Igor Skochinsky has been doing some great reverse engineering on the Kindle ebook reader from Amazon. If you’re not familiar with the device, the Kindle is a paperback-sized Linux-based ebook reader. It has a unique virtual ink display that lends itself to reading text, and it’s bundled with a free cellular data plan which can be used for browsing or purchasing content from Amazon’s store over Sprint’s EVDO network.
In addition to obtaining a shell console—undoubtedly one of the more important tasks—Igor has documented a number of interesting keyboard shortcuts and easter eggs that haven’t been well documented on the device. There’s a basic photo viewer, a minesweeper game, and even a cell-based geo-positioning utility.
The photo above is from a post on the Interface blog, showing the handy results of hitting Alt-1 while in the browser. The Kindle will calculate your position based on cell triangulation, and take you directly to that location in Google Maps. Slick.
I haven’t seen a whole lot of talk on the subject, but it seems like the obvious hack here is getting the kindle to function as a free EVDO wireless modem for your laptop via the USB connection. This is essentially the first pay-once, unlimited access network plan that I believe I’ve ever seen. Anyone out there experimenting with this?
Igor Skochinsky’s Kindle Hacks – [via MakeFan] – Link
Kindle Easter Eggs: We have GPS! – Link
Aparently there’s a U.S. Special Information Tone signal for a dead phone line, and robot callers (telemarketers, debt collectors, etc.) listen for it, then remove the “dead lines” from their lists. Record it at the beginning of your answering machine messages to make (some) robots stop calling you! [via] Link.
I am happy to announce the release of our set of Free Electronics Stock photos. This is a collection of 286 usual electronics items that you may already being familiar with, but havenâ€™t the time to take photos of them. You can use them on your blog, website or printed jobs for free. Great efforts have been made to achieve a professional look and being usefull to all of you. Electronic items photographed under DIY studio lighting and processed using software.
One of the more interesting variations on the steampunk theme has been Steam Wars, a vision of the Star Wars universe through a Victorian lens. In this vein, there’s now a Steam-Wars LEGO contest, announced on the LEGO Star Wars forum FBTBForums. The contest runs through January and the first place winner gets an AT-AP Walker Set.
FunnyPolynomial squeezed a modified LEDkit.biz red LED clock into a stylish Digital Multimeter case! – Link.
From the Maker store:
With the LEDkitâ„¢ solderless clock kit, you create a giant — 9″ x 5″ — super bright self-standing clock only 1/8″ thick that keeps accurate time — even during power failures up to 1 minute. Change the brightness at the push of a button. The digits fade smoothly when the time changes — minimizing distraction. Automatically synchronize multiple clocks. Easy to assemble & no soldering required! The unique wiring pattern doesn’t need a traditional PCB with tiny parallel tracks on it. You simply twist the LED leads directly to other leads. Only six conductors enter the panel! Also available with Blue LEDs. Requires 60Hz (USA/Canada) electrical power. LED Clock Kit -Red – Link.
Here’s something that had never occurred to me: organizing your LEGO brick collection by creating same-size blocks/stacks and then just removing the number you need during a build. Kind of obvious, but…
How to organize your Lego bricks for efficient building – Link
I drew what I think is a cute picture of a chubby Alien facehugger, and tried to crochet is as a bag charm. Success! I’ve written out general instructions for making one, so now you can have a facehugger charm, keychain, or brooch too!
Brain made a computer controlled cookie frosting robot, he writes -
The Frost Bot robot consists of a small table-top CNC router kit made by www.fireballcnc.com, augmented with a forth axis stepper motor driving a frosting extrusion device. The four stepper motors of the system are driven by a single board called a Quad EasyDriver, which is based upon putting for Easy Driver boards together and sending them data using two shift registers. (Like a one-directional SPI bus.) This board is driven by a UBW controller board (from SparkFun) using a custom firmware and powered with a standard computer (AT) power supply at 12V. The UBW firmware takes motor move commands over the USB connection from a computer. The computer runs a Liberty Basic application that loads HPGL based vector graphics files, and sends them to the UBW. It also handles homing, jogging, zeroing, offsets, etc. The HPGL input files to the Frost Bot software are generated from Post Script files using GhostScript, and those .ps files are generated from SVG files made in InkScape. Although it all sounds really complicated, it is actually straightforward if you think about each chunk.
FrostBot – a CNC robot for frosting cookies – Link.