Archive for

May, 2013

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More DealExtreme

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A few months ago I listed what I’d bought and looked at on the Hong Kong based site DealExtreme. Here’s another overview, with more electronics and random stuff.

Ordered

Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (12-Piece Pack)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Green + Silver3mm & 5mm Light-emitting Diode - Green + Red + Yellow (100-Piece Pack)Breadboard Jumper Wires for Electronic DIY (65-Cable Pack)4 Channel 5V High Level Trigger Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)2-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)AMS1117 5V Power Supply ModuleEmolux 62mm Multi-Coated UV Lens Filter - BlackSound and Music Activated Multi-Mode Flashling EL Hearts T-shirt - M (3*AAA)Silica Gel Reusable Moisture-Proof Bead Desiccant - BlueMale + Female DC Power Converter Connector Adapters w/ Terminal Blocks For CCTV Camera (Pair)Universal Heavy Duty 6F22 9V BatteryDSTE NB-7L Replacement 7.4V 1200mAh Battery for Canon G10 / G11 - G12 / SX30 IS - Grey1/4Universal Aluminum Alloy Straight Flash Bracket for Camera - BlackUniversal Aluminum Alloy Tripod Bracket for Speedlight / Camera- BlackUniversal Handheld Jar OpenerWhite Magic Beans with Assorted Messages (10-Pack Growing Plant)Genuine Acecamp 2429 20L Outdoor Water Resistant Dry Bag - Yellow1000mA Car Cigarette Powered USB Adapter/Charger (DC 12V/24V)DIY 433MHz Wireless Receiving Module for Arduino - Green433MHz Wireless Transmitter Module Superregeneration for Arduino - GreenDIY 16-Key AD Keypad Module - Blue4 x 4 Matrix Switch Module - GreenES-71 II Lens Hood for CanonMini Prototype Printed Circuit Board Breadboard for Arduino (5 PCS)Ceramic Capacitor for DIY Electronic Circuit - Red (270-Piece Pack)Solderless Breadboard with 400 Tie-Point (White)USB to RS232 Serial Port Adapter (Transparent Green)Freaduino Soil Humidity Sensor for Arduino - WhiteDouble-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (3 x 7 / 5-Piece Pack)DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - BlueAluminum Alloy Straight Hot Shoe Flash Bracket for Camera - BlackFlash Diffuser for Canon 580 EX / EX II / YongNuo YN560 / YN565 Speedlite (3 PCS)HT RJ45 RJ11 Cable TesterStainless Steel 1/4Mini USB 2.4GHz 150Mbps 802.11b/g/n WiFi Wireless Network Card Adapter - BlackUSB 2.0 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 150Mbps WiFi/WLAN Wireless Network AdapterUltra-Mini Nano USB 2.0 802.11n 150Mbps Wifi/WLAN Wireless Network Adapter6.3V 3300uf Aluminum Motherboard Capacitors (20-Piece Pack)DIY ZIF DIP IC Socket Set - Green (8 PCS)Solder Tip Refresher3-Pin Triode Transistor for DIY Project - Black (20 x 10-Piece Pack)Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor for DIY Project (120-Piece Pack)DisplayPort DP Male to HDMI Female Adapter Cable - Black (15CM)Gold Plated 1080i HDMI V1.3 M-M Connection Cable (1M-Length)11x12 132-Panel Brain Teaser Magic IQ BallMicro USB To HDMI MHL Adapter - Black Gold Plated HDMI Male to DVI 24+1 Female Adapter62mm Digital Camera Lens Cover Digital Camera Lens Cover/Cap with Strap for Canon (62mm)

