Javier writes “Cool idea for enabling kids to actually make something usable in shop class: from the website: “The fact is, kids have always wanted to make skateboard decks in their woodshop classes but teachers and students never knew how to put the concave shapes and turned up nose and tail in the wood. Decks cut out of plywood and pine stock just don’t work! And where do you drill for correct wheel placement in order to get proper flex and balance? Well, Skateboardsforschools.com has taken care of all of that for you!” [via]. Link.
Peter writes “Soon, hackers will exceed Sony in developing cool stuff for the PSP: not only is the 2.60 firmware hacked, but there’s a sequencer in development to go along with the PSP drum machine! Tracker style, much like the homebrew Game Boy creations. Who’s up for starting a homebrew Game Boy / PSP orchestra?” Link.
Patrick Keane writes “Here’s how to add a homelink to your car: 1) Buy homelink visors from ebay as cheap as you can get them from any car you like. 2) Tear them apart, and remove the Homelink module. 3) Cut small opening in headliner / dash panel / or opt to rewire the buttons and creatively locate them. 4) Attach +12V (black) and GND (brown) wires to nearby power source (overhead lamp). 5) Train it using your garage door opener(s) (see homelink.com). 6) Admire your $25 (maybe less) homelink installation. 7) (optional) Deprogram your old battery powered garage door openers and sell them on ebay for a profit.” Link.
Forget mobile phones, even the coolest crafty gadgets seemed to get launched in Japan first. Starting in Feb, Brother will launch a new line of three embroidery/sewing machines that have preprogrammed designs from Peanuts, Disney and Hello Kitty (of course)! This one doesn’t seem to have a USB attachment option to a computer, but there is a card reader so you can also do your own designs and load them up on the machine. You can also download more designs from their special site on the Net. Brother also will be selling software so you can convert your digital photos into embroidery. Not sure if its an update to their existing software mentioned here in a software review. Link and translated press release.
Over in the new MAKE forums John writes “Here’s a how-to I wrote on making spaceships and sci-fi weapons from household items such as aspirin bottles, pvc pipe, toilet bolt covers, some hobby store styrene, and some parts from old models. Make Spaceships from Aspirin Bottles and Toilet Items Part 1 & Make Spaceships from Aspirin Bottles and Toilet Items Part 2.”
Hans writes – “This LED Matrix Clock is a feasability study for a much larger project I am building for my employer, the intention was to prove to myself (and my employer!) that I am able to drive an LED matrix from a PC. This is the first project I have made which is driven by a PC. The clock uses 3 B64CDM8/B48CDM8 8×8 5mm LED Matrix modules from Nexus Machines, each having an onboard MAX7219 display driver chip. These require an SPI serial interface, which I by toggling pins of the host PC’s parallel port (printer port). The small software application which drives the displays is written in Delphi 5 and runs on Windows NT 4.” Link.
Andrew writes- “I started this project when I had an idea to use a Mac to switch a solenoid on/off to control sprinklers around the house. Unfortunately I never took it that far, but I have been able to control a few other things, like a model train around the Christmas tree. Here I have documented how I did it.” Link.
MAKE was nominated in the best crafts blog category for the 2006 bloggies. Thank you so much to everyone out there who nominated us, and now that we’re up there – head on over and vote for MAKE! Today is the last day to vote!Link.
One download and you’re set – “Download TorPark for your language, and put it on a USB Flash keychain. Plug it into any internet terminal whether at home, school, or public. Run Torpark.exe and it will launch a Tor circuit connection, which creates an encrypted tunnel from your computer indirectly to a Tor exit computer, giving the appearance of having the Tor exit computer’s IP.” [via] Link.
CK sample of PSP Hack the book fame has a great how-to on using the eLoader to run homebrew on the PSP – “The solution isn’t in the form of a downgrader, but rather in the form of an eLoader (EBOOT loader) that lets you use Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories to run homebrew on a PSP with version 2.0, 2.01, 2.5, and 2.6 of the firmware. Not all homebrew will run via this method, but there is a rather easy to read compatibility chart and I’m sure more things will begin working in future releases of the eLoader.” Link.
Here are a ton of PC joystick interface circuits “Fake Joystick circuit, the wire between multi-IO card and joystick connector, adding second joystick to PC joystick interface, Y-cable problems with soundcards and how to solve them, soundcard joystick port problem solver, build your own joysticks and controllers , convert Atari-style joystick to PC joystick port, use PC joystick port to measure temperature and light levels, connect other circuits to PC joystick port , using the joystick port as general purpose input .” Link.
Greg from DIY has some tips on mouse modding “…there may be some interest in modding a mouse, so it is important to understand how they work. You may want to control the cursor for some sort of a project. A rollerball mouse has has a ball that rolls on the desktop when you move the mouse. This movement turns a wheel that has small spokes in it. There are two different infrared LEDs, and two different infrared detectors per wheel, and there are two wheels per mouse. One wheel controls up and down, and the other one controls left and right.” Link.