Posts Tagged 'hack'
2014-04-11

Having recently been gifted an HTC desire HD for some code testing, I decided to switch from my atrocious Firefox Device and start using the Desire as my daily driver. Unfortunately, I found the physical buttons: volume up, volume down, and power, to be far too flush with the phone's case and I have little to no tactile way of knowing when I was pressing a button. Here is my simple fix.

The Problem

Although the volume up and down buttons are visibly different from the body of the phone, I tend to use those buttons the most when I am listening to music in my car and I don't want to have to look down to find the buttons.

Oh, is that a bottle of super glue?

The Simple Fix

Yes, indeed that was a bottle of super glue. As a fix, I places two very small drops of super glue on the volume buttons.

Once the drops had dried, It was (and still is) quite easy for me to determine where the buttons are simply by touching the device. Sweet, now I can keep my eyes on the road as I rock out.

Now quite reading, and go rock out.

Comments
2014-04-12 Alison Chaiken:
Here's my usual solution to that problem:

http://www.unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=28_45&products_id=384

If a bump is good, isn't a glow-in-the-dark bump better?
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2013-06-06

Who's a packrat? me, that's who. For about 8 years I've had a piece of antler stored under my bed because I figured that eventually I would find a use for it. Last week I received a Deschutes Brewery bottle opener from my buddy, and this morning I decided that "Today is the day"!

Oh Deer!

This piece of antler had previously been used to make a button for a rabbit sporran, but that is a tale for another time.

With my handy dandy generic rotary tool and a cutting wheel, the end of the antler was removed and I was ready to get on with the project.

De Shortened Dechutes Opener

De bottom of de opener was removed so it would fit a bit better in de antler handler. Thanks Dechutes!

I had forgotten how hot metal gets when being cut. Fortunately I have some crappy pliers that held de opener while I was cutting.

Speaking of forgetting...

Ready for the opener

After about 20 minutes of grinding, carving, and shaping the antler, I was ready to add the opener.

If you have never used a grinding wheel to cut antler, I highly suggest trying it because the stink is something everyone should experience. For the most part, the stench is reminiscent of concentrated burning hair. Yum! How did I forget that smell?

Epoxy

A bit of epoxy was applied to the opener, which was then placed in the antler. A few pieces of masking tape were used to keep the epoxy from running out and getting all over the place.

Success!

A quick jaunt to the store... and I was the proud owner of a sixer of Anchor Steam and a lotto ticket.

Yea, that's my dinner: Ramen with broccoli, carrot, and tapatío; and an Anchor Steam.

Let me tell you about antler dust. That stinky crap gets everywhere, and if you happen to have a significant amount of facial hair, expect to collect a lot of stink on your face. blech!

As a wonderful sidenote: I can use this as a sgian-dubh when traveling by airplane. Double win!

Comments
2013-06-09 Alison Chaiken:
íTapatío! I take it you ran out of Sriracha.
2013-06-09 Alison Chaiken:
BTW, I collect stuff for projects too. For example, I saved all the removable pads from the padded bras I accidentally bought ('cause I think all A-cup bras are padded). I feel that I should use them for an artistic feminist statement of some kind, but can't think of any.
2013-06-09 jezra:
Have you considered using them as pillow stuffing? Oh, I know, stitch them together and make a glorious hammock!
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2013-02-02

Solitude is my muse, and taking things apart keeps me from getting depressed. However, it is still nice to hear other people say nice things so I decided to convert a toaster into an interactive art project that says nice things when something (usually me) walks in front of it.

The Build

TAKE IT APART!

The first step to any great project seems to begin with a bit of destruction. Good. Nothing really clears my mind like taking something apart. Yea, I laughed when I bought the toaster and I'm still laughing now.

The toaster was soon gutted and a bunch of innards where chucked in the waste bin.

Make some mounting thingies

For this build, I planned on using the Raspberry Pi from the NaNoBox and since someone is a hobby hardware hacker hater, there are no mounting holes on my Raspberry Pi. sigh. Who's a liar? ME (sort of). I said I wouldn't use the Raspberry Pi for a similar project. Fortunately, this project isn't too similar.

A small wooden block was epoxied to the toast box (at least that is my name for it). Similarly, a piece of thick plastic from VHS case was also epoxied to the toast box.

