nikon d40 camera external power supply hack

d40powercord crop

I have been looking for a way to add external power to my camera for a while. I have had some good ideas and even hacked together a workable prototype a while back. The problem was it wasn’t very ‘tight’ and I was always afraid I was going to reverse polarity, or short it out, and it took a lot of time to set it up every time I wanted to use it.

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Hackintosh one month review: Hp mini 1000

Hp mini hackintosh

I have had my little hackintosh for almost exactly a month now. I saw how the wired editors soured on the idea of their tiny notebooks, and I figured I would check in to share my experience.

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CD robot V 2.0! Adding serial control to an old scsi cd duplicator.

My newest project involves reincarnating a very old (1998) cd duplicating robot. It is a DTP-1000 that was originally SCSI only. Due to the fates smiling down upon me I was able to pick it up on ebay for $11. I bought it intending to put an arduino in the place of the control board and probably have to do a lot of reverse engineering. The next day I happened upon this site where, amazingly someone has already opened one of these up and has instructions on how to enable serial control! I still am in awe of how lucky I got and really happy that DarkBane dropped all of that knowledge on the world.

There are a lot of pics below, since that was the one thing I could do to add to the fine directions DarkBane has already provided. Another thing is that in his command set he has two typos. I will quote his post after the pix and note the command set in bold.

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Lethal Pneumatic Ping Pong Ball Gun.

Ping pong ball aftermath

I just moved to Colorado, and being new to the area I was really excited to find out that there is a Denver maker’s meetup. For those of you who don’t know, a makers meetup is where inventors and fans of Make magazine get together and talk about their inventions, ideas, and plans. It is held at a hacker space called Club Workshop on the gritty side of denver. The shop is amazing! I didn’t even get a tour, but I saw a full woodworking room, a metal shop, a multi-lift automotive shop, a small textile area, and their laser cutter. This place looks like the kind of place I could definitely spend some more time.

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The meetings are loosely structured, and the point is to bring and show other people what you’ve been working on. This particular meeting was largely filled up by Ron Kessinger. He is an artist/inventor/sculptor/prototyper and even that description doesn’t even begin to properly describe him. He brought a big binder filled with photos and sketches of his previous creations. He had pictures of the giant dome house he built, really cool collimated flow water sculptures, knives, and prototypes for a variety of industries and products.

The project that really took center stage was his ping-pong ball gun. You can think of this as a variation on a potato cannon, however his is built to run on compressed air, and it runs on much tighter tolerances.

Ping pong ball cannon Wide
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Hackintosh HP Mini 1000! OS X 10.5.8

HP Mini 1000

hackintosh explained

A hackintosh is a computer that started its life as a pc and had had osx massaged onto it. This has been made possible by apple’s move to intel based machines. If a machine has a similar enough hardware profile to existing apple hardware, then it is generally possible.

who should do this?
This process (creating a hackintosh) is best sited for people who don’t mind getting their hands ‘dirty’ in the ‘guts’ of a computer. It could (note the implied possibilities of could) be a painless install process, but since you are putting an operating system onto hardware that it wasn’t intended to be run on, one will inevitably run into problems.
At the very least this requires someone who is good at following directions, very good at googling (to find other people in their specific situation) good at finding files online (bittorrent makes this much easier) and easygoing about minor-to-major flaws in their computer setup. If you are the kind of person who gets angry that the f12 key doesn’t start up your widgets, maybe this isn’t the procedure for you.

If this is the kind of project for you, read on…

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Hackintosh pre post – reclaiming screen real estate

Two days ago I got an HP mini 1030 netbook (1000 family) and have been working on putting the mac OS 10.5.8 on it. It seems like it ought to be the simplest thing, but there are a lot of different versions of firmware hardware and software out there that make finding the right install path a bit challenging.

