RetroGlove Pinout Diagram

So, I bought a PAX PowerGlove – so good it’s bad – with a view to connecting it to my PC for use as a neato peripheral. The PAX PowerGlove, hailing from Japan and predating the Mattel-manufactured US release, comes with a DB-15 Famicom peripheral connector.

I need to figure out which of the 15 pins I need to connect to my USB adapter, but so far I’ve found four pinouts for the connector – and all four are different. Here’s my best-guess pinout:

Famicom Peripheral Connector1 – Ground
2 – Sound Out
3 – IRQ
4 – Port 1, Data 4
5 – Port 1, Data 3
6 – Port 1, Data 2
7 – Port 1, Data 1
8 – Port 1, Data 0
9 – Port 1, Data Clock
10 – Latch 2
11 – Latch 1
12 – Latch 0
13 – Port 0, Data 1
14 – Port 0, Clock
15 – +5V

In theory, that should be what I need to match up to my RetroGlove USB adapter:

RetroGlove Pinout Diagram

The only question is – have I picked the right Famicom pinout to trust, or will I blow my PowerGlove? Any suggestions, Famicom experts?

The aRSSduino in action

The aRSSduino in actionThe aRSSduino is a simple project for the Arduino microcontroller, designed to display RSS feed entries on a 16×2 LCD.  It’s still in the early stages, with the following outstanding:

  • To Do: Support for larger LCDs
  • To Improve: Better UTF-8 character handling
  • To Do: Multiple RSS feed support

For now, however, it’s a pretty neat hack – and an alternative back-end allows it to display Twitter @ replies instead, with the person’s username on the top line of the display and the message below.

The aRSSduino relies on a USB connection between the Arduino and the host PC – it’s not a stand-alone project.  Currently, the Python back-end is written to run on a Linux-based host – although it should be relatively simple to port to Windows, I have no plans to do so at present.

You can download the project source code – both for the Arduino sketch and for the Python-based back-end here.  If you improve upon it, let me know!

Toshiba has confirmed its plans to offer a dual-screen notebook similar to Microsoft’s Courier concept, to be added to its Libretto ultra-mobile range.

The Toshiba Libretto W100 was launched as part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebrations – its first laptop, the Toshiba T1100 was launched back in 1985 – with the company’s Phil Osaki quoted by VentureBeat as stating that the company is aiming for the back-to-school season in the US.

The Libretto W100 ditches a traditional keyboard in favour of a second display with multi-touch technology – when you want to type, an on-screen keyboard with haptic force-feedback functionality appears. It’s unlikely to be comfortable for typing long documents, but it should be no worse than typing on an Apple iPad.
Both displays are 7in and 1024×600 resolution, and can be addressed independently – it’s possible to have a web browser on one screen and a word processor on the other, for example – and used in both portrait and landscape mode.  Interestingly, despite its small size Toshiba hasn’t opted to use Intel’s popular Atom processor, instead using the more powerful 1.2GHz Pentium U5400 chips along with 2GB of RAM and a 62GB hard drive to power a full installation of Windows 7.
Sadly, Osaki has been cagey on pricing details: the current run of the Libretto W100 is to be limited, as the company wants to get feedback from a small number of users before planning a wider launch of an updated mass-produced version later in the year.

Fujistu's curved displaysFujitsu’s display division has teamed up with Shinoda Plasma to create impressive curved displays which the companies believe could be used to turn building support pillars into information boards without taking up any extra floorspace.

Demonstrated over on Tech-On, the displays are based around Shinodo’s Plasma Tube Array technology, which allows the display to be created in a smooth curve rather than the more traditional flat plane.

Using the pre-curved display panels, the pair were able to come up with a single display – made from a pair of 1m x 1m panels – which fit around a pillar of 1m diameter, capable of showing full-colour full-motion video.

The companies admit that the the displays are still in the early stages of production – with the demonstration models, showcased at the Fujitsu Forum early last week, being produced merely to gauge market response prior to mass-production – but explain that “we expect that [the displays] will be used at railroad stations and public facilities” to provide advertising and informational displays around pre-existing support pillars.

Sony HD Camcorder peek shotNot content with shaking up the bridge camera market with its new EVIL NEX 3 and NEX 5 mirrorless cameras, Sony has snuck out a sneak preview of an up-coming camcorder using the same APS C-size CMOS high-definition sensor.

