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Hardware Hacking

I took a look at the hardware hacking list, it seems pretty slim. At the 
robot presentation, sorry I couldn't demo, next time I'll have an 
alternate to wireless ethernet just in case, anyway, I made a rah! rah! 
call to buy an oscilloscope, soldering iron, and "The Art of 
Electronics."  Maybe I'm mistaken, but the hardware list seems more 
geared toward hacking Linux onto other hardware, rather than hacking 
hardware to interface Linux with the real world.

If anyone is curious/interested, I'd love to start a thread or two 
talking about how to do some stuff with Linux and I/O cards that may be 
a gateway drug to more interesting hardware hacking.

As a starter, I'd recommend the Velleman K8055 I/O board. It has Linux 
drivers these days, or you can use the one I wrote from

Also, take a look at X10. There are some projects that will interface 
Linux with an X10 controller so you can control lights and appliances 
with bash scripts and "heyu"

As an example, I have a K8055 and an X10 controller connected to my 
desktop. I have a generic infrared motion detector connected to the 
K8055. I have the office lights, printer, and screens connected to AC 
through X10 appliance modules. I replaced the gnome screen saver with 
XScreenSaver so that I could access the screensaver status easily.

I have a program that polls the motion detector. If it detects motion, 
it checks the status of the lights, and if they are off, it turns them 
on. If it does not detect motion for an extended period of time, it 
checks the screen saver. If the screen saver is on, and there is no 
motion, it uses a voice synthesizer to ask if anyone is there. If the 
screen saver does not go off or there is no motion, it turns the lights 
and screens off.

The hard part is getting the where with all to attach the devices to the 
computer. After that, it is more an addictive trial and error process of 
attempting different things. Its kind of fun. I even toyed with the idea 
of using the voice of HAL for some of the messages, but that was too 
nerdy even for me.

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