Weekend Project: The Powerfake

Computers & Mobile Home Technology
Weekend Project: The Powerfake

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Take an old outdated PS/2 or USB ball mouse and turn it into a handy multimedia controller.

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Take an old outdated PS/2 ball mouse and turn it into a handy multimedia controller.
Thanks go to Daniel Walker for the original article in MAKE, Volume 17.
To download The Powerfake MP4 click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the complete Powerfake article in MAKE, Volume 17 “The Powerfake”
and you can see that in our Digital Edition.

34 thoughts on “Weekend Project: The Powerfake

  1. Tim says:

    What’s with all the ‘soddering’? :-)

    1. KipKay says:

      @Tim – What do you mean?

      1. Andrew says:

        I imagine he’s referring to the fact that in the UK at least we pronounce the “L” in soldering, something like “soll-der-ing”.

        1. KipKay says:

          @Andrew – Ya that’s what I figured. I guess folks need to come to terms with the fact that some words, like solder are pronounced one way in one part of the world and another way in most other parts of the world. Thanks.

        2. Sam says:

          Huh. I was completely unaware of the difference in pronunciation. Either I’ve managed to completely avoid British media about electronics, or the speaker’s dialect made it sound like “soh-der” which I assumed was just a different ‘o’ sound.

          So “solder” rhymes with “smolder” there. Nifty.

          1. nookyoular says:

            Sam, it rhymes more with balder than with smolder.

            I had to watch the second half of the video with the sound off because I just couldn’t stand the soddering anymore :-)

  2. vivi says:

    Is it possible to assign some functions to one mouse, while the other mouse keeps the usual behaviour ?

  3. Math Campbell says:

    Hate to be critical but this was a little bit disappointing;

    Apart from the whole PS/2 thing (he said you can use USB instead I’ll admit), this project only works on windows.
    What about all the makers out there who use linux, or Ma, like myself. We don’t even have PS-2, let alone the ability to run this windows driver…
    Not only that, all this project does is put a ig wheel in the place of a scroll wheel on a mouse. Hardly amazing compared to some previous weekennders.
    Sorry if this appears snarky, I am just up with coffee.

    P.S It *is* solder not sodder. Them yanks just like to be different I guess, everyone else says solder :)

    1. KipKay says:

      @Math Campbell – Remember that not all of the projects in Make Magazine, which is where the majority of the Weekend Projects come from, are for everyone. Some are just fun experimental things and some are actually very useful. There may be an application for Linux and Mac users for this project, not sure. I kinda liked the idea of being able to control some things, like window transparency and volume control with an additional device rather than having to open up individual applications to do it. I also thought the R/C car wheel was kinda fun. Anyway I appreciate your comments. Oh and by the way, I believe ‘solder’ is pronounced everywhere in the world without the ‘l’ except UK. At least that what all of the dictionaries say. Thanks

      1. Mig says:

        For what it’s worth I think this project is wicked (which means good in UK English)

        According to Wikipedia (you know an argument is going to be good when it starts with that), in the US it’s “soddering” and in the UK and “most other countries” it’s “soldering”.

        It comes from the French soudroyer which comes originally from a Latin word, something like “Solidare” or something which means “to make solid”.

        Tomayto, tomarto I say. I must admit though, when I first saw an internet vid when everyone was “soddering” I was taken aback!

      2. Math Campbell says:

        Fair point kipkay; as I said in my post, I probably sounded a little more snarky than intended due to a high blood content in my caffeinestream.
        It *is* a cool idea I’ll grant, and a nifty re-use of a an old mouse (sadly the only ones I could find are optical-tracking :( ) but it’d be cooler still if there was a link to a project to make mac or linux drivers. Maybe as part of the make itself :) I’m gonna go google how to do usb-probing for Cocoa, maybe make that driver!
        If you cant find it, make it. If you can’t buy it, build it, and if you can’t use it, fix it.

        P.S. Soldering is def. the international usage. Checked with some aussies, a german guy (who speaks good english) and a couple of south africans. Only you north-americans say soldering. Unless the Canadians ar like us too….
        Sounds *really* weird to by ears. Soddering…sounds…dirty, lol.

  4. jammit says:

    It may be because I live in the mid-west, but I normally call the process “flinging hot lead”. I sometimes even announce “I’m going to get my ‘slaughtering’ iron”.

  5. Dutchfreak says:

    it could be just me or are some parts of the video mono sound and others not?

  6. Garrett says:

    Didn’t hang together as well as other project videos. Why suggest popping open the mouse, before looking for screws? Why point to the mouse ball encoders while talking about the scroll wheel encoder? How about a little bit more support for the wheel and encoder assembly so it’s not hanging from a thread of hot glue (that’s an exercise for the makers, sure, but give people something to aspire to). And why say “and that’s how you can make a cool USB device” when it was PS/2?

    Still a neat project, but production is rough around the edges, that’s all.

    1. KipKay says:

      @Garrett – Thanks for your comments. Yes it’s true, I am not perfect and I do make mistakes. Here is a rundown on your concerns. The reason I suggested popping open the mouse first is because sometimes I do that on enclosures that are occasionally only snapped together. I do in fact have a mouse or two that I have opened that are entirely snapped togther with no screws. Personal choice on how to approach a project and I thought it might be a ‘cute’ way to show that there are sometimes those hidden screws. Pointing to the mouse ball encoders was purely a human error and I did not catch it when I edited. In the case of my assemby, it was not hanging by “a thread of hot glue”. I put enough on there that the average human would have difficulty pulling it apart. Yes, I did say USB but should have said “PS/2 or USB” since I did mention in the beginning that the project could be accomplished using either a PS/2 or USB mouse. I’m glad overall you liked the project. If you’ve never done it, It’s a pretty decent challenge to build a project while at the same time trying to shoot it for the audience, script it while editing and edit it for a final video with no assistance. Sometimes the production does not meet up perfectly as was the case with this one. Thankfully, there’s a new one every week!

  7. Tom Edwards says:

    Is it me or was the sound garbled in the MP4? I redownloaded, but still the same.

    1. KipKay says:

      @Tom Edwards – Sounds fine on my end, Tom.

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