Feed aggregator

Novice Coders Can Create Classic Game Boy Games

Hackaday - 4 hours 26 minก่อน

It takes a lot of work to build a modern video game. Typically an entire company will spend months (at least) developing the gameplay, selecting or programming an engine, and working out the bugs. This amount of effort isn’t strictly necessary for older video game systems though, and homebrew developers are quite often able to develop entire games singlehandedly for classic systems. In the past it would have taken some special software, programming knowledge, and possibly hardware, but now anyone can build games for the original Game Boy with minimal barriers of entry.

The project is known as GB Studio and allows people to develop homebrew games for the 8-bit handheld system without programming knowledge. Once built, the games can be played on any emulator or even loaded onto a cartridge and played on original hardware if a flash cart is available. Graphics can be created with anything that can create a .png image, and there are also some features that allow the game to be played over a web browser or on a mobile device.

While it seems like the gameplay is limited to RPG-style games, this is still an impressive feat, and highly useful for anyone curious about game development. It could also be an entry into more involved game programming if it makes the code of the games available to the user. It could even lead to things like emulating entire cartridges on the original hardware.

Thanks to [Thomas] for the tip!

Set Your Nuts (and Bolts) Free with this Induction Heater

Hackaday - 7 hours 26 minก่อน

[Amon] built an induction heater to break stuck bolts loose. If you work on cars, machines, or anything big and metal, sooner or later you’re going to run into stuck nuts and bolts. Getting them unstuck usually involves penetrating oil, heat from a torch, and cheater bars. Heat usually works well, as heating the bolt makes the metal expand, helping it to break free. Torches aren’t exactly precision instruments though, and things can get interesting using one in tight spaces.

Fire isn’t the only way to heat a bolt through. Electricity can do the job as well. But why use a heating coil when you can grab an induction heater. Mechanics have had induction heaters in their toolboxes now for a few years, under names such as Bolt Buster or Mini Ductor. These devices cost several hundred dollars. However, you can purchase a 1000 watt induction heater from the usual sources for around $30. These are open frame Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS) power supplies, with uninsulated copper coils.

[Amon] bought one of these induction heaters, along with a beefy 24V, 40 amp switch mode supply to power it. He built the two into a plastic enclosure. A relay energizes the induction heater, so it isn’t always running. The key to this build is the handle. Rather than mount the induction coil directly on the supply, [Amon] ran two extension wires to a 3d printed gun style handle. This keeps the bulky part of the heater away from the work. The copper tube coil was re-shaped to better work with the gun. Some fiberglass sleeve keeps everything insulated, even at extreme temperatures.

The result is a very useful heater, ready to bust loose some bolts. We’ve seen homebuilt ZVS supplies powering induction coils before. It will be interesting to see how well these commercial units hold up.

Bringing PalmOS Back To Life

Hackaday - 10 hours 25 minก่อน

Ten years is almost ancient history in the computing world. Going back twelve years is almost unheard of, but that’s about the time that Palm released the last version of their famed PalmOS, an operating system for small, handheld devices that predated Apple’s first smartphone by yet another ten years. As with all pieces of good software there remain devotees, but with something that hasn’t been updated in a decade there’s a lot of work to be done. [Dmitry.GR] set about doing that work, and making a workable Palm device for the modern times.

He goes into incredible detail on this build, but there are some broad takeaways from the project. First, Palm never really released all of the tools that developers would need to build software easily, including documentation of the API system. Since a new device is being constructed, a lot of this needs to be sorted out. Even a kernel was built from scratch for this project, since using a prebuilt one such as Linux was not possible. There were many other pieces of software needed in order to get a working operating system together running on an ARM processor, which he calls rePalm.

There are many other facets of this project that we aren’t able to get into in this limited space, but if you’re at all interested in operating systems or if you fondly remember the pre-smartphone era devices such the various Palm PDAs that were available in the late ’90s and early ’00s, it’s worth taking a look at this one. And if you’d like to see [Dmitry.GR]’s expertise with ARM, he is well-versed.

Thanks to [furre] for the tip!

By The Numbers: Which Rapper’s Rhymes Are The Freshest?