HP Mini 1000

I will definitely add my 2 cents for the install path and my problems, but that will come in a few days. The good news is that this post is written on it, and it is running along splendidly! This is just a quick tip to help others who have done the same thing (or those who just have tiny screens) gain a bit more screen real estate.

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Gmail Pop email refresher – UPDATE – now smaller and easier!

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If you are wondering what we are talking about, click here to read the back story. Then come here and do it the easier way

So I took my own advice and tried to find a way to send mail from the command line. This way the mail.app doesn’t keep flicking to the forefront every few hundred seconds. That was getting old quickly. It turns out it wasn’t very difficult. From what I have read, different people may have a different experience due to their isp’s policies on sending mail and how google reacts, but I digress…

This one is simple!

It is two terminal scripts, a text file, and a loop in automator. DONE!

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Increase the frequency that Gmail checks your POP mail account

Update! After reading the theory on this page you should go to this page to find a simpler, better solution.

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Ok this hack might not be for everyone, but if you have Gmail set up to check your pop accounts they don’t let you set the polling frequency anywhere. This can be bad because it makes you go to the settings page to be able to hit the refresh button on each one of your accounts! After a little digging it turns out it uses a weird formula to determine the polling frequency. Let’s say it checks your account and finds an email. The next time it checks it will wait for _slightly less time_ before it checks again. If it finds email a second time it will continue to shorten the interval until it is checking every 5 minutes or so (maybe even less!) The purpose of this is so that google doesn’t waste resources checking an account that only gets one email a month.

The downside of this approach is that if you are eagerly waiting for that one email you might be waiting for a long time (i have seen wait times up to 58 minutes!)

The answer is very simple once you know how it works – get more email! I didn’t want to test to see if the spam filter counts spam received as real mail. I doubt that it does. So I did the next best thing – I automated sending myself email!

I have thought of two different ways of doing this both are mac only, but there must be a billion ways to skin this cat!

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Yeah Sparkfun! Pure WIN.

sparkfun kicks ass

So this post is a big shout out to Sparkfun Electronics. Not only are they an interesting shop that has tons of stuff I would love to tinker with, but they give really good customer service as well!

Recently I ordered a bunch of stuff from them, including a few temperature sensors, thermistors, and an rf transmitter/receiver pair. I ordered, they shipped, and then fedex delivered it to my front porch where it was promptly stolen. I was super bummed to come home and find nothing. I had the whole afternoon off and I was planning on putting in some serious geek time in the basement. Needless to say, fedex dropped the ball by leaving it at my front door (on a busy street, less that 3 feet away from the sidewalk) and some jerk ended up with an envelope full of stuff they probably promptly threw away.


I left a message on Sparkfun’s site and filed a claim with fedex. Paul Robinson from sparkfun got back to me fairly quickly (he even tried to call(!), but I wasn’t around) and they shipped out a replacement order.


I was initially really down about not having anything to play with over the weekend, but this is honestly the best-case-scenario considering it wasn’t sparkfun’s fault that the package was stolen from my porch.


So thanks, sparkfun. I appreciate it, and keep up the good work!

UPDATE
Two more things for icing on the cake, my package arrived today(YES!), and I asked Paul a question about hackerspaces in boulder during our emails about the stolen package. He said he didn’t know of any but would pass it on to someone who would. Yesterday I received an email from Nathan Seidle, the CEO. I love the fact that their customer service provides service, I love the fact that they wanted to make it right, and I love the fact that their ceo took time to answer my question.

CHDK Update

chdk_splash screen

So as I referenced in an earlier post, I bit the bullet and bought a camera so I could test out CHDK. CHDK is a hacked firmware for canon cameras that use one of three imge sensors. I believe it is the digic 2, 3, and 4 sensors. It turns out that all of the powershot line uses the same image sensors. The optics, buttons and features are added or removed based on the price point of the camera. If you use CHDK you can enable them AND add new features the designers may never have thought of! click here to find a compatible camera on amazon More info about my trials and tribulations after the jump.

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