"Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do… The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything that doesn't violate too many of Newton's Laws!"
I finally finished tweaking the microstepping code for the Arduino motor shield I designed. Basically, if you’re using a stepper motor but the motor is kinda cheap and has big steps (like 7.5deg) then the system will vibrate a lot, even with interleaved stepping and the motion will be very choppy. Microstepping reduces this problem a little by PWMing between steps to create smoother motion. This doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly turned a 48-step motor into a DC servo, but it does help!
About a week ago, Phil T. & I finished and released our first video! Its called Citizen Engineer. We finally fixed a lingering audio codec problem and so I invite you to watch it.
Citizen Engineer is an online video series about open source hardware,
electronics, art and hacking by Limor (Ladyada) Fried of Adafruit
Industries & Phillip (pt) Torrone of MAKE magazine. The first video
debuts at “The Last HOPE” conference in New York City.
Volume 01 – Phones: SIM card & payphone hacking
Learn how a SIM card works (the small card inside GSM cell phones)
make a SIM card reader, view deleted messages, phone book entries and
clone/crack a SIM card.
Modify a “retired” payphone so it can be used as a home telephone and
for VoIP (Skype). Then learn how to modify the hacked payphone so it
accepts quarters – and lastly, use a Redbox to make “free phone” calls
from the modified coin-accepting payphone.
Basically its me messing around with electronics. I liked making these videos because I got to play around more than I normally do. Not having to design a ‘payphone kit’ means more time spent learning all about payphones. I’m already planning the next video
There’s a matching kit that goes with the video, its a basic SIM card interface. I modified some open source software for SIM interfaces and had a lot of fun reverse-engineering forensics software to figure out what data was hidden where.
Want to build your own SIM card reader? The SIM card reader/writer is available at Adafruit Industries, it is for experimentation and investigation of SIM & Smart cards. Once the kit is built, accompanying software can be used to read and write from the card. Together they can be used to backup stored SIM card data, recover deleted SMS’s and phone contacts, examine the last 10 phone numbers dialed, etc. (Despite being called a SIM reader, it can also write to SIM cards). Source, schematics and software included.
Update: We now a full text transcript, click more to read!
I don’t own a moleskine so I can’t verify it, but Joe from engraveyourbook.com claims that he had a ‘organic chemistry test’ done on a piece of the cover that informed him that it was composed of vinyl (PVC).
PVC fumes are highly toxic to breathe in and are also damaging to laser engravers’ innards. So if you are in the business of laser-engraving them, you may want to hold off until the safety (or toxicity) is verified.
Note that having a laser-engraved moleskine is probably not so bad, just wash it off to make sure there’s no dust left.
[note: if you have a moleskine, you can try 'pulling' a corner. If it stretches, its almost certainly vinyl.]
YBox2 — For the ultimate DIY experience, the YBox2 platform is a pile of electronic parts you solder together and assemble in an Altoids tin. It doesn’t come with a touch-screen, or any screen at all: you connect it to a television or monitor. It uses the tiny Propeller chip, which powers many hobbyist devices and small robots. Like the Chumby, YBox2 comes with networking capability but little storage, and would need to stream book content from the Internet. The networking isn’t wireless and of course there’s no handy rechargable battery, but if you are the kind of person who can build a YBox2 you probably know how to make those too. I am not that kind of person.