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  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 23:06
    Kerbal Space Program: Now with More Asteroid!

    kerbals_1024x768Kerbal Space Program is the closest most of us are going to get to running our own space agency, and now NASA has stepped in and is collaborating with the game's makers to improve it.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 23:00
    Responsive Bike Jacket #WearableWednesday

    Parsons design & technology student Nour Chamoun writes in about her responsive bike jacket:

    The bike jacket is composed of 3 features:

    1- 2 tilt sensors on each arm to sense the right or left motioning of arms, flashing lights indicating right or left.

    2- An accelerometer to sense the deceleration of the cyclist, flashing a red warning light on the back of the jacket.

    3- An infrared sensor to the left side of the cyclist to sense if any vehicles or other cyclists are getting too close and sets off a small vibrating motor to warn the cyclist.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 23:00
    Gundam Cosplay Tutorial

    unicorn gundam costume

    Taking on the task of building a mech or a Gundam is not simple. You’re committing to spending a lot of time and depending on the materials used, a fair amount of cash. If you’re interested though, RPF user Clivelee has put together an informative tutorial (it even has a table of contents) to walk you through the process. He created the Unicorn Gundam pictured above, so he knows his stuff. He goes over planning, materials, where to find the right tools, and each part of the body. Here’s a sample:


    You can see the entire tutorial at The RPF.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 22:00
    Pixeldelic Vest #WearableWednesday



    Joshua Herbert made this vest with 324 LEDs! Brookleynn Morris caught up with him at the Exploratorium wearables event last week and writes in:

    Joshua Herbert’s Pixeldelic leather vests are covered in 324 LEDs that can be programmed to play any pattern or image. Anything seen on a computer screen, including videos right off of YouTube, live video and hand drawn patterns can be shown on the vest.

    Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 22:00
    X-Wing Tri-Rotor Brings Star Wars to Life


    Once you realize you can make almost anything fly if you strap a big enough prop and motor to it, you really start thinking outside of the box. That’s what [Rodger] did and he’s come up with this very impressive 19lb, 5′ long X-Wing Fighter from Star Wars.

    Recently [Rodger] has found new joy in making movie props come to life with the help of today’s technology. He started with Project Thunderball — a flying James Bond mannequin with a jet pack. From there he brought us the Marty McFly working hover-board, and now an X-Wing Fighter, his biggest flying machine yet.

    It measures about 5 feet long, and is a tri-rotor design with three 100A ESCs, 1200W 1050KV motors, and 12″ rotors. The frame is made of PVC to conserve weight. Since it’s a tri-rotor with true vectored thrust, the X-Wing features much better yaw than quadrotors. Then only problem is it pivots around the odd prop out, meaning in this case, the X-Wing turns on its nose — instead of its tail.

    Regardless, we can’t wait to see what [Rodger] tries flying next! Stick around to see the X-Wing in action.

    Filed under: drone hacks

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 22:00
    Deadly Space Rocks! Help NASA Save the Earth This Weekend

    Artist concept of asteroid impacting earth. Image credit: Don Davis/NASADoes the thought of an asteroid falling out of the sky keep you up at night? Join a Hangout with NASA on Thursday to learn more — then help save the Earth by contributing your ideas to the 2014 International Space Apps Challenge this weekend, April 12–13.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 21:30
    Five Ways to Use a Plastic Trash Can in Cosplay

    trash can helmet

    Plastic trash cans are affordable and can be found just about anywhere. Even grocery stores usually stock smaller models. They come in various shapes from round domes to standing rectangles, and you can choose from different heights. All of those factors make them an ideal material for cosplay. Whether you leave them as is and paint them or cut them up to utilize the plastic in a different way – there are options. Here are five suggestions on how to use a plastic trash can in a costume:

    trash can - r2-d2

    Picture from Geek Mom

    Astromech droid – When I see a trash can with a flip top dome, I can’t help but think of R2-D2 from Star Wars. And he’s far from the only astromech in the saga. To make the kid-sized costumed, you’d just have to cut out the bottom of the trash can, create armholes, secure the lid (you could wrap the dome part in papier mache), and then paint the trash can to look like Artoo or one of his pals. You can take it to the next level by adding a red LED and sound effects.