Hackaday - 13 hours 25 minก่อน

Beats and rhymes are life in the world of hip-hop. A rapper’s ability to seamlessly merge the two is the mark of a master wordsmith. Ranking a rapper’s contributions to hip-hop will forever remain subjective, however [Matt] sought to apply a more quantitative approach to the matter. He created an interactive data set containing all the lyrics from over 150 rappers in order to determine which rapper’s vocabulary was the largest. Now everyone can know definitively which rapper’s rhymes truly are “the freshest”.

The study encompasses hip-hop artists from the last thirty years, pitting recent hit-makers like Lil Uzi Vert against veteran artists like KRS-One. To ensure everything is on even playing field [Matt] limited the study to the first 35,000 lyrics of each artist including any material on a mixtape, EP, or full album release. Rappers’ vocabulary was then plotted according to the total number of unique words found in their lyrics (i.e.: “shorty” and the alternative spelling “shawty” were each considered to be unique words). Oddly enough, there were some notable exclusions from the list as artists like Chance the Rapper, Queen Latifah, and The Notorious B.I.G’s discography did not exceed the 35,000 lyrics mark.

When digging into the data, there was a downward trend in the vocabulary used amongst popular artists of the last decade. [Matt] attributed this trend to the fact that many of these artists have modeled their music to reflect the pop/rock music structure that makes use of simple, repetitive choruses. While others may attribute this downward trend to a general lack of talent when it comes to lyricism, however, it should be noted that the economics of music streaming platforms have had an effect on the average song length. Though whatever era of hip-hop you subscribe to, it is always interesting to see where your favorite emcees rank.


New Part Day: Espressif Announces ESP32-S2 With USB

Hackaday - 16 hours 25 minก่อน

Espressif, the company behind the extremely popular ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers has just announced their latest chip. It’s the ESP32-S2. It’s a powerful WiFi-enabled microcontroller, and this one has support for USB OTG.

Compared to the ESP32 we know and love, there are a few differences. The ESP32-S2 uses a single core Xtensa LX7 core running at up to 240 MHz, where the current ESP32 uses either a single or dual core LX6. The differences between these cores is hidden away in marketing speak and press releases, but it appears the LX7 core is capable of many more floating point operations per cycle: apparently 2 FLOPS / cycle for the LX6, but 64 FLOPS / cycle for the LX7. This is fantastic for DSP and other computationally heavy applications. Other features on the chip include 320 kB SRAM, 128 kB ROM, and 16 kB of RTC memory.

Connectivity for the ESP32-S2 is plain WiFi; Bluetooth is not supported. I/O includes 42 GPIOs, 14 capacitive touch sensing IOs, the regular SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, and PWM compliment, support for parallel LCDs, a camera interface, and interestingly full-speed USB OTG support. Yes, the ESP32-S2 is getting USB, let us all rejoice.

Other features include an automatic power-down of the RF circuitry when it isn’t needed, support for RSA and AES256, and plenty of support for additional Flash and SRAMs should you need more memory. The packaging is a 7 mm x 7 mm QFN, so get out the microscope, enhance your calm, and bust out the flux for this one. Engineering samples will be available in June, and if Espressif’s past performance in supplying chips to the community holds true, we should see some projects using this chip by September or thereabouts.

(Banner image is of a plain-old ESP32, because we don’t have any of the new ones yet, naturally.)

Lilbits 367: Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini (while you wait for the Galaxy Home)

Liliputing - 18 hours 25 minก่อน

It’s been close to a year since Samsung first spoke publicly about the Galaxy Home smart speaker with support for the company’s Bixby voice assistant… but you still can’t actually buy one yet. But it looks like the company is also developing a second, smaller model. The folks at CNET spotted an FCC listing for […]

The post Lilbits 367: Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Home Mini (while you wait for the Galaxy Home) appeared first on Liliputing.