Circuit from the shell

Surrounding the toast box is the toaster shell, and this is the circuit board that was mounted inside of the toaster shell. On the circuit are 3 buttons and two LEDs.

After a bit of scratching at the circuit board and some soldering, the buttons and LEDs where ready to be wired up.

The circuit back in the shell

Oh man, look at that rat's nest of wires.

This is the inside of the shell with most of the wiring finished. This includes the PIR thingy. What's a PIR thingy you might ask? good question.

PIR Thingy

Hey look, kids, it's a PIR thingy! This Passive InfraRed sensor thingy was purchased at https://www.adafruit.com/products/189 for 10 bucks.

A notch was cut in the toaster's lever channel and the PIR was hot glued into place. Damn, I love adhesives.

Sound!

My buddy gave me a small USB amplifier and speaker combo used for plugging into a mobile phone.

In my haste, I obliterated the amplifier before taking a pictures. What a shame. The wires on the amp were to frail for my needs so I soldered on some heavier wires for audio in, audio out, and the power connector. Since the amp was originally powered over USB I figured I could wire it to the 5v pin on the Raspberry Pi. The speaker is from another portable amplifier.

Buckle up

Like I've said may times, the designer of the Raspberry Pi hates me and didn't include mounting holes on the board. Because of this, I needed to find a creative way to keep the board in place and my solution was a nice little 'belt'.

To keep the number of cable going to the toaster to a minimum, an old USB 802.11g was connected to the board.

Add some more LEDs

Aside from the two bright blue LEDs on the toaster shell, I added a green LED to each slot of the toaster box.

All Together

With much finagling, the toaster box and the copious amount of wires was stuffed into the toaster shell and the end result was put on a desk and pointed at the busiest foot traffic area of my home.

The toaster lever, although no longer in use, was hot glued back where it belongs and helps hide the PIR sensor.

What does it do?

When the sensor detects movement, an audio file is selected at random from a directory of audio files, and played through the speaker. While the audio is playing, the LEDs are flashing.

some of the setup

The code for running the toaster is written in python and utilizes gstreamer-0.10 for audio playing. In order to get gstreamer to default to playing through the 'audio out' on the Raspberry Pi, I had to edit the /etc/asound.conf file to look like the following:

pcm.mmap0 {  
  type mmap_emul;  
  slave {  
    pcm "hw:0,0";   
  }  
}   
  
pcm.!default {  
  type plug;  
  slave {  
    pcm mmap0;  
  }  
}  

Switches

Due to the lack of GPIO documentation for the Raspberry Pi, most tutorials for the device involved wiring in "pull-up" resistor which means that extra work is involved just to get a simple button press to register. However, pins 3,5,7,24, and 26 have built in pull up resistors which makes these pins ideal for connection switches.

Most (if not all) of the information I needed for programming the pins on the Raspberry Pi came from http://www.panu.it/raspberry/ and not from the Raspberry Pi website. Seriously, this is wrong. The RPi website should have some useful information, but alas, it does not.

What's next?

The power for the amplifier was specifically not taken from the one remaining USB port. It would be fairly trivial to plug a USB camera into the USB and, when the PIR detects motion, have the camera take a picture and then upload the picture to a back up server. Hella cheap home security system. booyah!

Also, I need to figure out what to do the the buttons.

if your browser doesn't play ogg files, you should switch browsers

Why? Because if your browser doesn't play ogg:

  1. your browser hates freedom
  2. you won't be able to hear
    duh!

The System

Like almost all of my computers, the toaster is running Arch Linux

Now quit reading and go make something...

Comments
2013-02-03 Kathy:
So all that taking apart of toys has come in handy! Interesting project. Brilliant thinker.....
2013-02-14 Alison Chaiken:
I can think of lots of other household items that don't make toast. I'll give you one the next time I see you.
2013-05-10 James F:
Dude! You've gotta recreate the toaster from Red Dwarf, you cant not! :D
2013-05-10 jezra:
James, the toaster has a few audio files from "Talky" on it.

"Talky's the name, toasting's the game."
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2012-10-28

For those that don't know, November is when NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) takes place and there is a poster on the wall of my work that tracks the progress of my coworker's word count. However, since I work from home quite a bit, the poster in the office doesn't do me much good.... time to create a device that allows me to track people's progress.

