Gear Factor posted this insane image (and video) of a GameBoy that got flambed in the first Gulf War and still allegedly works. As Gear Factor points out, given the extent of the damage, it’s very likely that this is a burnt case that has gotten a new screen and innards. Still cool as a Cronenbergian “casemod,” but given the fact that it seems to be in an exhibition somewhere, rather misleading.
This translated Japanese page with video shows you how to overclock a DS to run at 1.7x speed. It’s a switchable overclock, so you can kick in the afterburners as needed. You can see from the video that the juiced up clocktime is very noticeable. The overclock looks fairly easy, just two solder points on the mobo and adding a crystal and a switch.
The rumor mill going into this month’s Macworld Expo seems to have largely stopped turning on the iPhone. A large number of pundits, soothsayers, techno-shaman, and others who are supposed to know something about such things seem to think that the rumored Apple mobile phone (dubbed the iPhone) will be a no-show, maybe not only at Macworld, but for the foreseeable future. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re right. If they are, Apple might be missing out a golden opportunity, at least according to a study done by Solutions Research Group, and reported on at AppleInsider.
The study predicted, among other things, that with the introduction of an iPhone, Apple’s market “footprint could grow to over 30 percent of Americans within 18 months.” One thing buyers of an “iPod phone” where most concerned with was the battery life of a dual phone and iPod, something that the rumor mill has already addressed with the non-existent iPhone shipping with a non-existent second battery, standard. Can I get mine with a non-existent full screen and non-existent no-touch controls? Isn’t dreaming up tech fun? And then running polls about it?
The 23rd Chaos Communication Congress, the well-known annual hackercon, took place in Berlin at the end of last month. Regine at We Make Money Not Art did an awesome job of covering the con. I really enjoyed peeking in on the con through her eyes. You can see a wrap-up of her coverage here. The Wiki for the con, which also has lots of great info, like papers presented by attendees, can be found here.
Simon Fraser is a programmer who works at Apple, on the Quicktime Apps Team. His very well put together BEAM robot site has some very cool builds, including this Solarroller which uses flexible solar paneling to power the bot. For the power circuit, it uses the Miller Solar Engine I discussed in my BEAM articles in Vol. 6 of MAKE.
EEBeat has a short interview with BEAM and Robosapien inventor Mark Tilden. Some interesting tidbits in the piece, like how Mark engineered the RS2 by cannibalizing the RS1 and using his analog “nervous net” technology, but then “setting these patterns in digital silicon for reliability.” He and WowWee also custom-designed the motors and gearboxes “pushing the concept of ‘toygrade’ to the limits while still keeping costs low.” (If you read Rodney Brooks’s Flesh and Machines — where he talks about trying to bring his iRobot Real Baby to market and how insane the margins are on toys, with parts needing to cost less than nothing — you can appreciate what level of innovation needs to go into something like a Robosapien or Roboreptile to keep them within toy price ranges.)
I’ve posted the Street Tech Thumbnail Guide to Soldering, the first in a series of such ST Thumbnail Guides. This one runs through the tools you need for soldering, the techniques required to do it well, and the common pitfalls that can frustrate the newbie. The piece includes awesome illustrations by Mark Frauenfelder (taken from my Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots).