Ugly hot

Now it’s the east coast’s turn. 95 here on the Cape. Blackouts happening in the next town (where my blog is hosted). Airconditioning cutting out in the old house every fifteen minutes and the dogs have tongues a foot long.

Too hot to move. I think I shorted out my Treo by sweating into it. The harbor is full of nasty jellyfish, so swimming is out of the question. Maybe a movie — pack the family into an airconditioned dark room for a couple hours.

Hardware Hacking — knocking some sense into a ThinkPad

It never ceases to amaze me how creative people can get with a mundane piece of technology. In recent weeks a number of hacks built atop the ThinkPad “accelerometer”, the technology that Lenovo builds into its notebooks to protect the harddisk from a catastrophic crash in the event of a fall — known as Active Protection — are nothing short of amazing. A utility that was designed to sense a dramatic motion and park the harddrive arm so it won’t bang into the platters can now be modified to fly through maps, change songs, and draw pictures.
some curious coders have built apps that will allow you to skip to the next MP3 track by rapping on the screen, “fly” through Google Maps and Google Earth by tilting the machine, and switch from one screen to another by knocking on the box.

I want to figure out the Google Earth hack. I know Lenovo has a game where one can “steer” a penguin down a ski slope. The first time I tried it I felt like an utter idiot trying to drive the bird using the arrow keys or the W-A-S-D combo. Finally I picked the machine up, tilted it, and for five minutes looked the biggest loser in business class somewhere over the Atlantic.

Now, take that utility and morph it into “knock code.” Here are some pointers:

  1. Google Maps controls
  2. Smackpad
  3. Etch-a-Sketch
  4. Light Saber