Sparky's Shocks

Monday, October 13, 2008

Long Long Past Dead

Visit for the latest!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Slowly Moving

I'm working on a new site that will eventually support this blog as well as many other pages. I can't say how long Sparky's Shocks has left to live, I'll post RIP when the time comes. Until then feel free to check out

Monday, December 04, 2006


A few students at The University of Advancing Technology got into the Christmas hacking spirit this weekend and surprised the campus attendants on Monday morning with a TCP/IP enabled Christmas tree. The tree has been the centerpiece of holiday decorations at the university for the past few years, casting a static white glow across the commons late into the night. Static no more, the tree now hosts a web page from an embedded PINK Ethernet module. The page allows access to a Basic Stamp microcontroller preprogrammed with switching patterns for a set of solid state relays connected to the lights. The sectional nature of artificial trees made controlling the lights as simple as plugging in each level of the tree to a relay. Credit goes to these guys.

You can visit the UATree's embedded site at:
(The site may be up and down, busy or flooded, and so on)

Visit our University's page at
(Heavy on Flash)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Mozy Sniff's The Wii, Smells Good

A big thanks goes off to hacker "Mozy" for reverse engineering the Wii's internet connection. He packet sniffed the Wii's User Agent, Shop Channel, Firmware updates, and Virtual Console. This is the beginning of a full set of hacks that should be popping up on the internet really soon. We can confirm that Opera 9.00 is already running on the Wii because it's User Agent shows up on the Wii Shop, it might be possible to hack the browser into functioning before Nintendo decides to release it to the public. Mozy's already been surfing the Wii pages using Firefox and a user agent switcher like this one. If your interested in reverse engineering the virtual console system or any other part of the Wii, this would be a great place to start.

Ok, the site just got Slashdotted so you'll have to wait for a cache.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wii Giftcard

My roommate steeped into my room this morning holding a small little white card with the Wii logo on the front. He pushed a button on the front and it lit up with a dazzling blue glow, yep LEDs. I know a good hack when I see it and that card has some endless possibilities. I've posted an Instructable to help everyone out there get into the guts of this thing.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Pet Rock Finally Has a Purpose

On the 26th of January 2006, CNN reported that Russia had accused the British of conducting clandestine operations using a rock in a Moscow park. This is no cover-up article; the Russians had clearly found a “spy rock” posing as an innocent landscape article in Moscow. The fact that British Intelligence is far more skilled at the rock vs. paper game then the C.I.A. is a bit frightening.

"According to our experts' assessments, this device costs several tens of millions of pounds. You could only create this technological wonder in laboratory conditions."(Russian FSB)

It is imperative that the United States develop a landscape item capable of assisting our agents in the field. Perhaps our government is already using lawn items to probe our daily lives. Is that sprinkler-head spying on your joyful playground excursion? Are those tacky flamingos transmitting encrypted data to headquarters? For the sake of our national security I have assisted in the development of a system equivalent to those used by the British.

Meet Rock’nStix: it’s a work in progress, yet the possibilities are endless. At this moment the rock houses a Gumstix connex 200xm running at 200Mhz with 64Mb of ram and a NetCF expansion board. Gumstix computers are literally the size of a stick of gum, which makes them perfect for sticking in places where computers should never go. These little computers run Linux kernel 2.6.11 and are very versatile. The NetCF board attached to the gumstix adds real functionality with a Compact Flash slot and a full 10/100 Ethernet connection. Adding a 802.11g CF card would allow the rock to connect wirelessly to a network; imagine a “spy rock” mesh network. Gumstix are available with built-in Bluetooth for downloading all of those top secret blueprint photos from your camera phone. That feature alone rivals British infrared transfers. All of this fits inside a faux rock with plenty of room to spare. I’d like to see some padding and waterproofing added to the rock later on. Future versions might even include battery power, wireless technologies, audio, and maybe even a GPS. My rock can beat your scissors any day.

I used an Exo-Tera pet habitat rock and a piece of Plexiglas to create the housing. Three #4 machine bolts mount the electronics to the Plexiglas. A couple of screws hold the plexi to the rock and form the bottom of the housing. A Dremmel with a fiberglass reinforced cutoff wheel makes cutting the plexi fairly easy. Connections to the Gumstix are run through the little pet hole in the back/front of the rock.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I just started playing with PIC microcontrolers last month and I have to say I'm thrilled with the relatively easy learning process. These little chips are inexpensive and full of power. As with a new car you tend to start noticing who else is driving the same model, I've started to notice where PIC's are showing up in my life. I opened up a shopping cart wheel the other day and found that it was controlled by a PIC12C508A, more on that project to come. So far I've experimented with inputs and outputs. My attempts at implementing PWM were interesting. I'm using the PIC16F767 for my basic projects. I will, however, be moving up to the C programmable chips. While assembly is pretty simple I should learn a higher language. If anyone tends to drop by here and has some helpful info on PICs, let me know. Posted by Picasa