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The Private London Underground Line Used Only By Mailbags

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From: The Tim Traveller
Duration: 08:00

For 76 years, a private underground line ran under the streets of London, completely separate from the Tube. But most Londoners have never seen or even heard of it - because you could only ride it if you were a mailbag. I went to find out more about the story of the Post Office Railway...

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APRS Implemented at Low Cost and Small Size

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Before smartphones and Internet of Things devices were widely distributed, the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) was the way to send digital information out wirelessly from remote locations. In use since the 80s, it now has an almost hipster “wireless data before it was cool” vibe, complete with plenty of people who use it because it’s interesting, and plenty of others who still need the unique functionality it offers even when compared to more modern wireless data transmission methods. One of those is [Tyler] who shows us how to build an APRS system for a minimum of cost and size.

[Tyler]’s build is called Arrow and operates on the popular 2 metre ham radio band. It’s a Terminal Node Controller (TNC), a sort of ham radio modem, built around an ESP32. The ESP32 handles both the signal processing for the data and also uses its Bluetooth capability to pair to an Android app called APRSDroid. The entire module is only slightly larger than the 18650 battery that powers it, and it can be paired with a computer to send and receive any digital data that you wish using this module as a plug-and-play transceiver.

While the build is still has a few limitations that [Tyler] notes, he hopes that the project will be a way to modernize the APRS protocol using methods for radio transmission that have been improved upon since APRS was first implemented. It should be able to interface easily into any existing ham radio setup, although even small balloon-lofted radio stations can make excellent use of APRS without any extra equipment. Don’t forget that you need a license to operate these in most places, though!

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Final Fantasy 1-6 Pixel Remasters might finally give us good versions

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After spending several years making vintage Final Fantasy games look worse with remastered re-releases toting blurry graphics and ugly menus, Square Enix might give people what they actually wanted in the first place. During their E3 showcase today, Squeenix announced a "Pixel Remaster" series of Final Fantasies I through VI. Information is vague right now but they sure do look like ye olde FF games with ye olde pixel art.

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TV Ambient Lighting Built for Awesome Performance

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[AndrewMohawk] had seen all kinds of ambient lighting systems for TVs come and go over the years, and the one thing they all had in common was that they didn’t live up to his high standards. Armed with the tools of the hacker trade, he set about building an Ambilight-type system of his own that truly delivered the goods.

The development process was one full of roadblocks and dead ends, but [Andrew] persevered. After solving annoying problems with HDCP and HDMI splitters, he was finally able to get a Raspberry Pi to capture video going to his TV and use OpenCV to determine the colors of segments around the screen. From there, it was simple enough to send out data to a string of addressable RGB LEDs behind the TV to create the desired effect.

For all the hard work, [Andrew] was rewarded with an ambient lighting system that runs at a healthy 20fps and works with any HDMI video feed plugged into the TV. It even autoscales to work with video content shot in different aspect ratios so the ambient display always picks up the edge of the video content.

With 270 LEDs fitted, the result is an incredibly smooth and fluid ambient display we’d love to have at home. You can build one too, since [Andrew] shared all the code on Github. As an added bonus, he also gave the system an audio visualiser, and tested it out with some Streetlight Manifesto, the greatest third-wave ska band ever to roam the Earth. The Fourth Wave still eludes us, but we hold out hope.

We’ve seen plenty of hacks in this vein before; one of the most impressive hacked a smart TV into doing the video processing itself. Video after the break.

 

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Progress Bar for MacOS

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Progress Bar for MacOS

Price: $5  | Buy

Progress Bar is a simple app for MacOS designed to make you more aware of the passing of time. It sits in the menu bar and shows a bar or a percentage of the day, month and year’s progress. You can even include an eerie estimate of your life’s progress.

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2bithacker
1045 days ago
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Kindof cute, but $5 seems steep for something that could be replicated with Bitbar for free.
Fort Worth, TX

Repairs

5 Comments and 11 Shares
I was just disassembling it over the course of five hours so it would fit in the trash more efficiently.
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5 public comments
2bithacker
1252 days ago
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This is basically just https://xkcd.com/349/ in graph form.
Fort Worth, TX
Ferret
1252 days ago
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So true.
pdonahue
1252 days ago
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Working image link:
https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/repairs_2x.png
alt_text_at_your_service
1252 days ago
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I was just disassembling it over the course of five hours so it would fit in the trash more efficiently.
alt_text_bot
1252 days ago
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I was just disassembling it over the course of five hours so it would fit in the trash more efficiently.
kazriko
1252 days ago
I've done that before. More so I could put part of it in the scrap metal bin, and some of it in the to-recycle pile, and throw the plastic bits away, but... No, I didn't just spend an hour dismantling a printer to save $30 at the electronics recycler...
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