Hardware, Portfolio


A friend of ours owns a piece of property in the high desert north of Los Angeles next to the Angeles National Forest. He named it Fuzzyland and built a platform treehouse to use as a DJ booth and hosts parties there once or twice a year. We camp overnight and the attendance varies from 40 to 100 people. I’ve never missed an event out there and after the first few I started bringing art to contribute to the atmosphere. Continue reading

Hacks, Hardware, Las Vegas, Portfolio

Ninja Cola, a wirelessly accessible vending machine

jenny mans ninjatel

A couple months ago Chris suggested we hack a vending machine so that you could use non-traditional input to make it serve beverages. I had some experience converting a machine to free mode during our Rainfall project so it didn’t seem too hard. Vending machines are readily available on Craiglist but I made sure to ask amongst friends to avoid the hassle. Craig offered the old vending machine that was sitting in his datacenter, “as long as it comes back eventually and more awesome”. Easy. Continue reading


DVD stuck in dead MacBook drive

Forgive the stilted title but I want people to actually find this post. I recently loaned my black 2008 MacBook to a friend. They inserted a DVD but it refused to read and wouldn’t eject using the hardware key. Standard procedure in this case is to:

  • Reboot the computer and hold down the trackpad button while booting. Disk will eject.

That didn’t work. This is what did work (somehow) and it’s scarcely mentioned online:

  • Reboot the computer and hold down the ‘D’ key while booting. Disk will eject. You will be overjoyed.

The D key is normally used to tell the computer to read the install disk in the DVD drive and boot into hardware test mode. System profiler says that the Macbook doesn’t have an optical drive which is why I assume the first method doesn’t work. I hope this helps you.


Taking a stock Nexus One to Froyo

The boss handed me a new-in-box Google Nexus One today leftover from a launch project they did. My G1 has been showing it’s age so I decided to take the new phone and update it to the most recent leak of 2.2. I did the following:

  1. Unlocked the stock bootloader
  2. Rooted it
  3. Flashed the Amon_RA recovery image
  4. Flashed the Froyo radio image
  5. Flashed the FRF50 test ROM
  6. Flashed the FRF72 update
  7. Updated the kernel (to fix wifi)

La Fonera flashing

La Fonera

In my repeater post, I mentioned that I had a La Fonera I was planning on flashing next. Fon routers can be tricky; they phone home to determine if there’s new firmware to be installed and then upgrade automatically. If you’re not careful, it’ll patch all of its security holes before you get a chance to hack it.

I had two La Foneras on hand. One was new-in-box and, from my memory, quite a few years old. The other I snagged from the donor gear table at Crash Space last week. I figured if I was putting in the effort to flash one I might as well do two (and then return it new and improved). I followed DD-WRT’s flashing guide and ran into a few different hurdles along the way.

Continue reading