The Wellington Sevens, New Zealand’s biggest, annual party in our capital city. An excuse to dress up, drink excessively and perhaps even watch a game or two.
Thinking this would be a superb time to crank out my Tron Costume once again. I found this recent article showing an amazing pair of light up, el wire, equalizer glasses, which respond to the beat of surrounding music. A perfect addition to my Tron costume.
One of my favourite online services of all time is Dropbox. If you aren’t familiar with Dropbox, it is a program which you can download to your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and it will seamlessly sync your documents with an online storage repository and any other computer you have Dropbox installed on. There is even Android and iOS apps for it, as well as a great web service, which has saved my life multiple times when I had left my Uni assignments at home. You will never need a USB stick again as long as you have access to a computer with internet.
I’m grown up now. Despite how I look, feel and act; I am. I have finished uni, got a respectable full-time job, and hell I even have a LinkedIn profile which is like Facebook for grown-ups. And part of being a grown-up is owning a credit card. Everyone has heard of their friend’s uncle’s dentist who got a huge around-the-world trip paid for from his credit card points. It seems like they get awesome rewards just for having a credit card. If only it were that simple. I took in onto myself to compare the major New Zealand credit card providers to work out, which card would give me the greatest return in rewards based on an estimated annual spend. (Sounds like another crappy episode of Target.)
You have no doubt heard the line before; technology has invaded most areas of our lives often allowing for higher productivity and convenience. That being said however, there are still some areas where technology is not being leveraged to its’ fullest extent. In order to promote the development of new ideas in such areas Snapper issued a challenge under the Summer of Tech to “demonstrate using Snapper technology to make every day life easier.”
While many of my fellow students at Victoria University chose to do more meaningful Honours projects for their Engineering Bachelor like assisting stroke patients with an assistive device and demonstrating PLC capabilities by sorting M+M’s. I chose something a little less serious. On blogs such as Hack A Day, I had seen many hobbyist implementations of the LED Cube, a small three-dimensional matrix of LEDs controlled by some digital controller (usually a microcontroller), and I decided to see how big I could scale such a project. The largest implementation I had seen at this point was an 8x8x8 cube, but most being 4x4x4 or smaller. I chose to implement a 16x16x16 cube with Tri-colour (Red-Orange-Green) LEDs. The result can be seen in the image on the left. During the time of my project, I came across a company that built and sold LED Cubes with RGB colour up to a size of 32x32x32 but being proprietary, no plans of the device were available.
Domain purchased…. check. Content Management System installed… check. Default theme replaced… check. Some content…. ummmmmm?
Well firstly, welcome to No. 8 Hacks. Although a bit bare at the moment, this blog aims to demonstrate some of the cool projects myself and a few other engineering (and science) graduates have been working on. These projects will generally tend to fall under the areas of electronic and software engineering, yet we will in no way limit ourselves to just these categories.
So what about the name. What does No. 8 Hacks mean? Well ‘Hack’ in the engineering sense has many definitions, but I think Wikipedia sums it up best:
It includes building, rebuilding, modifying, and creating software (software cracking, demo scene) or electronic hardware (hardware hacking, modding)
And for those not familiar with New Zealand slang, No. 8, derived from Number 8 wire (a gauge of wire which was very popular in New Zealand many decades ago), is a term now used to describe kiwi ingenuity and self-sufficiency, making it an appropriate prefix to the site name.
I will be posting irregular updates on various projects along with some of my engineer friends and colleagues, some of whom are working full-time as engineers, others continuing with post grad studies.
Photo courtesy of Michael Jeans michaeljeans.co.nz