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Update: The (Former $250) NOW $120 DOS Tablet PC

Hp_usb_disk In May 2007, we published a project on Instructables that showed how to assemble a potentially useful tablet PC. Why was this project only a potential success? We couldn’t get the Fujitsu Stylistic 1000 to boot. All of that has changed and now we can boot the Tablet PC in DOS, Windows 95, and DSL Linux. The secret element that made this doorstop into a viable Tablet PC was a Windows tool called HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool V. 2.1.8. At the link, a Texan named Nox will supply all of the needed know-how for using this utility, as well as downloads for both HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool and a collection of boot files. Now don’t get too excited, these dated tablet PCs only worked really well when they were booted into DOS. So we converted ours into a dedicated DOS game machine. Skip the stylus and use an old salvaged PS/2 keyboard. Also, drop the battery and pick up a power supply. These two mods to our original project will shave about $135 off the project’s price tag. Not bad for around $120.—Dave Prochnow

iRobot Create Contest Winner: the DIY Personal Home 'Bot

Irobot_winner Congrats to Instructables user dttworld for bagging the grand $5,000 prize for the iRobot challenge. If you recall, we helped get the creative juices flowing with our iRobot iNstitute—a guide to getting started with the flexible Create kit. Something tells me dttworld wasn't in need of our help, though, judging by his winning home service 'bot: it can talk, recognize faces, control your TV, water your plants, and even remind grandma to take her pills! Check out more photos and video here. —John Mahoney

iRobot Create Personal Home Robot [instructables]

iRobot iNstitute

Jam It: The TV Remote Control Jamming Circuit


Instructables user Kipkay has a project that claims to block IR signals from any receiving device. For example, prevent someone from changing channels on a TV. This magic is achieved through scrambling the remote’s IR signal. Based on a 555 Timer IC, Kipkay states that this circuit can be innocuously housed inside a “standard” remote control for activating/deactivating its IR signal jamming function.

(Image: Kipkay)

WARNING: Shocking Video


Want to add some zip to your Halloween decorations, this year? NK5 has posted a project for building your own lightning globe on Instructables. Although this “how to” is rife with warnings, the project’s overall cost of approximately five bucks makes it worth a look. Just make sure that you aren’t viewing the video while using an aluminum notebook computer . . . it could be a shocking experience.  ☺

(Image: NK5 via Instructables)

We Have a Winner: The DIY Hydroponic Bog Garden

We are happy to announce the winner of our Go Green contest, thrown over on Instructables with the help from our friends at TreeHugger. The winning project details an ingenious way of further purifying the effluent water output of a sewage treatment tank (also designed by the contest winner's organization) and using it to grow plants in a hydroponic garden. Well done! Stay tuned here for more of our favorite entires, published in their step-by-step glory. Congratulations and thanks to all who entered! —John Mahoney

Green Contest Now Officially Closed

I just wanted to thank everyone who entered our "Go Green" contest over on Instructables—and everyone else who submitted great greening ideas to the original post's comment thread. We're thrilled with the great response we've gotten, and it'll be a tough job judging all the entries. Stay tuned here for the winner's announcement and several of our favorite projects. —John Mahoney

And the Winner Is...

Fewc3xjjx6ezixdjmomedium The results are in for our Use It Again challenge! We were completely blown away by the amount of quality entries we received, and distilling them down to a smaller list of winners was a pretty excruciating task, but alas, someone had to bag the top prize. And that person was Instructables user radiorental, who transplanted the guts of a wireless router into an uber-slick vintage casing (pictured here), complete with a working analogue network traffic gauge pulled from an old boat. We'll be featuring it in an upcoming issue of PopSci, a nice bonus to go along with the sweet grand-prize Canon Rebel XT DSLR.

Also, congratulations to the first prize and honorable mention winners, whose projects we'll be featuring here in the near future:

First Prize:

Honorable Mention: We're pumped to do this all again soon, so keep an eye out here for details on what's coming up next. —John Mahoney

Enter the PopSci/Instructables "Use It Again" Contest

In honor of our new How 2.0 group on Instructables—the place to be for the coolest step-by-step DIY guides on the Web—we're launching what will likely be the first of many contests. And we're definitely kicking things off right—the winner will bag a new Canon 8-megapixel digital SLR and have their project featured in the How 2.0 section of an upcoming issue of PopSci!!

What kind of projects? you may be asking. It's simple. If you're like us, you're probably surrounded by all kinds of sci-tech detritus. Stuff that may be broken, outdated, random, whatever—it's all too cool to throw out but too weird to have any particular use on its own. Now the time has come to breathe new life into your old tech toys. Take any tech junk you've got around the house, bolt it together, and come up with something new and useful again (preferably while bellowing "It's alive! It's alive!" at your hunchbacked assistant).

If you've seen the "Repurposed Tech" feature in the pages of How 2.0, you know what we're talking about. More info is available over at Instructables, including the official rules and regulations for entering and examples of projects that would work. You've got until April 1, so get hacking! —John Mahoney

Link - Contest Instructions and Rules

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