    Captain America’s shield – Have a round Rubbermaid-style trash can that comes with a lid? That round top is just waiting to become Captain America’s shield. You’d just need to prime it, use a protractor and pencil to sketch out the concentric circles, use a template to outline the star, and carefully paint it. It won’t be as strong as vibranium, but you shouldn’t be trying to stop bullets with it anyway.

    trash can - eve costume

    EVE from WALL-E – A tiny trash can with a dome is perfect for another kind of robot: EVE from WALL-E. Again, cut out the bottom and make armholes (be sure to cushion them) and add some LED lighting. For the robot’s face, you have to cut a hole in the lid and make a face plate from the plastic, mesh, and black pantyhose. Drwave has a helpful Instructable with all the details.

    Helmets – Some office-sized trash cans are smaller at the bottom but flare into a wider opening at the time. Those types of trash cans are wonderfully suited for helmets. You can slide them on without having to worry about it being too tight. Think about where you want the eyes and mouth to be, and once you’ve traced the outlines onto the trash can, use a Dremel or tin snips to cut away. From there you can add additions like craft foam, paint, horns, you name it.

    fett armor

    Armor – While Worbla, Sintra, and similar materials are wonderful for building armor, so are plastic garbage cans. You can slice and dice Boba Fett armor from 13 and 8 gallon trash cans. The Dented Helmet user AFettFullofDollars simply traced templates onto the trash cans to get the proper curves and cut them apart using tin snips. Not into Fett? You can also build a set of Iron Man Mark V armor.

    Top picture from Luis Linares.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 21:17


    Heartbleed, or CVE-2014-0160, is a pretty serious vulnerability in OpenSSL, one of the more popular libraries for encrypting communications on the internet, and its exposure this week has the internet on high alert.

    You can read about the details behind the bug at Heartbleed.com, but here’s how it works in a nutshell: a couple years ago OpenSSL got a “heartbeat” feature which allows computers and servers with secure connections to each other to “ping” each other regularly to keep the secure connection open. A bug in the heartbeat feature allowed for computers without secure connections to still get a response this way, and that response could be exploited to include chunks of data from the server’s RAM, which could include all sorts of recently-decrypted stuff like passwords.

    What We Are Responsible For

    As soon as the vulnerability was exposed to the greater internet on April 7th we sprang into action along with the administrators of sites great and small, worldwide. It’s our responsibility to first patch all SSL libraries on all servers (to “stop the bleeding” as it were). Next we revoke and reissue all SSL certificates as the private keys may have been compromised. With some pressure on our certificate authority we’ve got fresh certs inbound and as soon as those are in place, likely sometime this afternoon, we’ll dump all sessions on SparkFun.com as those are also at risk of having been compromised.

    This means every SparkFun customer will be logged out and any customers who have built a cart without signing in will lose that cart. However from that point on when you sign in to SparkFun.com you’ll be doing so over SSL using a new certificate where there’s no risk of the private keys having been leaked. But there’s still more to be done…

    What YOU Are Responsible For

    First of all, don’t log into any websites until you know they’re patched against this bug. Most major websites have already responded, and the patch isn’t very complicated so there’s no excuse not to respond. There’s a utility here that can help you determine if a given website has taken some of the necessary steps for protection.

    Secondly, it’s about time to reset all of your passwords. Seriously. This vulnerability existed for the better part of two years and was only just exposed on Monday. If your account credentials somewhere were slurped up using this exploit at some time in that past and yesterday that site patched against Heartbleed those attackers still have your credentials. Change your password, and also consider setting up two-factor authentication for any sites or services that offer it.

    What Happens Now?

