Cyrozap's Tech Projects

Computers. Circuits. Code.

My Enhancement Request to Apple (and Verizon, AT&T, et al.)

I just sent this Enhancement Request to Apple. I've reproduced it below:

Unlocked Verizon iPhone 4S To Work On U.S. GSM Carriers

This may be more of a problem with Verizon, but I really would love it if an unlocked Verizon iPhone 4S could be permitted to work on any GSM carrier in the world—including the United States. Currently, it only works on Verizon in the U.S. and GSM carriers internationally, but not AT&T, T-Mobile U.S., nor any other U.S. regional GSM carriers. I was going to buy an iPhone 4S, thinking that this was the dawn of the age of easy migration between wireless carriers, but upon learning about this crippling of the iPhone's enormous hardware potential, I have resolved to not purchase one. I also find it absurd that Verizon will not let an Apple-unlocked iPhone 4S be permitted on its network. This stifles innovation and reeks of monopolistic practices. If iPhone owners got fed up with AT&T's lack of expansive 3G coverage, they could switch to Verizon. If they got tired of Verizon's slow 3G data speeds, they could easily switch to AT&T or T-Mobile. If consumers were allowed to freely flow between carriers, the superior carrier would have more subscribers by nature and not by force. I'd prefer it if companies would bring about this change by themselves instead of legislation forcing the change. Either way, it must happen eventually. Apple has the power to protest these anti-competitive habits by allowing the activation of U.S. SIM cards in unlocked Verizon iPhone 4S's. I don't know if this request will actually do anything, but it makes me feel better to know that someone will see this and might even stop a moment to think, "What if..."

Go to http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html to send your own Enhancement Request.

MakerBot Controller iOS App

I made an app that can hackishly control a MakerBot! Code is here. Clone via Git, open and compile with XCode 4.

I say "hackishly" because it only works on the X-axis right now and it only supports absolute coordinates. Eventually, I want this to become a full ReplicatorG implementation so you won't need a computer to control a MakerBot.

You need a Redpark serial cable and EITHER a provisioned iOS device and developer program membership OR a jailbroken iOS device and modified XCode. I have the latter.

If you want to help the development, feel free to fork the repository and do any dev work you want! This is a great resource to use. I really do need help with this because my coding skills are less than adequate.

CD/Cassette/Radio Hack

Today, I hacked a multi-function audio player (commonly known as a "boom box") to add an external audio input. This hack isn't really done yet (I still have to solder everything up, drill a hole, add the 1/8" jack, etc.), but I have pictures of what I've done.

Essentially, I started out by poking around the live circuit with my oscilloscope. I didn't get very far with that, so I decided to look up the datasheet for the identical DIP chips that looked like they were the amp chips. After reading the bits I needed, I saw that the chips were indeed amplifiers (with one for each channel). After tracing some circuit paths, I managed to find a good point to input the signal. I connected some wires to those points, found a point for ground, and connected it to an 1/8" jack in my iPhone.

I was able to play Derezzed REALLY loud before it started getting distorted.

Sorry there's no video, but the music player I was using also happens to be my video camera, phone, calendar, and video player (among other things). Also, my normal video camera wasn't available. Click "Continue Reading" to see the pictures.

WordPress For iOS Version 2.7 Beta

Well, the 2.7 Beta of WordPress for iOS fixes a major problem I had with v2.6.6. How? Before, the app kept giving me grief over my self-signed SSL certificate. Today, I decided to install the beta by checking out the SVN trunk and compiling the app for my iPhone (and then self-signing that and installing it on my jailbroken device). FYI, this post was written in the now-usable WordPress for iOS app on my iPhone 4.

Expect the number of posts (and the number of posts with pictures) to increase dramatically. Hey, maybe I'll be able to surpass the number of posts MakerBlock averages monthly (if I ever upgrade my server)!

Verizon iPhone

I love my new Verizon iPhone 4! It's so much faster than the 1st gen iPod touch! The extra RAM helps in addition to the 2.5X boost in CPU clock speed.

I also enjoy unlimited data ;D

So many features...

P.S.: I got it on the 7th.

I'm selling an iPhone/iPod/iPad stand design!

I recently received a copy of Alibre Design Expert 2011 (it's an early Christmas gift from my mom). It's the Educational version, so instead of $1400 it was $200. That's not bad for a CAD package with a license I can use on 3 PCs without needing it to renew it every few years.

So, trying to find a use for this, I decided to make an iPhone/iPod/iPad stand using the sheet metal designing tool (only available in the Expert version, I think).

Since I haven't found a way to export my design as a DXF, I have been unable to make this out of metal (or wood—I'll probably prototype it in wood or on my Makerbot). So, lacking this functionality, I exported it as an STL, scaled it up, and posted it on Ponoko for $1.99 (I think it's a fair price for a few hours work and a nicely-designed stand). You can buy it and then print it on a MakerBot or other 3D-printer. However, it's around 12cm tall, so this will push your machine. If you're outrageously wealthy, you can have Ponoko make it for you, but I dont think it's worth it.

At some point I'll get Alibre to output to DXF so I can allow people to make this out of sheet metal, wood, sheet plastic, and other flat-but-bendable materials. That would be better worth the $1.99.

Don't give me grief on the license—it's more than likely I'll change it to something more open. Right now, I'm just playing it safe.

TVKiller: An iPhone App to Act as a TV-B-Gone

I am currently making this app as a TV-B-Gone-like device: all you do is push the button and all the TVs you're facing turn off. The concept is simple: push the button, it maxes out the volume and plays a recorded file of all the TV off-codes, the IR LEDs transmit the signal from the audio port, and all the TVs go off.

Feel free to fork the Git repository to debug it (at the time of this post it has 10 errors and 6 warnings). As I'm new to Objective-C, I need all the help I can get. The project is under the GNU GPL, currently. I'll figure out the licensing stuff later when the project actually contains the recorded codes from a TV-B-Gone; the current "codes.mp3" is just a 440 Hz square wave for testing. That will be replaced by the real "codes.mp3" when it becomes available.

If you have a TV-B-Gone, the means to record its codes as a WAV or MP3 file, and want to help with the project, I'd appreciate it if you'd record its codes and then send them my way so they can be integrated into the project (whoever does so will be credited properly).

WordPress 2.0 for iPhone is here!

Ok, so I just got the WordPress 2.0 app for my iPod touch. It's awesome. I'm actually posting from it right now! I was surprised that it could work with self-hosted WP, but it's true. I'm glad. :)