Hello NaNoBox!

The basic idea of of the NaNoBox is to use a mini computer to access the NaNoWriMo wordcount API and do the following:

  1. Every hour, get the current word count of a small list of NaNoWriMo participants
  2. Loop through the list of participants and:
    1. illuminate something that represents a NaNoWriMo participant
    2. show the progress of the represented participant as a percentage on an analog meter

The Hardware

Earlier this month I acquired a Raspberry Pi from http://www.adafruit.com, and I felt that the device would be ideal for this project.... I was wrong.

While I still used the Raspberry Pi for my project, I will never purchase another one, nor will I ever use the Raspberry Pi for another similar project.

Why I don't like the Pi

  • There are no mounting holes. When I make a custom enclosure for a computer, I like to mount the motherboard on standoffs, and I can't do this with the Raspberry Pi. lame
  • Handling PWM is not as simple as just writing to a file, and I needed to compile a 3rd party application to help me with PWM. I was spoiled by the Beaglebone
  • The is little to no documentation for the Raspberry Pi at http://www.raspberrypi.org/. Very lame
  • Proprietary video drivers. Not a big deal for this project, but still less than ideal

Alright, that's enough complaining about the computer, let's get on with the build.

The Interface

At the suggestion of my friend who is a wood worker, I made a template of how I wanted the interface of the NaNoBox to look.

The Case

There is something about the scent of a nice cedar cigar box that tickles my brain.

This cigar box has been hanging out at my house for long enough. Time to chop it up.

Chop Chop

After laying out the design on the box, I used my poor selection of power tools to hack a bunch of holes in the cigar box.

The logo on the box was impossible to remove, but I sanded it down as best as I could.

Power

On the back of the box I drilled a hole for the power cable to go through.

Ewww, there is a sideburn hair in the picture

Stain

After much sanding, I stained the top of the box with the only stain I have (other than coffee), some red leather stain.

Diffused

On the inside of the box, I hot glued a piece of paper to diffuse light that shines upon it. What? you'll find out.

DVD Box

This is part of a DVD case. I like the way this plastic clip holds paper in the DVD case and I figure it would be a not too crappy way to hold the Raspberry Pi in place within the box.

Computer Mount

The DVD case clip was cut up and hot glued into the cigar box. See the black dots? LEDs will go there.

Like I said earlier, the lack of mounting holes is a serious downside of the Raspberry Pi (at least for the type of projects I like to do).

Put It On The Wall

Two screws and a bit of baling wire make for a great wall hanging bracket.

LEDs Wired Up

Here are the LEDs, soldered together and hot glued in place so that they shine through the square holes in the cigar box.

Voltmeter In Place

A 3.3V voltmeter was bolted into place, and an amber LED was hot glued over a small hole in the center of the box.

All Wired Up

The electronics are all done and ready to roll! I added a small 802.11n wireless USB adapter so that I wouldn't need another cable running to the computer.

Picture Holdy Thingies

Some thick paper was cut and folder in order to make holders for pictures that will be placed over the openings in the case.

Glued In Place

There it is! Two of the image holdy thingies were glued to the box for each of the images.

All Done

The pictures are in place and ready to light up.

The photographs are of my coworkers. The two other images represent podcasters that I listen too who happen to be participating in this years NaNoWriMo, and they are Thistleweb from Crivins and Moosical from The Bugcast.

Tim Kim

Hi Tim! Wow, I took a very unflattering picture of Tim for use in this project. Haha!

In Action

I dropped some test data into the code that runs the NaNoBox so that I could see the device in action before the event starts. When the participants get to 50,000 words, the amber LED in the middle of the box illuminates.

The Code

For this project, I decided to use Ruby because .... um... why not?

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
require 'open-uri'
require 'rexml/document'

class Pin
  def initialize(num)
    @gpio num
    #init this pin
    `gpio -g mode #{@gpioout`
  end
  def on()
     `gpio -g write #{@gpio1`
  end

  def off()
    `gpio -g write #{@gpio0`
  end

end

class Nanobox
  def initialize()
    #keep it clean
    clean_up()
    #define the pins
    @pins = [
      Pin.new(4),
      Pin.new(17),
      Pin.new(23),
      Pin.new(24),
      Pin.new(25),
      Pin.new(22),
      Pin.new(21),
      Pin.new(10),
    ]
    #create the PWM on 18 (AKA pin 12)
    `gpio -g mode 18 pwm`   
    
  end

  def clean_up()
    #unexport all of the assigned pins
    `gpio unexportall`
  end

  def set_pwm_percentnum )
    max 1023
    offset_percent num*0.92
    val max*offset_percent/100
    `gpio -g pwm 18 #{val}
  end

  def read_config_file
    this_dir File.dirname(__FILE__)
    config File.join(this_dir"users.conf")

    @users = []
    File.open(configdo |file|
      file.each_line do |line|
        if line.chomp != ""
          user = {"name" => line.chomp}
          @users << user
        end
      end
    end
  end

  def update_wordcount_of_user(user)
    begin
      url "http://nanowrimo.org/wordcount_api/wc/"+user['name']
      xml_text open(url).read
      doc REXML::Document.new xml_text
      if doc.root.elements['error'].nil?
        wc doc.root.elements['user_wordcount'].text.to_i/500.to_i
      else
        wc 0
      end
    rescue
      #do nothing
    end
    if wc 100
      wc 100
    end
    
    @users.each_with_index do |ui|
      if u['name'] == user['name']
        user['wc'] = wc
        @users[i] = user
        break
      end
    end
  end

  def update_all_wordcounts() 
    @users.each do |user|
      update_wordcount_of_user(user)
    end
  end

  def run
    #read the config
    read_config_file()
    #do the initial wordcount update
    update_all_wordcounts()
    @running true
    update_wc_count 0
    count 0
    sleep_time #seconds
    update_wc_count_max 3600/sleep_time
    current_pin nil
    while @running
      unless current_pin.nil?
        current_pin.off()
      end
      current_pin @pins[count]
      current_pin.on()
      count+=1
      update_wc_count+=1
      if count >= @pins.length or count >= @users.length
        count 0
      end
      if update_wc_count update_wc_count_max
        update_wc_count 0
        update_all_wordcounts()
      end
      value @users[count]["wc"]
      if value >= 100 
        @pins[7].on()
      else
        @pins[7].off()
      end
      set_pwm_percent(value)
      sleep 5
    end
    quit
  end
  
  def stop
    @running false
  end
  
  def quit
    set_pwm_percent(0)
    #turn off all of the LEDS
    @pins.each do |p|
      p.off()
    end
    #do some cleanup
    clean_up()
  end
end

if __FILE__ == $0
  nano Nanobox.new
  trap("INT"){ nano.stop }
  nano.run()
end

Yup, that's some ugly, uncommented code. While parsing the XML that gets returned by the Word Count API, I realized that I don't like processing XML in Ruby, and then I had an epiphany: XML is very consistant, I dislike parsing it in any language. ZING!

Wait a second. Don't I have more coworkers? Why aren't they represented in this project? Yes, I do have more coworkers, but the cigar box has a very limited amount of space. Fortunately, I have enough components to make another NaNoWriMo status tracker. Time to get to the drawing board.

Now quit reading, and get ready to start procrastinating.

Comments
2012-11-28 d-r:
Mr. Jezra -

You probably are already aware of this, but the latest rev of the Raspberry Pi has mounting holes (just got mine today!).

Also, have you checked out Adafruit's modification of Raspbian, called Occidentalis? They've done some stuff to make the GPIO stuff more useful, including PWM. I don't really understand that stuff, but perhaps a real hacker such as yourself will find it useful: http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-raspberry-pi-educational-linux-distro/occidentalis-v0-dot-2

It doesn't sound like they intend to maintain it like a real distro, but it looks useful for single purpose projects.

Maybe some day they'll get around to proper documentation . . . seems like a genuinely useful open graphics driver isn't going to happen though.

Regards,

d-r
2012-11-28 jezra:
Is it still only two holes? 3 points make a plane, 2 points make a line.

The idea of installing as full Desktop distro just to get decent PWM support is not for me. I'll stick with the BeagleBone
2012-11-28 d-r:
Good point, it is just two holes. It seems like there's a real need for a barebones distro optimized for hardware hacking on the RPi . . . maybe someone will take Adafruit's modifications and turn it in to a real distro.
2012-11-28 jezra:
it's called "Arch"
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2012-09-23

Earlier this month, I received a 3V Voltmeter that I purchased on Amazon. The reason for the purchase was so that I could write some code to control the voltmeter from my beaglebone. Well hey! Guess what I finally got around to doing?

