[RepRap] Mechanical machine and Wii hacks

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Great news today for RepRap at Las Indias: the mechanical machine has just been ordered from BitsFromBytes, and it should arrive in Madrid in 3-4 weeks.

Ian Reprap

Fully assembled and tested, in a wooden crate for easier transportation, I’ll hope to have the time to make some demo at the end of the month.

What’s missing:

  • electronic: we already have all electronics, but it has became a bit obsolete over the last few month, it would be great to upgrade it to Arduino platform;
  • experimenting: we’ll need to melt stuff then, and see how it reacts. Faboroni, another fabbing project, has made a recent experiement with various cooking material (chocolate, cheeze, …). And I’ll need to find a source to buy some plastic polymers, or make our own.

Then, will it be possible to plug your wiimote in RepRap?

Johnny Chung Lee has release a lot of really cool wiimote hacks, and the Reprap Forum is now looking how they could be used

[OpenWrt] Command-line router

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The wrt54g router is good fun for all geeks, such a versatile network component with a lot of great feature coming from the open-source scene. Learn about its history if you don’t know yet, it’s one of the greatest GPL success after its use in a commercial product (win-win situation for Linksys and open-source communauty).

I’ve tried most of 3rd-party firmware to customize my router: dd-wrt (best solution for most cases), tomato (great appealing interface), and since yesterday night, openwrt


Openwrt is just a command line interface to configure the router, with a linux-type system to manage files and services. With great simplicity comes great power.
But it’s sincerely not a point and click interface. At least, you’ll be forced to understand the concepts under network interfaces, which is why we all want to try these complex tools, and it’s free education for anyone 🙂

Once your router is stable, the fun begin. Openwrt comes with an itsy package management system, with a lot of software ready to deploy: kismet, ruby, apache…
Then with some easy soldering, you can plug a MMC/SD card on it, then you just need to have some imagination to create some fancy stealth network box!

[WordPress] Theme viewer plugin

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Paco wanted a wordpress installation with one purpose: test different themes for the same blog.

The idea was nice, but know it’s even more fun with this new plugin: user controls which theme to display on the blog they are reading.

Try it yourself on lasindias.info

Theme viewer

There’re surely some more feature to add before the plugin is complete:

  • Use cookie to keep plugin whil navigating on the blog
  • Add form for admin to add or upload a new theme
  • Fun factor: save last selected theme as the default blog theme, users now control your blog presentation!

Download Theme viewer plugin for WordPress

Thanks to Dougal Campbell for the original Preview Theme plugin.

[To watch] 3 recommendations

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It’s already 6 in the morning, I can clearly feel my circadian cycle drifting again in the early hours of the day, but it’s not anymore a desesperate quest for sleep, I’m back to last winter when the quiet nights were the best moment to concentrate and build up.

Enough said, here are 3 important things you’ll have to see during this month, I can’t remember when was the last time I got so much great visual information!


Totally indie movie, about a 16 years old girl in US, who gets pregnant and decides to give her child. In a refreshing way, that’s the best solution for everybody, they’re all happy about it, and they take the difficulties with some geeky humour, I liked it so much!

Imdb link (Score: 8.4)

The King of California

Same country, same young woman lifetime. After 2 years, she’s getting her father out of a mental institute, she’s made her life alone during this time. Her father is still crazy, and he’s now looking for lost spanish gold buried somewhere in California. Epic quest and crazy relationship.

Imdb link (Score: 7.1)

Enabling innovation in Europe


It’s not a movie, it’s the session I’ll remember the most from last summer CCC camp near Berlin. Paul Böhm, a founder of Metalab Vienna, shows new space for innovation actually growing up in Europe.
It particularly made me think about Las Indias, with the same philosophy inside, and in Vienna, they already have their centralized physical world with the metalab, a kind of super-growed hacking house for everybody, that I must go visit in 2008 🙂

Session webpage
Video recording (MPEG4)

[Arduino] BBVA blogs-blinker

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After a lot of debugging on bbvablogs.com, I needed serious fun to keep it up, and suddently I found the perfect project to remove the dust on my arduino board: a blinking led that would tell us when someone is visiting the website!

BBVA web-blinker

More links about this project:

[Airport] TSA screening facial expressions

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Just in case you were not secure enough, please don’t look too anxious in airport:

« Travelers at Sea-Tac and dozens of other major airports across America are being scrutinized by teams of TSA behavior-detection officers specially trained to discern the subtlest suspicious behaviors.

TSA officials will not reveal specific behaviors identified by the program — called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique) — that are considered indicators of possible terrorist intent. »
— source: seattlepi.com

No wonder which the manual book they used to develop this new kind of screening:

« It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself — anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called. »
— 1984 by George Orwell

What woud be interesting is to follow the propagation of airport security into real live. Today for example, it’s mandatory to put your name on your luggage when you travel by train (in France at least), is it something coming from airplane security?

[CCC] 24C3 best conferences so far

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The issue with decentralizing my living place it’s really hard to be at the right place at the right time. As an example I missed the 24C3 conference in Berlin last week, which was replaced by Wii session, not too bad 🙂

Hopefully, all these lost moments tends to be more and more digitalized, so here are the conferences I found the most interesting so far:

  • What is terrorism?: a german woman speaking about the experience to see the police busting her house to take her boyfriend away, under the suspicion of terrorims, with various accounts about the intelligence methods in place to monitor her family and friends. Conclusion: keep your mobile phone switched on if you don’t want to be suspected as a terrorist. [mp3]
  • Hacking in the age of declining everything: a hacking environmentalist session, where everyhting on Earth seems to go to disaster, and how certain societies deal with it, or not. A climate-change speech, oriented to geek audience, with a great speaker. [mp3]
  • Design noir: Electronic engineering is easy enough today to provide some power to individual purpose: someone launches an idea like tv-be-gone, and anyone can modify it to his/her own benefit. Repeat the process to switch of your own external world annoyance. [mp3]

There are plenty more of conference I want to listen, mostly concerning Storm malware which made a big buzz during 2007. Here comes interesting links from 24C3 if you want to discover other interesting sessions:

[Flickr] Stats under construction

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During december, while everybody was probably mad about getting new friends on Facebook, the grandfather of web 2.0, Flickr, released a new tool for their users: Stats.

To make it sexiers, they used a couple of retro-animated gif’s to tell you they’re currently builing your stat index, in a totally web 1.0 fashionned way:


If you have a Flickr account, you can activate your stats now.