Archive for the ‘mod’ tag
Printers are often unsightly things—they take up a lot of space, they’re loud, and even if you have a Wi-Fi model that doesn’t have to be directly connected to your computer, it’s hard to find a place for them. This hack puts your printer away in a dresser drawer, and adds a hinge to the front of the drawer so you even have easy access to your printouts when you send a job to the printer. More »
Randy Fujimoto has a mission statement on his website: “A quest to transform education through game-based learning.” That’s a big idea, to be sure, but we think he might have a chance to succeed, especially with his new model for teaching history using, of all things, Minecraft, the new indie gaming sensation that has players exploring, mining and creating in an open, sandbox world.
The new project shows the unintentional, creative consequences that result when developers create an open world game. We were able to chat a bit yesterday on the phone with Fujimoto about his current and future projects involving using Minecraft to teach students, and we came away almost as excited as he is about the potential.
Inspired by his own Minecraft experience as well as other educators using the game, Fujimoto set out to create a workshop to teach high school and middle school students about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. He is currently creating the lesson plans, the learning objectives, and the deliverables he’ll require of his summer students, but the main project will involve researching the internment camps, recreating them in the crafting wilds of a Minecraft server install (with a little help from interested educators at Temple University), and then having the students create a small video of the final replica to present to the rest of the students. The end result will be a fully documented educational learning experience involving hot indie game, Minecraft, that can that be used as a model by other teachers and students around the world.
Here’s a video of Fujimoto’s own internment camp, made completely in Minecraft, that he made as an example for his students.
Fujimoto wants to use Minecraft as “a hook to interest students in history – learning it from books can be boring,” he said in our phone conversation. “Ideally, I’d like to do a research study (on Minecraft learning), but this will mainly provide anecdotal evidence.”
Working with educators at Temple University – they’ve offered to provide server space for his workshop students – may give Fujimoto a whole group of educators to work with in the future – the folks there want to create a “guild” of sorts, as many do in massively multiplayer role playing game World of Warcraft, so that teachers and administrators can log on to Minecraft servers and meet up with other educators engaged in this new kind of 21st century learning. A similar initiative exists in the Massively Minecraft Network, created by a collaborative educational collective in Australia called Massively Productive.
Minecraft is being used by several other educators around the world to help connect students to their learning in a new way. The Minecraft EDU project is a modified version (mod) of the Minecraft server program to help less technically savvy teachers create their own Minecraft classroom, as it were. The mod provides a graphical interface for many server tricks and commands, allowing teachers to freeze students, teleport them to specific locations, and enable creative mode, among others. Joel Levin, a computer teacher at a private school in New York, teaches his first and second grade students in Minecraft, as well, blogging about his experiences along the way.
These educators are proving the point that students learn best when they are engaged in their learning. Using Minecraft as a teaching tool is only the current face of this kind of teaching and learning; there will be others in the near future. “All of these things have a short shelf life,” said Fujimoto, referring to Minecraft, “but even if it’s a couple of years, we’re transforming the way students learn in classrooms.”
More importantly, perhaps, we’re changing the way teachers teach.
Wireless operators in Singapore are preparing to launch a modified iPhone 4S device with its cameras removed in an effort to market the device to military personnel who are not allowed to bring camera-equipped smartphones to army camps.
No matter how careful we are when zipping up our jackets, we all have times where the edges get caught in the zipper and you have to spend minutes—or Windex—getting it out. With just a long piece of string or wire, you can prevent this from happening. More »
2011 saw the rise and fall of Siri. What was initially hailed as something just short of the savior of mankind turned out to be a limited voice control system. Apple insists Siri is still a beta product. They say it will get better.
But some out there couldn’t wait for Apple. And so, with a little imagineering, people made Siri do all sorts of unconventional tasks in 2011. These hacks led to her opening beer, playing the piano, and even warning owners about what’s on a specific TV station. Yeah, the official feature set of Siri is a bit underwhelming, but hackers and modders managed to roll out an impressive set of avant-garde use cases to keep owners occupied until Apple rolls out the next Siri revision. Read on for the top 5 Siri hacks and mods of 2011.
Beeri. Siri-controlled beer bot
Using an Arduino, R/C truck and a metal spike, this hack is more about the triumph of man over machine than actually pouring a proper glass of beer. But who cares! It’s awesome. And as one of the very first Siri hacks, beeri occupies a special place in the history books.
Start Your Car With Siri
“Start my car.” It’s just that easy. Developer Brandon Fiquett used an open source Siri Proxy server and coded a PHP script that interacts with the Viper SmartStart system installed in his Acura. Then, with just a quick conversation with Siri, this guy can start and stop his car from afar. Like a boss.
