Recent hacktivity

This time of year seems to be hacking season and over the last few days I’ve been along to two hackdays!

Friday was IBM’s internal Social Business Hackday. There was some MQTT hacking, a z/OS hack, hacks with Lotus Connections, hacks that could be the future of Lotus Connections, and I was attempting to hack a work around for a Jazz work item. And that was just at the Hursley local event! We were able to link up with a few other labs, but over two days there were IBMers hacking around the globe. There are going to be a lot of amazing projects to choose from when it comes to voting.

(There are a few more photos from HackDay X, and previous hackdays, on the IBM hackday group on flickr.)

For round two, today was the soutHACKton hack day. By the time I arrived the soldering and drilling had already begun!! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay long so I’m hoping there’ll me more of these in the future. I did just about have time to try out an idea I had to hack an old doorbell to sense people using the door knocker. A while ago I had accidentally created a touch sensor with a 555 timer while attempting to build another circuit. So my cunning plan was to deliberately create a 555 touch switch and connect it to the bolt on the inside of the front door. Unfortunately the best I could manage today was a two wire touch sensor, which isn’t going to work. At least not without leaving a wire hanging out of the letter box with some instructions attached! Unless someone who knows more about electronics can suggest a plan B, I may just resort to a boring doorbell button instead!!


Not Mashed

Last weekend saw the second London Hackday, now called Mashed, and it was great to hear that CurrentCost mania is continuing to spread, with Rich and Dale’s CurrentCost Live project winning the Guardian prize! (See the presentation that led to fame and fortune on YouTube!)

Rich and Dale weren’t the only people from Hursley at Mashed, nor were they the only winners! Steve Godwin also had a winning entry with Twitter on TV. (No video that I can find as yet!)

I missed this year’s hack day but it looks like Mashed was another great weekend, even keeping up the tradition of opening the roof from last year! There were some members of team supernova back again and hacking though. Paul was interviewed about his project(s) on the day, and still had time to get Travel Streamr working. Jim’s call for Carbon Goggle helpers clearly worked and you can see the results in action on YouTube.

Mashed might be over but I hope that doesn’t mean the end to the projects it created. SLorpedo has certainly made one or two appearances since last year. Watch out for more CurrentCost, TV Twittering, Travel Streamr and Carbon Goggles in the months ahead. (I’m also on the look out for more details about the other projects, so leave a link if you have one.)

Update: finding a few of the twitter bots that got a mention to add to the tweetjects @jthouse follows. Also discovered that Carbon Goggles made an appearance in the BBC news article on the event. (25 June 2008)

Pocket SLorpedo (continued)

Unfortunately my last Slorpedo revisit coincided with a small problem with Second Life but XML-RPC is now back on its feet- hurrah! In fact, XML-RPC into Second Life is working fast enough to rez the subs as they are placed at the moment, although if it slows down again the subs should still all get rezed before firing torpedoes.

The reason for having another prod at XML-RPC is that it should provide a simple way for anyone to play the mixed reality game first seen at Hackday London and SLUK, and it’s almost ready. If you want to have a sneak preview follow these steps:

  1. Download reacTIVision.
  2. Download and unzip the Pocket SLorpedo client.
  3. Clear a playing area in real life, point a camera at it, get the playing pieces ready and fire up reacTIVision. (I’ve been mostly experimenting using the TUIO Simulator so far but it’s time to get the scissors out to make some real playing pieces!)
  4. Get the Second Life Pocket SLorpedo object- hope to have a vendor available soon but until then let me know your Second Life name and I’ll send one over.
  5. Use the channel key displayed when rezing the Second Life object to start the Java client using the command line below.
  6. Play!

To start the Java client, open up a console, change directory where ever you unzipped it, and run this:

java -jar SLorpedo.jar -key=<channelkey> [-b] [-port=<tuioport>]

The game is played entirely with the reacTIVision fiducials:

  • The piece numbered ‘0’ starts a new game.
  • Number ‘4′ is used to fire the torpedoes.
  • Odd pieces appear as blue subs and even pieces are yellow subs.
  • Numbers under 30 are small subs and over 30 are big subs.

Let me know if it all goes horribly wrong!

Updated 2 Jan: Borrowed a web cam this evening to have a game using real pieces instead of cheating with the TUIO simulator. A slightly better camera would be nice for a bigger playing area but other than that it worked really well. The game below was a two all draw!

Pocket SLorpedo Pool