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Reading out an EPROM with DIP switches

We‘re all too spoiled nowadays with our comfortable ways to erase and write data to persistent memory, whether it‘s our microcontroller‘s internal flash or some external EEPROM. Admittedly, those memory technologies aren‘t exactly new, but they stem from a time when their predecessors had to bathe under ultraviolet light in order to make space for something new. [Taylor Schweizer] recently came across some of these quartz-

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MicroPython learns a new trick ISP for AVRs

One of the reasons why the Arduino became so popular was the ability to program it with ease. It meant the end of big parallel programmers that would cost an arm and a leg. The latest installment of CircuitPython from [Lady Ada] and the team over at Adafruit is a library for programming AVR microcontrollers without a dedicated PC. For the uninitiated, in-system programming or ISP for AVR controllers employ the SPI bus to write the compiled binary

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Cardboard wall is surprisingly well built

We all built cardboard forts when we were kids. [Paintingcook] has taken it into adulthood with a hand built cardboard wall. He and his wife leased a loft apartment. Lofts are great one giant space to work with. Plans changed a bit when they found out they had a baby on the way. A single living, working, and sleeping space definitely wouldn‘t be good for a newborn, so the couple set about separatinga sectionof the room with a wall. Sheetro

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Big Trak Gets a New Brain

If you were a kid in the 1980s you might have been lucky enough to score a Big Trak a robotic toy you could program using a membrane keyboard to do 16 different motions. [Howard] has one, but not wanting to live with a 16-step program, he gave it a brain transplant with an Arduinoand brought it on [RetroManCave‘s] video blog and you can see that below. If you want to duplicate the feat and your mom already cleaned your room to make it a cr

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Over The Air Updates For Your Arduino

An Arduino and a data radio can make a great remote sensor node. Often in such situations, the hardware ends up installed somewhere hard to get to - be it in a light fitting, behind a wall, or secreted somewhere outdoors. Not places that you‘d want to squeeze a cable repeatedly into while debugging. [2BitOrNot2Bit] decided this simply wouldn‘t do, and decided to program the Arduinos over the air instead. Using the NRF24L01 chip with t

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Know Your Video Waveform

When you acquired your first oscilloscope, what were the first waveforms you had a look at with it? The calibration output, and maybe your signal generator. Then if you are like me, you probably went hunting round your bench to find a more interesting waveform or two. In my case that led me to a TV tuner and IF strip, and my first glimpse of a video signal. An analogue video signal may be something that is a little less ubiquitous in these days o

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Solenoids and Servos for Self Actuated Switches

The new hotness in home automation is WiFi controlled light switches. Sure, we‘ve had computer-controlled home lighting for literally forty years with X10 modules, but now we have VC money pouring into hardware, and someone needs to make a buck. A few years ago, [Alex] installed WiFi switches in a few devices in his house and discovered the one downside to the Internet of Light Switches his light switches didn‘t have a satisfying man

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Neural Networking: Robots Learning From Video

Humans are very good at watching others and imitating what they do. Show someone a video of flipping a switch to turn on a CNC machine and after a single viewing they‘ll be able to do it themselves. But can a robot do the same? Bear in mind that we want the demonstration video to be of a human arm and hand flipping the switch. When the robot does it, the camera that is its eye will be seeing its robot arm and gripper. So somehow it‘ll

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Capture the Flag Challenge is the Perfect Gift

Nothing says friendship like a reverse engineering challenge on unknown terrain as a birthday present. When [Rikaard] turned 25 earlier this year, his friend [Veydh] put together a Capture the Flag challenge on an ESP8266 for him. As a software guy with no electronics background, [Rikaard] had no idea what he was presented with, but was eager to find out and to document his journey. Left without guidance or instructions, [Rikaard] went on to lear

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Flying the Friendly Skies with A Hall Effect Joystick

There are plenty of PC joysticks out there, but that didn‘t stop [dizekat] from building his own. Most joysticks mechanically potentiometers or encoders to measure position. Only a few high-end models use Hall effect sensors. That‘s the route [dizekat] took. Hall effect sensors are non-contact devices which measure magnetic fields. They can be used to measure the position and orientation of a magnet. That‘s exactly how [dizekat]

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Making A Covox Speech Thing Work On A Modern PC

Long ago, when mainframes ruled the earth, computers were mute. In this era before MP3s and MMUs, most home computers could only manage a simple beep or two. Unless you had an add-on device like the Covox Speech Thing, that is. This 1986 device plugged into your parallel port and allowed you to play sound. Glorious 8-bit, mono sound. [Yeo Kheng Meng] had heard of this device, and wondered what it would take to get it running again on a modern Lin

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Speech Recognition For Linux Gets A Little Closer

It has become commonplace to yell out commands to a little box and have it answer you. However, voiceinput for the desktop has never really gone mainstream. This is particularly slow for Linux users whose options are shockingly limited, although decent speech support is baked into recent versions of Windows and OS X Yosemite and beyond. There are four well-known open speech recognitionengines: CMU Sphinx, Julius, Kaldi, and the recent release of