Siri Proxy & ioBridge Home Automation
Using the same Siri Proxy has the previous hack, this mod interacts with an X10 home automation system. “Siri, turn off everything.” “Your house has been powered down. Good bye.” Eat your electronic heart out, HAL 9000.
Play it again, Siri
Never mind the Yamaha marketing nonsense, the video still fun to watch. However, when you dig into the so-called mod, Siri is simply initiating the playback of a specific file. In this case, Siri is telling the iPhone to start playing a Midi file which is streamed using Airplay to the Yamaha piano through an AirPort Express. I think. It could be magic.
Siri Universal Remote
The Siri Universal Remote leans on SiriProxy and an Arduino IR box. But it’s a lot more than that. As the video shows above, when Siri is asked to change the channel, she announces the program currently playing on the station. Think of it as a Pawn Stars/Jersey Shore early warning system.
Set the rear-facing Apple logo aglow with this simple mod. Per the video demo below, it only takes 5 minutes to install and seems relatively simple. Just pop off the back cover of the iPhone, remove 5 internal screws, disconnect the screen’s cable and install the mod. From there, you’re a hop, skip and jump from having a glowing Apple logo every time the iPhone’s screen kicks on or displays a notification.
But there’s a catch. The retailer knows it won’t be able to sell this thing forever. Apple will no doubt release its legal hounds as soon as it catches wind of the unofficial mod. K.O Store is currently selling the kit for $42, but only for a limited time. Per a countdown timer on the website, the kit will go into hiding in just over two days from now unless of course Apple gets to it first. So? Do you want it or not?
The retailer states that it will take 14 days to ship the kit and the new back panel doesn’t change the iPhone’s dimensions. It will still work with standard cases and bumpers. Buyers also have the option of opting for the traditional Apple logo or the Steve Jobs Tribute logo designed by Jonathan Mak. But with either logo and a little work, you’ll end up with a very unique iPhone. Just don’t wait. Order it while it’s still available. [K.O Store via M.I.C Gadgets]
Update @ 10:30 am: Looks like we crashed the store or Apple retaliated with an orbital bombardment.
When Cyber Monday rolls around, everyone’s eyes dart to the big boys like Amazon and Newegg for cheap goods, but niche retailers have their own deals too. Case in point: the DIY repair nuts at iFixit have whipped together a nifty bundle for aspiring iPhone modders who would like to see the fruits of Apple’s design savvy instead of an opaque black panel.
For $29, you get one of iFixit’s transparent rear plates for either the GSM iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, along with the necessary tools to do the job. iFixit has also thrown in a screen protector and one of their liquid-absorbing Thirsty Bags (which I sincerely hope you’ll never need to use).
Those of you on the fence may be comforted by the six month warranty iFixit has on these things, but there really doesn’t seem to be much cause for concern. In any case, if the thought of playing with pentalobe screws and peeling the glass plate off of an iPhone has you feeling a bit squeamish, this probably isn’t the deal for you.
Considering that the rear panel itself normally costs just north of $50, anyone hoping for a quick, easy, and (I think) handsome mod should give this one some thought. I suppose it goes without saying that the mod will probably void your warranty, but the way I look at it, that’s a small price to pay for an iPhone that isn’t another carbon copy Cupertino obelisk. And hey, if anything should ever go wrong with that modded iPhone, you’ll know exactly where to start hunting for replacement parts.
Photos were a little hard to grab but I got to see a real, live “transparent” iPhone last night in Shenzhen. The kit is apparently quite easy to install – a few screws on the bottom and then you just slide off the back. I had seen kits advertised before, but this is the first time I’ve seen on in real life and, oddly enough, it’s kind of endearing.
One more shot below, but it’s a clever and cool mod and it’s really striking, in a Visible Man sort of way, if you’re into modded iPhones.
Firefox: One of the greatest things about Firefox is its customizability. While you can do a lot with userscripts and userstyles, free extension Mar Mod packs in a ton of useful tweaks into one, simple package, including quick access to any of your add-on settings, favicon customization, and one-click private browsing. More »
There’s finally a legitimate reason to buy the new-ish Sony PRS-T1 Reader: You can hack it and install the Kindle Android app. I kid. However, there is a new hack for Sony’s least expensive ereader that allows for root access, effectively opening up the device to all sorts of Android uses. This of course includes the Kindle app.
Apparently it’s a relatively easy mod as The Digital Reader notes it’s relatively foolproof. Just download the installer to the reader and give it time to do its thing. After that, the reader will reboot and you’ll be able to play Fruit Ninja on an inexpensive eink screen.
Sony readers have long been a fan favorite and the latest round that included the T1 are the lowest cost options yet. They’re nearly completely open and support almost every ebook file format. But this latest mod opens the door for all sorts of new uses. Sure, the Sony readers aren’t as popular as the Kindle but they have a dedicated following who enjoy their open nature and quality hardware. Other venders should take note.