Solving The Final Part Of The iClicker Puzzle

Hackaday - 19 hours 25 minก่อน

The regular Hackaday reader might remember the iClicker from our previous coverage of the classroom quiz device, or perhaps you even had some first hand experience with it during your university days. A number of hackers have worked to reverse engineer the devices over the years, and on the whole, it’s a fairly well understood system. But there are still a few gaps in the hacker’s map of the iClicker, and for some folks, that just won’t do.

[Ammar Askar] took it upon himself to further the state of the art for iClicker hacking, and has put together a very detailed account on his blog. While most efforts have focused on documenting and eventually recreating how the student remotes send their responses to the teacher’s base station, he was curious about looking at the system from the other side. Specifically, he wanted to know how the base station was able to push teacher-supplied welcome messages to the student units, and how it informed the clients that their answers had been acknowledged.

He started by looking through the base station’s software update tool to find out where it was downloading the firmware files from, a trick we’ve seen used to great effect in the past. With the firmware in hand, [Ammar] disassembled the AVR code in IDA and got to work piecing together how the hardware works. He knew from previous group’s exploration of the hardware that the base station’s Semtech XE1203F radio is connected to the processor via SPI, so he started searching for code which was interacting with the SPI control registers.

This line of logic uncovered how the radio is configured over SPI, and ultimately where the data intended for transmission is stored in memory. He then moved over to running the firmware image in simavr. Just like Firmadyne allows you to run ARM or MIPS firmware with an attached debugger, this tool allowed [Ammar] to poke around in memory and do things such as simulate when student responses were coming in over the radio link.

At that point, all he had to do was capture the bytes being sent out and decode what they actually meant. This process was complicated slightly by the fact the system uses to use its own custom encoding rather than ASCII for the messages, but by that point, [Ammar] was too close to let something like that deter him. Nearly a decade after first hearing that hackers had started poking around inside of them, it looks like we can finally close the case on the iClicker.

Walmart launches a line of cheap Android tablets (priced $100 or lower)

Liliputing - 19 hours 49 minก่อน

As the largest retailer in the United States, Walmart already sells a lot of tablets including iPads, Windows tablets, and Android devices. But now Walmart is starting to sell its own line of cheap Android tablets priced at $99 or lower. As expected, that makes them competitive with Amazon’s Kindle line of tablets, which have […]

The post Walmart launches a line of cheap Android tablets (priced $100 or lower) appeared first on Liliputing.

Windows 10 May 2019 Update is now available (version 1903)

Liliputing - 20 hours 48 minก่อน

Right on schedule, Microsoft has released the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. Among other things, latest version of Windows 10 includes a number of new features including support for viewing your Android phone’s screen on a PC, syncing Android notifications to your desktop, a new update mechanism that won’t force you to install every update, a […]

The post Windows 10 May 2019 Update is now available (version 1903) appeared first on Liliputing.

Bringing Battle Bots into the Modern Classroom

Hackaday - 20 hours 56 minก่อน

With the wide array of digital entertainment that’s available to young students, it can be difficult for educators to capture their imagination. In decades past, a “volcano” made with baking soda and vinegar would’ve been enough to put a class of 5th graders on the edge of their seats, but those projects don’t pack quite the same punch on students who may have prefaced their school day with a battle royale match. Today’s educators are tasked with inspiring kids who already have the world at their fingertips.

Hoping to rise to that challenge with her entry into the 2019 Hackaday Prize, [Misty Lackie] is putting together a kit which would allow elementary and middle school students to build their very own fighting robots. Thanks to the use of modular components, younger students don’t have to get bogged down with soldering or the intricacies of how all the hardware actually works. On the other hand, older kids will be able to extend the basic platform without having to start from scratch.

The electronics for the bot consist primarily of an Arduino Uno with Sensor Shield, a dual H-bridge motor controller, and a wireless receiver for a PS2 controller. This allows the students to control the bot’s dual drive motors with an input scheme that’s likely very familiar to them already. By mapping the controller’s face buttons to digital pins on the Arduino, additional functions such as the spinner seen in the bot after the break, easily be activated.

[Misty] has already done some test runs with an early version of the kit, and so far its been a huge success. Students were free to design their own bodies and add-ons for the remote controlled platform, and it’s fascinating to see how unique the final results turned out to be. We’ve seen in the past how excited students can be when tasked with customizing their own robots, so any entry into that field is a positive development in our book.

