So now it’s Christmas break. The break is only two weeks, so there’s not time to get anything big going. Instead, I’m stuck with nothing to do. I do, however, have a few things I can do. The first is to get going on this blog. I need to get into some sort of groove. Most of my posts will probably be somewhat short. It’s easier to do that way. The second is a little more exciting.

A few months ago I was at Deseret Industries (a thrift store like Goodwill or… um… any other thrift store like that) and I found a couple of great finds. The first was an Xbox (the original) for $10 with a controller. This Xbox turned out to be an OK buy. The disk drive is broken, but somebody had soft-modded it, so it’s still good for something. The second great find was a “Dance Master 3” dance pad for $3. It is a stupid “plug straight into the TV” game that tried to emulate DDR. After plugging it in and turning it on nothing happened. Another few tries showed nothing. The light was even on, but it simply didn’t work. Then I had the brilliant idea to change the 4 (yes 4!) AA batteries that it takes. I opened up the back of the little black box of the top that seemed to be its brain and stuck in the new batteries.

That was when I got to see the true awfulness of this little “Made for TV” game. The graphics and sound were of NES quality (maybe even slightly less, at least music-wise). The song selection consisted of… I don’t even know. Even if there were popular songs in there, the audio would have of such sub-par quality you wouldn’t have been able to recognize them. The difficulty level was completely laughable. It was only slightly harder than the tutorial level of Tap Tap Revenge (TTR3 would be a current addiction of mine if all the free songs didn’t suck).

It didn’t take long for me to decide that this dance pad needed a new life. A new life separated from its little black box of suckiness. The only problem: almost every tutorial online about making your own dance pad for use with Stepmania (amazing free software that copies DDR) tells you how to hook it up with the fantastically outdated kinds of ports that don’t exist in any computer that my friends and I would have. I need a USB solution. That’s going to be the challenge. The other challenge I have is that I’m using a Mac, which makes drivers a little harder to find. Provided I’ll need drivers. I don’t really know because I’m not sure where to start.

So that’s my challenge for this break: figure out how to make a USB device. I have a feeling I’ll be visiting Radio Shack a few times next week. The only thing I know is that the first step is to cut the thing open and break open the black box. After that, I’m at a loss.

I know I don’t have any readers yet, but if someone manages to stumble across this on the internet and has any hints or tips or knows where to find information, feel free to leave a comment. In fact, please leave a comment.

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