    This story has a lot of interesting angles. It’s arguably one of the biggest security vulnerabilities in the entire history of the internet. It’s technical but not terribly so, so I’m curious to see how it is covered in the main-stream media.

    In the netsec community Heartbleed is already the highlight of the year. Flurries of discussions on various fora are churning right now on how this happened, how to react, what the long-term impacts are, etc. A family member who works as a penetration tester (someone who’s paid to steal your data and tell you how it was done) summarized the reaction from the offensive side of the network security community thusly.

    The Business Side

    Another angle worth mentioning is the certificate authorities, or CAs. SSL certificates can be generated for free using open source tools, but when done so they are “self-signed.” The entire SSL model relies on certificates to verify a website is who they say they are, and a self-signed certificate (while functional) doesn’t provide any confidence in that. This is why browsers warn you when a cert is self-signed. Certificate authorities are companies like Verisign and Comodo that build a business on confirming people are who they say they are and then signing their certificates. This can be expensive depending on how iron-clad you want that certification to be. At SparkFun we pop for the Extended Verification, or EV certificates which can require months of investigation on the CA’s behalf to confirm who SparkFun really is.

    The curious thing about this vulnerability is that it requires an estimated 60-70% of all certificate holding websites across the internet to revoke+reissue or renew their SSL certificates. Revoke+reissue is free with our CA but renewal isn’t. If any sites unaware of their ability to revoke+reissue, or if a CA charges for that service, this could be a huge pay day for the CAs. That raises ethical questions about where their incentives lie… does it make good business sense for Comodo or Verisign to quietly encourage similar vulnerabilities in the future? Is a system like that ultimately sustainable? In fairness it’s also potentially a burden on the CAs as their volume for issuing certs has skyrocketed overnight. Time will tell how they react in the wake of Heartbleed.

    The Open Source Side

    We harp a lot about the virtues of open source here. This vulnerability, having appeared in an open source SSL library (OpenSSL) allowed for the netsec community to provide line-by-line diagnoses of the flaw within hours of its general exposure. Furthermore, open source is not about things being open now but things being open over time, so it’s been possible to peer deep into OpenSSL’s history to see how the flaw was introduced and evolved over time.

    I’ve seen some chatter already about how this was the net effect of poor programming from an amateur open source development team. The quality of the programming (and arguably the review process) and the open source nature of the library are two completely different aspects that should not be conflated, however. A proprietary SSL library developed behind closed doors could have easily introduced the same flaws. The open source nature of the library may have made it easier for attackers to craft exploits against the heartbeat feature, but it’s likely that a similar feature+flaw in a proprietary library would have been compromised the same way. The internet’s most skilled and nefarious are never slowed down much by working with compiled binaries as opposed to source, and security through obscurity is widely stigmatized for good reason.

    Ultimately the open source nature of the library that introduced the flaw has vastly aided the community in assessing the damages inflicted and mount a swift response. Regardless, the pessimist in me still expects to see “open source” taking some undue blame for this fiasco.

    Protect Thyself!

    So that’s Heartbleed in a nutshell from SparkFun’s perspective. I’ll close with a reminder to protect yourself. Use strong passwords that don’t repeat, pay attention when your browser is warning you about an insecure website, and use 2-factor authentication wherever you can. Stay safe and have fun. =)

    UPDATE: 2014-04-09 15:00 MST

    We’ve received and installed our reissued certificates, so we’ve dropped all browser sessions as an extra precautionary measure.

    comments | comment feed

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 20:58
    LED Stego Flex Spike Hoodie #WearableWednesday

    Rawr! Build a stego spike hoodie with glowing LEDs! This easy project mashes up 3D printing and sewing to make your own super-custom flexible spiky hooded sweatshirt. Watch the video on YouTube and read the complete guide on the Adafruit Learning System to make your own.


    Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 20:00
    To Mars and Back: Make the Robotic Rockets to Hunt for Life

    This artist's concept shows the Mars Sample Return lander and its return capsule. Image credit: NASANASA is proposing a Centennial Challenge to build robotic rocket sample return systems.

    Read more on MAKE

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 20:00
    GEMMA + NeoPixel Ring Altimeter #WearableWednesday


  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 19:00
    Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 04/9/2014 – LIVE 2pm ET

    Join Becky Stern and friends every week as we delve into the wonderful world of wearables, live on YouTube. We’ll answer your questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store, and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials, tools, and projects you can build at home! Ask your wearables questions in the comments, and if your question is featured on a future episode, you’ll be entered to win the show giveaway!

    Show links:

    Subscribe to Adafruit on YouTube

    Join our weekly Show & Tell on G+ Hangouts On Air

    Watch our latest project videos

    New tutorials on the Adafruit Learning System

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 19:00
    Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 04/9/2014 – Technical Difficulties

    Sorry everybody, no show today due to streaming tech problems! We’ll be back again next week!

    Join Becky Stern and friends every week as we delve into the wonderful world of wearables, live on YouTube. We’ll answer your questions, announce a discount code for the Adafruit store, and explore wearable components, techniques, special materials, tools, and projects you can build at home! Ask your wearables questions in the comments, and if your question is featured on a future episode, you’ll be entered to win the show giveaway!

    Show links:

    Subscribe to Adafruit on YouTube

    Join our weekly Show & Tell on G+ Hangouts On Air

    Watch our latest project videos

    New tutorials on the Adafruit Learning System

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 19:00
    VCF East Wrapup MegaPost


    VCF East, the fabulous retrocomputing festival held in Wall, NJ this last weekend was a blast. We had a great time, dropped t-shirts and stickers to just about anyone who wanted one, took a lot of pictures, and shot a lot of video. Now that it’s over it’s time for the post-mortem, with one insanely long post.

    We saw some very cool stuff that merited its own post, and much more that we simply didn’t have time to video. The previous posts from VCF East:

    There’s still tons more, including a tour of the retrocomputer museum that hosted VCF East. The biggest talk was from [Dave Haynie], lord of the Amiga giving part three of a multi-year talk on the soap opera that was Commodore International.

    Click that ‘Read more…’ to see all this.


    There’s a reason VCF East was hosted at InfoAge. This former military base and the DARPA of the 1920s is also the home of MARCH, The Mid-Atlantic Retro Computer Hobbyists. The MARCH exhibits range from analog computers, up through homebrew terminals, eventually ending in the mid 80s with a Mac 128.

    The President of MARCH and organizer for the VCF East was kind enough to take us through a partial walk through of the MARCH exhibits. Items of note include one of the first generation of PDP-8 minicomputers. This beast used diode-transistor logic and core memory. Also on the walk through is a TV Typewriter, and a Mimeo 1, the most perfect replica of an Apple I you’ll ever find.

    Altair 8800
    A Control Data G-15
    Computer Lib, signed by Ted Nelson
    Heathkit analog computer trainer
    The worst keyboard... in the world
    Mac 128
    PDP-8 signed by Ted Nelson
    TV Typewriter internals
    TV Typewriter
    Autographs by Captain Crunch and Woz


    The Commodore Soap Opera

    VCF East, being located in New Jersey, has close ties with the Commodore community and over the past 10 years of hosting the event, they’ve been able to put together a series of talks from the people who were actually there.

    The first talk in 2007 is from [Chuck Peddle], designer of the 6502, KIM-1, and the Commodore PET. The second talk in 2012 was given by [Bil Herd], covering Commodore from the departure of [Jack Tramiel] until the beginnings of the Amiga. This past weekend, [Dave Haynie] wraps it up with Commodore’s sad exit.

