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Latest Article

Reverse Engineering An Old Bus Display December 12, 2019

When his makerspace was gifted a pair of Luminator LED signs of the sort you might see on the front of a bus, [PWalsh] decided to pull one apart to see what made it tick. Along the way, he managed to reverse engineer its control protocol and replace its original control board with a WiFi-connected […]

Reverse Engineering An Old Bus Display

When his makerspace was gifted a pair of Luminator LED signs of the sort you might see on the front of a bus, [PWalsh] decided to pull one apart to see what made it tick. Along the way, he managed to reverse engineer its control protocol and replace its original control board with a WiFi-connected Raspberry Pi. Now they can use the LED signs to show whatever they want; no bus required.

As they were designed for automotive use, the signs were wired for 12 volts DC. So the first order of business was fitting it with an AC/DC converter so it could be plugged into the wall. After he measured the display’s current consumption, [PWalsh] estimated it’s maximum energy consumption and determined an old ATX computer power supply was more than up to the task.

With the sign happily running battery-free, he could begin figuring out how to talk to it. Noticing a MAX485 RS-485 converter on the PCB, gave a pretty good idea of what language it was speaking, and with the aid of his trusty oscilloscope, he was able to suss out the baud rate. A cheap USB to RS-485 converter was then wired in between the sign and its control board so he could sniff the data passing over the line.

From there, the final piece of the puzzle was studying the captured data and figuring out the protocol. [PWalsh] was able to identify packet headers and ASCII characters, and pretty soon knew enough about how the sign communicated that he was able to remove the control board entirely and just push text and images to it right from the Pi. He’s even made his framework available for anyone else who might have a similar piece of bus-signage laying around.

Even if you’re not looking to add one of these signs to your lab, this project is a fantastic example of protocol reverse engineering with low-cost tools and simple techniques. We always love to see the process broken down step by step like this, and our hat’s off to [PWalsh] for delivering the goods in a big way.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen these sort of LED signs get the “Internet of Things” treatment, and if you’re content with a somewhat scaled down version, you could always just build your own display rather than waiting on the local public transit vehicle to get parted out.

Reverse Engineering An Old Bus Display
Source: HackADay

The makers of TikTok are testing a new swipe-to-skip streaming music app


TikTok owner ByteDance has just started testing its music streaming app, Resso, in India and Indonesia. The TikTok-styled app was quietly released at the end of the last month. A report from Bloomberg suggests the app was initially launched six months ago and has garnered over 27,000 users. Now, it’s available on the Google Play Store and the App Store in these countries. The app is free to use with a premium tier offering at Rs. 119 ($1.68) – the same as Spotify. I’ve spent a couple of hours with the app, and it clearly isn’t anything like traditional music apps.…

This story continues at The Next Web

The makers of TikTok are testing a new swipe-to-skip streaming music app
Source: The Next Web

AI R&D is booming, but general intelligence is still out of reach

Illustration by Alex Castro / Th

Trying to get a handle on the progress of artificial intelligence is a daunting task, even for those enmeshed in the AI community. But the latest edition of the AI Index report — an annual rundown of machine learning data points now in its third year — does a good job confirming what you probably already suspected: the AI world is booming in a range of metrics covering research, education, and technical achievements.

The AI Index covers a lot of ground — so much so that its creators, which include institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and OpenAI, have also released two new tools just to sift through the information they sourced from. One tool is for searching AI research papers and the other is for investigating country-level data on…

Continue reading…

AI R&D is booming, but general intelligence is still out of reach
Source: New feed

Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS, will be joining Google Cloud as global director of security and compliance (Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop)


Sean Lyngaas / CyberScoop:

Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS, will be joining Google Cloud as global director of security and compliance  —  One of the U.S. government’s most influential cybersecurity officials is heading to Google.  —  Jeanette Manfra will take a job at the tech giant’s cloud division …

Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS, will be joining Google Cloud as global director of security and compliance (Sean Lyngaas/CyberScoop)
Source: Tech Meme

Qwil, an automated lending platform for on-demand and freelancer marketplaces to advance pay to workers, raises $24.4M in equity and $200M in debt funding (Anna Irrera/Reuters)

