Monthly Archives: November 2013

Improved “Third Hand” Using Coolant Hose


I don’t really like my “third-hand” tool so I decided to build a better one using flexible ball-jointed coolant spraying pipe hoses. It’s not a totally new idea, SparkFun even sells some of these parts as a kit. But my way is slightly better, and I got the hoses from eBay (look for “Flexible Water Oil Coolant Pipe Hose for Lathe CNC”) instead because SparkFun’s prices were excessively expensive.
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Alternative Way to Dual Boot TrueCrypt’ed Windows and Fully Encrypted Linux

    I am a mainly Windows 7 user who needs to use Linux only sometimes, so I need a dual boot system. I also want to encrypt my entire hard drive for privacy. I used to have TrueCrypt encrypting my entire hard drive, but TrueCrypt does not really support dual boot systems with GRUB, because TrueCrypt must reside on the Master Boot Record (MBR).

    There are several guides on the Internet about how to create a dual boot system with TrueCrypt but all of them involve placing the TrueCrypt rescue disk image into a separate partition. This is an ugly solution as a mainly Windows user because it involves a few extra keystrokes to activate the rescue partition, and the rescue partition is not hidden. I came up with an alternative solution for people who wants to boot directly into Windows with a silent TrueCrypt login most of the time, but needs a few extra keystrokes to get into Linux.

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Reverse Engineering and Cloning a S-View Flip Cover

I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as soon as it was released. I wanted a S-View flip cover for it. S-View basically means the screen will automatically turn on and off when you open and close the cover. It is also able to reformat the display to show important notifications through the square viewing window of the cover, etc. The phone knows if the flip cover is opened or closed because there’s a tiny magnet inside the cover.

But all of the official S-View flip covers available are very expensive at about $60 each. The cheap covers might look like S-View covers, but they do not support the actual S-View functionality. But the cheap covers are about $5. I wanted to hack a $5 to give it S-View functionality. Continue reading

Weekly Report Nov 17 2013

USBXLATER is going strong. Constantly improving and new features. During the testing, I picked up another generic USB hub to test…

Like the picture said, they do not work, I have other generic hubs that do work. These ones seems to exhibit a signalling issue. The strangest thing is that they’ll work if I plug them into my USB traffic analyzer, which means I can’t even debug the signals…

Weekly Report Nov 10 2013

USBXLATER is going great! I’m using it to play through BF4’s single player, to work out bugs. I implemented anti-acceleration for the mouse, plus some filtering, and it feels amazingly like a PC game. I also gave a USBXLATER to Matlo from GIMX because he’s so helpful.

iOS and nRF51 are talking beautifully now. I feel like I can do whatever I want with BLE technology now.

I got a writable NFC tag keychain, I can use a phone app on my Galaxy Note 3 to write my contact info into the tag, and when you scan it, it asks you to import my contact information. Now I keep it with all my keys.

I went to a Freescale seminar. In summary (from the 3 sessions out of many I went to):

  • Kinetis chips do not have any bootloader today, but starting winter of 2013, they will start to add factory stock bootloaders.
  • They are making new ARM Cortex chips with built-in radio transceivers will be released this winter
  • They are going after the Qi wireless charging market, with some NFC involvement too.
  • I learned more about making PCBs that won’t fail due to bad EM characteristics.
  • I think Freescale is slightly behind on the market, I know NXP and ST both already have factory stock bootloaders. ST has their STM32W family already, and I’m already using nRF51 from Nordic.

Had to fight off a wave of spam to my website, because I forgot to turn on account confirmation on my wiki, oops.

Weekly Report Nov 2 2013

I’ve been working with the VS1000D chip, made by VLSI, who has very cool engineers.

Getting closer to the next generation console launch dates. My USB keyboard+mouse-to-console adapter is going great, adding in configurable data translation and such. Still waiting on new PCBs.

I went to the hackerspace in downtown Toronto. I met some great people there. The space is a bit small but they plan on moving to a bigger space soon. I gave away a few spare blank PCBs while I was there.

I played “Journey”. It is one of the must-play titles of the PS3. I suggest you play it in one sitting, with nobody around physically to bother you, and signed into PSN. This is the only way and best way to enjoy this unique game.

UsbXlater Preview

Hi HACKADAY readers, I have some updates: Progress on UsbXlater, DualShock 4 spoofing

This circuit is a STM32F2 chip with a USB host interface and USB device interface. The original goal of this project is to allow me to play Playstation 4 games using a keyboard and mouse (as opposed to using a gamepad, because the PS3/PS4/Xbox360/XboxOne do not support keyboard and mouse directly in games).

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This device has many possible uses…

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