January 21, 2021

USB Apple Extended Keyboard II

This is my modified Apple Extended Keyboard II. It’s been retrofitted to work as a USB keyboard and provides 4 USB ports via an internal USB hub, 2 ports on both sides.

I removed the springy thingy, height adjuster and rear foot to make room for the components.

I used a Dremel to resize the holes to fit the dual USB ports. Luckily, the original plastic U shape in the base of the bottom case that held the ADB port is perfect to hold the dual USB ports in the correct position.

I got the dual USB ports from AliExpress, plenty of vendors sell this specific part. They have a red LED that turns on when they’re powered. Kinda makes it look like there’s something evil inside that isn’t supposed to be there.

I used some 4 conductor solid core wire I had laying around in the basement to connect everything. Here you can see the left USB ports and the Teensy 2.0. I wired the Teensy directly to the connector, which also is home to the 1k pull up resistor. It acts as a ADB to USB converter, as detailed here. Word of advice: don’t desolder those connectors in order to solder wires directly to the board. The PCB traces are crazy delicate; I ended up destroying 2 pads and chose to reconnect the connector and fix the pads.

Here are the primary (left) and secondary (right) USB hubs from Retrocution. I got the mini USB female connector from AliExpress which connects to the external cable.

I custom ordered the cable from Zap Cables. The cable colors match the Apple logo perfectly!

Here are the right USB ports.

The only thing I did on the top case is Dremel both of the original ADB port stabilizers, just needed a little trim.

Again, there’s perfect alightment for the USB ports.

I enjoyed pushing this piece of technology into the 21st century and couldn’t be happier with the result.

June 21, 2017

Minecraft server connected Raspberry Pi clock

With just a glance, I know the time, just like a clock in an item frame.


What it displays

  • sun/moon’s position
  • moon’s phase (the brighter the more full)
  • sky color, changes during sunrise and sunset

How it works

  • Python module running on the Minecraft server
    • watches level.dat file for changes
    • parses level.dat for server time
    • publishes time to AWS IoT using MQTT
  • Python module running on the Raspberry Pi
    • subscribes to the servertime MQTT topic
    • updates the display when it receives a new time from AWS IoT

No mods, in fact, this works on snapshots



  • Because hardware hacking is fun!
December 15, 2016


Here is a little script that highlights multiple egrep search terms in different colors. It pipes multiple greps together. Be careful, if you give it a search term that happens to match the escape sequences for ANSI color, you might get unexpected results.

There are a number of tools that already do this: ack, ccze. This just needs bash (maybe even other shells) and grep. I was aiming for portability; no need for compiling, perl, ruby, python, <insert runtime here>. Got the idea here.

January 13, 2016

Oh yeah, I’m on a podcast

Blog is back! Trying this theme. Check Dave and I out on our podcast about Apple stuff. Here

March 16, 2014

iOS Stocks and currency exchange

Did you know you can use the built-in Stocks app to view the current and historic exchange rate for currencies? Yup, try it, enter GBPCAD=X as a quote. Replace what you’re exchanging before the =X.

why does it keep going up!!

Quotes sync with iCloud and they show up in the today swipe down view if configured in Settings. Convenient.

February 15, 2014

Trick markdown preview

You can trick your markdown preview into correctly rendering the front matter from octopress (depending on the flavor of markdown your app uses). This works with 1Writer, not so much in Byword.

Just leave a space before the last ---. Like so.

layout: single
title: "Title"
published: true
date: 2014-01-01
comments: true


And voila!