Anna Irrera / Reuters:

Qwil, an automated lending platform for on-demand and freelancer marketplaces to advance pay to workers, raises $24.4M in equity and $200M in debt funding  —  NEW YORK (Reuters) – Qwil, a startup that provides financing to freelancers and small businesses, has raised $24.4 million in equity …

Qwil, an automated lending platform for on-demand and freelancer marketplaces to advance pay to workers, raises .4M in equity and 0M in debt funding (Anna Irrera/Reuters)
Source: Tech Meme

Apple is now selling Brydge’s laptop-style iPad keyboards

Photo: Sam Byford / The Verge

Apple’s online and retail stores in North America have started carrying products from Brydge, a company that’s known for producing MacBook-style Bluetooth keyboards for iPads. Models for the 10.2-inch iPad and 10.5-inch iPad Air are available.

Apple brought support for its Smart Keyboard to both of these iPad lines this year, suggesting it wants to encourage typing on lower-end iPads and not just the Pro series. Brydge does make a keyboard for the current iPad Pro (pictured above), which we tested and found to be the best laptop-style option available, but Apple doesn’t appear to be selling it right now.

If you have a 2019 iPad or iPad Air, though, these keyboards could be a good option. (The iPad Air version also works…

Continue reading…

Apple is now selling Brydge’s laptop-style iPad keyboards
Source: New feed

Robinhood starts rolling out its Cash Management service, which offers 1.8% interest, debit cards, and FDIC coverage on deposits through bank partnerships (Julie Verhage/Bloomberg)


Julie Verhage / Bloomberg:

Robinhood starts rolling out its Cash Management service, which offers 1.8% interest, debit cards, and FDIC coverage on deposits through bank partnerships  —  Robinhood Markets Inc. has finally launched its take on a bank account, albeit a very different version of the service it once hoped to offer.

Robinhood starts rolling out its Cash Management service, which offers 1.8% interest, debit cards, and FDIC coverage on deposits through bank partnerships (Julie Verhage/Bloomberg)
Source: Tech Meme

Google says it is changing mobile search results for news topics, adding more carousels of stories, starting in the US and rolling out later internationally (Greg Sterling/Search Engine Land)


Greg Sterling / Search Engine Land:

Google says it is changing mobile search results for news topics, adding more carousels of stories, starting in the US and rolling out later internationally  —  Users will now see multiple carousels of news stories.  —  Google is changing how it presents news stories in its search results.

Google says it is changing mobile search results for news topics, adding more carousels of stories, starting in the US and rolling out later internationally (Greg Sterling/Search Engine Land)
Source: Tech Meme

Code The Classics Is Coming

We feel sorry for youth of today. If you spend a few hours playing a modern video game and decide you want to write your own, there’s a big job ahead of you. Games now are as much performances as programs, with cinematic 3D renderings, polyphonic sound and music tracks, and detailed storylines. That wasn’t true 40 years ago, when you could play Pong and then think about writing your own version. The Raspberry Pi people must agree as they are taking preorders for a book called “Code the Classics.” In it, they interview designers of several classic arcade games and then show Python versions of the games you can run — and hack — yourself. You can see their video about the title, below.

The code is from Raspberry Pi founder [Eben Upton] and as you might expect the games aren’t necessarily faithful reproductions but inspired by the old arcade standards.

The 224-page book is listed as volume one and apparently, between the two volumes, the book will tackle different genres of classic games ranging from Pong to Sensible Soccer. From the video, we think the other games are Centipede, Frogger, and Bubble Bobble.

If you are interested in retrogaming, this should be a good read. We don’t know how much is in volume 1 and when volume 2 will be around, though.

If you don’t want to play games written in Python, you can always write Python programs to play games for you. If your favorite programming language is solder, you can still play Pong.

Code The Classics Is Coming
Source: HackADay

AngelList report: seed stage investors can increase their yields by investing into every credible deal, contradicting the common wisdom of passing on most (Abe Othman/AngelList)


Abe Othman / AngelList:

AngelList report: seed stage investors can increase their yields by investing into every credible deal, contradicting the common wisdom of passing on most  —  If you miss the best-performing seed investment, you will eventually be outperformed by someone who blindly invests in every credible deal.

