Workshop for the 23c3 in Berlin

inside of wifi detector we'll be hacking

I will be giving a hardware hacking workshop at the 23rd Chaos Computer Congress, aka the 23c3, in Berlin, Germany (exact location: 52.520693,13.416452) on the first day of the conference, the 27th of December from PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE 11:30 to 13:45 (11:30am to 1:45 pm). This workshop will be a hands-on workshop where attendees will repurpose an existing wifi detector into a soft housing that can be velcro-ed around a messenger bag strap or a backpack strap. When I built this project the last time, I built everything into the backpack strap. However, today’s world with vacillating fashion trends and frequent security checks demands more flexibility. The wifi backpack strap will therefore be removable in this newest iteration. There is a flickr tag for the project which goes into a bit more detail about the materials you will receive with payment for the workshop (about 35 euros / 45 dollars).

The materials for the project include: a wifi and spy wifi detector, usb cable to recharge batteries, rechargeable batteries, and a handy wrist strap which you can use for something else, black techie fabric pre-stitched with velcro closure, el-cheapo soldering iron, solder, bits of cable, glue gun to borrow, needle + thread, screwdriver to borrow, and the materials for squishy switches (foam, aluminum foil, paper, wire, silver conductive paint).

There are only about 30 seats in the workshop room, so attendance will be limited to that many. Also, if you prefer to use your own materials, by all means contact me to reserve some space in the workshop room and let me know what brand wifi detector you will be bringing to hack and if you need any other tools. To register with me for the workshop, please contact me using “mail” @ the name of this site with the subject of “23c3 workshop”.

Favorite Headphones

ghetto electrical tape bulge

When your favorite headphones’ mini jack gets crushed and bent (tragic airplane seat incident), do you throw in the towel? Not I. I spent three tedious hours stripping and re-soldering those tiny plastic-string-cored cables. Word of warning — don’t breathe the fumes that stuff gives off when melted. After attempt number one, left was soldered to right and right was soldered to left. After attempt number two, only the left side worked. Attempt number three finally yielded working headphones with no alligator clips and my classy-looking signature re-soldered together bump of electrical tape on the cable. Sometimes great headphones (sony mdr-7506) are worth the extra time.

Working on the Magic Phone

working on the magic phone

The Magic Phone is one of those projects that seems to either mystify people or make them say: Cool! Make me one too!

Basically, it’s two phones mounted into a vintage rotary phone. One of the phones is a wireless home phone that works on the DECT standard and the other is a cellphone. The rotary mechanism’s switches are decoded by a custom-designed circuit which then “pushes” the buttons on either of the two phones inside. The circuit is compact because it uses surface mount components and therefore can leave plenty of room inside the rotary phone for the original bells which are rung using the vibrating function of the cellphone. The DECT phone’s battery powers the circuit and the cellphone uses its own battery. If you are at O’Reilly’s EuroOSCON in Brussels next week, I will have the phone with me for the Make event on Wednesday night. I have quite a few photos up of the Magic Phone and the first part of a detailed how-to can be found on Engadget here and the second part here.