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Recreating the Radio from Portal

If you‘ve played Valve‘s masterpiecePortal, there‘s probably plenty of details that stick in your mind even a decade after its release. The song at the end,GLaDOS, The cake is a lie, and so on. Part of the reason people are still talking aboutPortal after all these years is because of the imaginative world building that went into it. One of these little nuggets of creativity has stuck with[Alexander Isakov] long enough that it b

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Improvising An EPROM Eraser

Back in the old days, when we were still twiddling bits with magnetized needles, changing the data on an EPROM wasn‘t as simple as shoving it in a programmer. These memorychips were erased with UV light shining through a quartz window onto a silicon die. At the time, there were neat little blacklights in a box sold to erase these chips. There‘s little need for these chip erasers now, so how do you erase and program a chip these days?

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34C3: Reverse Engineering FPGAs

We once knew a guy who used to tell us that the first ten times he flew in an airplane, he jumped out of it. It was his eleventh flight before he walked off the plane.[Mathias Lasser] has a similar story. Despite being one of the pairwho decoded the iCE40 bitstream format a few years ago, he admits in his 34C3 talk that he never learned how to use FPGAs. His talk covers how he reverse engineered the iCE40 and the Xilinx 7 series devices. You can

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Confessions Of A Reformed Frequency Standard Nut

Do you remember your first instrument, the first device you used to measure something? Perhaps it was a ruler at primary school, and you were taught to see distance in terms of centimetres or inches. Before too long you learned that these units are only useful for the roughest of jobs, and graduated to millimetres, or sixteenths of an inch. Eventually as you grew older you would have been introduced to the Vernier caliper and the micrometer screw

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Intel Forms New Security Group to Avoid Future Meltdowns

Intel Forms New Security Group to Avoid Future Meltdowns Intel just moved some high level people around to form a dedicated security group. When news of Meltdown and Spectre broke, Intel‘s public relations department applied maximum power to their damage control press release generators. The initial message was one of defiance, downplaying the impact and implying people are over reacting. Thisdid not go over well. Since then, we‘ve st

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Friday Hack Chat: Fashion! (Turn To The Left)

An underappreciated facet of the maker movement is wearable technology. For this week‘s Hack Chat, we‘re going to be talking all about wearable and fashion tech. This includes motors, lighting, biofeedback, and one significantly overlooked aspect of wearables, washability. For this week‘s Hack Chat, we‘re sitting down with Kathryn Blair and Shannon Hoover to talk about the workability and washability of fashion tech. Over

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Joykill: Previously Undisclosed Vulnerability Endangers User Data

Researchers have recently announced a vulnerability in PC hardware enabling attackers to wipe the disk of a victim‘s computer. This vulnerability, going by the name Joykill, stems from the lack of proper validation when enabling manufacturing system tests. Joykill affects the IBM PCjr and allows local and remote attackers to destroy the contents of the floppy diskette using minimal interaction. The attack is performed by plugging two joysti

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Custom Alexa Skill in a Few Minutes Using Glitch

As hackers, we like to think of ourselves as a logical bunch. But the truth is, we are as subject to fads as the general public. There was a time when the cool projects swapped green LEDs out for blue ones or added WiFi connectivity where nobody else had it. Now all the rage is to connect your project to a personal assistant. The problem is, this requires software. Software that lives on a publicly accessible network somewhere, and who wants to d

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Four Pi Zeros, Four Cameras, One Really Neat 3D Scanner

Sometimes when you walk into a hackerspace you will see somebody‘s project on the table that stands so far above the norm of a run-of-the-mill open night on a damp winter‘s evening, that you have to know more. If you are a Hackaday scribe you have to know more, and you ask the person behind it if they have something online about it to share with the readership. [Jolar] was working on his 3D scanner project on just such an evening in O

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Intel Needs To Go Sit In A Corner And Think About Its Meltdown Fail

Big corporations shuffle people around all the time. More often than not, these reorganization efforts end up as a game of musical chairs where all the executives end up with more pay, everybody else‘s work are disrupted, and nothing substantial actually changes. Intel just moved some high level people around to form a dedicated security group. Let‘s all hope it will make a difference. When news of Meltdown and Spectre broke, Intel&ls

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Wrecked Civic Rides Again as Cozy Camp Trailer

It may not be the typical fare that we like to feature, but you can‘t say this one isn‘t a hack. It‘s a camp trailer fashioned from the back half of a wrecked Honda Civic, and it‘s a pretty unique project. We don‘t know about other parts of the world, but a common rural American engineering project is to turn the bed and rear axle of an old pickup truck into a trailer. [monickingbird]‘s hacked Civic is similar

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Overclock Your Raspberry Pi The Right Way

The Raspberry Pi came upon us as an educational platform. A credit card sized computer capable of running Linux from a micro SD card, the Raspberry Pi has proven useful for far more than just education. It has made its way into every nook and cranny of the hacker world. There are some cases, however, where it might be a bit slow or seem a bit under powered. One way of speeding the Raspi up is to overclock it. [Dmitry] has written up an excellent

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