AngelList report: seed stage investors can increase their yields by investing into every credible deal, contradicting the common wisdom of passing on most (Abe Othman/AngelList)
Source: Tech Meme

Elon Musk's mom shares gawky photo of him fixing car in 1995 – CNET

That cybertruck smashup wasn’t the first time the Tesla CEO was faced with a busted window. Elon Musk's mom shares gawky photo of him fixing car in 1995 – CNET
Source: CNet

Former employee says Apple spied on his private messages


Apple is currently suing a former employee for breach of contract and for poaching several employees for his own startup. The former employee, meanwhile, claims the company’s main evidence was obtained by monitoring his texts. The lawsuit, which Apple filed in a California court, alleges that Gerard Williams III breached an intellectual property agreement that prohibited him from doing anything to compete with the company. Williams, formerly the top architect of Apple‘s mobile chips, started Nuvia in February, which manufactures chips for data centers. It sounds like a dry case, but the juicy picture the two parties are painting makes…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Apple

Former employee says Apple spied on his private messages
Source: The Next Web

NASA finds Mars water ice deposits astronauts could reach with a shovel – CNET

According to NASA’s “treasure map,” future Red Planet astronauts won’t have to carry all their water from Earth. NASA finds Mars water ice deposits astronauts could reach with a shovel – CNET
Source: CNet

NASA solar probe snaps elusive asteroid trails for the first time – CNET

A “catastrophic” event that shattered asteroid 3200 Phaethon left a dusty tail of debris. Astronomers have finally seen it. NASA solar probe snaps elusive asteroid trails for the first time – CNET
Source: CNet

2021 Chevy Tahoe gets diesel power, independent rear suspension – Roadshow

This full-size SUV has been completely redesigned, riding atop a new architecture. Two V8s and one diesel are on the powertrain menu. 2021 Chevy Tahoe gets diesel power, independent rear suspension – Roadshow
Source: CNet

How decentralized protocols may help solve some issues plaguing social media today; @bluesky team should consider existing projects like Mastodon (Klint Finley/Wired)


Klint Finley / Wired:

How decentralized protocols may help solve some issues plaguing social media today; @bluesky team should consider existing projects like Mastodon  —  The CEO tweeted that he’s hiring a team to develop open source standards for decentralized social networks.  His hope: It will spawn better ways to combat hate and harassment.

How decentralized protocols may help solve some issues plaguing social media today; @bluesky team should consider existing projects like Mastodon (Klint Finley/Wired)
Source: Tech Meme

Watch this machine made out of Lego sort other Lego using AI

Back at my parents’ house, there’s a couple giant tubs of Lego sitting in my old bedroom closet stuffed with over 20 years of my Lego collection. If I ever had to sort that collection by hand, it would probably take me the better part of the next 20 years — but perhaps I could use this AI-powered Lego sorting machine that’s made in large part out of more than 10,000 Lego bricks (via ExtremeTech).

Dubbed the “Universal Lego Sorting Machine” by its creator, Daniel West, it’s a pretty neat contraption that’s far more useful than any of the Lego science projects I used to make. The machine is apparently able to use AI to sort Lego into one of 18 different buckets at a rate of “about one brick every two seconds.” West says he trained the…

Continue reading…

Watch this machine made out of Lego sort other Lego using AI
Source: New feed

Programmable Wrist Synth Pushes The Envelope

Synths are a ton of fun no matter how good or bad they sound. Really, there are no bad-sounding ones, it’s just that some are more annoying to listen than others to if you’re not the one making the beep boops. [Clem] had built a tiny LDR-based synth into a watch case a few years back and took it to many a Maker Faire, where it delighted and annoyed until it ultimately broke.

