1920s typewriter reborn as drum machine

William Sun Petrus hacked an old Remington Portable typewriter to become a EDM dance box.

For real though, whenever a hammer contacts with the "live plate", it will send a signal to the arduino. The arduino recognises which hammer has been pressed and fires a signal into my PC via the cable, and into Ableton. Ableton sees some MIDI information and understands that it needs to trigger that specific sound. This song is composed of 17 difference sounds, played live for you, right here, right now. This typewriter is actually just a small part of a much bigger project, so there's still a lot more to come!

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How Pong's inventor gave Woz a hack to bring color to the Apple II

In 1977, Steve "Woz" Wozniak used a neat hack to bring color to the Apple II computer. According to IEEE Spectrum, the obscure trick, called NTSC artifact color, "allows digital systems without specialized graphics hardware to produce color images by exploiting quirks in how TVs decode analog video signals." That hack later was employed by the IBM PC, Radio Shack TRS-80, and other early home computers. But how did Woz learn about it? Turns out, videogame legend Al Alcorn, inventor of Pong, turned Woz onto the hack. From IEEE Spectrum:

Stephen Cass: Analog NTSC televisions generate color by looking at the phase of a signal relative to a reference frequency. So how did you come across this color test tool, and how did it work?

Al Alcorn: When I was 13, 14, my neighbor across the street had a television repair shop. I would go down there and at the same time, I had my father sign me up for an RCA correspondence course on radio and television repair. So, by the time I got to Berkeley, I was a journeyman TV repairman and actually paid my way through college through television. In one repair shop, there was a real cheap, sleazy color bar generator [for testing televisions]. And instead of doing color properly by synthesizing the phases and stuff like that, it simply used a crystal that was 3.58 megahertz [the carrier frequency for the color signal] minus 15.750 kilohertz, which was the horizontal scan frequency. So it slipped one phase, 360 degrees, every scan line.

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Someone made a robot to play Google Chrome's No Internet Dinosaur Game

If you use Chrome, it's likely you've seen the 2-bit dinosaur that appears when your computer is not connected to the internet. It's an infinite runner game. The object is to jump over oncoming cacti and duck under pterodactyls. To play it while you are connected to the internet, copy and paste chrome://dino/ into the address bar of Chrome. Spacebar starts the game, then use up and down arrows to jump and duck.

Here's someone who taped a photoresistor to their display. When it senses a cactus, it triggers a servo to press the spacebar. What happens when it sees a pterodactyl, though? Read the rest

Seven top tips from makers so far this year

Here are seven of my favorite DIY/maker tips published this year in my weekly newsletter, Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales.

Etching Metal with a 9v Battery

Etching is easier than you think. Leah of See Jane Drill demonstrates how easy it is to etch a metal surface using little more than a 9v battery and wires, vinegar, salt, and Q-tips.

Finding the Thickness of a Wire Emory Kimbrough was one of the winners of my Tips book drawing in December. I asked contestants for one great tip. Emory sent me ten. And then, a few days later, he sent me another five – all publication-worthy. I’m excited to share them. Look for more Emory tips in the coming months. Here’s the first one:

If you need to find the thickness of a wire but don’t have a micrometer or calipers, wrap the wire around a dowel many times in a tight helix leaving no gaps between the coils. Now, just measure the width of, say, thirty coils with an ordinary ruler and divide by thirty. The more coils you wind, the more accurate your measurement. And even if you do use top-quality digital calipers, it’s even more accurate if you use this wind-and-divide method than if you measure a single thickness.

Organize Cables in Dollar Store Pencil Cases The column I’m currently working on for HackSpace magazine will cover workshop storage and organizing. As part of my research, I asked for relevant storage ideas on my Facebook page. My friend Jake Hildebrandt shared this idea. Read the rest

US charges 4 Chinese spies with hacking Equifax

• The Equifax breach was disclosed in 2017, exposed financial records of 150M Americans

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich: “This is the largest theft of sensitive PII by state-sponsored hackers ever recorded.” Read the rest

Man creates fake traffic jam on Google Maps by carting around 99 cellphones

Simon Weckert loaded a hand-cart with cellphones and pulled them slowly through Berlin. This fooled Google Maps into registering severe congestion, marking the streets bright red in the service, and rerouting traffic to avoid the area.

