinges which [Michael] modeled himself and printed in steel. His new hinges feature his personal flair, with some Voronoi patterning while matching the shape of the originals. We love seeing 3D printed parts used as functional hardware, and hinges are certainly a piece of hardware meant to hold up under pressure.
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.
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.
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.
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.