    [Chuck Peddle]‘s talk at the 2007 VCF East

    [Bil Herd]‘s Commodore experiences from the departure of [Jack Tramiel] until the release of the Amiga, VCF East 2012

    [Dave Haynie]‘s talk on the Amiga, VCF East 2014

    This is probably the first time all these videos have been embedded in one place. That’s interesting in itself – note the increase in video quality, and the fact that we can do YouTube videos over 20 minutes or so now. If you have a very good eye, you will also note [Bil] can only count to nine and a half now.

    An Absurd Amount Of Pictures

    Intel 8-bit (and one 4-bit!)

    There were, of course, a lot of 8080s, 8088s, and other Intel 8-bit CPUs. One of the best displays was from [John Chapman] and his Lawrence Livermore Labs MST-80B. He has a really cool 24-bit hex display he’s also working on based on the old LED bubble character displays. All very cool stuff.

    The 8080
    The 8008.
    Lawrence Livermore Labs MST-80B Trainer
    MST-80B Trainer keypad


    Ted Nelson signature

    Big Iron



    The only prototype SE with a non-clear case.
    From left to right, a Mac ED, Lisa, prototype SE, and the rest are stock SEs.
    Another of the *original* Apple I.
    Franklin Apple II clone
    Franklin CX, the luggable Apple II clone. Only about 30 exist.
    The SE/30, the best computer Apple will ever make.
    *The* Apple I. Original and rescued from Jobs' office.
    The only prototype Mac SE with a non-clear case.


    By far the best represented brand of 8-bit home computers was Commodore; everything from PETs with chicklet keyboards to Amiga 3000s. I’m an idiot, though; I was hiding my camera gear and random stuff behind [Rob Clarke]‘s exhibit of Commodore Oddities but somehow I didn’t get any pictures. Like I said, I’m an idiot. Still, he had most of the Commodore TED machines – the 116, C16, Plus/4, and 232 all made an appearance. Here’s some Amiga pics:



    What good would a vintage computer festival be without people swapping gear, books, software, and hardware? VCF East had an entire room dedicated to selling, and it was cramped. The prices were pretty fair, as well: if I had to ballpark it, I’d say the prices were about half of what sellers on eBay are asking, although judging from a few forums I frequent, that’s about par for the course.

    I was hoping to snag a nice Amiga monitor, but only ended up grabbing an old mechanical Apple keyboard (M0116, peach Alps switches), a few books, and a 14″ Apple CRT. The “cool” stuff went really fast, and surprisingly all the Commodore 64s were sold in the first few hours.

    Interesting vendors of note include [Vince Briel] of Briel Computers. We did a whole post on him, but if you look closely you’ll see his next, unannounced project. The table full of software is from Eli’s Software Encyclopedia. Here are the pics:

    Briel's Replica 1
    Compact luggable
    Tiny Trash-80
    This is [Vince Briel]'s new, unannounced project. Yes, that's an integrated keyboard on an Ohio Scientific replica. Cherry MX Blues with custom keycaps.
    The asking price for this Mac 5400/200 was $10. I had that much in my wallet and space in my car. The X400 series of macs simply sucked. A lot.

    All in all, VCF East was an awesome event, and well worth a day trip if you’re within a few hundred miles or so. InfoAge itself was great, and well worth the trip even if there isn’t an event going on. There’s a ton of stuff we simply couldn’t get to, and we’re looking forward to the next year’s activities.

    If you’re too far away to visit the next VCF East, don’t worry: there’s VCF Southeast near Atlanta in just a few short weeks.

    There’s still one more thing we need to post – InfoAge is also home to a great hackerspace. We’ll get around to posting that when the our computer stops crying from all this video rendering.

    If that’s not enough for you, [Fran] also stopped by and shot some video. She’s done editing about a third of what she shot, you can find that below.

    Filed under: classic hacks, Featured

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 19:00
    A look at the Sony Walkman TPS-L2

    Sony Walkman TPS-L2 @ Minimally Minimal.

