Computers

Pimped Robotic Cherry G80 3000 Keyboard

imageSome hacked together projects are born to solve problems, some provide proof of concept.  This project did neither, I did it because one day I had an idea that I thought would be cool and so I just did it. 

The project itself is pretty simple, but I think the result is as cool as I had hoped.  Dear Internet, I give to you my robotic keyboard.

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Restoring an IBM Model M 1394324 Terminal Keyboard

DSCN4422A while ago I became interested in mechanical keyboards and now use them both at home and at work. These days most of the mechanical keyboards on the market use a switch made by Cherry, but there is a huge amount of support amongst enthusiasts for a much older keyboard, the IBM model M.

It is still very much possible to find one of these keyboards as the construction of the keyboard makes them incredibly durable, even against prolonged use and abuse. The other reason that they are available is that the range of IBM model M keyboards were in production from between 1984 right up to the current day albeit under 3 different manufacturers (IBM, Lexmark and Unicomp). I recently purchased a 122 key terminal keyboard, an unusual version of the Model M. Here is the steps that I took to bring it into it's second career as a USB 121 key keyboard.

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Extending the Joggler’s USB Capabilities

DSCN2687The O2 Joggler (A rebranded OpenPeak device) is out of the box a fairly mediocre device.  However when it started selling at a £50 price mark quite a few hackers got interested in the capabilities of the Linux driven unit.   Now there are a number of software options available to Joggler that take it from mid table obscurity to being a top performer. 

I have already investigated improving the cooling on the Joggler and replaced the standard cooling system with something more substantial.  I have also been using and improving the Squeezeplay software ported over by Tarkan. 

All in all my Joggler is providing excellent value as a touchscreen media player on my headphone rig… But I had a niggle or two left to solve… Here is the problem, a standard Joggler has one side mounted USB port, and that is awkward and limiting in equal measure.  Time for change!

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O2 Joggler: Improving the Joggler's Cooling

Modified Joggler RearThe O2 Joggler was designed as a low powered Linux based communication device.  The original hardware is in fact made by Openpeak.  The Joggler was always intended for use with it’s own bespoke Operating system.  It is clear from looking at Openpeak’s design that they never intended that the Joggler would use the full capabilities of it’s Intel Atom Processor.  How can you tell?  Well frankly the hardware designed to cool the processor and other IC’s has pretty limited abilities. 

For those that choose to run other operating systems on the Joggler, this can be frustrating.  Start using anything like processor intensive tasks with the diminutive tablet and quickly you will push it beyond it’s thermal limits.  I tried it out for myself using CPU burn and within a minute or two the processor maxed out. The processor then went into a lower performance mode to protect itself

Lets have a look at the Joggler’s cooling hardware and see what can be done to improve it.

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Introduction to the O2 Joggler

o2joggler

I have recently purchased an interesting new toy via E-bay that I am having a lot of fun with… an O2 Joggler

O2, the communications company released the Joggler onto the market place in 2009.  The Joggler is a low powered Linux powered box that O2 marketed to potential customers as a lifestyle communications device.  The basic premise from O2’s marketing team was that the Joggler was an ideal device for your kitchen. 

I have no intention of using my Joggler as a kitchen based device, read on to find out more on what I expect to do with this funky little device.

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More fixing of Squeezeplay for the Joggler

Fixed_Squeezeplay_Keyboard

Sometimes a job that seems at first glance to be quite easy, can end up being frustrating and time consuming. 

This little adjustment to 3guk’s Squeezeplay template for the Joggler was one of those tasks.  I had previously fixed a couple of graphics glitches on the 3guk’s excellent skin and this had not been too difficult.  Although written in lua, a programming language I have no experience of, I had not had too many problems.  All of the adjustments had been little more than edits to graphics files.

The keyboard is used within the Squeezeplay user interface for inputting search terms or for setting the name of the squeezeplayer etc.  Adjusting the interface turned out to be more complex than adjusting the graphics.  Several lua files had to be edited. 

Read more: More fixing of Squeezeplay for the Joggler

The atTiny45 USB LED E-mail, Twitter and Pidgin Notifier

This is an interesting little modification that i have completed on my EeePC901.  Based on an Atmel aTiny45 processor it's function is relatively simple, but as it is built from scratch, the build took some interesting twists and turns.  Not only that, but it also has a nice little social story that for me was part of what made it such an engaging little project.

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Eee RC - My hacked version of ngRC

ngrc_eee_home_001ngRC, short for Next Generation Remote Control is a fantastic piece of software that you can install on your Windows Media Center.  The software allows you to control aspects of your Media Center across a WiFi network using any device that is able to run a web browser.


Recently i purchased a pair of Eee PC 901 ultra mobile portable computers, one for myself and one for my partner.  So far I have already modified both Eee PCs to add touch sensitive screens to them.  ngRC seemed by its description to be an ideal application for us.  I was particularly interested in being able to select and play music from my hard drive without having to switch on the TV.  However there was still some work to do to make it perfect.

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