Interesting

Sound and Music Activated Velcro Spectrum VU Meter EL Visualizer T-shirt - Black (Size-L/4 x AAA)RM3 Hex KeyFlat Point Hex Key Screwdriver Set for Electronics DIY (8-Piece Set)RM2 Hex KeyRegal Tools 7-Piece Hex Keys Set7-Piece Set Hex Key Wrenches (0.7~3mm)Replacement Power Supply AC Adapter for Laptops - Black (5.5*2.1mm Plug Size)DIY CC1101 433MHz Wireless Transceiver Module for Arduino (2 PCS)8-Channel 5V Relay Module Shield for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)8 Channel Relay Module Extension Board for ArduinoDIY 4 x 4 16-Key Numeric Keypad - Black20 x 16 Double-Sided PCB Prototype Board for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)S1305 8-in-1 Gradual ABS Lens Filters + Lens Mount + Ring Set for 72mm Lens Camera - BlackMystery Speed Controller Pentium-30A for Brushless Motors (300/450 R/C Helicopters)FLYING 30A BEC Electronic Speed Controller for Brushless Motors (ESC)A2208-12T 1500KV Outrunner Brushless Motor1.6Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboards - Green + Brown (10-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboards - Yellow (10-Piece Pack)Prototype Universal Printed Circuit Board Breadboard - Golden (10-Piece Pack)4-Channel Relay Shield Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Sound and Music Activated Velcro BEAT Spiral Dots EL Visualizer T-shirt - Black (Size-L/4 x AAA)37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)9000 2.2RD32 720P 5MP Wide Angle Waterproof Action Video Camera with 8-LED White Light/AV Out/TF - YellowRD32 5.0 Mega Pixels HD 720P Waterproof Action Video Camera with 8-LED - Red (TF)1080P CMOS 5MP Sports Waterproof Digital Video Camera w/ 4x Digital Zoom/TV-Out/HDMI/SD (1.5UnisCom VP+309 Mini 1.1Transcend 8GB SDHC SD Card (Class 10 High Speed)3.3V / 5V Power Supply Module for MB102 Breadboard - BlackPower Black Wings Module Breadboard Adapter for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)MB102 Breadboard Power Supply Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Power 3.3V / 5V Supply Module for MB102 Bread BoardFC-21 Power Expansion Board Module w/ Switch + Light Indication - Blue + BlackO-Shape Twin Flash Bracket for Macro Photography - BlackHigh Capacity 9800mAh Rechargeable External Battery - BlackFlexible 2-Mode Blue Light EL Strip (DC 12V/3M-Length)Rechargeable 9000mAh Li-ion Emergency Power Battery for Camcorder/Walkie Talkie/Camera + More12V 6800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion BatteryPortable 6800mAh Emergency Rechargeable Battery Pack (EU Plug)12V 1800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion Battery for CCTV Devices12V 6000mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion Battery12V 4800mAh Rechargeable Portable Emergency Power Li-ion BatteryPortable Dapper Stage Red/Green Laser Light Show - Blue + White (2 x AAA)Protective Plastic Case for 2.5Protective Plastic Case for 3.550mW Green + 100mW Red Laser Stage Lighting Projector with IR Remote + Tripod (100V~240V AC)Nano V3.0 for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)USB to RS232 Adapter Cable (1M-Length)RS232 Serial Port Express Card Adapter - Blue + Black + SilverPL2303HX Converter USB to TTL USB to COM Cable Module- Black (1m)Plastic Imine Membrane Screw Insulation Coat - White (1000 PCS)DIY 3mm Iron Hexagon Nut - Silver (200 PCS)2A Ceramic Tube Fuse Set (100-Piece Pack / 6 x 30mm)RGB LED Strip Control Box w/ IR 24-Key Remote Control (DC 12V)44-Key IR Remote Controller for LED Light Strip - WhiteStylish Anti-Slip Shoulder Strap for Canon DSLR Camera - RedMini Portable Metal Flash Holder Mount for Camera - BlackL-Shape Flash Bracket for Camera (2-Piece Set)Fotomate 250mm Movable Range 2 Way Macro Focusing Rail Slider433MHz 4-Channel Wireless Flash Trigger (1 x 12V 23A + 2 x AAA)433MHz 4-Channel Wireless Flash Trigger (1 x 12V 23A + 2 x AAA)Plastic Buckle Clip for High Power 220V SMD 3528 LED Flexible Strip - Transparent (10 PCS)DIY HR-202 Humidity Detection Sensor Module - Blue6490 DHT11 Humidity Temperature Sensor Module - Blue20 x 80mm Double-Sided PCB Prototype Boards (25 PCS)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (10 x 16)Double-Sided Glass Fiber Prototyping PCB Universal Board (7 x 9)Electrical Bakelite Circuit Board (5x7cm/10-Piece)DS1307 I2C RTC DS1307 24C32 Real Time Clock Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)XL7105-SY DIY 2.4GHz A7105 NRF24L01 Wireless Module for Arduino (2 PCS)2.4GHz NRF24L01+ Wireless Communication Module for Arduino (2 PCS)DIY DS18B20 Stainless Steel Temperature Sensor Probe - BlackDHT21/AM2301 Capacitive Digital Temperature & Humidity Sensor - BlackENC28J60 Ethernet Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)HR31 Humidity Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)NRF905 Wireless Communication Transmission Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)2 Channel 4 Pins NC Type Shock Switch Sensor ModuleVibration Alarm Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)BMP085 Altimeter Atmospheric Pressure Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Human Body Touch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DS1302 Real Time Clock Module with Battery CR2032DS18B20 Temperature Sensor - Black + SilverMicro SD Card Storage Memory Board Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Digital Vibration Switch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Tilt Switch Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)3-Pin Light Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DHT22 2302 Digital Temperature Humidity Sensor for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DS18B20 Digital Temperature Sensor Module for Arduino (-55~125C)IR Receiver Module Wireless Remote Control Kit for Arduino (1 x CR2025)5V Relay Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)DHT11 Digital Temperature Humidity Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)Hall Effect Magnetic Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)MMA8451 3-Axial Triaxial Digital Accelerometer Module3-Axis Digital Gyroscope Sensor Module for Arduino (Works with Official Arduino Boards)

