Phil’s Newsletter #37

Cold off of last week’s presses, here is the new edition of Phil’s Newsletter. Inside: A tiny keyboard, and a ton of Good Links.


Universal Mega Dumper

Unnaturally tempted by [this project](, which has created a common platform for cartridge dumping w/ standard adapters for the major consoles. It auto-recognizes which type of cart you connect, too!

> The Universal Mega Dumper (UMD) is a game catridge read/writer project designed around a Teensy++ microcontroller. The universality comes from the UMD’s ability to support many different types of catridge connectors by having general purpose 16 bit data and 24 bit address paths along with a dozen control signals – all of which can be customized for each game cartridge mode.

More on [the project page](


The Best Third-Party Carrying Case for the Bridge Mixed Reality Headset

Bridge logo spray-painted on the new hard case. Naturally, I had to customize it a bit.

TL;DR: [This is the best case for Bridge](

If you work on mixed reality games & experiences for the [Bridge headset]( like I do you might sometimes (ironically, for a super-portable headset like Bridge) have a bit of trouble with getting your headset from point A to point B. The box that Bridge comes in is a great way to store the device when it’s not being used but it’s a little clunky for everyday carry.

## Criteria

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying out several different commodity hard cases, using the loose criteria of:

* Does it securely fit the headset?
* Does it have room for the charging cables, controller, or other small accessories?
* Would it stand up to my daily San Francisco commute?
* Can it be had for under $50?

## The Winner

After trying several cases that failed in one way or another (it’s especially hard to find something with the right height), the “[Khanka Hard Case Travel Bag for Sony PlayStation 4 VR (PSVR) Headset and Accessories](” is the best so far.

It safely and securely fits the Bridge headset, controller, cables, and even the lens spacers in the included bag. I re-purposed the lens bag the case came with as a shroud for the Structure Sensor and Wide Vision Lens while in transit, and there’s even just enough room for an external battery if you’re into that. You’ll have to bring your own padding. I used the thick foam that came in my Bridge box, but any foam or egg crate should work just fine.

* Buy case on — ($26.99 as of writing)


Finding the First Videogame ROM

[Ed Fries tracks down the first ever ROM programmed for a video game, older than previously-found chips.][link] What a find.

[link]: “Finding the First Videogame ROM”


Dan Luu’s Keyboard Latency Tests

[Apparently, keyboard latency has gotten measurably worse over time][link]- computers in the 1970s had faster keyboard input that we do today. The post does a good job of debunking several of the most common BS claims made by “gaming” keyboard manufacturers, too. They aren’t any faster than regular ‘ol consumer-grade keyboards, and in some cases slower!

>Most keyboards add enough latency to make the user experience noticeably worse, and keyboards that advertise speed aren’t necessarily faster. The two gaming keyboards we measured weren’t faster than non-gaming keyboards, and the fastest keyboard measured was a minimalist keyboard from Apple that’s marketed more on design than speed.

[link]: “Keyboard Latency”


Plug: the brain of your devices

Trying really hard not to turn the ‘ol site here into Phil Links Kickstarter Projects All Day but I can’t help myself [with this one][link]. Plug is a little USB dongle that plugs into your network and shares content across all of your devices, sort of like having a personal Dropbox for your house.

[link]: “Plug: the brain of your devices by The CGC team — Kickstarter”


HP Says To Bye Bye TouchPad, Pre

[Almost hidden in this press release about HP’s plans to buy Autonomy Corporation][link]:

>In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

A real shame. webOS and the devices built around it were the only real competition to iOS and the iPad/iPhone line.

[link]: “HP Confirms Discussions with Autonomy Corporation plc Regarding Possible Business Combination; Makes Other Announcements | Business Wire”


Original iPod vs iPhone 4

[Steven Frank compares the granddaddy of them all to the new kid][link]. Aside from the fact that the original iPod is about 2.5 times thicker than the iPhone 4, what stands out to me is that the faces are exactly the same size. Very Apple.

[link]: “Original iPod vs iPhone 4 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!”



[Gameduino is an add-on][link] for the open-source [Arduino hardware platform][ard], created to facilitate the creation of 8-bit video games. They’ve already passed their Kickstarter goal. What’s cool about the Arduino is how low-cost and accessible it is. You could, for example, create a new 8-bit games console on this thing. With a built-in store.

I’m hoping to see someone do a panel on this bit of kit at the next [GamerCamp][camp].

[link]: “Gameduino: an Arduino game adapter by James Bowman — Kickstarter”
[camp]: “GamerCamp”
[ard]: “Arduino”


Steam’s June 2010 Mac Hardware Survey

[Very cool graphs with data collected from Valve’s opt-in hardware stats software][link].

[link]: “Steam Hardware Survey”


OpenPandora: “The most powerful gaming handheld there is.”

[I’m sure your specs are great, but what a pooch][link]. Looks extremely unwieldy and chunky. It looks like it was designed by the same group as [the WarMouse (formerly known as OpenOffice Mouse)][mouse].

[link]: “OpenPandora”
[mouse]: “WarMouse”


Steven Frank on New World Computing, the iPad, and Generational Shift

The [newly-Americanized][newly] Steve [knocks it out of the park][link]. There is a big shift happening under the layers we walk on, and most people won’t see it for a few years yet.

[newly]: “Steve American”
[link]: “ – I need to talk to you about computers. I’ve been…”


Bad JooJoo

Sounds like a racial epithet in multiple ways, birthed from a massive controversy on one of the most hated/read tech blogs on the planet, costing $500 with unproven software and hardware from a company nobody’d ever heard of until Michael Arrington started yelling “rip off”.

[Good luck, I guess.][link]

[link]: “Fusion Garage’s Joojoo (AKA Crunchpad) Unveiling Liveblog – Crunchpad liveblog – Gizmodo”


AnandTech Tests New Macbook Pro Battery Life

[According to their tests][link], the new 15″ MBP lasted almost TWICE as long as the previous model– a total of about 5.5 hours to a charge. That is a *huge* jump, and as far as I can see it is unprecedented. They say:

>There’s only a 46% increase in battery capacity, there shouldn’t be a ~100% increase in battery life…ever.

I figured Apple must’ve had a damn good reason for making the battery internal, and it looks like this is it.

[link]: “AnandTech: Apple’s 2009 MacBook Pro: Battery Life to Die For”


Last Year’s Model

[Their tagline is “Saving the planet through sheer laziness,”][link] but I think “and not having tons of expendable cash” counts, too.

via, as it so often is, [Andy Baio][andy]

[link]: “Get Great Gadgets. And Keep Them. – Last Year’s Model”
[andy]: “Waxy”