99 smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps.Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic.

Reminder: public disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability is rarely the first time it was exploited. Read the rest

United Nations was hacked in July 2019 and kept it quiet, despite its own staff being at risk

“If there are no consequences for the [UN] agencies for failures like these … there will be more breaches.”

'Absurd,' Saudi Arabia calls claims MBS hacked Bezos phone

“I think absurd is exactly the right word,” said Saudi Prince Faisal Read the rest

Feds charge Evil Corp, Russia-based creators of Dridex malware, in $100 million bank hacking spree

The most on-brand name since “Fraud Guarantee.” Read the rest

Judge says Facebook users entitled to better security but not $ damages

In a decision released late Tuesday night, a federal judge ruled that up to 29 million Facebook users whose personal info was stolen in a September 2018 data breach are not entitled to sue Facebook as a group for damages -- but the users may be entitled to demand better personal data security at Facebook. Read the rest

T-Mobile says recent 'criminal hack' got personal data of some prepaid wireless customers

T-Mobile today admitted that a recent "criminal hack" accessed personal data of some prepaid wireless customers' accounts. Read the rest

How to add LEDs to a track jacket

The project starts with finding the exact right jacket:

The jacket I picked is the adidas Originals Superstar Track Jacket. I wanted this one because it features the iconic trefoil logo and calls back to the 80’s b-boy b-girl era. What we’re really looking for is how the stripes are attached. The white stripes are sewn on top of the black base jacket using two parallel rows of stitches 8mm apart. This creates a fabric tube that we can insert our LEDs into.

Click through for instructions on creating your own robust glowing jacket.

The group looked great at the Neotropolis Bar in Los Angeles:

(Via John Wiseman.) Read the rest

WhatsApp fixes security bug that let hackers take over with a GIF

A spokesperson for the Facebook-owned WhatsApp says the company has fixed a security vulnerability that let hackers take control of the messaging app by way of a malicious GIF. Read the rest

Malicious websites that hacked into iPhones over 2-year period targeted Uyghur Muslims in China: Report

A number of malicious websites that were recently reported to have been secretly hacking into iPhones over a two-year period were in fact targeting Uyghur Muslims, Zack Whittaker of TechCrunch reports today. Read the rest

@Jack Hacked

The incompetence horrowshow is on Twitter right now! It's lasted a few minutes; to my shame was I there to see it and wonder how long it would last, and it has not ceased yet.

UPDATE, 1:02 p.m. Eastern Time: It has ceased. Read the rest

Broken tail light replaced with red sports drink

A trucker replaced a broken tail light with a red sports drink, reports the Denver Channel. His ingenuity earned him police attention in Longmont, Colo., but they let him go without a ticket.

While we appreciate the ingenuity of this tail light, this is not a permanent solution,” Longmont Fire, Police and OEM wrote in a Facebook post. “Working tail lights prevent accidents.”

Photo: Longmont PD Read the rest

Arts&Crafts: bypass a fingerprint scanner with glue and tinfoil

I recently wrote about how much I enjoyed testing the OnePlus 7 Pro. One of the nicer things about it was the fact that its in-display fingerprint reader, unlike the one in the last-gen OnePlus handset, works in a timely manner. Too bad that, no matter how quickly it can read a fingerprint, it still isn't smart enough to stand up to a bit of arts and crafts from a determined security hacker.

Now, before anyone goes and loses their minds over this hack, it's important to note that in order for it to work, a digital interloper would need to get hold of the fingerprint belonging to the handset's owner in order to copy it. The best way to secure your phone against a hack like this, or being forced to unlock your smartphone for the authorities is to lock it down with an alphanumeric code.

While using biometrics to unlock your hardware might be convenient, when push comes to shove, it won't keep your digital life secure from professional snoops for long. Read the rest

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