Disclaimer: All links are redirected to dx.com with my affiliated ID.

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Hollywood Studios Censor Pirate Bay Documentary

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TorrentFreak is reporting that the Creative Commons licensed documentary about The Pirate Bay, “TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard”, is being “censored” by several Hollywood studios through DMCA takedown notices to Google and others. The irony of the debacle is of course not lost on anybody, however, as Ernesto at TorrentFreak also comments, the “more likely explanation is that [it is] collateral damage. Most DMCA takedown processes are fully automated and somehow the TPB-AFK links were (mistakenly) associated with infringing titles”.

However, he continues: “The whole episode shows once again that something is seriously wrong with the current implementation of the DMCA takedown system. At the moment rightsholders get to take down whatever they want, with almost no oversight and no incentive to improve the accuracy of their systems”.

On the positive side, the free documentary is getting some extra publicity. It can be downloaded from The Pirate Bay, completely legal, if you live in a country which still allows you access to that site, that is. However, you can also get it and contribute on its official web site, watch on YouTube, or read up on it on IMDB or Wikipedia.

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How to make an LED Cube

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User “fruitkid101″ has a short and to-the-point video up on YouTube on how to construct a 3x3x3 LED cube, and drive it with an Arudino. What distinguishes his video from the hundreds of other LED cube videos out there, is that he explains step by step how to arrange the LEDs and route the wiring. Secondly, as it’s only three layers and nine columns, he needs no other components (save for resistors and three transistors), and all twelve wires are hooked directly up to the Arudino.

Another interesting and instructive video is Kevin Darrah’s on a 8x8x8 RGB cube. (Unfortunately, it wont show in HTML5 yet, but can be downloaded with the Video DownloadHelper Firefox plugin). He explains how to construct the towers which make up the cube, and also goes into detail on testing the LED and connections along the way. Much more work, of course, but also looks very cool.

