Saturday September 17th, Hive76 members Chris and Peejay will be co-presenting at the Phila Area Computer Society’s Season Kickoff Software Freedom Day Extravaganza.

PACS meets at the Super Giant in Willow Grove, PA.

 

 

MAKE Blog Love for Dave Sharp

One of our members, Dave Sharp, recently showed up on the MAKE Magazine Blog in their post on the Lockheed Samarai. You can see Dave piloting the maple-leaf-inspired drone in the video after the jump.

Dave joined us back in early February of this year. He does amazing work with raw fabrication of contraptions. For our exhibits at the PAFA “Grossed Out” event, he built a giant pantograph used with a USB-microscope to etch small designs on microscope slides. It was one of the most complete “DIY” builds I’ve ever seen; extremely clean and professional. Just like Dave.

We love having him as a member and look forward to seeing what else he comes up with.

 

Phone “hacking” at News of the World

Whenever the word “hacking” shows up in the news, it usually means one of two things. It’s either some government or group breaking into the system of some other government or group, or more likely, someone didn’t change their weak password. Hackem

The recent fuss about News of the World in the UK is the latter, the stupid hack (besides bribing the police and other non-hacking crimes.) This “hack” is just taking advantage of one of two voicemail vulnerabilities. One way in is to punch in the default VM PIN for the carrier, which is sometimes the last 4 of the phone number. The other way is to spoof your caller ID to match the voicemail number so the system lets you in like this. PS: don’t hack voicemails.

We don’t want your personal voicemails to be stolen like this. That’s why this Wednesday for open house, we can help you stay safe. A member can help you navigate the menus on your phone and change or add some security. Or maybe this post just pushed you right now to change your pin to something other than 1478.

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Sorry to everyone for how long it took me to get this write-up out. The perils of starting a new job, I guess. Luckily, we had plenty of notes taken for the entire week, so very little was lost to the black hole that is my memory.
Our arrangements for Philly Tech Week were pretty impromptu, but we managed to pull off a number of fun things.

Monday, 25th: Open Work Night
Open Work Night turned out to be an extension of our spring cleaning from over the weekend. We got the space nice and tidy for everyone who would be visiting later in the week. One visitor came by and helped us put together a few shelves, which was incredibly handy as they required some “lite modification” with a hacksaw before they would fit in our ceilings. Oh, I know! Our ceilings are freaking tall, what was up with the shelves?

Tuesday, 26th: Micro-controller Show and Tell
The evening had a pretty light showing as people hadn’t really quite caught on to what we were doing. However, some of our members (Mike, Chris, and PJ) did get a start on a mirror-and-laser text display system. Very cool.

Wednesday, 27th: Regularly Scheduled Open House + Late Night Karaoke
On Wednesday night, we hosted a number of guests for what is normally our Open House night. These normally turn into social gatherings of sorts, and Tech Week was no exception. We found out that one of our guests is getting ready to launch a new social networking site, another who has started a vending machine company focusing on local goods (http://snacklikealocal.com), and another kind soul looking to donate a Smithy Lathe!

PJ got his MIDI Nintendo Running pad working. Basically, the old running pad controller used with the NES is interpreted through an Arduino to send MIDI signals back to a host computer, where it is used with any MIDI capable software, in this particular case Ableton Live.

We did get Late Night Karaoke going, and it was a blast. Adam rocked out with the Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. Sean sang Gershwin’s “Foggy London Town”. PJ wooed everyone with The Temptations’ “My Girl”. Corrie set us all rolling laughing with Gayla Peevey’s “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”. Chris fiiiiinaly got up to sing Soul Survivor’s “Expressway To Your Heart”. And Brendan was Brendan with Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

Thursday, 28th: DIY/Electronic Music
We had a good mix of newcomers and members for our music night. One person brought in a completely hand-made, 7 sting electric guitar he built. The thing was sick, really wish we had gotten pictures. We jammed out with various synths and drum machines. Sean further extended his Atari Punk Console with a low-pass filter to give it a rounder tone, then blipped and buzzed along with everyone else. Brendan rocked out on the guitar, and Dan was really tearing it up on the keyboard. Definitely a fun night, and we will be looking to do more such nights in the future.

Friday, 29th: “Bricks and Grips” – Arm Wrestling/Puzzle Game Tournament
This night, we actually had more guests than members show up. The first two challengers for Arm Wrestling Tetris were Sean McBeth (the creator) and Robert Cheetham, founder and president of Azavea, a GIS software firm in Center City that is doing some extremely revolutionary work (I know, I used to work in the industry). We also had a bit more electric music jamming, which was a great time.