The HackadayPrize2019 is Sponsored by:

Apple’s 2019 MacBook Pro has an improved keyboard, up to an octa-core CPU

Liliputing - 21 hours 14 minก่อน

Apple is updating its MacBook Pro lineup with new models that’s said to fix the biggest issue users been complaining about for the past few years — the keyboard. The new 13 inch and 15 inch MacBook Pro laptops for 2019 feature a 4th-gen butterfly keyboard which the company says feature new materials in the […]

The post Apple’s 2019 MacBook Pro has an improved keyboard, up to an octa-core CPU appeared first on Liliputing.

Who Really Has The Largest Aircraft?

Hackaday - 22 hours 25 minก่อน

We were all glued to our screens for a moment a few weeks ago, watching the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch dual-fuselage space launch platform aircraft make its first flight. The six-engined aircraft represents an impressive technical feat by any standard, and with a wingspan of 385 ft (117 m) and payload weight of 550,000 lb (250 t), is touted as the largest ever flown.

Our own Brian Benchoff took a look at the possibility of hauling more mundane cargo as an alternative (and possibly more popular) use of its lifting capabilities. And in doing so mentioned that “by most measure that matter” this is the largest aircraft ever built. There are several contenders for the title of largest aircraft that depend upon different statistics, so which one really is the largest? Sometimes it’s not as clear as you’d think, but finding out leads us into a fascinating review of some unusual aeronautical engineering.

The Antonov 225 in flight. Alex Beltyukov [CC BY-SA 3.0]The history of flight has been marked by a succession of achievements and broken records ever since a pair of Frenchmen climbed aboard a Montgolfier balloon in 1783. Sometimes there have been parallel achievements, and credit can go to different people depending on where in the world you live. But it has been rare for one record to be broken alone. Multiple competing efforts have always spurred the development of rivals, so any given crown will always have a number of contenders for it.

So, back to the Stratolaunch. It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft flown, but is it really the largest aircraft? The answer’s a little complex, and depends on how you classify your aircraft.

What Does Large Even Mean?

Until this month, asking a Hackaday reader what the largest aircraft was would have elicited a straightforward answer. The Antonov AN225 Mriya was produced in the 1980s as the ultimate progression of a string of large Soviet transport aircraft. It was conceived as a transporter for the Soviet space programme and also with an eye for use as an aerial launch platform, and has a distinctive split tailplane to accommodate the turbulence caused by a load such as a Buran spacecraft mounted upon its roof. The Antonov company now has its home in modern-day Ukraine, and the sole completed AN225 now serves as a commercial aircraft traveling the world with the market for extreme-sized air freight all to itself. Its wingspan at 290 ft (88.4 m) leaves it well behind the Stratolauncher, but its 275 ft 7 in (84m) length and 559,580 lb (253.8t) payload capacity both exceed those of the American craft. So the Ukrainians have the larger aircraft. But so do the Americans, so at this point we enter the realm of international rivalries, and reading further into the subject, some pretty fascinating aircraft.

!n 1910, anything must have seemed possible.

The history of very large fixed-wing aircraft is a long one, with contenders stretching back to the first couple of decades of powered flight. At the time futurologists had visions of aircraft following the same trajectory as ships and becoming ever more massive, so it was natural that a generation of monster aircraft would emerge in the years following the First World War. Flight iconography was all the rage in contemporary design, and being the first to have a contender for the world’s largest aircraft became a source of national pride. Giant aircraft such as Germany’s Dornier Do X seaplane or the Soviet Union’s Tupolev ANT-20 were the last word in aeronautical development, and governments and aircraft manufacturers across the world scrambled to build their own prototype monster craft through the 1930s.

The demands of a global conflict by the end of that decade necessitated series-production heavy bombers and transport aircraft rather than prototype luxury airliners, so the largest aircraft of WWII were fewer in number and saw little action. Probably the most famous of all of them was conceived as a wartime transport but not completed until 1947. The Hughes H4 Hercules, “Spruce Goose” flying boat was conceived as a long-distance transport aircraft for the American military able to move up to 750 troops or two tanks across the Atlantic, and with a 320 ft 11 in (97.54 m) wingspan it comfortably exceeded all large aircraft contenders until the Stratolauncher, and though it has now been surpassed by all measures it remains a genuine holder of the largest aircraft title. Contrary to popular legend it is not made of spruce, instead employing a birch composite for lightness and economy of wartime aluminium use.

Who Are Today’s Contenders?

The Airbus A380 airliner at its launch. Xeper[CC BY-SA 3.0]We’re used to the bigger single-fuselage jet-engined aircraft as our reference point for size, because post-war large aircraft development since the ill-fated de Haviland Comet 1 airliner in 1949 has in most cases followed that course. Of these the AN225 is the largest by far, but should we also discount the Airbus A380 airliner with its huge 853-passenger capacity or the Boeing 747-8 which is the world’s longest passenger aircraft? Or how about the various special-purpose manufacturer transport aircraft, Airbus’ Beluga XL fleet, or the Boeing Dreamlifters? Boeing, Airbus, Antonov, and the Scaled Composites all have a stake of their own in the largest aircraft race, with Hughes as a strong cultural reference. Perhaps it is best to be very careful in qualifying any statements about aircraft size, and to tread carefully among your international friends. Where this is being written we’d vote for the Ukrainians on sheer lifting ability, though for sheer lying-outside-the-perimeter-fence large aircraft awesomeness we’d stick with Uncle Sam’s tax dollars and the fearsome spectacle of a Boeing B-52H giving it some throttle on summer exercises at RAF Fairford. You definitely have to be there!

It’s Really About the Tech The DaSH PA human-powered aircraft. Robert A. Proudfoot (CC BY-SA 4.0)

One of the most interesting parts of writing this piece has surprisingly not come from the behemoth aircraft listed above, but from learning about the other largest aircraft, those largest of a particular type. Watching YouTube videos of the Antonov AN-2 for example, the largest mass-produced single-engined biplane, whose unique wing design delivers a capability for seemingly impossibly slow flight. Or the Solar Impulse 2 solar-electric circumnavigation aircraft, which we’re giving the crown of largest electric manned aircraft based on its 71.9 m (236 ft) wingspan but are prepared to be proved wrong by readers with greater knowledge. Sometimes with experimental aircraft it can even be difficult to ascertain which is the largest, we think the DaSH PA with its around 40-metre wingspan is the largest human-powered aircraft, but understandably in that field the designers are more concerned with performance or simply getting airborne in the first place than they are with size records.

Perhaps there is a lesson to be taken from the solar- and human-powered aircraft in all of this. With so many contenders for the title of largest aircraft, should we even be rating these craft on their size alone? They all represent astounding achievements of extreme engineering and material science in their own ways, so not one of them is less worthy of our excitement than any other. Instead we should be keenly looking forwards, because if one organisation, company, or country claims the title of largest aircraft, there is sure to be another exciting craft from another source in the works vying to take away its crown. And that is what keeps us here at Hackaday coming back for more.

Header image, Scaled Composites Stratolauncher, Robert Sullivan [No restrictions]

How Hard Can It Be To Buy A Computer In Germany And Get It Back Home To The UK?

Hackaday - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 22:30

Some of the best adventures in the world of hardware hacking start in the pub. For three volunteers at the National Museum Of Computing in the UK, [Adam Bradley], [Chris Blackburn], and [Peter Vaughan], theirs started over a pint with an eBay listing for an old computer in Germany. No problem you might think, we’re well used to international parcel shipping. This computer wasn’t a crusty old Commodore 64 though, instead it was a room-sized IBM System/360 Model 20 from the 1960s, complete with the full array of peripherals and what seemed to be a lot of documentation and software media. It would need a Mercedes Sprinter, a large van, to shift it, but that seemed feasible. With a bit of frantic bidding they secured the auction, and set off for Germany to view their purchase.