Before I get to the code, let me explain how this works, and I'd like to give a big shout out to gigamegablog for being such a great resource.

Controlling the voltmeter with the beaglebone requires a bit of understanding of Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM). The pins on the beaglebone are capable of outputting 3.3V of power. By using PWM we can send the 3.3V of power in pulses, and when these pulses are spaced apart properly, we give the illusion of a lower voltage.

The Pin Layout

According to the beaglebone documentation, pins 14 and 16 of pin header P9 on the beaglebone are PWM pins. It should be possible to use other pins as PWM pins by "muxing" the pins, but for my needs, pin 14 will do just fine.

The positive probe of the voltmeter was connected to pin 14 on P9 and the ground was connected to pin 2 on P9.

The First Test

Since I am runnin Arch Linux on my beaglebone, PWM is not only supported in the kernel, it is also enabled. Rad, that is one less step to take. Thank you Arch Linux!

The test went like this :

  1. su to become root
  2. mux pin 14, just to be sure:
    echo 6 > /sys/kernel/debug/omap_mux/gpmc_a2
  3. set the duty_percent to 0 (this is the percent of the 3.3V that we want to emit):
    echo 0 > /sys/class/pwm/ehrpwm.1:0/duty_percent
  4. set the period frequency to 100 (this is the 'pulse' ins Hz):
    echo 100 > /sys/class/pwm/ehrpwm.1:0/period_freq
  5. start the PWM pin running:
    echo 1 > /sys/class/pwm/ehrpwm.1:0/run
  6. start increasing the duty_percent until the voltmeter is at 3V. For me, this was when the duty_percent was 92

Sweet!

Getting Data To Process

Since I didn't want to do any web server configuration in order to get data, I decided to write a very small WSGI app in python and serve it up using the wsgiref.simple_server class.

Enter the Python

#!/usr/bin/env python2
from wsgiref.simple_server import make_server

#define some stuff
max_val 92
pin_path "/sys/class/pwm/ehrpwm.1:0"
run pin_path+"/run"
duty_percent pin_path+"/duty_percent"
period_freq pin_path+"/period_freq"

#mux the pin
try:
  open("/sys/kernel/debug/omap_mux/gpmc_a2","w")
  f.write("6")
  f.close()
except Exceptione:
  print e.message

def set_runval ):
  try:
    open(run,"w")
    f.writestr(val) )
    f.close()
  except Exceptione:
    print e.message

def set_duty_percent(val):
  try:
    open(duty_percent,"w")
    f.writestr(val) )
    f.close()
  except Exceptione:
    print e.message

def set_period_frequency(val):
  try:
    open(period_freq,"w")
    f.writestr(val) )
    f.close()
  except Exceptione:
      print e.message

#set some PWM values
set_run(0)
set_duty_percent(0)
set_period_frequency(100)
set_run(1)

def got_value(val):
  val val.strip("/")
  val int(val,10)
  percent = (max_val val/100)
  set_duty_percent(percent)

class my_wsgi_app:
  def process_request(self,text):
    got_value(text)
    status '200 OK' # HTTP Status
    headers = [('Content-type''text/html')] # HTTP Headers
    return statusheaderstext
      
  def run(selfenvironstart_response):
    path environ['PATH_INFO']
    statusheaderscontent self.process_requestpath )
    #begin the response
    start_response(statusheaders)
    #return the content
    return content

app my_wsgi_app()
httpd make_server(''8080app.run)
print "Serving on port 8080..."

# Serve until process is killed
httpd.serve_forever()

For ease of copy, the code is also available at http://hoof.jezra.net/snip/o3

The code starts serving on port 8080 and sets the percent of the PWM based on the URL used to access the server. For example, to set the voltmeter to 25%, one would need to point a browser at http://NAME_BEAGLEBONE:8080/25. My beaglebone is mounted on the wall and is named "wallbone", yea original. Anyway, if I want to set the voltmeter to 77%, I would access http://wallbone:8080/77

Face to Face

It's a shame that the voltmeter as a big "V" on it, as well as 0, 1, 2, 3, and some useless text.