It was a real team effort getting the game together, between Brendan’s sound track, PJ’s voice over work, and Sean’s programming and construction, it all fit together perfectly. Next up, Punching Bag Double Dragon!

Saturday, 30th: Artemis Game Session
The developer of Artemis just released a new version that includes canned missions. We played the first mission with Sean as Captain and survived to tell the tale.

While en route to our primary mission objective of observing anomolies in a nearby nebula cluster, we encountered a squadron of Krellians lying in wait, having prepared for an ambush against us. Lt. Commander Santoro showed great skill and initiative in destroying the three ships in mere seconds with two well-placed nuclear torpedoes.

After the brief battle, we intercepted a distress call from Deep-Space 49 as they took fire from another battle group of Krellians. Running low on energy and weapons, we barely scraped by and defended the station after a core-burning sprint at maximum warp that nearly left us depleted of energy. Lt. Peterson performed admirably in her duties managing power levels and surely is responsible for our survival.

DS-49 provided us with much needed supplies as we returned to our primary mission: scanning nebulae. We returned to the cluster to find another hidden flotilla of Krellians. This time, we were completely out of nukes and were unable to deal with them handily as we did before. We managed to warp out of weapons range before any serious damage came to the ship. Our second sortie against the Krellians fared better, we damaged them, but had not completely destroyed them. Running low on weapons, Commander Toliaferro performed commendably in maintaining a flanking position on the enemy, allowing Lt. Commander Santoro to dispatch the enemy with beam weapons.

Completely depleted of forward torpedoes, running low on energy, we were ambushed by a third squad of Krellians while under way to DS-45 for supplies. While we managed to warp into a nebula for cover, the nebula destroyed our shields and we were stuck with the enemy between us and our safety. Having nothing but mines left, Captain McBeth hatched a plan. We would fly through the center of the squadron, diverting repair crews and energy to protect critical systems as we bore the brunt of the frontal assault, then dropping our mines in the middle of the squad as we passed through them, to warp away to safety on the other side. The plan required a high level of coordination by all crew members. As Commander Toliaferro deftly navigated at close quarters through the heart of the beast, the first pass dealt great damage to the enemy, but they weren’t quite finished. Rather than coming about for another pass, Captain McBeth ordered all-stop in the middle of battle. Allowing the enemy to come in to weapons range, Lt. Commander Santoro dropped the last few mines, while Lt. Peterson delicately balanced the needs o the repair crews, shields, weapon systems, and engines largely under instinct, not having time to run the proper load balancing calculations. As a result, the final Krellian fleet was completely destroyed while the S.S. Artemis flew home under her own power, completely undamaged, back to DS-45.

Another mission accomplished.

 

For Philly Tech Week, we’re opening our doors every night of the week at 8pm, extending our normal Open House format to the entire week, for this week only. We have a variety of different activities planned. Check it out.

Useless Photo

It's gonna be hot!

Monday, 25th: Open Work Night
For the first night of Tech Week, we’ll be working in the space on projects together. Come stop by and say hi, lend a hand, or just to jibber-jabber about your own projects. This is a little different than normal Open Houses in that we typically curb work sessions for the night.

Tuesday, 26th: Micro-controller Show and Tell
Have an Arduino, MSP430, Propeller, or other MCU project that you want to show off? Want to learn some basics of gettings started with the MSP430? Come out this night and have fun with bit-twiddling, speaker beeping, and LED-blinking.

Wednesday, 27th: Regularly Scheduled Open House + Late Night Karaoke
Our regularly scheduled social hour. We have a hacktastic “karaoke machine” running on a Macbook that lets you queue songs through our IRC channel. We don’t usually start the Karaoke until 10pm, but if enough people are interested we’ll get it started early.

Thursday, 28th: DIY/Electronic Music
Step-tone generators, electric guitar effects pedals, sequencers, keyboards. Whether you’ve made your own instrument or not, any way you want to make music tonight, come on down and jam with us.

Friday, 29th: “Bricks and Grips” – Arm Wrestling/Puzzle Game Tournament
Based on a similar concept that we are not permitted to mention due to trademark issues, this game is a standard 2-player, head-to-head Tetrimino Puzzle Game, where players manipulate their pieces through an arm wrestling competition on a specially designed arm wrestling table-shaped controller.

Saturday, 30th: Artemis Game Session
For all you trekkies out there, Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator is a networked multiplayer game that simulates a spaceship’s bridge; much like what you’d see on Star Trek®.

 

D-I-Y DCP Creation using OpenDCP

[Editor note: This is a guest post by the wonderful Chris Young. He's making his own 3D short film from the ground up. -eagleapex]

terminal
My goal was to make OpenDCP work on a Sony SRX R-320 and after numerous attempts — as an independent filmmaker, I am elated to say it worked perfectly! It wouldn’t have been possible if Terrence Meiczinger hadn’t developed OpenDCP.

Admittedly, a few weeks ago I didn’t know much, if anything, about creating DCP files… let alone a stereoscopic 3D-DCP. I had recently finished work on a self produced and directed short film, “Dead of Nowhere”, that I was able to make largely in part utilizing the crowd-based funding site Indiegogo. I used a Final Cut Pro / 2K Cineform workflow to edit and finish my film. I shot my film guerilla style in one day, handheld on location with the Element Technica Dark-Country beamsplitter rig, recording to a 1-Beyond Wrangler. When I learned that it was going to cost somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 to have my ten minute film encoded in order to have it shown in a realD™ equipped theater, I knew I had to find an alternate “indie” solution to create my DCP.

After investigating all of the commercial solutions (easyDCP, Doremi, etc.) and speaking with several “indie-friendly” post houses — all of whom bid out of my price range… I stumbled onto OpenDCP.

While the notion of using an open-source command-line tool, still in development, isn’t for the faint of heart, and I am by no means a Unix Pro, the process was pretty simple once I understood how the OpenDCP tools worked.

There have been plenty of how-to posts, so I won’t get into a lot of detail here… but basically after getting my film into a Left Eye / Right Eye TIFF sequence at the correct aspect ratio (1998 x 1080), the frame rate at (24p), ensuring that my audio was the exact same length (intrinsic value) and the correct sample rate (24bit), it was a fairly straight forward process to convert to XYZ jpeg2000 (.j2c) using opendcp_j2k and then using opendcp_mxf to wrap the stereoscopic-picture and main-audio elements into separate mxf files. After figuring out that I needed to be sure to have the digest (-d) and annotation (-a) tags set in opendcp_xml, it was then just a simple matter of getting these files onto a drive to load into a cinema server.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this will probably not work the first time. I had to make several trips back and forth to the theater, trying various DCP versions (interop and smpte) and hard drive formats (I settled on NTFS).

If you’re an indie-filmmaker, trying to get your film digitally packaged for exhibition and don’t have the money to spend, or are the kind of person (like me) that enjoys learning about every step of the process — I couldn’t recommend a better, more rewarding way of creating a DCP.

More information about OpenDCP and DEAD OF NOWHERE can be found here:
OpenDCP Link: http://code.google.com/p/opendcp/
Short Film: http://www.deadofnowhere.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deadofnowhere

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Hive76 is well known for sparking groundbreaking ideas. In the last year alone, we have been the home base for innovating products such as the USB Typewriter, Meatcards, Boomcases and Math Clocks.

We are proud, tonight, to continue this tradition. We would like to congratulate long time Hive76 member Adam Kaufman, also know as Adam[0] on IRC, for joining the ranks of our elite.

Take a bow Adam. You’ve earned it.


inventor

photo courtesy of fynflood

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How I Became A Maker

Growing up, my dad worked overseas for the State Department so we moved all over the Middle East. DaveI always wanted to know how everything worked, and my dad had a hint of an interest in electronics and other hobbies, but resources were always a little limited and there weren’t any skilled mentors I could learn as much as I wanted from. I recall spending a lot of time coming up with wacky invention ideas, most of which in hindsight are probably infeasible, but coming up with the ideas was always half the fun anyway. My dad would bring home articles from magazines on topics he thought I’d find interesting, like building simple robots, or making red jello lasers. Periodically I would get an inkling to try realizing one of my inventions and I would save up my allowance money, eventually putting together an order from a surplus catalog in the States. It would take 2 weeks for my snail-mail order to arrive there through the diplomatic pouch, and another 2 weeks to receive my parts, and as you can imagine of a young kid, I usually ended up getting bored with waiting and abandoned the original idea for something I could do much sooner. I had a great set of books, a silver hard-bound set called “How Things Work”, which was wonderful for fueling the inner mad scientist in me. In about 4th grade I remember spending a fair bit of time designing the space ship that I hoped would eventually rescue me from homework and school, and also allow me to explore and perhaps begin colonizing Titan, one of the moons of Saturn. (Needless to say, that one hasn’t panned out. Yet.)

