Hacking a Hallmark Text Band: First Attempt

The Hallmark Text Band¬†is a strange thing: Doesn’t Hallmark know kids have cell phones now? Anyway, it is an extremely simple micro-controller driving a led matrix and a C-Max CMM-9201. You get 10 characters, and a small reed-switch? triggers a hardware interrupt, and broadcasts your 10¬†characters to a friend, and you swap messages. The devices holds 24 messages, FIFO. Memory is volatile. Profanity filter included. Oh well.

Giving My WRT54GL a 2G Drive

The WRT54GL is a pretty cool little toy. Yes it is a router with a cheezy web interface for grandmas with ESSID’s named “linksys”. But you can flash it with your own linux and solder in your own SD card to turn it from a 4MB machine to a 2GB machine… far out! Above it the bare board that I’ve unscrewed out of the thing. Some solder + a card….

New/Old Laptop: Ubuntu Montage

You may remember my old laptop from such posts as this. Well it broke, so I bought another one! It even has the original stickers. But.. Its slower than I remember. So I’m trying out different Ubuntu versions to see what boots the fastest. Here are my methodology and results. Methodology: The first number is the ammount of seconds from the 0 in the grub countdown till the X in the initial X-server.

Failing Hard Drives

So lots of people use computers, and lots of people have harddrives. At my work I deal with lots and lots of computers and lots and lots of drives. So during a week I see plenty of failing drives, just because of the statistics. So now-a-days I run a “smart test” on the drive to see how it is. Unfortunately most drive testers and smart tests are crap. So I made my own and I want to share it with you….

Putting the Clock Together

We have finally built enough pieces of the clock together to get some digits! It basically comes down to a white wooden box, a piece of cardboard with the LEDs wired, running to a RJ45 jack. Then a stryofoam cutout painted black, with a white piece of paper and plexyglass on top for a face. Here is the template with wired LEDS: A multitude of completed digits (still missing the blank faceplate).

Clock Primer

Here is the intro to the clock project: We start with a template made at a sign shop, and the cover the edges with aluminum tape to protect them from the heat from the hot wire. I’ve pushed out holes with a strait wire and a blow torch to give my entry points for my hot wires. Its going to be a plunge and cut job. The laserpointer helps guide the hot wire because it inevitably bends and makes crooked cuts.