Review: Aleph by Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho’s book “Aleph” (2011) interested me because it directly refers to Jorge Luis Borges’ short story with the same name (published in the collection “The Aleph and Other Stories” in 1949). Indeed the preliminary of Coelho’s book contains the quote:

“The Aleph was about two to three centimetres in diameter, but all of cosmic space was there, with no diminution in size. Each thing was infinite, because I could clearly see it from every point on the universe”.
Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Aleph’

Borges’ short story, as many of his stories, has a melancholic slow phased plot, filled with references, both implicit and explicit, part fictional part real. It is because of Borges’ emphasis on references that it is interesting to see what another author makes of a reference back to Borges. Indeed, as Borges pointed out in “Kafka and His Precursors’”: “The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.”

So how does Coelho’s work stand up? Unfortunately, I’d say he falls short. Although the Aleph is a central plot device, it does not create a significant reference to Borges, so it ends up feeling slightly pretentious to invoke it. Coelho’s Aleph is of a slightly different kind than Borges’ in that it is not a tangible object, but rather a specific point in time and space, created by the presence of specific individuals. It has the added property of carrying those individuals (or at least in their minds) to a different point in time, in a previous life, where they re-experience a disastrous event.

The bulk of the story centers around the various personal drama of the party travelling by the Trans-Siberian Express, and the main character’s (supposedly Coelho himself) struggle to resolve the conflict in his previous life, within the Aleph. Throw in a bit of populist self motivation and realization, plus some sexual fantasies (because sex sells, right), and we have another Coelho success. It’s an easy read, if you manage to ignore the pretentious “grand motivational speeches”.

If there’s anything to be taken away from Coelho’s advice in the book, it’s that a warm relaxing shower is a perfect time for reflection and peace of mind. Then again, if you haven’t figured that out by now, you probably have a rare case of severe aquaphobia, or you might want to change your boiler.

To sum up, “Aleph” disappointed, and if it hadn’t been for the Borges reference, it wouldn’t have been of much interest at all. It is a typical Coelho formula to fame and riches: a feel-good populist message, an easy read, and the appearance of intellectual content.

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Police “decrypts” your phone

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CNET has an interesting article about how warrants to access suspects mobile phones are handled by two of the big mobile OS providers; Apple and Google. Focusing on Apple, the article mentions cases where the police has to wait for Apple to perform the unlocking, while Google “resets the password and further provides the reset password to law enforcement”.

From a technical perspective, it is not clear what kind of unlocking is performed; whether it is the SIM code, screen lock, or account password. It is interesting that the article mentions decryption, but it is probably a misunderstanding, or wrong wording: Android phones do not use encrypted storage by default, and in fact, if you have a model with a removable memory card, you can read that in any SD card reader. Accessing the embedded phone storage is also easy if it already unlocked (using fastboot / adb). iPhones does not use encrypted storage by default either, to be best of my knowledge. The article does indeed state that “It’s not clear whether that means Apple has created a backdoor for police [...] , or whether it simply is more skilled at using the same procedures available to the government.”.

From a privacy and security point of view, it is clear that it is irrelevant what the default security setting is. It can simply not be trusted to perform the task a user would expect. Rather, one should use take matters into own hands, and use software that has been proven to not contain backdoors for police or others. The only option is free and open source software, which has been vetted by security experts and the community.

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Tablet, tablet on the wall…

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Tablet, tablet on the wall, what’s the cheapest of them all? That question comes up from time to time, so here’s the cheapest I could find at Deal Extreme. Please see the customer reviews for each product for details. And remember, you get what you pay for. At that price, it will work, run the browser and basic apps, but don’t expect “the gadget of the year”.

4.3″ Resistive Screen Android 4.0$43

7″ Capacitive Screen Android 4.1$62

10.1″ Capacitive Screen Android 4.0$169

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