One would think that I could just take apart the voltmeter, make a compass from a pin and a twist-tie, draw a new face, and re-assemble the meter. Oh, don't mind if I do!

How about some video?

Well... it was far too dark and the pin isn't really visible. What a shame.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldcwMYj5AIc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdbBgiZn1UM

Now What?

There are plenty of uses for this meter.

  • analog progress or volume meter for muttonchop
  • add a few more meters and create a neat clock

With the pulse-width modulation, I could connect and control a fan from the beaglebone.

The possibilities are only limited by my imagination.

Now quit reading, and go send me some ideas.

Comments
2012-10-12 Alison Chaiken:
Just curious . . . which kernel version is running? I know, such a boring question, but I'm curious whether it would be a newer one with devicetree, whose pinctrl with PWM is somewhat complex, but prolly implemented by TI for beaglebone.
2012-10-12 jezra:
Kernel 3.2.21
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2012-05-11

After putting together the rotary phone beaglebone machine, I decided that I still needed to do something with the extra pinouts on the beaglebone. Since I had recently started using MyTinyTodo to keep track of my todo list, I thought it would be nice to have a quick visual display of how many things are still on my todo list.

To Accomplish this my goal, I would need to add some LEDs to the beagle bone and then hack some code to do what needs doing. First thing first: add the idea to the todo list.

Gather Some Components

In order to get this project going, a trip to the nearby electronics store was in order. After returning home with 10 green LEDs ( the plan was to use 6, but I figured buying extra would let me fry a few), I realized that there was a lack of 100 Ohm resistors in my home.

Fortunately, I had some 50 Ohms that I soldered in series to handle the job.

This is a very boring pictures; don't look at it.

Solder 6 of These

This is the basic circuit that get's wired to the BeagleBone. The extra length of wire will get cut off and the entire thing will be wrapped in a bit of electrical tape.

While I was at the electronics store, I bought some fans to replace the fans in the clock server because I think it runs too hot.

The Finished Circuit

Well looky looky! The circuit is finished. Six LEDs with a common ground, with a 100 Ohms of resistance for each LED.

Time to wrap these babies up with electrical tape and hot glue them into the BeagleBone's case.

Glued in Place

On the third attempt, I managed to almost get the LEDs glued into place where I wanted them. Yea, it took me a few time of gluing, and then prying the LEDs from the case a regluing before things were working properly.

As it is, one of the LEDs still doesn't let the box close very easily. Terrible terrible design. That's it! I'm firing myself.

Oh hey! This is probably the best picture that shows off the flowers etched in the glass.

7 Things On The ToDo List

At the time this picture was taken, there were 7 things on my todo list. But there are only 3 LEDs lit up. That's right, the LEDs need to be counted in binary from left to right.

With this setup, using 6 LEDs, the ToDo List will max out at 63 items; and I if I have that many things to do, something is very wrong.

Every 5 minutes, the LEDs run a simple animation sequence, parse the ToDo List RSS feed and then turn on or turn off LEDs as necessary.

Since there is still plenty of room in the box, I'm thinking of adding another something-or-other that is controlled by the BeagleBone pins. I'm not sure what it will be, but I can guarantee I'll have fun making it.

Hack on!

PS. I really want to have 15 things on my ToDo list, just so I can say "THERE...ARE...FOUR...LIGHTS" Ha hahahaha, I crack me up.

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2012-05-05

A few weeks ago I purchased a BeagleBone from Amazon. The BeagleBone is a small ARM based computer with programmable Input/Output pins developed by Texas Instruments and is part of their beagleboard line of ARM development boards. After finally deciding what to do with the computer, it was time to build a new computer case.

Where is it Going?

At the thrift store, I purchased a nice jewelry box with flowers etched in its glass. The small, solid box was $3.00.

The plan (play the A-Team theme), is as follows:

  1. Connect a rotary phone to the BeagleBone for input
  2. Do some other sweet shit (more on that later)

Alrighty! time to get crackin

Gutted

Step 1. Remove the guts.

For some reason, whoever created the box thought it would be a good idea to put a bunch of stuff inside that I don't want or need.

Here is the box with the lid removed and the crap removed.

Making Some Standoffs

When I made the clock server case, I kept some of the wood bits that I needed to remove from the internals of the clock. A wood saw and some small screws made some sweet standoffs for the beaglebone.