    Legends. These are the truly great, revolutionary products that change everything. They elevate themselves from being merely a design icon to a cultural icon. The Sony Walkman TPS-L2 introduced in 1979 is one of those legends. It’s the first Walkman ever made and the first product I’m showcasing that’s older than myself. This was the first time music became truly portable making it historically more significant than even the iPod. The TPS-L2 has become a collector’s favorite so expect to pay a premium for one in good condition. I was lucky and purchased this from a university museum for a reasonable price.

    Fantastic write up and photos.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 18:55
    Why you’ll want a do-it-yourself, NSA-proof, open-source laptop (interview) #oshw

    Why you’ll want a do-it-yourself, NSA-proof, open-source laptop (interview) by Dean Takahashi.

    Andrew “Bunnie” Huang lists a bunch of reasons why you’ll want his open-source laptop, the Novena. You can modify it yourself so that its battery will last however long you want it to. You can inspect the software to see if there’s any present from the National Security Agency. And you don’t have to pay a tax to any big corporation just because you want to do some computing.

    It’s all part of the do-it-yourself hardware movement that is giving us things like 3D printing, cool robots, and virtual reality headsets. Huang recently unveiled his ARM-based quad-core Novena laptop, which has air-pump hinges so you can easily get under the hood and modify it. He is raising $250,000 on Crowd Supply so that he can build and ship initial units to crowdfunding contributors. The machine costs about $1,995 now, but that price could come down over time if volume sales are good.

    Huang, a Singapore resident who gained fame for hacking the original Microsoft Xbox game console,introduced the machine as a “labor of love” at the recent Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, Calif. He hopes that a community of hardware hackers will rally around the machine and contribute all sorts of modifications. We interviewed him at the ESC.

    Read more.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 18:00
    MIT researchers bring Javascript to Google Glass #WearableWednesday


    MIT workshop brings Javascript to Google Glass on Network World:

    Brandyn White, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, and Scott Greenwald, a PhD candidate at MIT, led a workshop at the MIT Media Lab to showcase an open source project called WearScript, a Javascript environment that runs on Google Glass. The category of wearables is still evolving. Besides activity trackers and smartwatches, the killer wearable app is yet to be discovered because wearables don’t have the lean back or lean forward human-machine interface (HMI) of tablets and smartphones. Wearscript lets developers experiment with new user interface (UI) concepts and input devices to push beyond the HMI limits of wearables.

    The overblown reports of Google Glass privacy distract from the really important Google Glass discussion – how Glass micro apps can compress the time between user intent and action. Micro apps are smaller than apps and are ephemeral because they are used in an instant and designed to disappear from the user’s perception once completing their tasks. Because of the Glass wearable form factor, micro apps deviate from the LCD square and touchscreen/keyboard design of smartphone, tablet, and PC apps, and are intended to be hands-free and responsive in the moment. Well-designed Glass apps employ its UI to let the user do something that they could not otherwise do with another device. Glass’s notifications are a good example of this; want to get breaking news or preview important email without interruption from a phone or PC? Tilt your head up slightly and capture it in a glance, but if you want to read the news or give a detailed response to an email – better to pick up a smartphone, tablet or PC. The best consumer-facing Google Glass experiences highlight how apps can leverage this micro app programmable wearable form factor.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 18:00
    Test your server for Heartbleed (Adafruit is safe)

    Adafruit 2886
    Test your server for Heartbleed (CVE-2014-0160) – here is Adafruit. We are not vulnerable, we have not been running vulnerable versions of OpenSSL.

    The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

    More @ Heartbleed. Be careful out there folks!

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 17:11
    Contruction worker uniforms – 鳶TOBIカセヤマ


    These are great, putting this in wearables for today! Contruction worker uniforms – 鳶TOBIカセヤマ via Pink Noise.

  • Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 17:00
    Mars-Bot: Adding Science to Robotics

    A Mars-Bot will include the drive and steering mechanisms of a conventional competition robot, plus a wireless video cam and various sensors.A simulated space mission could leverage the popularity of robotics competitions to teach science.

    Read more on MAKE