Arriving at the machine’s location they found a little bit more than they had expected. In an abandoned building on a side street in Nuremburg there was an intact machine room full of the IBM computer cabinets over a false floor with all the machine cabling in place, and the only usable access was through a street door which hadn’t been opened in decades and which was obstructed by the false floor itself. To cap it all they found they’d bought not one but two System/360s, and also unexpectedly a 1970s System/370 Model 125. Clearly this was more than a job for a quick in-and-out with a Sprinter.

What followed became a lengthy saga of repeated trips, van hire, constructing ramps, and moving heavy computer parts to a hastily rented storage unit. Decabling a computer of this size is no easy task at the best of times, and these cables had spent many decades in a neglected machine room. It’s a fascinating read, and a very well-documented one with plenty of photos. The machines now sit in their storage units awaiting a return to the UK, and the trio are soliciting any help they can find to make that happen. So if you happen to own a European haulage company with spare capacity on your Germany — UK route or if you can help them in any way, donate or get in touch with them. We think this project has much more to offer, so we’ll be following their progress with interest.

These three intrepid computer hunters were brought together at The National Museum Of Computing at Bletchley, UK. If you find yourself within range it is an essential place to visit, we did so in 2016.

Daily Deals (5-21-2019)

Liliputing - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 22:26

The HP Envy 13t is a compact laptop with a 13.3 inch display and a body that measures just 12.1″ x 8.3″ x 0.6″. But under the hood it packs a lot of power, with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor, optional support for NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics and up to 1TB of PCIe NVMe solid […]

The post Daily Deals (5-21-2019) appeared first on Liliputing.

Mozilla releases Firefox 67 with speed, privacy enhancements

Liliputing - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 21:37

Microsoft may have taken the if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them approach to web browsing by basing its new Edge web browser on Google’s Chromium. But Mozilla continues to be lead the charge of browser independence. Mozilla’s Firefox web browser is compliant with modern web standards, but it uses a different rendering engine and overall design than Chrome, Edge, or […]

The post Mozilla releases Firefox 67 with speed, privacy enhancements appeared first on Liliputing.

This Week in Security: What’s up with Whatsapp, Windows XP Patches, And Cisco is Attacked by the Thrangrycat

Hackaday - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 21:00

Whatsapp allows for end-to-end encrypted messaging, secure VoIP calls, and until this week, malware installation when receiving a call. A maliciously crafted SRTCP connection can trigger a buffer overflow, and execute code on the target device. The vulnerability was apparently found first by a surveillance company, The NSO Group. NSO is known for Pegasus, a commercial spyware program that they’ve marketed to governments and intelligence agencies, and which has been implicated in a number of human rights violations and even the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. It seems that this Whatsapp vulnerability was one of the infection vectors used by the Pegasus program. After independently discovering the flaw, Facebook pushed a fixed client on Monday.

Windows XP Patched Against Wormable Vulnerability

What year is it!? This Tuesday, Microsoft released a patch for Windows XP, five years after support for the venerable OS officially ended. Reminiscent of the last time Microsoft patched Windows XP, when Wannacry was the crisis. This week, Microsoft patched a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) vulnerability, CVE-2019-0708. The vulnerability allows an attacker to connect to the RDP service, send a malicious request, and have control over the system. Since no authentication is required, the vulnerability is considered “wormable”, or exploitable by a self-replicating program.

Windows XP through Windows 7 has the flaw, and fixes were rolled out, though notably not for Windows Vista. It’s been reported that it’s possible to download the patch for Server 2008 and manually apply it to Windows Vista. That said, it’s high time to retire the unsupported systems, or at least disconnect them from the network.

The Worst Vulnerability Name of All Time

Thrangrycat. Or more accurately, “

Huawei launches Honor 20 days after US trade ban puts company’s future in question

Liliputing - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 20:26

This week Google, Qualcomm, Intel, and other key technology companies announced that they’d suspend their relationships with Chinese electronics and telecommunications company Huawei in response to new US trade restrictions. The US Commerce Department has eased those restrictions for three months, which means that existing Huawei smartphones will be able to continue receiving software updates […]

The post Huawei launches Honor 20 days after US trade ban puts company’s future in question appeared first on Liliputing.