A black marker was eventually used to color the light wood.

Mangle the Box

Any dreams I had about making an very clean access hole in the case was dashed upon the rocks of my poor power tool using skills.

Oh well, it doesn't get seen, and it works as it should. Why am I complaining?

Wall Hanging Mount

Some twisted baling wire and two wood screws will make it very easy to hang the box on the wall.

Time to warm up the hot glue gun.

So Far So Good

Once the glue gun was hot, the standoffs were glued into the box.

Look at all of that empty space! The BeagleBone has a USB port so I will be putting something in the box, but I don't know what it will be. So far, I'm thinking it could be:

  • a nice laptop hard-drive for file storage
  • a character LCD to display information
  • or... I could ditch the case and put the BeagleBone in the phone itself

On The Wall

All plugged in a running sweet!

Currently, my BeagleBone is running Arch Linux.
Originally, the BeagleBone ships with Ångström Linux, but I couldn't find any documentation for configuring the opkg package manager that ships with Ångström, and since I was looking to eventually run Lighttpd and MySQL on the device, I switched to a distro with an extremely useful wiki.

The Computers in the Corner

The Phone
The Bone
The Router
The Clock Server
The DSL Modem
The Status Server (between the modem and the router)

Now What to Do?

Put some LEDs in the box and write a program to light up the LEDs when something happens. That something is to be decided

But what else?
Options include putting a hard drive in the box and use it as a federated status.net server or put a character LCD in the case and use LCDproc to display various bits of information.

Currently the machine is programmed to:

  • Dial 666 : play random Iron Maiden track on my MuttonChop machine
  • Dial 75337 (sleep) : shut down computers
  • Dial 9253 (wake) : emit wake-on-lan signal to various computers

Now I need to write a bunch of little programs to be run when various numbers are dialed on the phone, and I need to find a way to get the cables out of the way.

Until next time, hack on!

The BeagleBone story continues at http://www.jezra.net/blog/LEDs_BeagleBone_and_my_ToDo_List

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2011-12-27

On my home network, when various things happen, a command is sent to Wind(my media playing machine) via some networked text to speech scripts. Since espeak is already installed on Wind, I thought I would use some 'text to speech' to notify me when Wind is shutting down. Egads! what a bad idea.

If you have espeak installed on your machine, fire up the command line and enter:

espeak "shutting down"

Would you really want to hear that every time a machine is shut down? Well you might, but I certainly don't.

Why Bother?

When I first built Wind, I used two switches wired in parallel for the power on/off. This requires both switches to be depressed at the same time in order to turn the machine on or off. While this makes it very easy to avoid accidental shutdown, the switches I used give no tactile feedback and I can't always be sure that the machine has been shutdown, unless I stand around for a bit and wait for the computer light to power off. What a waste of my time.

I just want to hit the power and head out the door.

The Fix

For reasons of maintaining sanity, I felt a simple audio file should be played when the machine is powered off. The process went something like this:

  1. Make an Audio File

    Using audacity and my cheap USB microphone, I recorded an overlapped descending 3 note arpeggio that I played on my concertina. After a bit of adjustment, it sounds like this:

    Note: The shutdown audio file uses the non-patent encumbered ogg format. If your browser does not support playing ogg files, you owe it to yourself and the internet to file a bug report with your browser's creator regarding the lack of ogg support. Why do they hate the internet?

  2. Make a Shutdown Script

    part of the plan requires a very simple script that will play the audio file and then send the computer the shutdown command. On Wind, I created a script at /usr/local/sbin/wind_shutdown with the following code:

    #!/bin/sh
    sap /storage/opt/shutdown.ogg &
    shutdown -h now &
    
  3. Run the Shutdown Script When the Power Button is Pressed

    Wind is running Arch Linux with acpi, so I need to modify /etc/acpi/event.sh to run wind_shutdown when the power button pressed. Basically, I need to find this line:

    PWRF)   logger "PowerButton pressed: $2" ;;

    and replace it with this line

    PWRF)   logger "PowerButton pressed: $2" && wind_shutdown;;
  4. Rejoice!

That's all for now. From me and my text editor, I wish you all a very hacky New Year. Now quit reading, and go shut something off.

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