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May 2006

May 8, 2006

Fun With A RAZR

Filed under: Commentary,Software — Bob @ 9:08 pm

clgif_v3_1.jpgI bought a Motorola RAZR phone the other day to replace my aged Ericsson T28. I’m not a “phone person” nor a “gadget person” but I do like to have a mobile phone. I long ago figured out that its worth paying more for the convenience of small, thin, light electronics.

What has really surprised me is the subculture of people who “hack” these sophisticated phones. Sometimes its about removing the software locks set by the carrier, other times its just about changing the skins or uploading new games. Some sites offer alternate firmware to download to your phone. Try googling for “hack mobile phone {brand name}” and you’ll see what I mean.

I think this is sort of like hot rodding cars. When I was a teenager it was very cool to enhance a car in interesting ways. Replacing engines, transmissions, suspension, etc. was not at all unusual. Custom paint with multiple layers of clear coat was standard. I’ve heard that car mods are still popular but nothing like it was. Now its all about firmware tweaks or bolt-on wings or such. I miss days of the big fat tires with expensive chrome wheels and super-thin pin stripping painted by hand.

I guess I’m getting old. Sigh.

PCBs Arrived Today

Filed under: Robots — Bob @ 8:39 pm

pcb thumb.jpg A few weeks ago I wrote about getting some printed circuit boards made for my robot projects. They arrived in the mail today and they look pretty good.

I also received my Digikey order of parts last Friday. That company is excellent to to work with – a pretty good website with a good search engine, links to data sheets, good prices and easy shipping options (basically a flat fee using Purolator, Canadian duty already included). My only complaint is their search engine doesn’t use permanent links – the link expires after a few minutes so its hard to send a link for a part to someone else.

I’ll probably start assembly tomorrow or Wednesday. Probably will have one of the boards done by the time I leave for the WCRG Robot Games on Friday night.

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