Anyone who ever installed a satellite dish knows how frustrating it is to point the dish at the satellite somewhere in the sky. I’ve created a unique tool which calculates the dish angle based on user location and then draws a line on the Google Maps satellite image. You can actually see your house, mark the dish position and then see where to aim the satellite dish.
I’ve tested it on many installations and the accuracy is amazing, it gets it spot on.
The site is a UK site but the tool works world wide for any satellite and any location. This is a genuinely useful tool for a lot of people.
This is pretty neat. In addition to just drawing a line on the map, you can see how far the satellite is from your location and what the proper elevation angle should be on the dish. This could be useful for determining the nearest or least obstructed satellite for your home.
A user on the Hacked Gadgets Forum posted this simple conversion of a common wall-wart into a USB power supply/device charger. He used the power adapter from an old Iomega drive and a few common components. I’ve seen several versions of these floating around. Easy to make. Nice to have around.
YouTube user Starcross42 has been uploading a series of great vids on laser effects for shows and how he achieves them using commercial and homemade laser tech. He has seven “Build a Laser Effects Shows” on YouTube. Be sure to check all of his videos, which include some other laser-related and other cool science and technology pieces. Starcross42 is a high school physics teacher, the kind you wish you’d had.
Harry Andreou, a Dutch programmer, got tired of looking at the bloated receiver for his MS Laser Mouse 6000, so he recased it… in a thick magazine. Now that choice might be a little… different, but you can recase it in anything you like. Get creative. Liberate your tech from its drab little cases.
Reza Naima, a bioengineering student from University of California, San Diego, has uploaded a video of his thesis project to YouTube. Called the Pervasive Health Monitor, it’s a Bluetooth-enabled, TI MSP430-based microcontroller board (1.4″ x 1.8″) designed to be worn on a person to monitor various vitals. Reza explains:
It’s meant to be worn 24/7, and will record a wide variety of biometric data such as your ECG, EMG, GSR, body temperature, body noises, pulse oximetry. It’s Bluetooth enabled and stores data on a tiny Transflash memory card.
More details on his website, including a schematic of the device.
The last decade has seen more than an order of magnitude drop in the price of accelerometers, devices capable of measuring physical acceleration (often in more than one direction). History suggests that whenever a useful technology makes a precipitous drop in price, unexpected applications follow, and that’s exactly what has happened in this case.
Starting from zero and summing up acceleration, you can use an accelerometer to find velocity, and from that derive relative position information. By measuring the acceleration due to gravity, one can also determine orientation (technically, inclination)– you can tell which way it’s pointing. Those are pretty useful skills for a chip! And so as bulk prices for tiny chip-scale three-axis accelerometers have begun to approach $5, they have started to appear in all kinds of mass-market applications that you might not have predicted: laptop computers (for hard drive protection), smart phones and cameras (for orientation– e.g., portrait vs. landscape on the iPhone), cameras for image stabilization, and quite visibly in the controllers for Nintendo’s Wii system.
With all that promise, you might think that an accelerometer is a difficult beast to harness. That turns out not to be the case. In this little project we demystify the mighty accelerometer and show you how to get started playing with one. In the spirit of hobbyist electronics we do this the easy way– without designing a PCB or even soldering any surface-mount components.
Using an ADXL330 accelerometer with an AVR microcontroller – Link.
A SUPER article up on CRAFT from R.Stern! She writes -
I’ve compiled a brief tutorial on getting started with Arduino for the absolute beginner. I’ll cover where to learn, what to buy, and where to go for help. Why should you crafters be interested in Arduino? The Arduino platform, more-so than any other way of incorporating electronics into your projects, is geared towards do-it-yourselfers. It’s open source (both on a hardware and software level), so the community plays a large role in its development and improvement. Crafting is a community endeavor; individuals share tips, tricks, techniques, skills, and materials all the time. Arduino comes out of the same spirit. On a more practical level, you may just want to make your crafts more fun, interesting, and interactive by introducing some lights, motion, sound, or simple sensors. Stuffed toys can become glowing night-lights or cat-chasing robots, fibers can carry currents to make smart clothes, accessories, you name it. There’s also an overlap in materials between crafting and circuit building that can lead to some non-traditional works in either category: threads, fabrics, paints, and glues with conductive properties introduce subtle ways to incorporate electronics in your crafting practice. Read on to start learning about Arduino! Add your Arduino tips and resources in the comments.
On Thursday, August 23 at 8PM ***TONIGHT*** Etsy Labs is teaming up with Make Magazine and Create Digital Music http://createdigitalmusic.com/ for another Handmade Music Night. Come check out the projects on display, meet other like-minded people, and listen to some handmade music!
At the last Handmade Music Night, there were instruments made from an iron, a Gameboy, wooden blocks, an amp made from a Ritz cracker box, and a weird goo/gel that made sounds when you squeezed it.
If you wanna come, please firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wanna bring something, tell us about it in your rsvp email…
Thursday, August 23. 8PM. Etsy Labs. 325 Gold St. 6th Floor. Brooklyn. See you!
Handmade Music Night * Thursday, Aug 23* 8PM @ ETSY & MAKE – Link.
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You can now embed a Google map in a page, just like a video (Youtube, etc)… For all our Burner friends, have a great time next week, welcome home and here’s a map from last year! – [via] Link.