ThinkGeek has a cute gift idea for all those kids out there that love to play Minecraft.
Minecraft is addictive, and as such it already eats kids’ homework by distracting them for hours. But now kids can claim the Creeper ate their homework for real as they open up this backpack to reveal their books, assignments, lunch, and more.
Here’s a quick way to back up all of your main data files from flicker user Alan Potter. Great for backing up music and video!
Top of the stack, the Raspberry Pi itself. It’s a little computer that runs Linux, and is built around the CPU that you would probably normally find in a Smartphone. It boots off the 16GB SD card that protrudes from the front of the clear plastic box. But heck, it’s probably about as powerful as the awe-inspiring Sun workstations I used at Uni. And in truth, that’s about the last time I used Unix seriously, so this has been a learning exercise. I am re-learning loads of stuff about things like /etc/fstab that I had thought was gone forever!
Below that, the main backup disk. 4TB – 4TB! – of ext4 goodness. Connected over USB2 to the Pi, it will take a fair while to fill it, but I am already worried it will be too small. Anyway, this will back up al of my data and my RAW files, with Oops!Backup running on the PC and providing Time-Machine like functionality.
And below that, another USB connected disk. This will store my music and video files, and in turn will be backed up onto my desktop PC. I’ll put a DLNA server and an iTunes server onto the Pi, and allow the files to be served to any computer in the house (installing and configuring the servers is an adventure I have yet to face).
Mini 3-wire Volt Meter (0 – 99.9VDC) – Put a voltage meter anywhere with this very handy display. These are often used by RC hobbyists for keeping track of batteries but we thought it would be great on a breadboard or enclosure. This is the 3-wire version of the volt meter, two wires are used to power it and the third wire is used for measurement. We also have a 2-wire version that measure it’s own power supply. Simply connect the red wire to a positive power supply from 4.5 to 28VDC, and brown or black to the common ground to power the display. Finally, connect the orange or white wire to whatever you want to measure the voltage of. The display has a microcontroller that will read the voltage, compare it to a stable reference and display the voltage with 0.1V precision on a 3-digit 7-segment display. it can read from 0V to 99.9VDC so it will be good for any electronic project! The meter draws 3-4mA to power the microcontroller and display. This particular LED display is a nice vivid green, which we found very readable. Mounting tabs make this module easy to attach to any box or plate.
Today, Alberto announced that ABC - THE BOOK will have online tutorials and code examples dedicated to every page. Alberto explains that page will have a special shortened link (for easy typing) to the associated on-line tutorials and examples.
Adafruit forum member Alberto Piganti (pighixx) is well known for his clear and easy to read circuit and pinout diagrams and his “ABC” Arduino Basic Connections website. Now he has started an Inidiegogo campaign to collect these diagrams together into “Arduino Basic Connections – The Book“. He was kind enough to send me the preview copy pictured above.
Arduino Basic Connections is a compact book – it won’t take up much space on your bench. But the well-laid out color-coded graphics on heavyweight coated (coffee proof!) paper are easy to follow. The cover folds out to reveal pinout diagrams for the Arduino and Atmega processors. The rest of the book is divided into 6 sections with color coded tabs for: References, Inputs, Outputs, Audio, Displays and Advanced.
I can see this book will get a lot of use. I’ve already signed up for a couple more copies for my robot team!
Swedish company Bookman is launching LED bike lights that recharge using a USB cable. The separate USB cable allows for tiny, battery free lights that fit easily into your pocket and can clip onto your bike. On flash mode the lights run for 20 hours. They’ll be available to ship at the end of the month. via coolhunting.
This model is 10 Watts and has 6 selectable outputs ranging from 3V to 12VDC and up to 1.5A output. It has a 2-prong plug, but takes 110VAC to 240VAC so you can use it anywhere with a simple plug adapter.
It comes with a range of tips, such as 2.5mm mono, 3.5mm mono, 5.5mm/2.5mm, 2.5mm/2.1mm, 4mm, etc. You could use this with just about any device or project, it’s very handy!
Multi changeable plug DC-cord.
Universal AC input 100V to 240V, 50Hz/60Hz
Universal AC input plug available (BSI, USA, Europe, Aust)
6 selectable outputs: 3V-12V MAX. 1500mA.
Over load, over current, over heat protection.
International approval CE EN60950, UL1950, CSA22.2 No.950.
EMC approval EN55022.
Extra low consumption during standby (about 8% of linear adapter).
Weight: 86g approximately.
Small size: 67x29x74mm.
Cable length: 1.54m / 60 3/4″
Below is the voltage current table and avoid higher loads!
photos by Pipe Yanguas via thisiscolossal. We know we might overshare Miami artist Federico Uribe‘s work, but he’s at it again, this time making an oriental rug out of discarded computer parts, and the results are stunning.
Don’t let your luddite pet claim she never benefitted from human technology. Commercially available automatic cat feeders have been on the market for a while, but when Jonathan Foote was disappointed by the available selection, he rigged a jelly bean dispenser to release some kibbles to his favorite feline while he was out. Following instructions from EvilMadScientist, he attached a relay board to a remote control on a timer and voila! kitty gets fed on time, even if he’s gone to Timbuktu.
NEW PRODUCT! E1115 PS/2 Keyboard to TTL Serial Converter – The E1115 PS/2 Keyboard to ASCII Converter is a single chip solution dedicated to producing a single TTL ASCII character on the “press” of a keystroke. It is designed to offload the process intensive complex keyboard decoding of PS/2, allowing the host microcontroller to better allocate its resources. The output is a selectable TTL serial or a clocked serial data with interrupt signal.
Plug in a PS/2 Keyboard in one end, and you can type away, with 57.6K or 115.2Kbaud (pin-selectable) TTL spit out of the TX pin. This can make adding a UI much easier for many projects where you can’t sit around and wait for the interrupts from the keyboard port. Please note that we’ve tested it and it works great with our PS/2 keyboard but it does not work with our PS/2 Magstripe reader or the PS/2 Touchpad.
Comes as a ready-to-go pre-soldered and tested module.
NEW PRODUCT – Copper Foil Tape with Conductive Adhesive – 25mm x 15 meter roll – Copper tape can be an interesting addition to your toolbox. The tape itself is made of thin pure copper so its extremely flexible and can take on nearly any shape. You can easily solder to it, and the tape itself can carry current just like a wire. On the back is an electrically conductive adhesive. The adhesive can’t carry significant current but it is very handy for sensing applications where you don’t want to solder the copper tape.
Comes in a roll 15 meters long, this tape is 3mils/0.07mm thick, 1″/25mm wide and has conductive adhesive on one side and a protective paper backing over the adhesive.
We’ve seen such tape used for EMI shielding, working with EL, making capacitive touch pads, ultra-thin wiring needs, etc.
I sometimes feel pretty stunted in the creativity department — I’m a lot more logical than I am creative, though there’s obviously some overlap in any complex problem solving. That said, I’m still pretty visually oriented, and I’m always interested in the details that go into things, and learning how to look at things different. This 40-minute video by Inge Druckrey — Teaching To See — might be interesting if you’re in the same boat yourself.
I saw a post from Adam Wolf on Google+ today about the UN opening up an icon collection, and it jumped out at me right away. I love icons. They’re hard to do well, and a great way to communicate basic information, whether on a sign or on your PCBs. It was a nice reminder to me as as well since I actually started my career at the UN — in OCHA even (Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs), the same branch behind these icons — and it was one of the more memorable moments in my life for the opportunities it offered me down the road, and the people I met (including my wife!). The UN icon collection is licensed under a creative commons license and they can be seen on thenounproject.com with a lot of other interesting icons if you’re interested.