Stick Your Own Samples In The Cheetah SpecDrum

Hackaday - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 18:00

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a popular computer in the 8-bit era, and particularly so in its homeland of the United Kingdom. It was known more for its low cost than its capabilities, but it gained many add-ons over the years. One of those was the Cheetah SpecDrum, which turned the Spectrum into a rudimentary drum machine. [PianoMatt] wasn’t happy with the original drum samples, so he set about loading a custom kit into the SpecDrum.

The SpecDrum software initially came with extra sample tapes, so [PianoMatt] knew it was an achievable task to load in custom samples. Starting by loading the software in an emulator, the RAM was then exported as raw data and loaded up in Audacity. After some experimentation, it was determined the samples were stored in 8-bit format at a sample rate of approximately 20 kHz. With this figured out, it was then possible to load replacement samples directly into RAM through the emulator.

However, this wasn’t enough for [PianoMatt]. Further digging enabled him to reverse engineer the format of the replacement sample tapes. Armed with this knowledge, [PianoMatt] then generated his own tape, complete with proper headers and labels for each drum sound.

It’s a tidy effort to bring a more modern sound to a now positively ancient piece of hardware. We’d love to hear a track with drums courtesy of the SpecDrum, so we’ll keep an ear out on Soundcloud. Mucking around with old sound hardware is a popular pastime in these parts – we’ve even seen people go so far as to build bespoke Sega chiptune players from scratch. 

Paperclip Breadboard

Hackaday - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 15:00

TV’s MacGyver would love the breadboard arrangement we saw recently: it uses paperclips and crimping to make circuits that can be more or less permanent with no soldering. The basic idea is simple. A cardboard base has a piece of paper affixed. Metal paperclips are bent straight and glued to the paper using PVA glue (you know, like ordinary Elmer’s; hot glue would probably work, too). You could probably salvage wires out of old house wiring that would work for this, too.

The scheme uses two sizes of paper clips. Large ones are made straight and form the rails, while small paperclips make connections. The rails are bent to have a little “ear” that pushes into the cardboard base to hold them still. A little glue stabilizes them. The ears poke out the back, so the author suggests covering them with duct tape, hot glue, or another piece of cardboard. Using the top of a shoebox would also solve the problem.

Using pliers, the smaller paperclips are made to grip components. Obviously, you’ll need through-hole components and any sort of IC will probably require a little adapter board. This technique is really better for simple circuits with no ICs. For quick connections, you can crimp a single hook or use a double hook for a stronger connection that is harder to install.

There are other makeshift items included such as a magnetic battery holder. If you really prefer to solder, we’ve done something really similar using copper foil tape as the rails. You can find this tape at craft stores that sell supplies for staining glass. You can actually treat the tape like a PCB trace so long as you remember to solder where they cross as the adhesive will probably insulate the two pieces of tape.

This would be a fun rainy day project with kids. We doubt it will displace the ubiquitous breadboard, although there are some ideas that are attempting to do just that. We’ve also seen other people use paperclips for a variety of unusual purposes — including the ever popular paperclip computer.

Design Tips For Easier CNC Milling

Hackaday - อังคาร, 05/21/2019 - 12:00

CNC machining is a wonderful thing, taking away a lot of the manual work required in machining and replacing it with accurate, repeatable computer control. However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply click a few buttons and become a great machinist overnight. There are a wide variety of skills involved in utilizing these tools effectively, and [Adam Bender] has created a guide to help budding makers learn the skills of design for CNC milling. 

[Adam]’s guide starts from a basic level, considering 3-axis CNC milling with the most commonly used tools. From there, a whole range of tips, tricks, and potential pitfalls are discussed to help new machinists get to grips with CNC milling. Everything from dogbone corners, to tool selection and feature heights are covered, as well as cost-saving techniques like minimising the number of setups required.

These are skills any engineer will learn in a hurry when approaching an experienced CNC machinist, but it’s always better to go in forewarned and forearmed. Of course, for those eager to not just work with, but build their own CNC machine, we’ve covered that base too. Video after the break.

Syndicate content