Described as still “in development” over on Sony’s official blog, the un-named device will feature interchangeable lenses just like its still variant cousins – with promised support for both the Sony E-mount lenses used by the NEX 3 and NEX 5 and the A-mount lenses used by Sony’s range of Alpha digital SLR cameras, albeit via an adaptor.

Full details of the device are still held closely under wraps by Sony, but using the specifications of the NEX series as a base it can be expected that the camera will record to MemoryStick or SDHC card in the AVHCD format in – most likely – a full 1080p high-definition resolution at an expected 30 frames per second.

The use of interchangeable lenses will offer videographers a wealth of options for changing the capabilities of the camera, with options including macro, wide-angle, and telephoto lenses – and with the pre-existing A-mount lenses as options, the camera will enjoy a wide selection from launch.

Sadly, Sony has yet to announce a firm release date – or, indeed, pricing – for the camera, beyond a vague commitment to an official launch some time in Autumn.

The Seiko FutureNow e-Ink watchWhile TokyoFlash’s impressive curved E-Ink watch wins the style stakes, I have to admit a soft spot for Seiko’s latest invention – the FutureNow watch.

Looking like an oversized digital watch from the mid-nineties, the FutureNow has an electrophoretic E-Ink – actually a Vizplex, if we’re talking trademarks – display which is capable of showing a range of pages, at least one of which will actually tell you what time it is.

Designed to provide a far greater viewing angle thanks to an active matrix setup – Seiko promises that the display will be viewable at up to 180 degrees in any direction – it’s a neat device, and shows promise for providing quick access to information without having to whip your smartphone out of your designer jeans.

Sadly, Seiko hasn’t yet provided pricing information – and if they did, I would probably be significantly less excited.  This is the sort of gadget that I would find difficult to justify – especially as I’ve got a drawer full of novelty watches already, including one that dispenses bubblegum.

No, really.  Bubblegum.  It’s awesome, and clearly designed for five year olds.  Can Seiko’s watch dispense bubblegum?  I don’t think so.

The WePad slateAll this talk in the media about the iPad – and there’s plenty of it, with an estimated 80% of the articles in my RSS feeds over the last few days being iPad related in one way or another – has whet my appetite for a slate-style device, but one that offers a little more flexibility than Apple’s locked-down PoS.

The first thing to catch my eye was the WePad from German manufacturer Neofonie.  The specifications call out to me – 11.6″ 1366×768 display, SDHC card support, USB ports, Android operating system, and a 1.66GHz Atom processor all pretty much crap on the iPad from a very great height, with the sole exception being the mere 6 hour battery life to the iPad’s 10 – and it looks shiny enough, but sadly it’s not yet available to buy.

Okay, so Android – if not rooted – is still a locked-down platform, but compared to the iPhone OS – as found on the iPod Touch, the iPhone (obviously) and the iPad – it’s as free as a kilt and no knickers.  Neofonie has even promised that, despite the fact they’re aiming the WePad as a platform for its WeMagazine digital publishing platform, full access to the Android Market will be granted – meaning third-party applications can be installed without restriction.

I’m still undecided as to the relative merits of the slate form factor, but the WePad has certainly got my attention – and not just because it sounds like a euphemism for Tena Lady.

Neat-o watch manufacturer Tokyoflash has unveiled an awesome new concept watch which uses an e-ink screen to create a wraparound inverse display.

As seen over on the company’s blog, the e-Paper Timing watch uses a curved e-ink screen to “show the time digitally in the negative space.”

The company has even seen fit to include Bluetooth functionality, making the watch vibrate and display a message on incoming calls or messages received by the paired handset.

Sadly, it’s only a concept at the moment – which is a shame, because it’s the first of Toykopop’s peculiar designs of wristwear that I could actually see myself spending three figures on.

Roku SoundBridge develops a poor short-term memoryEver since switching to WPA2-AES security on my wireless network I’ve been having some problems with my Pinnacle-branded Roku SoundBridge wireless MP3 player. Problems like “strange, this used to be connected to the network.”

It seems that after a few days of working perfectly happily the device drops off the network.  Well, not quite ‘off’ – it sits there continually sending out DHCP request after DHCP request.  My router, being a good router that does as it’s told, sends out DHCP offers in response to these requests – which are routinely ignored by the SoundBridge.

Switching to a static IP on the SoundBridge doesn’t do a lot of good: although it fixes the Herring Sandwich Experiment qualities of the issue by removing the continuous DHCP requests, the device still drops off the network.

I’ve upgraded the firmware to the latest beta release, but there’s still no joy.  Next step is an e-mail to Roku.