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Hack A Day

  1. DIY Man-Sized Fire-Breathing Piranha Plant Makes Us Wonder Why It Took This Long to Make One [Video]

    Hack A Day's Caleb Kraft impressed us last week with a replica of Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, that actually shot lightning. Well, it sparked pretty mightily, anyway, and that was good enough for us. This week, Kraft is back with a new project in the same vein -- a model of the iconic piranha plant that stands over six feet tall and shoots fire from its gaping foam maw. 

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  2. DIY Mjolnir Packs 80,000 Volts of Awesomeness Inside

    We're lucky to live in a world that also contains the folks over at Hack A Day, for whom "Gee, that sounds dangerous" is not a sentence to give pause, but a rallying cry to see how far one can push a strange, and quite possibly bad, idea. And that, folks, is how an 80,000-volt Tesla coil got inside a homemade replica of Thor's hammer.

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  3. Hacked Together USB Drive Generates and Enters Passwords For You

    Creating, memorizing, and even just typing in passwords can be a serious drag. If you adhere to some of the more hardcore security personal security regimens, you'll have to be walking around with a dozen or so unique, nonsensical, alpha-numeric, camel-capped character strings in your head at any given time. What a drag. So, what's a guy to do? One option is to just have really crumby, reused passwords, another option is to hack together a USB drive that will generate, remember, and enter your password for you when you jam it into your USB drive. That's what Joonas Pihlajamaa did.

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  4. Certain Philips Headphones Deliberately Lessen Battery Length When Using Third Party Batteries

    Over on Figure Maniac, a possibly deep, dark secret has been unearthed regarding some Philips' brand headphones, as it turns out Philips SBC HC8545 headphones contain a system that detects whether or not Philips brand rechargeable batteries are being used, and if not, significantly lessens the length of the third party rechargeables. Making the claims a little more believable--and Philips a little more evil--is the fact that the headphones come with a warning saying only Philips brand rechargeable batteries should be used with the product, and not third party rechargeables. The headphones contain an extra conductor in their battery slots that make contact with a battery's case. Through the extra conductor, a reverse-biased diode touches a specific part of a battery's case, which makes contact with a part of the battery that is not painted, thus allowing the headphones to distinguish Philips brand batteries from other brands. During testing, the connection between the extra conductor and battery was shorted out, and the length of third party batteries--which have the same specs as the Philips brand--were significantly increased, thus proving that said extra conductor indeed identifies, then regulates battery life as related to the headphones.

    So, what's going on here? An evil corporate scheme to force brand loyalty? Possibly, though a few astute commenters over on Hack A Day claim this kind of regulation is nothing more than a safety precaution put in place due to the wide array of third party rechargeable batteries floating around on the market, and Philips is only attempting to lessen the potential for the batteries to malfunction and damage the headphones, or in the worst case scenario, having the headphones break in a way that could cause some damage while someone is wearing them on their head.

    (Figuramania.blogspot.com via Hack A Day)

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