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Hacking the Pinball machine (Take Two)

November 30, 2014

30.Nov 2014

Wow, wow, wow - I finally got my hand dirty hacking. Together with ccb23, I (once again) opened up our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pinball machine to ‘pirate’ the current game score to throw into teh internetz!

To be honest, it’s take two. We already did so nearly 18 month ago, but failed to document and write about our experience in full. In short, we reverse-engineered the graphic card protocol of the pinball machine, connected an Arduino to listen on the bus and ‘pirate’ the game score. But due to its lack of internet connection we forwarded the data via RFID injection to a Nabaztag Rabbit, which send the message to an API endpoint of a rails application. So what’s left are a couple of prototype projects:

  • A Arduino sketch to listen to the graphic-bus.
  • The NabaztagInjector to send the data via RFID to a WIFI connected Nabaztag rabbit.
  • A rails app & API PinPirate to receive the data, display the score and send out tweets.

Yes, this worked! Proof of concept - done! Unfortunately it turned out that all was very shaky and not very reliable, so we left it for a while until now, back to tackle the challenge again, but this time with a different approach: enter RaspberryPi.


  • on board Internet


  • we have a full OS - access to interrupts way more complicated

ccb23 managed to write a kernel module to direct access to Interrupts:

With this module loaded and the pinball machine connected, listening to the graphic bus is as simple as:
cat /dev/????


The Dude is coming...

November 29, 2014

Oh yeah, I can’t believe Dutch Pinball did it. They are building a Big Lebowski pinball machine!!! I features all the legendary Movie characters, and of course, a bowling alley below the playfield. Can’t wait to get my hands on that.

Projects worth to donate to

November 29, 2014

It’s soon the end of the year and time to say ‘thank-you’ to projects and people I profit from on a regular basis. This year it its:
* iTerm -
* SequelPro -
* DaviCal -
* Serial Podcast -
* Logbuch: Netzpolitik -
* Alternativlos -
* MacTechnews - get the App to support the project -
* Outbank -
* Time Pritlove -
* Jack Conte -
* more to come…

More on my Flattr Page:

Related: open call with @Flattr @GetCentUp @Patreon @GitTip on Sustainable Crowdfunding:

Pro Pinball: Timeshock! - The ULTRA Edition

April 22, 2014

OMG! its happening - The 90s are back!

Update: And even better, Silver Castle Pinball is building a real(!!!) Timeshock! Machine:


January 20, 2014

WunderBar - a great Internet of Things Starter Kit for App Developers:


[via Moritz, thx]

DIY: custom y-connector ribbon cable

January 04, 2014

For my upcoming Hacks i needed a y-connector ribbon cable. I wanted something quick, easy and cheap to build, still reliable and preferable without wiring. So i came up with this:




Mainly two blanks with connectors at each side. Stack them and your Y-connector is done. Happy hacking!

Conferences 2014 not to miss

January 04, 2014


Interesting Conferences not to miss:

I T.A.K.E:
RE/Mixed Media Festival IV:

Running your own CardDav / CalDav Server

January 04, 2014

For years I’ve been running my own CalDav/CardDav server to sync my Contacts, Calendars and Reminders across all my devices. I’ve been very happy with DAViCal, until recently, I had to switch to a simple vhost which doesn’t offer PostgreSQL and custom apache cfgs. So I did some research which other implementations may be useful, those are most promising ones:

Radicale (Python + Mysql)

Baïkal (PHP + Mysql)
based on SabreDav

SabreDav (PHP + Mysql)
DAV Framework,

DAViCal (PHP + PostgreSQL)
Very complete, but not that easy to install.

Apple CalendarServer:

See full list:


June 25, 2013

Me wants :)

My Mountain Lion Setup 2013

April 16, 2013

ok some time passed since I wrote my dev setup, so here”s my current one *braindump*

Main Development Setup
Mountain Lion
xCode (or latest iPhone SDK)
Ruby: rvm + rubygems + rails etc.
Database: Mysql 5.1 + Sequel Pro
OpenVPN: Tunnelblick
iTerm 2
Sublime Text 3
Git + GitX (rowanj fork)
FTP & Co: Cyberduck
Hudson status: CCMenu
Share Files: Dropbox
Google Chrome
Firefox + Firebug

Extended Development

Nice to have:
System Notification: Growl
IRC: hide join messages Adium
original Twitter client (suxx)
All Codecs: Perian
Dasboard widgets: IP + App Update
Copy&Paste History: Flycut
Word replacement: iWork
Apple Mail

Installation hints:

Show hidden files:
Show full dir:

EEVblog - OLED Multimeter Review

March 13, 2013

Wow, I just discovered EEVblog which has awesome video material for electronic geeks. This one will definitely help me choosing a new multimeter + its just fun to watch - stay tuuuned!

Seriality - Physicality for the Web

January 23, 2013

Here a very late shout out to an interesting project: control your Arduino via the browser! Basically its a browser plugin to get access to your machines (virtual) serial port. With that you can use javascript to send and receive any data - how cool is that!?

When 'return' matters

December 19, 2012

so return actually makes difference in some cases!

def mystery_number
  return 23

def mystery_number2
  return 23
  return 42

puts mystery_number  # -> 23
puts mystery_number2 # -> 42

Carambola Board arrived

November 28, 2012

Yay the Carambola Board arrived today from Exp Tech. Time to start hacking!!

Good place to start with:

To start with:

Transistor vs. MOSFet - According to Pete

November 14, 2012

oh yeah, I guess I finally got the basic difference between a Transistor and a MOSFET:

Transistor is current driven, a MOSFET via voltage! Thanks to Pete, and his fabulous SparkFun screencasts:

yieha! Watch ‘em all: