Hackaday Podcast

27 Jan. 2023

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi meet up virtually to talk about all the hacks that are fit to print. This week's episode starts off with a discussion about the recently unveiled 2023 Hackaday.io Low-Power Challenge, and how hackers more often than not thrive when forced to work within these sort of narrow parameters. Discussion then continues to adding a virtual core to the RP2040, crowd-sourced device reliability information, and mechanical Soviet space computers. We'll wrap things up by wondering what could have been had Mattel's ill-fated ThingMaker 3D printer actually hit the market, and then engage in some wild speculation about the issues plaguing NASA's latest Moon mission.

Check out the links over at Hackaday!

20 Jan. 2023

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos stood around and marveled at machinery in its many forms, from a stone-cutting CNC to an acrobatic robot to an AI-controlled Twitch v-tuber. But before all of that, we took a look at the winners of our FPV Vehicle Contest, poured one out for Google Stadia, and Elliot managed to stump Kristina once again with this week's What's That Sound. Will you fare better?

Later, we drooled over an open-source smart watch, argued screen printing versus stenciling when it comes to bootleg Hackaday merch, and got into the finer points of punycodes.

Check out the links and join in the conversation over at Hackaday.

13 Jan. 2023

Even for those with paraskevidekatriaphobia, today is your lucky day as Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney sit under ladders with umbrellas while holding black cats to talk about the week in awesome hacks. And what a week it was, with a Scooby Doo code review, mushrooms in your PCBs, and the clickiest automatic transmission that never was. Have you ever flashed the firmware on a $4 wireless sensor? Maybe you should try. Wondering how to make a rotary Hall sensor detect linear motion? We'll answer that too. Will AI muscle the dungeon master out of your D&D group? That's a hard no. We'll talk about a new RISC-V ESP32, making old video new again, nuclear reactor kibble, and you're least satisfying repair jobs. And yes, everyone can relax -- I'm buying her a new stove.

Check out the links in the show notes over on Hackaday.

6 Jan. 2023

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi ring in the New Year with...well, pretty much the same stuff they do every other week. After taking some time to talk about the nuts and bolts of the podcast in honor of Episode 200, discussion moves on to favorite stories of the week including an impeccably cloned Dyson lamp, one hacker's years-long quest to build the ultimate Game Boy, developing hardware in Python, building a breadboard computer with the 6502's simplified sibling, and the latest developments surrounding the NABU set-top box turned retrocomputer. The episode wraps up with a review of some of the biggest themes we saw in 2022, and how they're likely to shape the tech world in the coming years.

Check out the links over on Hackaday.

30 Dec. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos decided against using one of Kristina's tin can microphones to record the podcast, though that might be a cool optional thing to do once (and then probably never again).

After a brief foray into the news that the Chaos Communications Congress will be decentralized once again this year, as COVID restrictions make planning this huge event a complete headache (among other notable symptoms), we discuss the news that the EU is demanding replaceable batteries in phones going forward.

After that, it's time for another What's That Sound results show, and despite repeated listens, Kristina fails to guess the thing. Even if she'd had an inkling as to what it was, she probably would have said 'split-flap display' instead of the proper answer, which is 'flip-dot display', as a few people responded.

Finally, it's on to the hacks, where we talk about uses for ferrofluid and decide that it's one of those things that's just for fun and should not be applied to the world as some sort of all-purpose whacking device.

Check out the links below if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!


23 Dec. 2022

As we slide into the Christmas, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney look at the best and brightest of this week's hacks. It wasn't an easy task -- so much good stuff to choose from! But they figured it out, and talked about everything from impossible (and semi-fractal) 3D printing overhangs and the unfortunate fishies of Berlin's ex-aquarium, to rolling your own FM radio station and how a spinning Dorito of doom is a confusing way to make an electric vehicle better.

Think it's no fun when your friend forgets to pick you up at the airport? Wait until you hear about what it's like to get stuck on the ISS, and the incredibly risky way you might have to get home. Interested in the anatomy and physiology of a cloned robo-dog? Then let the master do a teardown and give you his insight. We'll make some time for tea, cross our eyes for stereo photos, and dive into the mechanics of the USB-C.

Check out the links over on Hackaday!

16 Dec. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos delighted in the aural qualities of Kristina's brand new, real (read: XLR) microphone before embarking on creating a podcast highlighting the best of the previous week's hacks.

This week in the news, NASA returned to the Moon with Artemis I, and this time, there are CubeSats involved. After that, it's on to the What's That Sound results show, marred by Kristina's cheating scandal (listening ahead of time) and Elliot's reading the filename aloud before we started recording. Finally, we move on to the hacks -- they start with a trip to the 90s both sonically and visually, and end with a really nice alarm clock that's decidedly 70s, and definitely Hackaday.

Check out the links over on Hackaday!

9 Dec. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi start the Hackaday Podcast by talking about another podcast that's talking about...Hackaday. Or more accurately, the recent Hackaday Supercon. After confirming the public's adoration, conversation moves on to designing flexible PCBs with code, adding a rotary dial to your mechanical keyboard, and a simulator that lets you visualize an extinction-level event. We'll wrap things up by playing the world's smallest violin for mildly inconvenienced closed source software developers, and wonder how the world might have been different if the lady of the house had learned to read binary back in 1969.

Check out the links and comment over on Hackaday!

2 Dec. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi find themselves in the middle of a slow news week, so they dispense with the usual timely chit-chat and dive right into the results of a particularly tricky "What's that Sound" challenge.

From there they'll cover the new breed of ATtiny microcontollers (and why you probably won't be buying them), a recently unearthed Z-80 consumer gadget that's begging to be reverse engineered, the fine art of electrifying watercraft, and a particularly impressive speech recognition engine. Stick around till the end to hear about the potential dangers of unsecured EV chargers, and take a walk down memory lane to a time when soldering irons and paper schematics ruled the world.

Check out the links over on Hackaday, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

25 Nov. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos fumbled through setting up Mumble on Kristina's new-ish computer box before hitting record and talking turkey. First off, we've got a fresh new contest going on, and this time it's all about the FPVs. Then we see if Kristina can stump Elliot once again with a sound from her vast trove of ancient technologies.

Then there's much ado about coffee roasters of all stripes, and you know we're both coffee enthusiasts. We have many words to say about the subject, but none of them are any of the 7+ dirty ones that the FCC would probably rather we didn't. Finally, we take a look at a bike frame that's totally nuts, a clock that seemingly works via magic, and a drone made of rice cakes. So find something to nibble on, and check out this week's episode!

And be sure to visit all the links and leave a comment over on Hackaday.

18 Nov. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney review the literature on a hack-packed week of action. We'll find a Linux machine inside just about anything, including curb-side TVs and surprisingly secure EV chargers. No Internet? No problem -- just tunnel IP through WhatsApp! We'll see that 3D printers can be repurposed for lab automation of the cheap, build the worst -- but coolest -- 2FA dongle of all time, and see how a teetering tower of cards can make your old motherboard think any ISA card is plugged into it. Worried that driving an EV is going to be a boring experience? Don't be -- maybe you'll still get to jam through the gears. But if you do, rest assured there'll be plenty of careful engineering done to see if it's safe. Err, at least we hope so...

Check out the links!

11 Nov. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi are still flying high on their post-Supercon buzz (and are a bit jet lagged) this week. We'll start with some of the highlights from our long-awaited Pasadena meetup, and talk a bit about the winner of this year's Hackaday Prize. Talk will then shift over to shaved down NES chips, radioactive Dungeons and Dragons gameplay, an impressive 3D printed telescope being developed by the community, and the end of the Slingbox. Stick around for a double dose of Dan Maloney, as we go over his twin treatises on dosimetry and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Check out the links if you want to follow along, and as always, tell us what you think about this episode in the comments!

28 Oct. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney get together for a look at everything cool under the hardware-hacking sun.

Think you need to learn how to read nerve impulses to run a prosthetic hand? Think again -- try spring-loaded plungers and some Hall effect sensors. What's Starlink saying? We're not sure, but if you're clever enough you can use the radio link for ad hoc global positioning. Historically awful keyboards, pan-and-scan cable weather stations, invisibility cloaks, plumbing fittings for electrical controls -- we'll talk about it all. And if you've never heard two Commodore 64s and a stack of old floppies turned into an electronic accordion, you really don't know what you're missing.

We've go sooo many links. You must click on them all!

21 Oct. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos rendezvoused in yet another secret, throwaway location to rap about the hottest hacks from the previous week. We start off by gushing about the winners of the Cyberdeck Contest, and go wild over the Wildcard round winners from the Hackaday Prize.

It's the What's That Sound? results show, and Kristina was ultimately stumped by the sound of the Kansas City Standard, though she should have at least ventured a guess after shooting down both modem and fax machine noises. Then it's on to the hacks, which feature an analog tank-driving simulator from the 1970s, much ado about resin printing, and one cool thing you can do with the serial output from your digital calipers, (assuming you're not a purist). And of course, stay tuned for the Can't-Miss Article discussion, because we both picked one of resident philosopher Al Williams' pieces.

You can check out all the links in the show notes right here, on the Internet!

14 Oct. 2022

This week Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi will discuss the return of the East Coast RepRap Festival, the scientific application of slices of baloney, and the state of the art in homebrew e-readers. The discussion weaves its way through various reimaginings of the seven (or more) segment display, an impressive illuminated headboard that comes with its own science-fiction film, and the surprising difficulty of getting a blinking LED to actually look like a flame. Stick around to the end to find out why iPhones are freaking out on amusement park rides, and to hear all the details about this year's Supercon badge.

Check out all the links and join the discussion over on Hackaday!

7 Oct. 2022

It's déjà vu all over again as Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams gets together with Staff Writer Dan Maloney to look over the best hacks from the past week. If you've got a fear of giant cockroaches, don't worry; we'll only mention the regular ones when we talk about zapping them with lasers. What do you need to shrinkify an NES? Just a little sandpaper and a lot of finesse.

Did you know that 3D scanning is (sort of) over a century old? Or that the first real microcomputer dates all the way back to 1972 -- and isn't one of those blinkenlight deals? And watch out for what you tell GPT-3 to ignore -- it might just take you very seriously. We'll touch on solar-powered cameras, a compressor of compressors, and talk about all the unusual places to find lithium batteries for your projects. It's an episode so good you might just want to listen to it twice!

(In case you're wondering about all this "twice" stuff -- Elliot forgot to hit record on the first take and we had to do the entire podcast over again. Oh, the humanity!)

Feast on the spicy show notes!

30 Sep. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos gushed about NASA's live obliteration of minor planet Dimorphos using a probe outfitted with a camera. Spoiler alert: the probe reaches its rock-dappled rocky target just fine, and the final transmitted image has a decidedly human tinge.

Kristina brought the mystery sound again this week, much to Elliot's sonic delight. Did he get it? Did he figure it out? Well, maybe. The important thing is one of you is bound to get it, so budding Neos need only enter their guess and their email address on the extremely official What's That Sound? entry form.

We kick off the hacks with a really neat 3D printed linkage that acts as an elevator for a marble run, and then we discuss a mid-century hack that helps you decide whether it's time to emerge from the fallout shelter using the contents of your typical 1950s pockets. We spent a few minutes comparing our recent radiation exposure levels  -- Kristina wins with about a dozen x-rays so far this year, but no full-body CT scans. Then we talk guitars for a bit, remember a forgotten CPU from TI, and spend a few cycles talking about a tone-wheel organ that sounds like a chorus of gleeful gerbils.

Finally, we talk toner transfer for 3D prints, argue in defense of small teams versus large committees, and get all tangled up in cursive.

23 Sep. 2022

Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams took time out from Supercon planning to join Staff Writer Dan Maloney for a look through the hacking week that was. We always try to keep things light, but it's hard sometimes, especially when we have to talk about wars past and present and the ordnance they leave behind. It's also not a lot of fun to talk about a continent-wide radio outage thanks to our angry Sun, nor is learning that a wafer-thin card skimmer could be lurking in your ATM machine. But then again, we did manage to have some fun by weighing cats to make sure they're properly fed, and making music by pegging VU meters. We also saw how to use PCBs to make a beautiful yet functional circuit sculpture, clean up indoor air on a budget, and move microns with hardware store parts. And we also got to celebrate a ray of international hope by looking back on the year that taught us much of what we know about the Earth.

Check out all the links (and the hoopla) in the show notes!

16 Sep. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi start off by talking about the chip shortage...but not how you think. With a list that supposedly breaks down all of the electronic components that the Russian military are desperate to get their hands on, we can see hackers aren't the only ones scrounging for parts. If you thought getting components was tricky already, imagine if most of the world decided to put sanctions on you.

We'll also talk about kid-friendly DIY stereoscopic displays, the return of the rotary cellphone, and using heat to seal up 3D printed parts for vacuum applications. Join us as we marvel over the use of rubbery swag wristbands as tank treads, and ponder an array of AI-created nightmares that are supposed to represent the Hackaday writing crew. Finally we'll talk about two iconic legacies: that of the 3.5 inch floppy disk, and astrophysicist Frank Drake.

Check out the links in the show notes!


9 Sep. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos had a lot of fun discussing the best of the previous week's hacks in spite of Elliot's microphone connectivity troubles. News-wise, we busted out the wine and cheese to briefly debate whether a Colorado man should have won an art competition by entering an image created by AI. Afterward, we went around a bit about floppies, which are being outlawed in Japan.

Then it's on to the What's That Sound Results Show, but since Elliot can't find a 14-sided die, he pulled on the the Internet for our random number needs. Congratulations to our big winner [D Rex], who will receive one our coveted Hackaday Podcast t-shirts.

Is the food-safety-of-3D-printing debate over once and for all? It is as far as Elliot's concerned. You know what else is over? The era of distributed, independent email servers. Bah! We're not kidding about that last one -- and we discuss a lie-detecting app that may or may not prove our innocence.

Finally, we talk active foot cooling, heat barriers for hot shops, and big, strong magnets. What are they for? Fixing floppies, fool!

Check out the links in the show notes!

26 Aug. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos met up on a secret server to discuss the cream of this week's crop of hacks. After gushing about the first-ever Kansas City Keyboard Meetup coming up tomorrow -- Saturday the 27th, we start off by considering the considerable engineering challenge of building a knife-throwing machine, the logistics of live-streaming on the go, and the thermodynamics of split-level homes.

This week, Kristina came up with the What's-That-Sound and managed to stump Elliot for a while, though he did eventually guess correctly after the tape stopped rolling. Think you know what it is? Then fill out the form and you'll earn the chance to win a genuine Hackaday Podcast t-shirt!

Later in the show, we look at a macro pad that breaks the mold, an ASCII terminal like it's 1974, and a Z80 that never was (but definitely could have been). Stick around as we root for the CubeSats hitching a ride aboard Artemis I, and at last call on the 'cast, it's lagers vs. ales (vs. ciders).

Head on over to the show notes for links and oh, so much more!

19 Aug. 2022

Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Managing Editor Tom Nardi are here to bring you the best stories and hacks from the previous week (and maybe a little older). Things kick off with news that the Early Bird tickets for the 2022 Hackaday Supercon tickets sold out in only two hours -- a good sign that the community is just as excited as we are about the November event. But don't worry, regular admission tickets are now available for those who couldn't grab one out of the first batch.

This week there's plenty of vehicular hacks to talk about, from John Deere tractors running DOOM to a particularly troublesome vulnerability found in many key fobs. We'll also lament about the state of 3D CAD file formats, marvel at some retro-futuristic photography equipment, and look at the latest in home PCB production techniques. Wrapping things up there's a whole lot of cyberdeck talk, and a trip down silicon memory lane courtesy of Al Williams.

Check out the links in the show notes!

12 Aug. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos convened in a secret location to say what we will about the choicest hacks of the past week. We kick things off by discussing the brand new Cyberdeck contest, which is the first of it's type, but certainly won't be the last. In other contest news, we recently announced the winners of the Hack it Back Challenge of the Hackaday Prize, which ran the gamut from bodysnatching builds to rad resto-mods and resto-recreations.

Taking top honors in wow factor this week is [Stuff Made Here]'s jigsaw puzzle-solving robot. This monster can currently tackle small laser-cut puzzles, but is destined to solve an all-white 5000-piece nightmare once all the engineering pieces have come together.

Then we took a field trip to Zip Tie City, where the plastic's green  and the wiring's pretty, admired volcano nuts from afar, and briefly considered the idea of a 3D printer with a heating zone of programmable length.

Finally, we take a look at a creatively destructive robot that's akin to a useless machine, bloviate about books you should read, and dance around the topic of learning by playing.

You want to click the links in the show notes, no?

5 Aug. 2022

This week, Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Assignments Editor Kristina Panos traded sweat for silence, recording from their respective attic-level offices in the August heat unaided by fans (too noisy). We decided there's no real news this week that lacks a political bent, except maybe that Winamp is back with a new version that's four years in the making. (Is Winamp divisive?) Does it still whip the llama's ass? You be the judge.

After Elliot gives Kristina a brief math lesson in increasing area with regard to 3D printer nozzle sizes, we talk a bit about 3D pens, drool over a truly customizable macropad that uses a microcontroller for each keyswitch, and  discuss dendrometers and tree health. Then it's back to keyboards for one incredible modular build with an e-ink display and haptic feedback knob which is soon to go open source.

Finally, we talk tiny CRTs, a USB drive that must have the ultimate in security through obscurity, discuss the merits of retrograde clocks, and wonder aloud about the utility of jumping PCBs. Don't bounce on us just yet -- not until you hear about our first electronics wins and learn the one thing Kristina doesn't do when she's spending all day in the heat.

Check out Hackaday for all the links!

29 Jul. 2022

Join Hackaday Editor-in-Chief Elliot Williams and Staff Writer Dan Maloney for their take on the hottest hacks in a hot, hot week. We found a bunch of unusual mechanisms this week, like an omnidirectional robot that's not quite wheeled but not quite a walker either. Or, if you'd rather fly, there's a UAV that's basically a flying propeller. There's danger afoot too, with news of a chess-playing robot with a nasty streak, a laser engraver that'll probably blind you, and a high-voltage corona motor that actually does useful work. We'll use our X-ray vision to take a deep dive into a 60-GHz phased array antenna, let a baby teach a machine what it means to be hungry, and build a couple of toy cameras just for funsies. Ballons as a UI? Maybe someday, thanks to ultrasonic levitation. And we'll wrap things up by snooping in on the Webb telescope's communications, as we find out how many people it takes to make wire harnesses. Spoiler alert: it's a lot.

Check out the links in the show notes!