I really had an interest in how almost everything worked, picking up as many things as I could. One day my dad brought home the first Magic Eye picture I’d ever seen, and after struggling with it for an hour it was an incredible feeling when the image of the earth finally popped out at me in all its 3D splendor, and I’d been bitten by the 3D bug. Living where I did, we didn’t have access to hardware stores or Radio Shack, but there were petrified forests, ripe with geodes and other marvels of geology that I loved to learn about. In slightly later years I learned some interesting things about chemistry, and am probably fairly lucky to have all of my fingers and toes. After figuring out how to make a surprisingly effective blowgun with quite nasty darts, I got a taste of what fun working with projectiles can be, going on in much later years to build a high-power rocket that is fired from a pneumatic cannon.

I was always interested in computers, and had a burning desire to learn how to write my own software. In elementary school I stumbled onto HyperCard (an incredible thing at the time), and I was off and running teaching myself some basics of algorithms, and writing simple tools and games. (I was never particularly interested in actually playing games, much preferring to explore and learn, or take things apart and dream of what I could do with the pieces.) Discovering programming was a bit of a boon for me, because it was a way of inventing for free — no materials to buy or wait for in the mail, no tools to wear out, if I could dream it and if I had the motivation, I could make it happen for nothing. From that point on I think I just assumed that I would go on to major in Computer Science when I got old enough. Little did I know that when that time came, I would abandon it after feeling like the educational system was beating all the fun out of it for me.

I’ve always found myself wanting to understand things, but having to teach myself. While that has been frustrating, usually taking much longer than simply being taught by an expert, I think it has been valuable for shaping how I approach challenges. Making things can be a puzzle, an adventure, or a game, and it’s so much more rewarding in the end than something you’ve bought or watched on TV.

 

Weekend Itinerary

the Atari Punk Console

This is a busy weekend for Hive76, with classes and guest speakers and projects out the whazoo, so if you can manage to dig your way out of your snowy sarcophagus, come on down and see what’s happening.

  • Friday, Jan 28th – At 6pm tonight, we’re having a new member orientation meeting. This will be one of the first times we’ve had so many new people join at one time to warrant a specific “orientation”. This event is open to new members as well as any old ones who would like to get more involved at the space. Afterwards, we are going out to a nearby restaurant for dinner and drinks.
  • Saturday, Jan 29th – From 10am to 4pm we are running our “Making Things Blink and Buzz” class ($40, kit materials included) with Far McKon. This class is a hands-on workshop for building fun noisemakers without getting bogged down in drawn-out mathematics and electronics theory. A couple of seats still remain open and we do take last-minute entries if you are paying cash-at-the-door.
  • Sunday, Jan 30th – From 5PM to 8PM we are running a special open house for analog audio hacking. This is an open house for anyone of any skill level to mess with audio electronics. The event is free, you may bring your own materials, or beginner audio kits ($15 – $30) are available to get you started. A few very knowledgeable geeks—Jimmie P. Rogers, circuitbender and designer of a popular Atari Punk Console kit, and our very own Brendan Schrader, cohost of our Guitar Effects Class—are on hand to help out with more advanced projects.

This is just the start to our new year of classes and workshops. We have a few exciting events currently in planning stages, including a workshop on Rapid Prototyping and a series of workshops on Mixed Drinks and Molecular Gastronomy. Also, don’t forget our weekly open houses, every Wednesday at 8pm, where you can meet our current members, get to know everyone, and join our ranks yourself. Members get discounts on classes and kits!

(ed: snafu on list of attending “experts” fixed)

 

Along with being highly neighborly, and slightly insane Travis Goodspeed is also great reverse engineer. He is consistently a bringer-of-weird things to conferences (and the parties that inevitably follow). Many of those cool & weird things are objects designs and/or builds himself.

So It’s not a huge surprise to see him hacking on an amazing collaborative project to make an interactive tapestry creating game. As far as I can tell, as people play the game the winners custom designed image is added to the end of the tapestry. The game appears to be an scroller/shooter game, which is controlled by waving around RFID tags. Geez. And here I was, thinking having #15 high score on Hive’s Spy Hunter machine was cool. One more amazing projects from an awesome Philly resident.

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