Plover Hackathon

by on Oct.13, 2010, under Uncategorized

This Saturday (October 16th) Fumon, Rob, and I are going to hack on Plover at the lab from noon until around 5PM. Plover is the just-released Open Source steno program, which (with much practice) lets you type 300 WPM!

We’ll be focusing on two things:

  • brainstorming about open hardware ideas for chording keyboards including a soft-circuit one. Have sewing machine, laser, and Makerbot, will prototype!
  • working on the GUI portion of the app – adding the ability to switch between custom steno dictionaries and edit them

Skills that will be useful and put to use:

  • hardware hacking
  • sewing
  • python (the code is BEAUTIFUL, incidentally)
  • gnome universal access
  • GTK GUIs
  • linguistics

Come on out and help build Plover!  We’ll also be posting updates in #plover on freenode, which you can access through a browser here.


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RubyMine Donation

by on Nov.25, 2009, under Uncategorized

JetBrains has donated licenses of their excellent Ruby Mine IDE for the lab computers. Thanks guys!

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No, really, it does play Super Mario

by on Nov.18, 2009, under Uncategorized

So after doubt was instilled in the minds of various webizens whether our laser does in fact play Super Mario (the theme song, not the game), Cory Doctorow visited the lab this weekend and now believes our laser cutter cuts with awesomesauce, rather than lasers.  Thanks, Cory, hope it was fun!

We’re left wondering whether the sudden influx of visitors last night to the lab had anything to do with said-eating-of-words, but we’re always excited when new people show up.  Welcome, people!

Since this post hasn’t moved yet beyond “shameless self promotion”, I’ll continue the trend and say that if you’re sitting on the fence about coming down and checking out the lab, not only do we not actually bite, but we run several interesting workshops and events that are mostly open to the public which are all visible in our google calendar and don’t happen on nights when the lab is crammed with curious onlookers.  So if you’re into cool things, come and check it out, or at the very least, check out our mailing list.

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Living in the Future, or, HackLab Buys a Cupcake

by on Sep.17, 2009, under Uncategorized

On September 1st, I sent an email to the HackLab discussion list asking for folks to commit. Less than 24 hours later, members and non-members alike stepped up and pledged $700 in addition to my initial commitment of $200. Our MakerBot Batch 7 CupCake CNC will ship in early October, hopefully in time for MiniSoOnCon!

3D printing is so amazing. This is the MITS Altair of a DIY revolution whose shape I’m not at all certain of. I couldn’t be more exited to see what the hacklabbers make and how we improve the machine, too.

In alphabetical order, the donors were:

3ric Johanson
Alex Leitch
Byron Sonne
Chad Mounteny
Cheryl Mok
Chris Pilkington
Dale Babiy
Dan Kaminsky
Eric from NYC Resistor
Kate Raynes-Goldie
Sergio Martns
Seth Hardy

Welcome to the future, folks.


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Let’s party like it’s been a year!

by on Jul.09, 2009, under Uncategorized

As of July 1, HackLab.TO has been around for a year! You know what that means: it’s time for a party!

On Saturday, July 18th, we’d like to invite all of our members, our friends, our supporters, and our community to come join us to celebrate starting our second year. Let’s look back on everything we’ve done this past year, and think about what we can do to make the lab even better over the next year. Oh yeah, and let’s also just hang out, listen to some good music, have some cake*, and drink some beer**. That’d be pretty cool too.

In summary:
WHO : You!
WHAT : HackLab one year party!
WHEN : July 18th, 7pm
WHERE : …at the HackLab, of course.

* There may or may not actually be cake***. Want to bring some?
** Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are both ok, we don’t judge here!
*** The first person to make a Portal reference is fired.
**** Why are you reading this? There is no reference to it!

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the hacklab toilet, now on twitter

by on May.04, 2009, under Uncategorized

Yes, you read that right.

Let’s all welcome a new user to Twitter: hacklabTOilet, the (you guessed it) hacklab toilet.


Here’s the full writeup!

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Fun with FIB

by on Apr.20, 2009, under Uncategorized

It’s the HackLab logo only 33.4 micrometers tall!  The logo was milled onto a gold bond wire from an Atmel chip using a 50 picoamp focused ion beam (FIB).

The two images show the logo at 1000 and 6500 times magnification.  Many thanks and much respect to Flylogic Engineering for doing this at their lab!

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Another musical variation…

by on Apr.03, 2009, under Uncategorized

lazzor music! from hypatia on Vimeo.

One of the HackLab members, Jed, wrote some code to turn music into lazzor motions. The result is this brilliant interpretation of the Super Mario theme :)

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LED bars, an Arduino, a little chip and a Moon Bean coffee

by on Feb.07, 2009, under Uncategorized

After a few hours or hacking the old Red Roomba, and failing to fix or workaround the cliff hanger sensor it was time to get some success.

Elmood went out and got me a ULN2803AP chip, which I could use to glue together the Arduino and the tri colour LED bar. I then used some of the arduino examples to pulse and colour and mess around a bit.

The next step, perhaps using I2C to control individual bars (I have 10) and line them up on the stairway!

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