Thing-a-day, Day 4: Mailbox Flag for my Inbox

Ok, this is getting ridiculous. I’m going to have to find some easier projects lest I run out of energy. Anyway, tonight’s project is a physical flag that attaches to my computer and goes up when I have new mail. First, I found biff, which is an extension to Thunderbird that proves a socket interface to poll for new mail status. Then, I wrote a little Python application to continuously poll the status and update the flag as necessary. Since I already had one written and didn’t feel like looking into any libraries, I used a C program to turn pins on the parallel port on and off to trigger the hardware. In a final bit of ridiculousness, I actually used some 555 timers to make an H-bridge to control the motor (don’t try that at home). The code is available here.

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5 Responses to Thing-a-day, Day 4: Mailbox Flag for my Inbox

  1. Neodudeman says:

    Now we need an ATM machine to print the money when we make a sale on Ebay

  2. E says:

    Wow. I love what you do with your time, even if some of your projects are just done for the hell of it. I learned about Makezine from a daily e-mailing I receive (idealbite)–and that’s how I found my way to your site. Thanks for the refreshing online break (from the mind-numbing blog). –E.

  3. thanosgen says:

    how can i build this with led in motor position and without the motor???

  4. mahto says:

    @thanosgen: Well, I would really suggest using something like this instead of messing with the parallel port.

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