Rick Karr over @ Bill Moyer’s Journal has a great story about low power FM and how it might go away when it’s most needed…
Imagine climbing a hundred-foot radio tower in the howling headwinds of a Category 3 hurricane so that you can stay on the air and keep your neighbors informed as catastrophe bears down. Or remaining at your post, on the mic and on the air, as floodwaters engulf the radio studio. Or pouring every cent of your income into the station to say on the air the aftermath, even though you’re living in a FEMA-issue trailer because you’ve lost your home and everything in it.
I can’t. But Brice Phillips has done every one of those things. And that’s why he’s one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met, and an inspiration to those of us who believe that community radio has the power to change lives — and save lives.
Here’s how to mod an alarm clock so that it will enter snooze mode when you smack it, Dimension Engineering writes -
In this project, we will bypass the mechanical snooze switch on top, and instead turn the alarm clock off in a much more fun way: punching it! Hopefully along the way I will be able to teach you some techniques that are useful in reverse engineering, so you can apply them to future projects.
This project is aimed at intermediate electronics enthusiasts, who have mastered the art of the multimeter and are comfortable with soldering a complex circuit.
This project involves working with a device that connects to mains voltages. The alarm clock I used just so happened to be designed so well that it was impossible to touch any mains voltages inside it. Other alarm clocks may not give you this comfort and will most likely have a different layout inside. Do not attempt this project unless you are 100% sure you know you can do it safely!
DE-ACCM application note: Hacking an alarm clock – [via] Link.
This is still pretty much a work-in-progress, but I did manage to create a successful heliostat (sun tracker) from the above TEAC model FD-235HF 3.5″ floppy drive. This procedure will likely work just fine, with a bit of adaptation, on any drive new enough to have CMOS logic on its chipset. This particular drive (probably a lot of others) only needs a single 5V DC supply. It has two boards, one with the stepper and main logic, and one with the spindle. The first is the only one needed, and it draws 0.1 Watt with the motor off, and 1 Watt with the motor running, so it should be easy enough to power with a cheapo hobbyist 5V solar cell if stand-alone operation is needed, perhaps a sub-watt one if a large capacitor is supplied to build up enough juice for a motor step over time…
The SunFlopper: a mini heliostat made from a floppy drive – [via] Link.
This is interesting, “Blastwavelabs” bought a portable cell phone jammer from a company called DealExtreme, it appears the jammer ships set to frequencies outside North America but it can be modded to work by turning the trim pots a bit (small potentiometers to tune/trim the voltage)… I’m not sure that would actually work that great without a spectrum analyzer, either way a fun read and please debate in comments about a device like this… – Link.
Personal cell phone signal blocker device ($48 – not sure what’s up with this company, proceed with caution) – Link.
Jon Maddox made a nifty tool that let’s you easily create web application bookmarks that dock on your iPhone’s home screen.
Tired of going all the way to MobileSafari on your iPhone to use web apps that were built with the “sweet” iPhone SDK?
Provide iPhone Apper with a URL, name, and icon… and iPhone Apper will provide you with an application to install* onto your iPhone. A quick reboot, and your favorite and most visited web application is available from the home screen.
You provide the url, title and a png icon file and it will create the little application for copying to your iPhone’s Applications folder. You can really only squeeze 16 icons on the home screen, so choose your web apps wisely.
If you’re going to be in the Washington, DC area between Sept 7-23, you might want to check out some of the Sonic Circuits Festival. From the press release:
The American Composers Forum Washington DC Chapter and volunteer
coordinators/curators are proud to present an expanded SONIC CIRCUITS
festival for 2007. Last year’s event presented four nights of
performances exposing District audiences to cutting edge experimental
audio from local and international artists.
This year, DC SONIC CIRCUITS 2007 promises more! More genre-bending
sounds and world-class performances! Additional venues! Film and
Video! More adventurous music and exploratory visions from over 60
artists from the DC Metro area, across the United States, Canada,
United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway,
Spain, & Lithuania!
There was a good article in today’s Boston Globe on Steampunk. It doesn’t mention Make in the text, but many of the people and their projects have been featured on the Make Blog. It provides some good back story for the art form and lots of pointers to where to get more information on Steampunk.