We're not sure what it is about geeks, sewing kits and the holiday season, but bizarre DIY efforts seem to proliferate at this time of the year. Over at Recombu they're sharing a stuffed Android doll tutorial, which shows you how to make your very own smartphone desk-stand in the shape of the Android logo, while an enterprising modder over at RoboCommunity has whipped up a dog-costume for his WowWee Rovio.
After iFixit released the photoset of their Chumby One teardown, we knew the compact WiFi widget device had the potential - via circuit-board connections - for composite video output; now some enterprising modders have taken advantage of it. The mod requires soldering an RCA extender cable to the appropriate places on the mainboard, and slightly modifying the Chumby's firmware.
One day we'll stop posting Chumby case-mods, but nothing cheers up a cold Sunday like a touchscreen penguin. Modder Ankorite took one of the Chumby guts kits from the MAKE store and squeezed it into a penguin Christmas toy, producing a battery-powered widget and internet radio Tux.
Windows 7 Starter Edition wouldn't be our first choice of OS for the Archos 9 PC Tablet - after all, it lacks the handwriting functionality you'll find in other versions - but at least it recognizes the touchscreen. Steve from UMPC Portal decided to load up Chromium OS on his Archos 9 (which we saw unboxed yesterday) but the end result is less than usable: since Chromium doesn't recognize the touchscreen, nor have an on-screen keyboard, you'll basically be stuck looking at the login page.
Points of note include Android seemingly being loaded onto a 2GB internal microSD card - potentially a cause of sluggish OS performance - and a Samsung S3C6410 processor that's actually capable of OpenGL ES 1.1/ 2.0 among other things. The Android install itself, meanwhile, is a generic OS 1.5 build with some B&N customization on top
What should be interesting is how the nook gets hacked, especially given the interesting hardware. The nookDevs contributors have already figured out a way to spoof the DNS and feed content to the nook as if it came from B&N.
Now turning a netbook into a cheap tablet or UMPC isn't new, and we've seen plenty such mods before, but this so-called Harlequin project is something else. My Dell Mini forum member pakkei decided he couldn't wait for Microsoft to release the Courier and thought he'd make one himself, converting his Inspiron Mini 9 into a slate-format tablet and adding in a second, 9-inch USB touchscreen.
An Android handset arguably doesn't come of age until its been rooted by the modding community, and two recent devices have just now got their stripes. Both the Motorola DROID and the Acer Liquid A1 have been granted pretty much one-click rooting, opening the door for the sort of hacks, ROMS and reskins that have flourished across the Android platform.
Google appear to have closed off the loophole that allowed users of Android smartphones to access the Google Maps Navigation beta outside of the US. Tutorials explaining how to unlock the software - which was announced back in October - appeared in late November, and showed how workarounds for Google's location limitations could enable the turn-by-turn navigation for users in the rest of the world. Unfortunately a software update for Google Maps on Android this weekend appears to have cut off those workarounds.
We reckon this is a mod that could be pretty popular after the holidays, when people wonder what exactly they're going to do with the non-wireless digital photo frames they've been given. Matt Mets took one look at his and decided it would make a great DIY Word Clock, stepping through slides with the time written out long-hand; a frame that can automatically change the image every sixty seconds would even be able to do all the clock-work for him.
The most bizarre thing about this Instructable for converting a regular AC outlet into a USB outlet is that only this morning - dealing with various review phones bleating as their batteries expired on the mess that is my desk - I found myself wishing for such a thing. Apparently the work of 30 minutes and a mere $10, we're not sure we agree with project author Hextor's tongue-in-cheek prediction that "it will get your home ready for the future, when most appliances are USB" but for bringing new life to an unloved outlet it can't be beat.