If circuit breakers, capacitors, resistors, alternators and other ?-ores? are part of your day-to-day, we have a hot tip No! Wrong adjective: this tip electrifying. Minty Boost folks used profane doses of reverse engineering to find out how iPod and iPhones rechargers work, so they could make their own unofficial accessory that uses AA batteries to power Apple gadgets.
The whole story is illustrated with details of the most sordid about the entrails of these accessories, but it is curious to see how Apple's engineering has evolved to allow its gadgets to recognize USB ports capable of recharging them: before, any powered port was worth; then the iPod mini started to make a case; the bigger iPods started to mess up the system and the iPhone 3GS finally got it all complicated.
Anyone who thinks that this is achieved based on recognition chips and the like, will be surprised: the system uses only a specific voltage applied to the data connectors for the gadgets to know that they can trust the power source to which they are connected.
If you don't want to read the post (detail: full of circuit diagrams that remind me of Physics 3 in High School), you can check out a video demonstrating Lady Ada's discoveries:
(vimeo) http://vimeo/13835359 (/ vimeo)
REMINDER: This kind of thing is very complicated and, in case you don't have good notions of safety when handling electrical and similar materials, don't try this at home! Leave it to professionals. Geeks like Lady Ada spend a lot of time at a Jedi Academy to be able to do that kind of thing.
P.S .: Seeing a girl so comfortable with electronic equipment is one of the things that make me still have faith in humanity.