Star Wars IV Played on Vintage ’77 Dumb Terminal

What are we going to do with our newly acquired vintage 1977 Lear Siegler terminal?  Why, we’ll play ASCII Star Wars Episode IV on it, of course!  Recently purchased at the 2011 Techno Swap Fest, this baby-blue beauty has classic 70′s styling, comfortable keyboard and gets 80 columns on the screen in a lovely white uppercase font.  It took some coaxing to get Baby Blue to play along with an Ubuntu-equipped laptop including tweaking some DIP switches hidden inside her chassis, some clever character substitutions in the ASCII Star Wars file, reading the datasheet for the terminal itself (thanks, Wikipedia!), and wiring up both a FTDI USB-to-serial converter and a MAX232 level converter IC.  But the results were worth a quick video.  Future improvements could include a way to hide the cursor (hardware modification?) and possibly speeding up draws by only painting the characters that have changed.  What do ya think?

Jeremy Awesome’s Amazing Technicolor Soapbox Kart

When Jeremy ‘Awesome’ Ashinghurst is not busy hacking at HaHa, researching new and interesting ways to make power tools dangerous or just generally being awesome, he’s busy riding his custom-built gravity-powered vehicle, also known as a soapbox kart, at dangerously high speeds down steep hills.  Well, all of the hard work and road rash paid off for Jeremy recently when he won the grand prize in Make Magazine’s Karts and Wheels contest. Keep your eyes peeled for Make Volume 26, starring Mr. Awesome’s Kart, at your local newsstand.  In the meantime, read his entire, well-documented build on the Make Blog.  Go Awesome, go!

CNC User Group Wrap-Up

We hosted our first CNC/Makerbot User Group meeting. A special thanks goes out to Brian Dolge for organizing the event and making it a success. We had a great turnout with about 20+ people in attendance. Marty McGuire demonstrated his Makerbot by drawing on Post-Its with a Sharpie. Harford Hackerspace demonstrated their CNC Milling machine by cutting out a wooden Ninja star. Check out the images below.