Naturally, it was time to make a new version that’s more capable. Whereas the first one was Atari-punk-console-meets-light-Theremin, this one has a bunch of inputs and can be programmed on the fly to record and play back bendable tones. It’s driven by an Arduino MKR, and the inputs are managed by an impressively squash bug-wired shift register. [Clem] used beefy switches this time in the hopes that this one will last longer. We think the slide pots are a great touch, as are the candy-colored knobs printed in PMMA.

Our favorite part is that [Clem] took advantage of the random states the microcontroller pins are in when it’s first powered on. If you don’t want to program any notes, you can use the ones generated at boot and just play around with those. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.

We’ve seen our share of synths, but few as delicious-looking as KELPIE from this year’s Hackaday Prize.

Programmable Wrist Synth Pushes The Envelope
Source: HackADay

Netflix’s newest original is a scripted series about Spotify

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Netflix today announced its plan for a scripted series about “Swedish music sensation Spotify.” The series, based on the book Spotify Untold, will focus on the company’s origin story as it rose from European unknown to household name during the heyday of music piracy. “The story of how a small band of Swedish tech industry insiders transformed music — how we listen to it and how it’s made — is truly a tale of our time,” said Berna Levin, executive producer of Yellow Bird, the producers behind the series. “Not only is this a story about the way all our…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Netflix,Spotify

Netflix’s newest original is a scripted series about Spotify
Source: The Next Web

Netflix’s newest original is a scripted series about Spotify


Netflix today announced its plan for a scripted series about “Swedish music sensation Spotify.” The series, based on the book Spotify Untold, will focus on the company’s origin story as it rose from European unknown to household name during the heyday of music piracy. “The story of how a small band of Swedish tech industry insiders transformed music — how we listen to it and how it’s made — is truly a tale of our time,” said Berna Levin, executive producer of Yellow Bird, the producers behind the series. “Not only is this a story about the way all our…

This story continues at The Next Web

Or just read more coverage about: Netflix,Spotify

Netflix’s newest original is a scripted series about Spotify
Source: The Next Web

George Laurer, Who Developed the Bar Code, Is Dead at 94

Every purchase evokes his design of the rectangular Universal Product Code. But although it became ubiquitous, he received no royalties. George Laurer, Who Developed the Bar Code, Is Dead at 94
Source: NY Times Tech

Disney's Bob Iger, Time's Businessperson of the Year, holds Baby Yoda in painting – CNET

“As soon as those ears popped up from under the blanket, and the eyes, I knew,” Iger told Time. Disney's Bob Iger, Time's Businessperson of the Year, holds Baby Yoda in painting – CNET
Source: CNet

Forza Horizon 4 becomes the latest game to get a Battle Royale mode


Starting tomorrow, 12 December, Battle Royale fever hits… Forza Horizon 4? Developer Playground Games today announced the game’s upcoming free update will include a 72-car elimination race mode. And it looks awesome: Ah Battle Royale, the game mode that pits dozens of bloodthirsty maniacs against one another in a fight to the death. It’s become a near-ubiquitous staple of FPS games since Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds brought it to the mainstream and Fortnite made it a world-wide phenomenon. Until now, the closest thing racing fans have had to this kind of action is Rocket League. We don’t have a lot of…

This story continues at The Next Web

Forza Horizon 4 becomes the latest game to get a Battle Royale mode
Source: The Next Web

Keanu box-office battle: Matrix 4 and John Wick 4 share same release date – CNET

Come and get your Keanu love… in 2021. Keanu box-office battle: Matrix 4 and John Wick 4 share same release date – CNET
Source: CNet

Putting wheels on your new Mac Pro will cost you $400


Apple must have just reinvented the wheel, considering it’s charging $400 to add a set of four casters to its new Mac Pro. You know, that computer that already starts at $6,000 and can be configured up to a whopping $53,000. The company noted you’d be able to get wheels for the Mac Pro way back at WWDC, but we didn’t expect quite this surcharge. Then again, we shouldn’t be so surprised, considering Apple sells a $999 stand for its $4,999 monitor.  And if you buy the fancier version of that monitor with the nano-texture matte finish, by the way,…

This story continues at The Next Web

Putting wheels on your new Mac Pro will cost you 0
Source: The Next Web