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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

Hack an iPod touch Into an iVoIPhone Type Thingie

Ipodtouch_mic Didya tell Santa to slip a brand new shiny Apple iPod touch under the tree fer ya this year? Good, because now you can head over to iPod Touch Mods for a somewhat cryptic project for adding an input microphone/preamp (neatly embedded inside a dock connector) to your new fangled Web-enabled MP3 player. Once you’ve mastered that technological feat, you can try to look up the enterprising hacks of eok for adding VoIP to your iPod touch w/microphone. With a little luck, you could have your 16Gb iVoIPhone ready for Macworld Conference & Expo San Francisco 2008 and scoop Apple on its own “one more thing” announcement.—Dave Prochnow

(Image: touchmods.blog.com)

Hacking Your Eee PC

Eeepc4g4 If you were nice all year long and your stocking is filled with an ASUS Eee PC on Christmas morning, then you are in luck. The “elves” over at EeeUser.com have been filling their server space with lots of hardware hacks, software mods, and user tips for this lithe Linux laptop. Case in point, two terrific posts:

That's right. With a little work, you can quadruple your EeePC's flash storage, add bluetooth, or turn it into that ultraportable Mac Apple has yet to develop (even though Leopard is probably a little poky on the Eee, reports are coming in that OS X 10.4 is quite usable). Watch How 2.0 for an in-depth guide to even more EeePC hacks coming soon. —Dave Prochnow

(Image: ASUSTek Computer, Inc.)

Page Me When It's All Over


Are you looking for a little vibrating pager motor to use in that special Halloween project, but don’t want to spend the typical buck per motor price? Well, a special clearance sale at The Electronic Goldmine features a Belkin Universal VIBRA Clip (G15260) cell phone adapter at the nice price of $0.79 each. Just open the case and remove the pager motor—complete with soldered leads. Plus you get an “AAA” battery and a stylish cell phone belt clip—all for less than a buck.

(Image: The Electronic Goldmine)

Hackers of the world, I beg you ...

Iphoneicons_2 The first shot has been fired in the race to hack the iPhone. Engadget reports that a firmware image is now floating around the Web. The firmware is the operating instructions that live between the hardware and the OS, so being able to peer into that code is often the first step to real hacks. We'll be keeping our eyes glued to places like howardforums.com to see what the first cracks are—and there will be cracks. Here's our initial wishlist:

  • Enable the other Bluetooth protocols. Right now, the Bluetooth is crippled so it can only be used for headsets, but with the right uncrippling, you could stream music to wireless speakers, transfer files (like songs and photos) to and from your computer wirelessly and surf the Web on your laptop using your iPhone's data connection.
  • Unlock the device so you can put other sim cards into it; particularly useful for taking overseas.
  • Enable support for more music and video format
  • Upgrade the memory
  • Replace the battery yourself (sure to come)
  • And the holy grail: Let it run third-party apps. If this has a full OS in it, there should be endless uses. Then we'd really be talking Jesus Phone.
  • Oh, and play Tetris Blocks. Every device must eventually play Tetris Blocks.

What do you want to see it do? Let us know in the comments.

Hack every PSP


Bless the crazy PSP hackers: they've been battling with Sony for years to make the PSP run homebrew (read: unapproved) applications and games. Every time they crack the system, Sony updates the firmware to fix the hole, so hacking your PSP required stepping down to the last version. But now the good guys have come up with a new hack that works on any version firmware from 1.0 to 3.5, using an exploit in the game Lumines. Engadget notes that the game has now shot to #1 over at Amazon, which suggests there is a big block of consumers out there who want their PSP to run homebrew and are willing to not only pay for it, but risk bricking their unit to do so.

So what I can't figure out is why Sony (or Apple) doesn't monetize this group and sell the ability to run homebrew code, either with an unlocked version of the hardware that cost $50 more, or with a cartridge that did what the game exploits do. This kind of sanctioned system could also be made to run only true homebrew code and not pirated games. I bet even that kind of limited homebrew functionality would sell huge, especially if the company made it easy. Are you listening Mr. Stringer? Couldn't Sony use a new legacy right about now? Be the first major CE company that was smart enough to open itself up to user innovation. The press loves this stuff—at the very least, you'd get a lot of friendly coverage. Heck, at this point, what do you have to lose?

Anyway, with the PSP now down to $170 retail and a ton of great homebrew code out there, there's never been a better time to pick up a PSP or dust off your old one. For ideas on what to do with a pwned unit, check out our story "Do More with The PSP." And remember kids, game-pirating theives are just as bad as narrow-minded CEOs that lock down their hardware. —Mike Haney


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